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Succeeding At A Second Chance

15 September 2015   |   8:49 am

I love those, who are never deterred, in any of life’s endeavours, irrespective of the challenges they encounter en route achieving their ultimate goals.

Consider the case of persistent admission-seekers into universities in Nigeria. Gruelling as JAMB (The Joint Admission & Matriculations Board) makes the experience, year after year, there are some of the applicants who- out of resilience, hardwork and determination — have continued to succeed, in not just gaining admission into choice universities, but also the faculties of their dreams.

The story of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the USA, is also a very instructive reference point for persistence. Born into abject poverty, Lincoln lost eight elections, yet became one of the most remarkable American presidents in history.

Failure may be unimpressive and off-putting. But, therein also lie the seeds of success, for those who can take the pain of seeking a toe in the door of another attempt. And this is why I do not join anyone in scoffing at divorcees who are willing to give marriage a second chance.  Forget the human frailty, which must have occasioned the divorce in the first place. Truth is, falling off a horse at the first mounting –to go by the wisdom of Yoruba elders- will not mean a disqualification from another trial.

All over the land, in recent times, we are witnessing marriages between couples that are glad to discard the label of divorcees to embrace matrimony, all over again. While some of these marriages may do well, on account of the deep-seated experience of the concerned parties in the union, others may not, for reasons bordering on certain challenges that I see, which the lovebirds will be too love-drunk to anticipate. And this is not for any fault of theirs. It is simply to be put down to their humanity. After all, when Ray Parker Jr. sang ‘a woman needs love, just like you do’, he did not specify between spinsters, married women or those divorced. No.

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What I think all who are looking in the direction of marriage again, after having walked away from it once, will be to do so with not just their hearts but also their heads. And I say this, particularly, to the men on whose shoulders rest the responsibility of charting form and function for the union. I am also aware that children are, by all means, crucial accompaniments of most second attempts at marriage. While the couple, to a very large extent, owe themselves that emotional duty of loving each other and making the marriage work, they also must take the children along. And this is the task that has been most difficult for most re-marrying couples: striking a balance and retaining their sanity.

Truth is, there is a world of difference between a young couple, who are going into marriage fresh and unencumbered and a couple who have had children through their first marriages. While the former are just transiting from being lovers to Mr. & Mrs., the latter are coming into their second union as not just lovers but also parents. While a young couple may create all the time in the world to make their marriage ‘heaven on earth’, by daily focusing on only each other, for some time until the children begin to arrive, the ‘second- timers’ have to think of the place of the children from the outset. Indeed, the success they are able to make of this will have a greater implication for the success of their matrimony.

So, the challenge of creating that perfect home, in which the children the husband is bringing into his new marriage, will feel as much a part of the family as those from the wife, rests on the couple. And without any equivocation, there is only one-way of achieving this: Live and do everything together. But, beyond a facile suggestion of forcing it, husband and wife must be seen to be transparent in every way. How? If the children from the man have been used to going to the cinema, every Saturday, the ‘privilege’ must also extend to the children of the wife. In fact that distinction of definition which had existed between the children from both sides must disappear the moment the parents become one. And by implication, these children must, at once, become ‘brothers and sisters’.

The second-time couples will also do well to avoid using their present spouses as mirrors for reflecting on their past marriages. That will be a clear disservice to each other. It is assumed that couples, who have been married the first time, before there was a rupture, have learnt their lessons and by the fact of having another go at marriage are now fully equipped to survive all the storms and strictures which may come their way.

Photo Credit: Picture Quotes

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