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The letter ‘D’ most men do not want to confront

Opinion & Analysis
Divorce is one word that every couple dreads to face.

Divorce is one word that every couple dreads to face.

Ropafadzo Mapimhidze

It signals an end to a relationship which both spouses would have nursed and worked on for years.

Marriage counsellors claim that if a marriage survives the first seven years, chances of breaking down become remote.

This is, however, a myth because there are couples who have been married for over 30 years and are seeking divorce.

Yet no one ever imagined that this would happen to elderly couples, but the reality is that there are such people seeking divorce for various reasons.

Whilst we all try to avoid the “D” letter which apparently starts any word that is negative (disaster, devil, disease, death etc), the reality is that this letter is wreaking havoc in families.

Even where couples have legally separated, there always seems to be unfinished business where one of them stalks the other, sometimes getting physical.

The truth is that divorce never happens all of a sudden. Problems constantly build up over time, and at some point the inevitable happens.

Or one more allegation or fault pushes the ball downwards, crashing through the institute of marriage.

Marriage has a great chance of a happy ending . . . but this lies in the hands of a couple.

I have been troubled by the divorce crisis in people within my circles that have been married for many years, with some having actually given up on ever marrying again. The divorce statistics in our country seem to make the whole marriage thing sound scary and worthless.

But things don’t really have to go the scary way because nothing is ever easy and it is your passion and interest in something that makes it easy.

But it is disheartening to find that some couples fail to solve their problems amicably.

Sometimes couples are advised to go on separation, but this does not seem to work. This is so true to couples who live in the Diaspora where the extended family safe net is almost non-existent.

And even if these extended families do exist, each and every one is busy with their own lives trying to earn an income to better their lives.

Just yesterday, I received a message from England about a Nadine (we knew her as Medina) Abdul, a niece of a family friend Kay Abdul Hunda, who was allegedly strangled by her estranged husband.

The couple apparently lived in the Arcadia area before moving to the United Kingdom for greener pastures.

Abdul was found dead by police on Wednesday at the couple’s Hatfield home in Hertfordshire. Nadine’s relatives told SW Radio Africa that on Monday afternoon, her husband went to pick up the kids at their school, claiming that he had gotten permission from his wife.

“He took the kids home and told them mum was sleeping inside. As soon as the kids went indoors, he just left only to give himself up to the police on Wednesday,” one of the relatives said.

The couple has three children, but had been living separately for the past six months after Nadine had sought a protection order against her allegedly violent spouse.

A Zimbabwean pastor living in the England said in a WhatsApp conversation that he used to live with this couple in Borehamwood and attended Borehamwood Baptist Church together.

“He had told us that he had repented, but it would seem as though he had not repented his ways in as far as domestic violence is concerned,” the pastor said.

But why do men not follow the legal channels when faced with such issues? There are so many Zimbabwean women in the Diaspora and largely in the UK that have been killed by their spouses.

Back home in Zimbabwe, the story seems to be the same as we constantly read of couples fighting after separating or during the course of their marriage resulting in death.

Many people presume that marriages which have survived for many years are indestructible, but it is a wrong assumption.

We think that because couples have weathered the winds of change and survived the storm, but the truth is that they have just learnt to live with the differences.

Infidelity almost always crops up in a marriage at some point or the other and money also has a way of making life better or making life worse.

A divorce is a painful scar, and can be avoided with a bit of foresight if couples just seek counselling.

There is no doubt that death leaves children in a very unstable situation especially if the surviving accused is incarcerated for murder.

Couples in the Diaspora are losing their minds at a very alarming rate because they do not have a safe net to fall back on when they find themselves in a marital disaster.

Not so long ago we read about Patrick Chareka, the Canada-based Zimbabwean who battered his wife Otillia to death with a hammer as their children watched.

In 2011, another Zimbabwean woman — Mary Mushapaidze — was killed by her Zimbabwean boyfriend Mthulisi Ndlovu in Washington in the United States following a row over dirty dishes. Ndlovu was later sentenced to 20 years for his crime.

These are just a few examples of relationships that ended tragically, clearly demonstrating that violence towards women is somehow used to either control or oppress the so-called weaker sex.

This kind of violence apparently happens to married and unmarried women alike, in their intimate relationships with Zimbabwean men. It is a fact that the women in the Diaspora are in jobs that are on demand and hence earn much more than their spouses.

Violence becomes inevitable as men feel disrespected and weakened by the newly-liberated woman, resulting in what probably happened to Medina.