By Hussaina Sufyan Ahmed
We can categorically define a divorcee as someone unlucky in a specific marriage. I know that I will be in the minority if I say divorcees are given less chance to develop themselves personally before getting pressured into remarrying in the Northern part of Nigeria.
I understand and appreciate the concern with threading carefully regarding resuscitated emotions and intimate urges. However, a ‘decent’ society like Northern Nigeria expects that you abide by the rules of decency in ensuring that you either preserve yourself for your next spouse or remarry to avoid falling into the traps of indecency.
In this aspect, indecency refers to the lack of adhering to the control of urges for every culturally and religiously conscious person. These traits are seen as the signs of responsibility, including sustaining oneself; ready to take up self-evaluation, focusing on goodness, and maintaining dignity.
The pressure that comes from the family, society and whatnot is justifiable. However, the pressure that comes with engaging these divorcees in personal development is a progressive vacuum seat.
A divorcee can either be a man or a woman. But statistics show that a woman is more affected by divorce financially while a man is affected mentally. But, of course, this assertion is opinionated, as there can exist other varying opinions.
Let’s take Kano State as a case study. In 2020, Dr Sabo Dambazau, in an interview with Kano Focus, said 45% of divorces in Kano are caused by co-wife rivalry. Other causes he highlighted include forced marriage, fake identity by the men before marriage, lack of catering for family financial affairs succinctly, and suspicion from either the man or the woman.
For Dambazau, a lack of trust causes suspicion. And this distrust is seen in wives taking their husbands’ phones. Often, both check each other’s phones.
According to Dambazau, couples need counselling, personality development, and consciousness of Islamic teachings through the actual practice of the teachings to reduce divorce. This can be supported by enrolling in Islamic schools. He ended with advice on staying genuine and honest during the courtship before marriage.
My scope will be Personal Development for the Divorcee. It is essential to know that learning and seeking knowledge are the two fundamental processes that every human should consciously and intentionally be involved in.
As a divorcee, the first focus should be personal development. And this cannot be achieved without being intentional about self-development. So, how do you achieve personal development?
As someone who might have gone through emotional downturns or physical battles in their marriage, self-development evaluation is a facet to help you check yourself and correct the mistakes you might have made. Every human is fallible. Hence the premise of every divorce is that both parties have a role to play in the faults. However, one side usually weighed in as more wrong than the other. Still, there is never a party devoid of guilt(s). So, you use the experience of a failed marriage to build your knowledge about marriage if you wish to be in it again.
In trying times, maintaining spirituality is crucial. In the North, an epitomic feature is the presence of religious rooms to learn from – while you rule in self-development. You cannot rule out upgrading your belief. For instance, there are many Islamic schools for Muslim divorcees in various Northern states. And seeking the appropriate knowledge through such schools enhance and contribute to the upliftment of morale.
This sums up an inference of a child’s upbringing in a typical Northern Muslim home. Thus, before reaching the age of five, recitation of verses from the Quran begins, opening the ability to read and recite rhymes and books in western schools. So, who says learning has a boundary or specific scope?
Another aspect of personal development is acquiring soft skills. For some female divorcees, one of the reasons their families or society has pressured them is usually due to self-sustenance. A woman in a non-secular community like the North has to either sustain herself financially, be under her parents or a man. You do not have to rush into another marriage to develop yourself personally. Instead, go out and learn soft skills such as MS Office, graphic design, Corel Draw, Digital marketing, social media management, online journalism, etc. You can acquire most of these skills online or offline for free or pay a token, especially if you desire to get the certificate.
Personal development stretches out to unlearning, learning and relearning, and in this, we cannot rule out upgrading education level to the next stage. If you are a primary school certificate holder, secure a secondary admission. If you are a secondary school certificate holder, try and acquire a UTME form, sit for the exams, and pursue admission, even if it’s a polytechnic or college of education. And for a bachelor’s degree holder, it is easier though costlier, which makes it essential to personally develop the self so as far as there is determination and hard work.
In all of these, I suggest that families and society give premium corporations to divorcees to see that they are helped towards self-development and not pressured to remarry. Of course, marriage can come later but having productive and oriented divorcees instead of a new payroll of reproductions will push the nation’s economy forward.
“Read. Read in the name of thy Lord who created; [He] created the human being from a blood clot. Read in the name of thy Lord who taught by the pen: [He] taught the human being what he did not know” (Quran, 96: 1-5).
Hussaina Sufyan Ahmed wrote from Kano. She can be reached via email@example.com.