Pope Francis has said there are no perfect human beings and, therefore, no perfect relationship.
Many relationships are characterised by physical, emotional, sexual, social, financial and verbal abuse in which one partner intimidates another to gain control.
Many men don’t meet the topmost emotional needs of their women; affection, companionship, commitment and financial security. Abuse is common in most relationships.
In abusive relationships, victims of abuse are usually partners in weaker positions. It is understandable, therefore, that most victims in relationships are women. Sadly most women in abusive relationship want to stay, no matter the dangers they face.
Consider a recent report that the Nigerian police have arrested the husband of a popular singer on suspicion of murdering his wife the gospel singer who is known for her collaborative hit track ‘Ekwueme’.
After her death, the allegations from neighbours were horrifying:
• One says he had to scale the fence of the singer’s house to unlock the gate of the singer whenever the husband who is a pastor locked her out.
• Some report constant squabbles in which the pastor husband addressed her in derogative words.
• The pastor husband would seize her proceedings from her musical shows
• The pastor has seized her two cars.
• The husband prevented her from seeking medical attention
• At one time, the pastor pushed her out of moving car
• She had to rush home after show to avoid harassment from her husband
• The pastor husband forced their children to beat her and in fact told the children that ‘beating women is good’.
It is alleged that for a long time ago, the singer saw signs of danger but sadly chose to stay on and paid with her life.
Why women stay in bad relationships
Psychological factor: Most women love too much and get obsessed about love. Some grew up in abusive relationships and want to heal the past by staying in abusive relationships. The greater the pain in the relationship, the stronger she holds on to the relationship.
To them the harder they bear the pain in the relationship the greater the love they show.
She sacrifices herself and takes full responsibility for anything that goes wrong in the relationship and thinks she does not deserve better. What feels bad to everybody feels good to her. If a caring and loving man comes along she will ignore him because he cannot create the difficult situation that she needs to heal her past. Such women will avoid friends and relatives who try to talk them out of bad relationships.
Some deny the abuse and think it is not too much. This is because on a good day most abusers are extremely good and romantic. They may even apologise for their wrong doing and promise it will not happen again. This makes it easy for these victims to believe their men will change. The abuse, however, goes on and on. If you endure a difficult abuse your man may try even more painful abuse on you.
Emotional factor: A relationship is a woman’s greatest emotional need. She, therefore, finds great fulfilment and security in being in a relationship. Many women search for their identity in men. They think they need a man to be complete and, therefore, fear separation.
They worry about what will happen to them if they should leave. Leaving is, therefore, very difficult for women. They have a high level of tolerance to stay in abusive relationships.
Some women want men around them to be protectors. They believe a man’s role in a relationship, especially in parenting, is very important. They hold on to a bad relationship for the sake of the children. In Akan, it is common to hear women in bad marriages say ‘mmofra no nti, to wit for the sake of the children
Economic factor: Global studies show that while women earn less than a third of what men earn, women at the same time have greater needs than men. Most women are, therefore, completely dependent on their men because they lack the resources to take care of themselves and their children if they leave the abusive relationship.
In Ghana, it is common for many men to threaten withdrawing support if their women should leave. Women who want to maintain their standard of living choose to stay in abusive relationship. Some men actually threaten to kill their women and children and some have actually carried out their threats. Some women, therefore, stay because they have no safety outlets.
Family and social values: Some families believe that as part of their heritage and tradition women are not supposed to leave their marriages. Women are made to believe that they belong to their husbands for good, for better or for worse and that their husbands have complete rights over their women.
No matter how seriously a woman complains about her bad marriage, her mother and relatives will say ‘don’t worry, that is how men and marriage are’. Many women are, therefore, forced to stay in bad marriages.
Some women see it as a shame and embarrassment to leave a bad marriage even if it may not be their fault. Many blame women when marriage fails. Many women are, therefore, ashamed to disclose abusive marriages because they believe no one will support them
Religious factor: Many religious faiths, like the Catholic Church, teach that marriage has two essentials; unity and indissolubility. The moment you exchange your consent with ‘ for better or for worse, till death do us part so help me God’, you are stuck together for life no matter what. Divorce is, therefore, never an option because it is considered a grave sin. Many women, therefore, feel completely trapped in abusive marriages and simply float in them.
Are you in a bad relationship?
Marriage is the most risky business you can think of. Be mindful each day you can easily trip into abusive relationship and lose yourself, true intimacy, passion and commitment. You may go through trauma or depression and become a victim of your own negligence.
Make every attempt to avoid bad relationship by your kind acts of love as you meet the emotional need of each other; a man needs respect, sex, attractive wife and domestic care. A woman needs affection, companionship, commitment and financial security. Never make room for abusive relationship. If every attempt to restore your relationship fails, move on with you life. A bad man can never be good for you. Never give more than your heart.