It is up to you [Photo: Courtesy]
That is nonsense, that is the bane of modern marriages,” an old professor of mine was telling me recently.
He has been married twice. In the first marriage, he tried to be liberal with his wife, giving her all the freedom, because he had schooled in the USA in the 1970s at the height of female emancipation.
We were talking about the precarious state of marriages and he told me in no uncertain terms that the men are squarely to blame. He got preachy, patriarchal and pretty much of what he told me had misogyny written all over it.
If your wife drinks, it is over. “Blessed is the man who gets a woman who hates the smell of alcohol,” he said. According to him, a woman who drinks is dangerous. “I’m yet to meet a disciplined female drinker.”
If she drinks, goes out, and as a man, you tolerate that bullshit, you will have yourself to blame when she strays. “The nightclub is where the devil lives and a married woman has no business being there. We go out and we know what we do there with women, married or not.”
Secondly, the old sage told me, young men are too democratic. “Maybe out of fear of being seen as backward or maybe for atoning for the sins of your fathers, you think being overly nice is the best way.” It never works that way.
“As a man, you have to be firm in your household. Stamp your authority. Let your wife know who the head of the family is. Don’t ever try to give her some room to think that you are equal.” He was very categorical here. “Give a woman an inch and she will take a mile. Don’t risk giving her room.”
“Absolutely not. Give room, give her space, let her make her choices, but she must know who the boss is and the lines she can’t cross.”
“You jump around here in town forgetting your family. Your parents, siblings and the cousins you grew up with, but what you forget your wife can dump you and move back to her family and you will have no place to turn to if you have not been treating your family well.”
Fourth is secrets. “You young men tell your wives everything. A man must be as secretive as possible.”
He gave me several anecdotes that I can’t disclose, but the gist was that men must have certain secrets that their wives must never know of.
That is how respect is cultivated. I asked him if that is how some men die without the family knowing where he had invested, and lawyers and mistresses end up inheriting what rightfully belongs to the children, and he said, “You are dead, how is that your problem?!” Definitely, the whisky was doing rounds in his head.
Fifth: “Don’t get lost in the city. Build at home and go home occasionally. Make your children understand their roots. Make your wife know that you care about your roots. Cities are bad places for our health and well-being.”
And on. And on.
I am not sure how much of this advice is relevant in 2018. But it is up to young men to heed these things.