Divorce and Separation

Divorce is permanent dissolution of a marriage relationship while separation can be temporal or short term end of a marriage.

In African tradition what constitutes a divorce must be viewed against the fact that marriage is a process but in most cases it is a delicate accident.

The process is complete when all marriage gifts are completed or birth of a child or when one's child is married or has the first born.

Since it involves the whole society dissolution of a marriage is extremely hard and if it happens it creates a scar in that society / family or between people involved but this depends on particular society.





Sterility / bareness since it block the stream of life but in some societies it can be solved by polygamy and not divorce.

Continued cruelty and mistreatment by husband / wife through beating and abuse of partner's rights as a human being.

Figure 9 Anti Wife beating Billboard: Mistreatment of a spouse in a family may lead to divorce. Former VP Specioza Kazibwe gave the same reason for her failure in marriage.

Figure 10: What has caused this? What solutions do you suggest for such a family?

In some societies marriages would break down if found not a virgin or the boy fails to perform on the wedding night. Those are issues couples should address early before the situation worsens.

The practice and suspicion of witchcraft. This is very common in family with no believers in Jesus, relatives of the man and other villagers will automatically chase away a woman suspected to be in witchcraft.

Parental influence particularly if they are unhappy with the girl's behaviour or the boy's family.

Conflicting family norms or vices e.g. witch craft, exhuming and eating dead bodies like it is among the Bakunja in Buganda (the Basezi).

Sometimes producing single sex particularly if all are girls they are not tolerated.

Today religious differences where each partner is not willing to convert to the faith of another.

Today education differences and lack of respect and compatibility.

Cultural differences and failure to comply with the norms of that society e.g. in some societies first born eaten.

Age differences; most African girls married before 25 years of age so if one marries a girl of higher age or off layer (beyond age for producing) society can put pressure to stop the marriage e.g. the case of a Kenyan woman of 65 who married a boy of 25.

Figure 11 Reflect on the above images and relate with the real marriage situation

Some couples divorce because love dispears as a result of body changes. The beauty one saw many years ago is replaced with grey hair, bald head, wriggles on the face and rough skin.

Excessive consumption of Alcohol

Lack of premarital and marital counselling.

Bad company and peer group influence.

Modern politics where couples belong or support different political ideologies I politicians e.g. njuba separated with wife.

Economic aspect; modern women are no longer dependant to men.

Political instability as each looks for survival separation can arise.

Women emancipation and feeling of equality causing lack of respect for husbands e.g. Kazibwe's marriage failed due to lack of respect by wife (Specioza).

Marriage expectations; sometimes some people marry with lots of expectations and when frustrations come in it results into divorce.

Examine the high rate at which marriages are breaking up in Uganda.

Marriage has lost its place of importance in society.

People can get sexual satisfaction outside marriage.

Today women are more independent and do not value marriage.

Marriage is no longer taken as a duty I vocation. The unmarried are welcomed in society and respected as opposed to the past.

Couples separate to pursue academic ends.

There is no adequate time for courtship.

Unrealistic values in the choice of partners looking for beauty, status, wealth etc.

Forced marriages.

Job mobility; where work opportunities separate the couples.

Inadequate sex education.

Poor examples from elders and parents

The role of mass media such as radio and newspapers, and other films of imparting ideas into the people.

General insecurity caused by wars.

Lack of religious commitment.

As a Christian how would you advise a friend seeking divorce?

Accept each others weakness and look at the strong aspects for stability.

Advise them not to divorce because divorce lowers Christian standards and moral so there is need to be patient with one another.

Divorce makes the vow made before God to be broken (Prov. 2:17).

It is not allowed for any cause in Mt. 19:9, Mk1 02 Jesus discourages it and even calls for remarriage.

They should develop love and forgiveness.

Should learn to be open to one another.

Pray together, a family that prays together stays together.

Should learn to be open to one another.

Pray together a family that prays together stays together.

Should be told that one's first partner is only true and right partner (J n 4: 16-18).

Seek help from Christian women organisation like mothers union, women guild etc.

Divorce is not an ideal plan of God because God hates it (male).

They should learn that marriage is not always heaven but has ups and downs and should prepare to withstand.

Seek guidance from pastors, counsellors, priests

Share their experiences with other mature married people.

Forget past mistakes by reconciling.

Eph. 5:21 wives are called upon to respect husbands and husbands to love wives. (xviii) Parents should not provoke children's anger (Col 3: 18-21). Parents ought to relate with gentleness.

The first love should die to give room to sober lasting love.

Should be faithful to each other.

Christian is encouraged to wed in church and the priest to play their role in premarital counselling.

Effects of divorce

The first effect of any divorce goes to the children in the following ways:-

Lack of parental love. They become homeless lacking basic life.

Mistreatment by co- wives e.g. SSebanga who was denied food.

Lack of parental guidance, poor up bringing and lack of discipline. In case children are mistreated by step mum / father they develop hatred and can fight back.

Stunted growth.

Lack of trust in society.

In most cases they lack education / drop out of school.

Figure 12: Such kids are from a broken home where the parents divorced and the father is an alcoholic. When are lonely, they imitate and drink a lot of alcohol left at home.

Secondly the effects can be on the man in the following:-

We see lack of stability in the home where women who come don't stay for long. People develop lack of trust in the man and look for weaknesses and reasons why he divorce women.

Some men end up frustrated and become drunkards, selling property and land e.g. Kavuma who killed a whole family of 7 with a panga and later committed suicide on 29/4/2004 at Nsanje.

Unfaithfulness of both partners leading to acquisition of STDs and AIDS which is a straight ticket to death.

There is also a problem of boredom and loneliness.

Man can develop psychometric diseases like pressure, ulcers.

Man looses his reputation, respect.

Some men can become gigolos.

Thirdly, the effects can be on the woman as follows:- Prostitution is the first alternative. Failure to get partner to marry or marry worse ones. Frustration and can end up in drunkardness.

If divorce takes place when one is still in love witchcraft can be applied.

It can lead to financial problems.

It can lead to being irreligious.

It can lead to hysterical/heart disease and misery.

Lack of trust in other men.

Figure 13 Such habits are common when a man is staying alone. A man can spend a very dirty life without washing saucepans, plates, clothes and can't clean his house.