Former Miss Beatrice Damilola Fawi now Mrs. Bamitale Damilola Adeniyi, worked in a ministry at Akure, Ondo State and has also workedÂ Â for Mrs. Simbiat Abiola as secretary. She is the CEO ofÂ Damfad Enterprise, a fashion designing, catering and rental services outfit with branches in Nigeria andÂ Dubai. She has been married for over 28 years.
What do you think is the cause of the frequent marriage failures in our society today?
The marriage institution in Nigeria has become a big challenge; a situation where the economy is not stable there is bound to be problems in our home. In our society, women are the ones responsible for 80 percent provision in the home and when the stress becomes too much, the woman could be luredÂ into extra-marital affair and you know the damage that could do to a marriage. When a woman begins to fend for herself, to say the truth, the man has lost his role as the husband. There are husbands who restrict their wives from socialising. Such a man should, at least, be able to provide the needs of such a woman or else the woman will be fed up with the marriage and this could end in a divorce. It is a different ball game if the man once had a good job and provided for his family and he later, probably, had a problem with his job. His wife should be able to understand the reason he can no longer provide for the family. Let the woman remember the good old days when the man used to provide for the family and bear with him. The woman should encourage such a man, letting him know that things will, again, change for the better. But there are some women who cannot bear such temporary setbacks, who donâ€™t want to endureÂ at all. They will tell you that they are not born to suffer.
Many factors contribute to failure of marriages but the economicÂ situation in Nigeria today has become the major culprit. In my time, I’m talking of about 20 years to 30 years ago, husbands saw it as their duty to provide for their families but now, the economic situation has altered everything.Â Husbands now find it difficult to pay house rents, they find it hard to help relations with the little they earns. It is very obvious that most boys and men these days donâ€™t want to be married;Â they believe marriage is being in bondage. Most men now preferÂ to have childrenÂ for different women, knowing they wonâ€™t be tied to any one woman and, therefore, won’t be saddled with any responsibility.
We canâ€™t, however, blame the men for taking such a decision since they canâ€™t afford it. A lot of things are happening in our society with the worsening economic situation. There is no woman in our society who has never fended for herself one way or the other. A lot of men in Nigeria now live with women just because the women appear caring. It is not only women who run away from home these days; men now also do so. The salary a man earns has a lot to do with not wanting to take responsibility and that is one area the Hausa man is different from other men. If the Hausa man has three or four wives, he does not allow them to work because he knows it is his responsibility to cater for them. When he discovers that he can no longer cater for them, he divides his property among the women and send them back to their parents. At least, that is fair enough.
Would you blame the couples’ upbringing for failure in marriages?
Naturally, it is true that parents, especially mothers, have a vital role to play in their childrenâ€™s future. No mother wants her children to fail in their marriages and that includes making the mistakes she made in her marriage. A mother should be very careful about the kind of advice she gives to her child when he or she is having trouble in a marriage. TheÂ way parents handle their marriageÂ will definitely reflect on the child’s attitude when married. So, parents should make a positive impact on their childrenâ€™s lives, starting from their attitude towards their spouses. Woman should know that men want to be pampered, so let your husband be your second god, adore him at all times no matter the circumstance. You have to make the sacrificeÂ since your children will benefit from your attitude to your marriage.
Do you believe in marriage not being a natural institution?
If you follow the story in the bible, it is true, because when God created Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden he didnâ€™t say he created them to be husband and wife right away. If they had waited for the right time by not eating the forbidden fruit, may be things would have been different. Marriage is what we, humans, formed by ourselves.
Mood swings could be a major reason for failure in marriage, how true do you think this is?
The issue of mood has to do with both spouses. That is why communicationÂ is the key to a successful marriage. As for the woman, she should take time to study her husband to know when he is not in a good mood. Most men, after facing challenges in the office, come home to vent the anger on their wives and that is why it is very important for a woman to be able to recognise the husbandâ€™s change in attitude, that is why a secretary is the soul of her boss in the office. In office practiceÂ or office routine the secretary is taught to know when her boss is not in good mood; she makes a cup of coffee to calm down his nerves; she shows concern by asking if she can be of help to him. That is why it is so easy for the boss to fall in love with his secretary because she is the closest person to him. Every woman should play the role of aÂ secretary to her husband, try and understand his mood, if it takes going down on your knees and preparing his favourites meal, do it to save your marriage.
Should the issue of the number of children the couple shouldÂ have cause divorce?
No, not at all. If a woman says she doesnâ€™t want more than three kidsÂ because of the economic situation and a man says he wants six,Â let both discuss and come to an agreement, and if it takes abiding with the man’s decision do so, after all, children are a heritage from God. I am not saying it is not proper to have few kids but if refusing to agree with your husband will make you lose your marriage, then agree to your husbandâ€™s decision. A woman should know that her primary responsibility in her home is her children. Our children are our benefit since we donâ€™t have any social benefit in our society.
They say marriage is for better for worse, then why are some people involved in infidelity?
Infidelity has become the order of the day. Whoever wants a faithful man now should go back to Jesus’ era. It is just like a leaking roof; if it is not well handled it will damage completely. Donâ€™t be surprised that your husbandâ€™s girlfriend will attend your marriage ceremony. Infidelity is not just starting, it started in our forefathers’ era. Let the woman take care of her home because the young girls you see these days are a big temptation, forget about your husband cheating on you, make yourself look nice for himÂ and then leave the rest to God.
How do we manage our marriage to avoid divorce?
My dear, with prayers all things are possible. It is with prayers, endurance, perseverance and Godâ€™s guidance that you can keep your marriage. You canâ€™t really say, it can happen to anybody at anytime. So, endure with him and manage what he gives you until he is able to give you more.
When a man insists on a divorce, what do you do?
If a man wants a divorce the woman should give it to him if sheÂ still cherishes her life. That means the man is already operating on high level. A woman canâ€™t force herself on a man, it will be like a dog living in the lionâ€™s den. Give him time, he will learn and come back to you. I assure you, he will definitely come back no matter how long it takes. The woman should mend her end and train her kids well so that people can praise her for her effort in facing a difficult time and winning when her husband denied her and the children. The womanâ€™s glory will shine when her kids start succeeding.
What advice do you have for women out there?
Be prayerful, endure and respect your husband even if he doesnâ€™t have to give, because a man in a womanâ€™s life is like a pillar of a house. If a woman is not married she canâ€™t earn respect from the society. A husband in a womanâ€™s life is like a crown on the head, take care of your crown for the breeze not to blow it away. There are a lot of desperate girls out there who are ready to snatch your man at any time with any slight mistake.