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