The other day I heard a lady say to a group of friends, “Akaaibisha nyumba yake!” They were talking about a female acquaintance of theirs who had caused her husband some embarrassment by calling him out on his B.S publicly or telling someone about the husband’s behaviour when he was in his cups. The husband is only a unit of the family. Just like the wife and the children are but to a proper wife if you undress the husband, man of the house or other title of respect you give the fellow that has loaned you his name, you are embarrassing the entire family and that includes his mother and father and of course your mother and father. No wonder the lady seemed scandalized by the behaviour of the subject being discussed.
I am a traditional African woman. I am all about respecting my husband, covering up his inadequacies, smiling through the pain and making his favourite as often as is humanly possible. I therefore have nothing against the idea of bearing with my husband’s imperfections. As one of my bright relatives says one should choose to marry someone whose faults they can bear with. So, fact that he is not the kind of guy your friends would marry does not mean he is not right for you. It also does not allow you to tell all and sundry what happens behind closed doors. Especially after you have locked three different doors… inner sanctum manenos.
Yes, you are angry that he refused to buy the family food and you nearly starved this Easter but honey, telling your friends doesn’t solve the problem. It only feeds the grapevine. He drinks too much? Everyone already knows that. He does it at the pub and sings all the way home. What they don’t know is what he does when he comes home. Don’t give them that. The sympathy is fake and the empathy is imaginary. But the grapevine’s glee is real… very real.
My issue with this conservative view to the affairs of the home is that it doesn’t seem to recognize the humanness of the woman. She is supposed to bear with her husband and never tire. He is free to prance about disparaging her to any and everyone. He can sleep around and claim that she is too stupid or too trusting to notice. Tell anyone who will listen that he built her a house, bought her a car and he therefore does not see what more she could possibly want. In this way he suggests she is more or less a prostitute. She married him so she can have a house and a car. Isn’t she part of the Nyumba whose honour she must guard? Does her honour not matter just like the man’s? She deserves respect and honour and understanding of her flaws.
So the advice to honour your spouse, your home/household should apply to men too. Stop asking your friends what to do with your wife; go ask her what she would like to do. Don’t tell people she is boring go home and suggest something fun. Yes, she is not the sharpest tool in the shed but that is none of your friends’ business. See a therapist or a lawyer. Don’t embarrass and humiliate yourself.
Just to be clear I am not saying you should let your better or in the case bad half give you blood pressure or let him or her kill you with disease or violence. If you can’t deal with it get out of the situation. Truth is people will talk but you can’t let public opinion decide your life, its quality or how long that life is going to last.
Photo from: bjws.blogspot.com