Divorce cases on the rise: an investigation into reasons causing disharmony in marriages

Twenty percent of Zimbabwean marriages are likely to end in divorce.

The statistics are likely to go higher in the ensuing years as the country saw a 100 percent increase in divorce cases last year.

Statistics from the Judiciary Service Commission show that in 2020, 1 117 couples filed for divorce and the figure went up to 1 351 the following year.

Last year however, the figure doubled to 2 735 cases against 13 436 recorded marriages.

The phenomenon is not peculiar to Zimbabwe alone with South African statistics showing that 18,208 divorces were granted.

An increasing trend was however observed for black Africans and a declining trend for white population groups.

Zimbabwe is currently witnessing a high profile divorce case involving the former first daughter Bona Mugabe and Simba Chikore.

And as most of these cases go, dirty linen is being aired in public concerning the settlement of properties acquired by the couple.

Days ago, former Zimbabwe national football player Tinashe Nengomasha and Samantha Mtukudzi’s divorce was finally settled giving custody of the couple’s minor children to the former.

The two were involved in a nasty breakup, with the court process having been initiated by Samantha, daughter to the late music icon, Oliver Mtukudzi.

Such incidences leads one to assume that marriage is now a doomed and foregone venture.

Single parenthood now seems a better alternative spurred by many women having joined the labour force.

However this does not alter the fact that marriage still remains a popular feature of our culture.

It is the norm with divorce and single parenthood attracting stereotyping in our patriarchal society.

Therefore, in some capitals and large cities, the trend is toward a longer single life and a later age of first marriage.

Two researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock, Germany who analysed union dissolution in 34 sub-Saharan African even discovered that the propensity by women to remarry after divorce is high, and the pace of remarriage is more rapid in this region than in East and Central Africa.

Marriage is thus carefully interwoven with our cultural fabric thereby making divorce a threat.

As such it makes one question the rise.

Firstly, a research done in South Africa pertaining divorce statistics adds that “more wives than husbands initiated the divorce process.”

Pastor Tonderai Kanongora, a local pastor and a marriage counsellor says this is due to a number of reasons namely gender based violence, HIV/AIDS, infertility and so on.

“My experience as a both a counsellor and pastor has taught me that women initiate divorce for a number of reasons.

“The most common ones are cases of violence which I also caution against. Then, there are those who fail to conceive and in most cases, husbands look elsewhere to sire kids thereby neglecting the main family. When that happens where there is deprivation, women who are financially able will choose to take the divorce route.

“You will also find that infidelity is rife with most men. The temptation to have more than one partner and a tendency to pursue numerous relationships tends to put wives at risk. Therefore, some women usually leave,” he said.

Divorce, it seems has to do with self-interest, as a person regards that which is beneficial to them in the long run.

When all needs are not being met, chiefly emotional down to financial people tend to shift posts.

However, an American blogger and women empowerment coach, Julie Danielson who writes for the Divorce Magazine thinks women initiate divorce because it is easy.

“Usually, when a woman comes to me, they have already decided to divorce. But there are times that I wonder if that divorce was necessary, or was it just easier?”

Despite, the assumption leading to reasons for divorce, one needs to understand the repercussions it tends to have on family and society.

Pastor Kanongora said children tend to lose a lot from divorce.

“Divorce has devastating effects on all involved. However children suffer the most especially if they are grown up. Conflict between parents is likely to cause lasting emotional damages on them. Therefore parents should put them first when making such crucial decisions.

“Regardless of the state of a divorce, whether peaceful or not, children need counselling to weather through divorce as their parents may get emotionally distant when dealing with divorce proceedings leaving them neglected.”

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