The Romans had an interesting view towards marriage Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Ã¢â‚¬Ëœmatrimonia debent esse liberaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ or Ã¢â‚¬Ëœmarriages ought to be freeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢. This meant that either spouse could opt out of the marriage if things werenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t working out. Centuries later, Victorian England had a vastly different view. People got married and stayed together for better or for worse. Society frowned on divorce and divorced people were likely to find themselves social pariahs. But now divorces have taken such a toll that there is no stopping them. PAIDA MPASO finds out what the major causes of divorces are.
According to principal resident magistrate Mzonde Mvula, the main reasons people separate these days include unfaithfulness, unequal gender relations and wife desertion.
“However, in most customary divorces that I have handled, the most common one is the unequal gender relation. When the husband has too much power in the household, this becomes a problem as he gets too much control of many household issues, hence loses his communicating abilities and this makes the women angry,” he says.
In one of his books titled Twelve Traps in TodayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Marriages and How to Avoid Them, former professor of marriage, family and human development at Brigham Young University Brent Barlow writes;
Divorce usually comes when two people who were once very close, perhaps even soulmates, have become separated. Perhaps not separated physically, but separated mentally, as their goals and aspirations take different routes. So, digging a little deeper, the cause of this is communication or rather, the lack of it between couples.
“Communication is a two way street. One person cannot do all the talking and the other one do all the listening. Talking is a skill that most of us are born with, but very few of us have really mastered, or even tried to master the fine art of listening. You need to listen to what your partner is saying, and value that input.”
According to Mvula, one of the adverse effects of lack of communication; divorces, affects children in the family much more than the adults themselves.
“I deal with these cases almost every day and I see the hurt in many people. Even the process itself is disheartening; it is something which is not healthy and should be avoided if need be,” he says.
According to Mvula, when a couple wants to file for divorce, the one complainant meets up with the magistrate to present his or her case. A date is then set for hearing , where the guilty party is asked to compensate the other member.
“Usually these judgements are done when the one filing for divorce has already reached their maximum boiling point and have tried all they can to save their marriages. Some might have gone to the ankhoswes (marriage counsellors) for counselling, while others visit the church,” he says.
Even though people might consider divorce as a final solution, Reverend Vincent Chirwa of Baptist Church says working through the situation out is the best option.
“Even though some problems might seem eternal, divorce should not come first. God designed man and woman to be together and share in harmony, so, it is painful for us to witness couples separating,” he adds.