Nomalanga: Three Questions to ask yourself before Divorce

By Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses

Less than a year into marriage, I experienced what I now call the “reality” phase. Anyone who has been married for a while knows exactly what I’m talking about. The “Reality” phase of marriage is when you start to come down off of the honeymoon phase of the relationship and start to really see your partner for who they are rather than the fantasy that you were projecting onto them.

Just as I was processing this rather confusing phase, I had a conversation with one of my “sisters” who, at the time, had been married for about eight years. What she shared were three major things that tend to affect marriages either negatively or positively. In other words, if you pay attention to these three “things”, you can sustain a happy marriage but if you neglect these things, trouble is inevitably around the corner.

I am generally an advocate of marriage; partially because I was born and raised within the confines of one. (Side note: My parents have been married for almost 40 years).

That being said, if you have neglected any of the three “things” I feel that it is possible to give each one attention and restore your marriage, rather than head to Divorce court.
Here are the questions you need to ask yourself:
1. Are we Communicating well?
Many times what couples think are major problems, are actually small problems buried in a series of miscommunications or no communication at all. Unless you have developed the skill of effective communication and are able to resolve conflicts and problems through effective communication, you have not earned your way out of the marriage. Rather than head to divorce court, explore ways to build your communication skills.

2. Are our finances in order?
My husband and I love to joke that we need to make sure that we get our finances in order because “broke people fight”. Now, I’m not sure where the saying “broke people fight” comes from but like most jokes, it has an element of truth in it. When finances are in order, there is a level of security that can quickly disappear if they are mismanaged. If you get to a point where your finances are a mess, rather than head to divorce court, put your heads together and explore strategies to restore the financial well-being of your family.

3. When was the last time we were “intimate”?
“Intimacy” is a topic that many of us shy away from because it is uncomfortable for some people to discuss. That being said, if you are not being “intimate” with your spouse, you’re trying to glue two pieces of paper together and omitting the glue. Before you head off to Divorce court, get creative about “rocking his world” (or hers). One thing that I would add to this is that many women ask, “what if I just don’t feel like it?” Well, I’ll tell you like I heard it jokingly said, “Sometimes you just have to take one for the team”.

As I approach our 8th anniversary in marriage and reflect back on my own marriage and those of the people around me, I can honestly say that what my ‘sister” told me all those years ago was marriage saving advice. That being said, none of the three “things” apply if you’re dealing with a partner who is abusive, is dealing with an addiction or is chronically unfaithful. Even these serious issues are not cause to end your marriage but they are certainly issues that need addressing though professional or spiritual intervention.

At the end of the day, a problem in marriage is no longer just your problem; it is the possibility of your children growing up without Both their parents or the shattering of a community that was partially bound by your marriage or another case of giving up on your own personal development journey which your marriage was facilitating. Make a decision, today, whether you are already married or not yet married, to ask yourself these questions so that you can stay married. Don’t let yourself down. Don’t let your spouse down. Don’t let your children down. Don’t let your family and your community down. Stay married.

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9 Responses to “Nomalanga: Three Questions to ask yourself before Divorce”

  1. Ron Bryant says:

    I love d the article. Speaks alot of truth. Thank you.

  2. Ron Bryant says:

    you can also connect with me through cutnedgecartoons on facebook. i actually though doing a strip on black relationships.

  3. Oarabile says:

    Great article and so very true. I shall note it and make record in my notes as I consult.

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  5. sing says:

    Questions 1 & 2 need to be asked BEFORE you get married. And as for #3… if you have to ask this question….you have issues!

  6. Mary says:

    I don’t regret the decision to divorce because of chronic cheating, lying, and out right disrespect. After 16 years I decided that my self worth was not defined by how long I endured the abuse, but how I bounced back as a single parent.

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  8. pam says:

    We were married for years. He cheated, lied and was abusive for all of those years but I stayed because I thought I was doing the right thing for the kids, but I think I did more harm than good. I often asked myself which would do more harm, divorce or a dysfunctional family where daily verbal abuse was the norm. I don’t believe in divorce so he filed for the divorce after 30 years. I heard him say that he just wanted to put the past behind him and get on with his life. How do you put the past behind you when you have 3 kids and 2 grandkids?

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