Precursors to divorce

Precursors to divorce

A marriage naturally starts with good intentions and big dreams, as the couple dream of building a happy family and having children through whom they fulfill the feelings of motherhood and fatherhood. Each of them sees in their new relationship an independent life that is full of happiness and fulfillment of wishes. However, stormy problems, sometimes even trivial issues, and lack of understanding and clarity between them kill their dreams. Their failure to understand the psychological and physical differences between them causes many problems without them realizing that there is a cancer festering in their relationship that would lead to miserable situations, then eventually ruin that relationship and break the bond of their marriage. This happens slowly over time until divorce takes place and their happy family life ends in misery and failure. Any divorce is preceded by precursors, and they are of different kinds.

First: emotional separation

This kind of separation is very common and occurs as the feelings between the spouses start to fade. Its indicators include the absence of many behaviors and actions that express love, such as words of love and admiration, gifts, sending romantic messages, going out together to public places like restaurants, romantic phone calls, great care and concern and spending time with each other away from people.

Emotional separation continues between the spouses although they live together, but, at the emotional level, they are already divorced. At this stage, there is no longer communication between them and each of them starts to ignore the other, especially the husband as he would not initiate nor respond to intimacy with his wife. He settles for meeting the needs of the household and children and goes out with her for shopping, and sits with her for long hours without saying a word about his personal affairs or sharing any emotional feelings; rather, he talks only about general affairs, especially those related to the children and family. Sadly, these kinds of conversations would most likely take place in a formal manner. During their engagement, he used to shower her with words of love, but after marriage, all this stops because he reaches a saturation point, and this does not change unless he feels emotional hunger, unlike the wife who is saturated with emotions all the time, yet does not mind receiving more. This imbalance is problematic for their marriage life. Unfortunately, husbands are oblivious to this point, especially the recently-married ones, and this weakens their marital relationship due to the lack of awareness and understanding of the value of emotions and passions for each party and the big difference in their emotional expressions and responses as a man and a woman.

Second: sentimental separation

This refers to the husband’s inner feelings of rejection towards his wife, lack of desire to spend time with her and distaste for her company. He performs his duties towards her in terms of going out with her on family errands and visits, but inwardly he rejects her company, feels averse to her and constantly tries to avoid being with her. Even a few minutes he spends with her seem irritable or intolerable and talking with her causes him anxiety and pain. The relationship between them thus turns into one of needs only.

Third: verbal separation

At this stage, the spouses cease to have calm and quiet dialogue and their voices become louder and sharper, as they are no longer able to reason with nor endure one another. The husband remains silent most of the time and the wife feels upset and sad, and their conversation becomes limited to the basic needs of the household and children. Even the expression of negative feelings stops at that point; she does not complain, nor does he express his resentment, boredom, and anger.

Fourth: physical separation

At this stage, the husband tries to avoid face to face meetings and starts to refrain from having any physical contact with his wife. He retreats to one side of the bed and turns his back to her or may even go to sleep in the children’s room or the living room. In the previous phases, he used to share the bed and room with her despite all the negatives and lack of emotional and verbal communication, but, in this phase, he even rejects her presence in the same place with him. Long periods of time would pass with no physical contact between them, not even slight contact like the touching of hands. He avoids running into her by all possible means. They rarely engage in intimacy, and when they do, it is like performing a duty. Love is no longer a factor fueling the desire to touch. The wife would try to approach her husband and initiate physical intimacy but he declines and justifies it by many things such as having headache, lack of sexual desire, fatigue, etc., but the truth is that he has reached the point of having an aversion towards her and towards touching her.

Fifth: financial separation

At this stage, the spouses separate financially. The husband does not pay for his wife’s personal expenses, especially if she is working and has an income. He stops giving her money lest she misinterprets this as an expression of affection. He also tries to neglect his financial duties towards the family and children. At that point, the spouses no longer have a shared budget, family projects, or any shared financial matters.

Sixth: family separation

At this stage, the problems between the spouses extends to the dependents; especially the children, other household members and servants. Everyone starts to notice that there is a problem between the husband and wife, and they start wondering what caused the aversion between them. From here the matters becomes more serious, and little bit worse and harmful because young children experience feelings of insecurity, fear of the unknown, and fear that the family might split or that one of the parents might move out, leaving them with a single parent. This feeling causes mental stress, anxiety and acute psychological crisis for children as they start having an internal conflict due to their fear of insecurity and separation.

Seventh: separation of the extended family

When the marital problems are not kept private and are made public to the household members, it is not surprising that they eventually reach the extended family and relatives. At this point, naturally, the family of each spouse starts to take sides with their son or daughter, accuse rancor, hatred, and spite against each other, strive to prove that the other spouse is in error and acquit their own; but unfortunately, this approach only adds fuel to the fire. Accordingly, the problems exacerbate and worsen, causing lack of communication between the two families until the ties between them are cut off altogether. They cease to show mutual affection, exchange visits, or communicate with one another and end up in total separation.

Eighth: decion of separation (leagal divorce)

Eventually, at this stage, as spouses, they are going to carry out the crucial and miserable decision of their married life. When all the means of communication between the spouses are cut at the emotional and physical levels, and all relations between their extended families are also severed, nothing remains to tie them together. This marks the beginning of the stage of ultimate separation which is filing for divorce. They embark on a journey of psychological, physical and spiritual misery as they watch their relationship suffer the throes of death; a relationship that Allah, the Exalted, Says about (what means): {and He placed between you affection and mercy} [Quran 30:21] Through divorce, the spouses try to bury these feelings and memories of their time together as husband and wife, which, even if it had tragic episodes, it must have also included many warm sentiments, intimate moments, delicate feelings and happy incidents.

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