Why Are Some Nigerian Marriages Such a Farce?
We were watching Arnold Schwarznegger on 60minutes and he was talking about the breakup of his marriage and how he regretted his actions. One of us, an older Nigerian woman, was not aware of the story so I brought her up to date. She was surprised that Arnold's wife had asked for a divorce, and felt she shouldn't have. For her, a child outside the marriage was not reason enough for divorce. In the discussion, I came away with the following insight about Nigerian marriages.
- Some women get married without really knowing the man they are entering into it with
- Some women would rather separate from their cheating/lying/irresponsible husband than divorce him
- Some Nigerian women believe their children would be taken away from them if they leave their broken marriage. I don't know if this is true.
- Some women believe they will be left financially out in the cold in the event of a divorce, more painful if they've contributed substantial finances - in cash or kind - to the marriage. I understand their fears.
- Some women are scared of losing their children's support and love if they divorce their father and leave them behind, either as children or as adults
- Some couples live in the same house but lead largely separate lives
-Some women would prefer to show a smiling face to the public and secretly bear abuse and a disgrace of a husband than admit their problems and seek help from family or friends.
- Some women will say they are staying so the children will continue being supported by their father, but even when child support is guaranteed, they will remain.
- Most older, married Nigerian women will advise younger women who come to them for help to remain in a dysfunctional marriage without practical solutions except maybe bear it.
- Most women remain in a dysfunctional or abusive marriage largely for status reasons. That Mrs title...
- It's really all messed up.
As you can imagine, even though I appreciated the insight, I wasn't very happy after the discussion. But after writing this, I feel better now. I know with education, we are doing better. Also as more women enter the judiciary/legislature and reform Nigerian family laws, we will continue to do even better.
What are your own thoughts and observations?