|This research project seeks to account for some of the causes of divorce in Asmara Eritrea. The existing law in this country recognizes adultery, desertion and cruelty as serious grounds for divorce. However, this research, which is based on a sample of forty divorced respondents from both genders, reveals a wider spectrum of reasons for divorce.
According to these findings, marital conflict related to money matters was the most frequently cited reason for divorce within the sample. This was followed by in-law difficulties, infidelity, spousal violence and lack of love, respectively. The next most frequently cited reason for divorce was behaviour incompatibility and a lack of effective communication amongst conflicting couples. On the other hand, the sexual side of marriage was the least cited marital problem resulting in divorce, followed by childlessness and heavy drinking. In between ranked behaviour incompatibility and lack of effective communication between conflicting couple.
Essentially this study adopts a subjective perspective. It reflects respondents' versions of why their marriages failed. It does however attempt to position the subjective experiences of the respondents within the context in which they lived. The latter includes economic hardship due to the recurrent war and the prevalence of traditional double standards and dominations that favour males. Because of these, gender was a significant social category in the study, which has resulted in differences in reporting patterns. Women respondents were mainly concerned with the issue of money matters, in-law trouble, infidelity, the use and abuse of alcohol and violence by husbands. Men on the other hand were interested in authority, sex and love matters in their marriages.
These findings more or less parallel Levinger's (1966; cited in Schulz, 1982) research findings. However, there were in some cases marked differences in the reporting pattern along gender lines, and in the over all picture. What was found to be the most significant reason for divorce in the eyes of the women who took part in the present study (such as in law problems) was among the least of marital complaints in the above quoted literature.
In summation, this thesis shows divorce as a significant sociological category in Asmara. In this locally unexplored area of study, it reveals not only some of the major areas of marital conflict that lead to divorce, but also the trend of divorce in the city.