Fireproof Your Marriage

“My cousin Jane’s husband is really sweet. He took the family to Garden City Mall last Saturday. Their photos on Facebook are just wow! I wish the kids and I had someone who loved us enough to take us out too.” Violet addressed her husband who was busy at his laptop.

Justin briefly looked up from his laptop without saying a word. He had deadlines to meet and he was not going to allow any distractions. It was 10.00 p.m. on a Saturday evening and he still had a lot to accomplish before Monday morning.

Justin met Violet while she was a student in a beauty college in the city of Nairobi. He was mesmerized by her beauty and within a couple of months from their first meeting, they were dating.

He was smitten and his life seemed to revolve around her and making her happy. They chatted daily, met almost every weekend.

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He proposed to her while she was in her final year in college and she accepted. She moved in to his place soon after she graduated. 

Violet did not get a job despite the many job applications she submitted. She got pregnant after just three months with him. His family visited her family officially and paid dowry, so their marriage was official. They were blessed with a beautiful baby girl.

By the time the baby was 1 year old, she was pregnant again. Two kids in 3 years. She no longer looked for a job. She settled down to being a full-time stay-at-home-mom. Are you preparing for marriage? Find out the dos and don’ts of preparation for marriage here.

Responsibilities grew, pushing Justin to work even harder at his job. He progressed careerwise. He was in sales and marketing and traveled extensively.

Violet would call him all the time even when he was in meetings or driving. She would get upset if he did not pick her calls. 

Justin was gradually getting irritated because his wife portrayed no motivation to improve herself. There was a lot she could do from home to make herself productive but she did not make the effort.

Her husband provided everything. She had a house help so she did not have much to do at home. She spent her free time in gossip groups on Facebook and watching soap operas on TV. 

Violet spent a lot on her grooming and was forever asking her husband for money. She spent money in beauty salons weekly, without fail. If it was not her hair being done, it was her nails or her face. She was extravagant.

Negative Criticism

She constantly criticized her husband for putting too much emphasis on his job and neglecting her needs. She never discussed anything constructive with him, just complaints and more complaints.

Justin spent a lot of time away from home because of the nature of his job. 

Damaris – the head of the sales and marketing department – paid attention to him and his career. She saw the potential in him and was determined to make him shine. She held regular meetings with him to check on his progress and to identify the areas he needed to work on.


Damaris had great ideas and she helped him excel at his job. One thing led to another and eventually they were having an affair. She was instrumental in his success.

His wife found out about the affair and she screamed at him, threatened him. She caused a lot of drama on Facebook, saying how she and her husband started out at the bottom and now that he had progressed in his career he was cheating on her with his boss. Hundreds of women joined the drama, calling both Justin and Damaris all manner of names.

The turn of events made Justin realize that he no longer loved Violet, that he did not want to be with her anymore. She told him that his other woman was nothing but a good-for-nothing whore, a homewrecker, and a gold digger.

All this opened his eyes. Damaris was the woman who made him who he was, who paid attention to him and supported him. His wife spent his money while bringing no value to the relationship. 

 His wife’s name calling really hurt him. He realized that he loved Damaris and not her, that he respected Damaris a lot and could not tolerate having her disrespected. That was the woman who made him who he was. He decided that day that his future belonged with Damaris.

Violet was devastated. She had nothing to show in terms of achievements after 7 years of marriage. She went down with depression. She got admitted to hospital. The medical cover from Justin’s job paid the bills. After she was dicharged from hospital, she moved back to her parents’ rural home.

Justin not only chose to end the marriage but also sued for custody of their two children. He proved to the court that his wife was not capable of taking care of their two young children. She had no source of income and her mental state was not stable. The court granted him custody of the children.

Violet’s condition deteriorated with time and she died. Years down the road, her children knew the step mom as their mom. The memory of Violent gradually faded.

What are some of the Major Causes of Breakdown of Marriages?

* Repeated acts of adultery
* Shift in priorities and/or differences in priorities
* Lack of communication
* Interference from the extended family
* Unhealthy ways of coping with stress such as Drug or alcohol abuse/addictions
* Physical and/or emotional abuse
* Sexual problems and/or infertility
* Financial problems
* Unfulfilled expectations
* Religious or cultural differences
* Falling out of love/getting bored of the relationship
* Controlling spouse
* Mental health/emotional stability issues
* Jealousy, insecurity or lack of trust
* Difficult life situations such as serious illness in the family or long term unemployment

How Do You Fireproof Your Marriage?

Anyone can make a marriage proposal or say yes to such a proposal. But making a marriage work long term is not for the faint-hearted.


Think of that athlete who sets a goal of winning a gold medal in the London Marathon. He embarks on a journey that has no guarantees. There are no promises that the journey will be easy. 

He faces challenges along the way including having to put in hours in training and nursing injuries. He does not give up and quit when the going gets tough.

Life is full of ups and downs and marriage is not an exception. Many times people get into marriage without weighing the cost of making a marriage work long term. They have prepared for the good but not for the bad. When the challenges of life come, they throw in the towel.

I do not believe in one person in a marriage being a burden to the other year in year out. No. Marriage takes a commitment by two individuals, not one. If you have to build the marriage all on your own while your partner is a joy rider who is nothing but a burden to you, that will not work long term. 

There is a limit to how long we can keep going while running on one leg. That one leg will get tired and give way. We can sustain it for short periods of time but the leg that is carrying the weight of the entire body all on its own will need help sooner or later or it will not be able to keep moving.


Commitment and communication go hand in hand. You both make a commitment that you will discuss issues no matter how you feel, even when the going gets tough. 

You want to do something that you know your partner might not agree with. You do not do it behind their back in order to avoid opposition. You gather courage, face your spouse and bring up the issue. 
And that is not all, commitment means giving your partner the audience to air his or her views so you do not just inform your spouse about your plans. You have a discussion about it and you listen.

One of the major problems in the marriage institution is poor communication or failure to communicate. People get angry with their spouses and they do not tell them what they are angry about. 

Many others try to tell about why they are angry but they choose the wrong timing and the wrong methods of communication.

Communication is both verbal and non-verbal. People will complain, criticize, put down or tell off the spouse, shout, throw tantrums and every other wrong method of communication. 

People will bang doors, shout at the children or the domestic servants, bang pots and pans in the kitchen, sulk, become rude or harsh, withhold sex and all manner of wrong ways of passing a point. They end up hurting the relationship further through faulty communication.

When the mood has been set for a couple to not stand being around each other, the ground has been prepared for all manner of problems including turning the extended family, the children and friends against the spouse, disrespect and opening the door for infidelity to sneak in.

Someone who is lonely and rejected by the spouse is vulnerable when it comes to infidelity. It is also easier to cheat on someone one is angry at and that one no longer respects or cares about. 

A person who is not in good terms with the spouse is at risk of getting a shoulder to lean on from someone else. Many times infidelity is just but a symptom of a relationship that failed a long time ago.

Infidelity destroys many marriages, yet in most cases, it is a symptom of other problems that have been left unhandled for too long. 

Infidelity has roots in issues such as failure to establish boundaries with the extended family, communication problems, lack of teamwork, failure to handle financial matters correctly, unhealthy ways of dealing with stress, sweeping issues under the rug and much more.

Marriages are failing at an alarming rate but there is so much a couple can do to build a marriage with a strong foundation. It takes a decision and commitment to fire proof a marriage.

This article is written By Susan Catherine Keter, a life coach, mentor, freelancer and blogger

Financial Independence Africa