I have seen marriages which made me wonder what each partner was still doing it? They have just stopped serving their purpose, and all that’s left is pain and then you see often times, women, clinging, clenching their fists into the fabric of the marriage, not wanting to let go for anything. Not even when their lives are on the line. It is quite painful.
That was Sherifat’s story for a long time. Sherifat is a mother of three teenage boys, whose family forcefully packed her things out of her husband’s house, when her children were 9, 7 and 5 years old respectively. By then, she had been married for almost ten years and those years were filled with pain and suffering, both physically and emotionally. She had become a shadow of herself, living only for her children’s sake, and wishing she could commit suicide and end it all. It was that bad.
Her ex wasn’t like that when they were courting. He would come to her house often, bring gifts, take her out and treat her nicely but all that changed when they got married. Another spirit just seemed to have come upon him. He snapped at her, had little patience for what she had to say. He didn’t even want to hear she had something to say.
He was fine, as long as she made his food, serviced him in the “other room” and didn’t say or do any other thing. Result of the other room soon showed about nine months later. Sherifat had her first son, and two years later, she had another child but during the last pregnancy, things changed. Her husband became more aggressive. His business wasn’t going well. Sherifat’s offer to look for a job was thrown back in her face and she was told, in no uncertain terms, to stay on her lane.
One day, he travelled home to see his aged father and as he came back, he brought along his 9-year old brother, without having discussed this with her before. Sherifat was not happy with the current situation. They were struggling as it were, and it wasn’t time to bring another mouth to feed, clothe and send to school into the house. And more so, without telling her before.
When she said as much, the response she got was a resounding slap on her five-month pregnant face. She slumped and fainted. It was some minutes later, that she came to, all by herself. She picked herself up and moved to her bed in a flood of her own tears.
That was the start of her physical abuse; he used every and any opportunity to beat her. It was sometimes every day, sometimes every week, but no month went by without her getting beaten.
She tried to hide it, but soon everyone knew. There was only so much cover up she could do with the scars and fresh wounds on her face, neck, back and arms. Only so much.
One day, her mother, who had been encouraging her to stay and bring the best out of him decided she would rather have a divorced daughter, no matter the shame, than a dead one. And that was how Sherifat moved to her mother’s house.
The worst? Her husband never bothered to check on them or ask after them. He was said to often say, when the children grow older, they would locate their father.
Now that she’s got her life together once more, Sherifat knows she had wasted so much time in a bad marriage and here are some nuggets from her experience. Here are five times being divorced is better than her bad marriage.
- Being a single parent is better than being an example of a bad marriage
According to Sherifat, if you’re a parent with young children, getting a divorce is better than staying in a bad marriage, because these are their formative years. They will likely seek out and emulate the types of relationships they see. And guess which they see first and longest? Yours. When marriages are happy, healthy and mutually respectful, it gives children hope and doesn’t allow them to settle for less.
- Your focus turns to you for once
For a long time, Sherifat didn’t even know herself, she existed merely for the next breath, her children, another beating, covering up her bruises, so one asked unwanted questions. But after she got separated, she found herself again. It was no longer about people or even her children, it was just about her now.
Whatever she did, parenting, getting a job, etc., was done with so much genuine peace and happiness and an appreciation for life that was sucked out of her during her terrible marriage.
- A happier parent is a better parent
Learning to let go and step into the unknown may be the single most important thing you can do for your own sanity, and the sanity of those around you. It was for Sherifat. She didn’t think the day would ever come but it did, and it just proves that getting a divorce means that you have the courage to live a life of happiness. And if you’re happier, you’ll be a far more effective parent.
- Other important areas of your life get attention
A bad marriage sucks life out a person and it can make you lose sight of the other important aspects of your life. Like your personal growth, but once you let go, you will have the time and energy to focus on the other aspects of your life which bring you joy.
- You may have lost a spouse but you gain joy
There is nothing else to say to this, except divorce brought joy into Sherifat’s life. And according to her, “Life is far too short to spend it immersed in an unhealthy relationship.”
Meanwhile, divorce is not for everyone, but if either partner’s life is threatened in a marriage, it is often better to leave than be sorry.
Stay in love!
Kristine is a member of The Lovelint team. She is a down to earth person, who says it as it is. Having given relationship advice for years in a national daily, she has found out that fear is one of the main reasons holding people back from enjoying a healthy, happy relationship. She is married with kids and is willing to listen to you and help as much as you let her to.