Love gone bad: Divorce is a tough choice to make

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By Sara Aanyu

A nita Kemigisa (not real names) got married to her ex-husband in 2005. All was rosy, until she gave birth to her second daughter.
She says her husband started changing and he used every opportunity he got to complain about her weaknesses, something that left Kemigisa wondering what had gone wrong.

“He was a divorced man before we got married. I think he never got over his first wife, since he always compared me to her, which was quite unfair,” says Kemigisa.

She says she tried to work out the issues her husband complained about, but things rather got worse to the point that her husband stopped talking to her.
Kemigisa says her husband bought everything in the house but did not want her to get any money from him.
When Kemigisa asked her husband what had gone wrong, the husband told her if she was not happy living with him, she was at liberty to leave.
This red flag sent her snooping on her husband just to allay fears that he was not cheating. Her search did not yield any results.

Things take the wrong turn
“My final blow came in when he fell sick. As a wife, my rightful place was beside him. My efforts to nurse him and be by his side as he battled the illness were constantly thwarted as he kept on ignoring me.

My husband’s relatives came to visit him and they spoke in a language I did not understand. We both hail from completely different regions,” narrates Kemigisa.

She recalls feeling like a stranger as her relatives, who had no clue of what was going on in her marriage, noticed the tension between the two and started asking questions.

After he was discharged from hospital, Kemigisa was shocked when she found her husband’s sister shifting her belongings to another room. Asked why she was doing that, her sister in-law said her brother had instructed her to do.
According to Kemigisa, the following months were emotionally draining as the tension kept getting worse. During the same period, she discovered that she was pregnant with their third child.

Deciding to file for divorce
She decided to leave her marital home and went to her sister’s place, as she figured out her next move. Kemigisa started processing divorce papers.

At first the husband claimed there were no clear grounds to grant her divorce, adding that he never physically abused her, he provided for the household and made sure they were healthy.
Her defence was that she went through emotional trauma and her husband never gave her an opportunity to talk things out. Eventually, the couple divorced.

Probing further
Kemigisa could not rest until she found out the reason why her ex husband was acting strange. She later discovered that her husband was greatly influenced by his relatives, was a conservative man who wanted to control his wife just like a shepherd herds sheep.
Kemigisa also found out that being rich and an influential man that he was, could have in a way precipitated his arrogance and ill treatment of her.

Life after
She says life after divorce was not easy,+ especially for the children as the husband did not visit them and stopped providing child support.

“It took him about four years to get re-involved in the lives of his children, providing for them and paying school fees.
Kemigisa says most couples ignore the feelings of children when they choose to divorce, yet marital conflicts greatly affect them.
“As much as we divorced, children still need the love and attention of both parents as they grow.”

What counsellors say
Rose Margret Katengeke, a counsellor, says when parents confront each other in the presence of children, there is a likelihood that they will suffer from psychological torture, lose relationships in future. She says children also need to undergo ounselling just like the parents to help them cope with the changes.

Ali Male, a counsellor and psychologist at A-Z Counselling Centre, says divorce is rampant nowadays because people have failed to resolve their marital conflicts.

“Usually these conflicts are not discussed and even when they are discussed, they are not fully resolved and they keep piling up,” says Male. He, however, blames divorce cases on sex dissatisfaction and failure to fulfil conjugal rights, among other factors, which usually push partner to another person.

Katengeke adds that most marriages have been destroyed because some partners expect a lot from their spouses, causing unnecessary tension.

“Expectations kill a lot because in the process of trying to make your spouse be the person you want them to be, they will feel unappreciated and begin to try to fight back. This inevitably causes tension between the two,” says Katengeke.

What church says
Dr Yafesi Walugembe, head of the family department at the Seventh Day Adventist Church, says SDA’s are biblists and in case there is a divorce case, the reason should be biblical. “We as an SDA family follow the new testament teaching which permits divorce only if what the partner has done is against the teaching and that is adultery,” says Walugembe.
Pastor Felix Ssemujju of Omega Healing Centre says the church does not support divorce because once sane adults decide to get married, only death should separate them.

“Of course conflicts are expected because these are two complete strangers who decide to get married. In an event that conflicts occur, we encourage them to pray and seek counselling in order to overcome the challenges. Divorce is against what is written in the Bible,” says Ssemujju.
As a church leader, Ssemujju says, the best thing to do for couples who are at the verge of divorce is to encourage them to tackle the root cause of the problem.

Constance Kana, a pastor at Faith Ministries says sometimes the channel people go through to settle their differences is what makes the issue worse to the extent of one seeking for a divorce. Divorce is something she says a married Christian couple should not think of because even the Bible states that what God has put together no man should tear apart and they themselves are not exempted from that.

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