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Why do Diaspora couples have it rough?

 Photo: Courtesy

Why do Diaspora couples have it rough?

My friend Tess got married five years ago to Njehia, the most ideal man around, her campus sweetheart. Theirs was a marriage made in heaven.

In the first two years, unlike other men who head to the pub after work, dear hubby would pick up madam from work and they would drive home together. And in year three, their love was crowned with a beautiful baby girl.

Blessings were flowing their way because the following year, the wife landed a Green Card, which meant that the whole family was relocating abroad. Like is always the case, the wife and the baby were the first to fly out then the man followed after a few months.

The couple has been abroad for almost two years, but the sweet love story has turned into a loveless union.

“Mama Tasha imagine I wachanad with my hubby. It was not just working. We had grown so much apart, we had to part ways.” Recently, she sent me a chat on Facebook.

“What!” I was surprised. This was the model marriage that all her campus buddies envied.

Back in Kenya, while other marriages crumbled and tore apart at the weight of stress and life’s storms, Tess and Njehia’s love grew stronger. She was the envy of all those in troubled marriages. But here she was, two years down the line in the Diaspora, and now the marriage was falling apart.

What could have gone wrong? But looking closely, that is the trend for most Kenyan marriages in the Diaspora, especially marriages that were started here in Kenya and then the couple relocated abroad. There is something about the Diaspora and marriage that doesn’t augur well. Most of my married friends who settled abroad have suffered the same fate of a broken marriage.

But what is it about the Diaspora that makes it impossible for a marriage to survive? Prodding my friend further on what went wrong, brought some illuminating answers.

First there is so much financial pressure that takes a toll of even a water tight union. There are so many taxes to pay in form of bills and more bills, it is overwhelming. To try and make ends meet, a couple is forced to work extra shifts which drive them further apart.

“We worked different shifts and so when I was arriving home from a night shift, he was leaving for his morning shift and vice versa. We did not have time for each other just time to bond with our daughter. It reached a point when we became like two strangers living in the same house,” my friend confided in me as I dug deeper.

Other factors that compound the problem is the liberal culture and the lack of social support. Like in the States, everybody is busy trying to make ends meet; nobody has the time to counsel a couple going through turbulent times. At least here in Kenya, there is always pastor or that aunty who you can run to when the marriage roof starts to leak. Indeed east or west, home is best.

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