Why Do Good People in Good Marriages End in Divorce?

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Photo by Alesia Kazantceva on Unsplash

Guys, I don’t know what I’m more upset about – the fact that Rachel Hollis is divorced or the fact that I didn’t get a personal phone call from her to inform me. I’ve read every one of her books and listened to her podcasts with her husband, Dave. So you bet I was heartbroken when I read the news in her most recent book, Didn’t See That Coming. And yes, I know I’m a whole dang-on year late in finding out about the divorce, but that’s besides the point.

In Rachel’s book, she mentions her divorce in passing. It sounded so casual, like “oh btw I had a sandwich for lunch today.” It’s THE Rachel Hollis, y’all! The one whom I’m convinced is my oyinbo twin sister. Rachel and Dave host marriage conferences, have podcasts that address marriage and relationships… I mean the whole 360. So what really could have happened? What changed? So many questions I had.

In two days, I had rushed through the entire book, really hoping I’d get answers, but no, that casual mention at the beginning was just about all that she said in the entirety of the book. Rachel and Dave’s break up reminded me so much of a couple that I adored in my church many years ago when I was still in college. They were THE cutest, always giggling, and just plain #couplegoals. Then just like that, fiam, we stopped seeing the lady. I hate to be little-miss-nosey in people’s business and ask what happened? But I so badly wanted to know – why would two good people, who understand the deep principles of marriage and have been under solid teachings from the Bible, just decide to go their separate ways? 

Every marriage is unique, and I don’t have all the answers, but here are a few thoughts for us to consider as we navigate this thing called marriage. 

Rachel and Dave Hollis (Source: The Netline)

1. Marriage is complex.

A lot of experiences from our upbringing, including traumatizing ones, like abuse, or extreme poverty, add to the complexities of marriage. I’ll bet you 9 out of 10 of us have never really been intentional about unpacking these difficult experiences to understand how they influence who we are today.

So, right now, Abisola is giving you permission to go book that therapy appointment; one for you as an individual, and another as a couple. Some jobs even offer this for free or at a discount! 

Dear African friends reading this, no it wasn’t a typo… I didn’t say seek counselling from your pastor… that is good too and serves its purpose; but in addition, please get therapy from a professional whose values align with yours. Those are two different things.

2. The difficulties of life.

Life can be a pain in the [you know where] sometimes. One day, your marriage is all nice and jolly, and then boom, life happens – the loss of a child, depression, infertility, loss of a job, chronic health conditions, and a bunch of others. I blame it all on mother Eve… hope that apple was worth it, sis. 

These events take a toll on people’s emotional and mental health and could ultimately affect a marriage. It takes wisdom, emotional support, counselling, therapy, and a heavy dose of the grace of God to navigate these challenges. So please, don’t bottle up your feelings. Get all the help you need to heal.

3. People change.

Some people who appear to be saints on the outside are actually monsters in their own homes. It could be due to their own insecurities, substance use, mental issues, or just plain bad behavior. I wrote about this in my blog post “When It’s Time To Step Away From The “For Better or Worse” Commitment”. Remember, if you are being physically abused and your life is in danger, please get help ASAP; your life is more important than your marriage (cue in the traditional African aunties collapsing at that last sentence… las las they wee be alright).

Photo by One zone Studio on Unsplash

4. Money brings out all shades of ugly in people.

Too much or too little of it, and then you see a different side of someone that you’ve never seen before. I get it, there’s frustrations about the bills being paid, or how money is split, because you know, money is just never enough innit? To this, I will just say one thing – From dust we came, and to dust we shall return. Your money won’t matter at the pearly gates, ma’am. Don’t ruin your happiness over money. 

5. A few other random reasons

…Like allowing external pressures from in-laws, friends, and the almighty socio medium; or just plain always arguing. At some point, people just get tired and exhausted from aaaaalways arguing. Fam, even I am tired on their behalf just thinking about it. 

Granted, Most people will not run to get a divorce because of these issues. But just like an exposed wound on your arm, if left untreated for too long, it begins to rot. Eventually, you either have to go through a painful healing process, or you amputate the arm… i.e. get a divorce.

Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash

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Know that especially as a Christian, the devil is out to attack marriages. We should pray for our marriages like our lives depend on it. Specifically, pray that you will walk in the will of God always, that God will teach you to love selflessly like Christ loves the church, and that God will fill our homes with his joy and peace. This I need to do better with because I sometimes take for granted what I have. 

As always, I ask my ever so wise readers, any thoughts to add to my list? Is the concept of “for better for worse” going extinct?

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6 thoughts on “Why Do Good People in Good Marriages End in Divorce?

  1. So much good sense and great advice in this post, mixed your trademark wittiness. Always heartwarming to read your posts, Abisola! So many great nuggets. Especially the one about ‘dust to dust’. And yes, I would also wonder on end when I see or hear of a seemingly great couple going their separate ways. I think we should all watch out for little foxes that spoil the vine. Also, deal with issues and not sweep them under the rug. They grow to be monsters. Prayers!!! Also very important, like you mentioned.

    • Great points you raised! Communicate issues often before it grows into something bigger inside our chest lol. Thanks for reading!
      P.S. that Raji part of your name makes me wonder if we’re related 🤔

  2. Aunty Rachel and Uncle Dave. Comman explain! This is so so soooooo good! Sigh…marriage is definitely complex. May God grant us the grace to sustain it and the wisdom to seek therapy!

  3. Loved reading! I really think it’s all part of the mysteries of life. How something so good can end or how people who loved themselves so much become enemies. I don’t think we’ll ever have one answer but we ultimately must learn from one another and grow from our experiences

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