THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM Q4.34

Sequel to my previous post, this is also a post on marriage.

I mentioned here that I avoid giving marital advice because I feel unqualified. Most times, I ignore the thought but sometimes, like now, I cannot get it off my mind so here goes…

Due to this endemic problem of role reversal for men and women (husbands at home while the wives become breadwinners) as highlighted in my previous post, marital conflict has rapidly increased and divorce rates are skyrocketing.

While we are struggling to come to terms with this, I have a suggestion; but first, permit me to share a story.

My brother and I have a 15-month gap between us and growing up was a bit rocky. We bickered a lot and I did not respect him much but he (being easy-going) did not seem to mind. My dad was always berating him for not ‘knowing book’ like I did. I hated this but at that age, I could not fathom why he was not as studious as I was. We had a year gap in school too but I wrote my common entrance exams in Class 5 while he wrote his in Class 6 (final year of Primary/Elementary School).

We began JSS1 together and I dreaded it because I knew Daddy was going to compare our performances (even though we were in different schools) and my brother would fall short. In our third year of Secondary School, it happened! He failed while I was to proceed to senior secondary school. Even as a teenager, I was quite stoic but I cried that day (to my mum’s surprise). I was heartbroken for him. He was such a good guy, he was making so much effort to be better. It was so unfair! And I knew my dad would blast him with ‘tough love.’

I remember making a resolution that day never to call him ‘stupid’ when we quarrelled. Of course, like any dutiful teenager, I still thought he was stupid sometimes (like all boys), but I told myself I was no longer allowed to call him that or any other epithet referring to his cognitive skills. It did not matter how angry I was, it was the elephant in the room I was to ignore. Our relationship improved after that.

My marital advice is actually not new; it is what our mothers and grandmothers have been doing. One of the top reasons for marital conflict is finances. When the balance tilts in favour of the woman being the breadwinner, no matter how angry or irritated she feels, she should ignore the elephant in the room. For men who take their gender roles seriously (typically African, Arab and Asian men), they like their egos massaged (I am a learner in this aspect, and many other aspects actually). They want their efforts appreciated (no matter how little), their matters kept private and their advice and opinions sought – who doesn’t? I believed we were in modern times and waved off such silly advice when I got married. Ain’t nobody got time for all that crap, I thought. My grandmum actually advised me to kneel when serving my husband his meals. Warraheck?

Now, I realise the point she was trying to make was that a woman needs to stoop to conquer. As the saying goes ‘The husband is the head while the woman is the neck’. The neck turns the head in the direction it wants but it is subtle; you don’t see them in conflict.

Men have classified their wives arrogant (and all its synonyms) because she mentioned that she was tired of doing everything and needs him to pull his weight; or because she asked him of who would foot the bills now that he was insisting she quit work; or she told him the money he provided for housekeep was insignificant. It is supposed to be the elephant in the room that she is now the breadwinner. No matter what happens, SHE SHOULD NOT MENTION IT! 😀

The key to bringing up the elephant though, is humour. However, bear it in mind that the lack of finances is already fraying on your man’s nerves making him unreasonably sensitive so tread carefully.

On the other hand, you are free to dance a salsa with the elephant if your husband does not take his role as provider and ‘Lord Master’ seriously; or if you are past caring about your marriage; or you are a feminist insisting on equality in marriage. It won’t secure your union, I assure you; but then, maybe marriage is over-rated? 😉

PS: I have to include this: It is counter-productive to fend for your husband completely and provide all his needs because he cannot provide at the moment (and you want to show you love him). You should use your resources to provide for the family but still leave some room for him to contribute. Appreciate his contributions, no matter how small and encourage him kindly. Don’t flaunt your money in his face but don’t be stingy about it. Balance is key. Keep figuring it out; I am too. 🙂

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17 thoughts on “THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM Q4.34

  1. I really enjoyed your post 🙂 I also am unqualified to give marital advice but I sometimes find myself doing so :p I agree with a lot that you said. My husband and I sometimes argue due to cultural differences and what our idea of our spouses role should be. I’ve only been married for a year so I’m still learning how to balance everything but we make it work somehow. The pride thing definitely applies to my husband and I learned that locking my lips and swallowing my opinion is worth avoiding an argument.

    Liked by 2 people

      • I know it’s been a while! Just finished finals a few weeks ago. It’s been a little hectic but I’m finally getting back to blogging 🙂 You seem to be pretty wise yourself, I know once I have some kids, inshALLAH, I will have more variables for navigating my marriage.

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  2. Hi Keidi,

    I really-really enjoyed reading this post, it was packed full of good counsel.

    The story about your brother made me smile, I remembered sibling rivalry during my childhood.

    Ah! The finance situation is a very tricky one especially in these modern times when women are more empowered.

    Yes, a wise woman is one that stoops to conquer. I suppose good marriages thrive on mutual respect and understanding regardless of who’s bringing home the bacon.

    “you are free to dance a salsa with the elephant” cracked me up. XD

    Indeed, humour reduces the awkward discomfort when dealing with sensitive issues in relationships.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really enjoyed your post. Like, really. Trust me, I had my share of beration from mom cos my younger sister always did better than me in elementary and high school. But my dad always encouraged me, and even when he was angry and frustrated, he NEVER compared. My dad…….has always done things with wisdom, and I really thank God for having such a man for a father.
    As for the man ego; well. I pray regularly for the proud species.
    “Please Lord, don’t let me join them!” Stuff sucks.
    I really want to respect my wife, and show her I cherish her. She’s MY WOMAN, my woman, and whenever I can, I’ll cook for her. Wash the plates with her. Play with the kids, too. Take her away from the house, from the chores, the lovely children with their lovely wahala. I won’t leave her to be a house wife, either. We’ll work together as parents-not just her.
    And as for the money thing, don’t worry, I have money! We definitely won’t lack.
    All in all, I hope to be able to strike the perfect balance between being a man and being a husband.
    Thank you very much, i’ e gotten good insight on how men like to behave, and some of the things to expect in marriage. I can prepare me for the best. And the worst.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Spoken like a #Yorubaboy that girls are warned to flee from! Sweet mouth.
      You have good intentions and I pray you are able to fulfill your dreams and that of your spouse.
      Glad you learnt from this post. That was the essence.
      And I appreciate your comment very much!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It is such a great post, you have tried to cover all the aspect of a working women .Indeed there is always elephant in the room always you cannot escape it Balance is the key, whoever is earning the bread roles and responsibilities need to be shared as not to overburden one person be it man or woman. There should be justice 🙂 Sometimes woman work hard a lot to earn living and then in house managing kids and daily chores but then some bad words of their frustration or saying I am doing it all spoils the game, she is labelled as feminist and relationships are affected.

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    • You’re right, Khansana. When I wa working, I was more irritable because I felt that frustration. Returning home to chores after a busy day can grate on one’s nerves but that’s where communication comes in. If you feel you need help, don’t assume. Ask, but ask nicely otherwise you’ll have the tables turned on you.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wao. I felt your pain. And my heart broke for your brother as I read that you moved up a class when he had to stay back. And your great determination never to call him stupid. For a teenager, that was extremely insightful!
    As for this elephant in the room…..hmmmmmm I can only sigh because it is becoming more and more common. But you’re dead right on the money, it shouldn’t be flaunted in their faces. Humour is always the way forward…..

    Like

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