Raphael Kasule says he was not excited about his wedding day.
“It did not actually hit me that I was getting married until I was at church. My heart was not 100 per cent fully into the event,” Kasule says.
This is after he had zeroed down on a special girl to settle with in 2013.
The duo first met in 2010 after being introduced by a mutual friend.
“I was drawn to her because she was extroverted, likeable, fun, and pretty,” says Kasule.
Over time, the two became acquaintances, then friends before they morphed into a romantic couple and eventually, formalised their relationship in 2013.
The couple first had a civil wedding at the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) offices in Kampala and two weeks later on November 1, 2013,had a church wedding at Omega Healing Centre at Namasuba, in the outskirts of Kampala.
However, Kasule’s heart was not into the ceremony.
“I felt like I was being pushed into marriage. My girlfriend wanted to settle down while I still wanted some freedom. I was not yet ready for marriage,” he says, adding
Then marriage life began.
The marriage starts….
The newly wedded couple rented an apartment in Bweyogerere, in the outskirts of Kampala. In the beginning, things were all right between the couple.
Let us just say that each party adjusted well to this new life.
“I would go to work and later return home to find a happy wife who would have prepared a nice meal,” he says.
Kasule was only concerned when most of his friends started distancing themselves from him.
“They stopped calling to check on me. Although it bothered me, I later understood that they were giving me space since now I was a married man,” he says.
Like Kasule, a number of married people usually say that upon getting married, a number of friends tend to keep their distance, a habit which at times can make the couple feel low
Four months into the marriage, Kasule’s wife began going out to party in the night.
“She was slowly retreating back to her former life which I had expected her to completely withdraw from after marriage,” he says.
At the time, his wife was not working. She would go out and return late. Over time, Kasule began imagining all the kind of things
On their first wedding anniversary, his wife still went out partying and upon return, she spewed all sorts of disrespectful and unpleasant words to Kasule.
“I was tempted to beat her up but only God knows how I ended up restraining myself,” he says.
As the drama continuously unfolded, Kasule began regretting why he married his wife.
“I began wishing that if I was given the ultimatum of choosing a wife again, I would settle for someone different,” he says.
Kasule was fed up. There were days he would be sad because of the unpleasant incidents.
“I thought of being the best husband. But, I received a very cold welcome from her. She reluctantly received the gifts I had bought her,” he recalls.
That same night, she told Kasule she was going to stay at her mother’s house. He inquired why she was suddenly leaving, she responded, “You no longer care about me anymore.”
The next day, while at work, Kasule received a text message from his wife which read; “You should get another woman who makes your world go wow….I need time off…. This marriage is no longer working for me.”
At first Kasule took it for a joke but it unsettled him. Immediately, he rushed from his workplace in town to Wandegeya, where his wife was a receptionist for a renowned organisation.
“When I met her, she did not speak much to me. For this reason, we both agreed to later meet at home to resolve our issues,” he says.
These issues were never resolved. Instead, when his wife returned home, she packed more of her personal belongings and went back to her mother’s home.
“It was sad. I kept wondering what I had done to this woman,” he says.
The following day, he went to his mother-in-law’s home to try and resolve issues, in vain.
Her departure happened around December 2014.
“I found it really hard to cope, especially because it was around the festive season when families tend to spend time together,” he says.
The news of their separation then began spreading like a wildfire among the family and friends. Rumours also started surfacing that she was dating a rich man, who was ‘investing heavily’ in her. That he bought her a house, car, among other things.
“When I began adding up the pieces, it then occurred to me that on previous occasions when she was out late in the night, she was with this man,” he says.
And this was the man she continued seeing after their separation.
“But even when she was with this man, she continued sending me all sorts of intimidating messages saying that she was sending me divorce papers soon,” he says.
Kasule opted to lean on family members and friends for encouragement and support. In addition, Kasule, who calls himself a proud Born Again Christian, also opted to pray and fast, which he says were also helpful coping mechanisms.
Around January 2015, Kasule was offered a job opportunity as a fashion designer in South Africa. He left hoping that the new environment would help in the healing process of the separation.
“While there, it hit me that there is more to life than marriage. I felt relaxed and at peace while in South Africa,” he says.
Rather than stay to embark on his new career, Kasule decided to return home to face his demons. This was after spending only a week in South Africa.
A few days after his return to Uganda, he received divorce papers from his wife. And at this point, Kasule had finally accepted to the idea that maybe a permanent separation was the only way out of their collapsing marriage. And so, the back and forth divorce proceedings began with each party being represented by their lawyer.
“I realised that she was not at ease during some of these proceedings. Maybe she was regretting filing the divorce papers. I don’t know. Probably, she had expected me to beg her not to go through with the divorce but, I was also tired,” he says.
The divorce proceedings took place throughout 2015 before eventually getting finalised on March 2016.
“And that was our short-lived marriage,” Kasule says.
Despite how everything went, Kasule says he loved this woman and had hoped things would have worked out. But, it had reached a point where a lot of damage had been done to the marriage and the only option for him was to move forward.
Kasule has moved on. Today, he is in another relationship.
“My current girlfriend is aware of my former marriage,” he says.
And how is his relationship with his ex-wife?
“I forgave her as well as myself for the way the marriage turned out. Coming out stronger was difficult. It took many baby steps alongside prayer and support from loved ones,” he says.
Once in a while, the former lovers talk.
“I can’t hold a grudge forever. It’s not healthy for the body, mind and soul. And that is why I still talk to her,” he says, adding, “At one point, after the divorce, she told me she is now grown up and has realised her mistakes.”
Kasule says the lesson from this was that people always come to their senses after doing wrong in relationships and always hope that it’s not too late to fix things.
Getting married and eventually divorcing has taught Kasule a number of lessons. One of the things he has come to realise is that a number of people marry simply because of the wedding ceremony and they don’t think about the after-life. Secondly, a number also marry because of pressure from their partners, family members and friends.
“One of the reasons why I rushed to marry was because of this so called pressure. I regret succumbing to it. My dear friends, if you are not yet ready to get married, don’t rush, take your time,” Kasule says.
“You have to be sure that it is what you want and that is the person you want to spend with the rest of your life. Sometimes, people think that if they don’t grab the chance and marry that person, then, it is a lost opportunity. It is not true because someone better might be out there for you.”
Don’t conform to pressure. If you feel you are not ready, don’t rush into marriage. You might regret ,” Kasule concludes.
“Couples get divorced for different reasons. It is a case by case basis. There are those who divorce for financial reasons, conflicting personalities, influence from other parties, among other reasons. I would advise that when problems arise in the marriage, the couple should reach out to a trusted party to try and resolve their problems. If that fails, opt for a trial separation where by each party opts to give one another space as they try and cool off things. A trial separation is better than rushing into divorce.
Sometimes couples divorce their partners hoping to find someone better, in vain. You might find someone worse than your ex-wife or ex-husband and then regret why you divorced. Before you decide to divorce, do everything within your power to try and save your marriage.”
Reverend Stephen Gelenga, an elder and retired vicar of St Johns Church, Kamwokya.
“The most prevalent causes of divorce are adultery and domestic violence. Majority of the cases cite the above as the grounds for divorce. Ultimately, depending one’s value system, these two can quicken the irretrievable breakdown of the marital relationship rendering the marriage unsustainable,” says lawyer Augustine Idoot Obilil, Partner Kampala Associated Advocates