By Azuka Onwuka
Any man that assumes that it is the duty of the wife to make the marriage a happy one, while his duty is to act the way he likes, kidding himself that it is a man’s world, needs to be pitied. The truth many fail to realize is that men hold the key to a happy marriage, not women. A woman may do everything to make a marriage work and may end up being killed in the process, but if a man decides that a marriage will be a happy one, there is a very high possibility that it will.
One major reason marriages fail or get sour is because most men have not transited from our grandfathers’ era when the man was the lord and the wife was there solely to do the man’s wishes and make him happy by giving him sex, children, and services like cooking, washing, and maintaining the home. The man had the right to beat his wife, lock her up, send her away, have as many wives as he wished, sleep with as many mistresses as he liked, father as many children as he liked, without the wife complaining. The society gave the man a blank cheque to do as he wished so long as he provided for his wife and children. It was completely a man’s world. A wife had no opinion. She dare not talk when her master was talking or join him in a discussion with his friends or kinsmen.
Unfortunately, society has changed, yet many men have refused to change with it, choosing to remain in our forefather’s era. Naturally that causes friction. A wife is no longer a chattel; she is now a partner. The home is no longer “my house” but “our house.” It is now “our TV,” “our children,” “our room,” etc. The wife is no longer in marriage solely to satisfy the man’s desires; she has her own desires and dreams too. Just as the man wants to be the CEO of an organization or the president of the nation, so does the wife. It’s just that the couple need to mutually agree on how to accommodate each other’s dreams to ensure that the children don’t suffer in any form.
The dictionary does not define a “wife” as a “servant” or a “slave”. Fixing your fat backside on a couch, legs on the centre table, eyes glued to the TV, gulping down some drink, while Slave Wife is doing everything in the house is so old-fashioned that it is shameful. As high and mighty as you are, your hand will not change colour if you dust the dining table or cut the vegetables while she is cooking. Be a partner. Not a taskmaster! Haba!
When more men are able to transit from the old order to the new era, we would have more happy marriages. For this reason, men have more need of marriage counselling than women, so that they can be de-briefed about the old order and re-briefed about the new era.
That the wife is not complaining does not mean that she is happy. That a couple are not divorced or known for fights and quarrels does not mean that there is joy in their home. The most peaceful place on earth may be the graveyard but there is no happiness there.
Do unto her as you would want her to do unto you. If you will not accept her infidelity, please don’t be unfaithful; if you won’t accept her taking important decisions without involving you, please don’t take important decisions without involving her, etc.
Spoiling her with cars, jewellery, clothing, and overseas holidays is great, but those are not enough to make a woman happy if she is ill-treated or shown little or no respect.
Women like their men to be good-looking. Why not? When she accepted you, you had no 6-month pregnancy for a tummy. You had a good breath. You had a bath before going to bed. You even used cologne to impress her! You had no grey Jorge Bush in your armpits and other special places. Oga, please don’t be complacent about your looks. No need to argue that she should love you the way you are. Were you like this when she accepted you? Usually, when most men get to around 35 years or 40, the tummy begins to shoot out because of the accumulation of visceral fat, which is unhealthy, and raises one’s risk of heart disease and diabetes. Burn it. Watch what you eat and when you eat it. Keep fit. Not only to look good, but also to live long and healthy.
Any man that has not been accused of being his wife’s puppet has not enrolled into the University of Marriage. Any man who is praised for “not taking rubbish from his wife” is still in the nursery school of marriage.
The man who rates his mother higher than his wife (on the basis that they are blood-related and he cannot get another mother even though he can get another wife) is not ripe for marriage. Mother is mother, wife is wife. Love your mother, honour your mother, take care of your mother very well, but remember that she is not a member of your nuclear family: but your wife is. Your mother has her own nuclear family. Therefore, protect your wife so that she can have her own sweet nuclear family. In spite of the deep love for your mother, nature has made it that you CANNOT perform “the deepest act in life” with her, neither would you like her to see you naked and vice versa. Don’t ever compare your wife and your mother: they occupy different positions in your life.
Women are wired differently from men. They are more emotional. They need attention as babies need milk. They long for those sweet nothings with which you wooed them. Don’t assume they should know you love them (in your heart): mind-reading is not exciting! Say it! Show it! Always! Be that expressive dude that wowed them, not the inexpressive, tasteless and unromantic man they are saddled with these days. The more TLC you give her, the sweeter she is to you in ALL ways! And the longer you live!
Part II: 12 Points for Wives to Note
The wife that wins all arguments with her husband is not wise. The home is not a law court.
The wife that uses sex as a weapon in the home – placing embargo, going to bed in jeans shorts and trousers – lacks wisdom.
The wife that uses the modern trends and laws of “women’s rights” to insult or ridicule her husband simply makes a fool of herself.
A woman that makes her home devoid of peace through bickering, nagging and quarrels needs help. A man should be eager to run away from office to be at home, for that should be the safest and coziest place on earth for him.
Modern-day equality in marriage does not mean competition. It simply means partnership. Taking advantage of such equality to turn around and become the de facto head of the home and oppress the man is tantamount to playing with fire. If you destroy your home, soon you will be the boss of an empty home.
A wise wife makes the man feel so good that he assumes that he is the head. Once he gets that feeling, the woman gently wields her power and the head actually turns to wherever the neck wants without a protest.
A wife that does not pull herself away from friends’ influence and advice or even from the control of her mother and father will have herself to blame.
When a man is looking for a wife, he bypasses women of different shapes and sizes to choose a wife. But soon after childbirth, many women hide under the excuse of childbirth to let go of themselves. Many stop bothering about their looks, shape, dressing, etc. Within 5 years of marriage, people start wondering if the wife is the man’s aunt, even though she is 7 years younger. Her defence is that if he truly loves her, he should love her the way she is. But when looking for a wife, he saw people like the present YOU and ignored them and settled for the former YOU. Today, you go to bed smelling of onions and ogiri. You go to bed wearing grandmothers’ clothes. Why are you killing your beauty and charm with complacency? Why are you playing with your marriage? Love is not about looks – we know. But looks enhance love and marriage. There is a difference between someone disfiguring herself and the person being disfigured by an accident. Please don’t be complacent. As hard as it may be, work on looking like you were when he first saw you and began the chase.
If every night you are tired, sleepy, sore, down with headache or fever, “not in the mood,” you are a joker, a bad comedian to be pitied!
If your children suddenly become more important to you than your husband, you need prayers.
Azuka Onwuka is a Public Policy Analyst.