Written By Abiade Olawanle Abiola
It takes the agreement, commitment and co-operation of people in a relationship for that relationship to succeed. While this fact is taken to be true by all, concerning relationships in general, it baffles me that some people believe it does not apply in marital relationships. I often hear leaders in the society, leaders of various religious organizations and traditional individuals say that the success or failure of a marriage depends on the woman in the relationship and I hurt for the injustice and patriarchal mentality behind such statement/reasoning.
It is believed and accepted by all that the man is the head of the home/marriage/wife. So how did the success or failure of the relationship become the sole responsibility of the woman?
How can a person, given the power and authority to make all the major decisions in the home, with the discretionary power to or not to carry his wife along in his plans, activities etc, possess the recognition of the society, religious organizations, the law, government, family and friends as the representative, leader and spokesperson of the relationship/home, be considered free of the responsibility of contributing to the outcome of the marriage/relationship? How does that make sense?
Why is it so convenient for people to blame the woman for everything that goes wrong in a marriage and leave the man unaccountable? Why are women who married abusive men expected to sacrifice their lives unnecessarily for a relationship that contribute no good to their lives because of the selfishness of the man?
Is it not high time for us as a society to start asking ourselves these questions so as to change the patriarchal mentality that exonerate men from sharing the responsibility for the health and success of the home with their wives? With all the power and control the man has over his wife and home, that would only be fair.
I agree that the total responsibility for the success or failure of the relationship/home cannot be placed on the man alone, despite the power and control he enjoys. Placing all the responsibility on the woman is equally unfair and wicked. The two parties in a relationship should be held responsible for the success and failure of the home/marriage/relationship. For when a marriage fails, the failure could be the fault of either the man or woman and it could be the failure of both of them.
In fact, some people are of the school of thought that sometimes, external forces could cause the breakage of a home/relationship. I do not share this view, because I believe external influences can only contribute to and not be the reason for a break up of a marriage (I stand to be corrected). The decision to allow or not to allow interference lays with the couple.
However, I know some external influences can be quiet persuasive and powerful, especially if it’s from families and close friends.Whatever may be the case, the important thing is that we should all accept and acknowledge the fact that the burden of responsibility for the success and failure of a marital relationship belongs to the two parties in the marriage. If not equally, at least fairly.
We should stop the stigmatization of women as the bad egg that failed in keeping her home. More than 80% of women that left their marriages did so out of no fault of theirs.
Life is to be enjoyed and not to be endured!
Writer – Abiade Olawanle Abiola is a Lawyer with an interest in women’s rights, children’s rights, sexual and gender-based violence and alternative dispute resolution. She has a high degree of professionalism, dedicated to exceptional quality and also an effective team player with outstanding communication and interpersonal skills. She is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA), The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Nigeria Branch, member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Oyo State branch and, a member, and the Social Secretary of the Federacion International De Abogadas (FIDA ) known as the International Federation Of Women Lawyers, Oyo State branch. She is the president of Human of Substance Empowerment Initiative.