Almost every aspect of our lives has been shaken by Covid-19. Travel restrictions can’t allow you to see your loved ones, businesses are falling apart, people are losing their jobs, and the impact this has on our social life is something we can’t ignore.
Not even the basic unit of the society has been spared by the pandemic. Earlier on, the Health CAS Mercy Mwangangi had noted that the cases of domestic violence and gender-based violence were on the rise. What could be the problem and how are families coping?
Pulselive spoke to a few Kenyans who got candid with us on what marriage is like for them during this pandemic.
For Miriam, an editor by profession, she admits that her marriage has been shaken to the core and that it has not been easy one bit. However, she is grateful that none of them lost their jobs. They have also managed to solve some of the problems they were experiencing through the intervention of friends and family.
“My marriage has truly been tested during this quarantine time. It has quickly hit rock bottom. But I think that quarantine has only amplified problems that were already there. Communication is the biggest challenge we are experiencing. We've been lucky that no one lost their job and the salary cuts have not been too punitive. We've had time to work on some challenges we've been facing but we've also had to call in family and friends to help with some. Nevertheless, a period of separation also seems like a viable option to deal with some of the more difficult challenges.
These challenges have drawn us further apart, but as I said, maybe quarantine isn't entirely to blame. I believe quarantine just amplified pre-existing and potential clash points.”
“Being that ours is a new marriage, the blossom is still there. The best moments are still there between us. The issue of too much is boring doesn't apply to us because we are both journalists and during most of the day everyone is busy in the field. Our days are almost regular just like before Coronavirus.
The biggest challenge for us is some fun time. At this early stage of our union, outings, travels, parties and visits are important to us but we can't do that. Both of our salaries have also been slashed and this has hit us hard. We had just moved to a bigger house meaning more money for rent. Even so, we are thankful we never lost our jobs and our boss promised that we will all survive on the little that is available. These challenges have made us realize that we can still have fun with the little things around us. We appreciate that we can afford a meal.”
“My husband still goes to work as usual while I work from home. We have not had many problems but there were challenges here and there at the beginning. The first days working from home were challenging for me as a wife because my husband expected me to attend to him any time he wished.
Like there's a day he came home early at around 4 PM and he wanted me to prepare something for him. That meant I had to stop working and heed to his request, which, unfortunately, I couldn’t. He was disappointed but I had to make it clear that he had to wait until I was done with my day’s work.”
Joan Mwendwa (not her real name)
“I have had it rough and I pray that things normalize as fast as possible so that we can go back to Nairobi. My husband and I are both teachers and we thought it was wise to travel upcountry when schools closed since it’s safer. I had never stayed with my in-laws before and I don’t think I will ever do it again. I am left to do all the house chores while they do nothing. The worst thing is that you give your all to cook for a household of 10 people and they will still complain that the food is not good enough.
This has strained our marriage because sometimes I feel like my husband supports his family even when they are on the wrong and he can’t even get them to help when necessary. Sometimes he is forced to help me when I have too much work. It had reached a point that I wanted to start cooking for my daughter and husband only and let them cook their food but my husband was against the idea. We are yet to find a solution so, for now, I just persevere as I hope that the travel restrictions will be lifted so that we can go back to Nairobi.”