I want a divorce

Ben sensed Ewurasi hovering in the background.  Just sensing his wife of twelve years around made him start getting angry.

Ewurasi quietly looked at her husband writing profusely as if racing with himself to finish whatever he was doing.  She sensed the hostility the very moment she settled by his study door and wondered what exactly she had done to deserve this. 

The truth of the matter is that she was just tired of trying to please him.  Nothing she did was ever good enough for him.  It was as if he was doing everything possible to have her walk out of the marriage, without saying the words himself.  As usual, he would do everything possible to avoid the responsibility of ending their twelve-year marriage himself.

Although she had argued with Maame Esi, her twin sister several times that she was not being stupid by holding on to a failed marriage, she thought it was about time she faced the facts and gave up.  '

Whenever she had tried talking to him to resolve things, he insisted that there was nothing wrong, that is how he has always been and that if she was not happy in the marriage, nobody was keeping her hostage.

This evening, when she had come downstairs after putting her kids to bed, it was to let Ben know that she wanted a divorce, she was just tired with the whole marriage and although she still loved her husband and remembered how great they had been together especially for the first five years of their marriage, she knew she couldn’t continue like this. 

She would lose herself and every last bit of her self-respect.  At least she had a little pride left and could walk out of the relationship with her head lifted up.

“Ben?”  She asked hesitantly

“What?!” He responded irritably.  “Can it wait?  I've got to finish this report.”

“No problem, I’ll wait till you’re done.”  Ewurasi said with resolve.  “I really need to have a conversation with you.”

“It may take a couple of hours or more” Ben said, hoping that the prospect of going to bed after midnight will make her shelve whatever she wanted to talk about.

“I’ll wait.”

“That’s your problem” Ben counted and went back to his report.

As Ewurasi walked down the hallway, she tried to think back to when things had started going downhill.  She also wondered if walking out of the marriage was the best decision, especially considering the implications on her kids.

But the truth of the matter was that she was not happy and wondered whether she should sacrifice her happiness for her children. 

She thought back on her conversations with her twin.  Although Maame Esi had seemingly survived her divorce, she didn’t think her sister was as happy as she made it sound.  Ending a twelve-year marriage was not a “clean break” issue…and on what basis?…that she had a husband who made her unhappy?

Ewurasi, shook her head and decided to use the two hour wait period her husband had given her to really line up her reasons for seeking a divorce….

I'm unhappy:  Most people have tied their happiness to their partners so that the other party is constantly responsible for your happiness.  Very often people going through divorce cite unhappiness as a reason for the divorce. 

The truth of the matter is that happiness is a fleeting emotion, it comes and goes and the successful couple is the one that learns to intentionally do things to bring happiness back when there is no joy in the daily struggles of life.  Life is not always fun and full of happiness.  There will be tough times.  If you can’t “happy yourself” no one else can!

The love I had is gone.  I don’t feel anything again:  “Love is a verb, not just a feeling. Everyday life rips away at the “feel good side of marriage.” Emotions like happiness, hope and satisfaction will fluctuate. But real love is based on a couple’s level of commitment – when it feels good and when it doesn't. Commitment holds us in place until the “feel good” emotions come back.”

He doesn't want to change:  Unfortunately any seasoned couple will tell you that you cannot change your partner.  The only way you can change your marriage is by changing your response to your partner.  When you change, that change will usually have a strong positive effect on your partner.  Concentrate on changing yourself, only then will things start changing in your marriage.

At least I’ll still have some pride left if I walked out now:  Call it self preservation, call it pride, but many couples are walking out of their relationships instead of staying to work things out because they let pride get in the way. 

As I often say (and you can quote me) “marriage ain't for sissies or wimps and proud people.”  The couples who make it are the ones that have no fear of being called fools or have actually been called fools because they did what it took to keep their relationships together.

I'm not the same person I used to be:  For many couples who married very early, there comes a time when either one or both parties feel that they've become they have grown and become a different person.  They feel they've become too different for the marriage to work any more. 

For some people education, career and money changes them in ways that make them think they need a new sort of partner who will share their present ideal or be fit for their new social cycle.

As Ewurasi thought on her points, she realized she really did not have a very strong reason apart from the fact that she was very unhappy and that she herself had changed so much to become more assertive and couldn't stand the fact that Ben thought so little of her opinion concerning raising the kids, managing their finances and going to different churches in addition to all the other things they were constantly arguing about.

She lifted her head as she heard her husband approaching, checking her time she realized it was already two and half hours since she sat down to wait.

Ben sat in his usual sofa and asked as impudently as he could.  “So what do you want?”

Ewurasi smiled serenely without knowing exactly what to say…

“I just wanted to let you know what a wonderful husband you are and how much I appreciate all you do for the kids and I.”

She didn't know who was more stunned, her or her disconcerted husband. 

She got up and gave him a quick kiss on his forehead and headed towards the bedroom without a backward glance.