Getting It Right By All Means

The stories coming from our newsrooms lately have not been in the least inspiring; stories about men being battered by their wives.

The jokes flying all over the place either casting aspersion on the unmanly fellows or taking jibes at the nature of women from certain parts of the country are totally missing the point.

The virulent punditry that is currently going on regarding the matter are in my opinion way off the mark; they are addressing the symptoms of a deeply entrenched malaise rather than going to the root. It is the way with us, Adams and Eves of Kenya – always responding in knee-jerks rather than deliberately charting out credible path to workable relationships.

Why would an Eve want to batter her spouse? Why would an Adam want to do the same? Beyond the dynamics that informs the personality or individual characteristics of each person which would either predicate them towards a tendency to violence or peace-making, it should be known that the resort to violence in any relationship is a sure sign of total and complete breakdown of a relationship’s raison d’être – love.

Lack of love or its abatement in a union has it roots in a plethora of reasons which this article can not possibly tackle in a 1,000 words. Suffice it to say that wrong foundation for marriage, marital ennui, domesticity and pursuit of ‘excitement’ outside the confines of ‘marital jail’ will quickly erode whatever bases of trust or love that a marriage is enshrined upon. The consequences are what we are today seeing manifested as wife/husband-battering.

In my opinion, the understanding of the roles, duties and responsibilities of couples very much is at the heart of unraveling the ‘mystery’ of functional relationships.  Strictly speaking from a Christian perspective, every Adam has roles to play as a man (i.e. male), duties to undertake as a husband and responsibilities to attend to as a husband. Each Eve too has her roles, duties and responsibilities.

Before you consider this take as being either simplistic or being hair-splitting on the matter of roles, duties and responsibilities, consider the rendering of the functions Adams and Eves as we have always known them and the modern challenges that the reversal in those functions have created causing not quite a small amount of confusion never mind the heart-aches.

The man as I have said before has a role to play in order to redeem his manhood. My manhood, viewed from the Eve perspective will be strongly entrenched if I am capable of being tender and loving yet at the same time being firm in all the other areas where my authoritative input will be required. Tell me, which woman wants a sissy by her bedside? Again who wants a tyrant by her side? Balancing these acts will, believe you, define your manhood. Only, our Eve’s wont let us. The current trend is to make men understand that they have a feminine side to their nature and acceding to it is the right way out of many a life’s imbroglio. Tell that to the men at the helm of KDF who decided Al-Shabab needed a hiding.

The duty of loving a woman unbeknownst to the clueless will make or break a union. The last time I was here at Project 44, I stated that love for the woman is divine command. The practical side of carrying out this command makes it a duty; a heavy one. Say what you want but loving one woman as I have found out, giving out all that you are (and possibly all that you have) to the exclusive attention of her life is quite the chore. Trust me, I have been there and sometimes I have had to ask God why it has to be so hard to love a woman. Please, for a moment forget the mushy, lovey-dovey hormone induced fireworks that announces a relationship. Any Adam in a permanent relationship with an Eve today will bear with me about the uphill task that ‘love’ is.

Duties by their very nature are not pleasant. But they are duties nevertheless. And so loving her, come rain come shine, in weal and woe, till death do us apart is a duty I must faithfully fulfill if I want to make the marriage work. It is hard (and quitting is always not the best option) but fortunately it is not impossible.

Adam’s responsibilities in parenthood will ensure that the society gets to perpetuate itself through the upbringing of offspring who are healthy in every way possible. Generally, lawlessness and criminal tendencies are the offshoots of bad upbringing. Any Adam entering into a union with a woman and who is ready to create a human being out of that union should understand that he has God-granted responsibility to see to the upkeep of that child till it can fend for itself in adulthood. This might sound trite but the reality of our degenerating social norms points to the fact that men are not playing the father figure role that is naturally theirs.

Having said all that, let us look at the alternative being fronted as a cure to flailing relationship. Suddenly, single-by-choice motherhood is being fronted as a popular alternative to dead-a-life fatherhood. Career pursuit to the exclusion of everything else and the embrace of ‘friendship with benefits’ where no strings are attached to unions have also been touted and then there is the old tried route of divorce. All these can not and will never solve our troubled marriages. They are just that, alternatives. Unfortunately, the sanctity of human life and the brevity of our tenure on earth does not allow for such misinformed social experimentations. Not long after, we won’t even have a society to experiment with.

I truly, believe the Eves can tell us their side of the story of what they understand to be their roles, duties and responsibilities in a union seeing as I have not imposed my view on them by defining those for them.

As for me, I am convinced that the males being battered today can hack the tough jobs of redeeming their manhood. It is a hard task but as I said it can be done. Doing it will mean the end of a job for that joker at Maendeleo ya Wanaume nonsense!

Have your say.

By Jeff – Guest Writer

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10 thoughts on “Getting It Right By All Means

  1. welcome back Jeff-Kidiki…., interesting piece.

    I read this somewhere “Male and female represent the two sides of the great radical dualism. But in fact they are perpetually passing into one another. Fluid hardens to solid, solid rushes to fluid. There is no wholly masculine man, no purely feminine woman” and found it intriguing – what do you think of this?

    ps i am 101% feminine….ok 99 😉

  2. hi Butterscotch,, I trust we are not going to confuse the dualism with our enshrined roles. There’s apart of the female in every male and vice versa but this should not make us forget what we owe each other for the sake of maintaining what I consider the only sustainable mean by which any civilization can thrive.

  3. What bugged me when watching that new story was how deep seated & intense the anger & frustration was…
    Last year (I think) Otieno Hongo did a very profound post on his take on marriage. Something he wrote stuck in my head and I realised that one can apply in all kinds of human relationships (with family, lovers to friends). He said that marriage when you start out is like an empty box. You must put in something, before you take anything out….I think if you take out too much than you’re actually giving, the other person will start feeling shortchanged no matter how much they love you…their giving will start to hurt. ALOT…till they break and lash out, walk out or secretly resent you. So yes, Providing and being responsible is a must. But there is so much more one needs to put in…

  4. I won’t weigh in on the subject because no one has ever accused me of being rational. I will, however, commend the crisp writing.

  5. Jeff, I testify to your assertion that loving a woman is a divine command! A command whose duty ought to be accepted with unbridled joy. There is really nothing much I can add to your post as you have articulated the issues so well. However we must as individuals accept that the society is changing, and whenever some people resist change, there is always bound to be some violence, either from those resisting the change or those demanding the change. We cannot ignore that the so called development has had an impact on the family unit, and by extension the marriage institution. Women are out there working and earning a living, there are men that are no longer able to sufficiently provide for their families…the issue is how we handle these changing dynamics. Thanks for such a well thought out post…

  6. Brilliant post Jeff.Speaking of men in Nyeri,at some point I had to applaud their being battered.Illicit brews in this area has been the in-thing and many of them have lived to know it more than they’ve known their families.A man works for a fortune,gets some money, then commits each cent to those liquids.He hasn’t seen his children for a week,can’t figure out how they dress and eat,love to her woman is long forgotten-something that happened 5 to 10 years ago.(I heard some of the brews make men impotent thus reducing them to nothing but toys).Still,picture a woman cleaning up her man’s vomit and sh*t ,this being a day to day activity to some.Is that a man or a baby,and how do we expect these women to feel ? Although resorting to violence isn’t the ideal option,me thinks the ill-feels and the agony of having the entire family responsibilities lieing on their shoulders is what prompts them to teach these crop of men a lesson.Mututho laws should seriously be applied in central lest we completely forget the existence of men in that region.

  7. @Kidikibudi, thank you for being a guest writer once again (we’re waiting for your blog ;)). Needless to say, the comments were just as thought-provoking as the post. @Butterscotch, Nyambura, Otieno Hongo, Mtu Flani, Sokayjulo, Shekyn, Mackel9 and Wanjoro, thanks for dropping by and having your say.

  8. Thank you kindly for this post it is very refreshing and true. You put words to thoughts l was having all the time… it is not funny and there is so much more to the whole women battering their husbands. It is a symptom that should not be ignored and l concur any type of violence does not help one bit….. it is sad that the getting to the root is the one thing that is being avoided….sad really.

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