Divorce is when a married couple decided to end their marriage relationship for good. In Kenya it seems to be on the rise more than ever. I have a relative who divorced in 1976. Do you know how many divorce cases our courts were handling then per year? At most 10. Today the statistics are in their thousands.
The process of divorce in Kenya is dependent on what system of marriage you got married in. In Kenya you can get married and divorce through one of four systems. One can get married under the African Christian Marriage and Divorce Act (Cap 150 of Laws of Kenya). You can get married under the Mohammedan Marriage and Divorce Act .
You can also get married under the Kenyan customary culture and divorce is by informing the community or elders – it is a process and it depends from one community to another. The fourth route of marriage and divorce in Kenya is under the Hindu marriage and divorce act (Cap 250 of Laws of Kenya)
Marriage is a special institution created by God for humans to respect, appreciate and enjoy. Marriage is meant to be a lifetime commitment that involves understanding and resilience coupled with a deep understanding of the original intention of marriage. Just like God made a sacrifice we too in marriage must make that sacrifice. These are just basic facts on marriage. So what causes divorce.
The Causes of divorce can vary from one couple to another. however, listed here is the most common in our society.
a) Unfaithfulness – nowadays there is a lot of unfaithfulness in Kenya with the advent of pre marital sex and so many shows on our television screens which portray premarital sex as okay. Being married does not seem to exclude one from this arena of extra marital sex. When a faithful partner finds out, there is bound to be trouble which could lead to divorce.
b) Domestic violence is anther cause of divorce. It takes time before the abused partner makes the decision to leave and causing a divorce.
c) Infertility of a Partner can cause one partner to leave causing an end to the marriage or if the marriage only has children of one sex, the husband is likely to leave the wife in search of a wife who can get a child of the opposite sex.
d) Modern wives are economically independent and desire equality and this can be a cause of friction in a marriage as most kneyan husband still expect a wife to be submissive. An economically empowered woman can find it difficult to be submissive and the husband can interpret this as lack of respect and it can cause divorce.
e) In Kenya the pressure from ‘In Law’ relatives can also cause friction in marriage as they are normally demanding things that a couple cannot agree on and consequently cause divorce.
The causes of divorce can be many depending on the partners but the Law of Kenya recognises only four reasons to allow for divorce. They are:
a) Adultery by any partner.
b) Desertion without cause for 3 years after the application for divorce.
c) Being treated with Cruelty
d) If one of the partners is of unsound mind or has committed the crimes of rape or sodomy within the family.
This are the four most common legal reasons however, if you can be able to prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken down and there is no hope for restoring the marriage, the Court can also allow such a ground.
Effect of Divorce in Kenya on Children
When Parents divorce they are normally thinking of themselves. However, they never seem to remember there are children and they too can be affected by such a decision. Infact i think the most affected party in a divorce is children. Let me give you an example.
Now my parents divorced and I was brought up by a very strong mother. The consequence is that I do not know how to submit to a man. Why? because I have never seen my mum submit to a man. Infact submission for me from when I was young feels like a violation of my human rights. Don’t get me wrong, I would want to submit but i do not know how.
That is just one example of how divorce affects children. You can find a child who was naturally an extrovert become an introvert due to a divorce. The effects are also dependant on the age of the child.
This is to say the parent who is left with the children should be more proactive in ensuring they watch their children so that they are not affected negatively.
Another effect is that if the boy child is left with the mother and the mother does not allow the boy child access to their father or does not get a positive male role model who can positively impact and nurture the boy into a man, then we raise husbands that do not know how to be husbands. This could explain why the number of single women in Kenya is on the rise in an alarming way.
11 Tips on how to Avoid a Divorce in Kenya in your marriage
1) I think the number one way to avoid divorce is to choose your partner with utmost care. I think this is one of the most important decisions in one’s life. Why? Because the person you marry will either bless or curse you. A marriage spouse can make your life a joy or miserable. Did you know that 90% of millionaires in America never divorce? Divorce affects your net worth negatively so do not be in a hurry to get married even if your biological clock is ticking. Choose wisely.
2) It is true that if you change your thinking, everything around you including relationships change. We can help you save your marriage and avoid divorce by helping you become a better you. How? Read my article Any Personal Success Coach In Kenya?
3) Once you get married, remember Love is a choice and not a feeling. This means to make your marriage work, you have to make a conscious decision to love and commit to the other. This is because marriage is not a destination but a school where you learn more about yourself than anyone else. Whether you learn or not is dependant on how you handle the challenges you face in your marriage.
4) Every marriage under the sun has conflicts. Why? Because where there is more than one human being there must be conflict. So for your marriage to be successful, you must have a conflict resolution policy in advance. The main rule in your conflict resolution policy should be ‘none of you should go to bed angry’. This will ensure that all your conflicts all have a time limit to exist before resolution. Marriage is a journey of many up’s and down. It is important to keep forgiving each other and forget past mistakes.
5) Each couple must be learn the art of forgiveness of one another as they accommodate each other with their shortcomings.
6) Finances is the number one cause of divorce in Kenya. Couples who have stayed married for long agree that the money of both parties belongs to the family and not to the husband or wife. I once heard Joel who has been married for over 30 years say, “hapa hakuna pesa ya mtu binafsi’ (here there is no money belonging to any individual) meaning that all money belongs to the family. This is the couple that keeps one bank account. I understand this is difficult for couples today. Whatever the case, finances is one area you need a policy agreed upon by both parties before marriage.
7) A couple who desires to avoid divorce, they must both work towards attaining the art of Communication. You should never allow your marriage to reach where you leave written messages for each other.
8) I strongly believe that marriage in the 21st Century is not possible without divine intervention. It is therefore each couples duty to develop a relationship with the Almighty and to agree to live according to the Holy Scriptures. This will make your marriage a bond of three strands (husband, wife and God) instead of two and therefore very difficult to break.
9) This advice is mostly to women. Women we talk alot about ourselves to other women and even when we have marital problems we feel free to discuss them. We need to rethink this strategy. Letting your friends know every detail of what is happening in your marriage does not edify your marriage. It is your responsibility to protect your family from outside influences because there are people who do not like seeing others happy.
10) Love covers a multitude of sins. A couple should therefore learn to resolve their issues together instead of looking for outside assistance.
11) You should always look for ways and means to make your Sex life a memorable one because the number one reason why husbands stray from their homes is because of unfulfilled Sex.
In Conclusion, divorce in Kenya does not have to be the pattern of modern marriages. When a couple got married they were truly in love. When and why does a couple stop being in love. You can avoid it. Just ensure that the love never dies out.
Continue to date and arrange special moments for just both of you without the children. Where is the time? I hear you ask? There is time for everything. If your marriage is important to you, Create time. If you do not, the children whom you spend so much time with ignoring your partner are the same people that will be so negatively affected by your decision to divorce because you never gave your spouse and marriage time.
Work hard and SMART on your marriage, research on the internet, read books as to how to maintain the flame. Take 100% responsibility of your marriage and don’t allow anything to happen that could lead to divorce.