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Is January the divorce month?

January is known as ‘the most deadly month for marriages’ because it sees the most divorces during any given time of the year. Wambui Virginia finds out why

Wambui Virginia @kuivirgie

It is the second week of January! If your relationship is still solid and strong, thank God. If you have managed to hold it together, despite all, you are survivors! As if the first week of back-to-work is not bad enough, studies over the years have shown that the first week of the year too, is when most relationships on life-support are likely to die!

A majority of January dumpings have been brewing since way back in November, when the children have closed school for the holidays and you and your spouse cannot agree whether they should stay in Nairobi or be taken to shags to stay with their grandma.

But then, plans got made, presents were purchased, plane and train tickets to Mombasa were bought and because no one wants to be alone at Christmas, before we know it, we are licking the large ice cream at Utawala’s Fun City with someone we were sick to the backteeth of.

Then January first came knocking! Even before the last of the mbuzi choma leftovers have been scraped into the bin so does your seven-year -old tell you that his school sweater fell off the school bus on closing day! School fees reality check!

Eva Nyambura is one lucky woman who has seen her relationship survive every January over the past 10 years. “My husband has never done anything for his family when there’s a holiday, but when I want to do something with my children, that’s when he comes around and wants to distract everything. He never wants to work as a team. He wants to go shopping on his own and do everything by himself.

This ultimately leads to a fight, ” she says. When there is enough fracas in the house, her husband disappears for days to ‘punish’ them by refusing to provide for their daily needs.

At the end of the holidays, the first week of January, they are mostly not in talking terms. Caroline Okone’s story is no different. The reality of Christmas, without the distraction of work as usual throws especially her husband into a sharp relief, which ironically hurts their marriage.

“Usually in December, the children have closed school so there are no morning rushes, no homework, no traffic on the roads, there is usually a lot of entertainment on TV and outside and for my husband, it is football peak,” she says. So, for a period that’s supposed to be about reconnection and gratefulness, Okone says she always sees an unpleasant side of her husband. December 2017 was no exception.

“There was no avoiding the fact that he got shamefully drunk at every opportunity, treated us with disinterest and aggression and I also realised last week when I was going to buy textbooks for the kids, that he had withdrawn a huge amount of money from our joint account,” she says.

Nyambura and Okone’s situations are not isolated cases. Take a look at news that have been hitting the headlines the past two weeks; Last week, a man allegedly murdered his wife at their home in Naivasha for using Sh4,000 school fees to do her hair during the festive season. In another recent incident, a Strathmore lecturer was arrested for allegedly beating his wife to death.

This came after a heated argument they had over a phone. It is quite important to live up to what you can afford, as explains relationship coach and counsellor Joyce Kimani. She says an aftermath of holiday stress or larger issues finally overflowing and becoming too difficult to manage could lead to a break-up.

Social media, and its tendencies to depict pictures of perfect families, she says, could ultimately lead to stress when everything you have planned doesn’t go well. Further, alcohol and overindulgence over the holidays is also another ingredient to discourse in marriages while stepping into the new year. Another factor to consider is how you manage your finances.

This is because festivities come with overspending and there will be financial worries in the New Year. And when New Year resolutions come into play, people want to start the new year with new beginnings.

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