Yvonne Jegede’s Divorce and the Myth of Irreconcilable Differences in Marriage [Long Read]
My first instinct was to use the word ‘lie of irreconcilable differences’ instead of ‘myth’ but I didn’t want to appear as sensationalizing the issues of Yvonne Jegede’s marriage or any other for that matter.
This isn’t about making Yvonne Jegede look bad but to use her story to paint a bigger picture of the issues with many marriages. The talented actress recently revealed in an interview that when the issues in her marriage became obvious and irredeemable, there was a mutual agreement for them to go their separate ways.
The myth of Irreconcilable differences
As I was growing up and hearing about divorce in Nigeria and all around the world, one of the top reasons had always been irreconcilable differences. This is the same as when you say the issues in your marriage became irredeemable.
This is, however, a myth as over time I have come to discover that there are really no irreconcilable differences but two people who are failing and unwilling to work on their differences.
Differences are sacrosanct
I am yet to come across a couple who are perfectly the same without differences. Differences are what makes us unique and unifies us. The problem I have noticed with many marriages is how we glorify our differences and make them gods over our unions.
You will not always love the same things and embrace the same ideals. These differences were always there in your single days but ‘when the love has entered body’, our reasoning becomes shut to the obvious differences. Marriage then becomes an eye opener for many of us.
Marriage is hard work
There are no irreconcilable differences; we only have two people who are failing at or unwilling to work on their differences. The action word here is failing and unwilling. When you are failing and unwilling, you are not doing the hard work that is required to make your marriage successful.
The hard work required for marital success is not the house chores or financial responsibilities. The hard work is represented in your conscious daily habit of interaction and negotiation with your partner. It is how you let go of your own will for the good of the team. Hard work is how you both selflessly look out for the other first. It is in your consideration of your spouse and your deliberate effort at working on his or her happiness. It is also the combined effort of creating an atmosphere of joy and peace in your home.
To assume issues won’t arise is laziness of marriage
Many couples make this mistake over and over again every Saturday when they walk down the aisle. We dance and sing, get sprayed money and hope it becomes happily ever after. Hope is NOT a strategy for making a marriage work. Hope without requisite strategy is hopeless. This is a lesson I hoped Yvonne Jegede and Abounce learned before walking down the line.
We enter marriage as though it is some simple game without knowing that it is Maybe Temple Run. You may not get to your destination without the right strategy. It is laziness on our part when we fail to adequately prepare for the eventualities of marriage.
To assume your love cannot die or you will never be faced with divorce or that conflict won’t show up is to be a lazy spouse about marriage. Every marriage that will work needs a strategy.
Marriage is not war but…
In my opinion, Marriage is not war but you should approach it as a war where you anticipate evil (all the things that may go wrong) and prepare for how to counter them. This is where you face reality and leave the love on the side. You make a full list of all the things that can ever want to make your marriage scatter. It’s time for many of us to learn and start the hard work of marriage. You may not be able to do it alone, that’s why you can either pay a relationship expert or get accountable partners.
No sin is too big to forgive
In a discussion online concerning Yvonne Jegede and Olakunle Abounce Fawole, I saw where people cited the sins responsible for their break-up and I wonder at how we have become the ‘throw-it-away’ generation. When something gets spoilt, the solution is often not to throw it away but to fix it. When people say they have irreconcilable differences, they are sometimes saying ‘his or her sin is too great for me to forgive and let go’. To build a lasting marriage, you must both agree beforehand to make forgiveness a lifestyle.
What if the irreconcilable differences involve physical harm?
First, we need to call a spade a spade. Call him or her harmful spouse. What you are doing is warning another person (in advance) who may suffer the same consequences from his or her hand.
Secondly, the moment your marriage gets to the point of inflicting physical pain on each other, you need to separate without thinking. It is proof that someone needs Anger Management Classes. This person must be willing to go through the process of healing emotionally before you ever consider getting back into his or her life (with conditions).
The things we ignore always come back to haunt us
I was once in a car with a couple who were about to get married and in a series of exchange, I saw how the young man made her feel stupid with his words (in anger of course). Right there and then, I said to myself if these guys break up after marriage or he gets physical with her, I will not be surprised.
The things that are responsible for breaking our marriages did not just appear. They were right there staring us in the eyes but we arrogantly believe we can work through them without any plan. Don’t fall victim to this. You need to ask questions and deal with these things before they deal with you.
Words to Yvonne Jegede and Olakunle Abounce Fawole
Coincidentally, I just wrote an article titled African women and the divorce myths used to hold them down in an abusive relationship. As much as I dislike divorce, I encourage it as the LAST resort, especially in violent marriages. I wasn’t hoping to wake up to this news.
My encouragement to you is to be strong. This is a learning curve. This must not be the end of your lives but the beginning of other amazing things. I hope you can find true and lasting Love in each other’s arms again but if not, give love a chance with someone else. No matter how fatal this has been for you, it must not be strong enough to deny you the real joy and peace a true marriage can bring.
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