It is the dream of most kids to someday grow up, marry the love of their lives and live happily ever after. However, life is not as kind as the fairy tales that we paint for ourselves. In a world where a lot of people portray a picture perfect image of love and extravagant weddings on social networks, the rate of divorce keeps going high at an above average rate.
If love truly does concur all, then why is it so often that people who love each other are no longer
together? A simple Facebook question directed to me awakened my thirst to bridge the gap to the
knowledge that I have in regards to why most young marriages fail. While engaging with different
people and reading fancy articles by authors who conducted in-depth research painted a picture, i
thought beating them with familiarity of having experienced a failed marriage at 23 years of age,
and observing couples in general could give you a different view.
There is unquestionably no master nor a full proof guide as to this thing called love. I received a long list of behaviour related reasons as to causes of failed marriages – from infidelity to lack of financial security. While those reasons are true, allow me to say and add that emotionally “broken people” are the biggest cause for divorces in young marriages. Like any siblings born of the same womb engage in a quarrel, couples also occasionally partake in activities that hurt each other unintentionally.
Apologizing and forgiveness are required actions to maintaining peace in the house. May it be noted that forgiveness maintains peace, but it does not instantly heal the pain. Until the unintended action of hurt breaks and changes one of you, then a marriage will remain unshaken. Abuse causes physical and emotional pain, but until that pain breaks you down whereby you start to perceive yourself as a worthless person and either commit suicide or walk away, then abuse does not fail marriages.
Cheating on its own does no damage; but until the betrayed person’s perspective about love and life in general changes; until they can no longer accept broken promises; until going to bed alone at night and crying themselves to sleep tears them apart; cheating is harmless. Until the discomfort of financial strain has one on their knees and feeling as though cutting everyone out and only hustling for oneself will be the best option, then lack of financial security does no harm.
The in-laws may hate and treat your partner bad, but until the words spoken by the family and the
unkind deeds done to them change him/her actions, dim the light that used to shine on your love and wraps it in bitterness, then evil in-laws don’t intimidate any marriage. Bear with me for a moment: unfaithfulness, lack of financial security, lack of communication etc. are monsters because they damage people. That is why even when the cheating partner vows to stop cheating, the option to renew the marriage remains difficult, because trust has been broken. That is why even when the in-laws have apologized, one still handles with care.
People have unintentionally been broken by their marriages. If all of these were untrue, then why
do marriages still fail to work out when the problem factors have been removed? Then why do we put up walls and complicate the next relationships that we move onto? I’ll pack it right here for now.
Spirituality is all well, good and most importantly feeds the soul. However, over-Christianizing marriage can also kill it. Like every job that one gets hired to do, marriage also requires a lot of work and commitments which might sometimes come in a form of physical labour.
A wife cannot just pray for her husband’s needs of the flesh to get satisfied; she also needs to physically avail herself to work. Young couples don’t quite understand the complexity of living with the species of the opposite sex; we are yet to learn how to prioritise the needs of another person before our very own and respect their individuality within the marriage.
A man cannot just pray for his woman to change her bad preparation time habits; he simply needs to physically put in the extra hour in his schedule to accommodate his wife to get dressed before an event. I could further fault our parents who stayed in loveless marriages not knowing that what
we witnessed were lessons on how to tolerate another human being, and not the core root of love and mutual respect.
We then grow up to be confused and broken individuals who waste their young adult lives trying to move away from what our parents settle for, as the happily ever after shown in movies is most appealing. We are young adults looking for something we have never seen; we don’t even know how to love someone; but we believe that we are the right generation to find and enjoy its sweet honey. But that would be plain disrespectful. So I won’t go there. I will just head straight to my
Continue choosing to love your partner the best way you know how – even when the butterflies have stopped flying in your stomach. Continue to pray, prioritise and love your family. Do your best not to engage in activities that will damage your partner. But then again, don’t take advice from me. I suffered a failed marriage, but at least do think about it. I might just be onto something.
Vutomi Tshabalala is a 23-year-old divorcee, single mother and compliance officer. She writes
motivational articles in her personal capacity.