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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The equal rights syndrome has brought harm to the marriage system

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By Odimegwu Onwumere

Commenting on a post on my Facebook page, a lady wrote that to be a good husband one has to be willing to act as an ox whose only role is to carry passengers as well as luggage and still endure harsh treatment.

The above statement is without doubt the mindset of many ladies in our clime today. And this could be the reason many women these days treat their men with disdain, apart from those with the gender equality madness. To this set of ladies they believe that it is eye for eye, tooth for tooth and blood for blood with the men. They see the duties of wives in their matrimonial homes as slavery. They do not have respect for the men or rather put; they believe that a man should respect himself beyond a reasonable doubt before he should expect same from his woman.

However, a woman whom I have adopted as a sister had this to say about marriage on the same Facebook, but most especially, to the feminists, as against the mentality of many women. She is crying that marriage is one of the most interesting and beautiful institutions. This is because two people from totally different backgrounds come together to form another society – the family. Sadly, this beautiful institution is under threat because selfishness, pride and total disregard from both male and female have come to rule in the once revered institution.

There are certain unwritten rules in this world, my sister said; in this case, there are certain things that have been designed from time immemorial as a woman's role. A woman owns her home, she holds the very peace of the home, agreed we have some men who do not seem to appreciate their wives but I do know that most men deep down love and appreciate their wives even if they do not show it. I do not ask for equal rights in a marriage (it is just impossible), but I do ask for justice and equity, she said.

We need to go back to how our parents kept their marriages, she continued; men knew how to be husbands, and women knew how to be wives. The equal rights syndrome has brought harm to the marriage system. Women have begun to see their daily roles as slavery. Of course, she said; marriage is a partnership in which both parties perform their respective roles enshrined with true sacrifice and love, to complement one another. This is not equal rights; it is equity and true love, which is sacrifice.

The society has gone 'gaga' because the family unit has collapsed, my sister wept; the marriage institution in this generation is getting worse because we are training children in a confused family setting so much so that they do not seem to know what they want when they equally get married; I tell my friends the day you agreed to get married to a man and bear his name, that day you agreed to be in submission of him: no equal rights.

Is it a wonder that the campaign for equal rights is still on years after it begun? She asked, and said, some things can never be recreated: in this case the beautiful positions of being a wife and a mother can never be erased or replaced – it is the most beautiful occupation on the face of the earth and I bless God for the privilege of being a wife and a mother.

These were coming from the women after many deliberations on my Facebook page concerning my post that the difference between a rude man and principled man should be lined. It is obvious that when a principled man wants to take charge, women baptize him with rude, stubborn, or jealous.

No man with his right senses that wouldn't love his wife. But it will be good that women understand the chemistry of men. Men are rascals by nature. It takes a woman with a motherly heart to influence her man to drop some of his excesses. This is why the Igbo would say, Nwanyi ji aka di ji alu ya. Sad that the reverse is the case today, hence the mad craze for divorce.

It is clear that in the book, "The Other Queen" Philippa Gregory who is also a lady advises that a woman has to change her nature if she is to be a wife. She has to learn to curb her tongue, to suppress her desires, to moderate her thoughts and to spend her days putting another first. She has to put him first even when she longs to serve herself or her children. She has to put him first even if she longs to judge for herself. She has to put him first even when she knows best. To be a good wife is to be a woman with a will of iron that you yourself have forged into a bridle to curb your own abilities. To be a good wife is to enslave yourself to a lesser person. To be a good wife is to amputate your own power as surely as the parents of beggars hack off their children's feet for the greater benefit of the family.

But some of the women who commented thought the obverse. They said that as far as we are all human beings, respect is reciprocal, instead of what they described as, some insane gender line. They questioned if Man is the head of the family. In their judgment, they said that the world should be sorried  that men made that up, and said that the penis doesn't make a man special.

This reminds me of “The Soul of Man under Socialism" in which Oscar Wilde says that the things people say of a man do not alter a man. He is what he is. Public opinion is of no value whatsoever. Even if people employ actual violence, they are not to be violent in turn. That would be to fall to the same low level. After all, even in prison, a man can be quite free. His soul can be free. His personality can be untroubled. He can be at peace. And, above all things, they are not to interfere with other people or judge them in any way. Personality is a very mysterious thing. A man cannot always be estimated by what he does. He may keep the law, and yet be worthless. He may break the law, and yet be fine. He may be bad, without ever doing anything bad. He may commit a sin against society, and yet realise through that sin his true perfection.

I remember Viktor E. Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning" that I was weeping, while reading. Frankl says: I shall never forget how I was roused one night by the groans of a fellow prisoner, who threw himself about in his sleep, obviously having a horrible nightmare. Since I had always been especially sorry for people who suffered from fearful dreams or deliria, I wanted to wake the poor man. Suddenly I drew back the hand which was ready to shake him, frightened at the thing I was about to do. At that moment I became intensely conscious of the fact that no dream, no matter how horrible, could be as bad as the reality of the camp which surrounded us, and to which I was about to recall him.

Any doubt that equal rights syndrome has brought harm to the marriage system?

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