Couples many a time are faced with difficult choices; like staying in an abusive or bad marriage for the sake of the children or the financial security that comes with staying. Sometimes however, it is sensible to leave and make peace with the fact that it was not meant to be.
Most times, we think it is a marriage problem when it is in actual sense an ego problem. Case in point; HR director always makes sure the MD, a man, has his coffee ready, every morning. She brings it to him personally in the correct temperature… Well because she knows, the man likes his coffee with 2 sugars and half milk and at 87 degrees Celsius. Not her job but she does it anyway. This is smart politics, not manipulation. See how that works, effort-reward, so that when she will request for two more hires and she wants to slot in a relative she will get a free hand and an approval.
Reward for being a partner…
When the position of a Man in the house is provider and protector, the women seek food shelter and protection, you only need as a husband, to provide and protect without a care of being a good partner. The reward for being a good wife is provision and protection, the more you give this the more she will strive to be a good wife.
However, the modern woman who can provide for herself is one tricky conundrum. The question is, what is the reward for being a good wife? Whilst she maintains the need to be provided for and protected, she wants more. Because she can provide for herself, just being able to provide and protect doesn’t work as a reward.
Consider The Same HR in different cloth as a wife at home. The director knows that her husband would kill for a stew made by her and no chef or house help in the world can cook as good a stew as she does…. The soup is great and it smells like heaven but she stopped cooking 10 years ago. Why? She can pay for someone else to do it because there is no reward at home for being a good wife it’s just a job that you have to do. Zero reward, not a thanks, no nothing. However, it is worth noting that none can pay their way out of being a good partner
She comes into marriage for something more than just a warm bed and food. She comes for partnership. It means you have to be her partner. Empathize, listen, help around the house when she needs, praise, apologize compromise, when she tells you about how unfair her boss is being at work defend her. In addition, most importantly, stop making excuses for not having a source of income. Partnerships work well only when both partners can be dependable.
For many a man the mere fact that they can be dependable to put food on the table and protect is deeply rewarding. Therefore, for a man to sit in the house even when the woman’s income is sufficient for the family, without his ability to provide and protect is deeply unsettling and depressing.
It goes without saying that a depressed man makes for a bad partner. This always spells doom for a long-term relationship with a woman. A loss of a means to provide for a man means losing a lot more than just a regular source of income. It means loss of respect from his peers, and his position as the leader in the house, which in turn makes a man disoriented and vulnerable. In most cases men have turned these frustrations toward their partners and became unfaithful or abusive.
Everything that stands tall and strong must be worked on…
Hundreds of millions sink in to the ground that will ultimately hold a good strong structure. But people only see a beautiful building without a care about how much effort went into building it. Every good thing takes effort to build, yet only seconds to be destroyed and brought back to the ground.
Whether you want to admit it or not the work place is quite similar to a marriage. A marriage also has an organization chart, resources, tasks to be allocated and such. It is quite literally work. It needs motivation, energy enthusiasm and discovering new ways to make things work better, call it innovation if you like. It is never a roller coaster. You get in knowing that it will have difficulties. The same way it is exciting to get a new job and feel like quitting a few years down the line is the same way marriage works, you will always not appreciate that it gives you a consistent income but rather always seem to look for a better paying job somewhere else that you can have.
Your expectations are never going to be met. The excitement will die and that is where the work begins, eventually with a little effort it will become what it is meant to be, warm, consistent and stable. The people at work know that we are conditioned to respond to a reward when you put in effort, and use the reward system effectively. That means even if you are just doing your job it feels great when someone recognize and appreciate your efforts so they have promotions salary increments, bonuses and casual Fridays so that you are always looking up to something exciting
Let me share with you a secret of mine, that you may learn from or even take it as me bragging.
My wife loves when I spread the bed because I take my time and make nice patterns with the duvet and sheets.
When she’s from work to a neatly spread bed, even when she’s tired she glows and I Will get my warm cup of uji as I catch up on TV. If you hate doing dishes you must love something else that will make you be useful around the house instead of locking yourself up in your study or resting your left leg on top of the other as you finish on yesterday’s paper.
Sharing these chores are a way of showing compromise you cannot underestimate how much compromise works miracles for your bonding. Washing dishes or cooking as a man does not make you a loser; it makes you a good partner. Sounds like nothing really but these are the chemical bonds of a good friendship.
Be a friend. This will hugely reward a woman’s’ efforts for being a good wife. Remember everyone always has to get something out of it. It’s not selfishness it is a bargain, it’s just how stuff works. You work hard, get a promotion, and work harder. The reward for being a good wife for a hardworking woman is being a good partner.
I know you may have an important job that puts food on the table for many people profit the company you are in. But when you can’t just be ‘Wanjiku’ in your house and Odhiambo then you forget the reason you are going to work in the first place. People may even want to blame the realization of gender equality on the decline of marriage. But lest we forget, even homosexual marriages face these very same ego problems.
When you let your ego take charge, you suck as an employee, teammate, job seeker, parent, friend, partner, lover or whatever it is you’re doing. A big ego makes you defend, justify or rationalize when you should not. It makes you fight, manipulate or hide from challenges. It makes you arrogant and erratic. It prevents you from hearing and recognizing the truth or another person’s effort. It is not education or even women empowerment; kick the ego out. Don’t make it a competition about who makes how much money. This is about being a reasonable human being.
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