January 10, 2011 – On his first day back to work after their honeymoon, Jim arrived home two hours earlier than his new wife and took a nap on the couch.
On coming home, a disappointed wife hit by the reality of a carefree man, took her nap on the adjacent couch. At around 9pm Jim woke up to a quiet, dark house with no signs of ready dinner as he had anticipated.
“Kwani we are not eating in this house?” he asked. “I am also wondering,” was the answer he got.
The question of who between the chicken and the egg came first has no answer and so is the question of shared responsibility in marriage. But the shared truth is that both the chicken and the egg both need each other.
The argument of who should initiate ‘being good’ (Although I call it who should shoulder their responsibility first) more often than not has been a major cause of dysfunctional families.
The old adage has been- you do your 50 percent and your spouse does his/her 50 percent then you meet at the middle. To me, this is where we go wrong.
Accordingly the man provides for his family then he earns his respect. The wife brings up disciplined children in return and earns her place. A man who loses his job or doesn’t earn enough to sustain his family loses his position and respect. When the children fail in school it is the fault of the mother (despite that the father was a worse failure).
The 50-50 rule meanwhile in essence means that when your partner fails to do their part you ignore yours too. That is why you hear statements like “why should I respect him yet he shows me no love?” The men will in turn ask, “Why should I go home early yet yesterday she acted like she did not notice me when I got in?” So the cycle goes on and on…
He might have come late daily for the last one week, but snubbing him solves nothing. Why not soberly let him know what it means to you and the kids when he gets home early. I know this could be humbling but if it is worth it why not sacrifice your pride/worth. Even if he acts like you didn’t say anything don’t give up – at least he knows it.
Probably you came home late (after a drinking spree) and she didn’t bother to warm food for you, but get on with it. Who did you expect her and your kids to spend time with? Calmly find out why, instead of getting into a cold war.
Because you did not get a welcome smile when you arrived home earlier last night does not mean she doesn’t appreciate it, she might just be waiting it out to see if its not a one off thing.
The truth is that your wife needs to be appreciated, consulted when making major decisions and shown lots of affection. The men crave to be admired, respected and taken care of. If your wife loves flowers, cards, chocolate or some treat it doesn’t cost you much to do it. You could start by doing it for a special day like her birthday, anniversary or Valentines.
Get to the kitchen and prepare him that meal he loves even if he has not done anything lovely to you in the recent past. Encourage him on his latest business idea instead of pouring cold water on it.
This might appear foolish but it is the small things we do to those we love that make the difference. It is exciting to see the grin of joy and pride on the faces of many parents when their kids report to school on day one. Too sad that for some, nothing about their spouses elicit the same.
A friend of mine once told me that when it comes to married couples the 50-50 rule never works. You do the 100 percent and just hope and pray that your partner does their 100. Amazing wisdom!
There are shared testimonies of those who have done just that and their partners have tended to reciprocate. For some it has taken days for their spouses to turn around, others weeks and some even months. I cannot give a 100 percent assurance of a turn-around but the reality however is that a good number have responded positively.
To quote a comment in my previous article, “Marriage shouldn’t be viewed as a prison imposed on us by culture. On the contrary it’s a union meant for utmost fulfillment ordained by God.” It is not secret that the institution of marriage in these modern times is facing one crisis after another. But it is a truth that in these difficult modern days there are marriages that are making it good.
Let me end this with a 30 second speech by Bryan Dyson – former CEO of Coca Cola. He said:
“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. They are work, family, health, friends and spirit and you are keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged and even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for it.”