War and divorce: Two sides of a coin

By Buma Bronhilda Wasa*

Cameroon is presently fighting a war against secession as a result of which thousands of families have been split, divorced so to speak. Countless women are found in the bushes, cut off from their spouses and in certain cases children and wards. The war has pushed men into inadvertently fleeing into the hands of “new/emergency” spouses to the chagrin of their legal partners. The children and wards are the worse for it.

A case in point is this case of a family of eight that fled the war in Ekona in Fako Division to Loum in the Mungo Division of the Littoral in search of safety.  A local television programme portrayed how the woman was crammed into one dingy room with all the kids while the husband was off to God knows where, trying to do odd jobs for them to survive by daily eating tapioca (garri) soaked in cold water. But this is not as touching as the woman’s claim that she may have lost not only the typical warmth of a bed with a man on it but also her husband to a woman of easy virtue whom she is so sure has seized the legal father of her eight kids. By her own account, her marriage to her man is like over because the war has divorced them, so to speak, giving a hawk of a complete stranger wreck a union she nurtured for close to two decades.

 This is divorce inadvertently triggered by typical poor governance that begot the war in the first place. Many of such cases abound today especially in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon. Some people we interviewed attested to the fact that many conjugal unions have been broken as a result of the ongoing war. The worst hit is workers of the now completely ravaged Cameroon Development Corporation, CDC, who have not been paid for the past two years, thereby stampeding some spouses into abandoning their husbands for who can see to their upkeep financially. Unverifiable information is to the effect that a similar trend is taking place in PAMOL.

Elsewhere in the two war ravaged regions, marriages have crashed alongside business enterprises. This is to say little of members of militias, aka, “Amba boys,” some of whom have abandoned the wives they were legally married to, for cozy relationships with younger, “vibrant” girls they cajoled and now have as mistresses.         

Come to think of it. Ordinarily, marriage almost always initially brings about lots of joy and exuberance.  But then, every social activity that is not properly nourished and nurtured is bound to face diminishing returns and ultimately crash like a deck of cards. By the same token, conjugal relationships often start off with desire and promise. Promise to paddle it or to swim to the ultimate safe shores of matrimony even if those involved have imbibed little knowledge of swimming as it were. Couples are blind to realities, ready to sink together. And then the bitter truth sets in, undressing both couples and exposing the true pimples that were conveniently ignored at the onset.

We are thinking here of issues like infidelity which would have been initially swept under the carpet at the on start. And what brings about infidelity? Like the saying goes, money touches everything. Lack of money to provide needs for one’s spouse and children can cause lots of stress in the mind of the spouse which might push her to get the money through any other means and if this means has to come from a man, she might have no option than to go for it which will result to infidelity and hence a divorce will happen.

 Poor communication between couples, resulting in avoidable arguments and quarrels is another potential divorce reason. Communication between spouses is very important especially being able to communicate on time. This is especially so in this time of stress, induced by a silly war. Hence, avoidable squabbles.

           Inequality between couples can cause a divorce. When one of the spouses feels that he/she needs to always be heard or any decision taken has to be final, it may cause resentment in the relationship, if you are unable to deliberate on any issue with your spouse and keep on taking decisions on your own there is bound to always be disagreement in the relationship which may lead to a divorce.

The crisis has really taken its toll on homes according to our findings. Some wives have been forced to look elsewhere for support because their men were economically and socially impotent.

When a wife starts getting obese on account of lack of activity, losing shape, looking shabby around the house, maybe dresses differently, or the husband starts developing a pot belly, looking unkempt, maybe he becomes disabled due to an accident it might result to less physical attraction by the couples. And when there is lack of physical attraction there is lack of intimacy which might lead to a divorce.

As already indicated above, living at different places, staying apart for a period of time, not eating together, having no sexual relationship and sleeping in separate rooms may result to a divorce. A couple ought to stay together, eat together, sleep together, to keep the relationship fun. Staying away from each other can result to lack of communication attention and intimacy which may lead to a divorce.

Getting married at an early age or without adequately preparing one’s mind on what one is getting into, might lead to a divorce. When couples get married at an early age, they always get into financial issues early because they didn’t plan well and also because they were not yet established in their careers. When financial issues begin to pop up, things start falling apart which can lead to a divorce.

A sudden change of feeling can spark up a divorce too. A spouse may all of a sudden stop having the same affection and feelings like they had before getting married. This may come as an effect of physical changes like size and a change in style. Passion changes over time which may cause a divorce.

*UB Journalism student on internship

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