WHO OWNS THE HOUSE, THE WIFE OR HUSBAND?…..FROM AFRICAN PERSPECTIVE
In most traditions all over the world, it is normal to believe that the woman is the husband’s protégé. What is not certain is whether this tradition has its roots in religious teachings or not, as virtually all religions are known to emphasize overly or covertly that the woman is under the man. However, while the tradition is still hugely practiced in some places, it is on the verge of extinction in some places. In most of the western world for example, the practice is either obsolete or virtually non existent. On the whole, one may want to ask, is there really anything good coming out of that tradition where it still exists?
Secondly, how and why did the practice cease in some parts of the world particularly the western world? Before answering these questions, let us look at the issue from biological perspective. Naturally, the anatomy and physiology of the female human being is designed to confer some burden or inferiority or weakness on her. For example, during dysmenorrhea, which affects, about fifty percent of women world wide, the woman is not expected to be as strong, productive and confident as the man. Some experts have suggested that this even affects some women psychologically. It is also known that this has led to many women being absent from school, work or business. Similarly, a nursing mother is not expected to give her best in the office unless she does not want to give her best to the child in terms of motherly warmth, closeness and joyful plays.
But I really think the greatest moment of challenge for majority of married women is the period that the pregnancy lasts. In all these instances, it becomes the natural duty of a loving and caring husband to offer the necessary support to the woman, who did not intentionally choose to find herself in those situations. This act of such man always enhances good relationship between him and his wife.
Meanwhile, as opposed to the woman, the man at all times is at his place of work undisturbed by any of these women’s issues mentioned above. This had been the strongest reason why some companies had it as a policy not to employ women before the United Nations came up with the issue of human rights some decades ago.
Unfortunately however, with the advent of equal rights for women, the average woman, particularly in the western world, appears to be regretting being a woman in the first place, trying to usurp the traditional headship of the family which had hitherto been exclusively reserved for the man. Indeed, the average woman there believes in, and pursues that popular slogan which says that whatever a man can do a woman does it better.
As a matter of fact, some women have gone ahead to become heads of governments, chief executive officers of big companies, great academicians, wonderful sports stars, accomplished entrepreneurs, medical experts, and so on. All these are actually on the position side. On the negative side however, it is regrettable that most women, in the process of clamming equal right with men have gone out of their way to put up some behaviors that have led to rubbing shoulders with their husbands and which have led to the disintegration of their marriages.
Practically, recent researches have shown that there are more divorce cases in North America and Europe than in the whole world put together. Frankly speaking, it appears to me that in the western world, neither the woman nor the man owns the house; and a family where there is no specific leader to lead in a particular direction, that family will be in disarray. This is why there is a very high rate of divorce in those regions of the world.
From the foregoing I believe there is no need granting liberty and equality to women when this will turn to be an empowering tool to engender family break-ups and marital disasters, with the accompanying social problems, particularly the psychological trauma which the children from broken families go through. Having said much about most women in the western world not allowing themselves to be under their men, let me state here that in many other regions of the world including Africa, particularly in Nigeria, it is almost exclusively men’s world. Yet, if I am asked to compare, I will confidentially say that marriage is relatively stable with less number of divorce cases in these other parts of the world.
A vital question to ask now is, what is the very significance of a woman being under the man? And secondly, is there really anything good coming from this practice? I had already answered the second question when I mentioned marital stability as one of the benefits. Just believe it, once a marriage or family is peaceful and stable, many other good things follow in line.
Therefore, I have to say emphatically that from African perspective, the woman being under the man is a Godly practice that should be encouraged. The significance should also not be dismissed by the ordinary wave of the hand. This is because in the first place, remember that as a typical African woman though she may be educated, is hardly free to be the one to approach a prospective suitor first, as opposed to what obtains in the western world.
Here, it is the man that first makes an approach to a lady. This is very significant because from the onset, the woman knows and understands that the husband is the one who calls the shots. I strongly want to believe and affirm that an average Africa woman is never swayed by the level of education she has acquired as to make her quickly forget or ignore the fact that she is still under her husband’s protégé.
Rather, with her education and material things gained through her job or business, she is now more knowledgeable and be able to manage the entire house, the husband and children inclusive. And as expected, a typical African man reciprocates by according her more respect, providing her requests even when not complete. The very result of this cordial relationship is a marriage/family that is intact, happy and peaceful, offering little or no room at all for divorce.
So, we can now see that a woman being under her husband does not mean being subservient to him, neither does it mean the man being domineering nor bossy over her. This is in line with the proverbial master-dog relationship in which the dog is very obedient to the master as long as he cares for it. But the moment the master shows some wickedness to the dog, when it will bite him, it will immediately forget all the goodness the man had shown it in the past, and the ultimate result will be for the man to either kill the dog or sell it off. And that is the end of the relationship.
And consequently, please take note that I do not subscribe to the idea of a man being bossy, draconian or quixotic over his wife in the name of woman being under the man as practiced by some people. To you that are reading this post right now, it may sound strange and unbelievable to you if I tell you that I have come across some marriages right here in Nigeria where the wife is regarded as ‘a half’ human being.
And when I investigated, I learnt that both illiteracy and their religious practice were responsible for this. This certainly is not the type of man’s leadership over the woman that I advocate. The type I strongly and frankly recommend is one where the good husband actually leads in providing for the family while the wife complements by carefully or prudently managing the resources so provided, and the family moves on.
Put in another form, I am talking about marriage where the husband plans and provides for the family through his job while the wife wisely decides or determines how to manage the provisions. If the wife is gainfully employed in a paid job or personal business, she in most cases supports the husband financially. By extension, what this means is that both of them are complementary. The man is said to be the head because he is naturally so at least by the virtue of my earlier explanation. But ultimately, the woman is the owner of the house (not the physical building) by virtue of the fact that she is the one who knows where what is, how much quantity of all the food and food materials that are available, when the children fall ill, when the children’s shoes and clothings are due for a change, and so on.
In conclusion, it is quite apt to admit that in principle, the man owns the house but in reality or practical terms, the woman owns the house. Ultimately therefore, the husband and the wife are co-owners of the house and remarkably, always remember that both the husband and wife bilaterally and conscientiously produced the children in the family.
But in our African traditional setting, the husband owns the wife. And so, even if it is agreed on the surface that the wife owns the house while at the same time the husband owns the wife, it technically means that the husband owns the house. And so, in the African way of life, because the wife totally accepts the headship of the husband, there is usually a definite direction the marriage is moving in harmony with little or no won for disagreement that can lead to divorce. For this very reason, marriages are more peaceful and united in Africa, compared to the western world.
As stable family/marriage that is happy, peaceful and united is the dream of everyone, you can certainly attain that by reading a copy of my book, ‘How To Enjoy Happy Family’ which is yet to be published or read up my previous posts on this website.
You can also contact me personally via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or mobile: +2348060402474
Please do enjoy your family and marriage.