COUNTERPOINT By Femi Akintunde-Johnson
As the year 2020 trudges to an awkward end…just few weeks away…we elect to look inwards, and, for the moment, look away from the ever present, ever baffling, ever dispiriting culture of under-governance, if not mis-governance…in a nation divinely lavished with innumerable mineral resources, and incredible mass of diligent, teachable and adaptive people. One has found solace, or shall we say sanity, in personal introspection, and a desire to add a modicum of instructions, experience and candid admonishments in the mindset and philosophical underlinings of today’s man.
The following piece is my humble contribution to efforts that have been afoot for decades in building and sustaining more responsible and beneficial interpersonal skills which ultimately translate to a more decent and egalitarian society. Here goes…
Recently, I received an invitation card (they call it “invite” now) to an event I had looked forward to attend. Eventually, I chose not to attend. The snag was that “Admits One Only” was boldly printed on the back of the gilt-edged card. I was nonplussed, because I had planned to attend the event with my wife, and apparently the organizers conveniently ignored the fact that I was married, or that I would really appreciate my partner’s company at the loudly publicised event.
I toyed with the idea of calling the attention of the organizers to the oversight, and ‘seek redress’. As quickly as the thought came, I brushed it aside, and decided not to ‘disturb’ those who must be running from pillar to post, considering the incredible stress of organizing a big-time event in Nigeria. The distraction of asking for additional cards can generate all sorts of emotions that I simply decided to ‘bury’ the chance of attending the event altogether. But that set me wondering: why do people send single admittance invites to obviously married couples? Where do they expect the unpreferred spouse in that relationship to go on the day of the event? Are they encouraging more guests to come in singly for any particular reason beyond attending and enjoying the recreation on display? What is the motive behind “Admits One Only”?
My submission is that many men in marriage relationships have scant regard for their women’s feelings when it involves official and even unofficial outings. They feel it is within their manly duty and privileges to junket around town, trawling from one party to another with male friends, because men can “take care of themselves”. I even heard of a big company whose staff, by unspoken rule, were not expected to come to company sorties with their spouses. It is sheer baloney!
That sort of mentality is occasioned by deliberate pig-headedness and ignorance. When we tie the proverbial knots on wedding days, we declare to the glee and adulation of invited guests and families, that in all circumstances and situations, we would love and cherish the presence and essence of the beaming brides. But we really do not mean what we say, do we? Or else we harbour different agenda that will later be sprung on the unsuspecting women.
This is how I know: when you make vows to make your wife-to-be happy and become one – the parents and guests assume that you have weighed the seriousness of your vows, and that you would do all in your power to make the vows sustainable and applicable. In short, when they hear you say that two of you shall become one, as the good book says, they believe you know that will be taken in its literal form. They assume that you will start, from the first day of your marriage, to throw out all these habits, proclivities and idiosyncrasies that define only you. They pray and hope that you will begin the process of giving life to your vows, and kickstart the process of welding your ways and your passions with that of your wife, such that you truly become ONE in as short a time as possible.
However, what is prevalent is empty bravado couched as essential individualism, even in the unison of wedlock. Today’s machos want to eat their cake and yet have it. They want to have a stable home, a happy wife and prosperous lifestyle outside their homes. They are bemused when things don’t go their way, in spite of their ‘efforts’ and ‘sacrifices’. They are incredibly untouched by the irony of their positions, in clear juxtaposition with their marital vows. Perverts!
The question that pops up is: how can you be ‘one’ in truth, and still accept single cards? And still attend ‘family meetings’ where your spouse stays outside in the car or in the visitor’s room? Why do you fix your vacations on different occasions whereby one partner will continue to work while the other occupies his or her time with one distraction or the other? Like visiting friends and families abroad or in the hinterlands – alone!?
The answer is in your heart. When you choose to leave your parents’ house, and be joined to another who has equally left behind her family’s covering…the spirit of your union enjoins you to fuse into a oneness that cannot be easily dismantled by rampaging foxes, occasional storms, other people’s silly attitudes and such vicissitudes of life. Surely challenges will arise…no one is able to avoid that…but a sensible and pragmatic fusion of two willing and mutually responsible and caring adults will provide a formidable shield for their children and many of their productive trees for God to water.
See, you are not a weakling if you cannot do without your wife; nor are you emotionally unbalanced if you suffer anxiety when you miss your husband… that is how it should be…after all, all parts of your body are fused as one…a hurt to the nose will affect all of the body. Good health and wise lifestyle is keeping all parts of the body in good cheer. Same with your marriage… both of you must be one in sustaining and encouraging those things, actions, persons and places that give you cheer and joy. Seize the moment, now.