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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 July 2006, 11:16 GMT 12:16 UK
Relationship trends: Malawi experience
As part of a series on relationship trends in Africa, the BBC's Aubrey Sumbuleta talks to two Malawian women who have said no to married life - a pattern that is becoming increasingly common in the country's urban areas as women gain economic empowerment.

Read their views below and then click on the link at the end of the page to have your say.

Gladys Mhone
Gladys divorced her busband earlier this year

Gladys Mhone is a 42-year-old mother of three working in Malawi's commercial capital Blantyre.

She has been living alone the last six months after divorcing her husband earlier this year.

Mhone said most men these days do not respect marriage as a sacred gift from God as it is said in the Holy Bible.

"God said women should submit to their husbands and husbands should love their wives but this is not what is happening today," she says.

Live peacefully

Turning to her own problems, she said she had too many problems in her previous family that she failed to contain.

Lentswe Moretlwe (R) and Sinead Delany-Moretlwe (L)

"I had three kids with my husband but I supported them on my own. Later I heard that he was going around with other women, so I decided to stay on my own."

Mhone says ever since, she has been able to support her three kids on her own and be able to live peacefully.

As an experienced married woman for 16 years, Gladys Mhone has some advice for young single girls who are yet to get married including her own sister now 21.

"When you find a potential marriage partner study that man very well because marriage is a lifetime commitment."


Janet Maluwa
Janet does not see herself marrying

Sharing Gladys Mhone's experience is 34 year-old Janet Maluwa who has never been married before and doesn't plans on doing so in the future.

She says if women are able to go to school and earn the same qualifications as men, why should one gender be above the other?

Maluwa feels men and women were created equally.

"I am in a position to sustain my parents without hassles, without guidance from anywhere, so I have decided to stay on my own."

Asked whether she is not going against God's words in the Holy Bible that says marriage is a gift from God, Maluwa says whilst agreeing, she has other thoughts.

"Most of the people that are married look happy from outside but maybe inside they are quarrelling or maybe the husband goes out with other women, so that demoralises us," she says.


Maluwa says that the picture being painted by most marriages in Africa may one day lead to few people enjoying marriages in future.

"Marriage is becoming unpopular because of the attitude men take over women and also because of this HIV/Aids pandemic fearing you may be found positive so this is a demoralising factor."

James Opere

Asked whether she misses intimacy with men, Janet Maluwa had this to say: "I don't miss them, no. I am inactive, sexually, but I do have several men who are just my friends."

Although the registrar generals office and some civil rights NGOs in Malawi could not provide exact figures on how many marriages have broken down in recent years and months, reports in the local media indicate that male violence against women is one of the main contributing factors to marriage breakdowns in the country.

Several religious leaders interviewed by the BBC have also settled a number of marriage cases in their churches only a few months or years after the couple led each other to the altar.

What you think about the personal stories and trends featured in this series on relationship trends in Africa?

Relationship trends: Your views
17 Jul 06 |  Have Your Say

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