I had a fight with my wife a few weeks ago and it was so bad that I contemplated quitting our marriage. We’ve had spats since we married about six months ago (like all couples), but this one was the worst. I slapped her arm, she gripped my shirt and we spent some time yelling at each other. At that point I thought we’d reached the end of the road because this had never happened between us. Perhaps by now I’d be typing a blog about how I’m leaving my wife of six months. But that’s not what this blog is about.
This blog is about why I’m now more considerate about people whose marriage/relationship didn’t work. We hear about celebrities and regular people who split up barely after they get hooked, and we judge them without realizing what it’s like. We even mock them about how their failed marriage reflects their intelligence or character, and I admit I used to do this too. But after that fight with my wife put my own marriage on the brink, it dawned on me first-hand what it’s like for people who quit their marriage.
First up, getting married and staying married isn’t a measure of a person’s wisdom or character. There are many people who have good character and above-average wisdom. They’re not promiscuous, ill-mannered or whatever, but perhaps they just haven’t had much luck in the relationship department. At the same time there are many assholes who are married or in a stable relationship, not because they’ve got a great attitude or are particularly smart (they’re assholes), but because somehow things have worked out nicely for them.
If your own marriage or relationship is moving well, it doesn’t give you the right to lecture others who are divorced or who are struggling with relationship. Some people aren’t even interested in this marriage thing and just want to get on with their life. The other day a Nigerian TV star Funmi Iyanda tweeted that marriage isn’t for her (she’s a single mom), and some folks descended on her with insults. I mean, what the hell is wrong with being divorced or not being married?
Success in marriage or relationship is mostly a function of luck. You can practice all those things you hear in church or read in your favorite motivational books and still not get it right. That doesn’t mean people who have marriage/relationship problems have no faults of their own. Sometimes things haven’t worked for them because they’ve made really terrible decisions or have been terrible partners.
My point is people should do their part to get their relationship/marriage right, but it’s wrong to think anyone who doesn’t fit our description of happily married or in a stable relationship is some kind of moral or intellectual failure. Mandela had two failed marriages and today he’s one of the greatest people who ever lived.
Today I’m sitting at the coffee table in my bedroom and my wife’s on the bed checking her social media. We’re good right now, but that temporary crisis has changed the way I think about marriage, divorce and relationship.