Sex is not a band-aid to hold any relationship – Chika Unigwe.

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Family is the basic entity that constitutes a formidable part of any society. However, it is already a challenge to ensure an efficient process that breeds a reliable family setup. Even more, the trend of short-lived relationships and rising trend of divorce have been magnified by the constant media frenzy around celebrities and their relationships and lifestyle in the entertainment industry. But can there really be any form of succour to salvage a failing relationship? Especially, is there any defining role couples can play to check deficiencies in a love relationship?

While the African continent may be a developing region with lots of factors that readily attract breakups, it is however the nations in the West, Europe and America dominating the world ranking of Top10 countries with the highest divorce rate: Luxemburg 87%, Spain 65%, France 55%, Russia 51%, USA 46%, Germany 44%, UK 42%, New Zealand 42%, Australia 38%, and Canada with 38% rate. Whereas the Top10 countries with lowest rate of divorce include – India at 1%, Chile 3%, Colombia 9%, Mexico 15%, Kenya 15%, South Africa 17%, Egypt 17%, Brazil 21%, Turkey 22%, and Iran on 22%.

It is equally an eye-opener that Christianity has the largest chunk of heartbreak and divorces recorded by religion with 37%, followed by Catholic at 36%, Buddhist 30%, Jewish 28%, Islamic 20, and Hindu stands at just 1%. [data via Unified Lawyers]

Could it be a case of too much urbanization influencing our wellbeing as individuals, or a simple bit of liberating oneself from further calamitous situations?

Chika Unigwe (Author and Relationship Expert).

In a brief chat with the relationship expert Chika Unigwe, (who is also an accomplished author with award-winning books such as “On Black Sisters’ Street” and “Night Dancer”) – on issues around divorce, sex, and lasting relationships, clarifies: Irrespective of its overwhelming satisfaction, “a floundering relationship cannot be saved by sex, no matter how glorious.”

Sex cannot be a unifying factor in a failing relationship. “The long answer is that relationships are based on just more than sex, or ought to. Sex is not a band aid or glue to hold together a relationship that is cracking. I’ve known couples separate even while acknowledging that the sex was good.” She says.

Many times couples struggle to find that near-perfect balance to foster a better co-existence for which Ms Unigwe shares her ‘magical 3 factors’ that can be of immense benefits to actualizing that desired lasting love bond, in no particular order:

Trust –  It’s impossible, in my opinion, to be truly free in a relationship if there’s no trust. And it’s impossible, in my opinion, to have a good relationship if one isn’t free. I do not understand people who insist on knowing their partner’s every move, who furtively and obsessively search through their partner’s phones and emails and etc. If you do this for no reason other than your own insecurities, you should have a long, honest chat with yourself.

Communication – I’m a great believer in talking (and listening). If you’re angry with your partner, let them know. They (partners) are not mind readers. A good relationship thrives because both parties understand and are sensitive to each other.”

Compromise – You’re not in a relationship with yourself, learn to compromise, to reasonably meet your partner halfway (when necessary). Learn when a compromise is needed. If you can’t compromise on an issue, at least talk about it. If I had to add one more, I’d add ‘Shared Values’ – They say opposites attract but if your values are so different, if your priorities are way so different, especially if those priorities become more in the course of a relationship, chances are that that relationship would flounder.”

Nonetheless, the creative author has a stern warning for those enduring bad patches in a relationship – “It’s difficult to tell an adult in a relationship what to accept and what not to. If infidelity is a dealbreaker for you, and it is for some, then you probably shouldn’t stay with a cheat if you can’t help it.”

Issues such as unemployment, alcohol/drugs addiction, physical & mental abuse, incompatibility, infidelity, etc, can easily cause a situation of divorce.

Celebrity black women like Mercy Aigbe, La La Anthony, Tameka Foster, Eva Alordiah, Wendy Williams, Amber Rose, Janet Jackson, Tonto Dikeh – to mention but a few – have suffered from divorce propelled by one or more of the causative factors aforementioned in this paragraph.

Television show host Wendy Williams is the latest African-American female celebrity to have had enough of the “drama” after filing for divorce in April 2019 over husband Kevin Hunter’s cheating scandal, which effectively ended her 22-year marriage that bore a 19-year-old son Kevin Jr. Though cheating allegations against her estranged husband were rife since last year 2018, the 54-year-old entrepreneur thought she could have a “thick skin” to “fight through it” – but it turns out it wasn’t meant to be afterall and their marital union had to end, amicably though, with little or no mudslinging on social media.

But a different scenario often plays out In-terms of damage-control when core African celebrities are involved in issues of infidelity causing breakups. In a typical African format, it is often so much drama on social media. For instance, the much “publicized” divorce between Tonto Dikeh and her estranged husband Olakunle Churchill accused of cheating with her wife’s one-time friend – it was really feisty and very non-chalant with back-and-forth shaming from both camps. At some point, many observers even suggested the Nigerian actress Tonto Dikeh was fully “under the influence” because she was so loose in her endless accusations of Churchill, not minding the possible trauma & stigma their little son could face when he grows up sooner rather than later. For now, she seemed to have moved on with rumours of her engagement with a Nigerian billionaire.

It is an open-secret that whatever reason whenever couples (who have kids) divorce, it is inevitable irrespective of gender that the kid(s) would either directly or indirectly feel the impact anytime soon. Particularly when such kid involved is a male, there’s a high probability that growing-up he might experience some very aggravated behaviour that include, truancy, incoherent focus at school resulting to academic problems, anger, depression, aggressive attitude, to mention but a few. Girl child is less affected by aftermath effect of divorce largely due to her natural ability to suppress emotions.

Notably, marriage is widely acclaimed as ‘another school of learning’, thus, whatever helpful tips you already have or learnt to help build not just a lasting love bond but a happy home, can surely be improved on. You can make a huge positive amend even when clearly you are the victim in such situation. We can learn from Will & Jada-Pinkett Smith (married since 1997), Olu Jacobs & Joke Silva (since 1989), and Denzel & Pauletta Washington (since 1983).

Feel free to share your thoughts!