I grew up in a semi-perfect home, as I like to put it. Both of my parents were involved in the day to day activities of the house; they even took turns cooking, depending on who was home on a particular day. For the record, my dad makes the best potato greens I’ve ever tasted. As a result, I have always been of the notion that marriage is strictly partnership; it takes the cooperative effort of two persons to ensure that it works. As such, I refuse to believe that a specific person has a particular role to play in the home, not taking away the fact that the man is considered to be the head of the household
With this picture of an ideal marriage painted in my mind since childhood, I was confronted with a hard truth of our society a week ago- it is not everyone who thinks or believes that marriage is a partnership. Most people, in the general context, see marriage as an arrangement where a woman is paid for (bride price), and she is supposed to serve her spouse and his family. Her family prepares her all her life for the institution of marriage, and when she doesn’t find interest in the workings of the home, she is constantly reminded that she will have to marry someday and take care of her home. Our boys, on the other hand, are raised to believe that they will marry a great woman eventually and she will take care of the home while the man provides. I fear this causes boys to think it is okay for them to be careless, wasteful and not knowing a single thing about cooking because they think their supposed future wives will do it all. When you think about it though, being able to create meals for oneself is the most basic skill any human needs to know to survive, but I digress.
A friend once told me, that he believes a woman ought to be responsible for all the chores in the house, including rearing the children; because the man is the head and leader of the home, therefore his duties lie outside of it. But the questions this begs are: If the man is the head, isn’t it also his duty to help out at home to ensure that everything runs smoothly? Or are we women subjected only to the caretaker position? Are we not partners? Does the payment of our bride price tie us to servitude?
Our society needs to answer these questions before laying out duties for those ladies who are or wish to get married. I believe the only means of having a happy marriage is when both parties work closely together and see to it that the home is kept. A woman’s duty isn’t bound in the house or the will of her husband; marriage is a partnership. Let us fix our mindsets and groom a new generation of independent young men and women who believe in the ideology of partnership in marriage. That way, men would be willing to work together with their spouse to make this institution work.
Authored by Beulah Nimeme
Featured picture by Christine Mclean