– The Sun News

Differences between healthy and toxic marriages

People in toxic marriages are pressured to agree with their spouses in changing who they are to suit their partner’s whims and caprices.

Kate Halim

Many Nigerian women are in toxic marriages. These women know deep down that their relationships are hell on earth, yet they choose to continue to die gradually at the hands of wicked and heartless men.

They continue to lie to themselves counting their unhappy marriages as achievements. They also mock single ladies to go and get married as if their marriages to their Lord Lugard husbands are enviable to say the least.

Nobody should remain in a toxic marriage, it is hell on earth. Your marriage should bring you peace, love, respect, happiness and fulfillment. It shouldn’t bring stress, pains, heartaches, regrets and abuse into your life.

A healthy marriage is when two people develop a connection based on mutual respect, trust, support, honesty, a sense of playfulness and fondness, equality and fairness as well as good communication.

It is not a place where one partner is served like a slave master while the other is hounded by religion and culture alike to die pleasing the other person. It is not a place where a woman is reduced to nothing so that an insecure man can feel good about himself for having a penis.

In healthy marriages, you take care of yourself and have good self-esteem independent of your relationship. You maintain and respect each other’s individuality. You maintain relationships with friends and family.

Couples in healthy relationships also enjoy activities apart from one another. They are able to express themselves to one another without fear of consequences. They feel secure and comfortable and encourage other relationships.

If you are in a healthy marriage, you and your spouse take interest in one another’s activities. You do not worry about violence in the relationship. Your husband doesn’t beat you up because you greeted your neighbor with smiles.

READ ALSO: Why you shouldn’t stay in abusive relationships

Couples in healthy marriages trust each other and are honest with each other. They have respect for sexual boundaries. You are not pressured to give your husband blow job while he refuses to give you head because he’s a red cap chief. That’s cheating! You are both honest about sexual activities. Couples who enjoy healthy marriages resolve conflict fairly. Fighting is part of healthy relationships but the difference is how the conflict is handled. Fighting fairly is an important skill couples with healthier relationships possess.

On the other hand, unhealthy marriages cause stress and pressure that is hard to avoid. This tension is unhealthy for both parties and may lead to problems in other areas of life.
If you are in a toxic marriage, you tend to put your partner’s needs above yours thereby neglecting yourself in the process. You live in fear of your partner. You can’t talk to them when they hurt you. You can’t even express your feelings to them without being slapped or beaten.

People in toxic marriages feel pressure to change who they are for their spouses. They feel worried when they disagree with their spouses because they know there would be repercussions for their action. They feel pressure to quit activities they usually enjoy so that they can please their spouses.

People in toxic marriages are pressured to agree with their spouses in changing who they are to suit their partner’s whims and caprices. This is how Nigerian women are hounded resign from their lucrative jobs just to please their husbands whose take home pay can’t even sustain their families.

If you are in a toxic marriage, you must justify your actions to your spouse. You have to explain where you go like a child, who you see, who you call and who calls you. You may also be forced to share everything with your spouse against your will. In toxic marriages, arguments are not settled fairly. In this part of the world, women are expected to take everything their men dish out to them without protesting. You are expected to be slapped, kicked and beaten by your husband like a goat if he feels like it.

As a Nigerian wife, you are expected to act like a robot no matter how badly behaved your husband is so that you will be called a virtuous woman. You must not talk or give an opinion on serious issues that even affect you and your children. You must accept everything Mr. Husband says even if it’s a terrible decision that would destroy your family.

In toxic marriages, there’s an attempt to control or manipulate each other. Your partner attempts to controls how you dress and criticizes your behaviors. They talk down on you so much that you begin to resent yourself. They tell you that you don’t have the brains to think and make decisions for your family.

Couples do not spend time with each other in toxic marriages. The man leaves the house without informing his wife of his whereabouts. He hangs out with different people till midnight and returns to eat food and snore away. The woman is also doing her own thing and they don’t have time for each other.

If you and your spouse don’t have common friends, or have a lack of respect for each others’ friends and family, you are in a toxic marriage. If you have to cry and beg your husband before you can send money to your parents and siblings or even go and visit them, your marriage is toxic.

People in toxic marriages experience a lack of fairness and equality. The man can do whatever he likes but his wife cannot try the same. You are not free to pursue your career and dreams in a toxic union. You are hounded to give up who you are so that your spouse won’t feel intimidated.

If you act differently when you are around your spouse, you are in a toxic marriage. If you have to hide your friends, hide your identity and pretend to be who you are not when your spouse is around, your marriage in unhealthy.

Your dreams and goals for the future don’t have to perfectly align, but your partner should support your big life plans. If your spouse doesn’t support your dreams and you are powerless over your own future plans, your union is a toxic one.

In a marriage, compromise should always come into effect but if you are the only one compromising on things while your spouse doesn’t do the same, you are in a toxic marriage.

If your partner consistently shoots down your dreams as unrealistic or not convenient, over time, this can lead to giving up your dreams and the marriage feels less like a partnership. A shared life is complicated enough without throwing dashed dreams into the mix.

In toxic marriages, couples become enmeshed with each other and differences are often seen as threats to the relationship. But in healthy marriages, differences in interest or opinion are not only tolerated, but celebrated.

You are a better version of yourself when you are in a healthy marriage. That doesn’t mean your partner completes you, but they do complement your life the right way. In a toxic marriage, you lose who you are to please your spouses. You are drained emotionally, physically and psychologically.


Kate, see how you painted the women in your column as saints. These women probably wanted to seduce their late husband’s friends but failed and they are spreading false stories. Women are wicked and heartless and you are one of them, so stop telling
us silly stories. Is it by force to help widows? What were they doing to make money while their husbands were alive? – Obinna, Aba

Kate your write up is very educative. I wish you would continue to counsel men and women about relationships. But at times, it is widows that entice their late husband friends pretending they need assistance. – Adeyemi Adesina

I love reading from you because your column is always educating. Yes, there are animals in human skin, which is condemnable. Some widows can also lie in order to attract undue empathy. While some throw themselves on their late husbands’ buddies and when they are rejected, they start a story. – Emeka Onyekwere

Kate, wonders will not end. Keep it up! These men must be exposed. I need more of this. They are not human beings but animals. – Peter Anyaeg- bunam, Nnewi

Kate, I read your article for the first time and seriously, it’s like you are a very heartless woman and a serpent. An article should provide a solution and to a problem. Don’t use your broken heart to scare young ladies away from men. – Stephen Sheku, Plateau

You want to break my ribs with your column. You are right though. If you can’t help your late friend’s wife without sex, you are an arch devil. The person is not worthy to live. – Hon Peter Okafor, Imo State

This is just one of the many evil things that men do to their fellow human beings today. Some do it even when the person is still alive but incapacitated. It is not only friends who do this, relatives do it too. Well done my sister and keep it up. – Emma Onah, Suleja

I feel real men should take their late friends’ wives as sisters and treat them so. Kate, keep on writing what you know best. You may not know but you have more admirers than you think. Even people asperse to your write-ups are applying your good princi- ples. Why are they then deceiv- ing others – Tony, Umuahia

It will be very difficult for a young woman not to have affairs after the death of her husband but it must on her own volition and not someone giving her condition like the example you mentioned in your column. – Austin Ukaegbu

Kate, your article is repulsive and hard on men. What is wrong in playing a father and husband role in a late friend’s home? Some widows approach their late husbands’ friends to play this role even with the knowledge of their wives.

Is sex a scarce commodity? Even married women whose husbands are alive freely solicit money for sex from their husbands’ friends or are you living in USA or Eu- rope? – Ugo Ewelaku


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Tokunbo David
Tokunbo David

Writer and editor.

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