When It’s Time To Step Away From The “For Better or Worse” Commitment

Recently, a wedding photo of a beautiful couple on Facebook caught my eyes. I read the caption, and it was something like this. Fine-guy met fine-girl at work, fine-guy liked fine-girl, their families thought they were charming, and so fine-guy married fine-girl. Only problem was fine-guy was a low key wéré under disguise.

Fine-girl was too embarrassed to start complaining about her marriage when they were still supposed to be in their honeymoon lovey-dovey phase. So she endured her crazy husband’s abuse and would even make up stories to cover for him. It got so bad, she lost her job in the process. Long story short, by the time fine-girl’s parents discovered what was going on, they found their daughter unconscious in an unstable condition. Crazy guy had beaten the life out of her and tried to strangle her to death! Her parents rushed her to the hospital right away, and thank God she survived.

Mom and I were having a conversation the other day about her dear friend who has 9 beautiful girls. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, NINE children, not by choice, but because her husband was waiting for a boy; the one that would actually count as a child. So back-to-back, this woman was pregnant, for a solid 14 years of her life. The olorire of a husband ended up marrying a second wife who bore him a son right away. Karma eventually caught up with the man, but that’s not the point of the story here.

Mom said the story with pity in her eyes. But I on the other hand, was furious! Just imagine how this woman felt time after time that she carried another female child her husband didn’t care for. So to mom, I responded, “Fun kini?! It’s not by force to stay married oh.” Mom later called me aside to advise me not to say the phrase, “it’s not by force to stay married”. She feared that having that mindset may affect my attitude in my marriage. 

I don’t think so though. Of course I want to remain happily married to oko mi forever, and I will make reasonable sacrifices to make my marriage work, should things get shaky. I also really want other women to enjoy a happy married life forever. What I don’t want though, is for us to remain married at the expense of our mental health, and even worse, our lives. 

So I’ll tell you exactly why I say the phrase, “it’s not by force to stay married”.

1. Because of the women whose husbands are not content, and constantly have affairs with the next “prettier” woman without remorse. Instead, they blame their wives for being “too fat”, or “too boring”, or “too nagging”…excuses iranu to justify their infidelity. Marriage should be one man, one woman. No excuse is permissible.

2. Because of the women who suffer emotional trauma in the hands of their husbands, and have sunk into extreme depression, all in the name of marriage. They hear harsh derogating and controlling words from their husbands in private everyday, yet the men act like some omo oba charming in public. So unfair! Verbal abuse can be traumatic, and it’s only a matter of time before it becomes physical. Marriage should be loving, and love is caring, not abusive.

3. Because of women who have died in the wicked hands of their husbands, and the women who live in constant fear, as they are married to monsters whose reactions are unpredictable. “Will he punch me because I made a stop by the store on my way home?” or “Will he kill me today because the banga soup is a tidbit too salty?” Uncle, calm yourself down. Marriage should be loving, and love does no harm to others.

To the women I describe above…

I’m sorry. You are my sisters, and I want you to know that you deserve better. So seek counselling, pray, get help, join support groups, forgive for the sake of your healing and because Christ forgave us, and find ways to be financially stable while you fight for your marriage… but please also know that leaving is a valid option if the situation doesn’t improve. 

Your emotional and physical health matters. We the society of “other” women [and men], promise not to judge you, or look down on you, or blame you, because we love you, and you deserve to be alive and happy.

To women who are just not happy in their marriage for other reasons…

Here’s what I’ll say to you. Marriage is sacred. Leaving shouldn’t be the default action, plus it comes with it’s own baggage. Every marriage is unique, but consider asking these questions before taking any action. 

  1. Is my life in danger?
  2. Do I have personal flaws that if I worked on could improve my marriage?
  3. Can this issue be resolved over time with proper counselling? 
  4. Am I elevating the flaws in my partner’s character over their positive attributes?
  5. Can I work with my partner through wisdom to manage/improve their flaws?
  6. Am I putting in my absolute best into my marriage?

To the society of “other” women [and men]…

Let’s do our part to make the narrative a bit better for our children’s generation by being consistent in how we raise both our boys and girls. If we don’t want to passively groom a bunch of insensitive monsters, we must be intentional to raise boys who will:

  1. join us in the kitchen and learn to cook and clean for themselves,
  2. learn that they are not superior to their sisters just because of their gender,
  3. respect women, and understand that their duty is to love and protect them, and
  4. be simply kind as humans

______________

I wrote the original draft some months ago from a place of hurt and anger because of friends that were affected by abuse and chronic cheating. I have my sister, Kemi, and my husband, Seyi to thank for helping to bring sanity to this post.

I’d like to know your thoughts. The topic of separation or divorce is complicated, and each scenario is unique. However, is there a reasonable point, especially as Christians, where the “for better for worse, till death do us part” commitment becomes “I love you, but it’s time to leave”?

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7 thoughts on “When It’s Time To Step Away From The “For Better or Worse” Commitment

  1. That was such an amazing read and so well thought out.

    Unfortunately so many people stay in useless marriages for the sake of what? The children. I grew up in an abusive home, thankfully mama hightailed it before papa could kill her. She waited as long as she could cuz of us, but frankly it’d have been better for her to leave sooner. Better to have a mama alive somewhere than to have one not alive at all.

    What irritates me even more is when I see ppl ignore red flags pre marriage. Like aunty being single will not kill you, being miserable can!

    On to your question, I’m a bit on the extreme end but the point when it’s time to leave for me is when the oga is no longer putting effort. Omo no be by force. Instant reason is any sign of abuse (physical, verbal, emotional, financial…all the als). Cheating, I’ll do my due diligence and go to counseling but the trust is broken so not really sure saving it is worth it. I want my kids to have a model of a good marriage, not a stale/miserable one.

    • I am so sorry to hear about your experience growing up, and I can understand your being extreme. You are right – 10,000 times better to catch these red flags before marriage! I’m a bit more lenient, and will do my absolute best to keep my marriage before giving up, unless of course my life is in danger.

  2. This is so on point, thanks for this, there should be more awareness like this that there’s actually a time to step away from this for better or worse thingy, haven been there myself, I could picture every category of woman you described as me, I never thought that life was so precious, 5 years of hell, all categories of abuse +miscarriages and you just name it, all for the sake of people will judge me, but when the time was right, my prayer point was God please forgive my ignorance and disconnect me to reconnect, miraculously it happened in a way I can’t explain, I got judged though but all that only last for a year, people get tired of judging which is kinda funny you know, reading posts like this one kind of make me feel I made the right decision to step away and to also share a bit of my experience, today I am so happy and content and I am so thankful to God for a second chance.

    • Nice read, while I agree with majority of your opinions I ‘feel’ that this was written with a biased mindset. Intimate partner violence (yes, that’s what it’s called) is a 2-way street and we need to change the current narrative. Yes, females are predominantly affected, could this as a result of societal norms (which are evolving btw) and underreported cases where males are the victim? When is it ok for a man to step away from the ‘non-binding’ commitment (as you make it sound)?

      I enjoyed reading this but more balance with a wholistic perspective is needed.

      • You make a good point. Perhaps I could have been clearer in the title. Men are also affected by domestic violence, though I think we’d all agree that it is majority women. You’d have to understand, I wrote this post from a place of hurt for things that happened to my (female) friends.

        I’m a part of a women-only Facebook group with millions of followers, and reading these stories of abuse is heartbreaking. Some women are really suffering, and majority of them, like those shared on the group, also go unreported. This is what I’m exposed to and have to write about. It will be good to see an article on domestic violence as it relates to men… would make for a good enlightening post.

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