In recent times, the rate of divorce among couples in Nigeria has been on the increase. In this piece, DAVID ADUGE-ANI writes on the probable causes and implications of this phenomenon.
In all religions ,both Christian and Islamic emphasis is usually placed on the sanctity of marriage. Both religions also abhor and frown at divorce, except on in extreme situations. Even in the traditional societies, the institution of marriage is often celebrated, while divorce is discouraged.
However, a close look at the contemporary Nigerian society and even the entire world shows that cases of divorce are on the increase. The development is somewhat worrisome, raising concerns as to what must be responsible for this situation.
Many people, including religious leaders, legal practitioners and concerned citizens have bared their minds on this ugly situation.
Pastor Emmanuel Ugbore of the Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM) told LEADERSHIP Weekend that the situation could be due to lack of tolerance and impatience among couples. He noted that hundreds of marriages take place every week across the country, but added that most of these marriages do not last for months due to lack of tolerance, impatience, lack of love and care. He pointed out the problem is mostly common among the present crop of youths, whom he said, are in a hurry to go into marriage without having all it takes.
Ugborie also pointed out that the high rate of divorce is also responsible for the rising wave of single parentage in the society.
According to him, “There are a lot cases of single parenthood all over the place in the society. We all know that children from separated families usually find themselves in a difficult situation, as the education of such children is often affected while their proper upbringing may also be difficult.”
Ustaz Umar Abdullahi who lives in Abuja told our reporter that the major causes of frequent divorce cases in homes these days include infidelity and financial problems in the family. He explained that in Islamic tenet, divorce is allowed even though it is disliked.
“In Islam, if a couple realise that that they are no longer compatible, to the point that they are no more happy living together as husband and wife, the religion permits that they can be separated, instead of staying in perpetual bondage.’
Abdullahi however noted that divorce should be the last option, as there were other approaches to settling marital disputes.
An Abuja-based legal practitioner, Mike Amosu identified the causes of divorce to include wife battering and intolerance and infidelity amongst others.
Amosu advised that relevant agencies should embark on campaign against wife battering, infidelity and to sensitize couples on the need to be tolerant. “We should do more on the campaign against battering in the families, and advice married couples to learn how to be tolerant.”
He stresses concerns over the lack of mutual understanding among young couples, adding that the development has provoked an increase in divorce cases in the society, adding that mutual understanding among spouses is a basic ingredient for any successful marriage.
A parent who lives in Lugbe-Abuja, James Chukwu told LEADERSHIP Weekend that one of the causes of broken marriages is that some parents forcing their children into marriage and imposing spouses on them. “I have seen parents who force their children into marriages. I believe that such an attitude also contributes to frequent rising cases of broken homes these days. Parents need to know that they should leave their children to select whoever is his/her choice for marriage, instead of forcing them into it.”
For Malam Musa Jatau, who lives in Kado-Abuja, the major causes of broken homes also include inability of the woman to give birth to a child, immaturity, absence of love, selfishness and distance among other problems.
Jatau pointed out that some newly wedded couples who live apart tend to have problems with each other.
He however advised young couples to learn to live together to avoid the problem. “This issue has caused many couples to divorce. The couples affected are mostly the ones that work in different parts of the country, and hardly have time for each other.”
He continued: “Because of the pressure from society, family and friends the man is always forced to divorce his wife and marry another one so she would bear him children. Also due to pressure from their parents the woman would make sure she gets pregnant outside the home, just to resolve the issue.”
An Abuja-based psychologist, Mary Anyanwu told our reporter that children brought up under such family usually end up exhibiting some questionable personality traits or character flaws. “Let me inform you that the home is the first school of life the child is enrolled in and where that home fails to provide lessons that would mould and keep the child grounded, such individual ends up exhibiting some questionable personality traits or character flaws.”
Anyanwu noted that the role of both parents is very important in the upbringing of the child.
“The presence of the father as breadwinner, authority figure and role model should instil in the child the discipline and focus required to succeed in life. Consequently, the presence of the mother as care giver, support system (both morally and spiritually) and disciplinarian is needed to guide the child through the right paths in life.