The state of marriage today is for all intents and purposes, a global concern. Available statistics can be alarming. The United States has the highest degree of divorce state in the world. South Korea takes the second place in this league of infamous. In Western Europe, it was gathered that 40% of marriages end in divorce within the first three to four years. The number of one parent family is steadily on the increase; the inexorable demands of homosexual and lesbian couples for more rights of bisexual families send a shudder on those whose view of family life is still traditional.
In the face of all these and more problems, we in Africa, and Nigeria in particular, can have the tendency to view our family situation from the prism of what is prevalent elsewhere. More often than not, we hear of Marriage crisis in Church pulpits, in the text of our dailies and in public discussions. The fact however is that we are not yet there if what we mean by Marriage crisis is what is prevalent in more economically advanced countries.
Nevertheless, we cannot offer a clean bill of health to African society as regards the crises of marriage. This is predicated on the fact that African characters are not immune from certain existing marital problems that could bring marriage to its knees. Such problems include; impotence, childlessness, lack of male issue, unfulfilled sexual life, frigidity, infidelity, lack of prayer life etc. There are also other vices that could introduce crises into marriage, such as hatred, faithfulness, impatience, wickedness, jealousy and envy, boastfulness, rudeness, selfishness, suspicion, despair etc.
Indications therefore emerge that Marriage in Africa is bedevilled with so many problems that have not only continued to threaten it as an institution but also, led to her breaking down irretrievably or strained and headed for the rocks. More often than not, parents have refused or rather don’t seem to understand that having married, their children cease to be under their control and somewhat overbearing influence. As a result, they still want to dictate and line the life of their married children for them, like telling them how they have lived with their own Mother or Father and expecting them to emulate them. This often lead to either the man or woman saying ‘’ In my house or place, we don’t do like that’’, hence the beginning of Crises.
At the moment of crises, some couples make the mistake of inviting and submitting to the third party, who is even unaware of the problem compared with those involved. The resultant effect would be to aggravate the problem than solving it. The problem can actually be settled if the parties look inwards and tolerate each other. Some other marital crises emerge due to unguided utterances whereby the couple carry their family pride to their marriages to the detriment of the union. Worse still, unnecessary comparison especially among women that Mr A or B are living in high brow areas and so on should not be a ground to breath down the neck of your hubby. Women should learn to take life in strides. It is bizzare to mention that the agitation for gender equality is dangerously rearing its ugly head into the mentality of some Africans. Besides, God never created male and female as equals. One is meant to love and lord over the other, while the other is to obey, as far as it is not sinful. Unfortunately, it is not so anymore. Different opinion group, advocacy or agitation group all play a role in the make or mar of marriages. Couples should therefore be careful of indoctrination and be able to draw the necessary line needed to make their marriage work.
In conclusion, it is worthy to mention that the Gospel upholds marriage as the unity of two minds, two hearts, two bodies into one (Mtt 19:5-6). This unity was ordained by God who by divine choice created human beings as individuals. God fashioned marriage and allow human beings the option of choice so that marriage will not be a mindless and involuntary lumping together of opposites and opposing genders. He rather left it open-ended so that various levels of consideration such as deciding for or against it, consideration with regard to selecting a particular spouse or rejecting him or her, the consideration with regard to time when to marry and when to settle down and many other considerations. Since these levels of freedom make marriage a human enterprise that gives room for intense moments of planning and executing, may the same freedom create an enabling environment for the management of any crises that comes after marriage and never to resort to divorce.