BACK PAGE COLUMN
By Michael West
August 13, 2021
The institution of marriage was not intended to be burdensome, endured or challenging by God but our sinful nature, waywardness and intentional disconnect from the principles of holy matrimony have brought the unsavory experiences that characterise many unhappy homes today.
From the available data, shared experiences and regular encounters I have with married people, not a few will choose to quit their marriages and stay single than to continue in “slavery” or endure “torture” just to please the society or satisfy religious hypocrisy. Fundamentally, marriage is meant to be enjoyed as a blissful home for the couple and their children. Does that mean marriage is a bed of roses? Yes! That’s the original plan of God for creating the institution but the reality in our world has put a lie to the awesome divine plans for the institution.
Studies have shown that 14% of married couples are truly happy. It is usually higher than this for the first six months of marriage. 29% of divorced couples are truly happy until such times as they get married again. 44% of cohabiting couples are truly happy. 51% of those who are swingers are truly happy. 62% of rich guys who can afford mistresses are happy. 79% of cheating spouses are happy while they get away with it. 83% of men who have four or more wives are happy, but their wives are not. 95% of people who devote their life to the things they enjoy, and don’t get involved with people who are in any way a distraction, are happy.
According to Stan Hayward, a former Film/TV script writer who compiled the data, these figures are based on a global survey covering 4.9 billion people. He also quoted Mickey Rooney (who married eight times) as saying “If you are going to get married, do it in the morning, then if it doesn’t work out, you haven’t wasted the whole day.”
In view of this, it is misleading to assume that every “happy” and exquisitely adorned couple is an archetype of a peaceful and fulfilling marriage. Don’t believe everything you see on the surface; inner peace, love and understanding anchored on mutual trust, confidence and friendship remain the bedrock of a successful marriage.
In our clime, we are familiar with marriages among single parents and some of such relationships have been unpleasant and regrettable. Apart from common issues of attitudinal differences and clashes of interests, child rejection is a serious underlying issue that is turning potentially great unions into battlefields and centres of hostility.
It is a lot easier for women to accept their stepchildren, care and flow with them as men don’t really have problem with stepchildren as such but there are cases where some men have rejected their single mom wives from move in with their children. They often insist that the children should go to their fathers and live with them wherever they are. Situations where women maltreat their stepchildren are also common. These scenarios do sow the seed of discord and acrimony in the home which could eventually lead to separation.
Recently, a man who sought counselling on his decision to file for divorce lamented that his wife was making him regret having anything to do with a single mom.
“I married her out of pity. She appeared to have learned a lot in life. She had weathered the storms of life in diverse ways. I was of the opinion that she will be thankful to God for another opportunity to have a home after her initial nasty experience in her failed marriage. Left in the cold with two young children without sustainable means of living, I decided to take her in, catered for her and her children and I later married her because she behaved so well. Little did I know that she was pretending so she could become my wife before acting out her true character. She suddenly became hostile to my children, sent them on errands at the odds hours of the night, abused, insulted and punished them severely at the slightest provocation. The evil was going on unnoticed for months until the day I caught her in the act.
“She became jittery and wanted to trivialise her misdeed by trying to create a diversionary narrative but I insisted that she must admit her wrong deeds which she did. For how long has this been going on? She kept mum and I can’t say either because my children had been intimidated from disclosing anything she did to them. Therefore, it is risky to trust her with my children any further. Meanwhile, I loved and cared for her children like my own biological children. I don’t want to take chances again. Though she’s begging me but will she ever apologise or own up if she’s not caught? As we speak, sir, my children are still in fear to open up to me on how far the silent torture has been going on for fear of being reprimanded by her. It is that bad, sir,” he explained.
Conversely, a 52-year-old father of three is still unmarried after three marital experiments because he doesn’t tolerate children from another man under his roof. Apart from his first marriage which broke in the fourth year, two other women he married were single moms and they didn’t stay long before they quit. It was said that he disliked accepting or accommodating children from another wedlock into his home though he wanted to marry the mothers of the ‘rejected’ children.
His last wife who lamented her frustration before moving out of the marriage narrated how hostile her husband was to her children. “He made me regret marrying him knowing full well that I’m a single mother. The lesson I learned in the process is never to take anything for granted. If we had discussed and agreed on the issue of our children, I would have known his mind and probably I won’t be involved with him at all. He kept quiet until it was too late for me to quit before he said he didn’t want another man’s children under his roof,” she said.
The man in question, who initially declined to speak with me later retorted: “Is it a must that I must house another man’s children in my house? If the man is late I will understand but he’s alive; tell me why I should be responsible for another man’s children whose father is somewhere enjoying his life? I married the woman and not the children. Even widows sometimes allow their children stay with their in-laws when going into another marriage. I think it is our sentiment that is encouraging irresponsible men to keep breeding children they can’t cater for by deserting their wives at will leaving the burden of caring for the children to their women. Contrary to her accusation, I love children but I hate to take the burden of irresponsible men upon myself. That’s my stand. Thank you.”
Single parents are potential mates in marriage if rightly paired. As the shared experiences have shown, taking things for granted before going into marriage is not advisable. Every issue must be discussed and agreed upon before coming together in order to avoid embarrassing situation that some are facing today. While some may not share the opinion of the man who rejected love children from his wife, the fact remains that men should be responsible and accountable to their responsibilities. As fathers, it is a sin against God and against humanity to abandon their basic functions in their homes. The Word says those who fail to provide for their homes have denied the faith and they’re worse than unbelievers.
It is surprising that some fathers in marriage don’t care for the needs of their children. It is no longer a secret that women toil or labour more over their children which is why they reap and enjoy the benefits and blessings the more. I believe men should love and accept children of single women they want to marry. The logic is simple, children are the heritage of the Lord and He will bless you richly in return if you invest in nurturing and fathering children under your care regardless of who their biological fathers are. Extend same love you have for the woman to God’s heritage (children) she brings into the marriage, in doing so, you will be happy, blessed and fulfilled.
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