By CHRISTY ANYANWU Tewa Onasanya is a mindset coach who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacology from the University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom. She is the founder and chief executive of Exquisite Magazine, a fashion, beauty and lifestyle publication for women. Exquisite magazine organizes the Exquisite Cancer Walk, the event aimed at increasing…
That question puts me off most of the time. What if I am not married? Does it mean I lack something? Does it make me less of a woman? I really don’t get what that persistent question of marital status is about at social gatherings because I see it as a kind of accusation instead of being informational.
I understand some people want to know your status, so that they can determine who to mingle with or be friends with but that’s a dumb thing to do. However, some people ask for genuine reasons. Oftentimes, I can easily detect that this question is more of scrutiny than just an innocent question. It is a sort of litmus test that can be used against you, when they feel you are not speaking on the right track. Many Nigerians are quick to shame you if you are not on their side when you are having a heated argument or debate. Instead of them to argue in that line intelligently, they would rather descend low and shame you. Oh! If you are not married or you have been married and the marriage failed, you are an easy prey for this type of people. You will hear them shutting you down by saying, “go and marry!” Or they would tell you that such discussion is only for people who are happily married. They rub it in and don’t care if it hurts or not. I think some Nigerians feel like they should create a sort of colony for divorced people. Something similar to leprosy colony, a kind of secluded area and so all these people who fall into this failed marriage category will be ostracized and banished from relating with other people.
They feel that these people who have been in failed marriages are carrying a kind of infectious marital leprosy bacteria. So, how dare a divorcee have a say about anything, most especially about marriage? An institution from where she/he was tossed out?
After all, these divorcees foolishly walked away from holy matrimony and they have no business denting the image of the institution with their unholy unsolicited advice.
Why didn’t he/she wait and endure the pains of the marriage even if it meant a death sentence? Yes, because to this kind of people, marriage is a do or die affair. No matter what you are going through, you must stay there because it is more honourable to die as a married man or woman than die as a divorcee.
It is very sad that people think this way and that is why we have a high death rate in many cases of domestic violence.
Hold on a second! I am not saying that people should now throw a divorce party. Don’t get me wrong. I strongly believe in the pillars of marriage and marriage is a beautiful thing. But my emphasis today is that divorced people are not completely bad people. A failed marriage shouldn’t be a determining factor in assessing an individual. Before I go further, kindly indulge me by answering this question: what is the picture of a divorcee in your head? A failure. Unattractive. Mean-spirited. Cheat. Loose. Liar. Abuser.
The list is endless and we shouldn’t assume that the stigma will disappear soon. Honestly, I am sorry that I am pessimistic about this issue because, in Nigeria, the stigma isn’t going anywhere soon. But we will continue to talk about it until our mindsets are changed for the better.
It is a pity that divorcees have become a thing of shame. As soon as you are unmarried or divorced they inscribe an imaginary mark of failure on your forehead and you are tagged incredibly selfish too. Who are you to talk when married people are talking? How dare you give a counsel when there are legions of successfully married people around? What do you know? After all your marriage failed woefully, so shut the hell up!
It is a pity that is what many divorcees have to live with for as long as they remain unmarried. Until Nigerians get to understand that a failed marriage doesn’t mean a failed life then things will start changing. In saner climes, when friends are going through divorce other friends rally round such person because they know that divorce is a fire exit. When a house is burning down do you stay there to burn with it or leave? So, when a person walks out of a marriage that is exactly what it feels like.
However, in our beloved country, we make it worse and run away from that person and some would even advise that the person should stay there.
I am of the school of thought that believes that no one has a right to tell anyone to leave his/her marriage but when such person makes up his or her mind then give that person all the support needed because that person is the only one who knows where the shoe pinches.
Sadly, in our society, being a divorcee is much easier for men but for women. It is a lot harder because women are supposed to be the sole keepers of marriages. They should always make it work no matter what happens. I don’t have problems in making a marriage work in as much as the act of making a marriage work is from both parties. Making a marriage work should be the duty of both the husband and wife. Unfortunately, many research studies have shown over the years that female divorcees suffer most when a marriage breaks down. They go through a lot of trauma and some even end up in psychiatric hospitals.
Moreover, when there are children in that marriage it becomes worse when those children are forcefully taken away from the divorced wife. To make things worse they lose their friends too, because they have become “husbandless “and when you fall into this status you are automatically labeled a likely “husband snatcher.”
The research studies revealed that couples who are divorced feel a sense of shame and failure, so why would you want to compound their problems by adding to their pain and psychological trauma?
It is not your ‘ministry’ to chastise anyone who is divorced. Rather, your ministry should be to show them love.
Let me be very clear about this: I am not trying to encourage people to get a divorce ticket as soon as they have a problem in marriage because I know that marriage is not a walk in the park (and some issues can be resolved.) But when a person wants out, please respect it, especially when a life is threatened. Also, don’t try and shut anyone down when he/she wants to talk about marriage. Divorcees can talk about anything and that includes marriage. They have been in and out so they have a better experience and they know what the two worlds feel like. If you have an honest divorcee as a friend and he/she is giving out a marital advice to you, listen. Never see that person as unqualified; most especially if you are in a problematic marriage you might need them. Stop seeing divorced people as the plague. Stop behaving like you are allergic to them. Despite the fact that their marriage didn’t work doesn’t mean that they have nothing upstairs to offer. In this world, there are only two categories of people, the good people, and the bad people.
So, my dear readers, not all people who are divorced are bad and not all married people are good. There are bad and good people irrespective of their marital status. So, it is your duty to discern what that divorcee is telling you and don’t just conclude that all divorcees are bitter people.
There is nothing lacking in people who can’t sustain their marriages and I still stand by my words that marriage is not a measure of a person’s success in life. Stop the divorcee discrimination!
Re: Single ladies beware! Diamond hunters on the prowl
bola, keep on splashing water on a hard stone with a strong faith, it will not melt. Karma is real. Many victims have once defrauded and scattered homes, causing sleepless nights to their fellow women with pride and bliss. Those who are for sugar daddies and reverend fathers, etc, must pay through their noses.
—Chris Ohagwu Enugu.
Unfortunately, so many women fall yakata at the mention of marriage, business proposals etc. Ladies should listen to their instinct and also be willing to listen to others because most times, people around tend to see what a lover girl doesn’t see.
Men by nature hunt, but I think over time, substance, pride and integrity have been lost so much to materialism. Smh, we need a shift.
It is terrible I dare say! –Uche
Interesting. We guys need to be careful of ladies too. I separated from my cheating girlfriend. My cousin called her and told her about a land I bought. Gosh! This gal has been pleading to come back because she never knew my worth. I tried my best toward her education. What I have come to realize in this part of the world especially with Blacks is that we don’t value love, we value money. But White girls value love more than Black girls what they need is truth and be straightforward. I am talking from experience, I was once dating a girl online who happened to be a family friend to my cousin in Minnesota USA. What separated us was that she called me and I didn’t know when I mistakenly said the name of my ex-girlfriend. She was badly hurt and that was how we ended.