April 20, 2024

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Opinion: Societal pressure contributes to High Divorce rates in Nigeria

By Oluwatomisin Dabiri-Adejobi, Mary Adindu and Victoria Lawal

Source: The GuardianNigeria

Every Thursday, there is an influx of couples waiting to wed at the Ikoyi Registry. While at the same time, the amount of divorce cases waiting to be heard at the magistrate court is unending.

Recently, Jasmine, daughter of veteran actor Mr Ibu, announced the crash of her marriage of 9 months. This is one of the many cases of divorce in Nigeria.

According to a 2018 report, Nigeria recorded a 14 percent increase in separation rates. The present statistics mirror a rather negative trend. In a report published in 2018, a total of 3,000 divorce cases were recorded in Badagry, Lagos.

Divorce, the formal legal separation of a marriage, is relatively common yet leaves a tremendous impact on families. Historically, divorces often had to have a specific set of requirements. The two most accepted reasons were infidelity and the inability to produce offspring. Today, however, finance, unhappiness, domestic violence, lack of emotional support and, for some, simply being tired of the union are valid reasons for divorce.

Due to the patriarchal system of our culture, girls are taught how to be good wives from the early stage of their lives while their male counterparts are occupied learning a trade or two. Statements like “Is this how you will behave when you move into your husband’s house “aren’t uncommon to girls from the age of 8. This disparity in education causes the females to be more prepared for marriage, and the males, unprepared.

The pressure doesn’t stop there. For many people, a 28-year-old unmarried woman is considered unsuccessful even though she has a thriving business raking in millions every week. For society, having a husband and children is the ultimate success marker for women. 

Women who aren’t interested in marriage are often looked at with disdain and unfit to be role models for young girls. We believe that this pressure and discrimination causes a lot of women to accept marriage offers from men who they ordinarily wouldn’t have chosen in their prime. This sort of marriage is a recipe for disaster as it is the most popular template for divorce or even worse, domestic violence.

One would think that in a patriarchal society, men should always win. However, as we gathered, this isn’t the case. Because all men have been trained to do is provide, a lot of married men find themselves incapable of being anything but a financial provider in their homes. This makes them end up being very frustrated, unfulfilled and fed up with the marriage. With the world evolving, women are demanding more from their partners, as they are also financial providers.

To ensure more solid and long lasting marriages in our society, our position is that we need to firstly reduce the pressure to marry on our young ones. More attention should be placed on self development and financial independence. By doing this, we are investing good values in their future, and ultimately, the ability to spot and choose a befitting spouse at their own time.

We also propose the need to close the gender disparity gap in our society as both males and females ought to learn basic survival skills at an early age. It should go without saying that before anyone considers marriage, they must be physically, emotionally and mentally ready to go on that journey. A young, naive couple should have nobusiness getting married, as marriage done under pressure is a ticking time bomb. 

Obviously, all of these solutions will be redundant if we as a society don’t change our mindset towards marriage and what its true purpose is. Marriage is not an adulthood rite of passage, marriage is the bedrock of our society, and if we don’t get it right, we are doomed as a society.

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