Divorce in African Homes: What are the Possible Causes?

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I’m sure we’ve all had one or two instances where we heard a newly married couple that seemed inseparable suddenly got divorced after a few months. We must have wondered why. Or even how? Let’s dive in deeper on divorce in African homes.

Divorce has become recurring in today’s society, with an increased rate in African homes. Divorce according to Merriam-Webster dictionary means “the action or instance of ending a marriage”. From this definition, divorce can be said to mean a form of legal separation among married couples. The separation between couples happens due to a variety of reasons. This publication will explore the most common reasons why divorce has become rampant in African homes as well as provide feasible solutions. 

Causes of Divorce in African Homes

1. The Wife Handles all the Menial Tasks Mentality

There’s a common mentality among African men that women are solely responsible for house chores while men should focus on providing for the female. This mentality has been in existence for decades and it doesn’t seem to fade. Some men go as far as prohibiting employment of house-helps. This ends up as an issue between married couples. Because the wife gets overwhelmed trying to juggle between tasks and her personal goals, with little to no help from her husband. This can be a reason for built-up resentment and ultimately, a cause is divorce.

2. Excessive Attachment to Family Members

Another leading cause of divorce in African homes is an extreme attachment of the husband and wife to their family. This attachment can be so severe that the families end up calling the shot and dictating how the marriage should work. The family becomes too involved in their marital affairs 

3. Lack of Attention

Attention is essential in a marriage. Everyone loves attention and intentionality in their marriage from their spouse. Lack of attention due to excessive involvement in work or other reasons may become a clause to a happy marriage 

4. Emotional Unintelligence

Lack of proper knowledge on how to handle disputes and a partner’s emotions can build resentment in a marriage. Disputes are unavoidable, but knowing how to handle these disputes to prevent them from escalating and ensuring not to hurt one’s partner in the process is essential. Thus, using abusive sentences, name-calling, and tongue-lashing becomes a reason for divorce 

5. Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a leading cause of divorce, especially in African homes. There’s the superiority complex among African men and any disregard for their tendency to control could result in physical assault.

6. Inactive Parenting

Married African women have a higher tendency to complain about the lack of involvement of fathers in their kids’ growth. Fathers come off as more focused on providing than being actively involved in their kids’ development, and this is because of societal expectations from men. They’ve been trained to be providers right from the onset.

Men raised in African homes hear words such as “ Be a man”, and “ men are found in difficult places” So much that these words go everywhere with them and they’re naturally more invested in being a man than being a partner. Some fathers are barely present as actual parents, with no actual emotional connection with the kids. 

Ways to Reduce Divorce in African Homes 

Although there are no established ways to reduce divorce, there are certain acts that could be practiced to foster understanding among partners. 

1. Kindness

African men grow up trained to take the lead by providing fully for their nuclear and extended families. From the stress of trying to live up to expectations, it’s easy to forget their emotions and come off as tough. But kindness is very vital when it comes to saving a marriage. Both spouses should endeavor to practice kindness and intentionality. Husbands should try to lessen the burdens on their wives by assisting with chores or even getting a maid to help out.

Wives should also try to be more understanding and not stand fully on “ my husband must be the breadwinner of the family”. If you can help out with certain bills, you should as this will go a long way in helping your husband know that he’s not alone and this is the main goal of every marriage, companionship. 

2. Outings

A common trend in African homes is forgetting to be all lovey-dovey once marriage happens. Spouses tend to be more occupied with “housework”, “office work”, and “ taking care of the kids” they forget to take care of “themselves”. Yes, caring for the home and fulfilling responsibilities is great. But doing cute things for each other is very important to keep love going even on bad days.

Both spouses should thus practice occasional gifting, compliment each other, go on dates, and do other activities they do for fun while still in the dating stage. Cute dating activities don’t have to stop because you’ve gotten married. You have to keep trying to impress and keep your partner. 

3. Forgiveness and Communication

For married couples, it’s essential to communicate. Your partner would not always know when something is wrong with you or when something has upset you. You have to be willing to put aside your ego or sentiments and communicate properly. Allow your partner to understand clearly how they’ve hurt you and why you were hurt. Doing this will make them more self-conscious and thus prevent repetition.

Forgiveness should follow communication. No marriage built on resentment can survive. You should understand that your spouse isn’t perfect and there are times they will do things to upset you. It’s why you have to allow yourself to forgive without holding any resentment. 

4. Limiting Family Interference

Family interference in marriage must be reduced to the bare minimum. Your parents or others don’t always have to know what’s going on in your marriage. It’s okay to seek advice from them but make sure it’s restricted. Personal issues and happenings should be discussed and solved between the couple.

Final Thoughts on Divorce in African Homes

Marriage is a lifelong commitment that requires patience, understanding, and continuous effort. Accepting your partner’s imperfections and being willing to grow together is key to a solid marriage.


Mj is a writer with over three years of experience. During this time, she has written on a wide range of topics, including self-help, health and lifestyle tips, social justice, gender equality, and human rights. Her writings have been featured on various online platforms. She believes that writing is an art that speaks volumes and her works express her views and beliefs artistically. she’s eager to use her skills to amplify the voices of youths in Nigeria, their struggles win, their highs and lows and what the entirety of being a Nigerian youth encompasses.