Differences between healthy and bad marriages
A healthy marriage is when two people develop a connection based on mutual respect, trust, support, honesty, a sense of playfulness and fondness, equality and fairness as well as good communication.
Your marriage should bring you peace, love, respect, happiness and fulfillment. It shouldn’t bring stress, pains, heartaches, regrets and abuse into your life like a toxic union. Nobody should remain in a toxic marriage, it is hell on earth.
It is not a place where one partner is served like a slave master while the other is hounded by religion and culture alike to die pleasing the other person. It is not a place where a woman is reduced to nothing so that an insecure man can feel good about himself for having a penis.
In healthy marriages, you take care of yourself and have good self- esteem independent of your relationship. You maintain and respect each other’s individuality. You maintain relationships with friends and family.
Couples in healthy relationships also enjoy activities apart from one another. They are able to express themselves to one another without fear of consequences. They feel secure and comfortable and encourage other relationships.
If you are in a healthy marriage, you and your spouse take interest in one another’s activities. You do not worry about violence in the relationship. Your husband doesn’t beat you up because you greeted your neighbor with smiles.
Couples in healthy marriages trust each other and are honest with each other. They have respect for sexual boundaries. You are not pressured to give your husband blow job while he refuses to give you head because he’s a red cap chief. That’s cheating! You are both honest about sexual activities.
Couples who enjoy healthy marriages resolve conflict fairly. Fighting is part of healthy relationships but the difference is how the conflict is handled. Fighting fairly is an important skill couples with healthier relationships possess.
On the other hand, bad marriages cause stress and pressure that is hard to avoid. This tension is unhealthy for both parties and may lead to problems in other areas of life.
If you are in a bad marriage, you live in fear of your partner. You can’t talk to them when they hurt you. You can’t even express your feelings to them without being slapped or beaten.
People in bad marriages feel pressure to change who they are for their spouses. They feel worried when they disagree with their spouses because they know there would be repercussions for their action. They feel pressure to quit activities they usually enjoy so that they can please their spouses.
Such people are pressured to agree with their spouses in changing who they are to suit their partner’s whims and caprices. This is how Nigerian women are hounded resign from their lucrative jobs just to please their husbands whose take home pay can’t even sustain their families.
If you are in a bad marriage, you must justify your actions to your spouse. You have to explain where you go like a child, who you see, who you call and who calls you. You may also be forced to share everything with your spouse against your will. Arguments are not settled fairly.
As a Nigerian wife, you are expected to act like a robot no matter how badly behaved your husband is so that you will be called a virtuous woman. You must not talk or give an opinion on serious issues that even affect you and your children. You must accept everything Mr. Husband says even if it’s a terrible decision that would destroy your family.
In bad marriages, there’s an attempt to control or manipulate each other. Your partner attempts to controls how you dress and criticizes your behaviors. They talk down on you so much that you begin to resent yourself. They tell you that you don’t have the brains to think and make decisions for your family.
Couples do not spend time with each other in bad marriages. The man leaves the house without informing his wife of his whereabouts. He hangs out with different people till midnight and returns to eat food and snore away. The woman is also doing her own thing and they don’t have time for each other.
If you and your spouse don’t have common friends, or have a lack of respect for each others’ friends and family, you are in a bad marriage. If you have to cry and beg your husband before you can send money to your parents and siblings or even go and visit them, your marriage is hell on earth.
People in bad marriages experience a lack of fairness and equality. The man can do whatever he likes but his wife cannot try the same. You are not free to pursue your career and dreams in a toxic union. You are hounded to give up who you are so that your spouse won’t feel intimidated.
Your dreams and goals for the future don’t have to perfectly align, but your partner should support your big life plans. If your spouse doesn’t support your dreams and you are powerless over your own future plans, your union is a bad one.
If you are the only one compromising on things while your spouse doesn’t do the same, you are in a bad marriage. If your partner consistently shoots down your dreams as unrealistic or not convenient, over time, this can lead to giving up your dreams and the marriage feels less like a partnership.
You are a better version of yourself when you are in a healthy marriage. That doesn’t mean your partner completes you, but they do complement your life the right way. In a bad marriage, you lose who you are to please your spouse. You are drained emotionally, physically and psychologically too just trying to keep your spouse by your side.