The rate at which couples divorce in Nigeria is low compared to the western world.
According to Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the divorce statistics in Nigeria shows that 0.2% of men and 0.3% of women decide to end their marriages.
Marital breakdown is a canker-worm that destabilises the family and brings about untold hardship to the children from the marriage.
The cause of divorces in Nigeria can be uprooted only if people know them and take necessary precautions.
Marriage is not a bed of roses as seen in movies. It really takes time, patience and understanding from both parties to make it work.
Many factors have been identified as fueling division.
The Most Common Causes Of Divorce In Nigeria
1. Lack Of Preparation
Many young people today dabble into marriage without any adequate preparation. It is true that the age of 18 years for a girl and 21 years for a boy, they are all physically matured for marriage, but then physical maturity is not all that is required for marriage. There is need for two people that want to enter into marriage to be prepared for it.
This preparation can come in various forms. It can either be emotionally, psychologically or intellectually. They are supposed to know what marriage entails and what is expected of them in terms of the duties and obligations and importantly how to relate with each other as a married couple.
Research has made us understand that high rate of divorce among young men and women is due to lack of preparation to understand the intricacies of building a life with someone.
2. Lack Of Sexual Intimacy
It is no longer news that a large number of break-ups are sex related in Nigeria. Either directly or indirectly, No Sex or Poor Sex affects every aspect of love life.
No Sex or Poor Sex could lead to cheating, poor communication, infidelity, commitment, abuse, reduced affection, passion, intimacy, romance and so on.
Good sex may not fix a marriage on the brink of divorce, but it can definitely prevent it from getting to the breaking point. It is like a lubricants that makes smooth running of the relationship and makes it easy to manage challenges, overcome differences and solve problems.
3. Lack Of Communication
Lack of proper communication is one of the pivotal roles that lead to sudden divorce in marriage. When couples cannot express themselves to one another or find it pretty difficult to explicitly explain how they feel to their spouse, this will make them to drift apart in no time because where there is no communication a lot of things will be misunderstood and gradually lead to divorce.
This is another major cause of divorce in Nigeria. Abuse and domestic violence is at its peak in this present age and it is not limited to females alone. Husbands abuse their wives and also wives abuse their husband but in Nigeria domestic violence on the part of women is on a high side which is leading many marriages into divorce.
Selfishness, poor character, addictions, destructive habits and abuse sexually, physically, verbally and emotionally have been the order of the day among young couples.
5. Lack of intimacy
The intimacy shared in marriages is part of what keeps the spark alive in both parties. When a marriage lacks intimacy, the love in the union becomes watered down over time and without care, it leads to divorce.
If there is no intimacy and that connection between them is broken, everything falls apart and this goes far deeper than just sex. Lack of Intimacy is common among career women and long-distance marriages.
6. Unfaithfulness In Marriage
This is another top cause of divorce in Nigeria. The first characteristic of conjugal love is fidelity. Faithfulness is essential to a happy life in marriage. In marriage, the man and the wife are expected to be faithful to each other come what may. To have affairs with another person of the opposite sex means to piratically divide oneself which could eventually lead to the other partner withdrawing from a real love relationship.
7. High Expectation
Many couples go into marriage with high expectation that things will work out, most especially on the part of the women. Some of them feel marriage is a bed of roses forgetting that it takes a lot of patience, tolerance and understanding from both partners to make it work. There is a need for couples to plan and spend within their means. Sometimes, one partner might come up with a financial challenge that is beyond the couple.
This mostly happens among women who keep comparing their husbands with other men. This little issue, most times, leads to divorce.
8. Lack Of Trust
Trust in marriage has to do with trustworthiness, reliability and confidence vested in a partner by the other party. In every marriage, trust is expected to be the bedrock and foundation of every home but if it is lacking, it can lead to unexpected divorce.
9. Interference From Third Party
Marriage is a union of two people, but there are situations where third parties can be invited to settle issues that are beyond the couple. But it becomes dangerous for the couple if the third party makes the matter worse. This could lead to divorce.
10. Money Matters
This is not just about how much you both earn or spend. Having different outlook on money can cause major issues in a marriage. Some people may hide their earnings from their spouses, for instance, or they are terrible spenders who buy needless things. This can be very upsetting. Then, of course, a couple struggling financially is more likely to give up on the marriage due to sheer frustration.
However, some people have divorced due to non-disclosure of businesses and financial transactions. For example, some people get married with financial baggage such as debts, loans and so on that were not revealed to the partner before marriage.
11. Age Differences
Age differences is another major issue that causes divorce in marriage. In marriage, couples are supposed to be first friends. This, by implication, means that their ages at the time of marriage do play an important role n the success of the marriage.
Take for instance a man of 40 years of age marrying a woman of 20 years, or probably a woman of 40 years marrying a man of 30 probably due to some reasons best known to them. In the long run, the older people in the marriage tend to complain about respect.
It is advisable to marry someone of not more than five years in age difference. It is very important that the intending couples know each other’s date of birth, falsification of date of birth may bring about lack of trust and eventually bring a strain to the marriage.
12. Childlessness And Infertility
Given how Africans in general and Nigerians in particular value children. Any marriage without proof of a child or children after 2 years is usually in trouble. Even where the man claims he is not worried about it, the woman herself does not feel at ease. Most times, the family of the man usually blames the woman for it even when the man could be responsible for the problem.
The physical draw is often treated as love, and it’s one of the biggest mistakes young spouses tend to make. They discover that their natures, intellects, emotions, and habits are incompatible only when they are already married, the time of the first passion is over, and the reality dawns on them. Incompatibility is one of the reasons couples divorce after decades of marriage.
It is therefore very crucial that before two people give their final yes to each other in marriage, they do their utmost best to study each other’s likes and dislikes.
They should observe closely each other’s temperament, which is the combination of inborn traits that subconsciously affect human behaviour, as well as understudying each other’s character and personality to help foster understanding.
14. Lack Of Proper Courtship
Many people enter marriage without the basic knowledge of the other party. The courtship stage is meant to be the period of acquaintance and should be followed by a sufficient time of engagement. This period offers this young people the opportunity to see whether their first love is based on a solid foundation.
At this stage, they are expected to confront each other with conversations and gradually become acquainted with their mutual backgrounds and interest, their ideals and religious convictions.
Quite often, young people don’t give themselves enough time to get to know each other better before getting married. They simply meet, feel the attraction, and decide that they are in love. Without the period of dating and courting, they have no chance of getting to know the characters, habits, and life views of each other.
15. Lack Of Exposure And Intellectual Development
It is quite clear that understanding is one of the key factors for a strong and happy marriage. In this light, it is also clear that a crude dysfunction in the interests, intellectual development, and education have turned out to be most common causes of divorce in Nigeria.
It is not a fact that a university graduate will have an unhappy life with an illiterate. Still, it is always better when spouses are approximately on the same level of intellectual development.
Experience has shown that there is usually a serious tension arising from their difference in mentality, habits, tastes, discipline and intellect. This is a possible source of conflict in marriage, and this kind of conflict has led to breakdown of many marriages in Nigeria.
There are other causes of divorce in Nigeria and they all depend on individual experiences. But if you approach any divorcee in Nigeria, chances are he/she will state one of these reasons as what ended the marriage.
Divorce in Nigeria comes with some stigma attached. It is probably why women are usually the most affected by it.