+ Tips On How To Prevent Your Marriage From Crashing
Marriage is a vital institution in every society. It ushers in a new family setting which is considered as the smallest unit of society. Family is a natural and fundamental group unit of society. It is sacred and was ordained by God from the foundation of the world. Overages, strong families have served as the fundamental institution for transmitting to future generations the moral strengths, traditions, and values that sustain civilization.
Marriage is far more than a contract between individuals to ratify their affections and provide for mutual obligations. Governments of all types recognize marriage as essential in preserving social stability and perpetuating life. Regardless of whether marriages were performed as a religious rite or a civil ceremony, in almost every culture marriage has been protected and endorsed by governments primarily to preserve and foster the institution most central to rearing children and teaching them the moral values that reinforce civilization.
Marriage can be the sweetest experience in life if you got the right partner. On the other hand, it can also be the sourest of experience if you got the wrong partner on board. Couples who are unable to withstand the pressure of bonding may decide to go their separate ways. This unfortunate occurrence usually creates ripple effects in society at large.
Considering the huge amount of money spent on wedding ceremonies, the rate of divorce is becoming alarming and this calls for serious concern.
Citypeople’s Jamiu Abubakar had a chat with Mr. Sulaimon Ogunmuyiwa, a Marriage counselor of high repute to know why marriage crashes is becoming so rampant in society, and what needs to be done to salvage this unfortunate and horrible occurrence bedeviling today’s society amidst other marital-related concerns.
Mr. Sulaimon Ogunmuyiwa is the Lead Counsellor with M-Solutions Consulting International (MSCI), one of the leading marriage-consults in Nigeria concerned with saving marriages in Africa. He is an expert in match-making, pre-marriage counseling as wells as Parenting and Marital counseling.
A chat with Mr. Ogunmuyiwa was full of insights, so I urge you kindly sit-back to enjoy the resourceful excerpt from the chat.
Considering the importance of Marriage in our society, why have marriage crashes become so rampant today?
Marriage is a sacred institution almost in all religions of the world, particularly in the moral aspect; people still put a lot of credence on marriage as an institution. Unfortunate, it’s an institution that is most challenged now.
Most challenged in the sense that we don’t have support structures helping us to hold this institution together. The culture we have found ourselves as Africans and Nigerians also put a lot of price on marriage. When you want to do marriage people expect a lot of pleasantries, they want to make it big, and they want to make it a memorable day.
We spend a lot on weddings but we don’t plan how we are going to make the wedding successful. And the truth is said, the rate of divorce is on the increase now. We did a study two years ago and it’s very clear that the rate at which marriages are breaking now is on the high side. And your question is what are the things are responsible for this crash. So the first thing I find out is that a lot of youths rush into marriage.
They are not actually ready for marriage. But because our society now is plagued with a lot of immoralities, people have access to pornography on their phones, a lot of musicals now show nakedness, so the urge for the opposite sex is high.
Now, a lot of people engage in fornication. A few of them feel that no, I want to settle for marriage, they rush into it because of passion, because of the lust for one another.
Secondly is that they don’t actually know one another and this is what people refer to as self-knowledge. You don’t know yourself; you don’t know your partner. I did a course at The University of Toronto and they based everything about marriage on needs.
We all have needs. Everybody coming into marriage has a reason for coming into the marriage. We have needs we are bringing along. Some people are coming into marriage because they need affection.
They have lacked when they were growing up so they feel that if I get married, I must have somebody show a lot of affections towards me. If you look at the other person, maybe the person has been over-pampered and he doesn’t want to show any affection.
He wants to get on with life, he wants to make money. And by the time they get to marry you will find out that their needs are at variance. So it’s necessary to analyze the needs of the partners coming into the marriage.
Failure to do this is responsible majorly for the crash in several marriages. At the consult, we met a lady and a guy who were in a courtship relationship for about seven years. They got married and they didn’t last 3 months in their marriage before they crash.
And before then, they were all talking about lust, passion, sex. They were not talking about the real issue, about getting to understand each other. Now when you now talk about the needs and understanding each other, 3 things are involved.
The first one is the characteristics of the two people that are coming together. The second one is their circumstances. Under what circumstances did they grow up? What are their significant life experiences and the last one is their capacity, their capacity to adapt to certain situations.
If some people naturally have a very weak capacity to adapt to some environmental changes or emotional changes, they find it very difficult to cope with marriage. It’s when this is done that we can have safer marriages.
At what point does a marriage get sour?
At different times; some early, some midway, some towards the end a marriage can get sour anytime. And the basic reason for these people bottling up.
The opposite of that is an inability to bottle-up. I always say this, our parents, especially our mothers were able to bottle up a lot of things. They bottled up and our father became lords. So anybody growing up now also wants to be like his father.
I remember my dad would come back from work; we have to put water in the bath for him, treat him like a king, he sits down and tells you to go and bring the remote control, you go and put on the TV, you go and bring the newspaper. So he sends everybody around.
That’s the mentality of any youth growing up. I want to be like my father. Because our mothers could bottle-up, they could tolerate, they could tolerate because of their children. And that’s why a lot of children are successful today.
But right now, I’m blaming them. Young ladies are not ready to bottle-up. So you find those categories of people ending their marriage very early at the beginning. One, two, three years they are out of it.
They just tell you I can allow a man to enslave me and they start living as single mothers. And we have a lot of people like this and what they share on Facebook, what they share on all social media handles is to discourage people from going into marriage, that you have to gain your freedom, you would be better off without going into marriage.
And so they want to have children out of wedlock. This is not going to be good for any society. Socially and morally the future is going to be much more terrible.
For those who are midway, they have been bottling-up, they get to a stage, where they engage in certain discussions. They start seeing some of their friends who are out of a marriage and they are fine. So they started asking the question, so what am I still doing there?
I’m only waiting for my kids to get to secondary school; I’m waiting for my kids to get to the university; I’m waiting for my kids to start to get married and after that, they throw in the towel. So it’s a decision they‘ve made long before they crash of the marriage. They were only waiting and counting time before they leave the marriage.
The last category which is usually rare is those who have stayed very long in marriage and have gotten to a stage that they feel I can’t continue to take this shit. So a lot of women, the moment they have successful sons, successful daughters, will want to back out of marriage. Now I know I can go to my daughter in the US, I can go to my daughter in the UK, I can go to my son in Abuja or Abu Dhabi, so what am I staying in the marriage for?
And that is usually very devastating for men. Men who started their lives living as kings, now all the children are out of the house, your only wife is also out of the house. So how do you survive? So those are the three periods a marriage can crash.
How do we get to know if a marriage is healthy or not?
Usually, we don’t recognize an unhealthy marriage from a distance because people relate differently outside and when they get home they also deal with themselves differently. So we really cannot judge a marriage from afar and whether this marriage is happy or healthy but the couples themselves would know.
I always give this quick example; there was a couples’ event that several couples attended. So a couple got to the venue, they were having issues, they were talking to themselves in the car, they were abusing each other, then another couple drove into the car park. So the new couple that came, the husband came out of the car to open the door for his wife to get down. The couples were having issues; the wife was now telling her husband that did you see that man, that’s a responsible man.
That’s a good man who could go out and help his wife to open the door. The guy was a bit worried, so after the event, he met the guy that went to open the door for his wife and he said, what happened, are you still so much in love or what? And he said no!
That stupid woman then started raising causes on the woman. He said that the door of her side of the car is not working. There’s no way she can go out so I have to go out, he came grudgingly unhappy to open the door so somebody looking from afar is now saying look at these happy couples. Now one thing that is very synonymous with marriage is a quarrel.
We will always have one quarrel or the other and the reason for this is that we grew up in different circumstances, we have different characters, so developed different habits at different times. I got married at 28. So at 28, my way of life is already made. The way I speak, the way I walk, the way I talk, the way I sleep, the way I do everything. So, if somebody else is also coming to live with me, she also has her ways made.
So when we now come together, there would be little quarrels. Don’t put the glass cut there! No, that is where we use to put it in our house when I was growing up. Ok, so I don’t want it there. If you are not careful, that leads to a quarrel. So everything and anything can cause a quarrel in marriage.
The main factor that tells you whether this marriage is happy or unhappy is when couples cannot manage their quarrels. Your ability to manage your quarrels gives you that opportunity to improve on your marriage because you will always have quarrels, you will always have issues, but you look at issues you move on! You look at issues you move on!! You look at issues you move on!!! But when these issues can’t be resolved, and you sweep them under the carpet, it will affect the emotion of the other person.
And that’s why you will see so many women and even some men going into depression out of the marriage because they are going through a healthy situation and they don’t want to speak out. That’s what is majorly responsible for this.
Who should we blame between the couples when a marriage crashes?
My personal belief that I always tell people is that it is the man that is responsible. And the reason for this is the man is the head of the family. For example, you have a company, there is a CEO in charge and things are not working well in the company. Who do you blame? It’s the CEO.
The CEO takes responsibility. So the husband is the CEO of the house and he has to take absolute responsibilities for whatever happens. Part of the responsibility is managing the people under him. You must learn skills like how do I manage my wife, how I manage my children, how do I manage my in-laws, how do I manage my wife’s friends, how I manage my friends as far as my relationship is concerned.
So when a man fails to manage his home front, he starts having problems. And I will always blame a man, though we know that women have a lot of issues. You know they are not like men. Most men are usually organized while most women are not usually organized. So we can have some scanty members of the different groups taking the traits of the other. But men are usually reserved, they don’t talk so much, women are the chatty type. So while being chatty, while being unorganized, there would be so many flaws that you will find and which the woman is responsible for.
How does the man handle the woman is the issue. Let me give this example if it is possible that a woman will marry me and divorce me, and the same woman will marry you and you will live together forever. So is it the woman that is bad? No, it’s not the woman that is bad. It is my inability to manage her. So this is also part of the issues of needs. If my needs are at variance with her need, then there would be issues. So we need to always look at this area so that we prepare our minds ahead. Even if our needs are not corroborating and I still accept to go ahead. So I know and I feel that I can still take care of the situation. So the man is responsible for the crash most of the time.
At what stage can family members intervene in a crashing marriage affair?
The moment they are able to speak out. But what a lot of people is that they shelve their families out of their crisis. Families in our clime come in at the tail end when things are almost falling apart. But normally, the families should be involved as early as we can.
This is also dependent on the type of family that you have. Now, for example, the man can decide to talk to his father-in-law that I observed somethings, you know man to man rather than man to woman. There are some women that you can talk to too; there are some other in-laws you can talk to. There are some fathers-in-law may not be able to talk to. But I always advise that the family should not be the first point of call because they have the tendency of being biased. You should try and get an independent third party before the family. But the family should not come last.
At what point in time can a marriage counselor’s service be consulted?
One basic thing that we are trying to correct in the world today is seeing a marriage counselor is not something you do when you have a problem. It’s like a medical doctor, like a hospital. At times you are fine; you walk on the road you are okay. But you just decide to go for a medical checkup. So marriages, families, husband and wife, and the children should have a regular visit to a marriage counselor. This is us, there are tests that we can give to them to know how healthy, the extent of satisfaction they are all getting from the marriage. This gives you the opportunity of seeing the dangers that are ahead of you and you can take care of it. But most people would come when they already had issues. Going to a marriage counselor is something that you should do regularly. when you are not having any issue in your home, go to a marriage counselor once a year, twice a year to review. They can also help you plan some activities that would make your relationship to be better, spice it up for you.
Then when you now have issues, please don’t hesitate, the earlier, the better. When the issues are really really becoming emotional, and leading to some mental health issues, it becomes difficult for a marriage counselor. Then you have to start seeing a psychologist. And that time, they are not working on your marriage; they are working on the mental state of the couples involved in the marriage. So we shouldn’t allow things to get to this point. You should seek professional help as early as you can.
What is the challenges marriage counselors face when resolving serious marital disputes?
A lot of challenges, when couples don’t take sessions seriously, people seek help when the issue is really burning them, but when the issue is dying down they don’t seek help again. So when the issue comes up again, they seek help.
This attitude does not help us to be able to help them to resolve their issues as quickly as we can, so Inconsistency in attending sessions. Also is not saying everything. When you come before a counselor and couples decide to hoard a part of their issues and say okay, don’t talk about this.
If you go to a hospital and the doctor is trying to clerk you, he’s trying to know what the problems are and you tell the doctor everything, he will definitely prescribe something for you that is not going to really cure your sicknesses. So when people don’t really open up, you realize that. Then, when couples try to read meanings to the comments or actions of the marriage counselor.
There is a kind of what we call alliance. When I have couples, I want to align with the two of them. I want the two of them to have that feeling that I am here for you. But the moment the man starts thinking that the man he is talking to my wife, it’s as if this marriage counselor has some other motives or the wife thinking that because he is a man, why won’t he support the other man?
When they input motives into the session, it gives us a lot of problems. When we now agree to things, because a counselor is not the one that will tell you, go and do this, go and do these. It’s something we gently agree to. So we will now agree that this is the next line of action, you will realize that couples would go. They won’t follow those steps and when issues get out of hand again, they will come back.
Then you ask them why they didn’t do what we agreed on. And they won’t come back on time. These are some of the challenges we have and people come a lot and I don’t really mean they waste our time, but they really waste our time. Somebody would come and speak with me for about two hours. They will go away and never return. And that’s just the end of it. I understand as a counselor that some people just want a listening hear. They just want somebody to listen to them.
How can a marriage heading for a crash be revived?
The first thing they have to do is to improve their communication. Lack of communication is the major impetus that aids the crash of marriages when they stop talking to each other. Also when they don’t talk appropriately to each other; it’s one thing that they are not talking about, each person is just grumbling ahead; good morning, good morning. That’s what they do. Another one is when they started engaging each other, they use inappropriate words. They abuse each other; they say things that should not be altered. So that’s very fundamental.
Secondly is a lack of negotiation skills. When people don’t know how to negotiate, they know how to compromise, they don’t know how to throw in the towel, they don’t know what time this crisis can I also drop my ego. So that’s also a factor that is responsible.
And I think finally is when they lose respect for each other absolutely. You know when you still respect somebody, there are somethings that you will not want to do. But when respect is out of it, then everything comes to crash.
The last one is mercy towards one another. When we cannot have mercy for one another again, it has gotten to a level that you now harm each other. At this point, even as a marriage counselor, I will tell you to go and sue for divorce because life is important. Marriage is not all about life, you can still have a life after divorce. You can still re-marry; you can still live a good life. But don’t allow marriage to end your life. So when there are no more merciful feelings between the two of them and their actions are becoming hurtful to each other, at this point, there is no reason why they should be together.
What are the tips that could be followed to make a marriage work?
For young couples, the love between them is still burning. So they have to engage in activities that will keep making their love bond. Part of the things that they can do is to always ensure that they share their feelings. It means that you are taking your partner as your friend, that you can say anything you want to say.
Sharing your feelings means that your communication is good, it’s improved. You should also find the time or share quality time together. Regardless of the work schedule or things like that, always send time together. You can stay out of the house, go to a particular place, hang out there, talk about life, bond, eat and these bring you very close to each other. Then another thing they have to do is they have to choose some time in a year maybe twice to review their marriage. Evaluation is always the end of any planning circle.
Though we started planning that we are going to marry, we go do this, we are going to do that, but often time we forget about evaluation. So when you do a regular evaluation, you will see when things are changing in your marriage and that will give you the opportunity to make amend and make things continue to work. Part of the things you can do to make your marriage work is to change roles.
Let the guy also spend some time in the kitchen, spend some time with the kids, so that you can know what your wife is going through in the kitchen and what your wife is going through with the kids. So why the man also decides to stay at home let the woman also go out and see, you know you buy this, you buy that, you do this.
Then you also are the person to climb the table to change the bulb, clean the fan just for you to also understand what your man is going through. Role switching helps couples to have a better understanding of each other. Finally, they should always express love to each other.
A man should not stop appreciating his wife; Oh! You are looking beautiful this morning. The wife too should always tell the husband; you are great, you are splendid. Send messages to your spouse that I am missing you while you are at the office. When your wife reads that message, she will just say that Woah, interesting! And you should also try to take care of her needs.
Tell us more about M-Solution consulting
M-Solution consulting has a group of people who share the same aspiration and it’s all about saving marriages in Africa. That’s the goal. It all started in Lagos. We have people from different states trying to key into the issues of marriage counseling. In one year, we have trained over 100 counselors across Nigeria. We are planning now to extend the training to some countries in West African.
The new normal which brought about virtual sessions has created opportunities to extend to the whole of Africa which is our goal. There are counselors here. I am the lead counselor based on my back and experience. M-Solution consults one of the leading marriage counseling consults in Nigeria and we are moving to ensure that we are in Africa.