Divorcing for wrong reasons

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THERE is one thing that scares a lot of people thinking about getting married. But again, if we were all afraid of getting hitched just because there was a chance we would get divorced, then there wouldn’t be married people around.

There are those of us who aren’t afraid of divorce because they simply will get married again. We can count celebrities among this productive group from the marital side of things so to speak. Larry King of Larry King Live fame on CNN has divorced so often that he would have to hire a stadium for their reunion.

Elizabeth Taylor changed husbands more often than Imelda Marcos changed shoes while King Henry VIII (1491 to 1547) went to the extent of founding the Anglican Church just to get divorced!

How about that neighbour who lives with a lovely woman and children, but he refuses to marry. Why? He has three brothers who had long relationships with their girlfriends and inevitably got married; supposedly at gunpoint but that’s beside the point.

According to him, the result of these unions was an immediate escalation of domestic warfare and a flurry of divorces a couple of years down the line. So logic says that if you don’t want a divorce, don’t get married.

Money guru Robert Frank writes about an episode of ABC’s soap drama Dirty Sexy Money where a filthy rich heiress Karen Darling gets married for the fourth time to a gold digger. Minutes after the ceremony, she decides to have a divorce, leaving the golfer to wonder about his $3 million guarantee in the prenuptial agreement.

Mercenary unions, price-tag partnerships or cheque book breakups, Frank writes, are increasingly making the headlines. Yet the more stupid divorces are not. For instance, this couple broke up because of toilet paper. She was a sensible sort of woman who insisted that the loo paper should hang with the loose end as close as possible, so that it was easy to reach. He on the other hand was an engineer who knew all about air flow. Talk about incompatibility.

He explained it’s alright for a woman, but when a man has a pee, the rush of fluid causes a partial vacuum that can suck the loose, flapping end of the toilet paper into its path. “Now you do not want me to wet the toilet paper, do you?”

“No,” she said, “And I don’t want you to hang it the ‘wrong’ way either!”

So for a number of years, their toilet paper had a sort of a yoyo existence. One could easily tell who the last visitor to the little room was by the way the roll was hanging. They were both right and they were sure that they were right. Therefore, eventually they had to part ways, due to this particular irreconcilable diversity.

What about the contentious issue of mothers-in-law? Men know that if not handled properly, they can break up marriages. But this case involving Mike and Fiona was a bit unorthodox.

When Mike’s father-in-law died, he suggested that Fiona’s mother move in with them. While Mike seemed to get along with the old girl, he was not getting along that well with Fiona.

So whenever they had a squabble, mamazala took Mike’s side. So, at last, Fiona walked out saying that since the two were such an item, they might as well get married!

Another interesting case involves what is familiar territory for traditionalists and those married to them.

It was that of a man who wanted a son, but his wife gave him twin girls and another girl and another until they ended up with 11 daughters and not a single son.

After the 11th girl he gave up, and ran off with a woman half his age which is quite typical. He couldn’t win though — his new wife refused to have any kids at all. Served him right the Neanderthal!

Those with pets will identify with this one of a mechanic who lost his wife because of the dog. Every day, he came from work, had a shower, got changed into casual clothes and took the dog for a long walk.

Sometimes he was away for hours, which was alright until his wife glanced at him as he was undressing for bed. He was wearing a bit of lipstick — on his navel! She didn’t think it was a lick from the dog. The following case that really takes the cup involves a young couple who divorced because of an acute case of “while you are up”. They would be sitting in front of the TV, both dreadfully hanging out for a cup of coffee, but both hoping that the other one would make it. As soon as the bottom left the chair, the other would say, “While you’re up, could you make me a cup of tea?”

So, not being the one to get up became a serious contest of wills. Eventually, this led to chronic bladder problems because both held back with such determination. They then consulted a medical specialist who recommended a divorce. Of course!

Lenox Lizwi Mhlanga is a social commentator