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Marriage may not be all sweet, divorce is bitter –Modupe Adeniran

  • ‘Couples should know marriage is bigger than big wedding’

 

Nigeria is fast entering into a group of nations in the world with the high rate of divorce. The alarming rate of marriage breakups woke up the curiosity of one Nigeria’s brilliant thinkers, Modupe Adeniran, who is the publisher of award winning Wedding Planner magazine. Just like her style is to ask questions about happenings around her, she once again found herself in a journey of using her experiences to inform the society. In this interview with IFEOMA ONONYE, Adeniran shares the truth about divorce that many were not told and many other issues to consider before getting a divorce or separated in her first book ‘Before You Say I Dont’

 

What inspired you to start the popular Wedding Planner Magazine back then?

 

I see myself as a very selfish person. Everything I have ever done in my life, have always been about me. I started with Beauty Health and Fashion Show. As at that time, I was feeling vain. I wanted to be slimmer and lighter.

So, I started asking questions. Everything I have ever done in my life started by me asking questions. When I get my answers, I share and I make my money from sharing.

When I got my answers to looking better, I started asking if people know about the information I have. That was how I started Beauty Health and Fashion Show. It was on AIT, NTA, MBI and a few other channels. Eight to nine years into Beauty Health and Fashion Show, I was 29 years going to 30. I had interviewed all the big names in the beauty and fashion industry in Lagos. I was like, what next? Nothing else was happening and I I knew I was done.

 

Next thing was that I wanted to get married and because I loved writing, I started asking what would I need if I am to get married. I would need wedding dress, make up, cakes. So, I made a list. I realised it was not easy to find all these. Mind you, I had not found husband yet. The relationship I had then was not leading anywhere.

So, I started looking for where to get those wedding needs. When I got answers, I decided to share and that was how I created television version of wedding planner. I put in a lot of work in it. I wanted people to find easy dresses, easy make up artists. I always looked out for what would make someone buy the magazine.

 

Is ‘Before You Say I Dont’ your first book?

Absolutely but I actually wrote my first book when I was 12. It was titled ‘Me, Myself and I’. I was in secondary school when I wrote the book but I never published it. I am naturally a loner. I didn’t like my secondary school back then. I just realized that I was always alone. I had a journey on my own and that has been me till date anyway. It was a boarding school.

So, I was mostly alone and I find myself writing all I felt in the book.

Tell us the main reason behind writing the book ‘Before

You Say I Dont’. 17/18 years after marriage. 17 to 18 years being part of people’s wedding through my wedding planner magazine, then divorce started happening everywhere.

It was literally happening to me too. I started asking why is divorce everywhere? I could answer why mine didn’t work but why are others leaving their marriages? I started researching. I started reading about it. I was not reading so that I could write a book. I wanted to have a blog but with the rate of divorce that is happening everywhere I look, I felt that a blog would take me forever to pass the message across.

 

I was thinking that before I could write one topic, another person has divorced. I needed the information to come out once. I was pained with the number of people walking out of their marriages. Why was I pained? I was married for 17 to 18 years. I realised that because I was not enjoying my marriage, I kept on saying ‘I don’t mind getting out’. I would even discuss it with my husband like, ‘should we go our separate ways?

 

We weren’t fighting. We just don’t connect that much. I felt that he was not making me happy enough and I wasn’t making him happy either. We have had our three children. Please what are we doing with each other? So, it was a cold marriage. Emotional cold marriage but we are still good friends.

Are you still in the marriage?

I am separated. I can’t say that I am divorced. We are basically living apart.

 

When the reality of being separated from the marriage happened, I realised that the words that I was speaking was different from the feeling. I was like, so this is what divorce feels like. Do people really know this is what divorce feels like? I mean, I may feel cold about my marriage or not like the man as much as before, but I would still prefer him sitting down with me in the same house. That feeling. I was not the one that eventually ended the mar  been saying you wanted to go, may be we should go our separate ways’. I accepted it. I wrote the book from what I felt from my own experience.

This Dupe you are seeing, is not looking for boyfriend. She does not want to remarry. I was not being beaten in my marriage. I was not being abused or slapped but why didn’t I stay in the marriage? Though it wasn’t my decision to leave. I was now asking myself, what if someone had told me that divorce is hard.

What I mean by hard is that, it is not sweet here and it is not sweet outside either. If staying married doesn’t make you happy, getting out won’t make you happier but you can choose your ‘unhappy’. I would have preferred to give my children that home. If five of us, I mean, I, my children and my husband sit together, it’s usually fun. Me and him together, not fun. As a family, we have a beautiful family but we don’t have a beautiful marriage. I would have preferred to give the family a chance as against making the decision about myself. I would have preferred the picture of the family than what we have now where one person is missing.

 

I didn’t know what I was saying then, that I want to leave. What I am saying is, do people know what they are doing when they are rooting for a divorce.

Most women don’t know how to take decisions when it comes to relationship, or if they are rejected by their partner. Some don’t know how to handle trauma. That is why in some cases, we see people jumping into the lagoon to their death or drinking insecticides.  What is your advice to women who are in the middle of taking a serious decision about their relationship, marriage?

It’s not only women that have a problem of taking decisions. Men too have this problem. Men think that women suffer more in divorce. Women suffer in a different way.

Men suffer in a different way also. Men always believe, ‘Oh she is not going to go’ until she goes, and they are like ‘wow, she really did’. They may immediately jump out and start another relationship with the next woman but there is a cut. There is something swept under that is not being nurtured, that he is using another woman to cover up. Basically, what my book is saying is, ‘can you look at your marriage?

Can you do without your marriage? Be sure you can do without it before you treat it with negligence. A lot of people treat their marriages as if it is not a big deal. Be sure you can do without your marriage which you feel is not a big deal before you let your partner go. The book is just saying be sure the marriage is not worth it. Search inwards.

Do you believe couples should go for counseling more?

Of course, it is very important but the problem is that people who are doing the counseling are not counseling well. I once called a pastor friend and my question was, ‘does the bible scare us enough about divorce?

Because I don’t think so. What the Bible said is that God does not like divorce. God does not like lying, God does not like cheating and immorality but we still do it all. To me, it does not scare us enough or give more information why God does not like divorce. What the book does is help you ask yourself the right questions. People need to know what they will feel when they take a step towards divorce. They need information on what to expect when they divorce more than just saying ‘God does not like divorce’.

Let them make informed decisions. Pastors are getting divorced, relationship experts are getting divorced. So, what are we talking about? There are so many that have Instagram certified wedding but they don’t have a marriage.

In marriage and divorce, why does it seem the woman suffers more?

Most time, the woman suffers more because she is with the children and they have to take all the time in the world to start over.

They start all over nurturing the kids, caring for themselves. Most good women have to make sure, first of all, that their children are settled before you start thinking of anything else. Most reasonable women will take a lot of time in pain than most men. Men would easily find another person that would say all the nice things the ex-wife was not saying. Eventually, he believes the new woman respects him.

They believe it’s beautiful until the that person begins to reveal themselves. Yes, the woman bears the brunt but deep down, even the man’s hurt lasts as well. This is why there is a lot of fights between divorced couples. Even if you are going your separate ways, can we do it amicably because of the next five to 10 years? Even if you are going to get separated, there are better ways of doing it. Can we be at peace?

So that the children can have both their parents 100%. My kids have their father’s attention anytime they need him.

Are you still publishing the Wedding Planner Magazine?

Not at the moment.

For someone that has handled wedding planning magazine for many years, you have been directly or indirectly involved in many weddings.   Doesn’t it seem contradictory when you wrote this book about divorce?

Absolutely not. The brides, who got married 10 to 15 to 18 years ago was told about the wedding, the paparazzi but no one told them about the marriage. We make so much noise about the big wedding but no one takes time to talk to the same brides about marriage. I feel a bit guilty that we didn’t tell them enough about marriage.

Can we tell future brides now, that this is marriage and this is divorce.

And the ones that we didn’t tell in the past and have gotten divorced, can we help them heal? This is why the book is for those who are married and for those who are yet to get married.

 

You said something about doing a lot of talking about divorce and other issues.  Are you thinking of a talk show?

 

May be, not a talk show but I will be doing a lot of talking. I want to pass a lot of information. I often wondered and asked God, why didn’t another person write the book, so that I can read and work on my marriage. I think I would have done better. I wrote it in part of the book that I dont think I worked on my marriage as hard as I should.

You can still go back, since you are not officially divorced?

I don’t know about that. I am a very different person now. May be, that is why God chose me to write the book. I can go back and make it work, and I can stay out and still make it work. We are still friends.

Can I be nicer to him? Maybe I can try. I was honest in the book. I did not try my best. That is why, when he said, ‘it’s no longer working. Let’s go out separate ways’. I just let him go. I think that was why I was able to forgive him. He hurt me in certain ways but I was able to forgive him because I was honest with myself that I am not that easy to deal with. If you are able to tell yourself the truth, you will be able to forgive the next person.

So the book is you pouring yourself out?

Yes. I used a bit of my honesty. I want anyone who reads the book to be honest with themselves and say in all honesty that we didn’t try, because the truth is that we are not trying enough for our marriage to work. I was able to tell myself that I did not try enough, hoping that the next person will also say, I am not trying enough. I want people to find themselves genuinely in the book.

 

How long did it take to put the book together?

 

I did the research for five months, writing was three months. God gave me that book to write. He said, after 18 years of collecting people’s money, because I made money from that Industry, it’s your book to write.

 

Obviously, you didn’t study all you have done in any university?

Absolutely not. I studied Accounting and I did not use it for anything. I am bad at business. The only thing I know I am good at is asking questions to profer solution. I have always known I have this talent of helping people see the truth right from my secondary school days.

 

People come to me with their relationship issues and I always give advice and tell them where they are doing wrong. So, even before writing the book, I have always been a relationship person. I will love to do more on that part. To help more people.

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