Before the turn of this century, most people’s dreams were always about meeting someone special and enjoying an intimate and loving relationship that is fulfilling and meaningful and lasting. But thats no more and as a millennial myself, I don’t buy that crap called marriage. My views are supported by a survey showing 33 per cent of first marriages end in divorce after a period of only six years thanks to a lack of shared values.In an era where physical attraction and similar interests attract people to each other in the beginning it is a couple’s shared values that eventually determines whether the relationship lasts the test of time. When partners are reviewing the values that make up their relationship they must make sure they discuss those values which exert the greatest influence on a relationship’s longevity and happiness. However, thanks to social media, marriages are failing and falling in unprecedented levels. Ending a marriage is not always an easy thing to do, but more couples are getting divorced in Africa at alarming rates.There are plenty of reasons why people choose to split up. Financial reasons and infidelity are often cited as the main causes of divorce. Many unfortunate women also opt for divorce because they cannot handle staying in an abusive marriage.
In Africa, however, social messaging services and urban lifestyles are being blamed for the spike in divorce with Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa being most affected.Marriage Laws in these countries contains very strict requirements for couples wanting to divorce, which include being able to present many witnesses to prove the marriage is failing. The rise of communication technology seems to have changed that.It is clear Women are more likely to initiate a divorce than men in Kenya, Nigeria while men are more likely than women in South Africa. However, over the past three years the proportion of joint applicants for divorce has been increasing, while the proportion of applications by only the male or only the female has decreased.A divorce lawyer I spoke to, said with the ubiquity of smartphones couples were no longer required to present the necessary witnesses in court.“Now we can use a screenshot of WhatsApp messenger chat to show the judges that a husband or wife is having an affair or a couple is fighting a lot,” he said.Data released by an American research company suggested that divorce petitions were piling up at African court’s desk, where progressive increases in the number of cases could be seen with 907,624 petitions in 2013 to 2,678,770 in 2016. African court’s data obtained by researcher also found that in Nairobi, wives are the party that filed most of the divorce petitions, accounting for almost 69 percent of the cases.
Most of Kenyan women cited “disharmony” and “husband’s lack of responsibility” as a pretext for filing divorce.A sociology expert from South Africa, believes that living in a big city like Johannesburg or CapeTown could be another factor to why divorce seems to be more common in South Africa.He argues that the individualistic culture in Johannesburg makes people less dependent on second opinion from their close friends in making important decisions. Many studies have found that a culture of individualism is more conducive to divorce than that of more tight-knit cultures in small cities, she says.Another reason why more couples are calling it a day to their marriage is because people have changed their views about marriage.“The modern and relatively more educated society in Lagos and Abuja have a more open mind to divorce unlike people in small towns or villages,” an American researcher told me. At 29, a Ugandan friend who wedded two years ago, recently emailed me saying him nor his former wife were at fault for their marriage ending, which had lasted one and half years. He believed that they married too young, before seeing their differences and eventually grew apart. He and his wife then agreed that staying together was not ideal for them and their daughter. “Contador Harrison we realised that there were too many differences between us and getting separated was the right thing to do,” he added and blamed his marriage failure on social media platforms like Facebook’s female friends who made his partner trust disappear. To those blaming technology on their failed relationships or marriages, can hang themselves or go to hell because marriage that traditionalists want people to subscribe to is extinct and only those of us who believe in 21st century settings will survive. I will die before saying I do!