By Francis Ewherido
The husband is the head of the house. That makes him the leader of the family. A husband who is a good leader finds it easier to get the cooperation of his wife, not because he is the head of the house, but because the wife believes and buys into his leadership. This leadership should extend to the realm of parenting.
Parenting is a joint responsibility between a husband and a wife. Like marriage, each spouse plays a role in the upbringing of the children, but I feel men should take more responsibility in parenting. Time was when many African cultures saw parenting as mainly a woman’s responsibility.
But I feel parenting should be the man’s main responsibility, while the wife serves as a co-pilot, especially because children tend to spend more time with their mothers particularly in their early years.
Many men, like lions, leave the job of parenting to their wives. This can easily create imbalance in the development of children. If God wanted men to abdicate the parenting responsibility, He would not have made them head of the house in the first place.
Husbands should also be the chief providers for their homes. It has always been the lot of men to work hard and provide for their families. Whatever it takes, strive to take care of your family. If you fall, get up. Keep moving; explore, acquire new knowledge, learn new skills, just do whatever is legal to enable you play the role of a provider. I am not saying it will be easy or happy all the time.
It can be a thorny path with lots of frustration, near misses, humiliations and seeming hopelessness, but a man’s role as provider is a divine responsibility and I believe at some point, God will create a way to enable you carry out the duty He has entrusted to you. Husbands must always remember that God created wives as helpmates and not to take over their husbands’ responsibility.
One more thing, in the midst of our struggles and trials, we should not always blame the external; we should also look inwards. Many a time, we are our major obstacle and the solution lies within.
Just like the wife, the husband is also a lover of his wife. It is your duty to sexually satisfy your wife and this duty should be taken seriously. Sex for women is not straightforward the way it is for men, so you need to understand your wife.
Also, keep fit and stay healthy, exercise regularly, eat and drink appropriately to put you in good stead to carry out your duty. Continued consumption of junk food deteriorates your libido and ultimately leads to junk sex, same with excessive consumption of alcohol. Drunkenness is a complete no-no and at variance with high sexual performance.
In addition, remember that natural therapies of food, exercise, vegetables and fruits are safer and better sex enhancers. Some of these processed libido enhancers being bandied around have side effects and are not good for men with certain health conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney functions, etc.
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Except for exceptional situations, young people (below 50) have no excuse for not giving their wives sexual satisfaction. The rate of infidelity among married women is reportedly very high. Do not use your lousy approach to marital sex to sow seeds of infidelity in the mind of your wife. Do your work, you signed for it.
Like the wife, the husband is also a procreator. No natural birth is possible without the coming together of the man and woman. The only exception is the birth of Jesus. So cooperate with your wife to procreate. But let me quickly add that the primary reason God created the marriage institution is companionship (Genesis 2:18). Procreation is secondary. I say this because there are many childless marriages.
As long as the couple gives each other good company, the primary purpose of marriage has been fulfilled. I do not want to diminish the joy and warmth that children bring to the home, but the husband and the wife remain the most important components of the marriage, not the offspring. Do not end your marriage because of childlessness.
When a spouse formally or informally leaves his/her spouse, the primary purpose of marriage, companionship, is defeated. But when a marriage is childless, God’s primary purpose remains intact. And many a time, childlessness is temporary. But even if ultimately the marriage does not produce a child, do not abandon your spouse. You vowed to stick together come what may.
The husband is also a protector. You have a supreme duty to protect your wife physically, spiritually, emotionally and otherwise. I once told a story of how we went to mediate in a marriage dispute; the husband told us that he had told his neighbours to beat up and strip his “troublesome” wife naked anytime she had a quarrel with them.
When we left, I told my companions that the marriage was over. Not long after, the marriage ended. If you love your wife, you naturally protect her from external aggression, including ill-intentioned family members. But there are times some husbands have been unable to fulfil this duty to protect their wives due to what I can call force majeure, for example, armed robbery and kidnapping. That must be heart-wrenching.
A husband should also be friends with his wife. They should be gist partners. You will be very boring spouses if you are not friends. God knew what he was doing when he made companionship, and not sex, the primary reason for marriage. How many couples in their 70s and 80s are still sexually active? Sex has even gone out the marriages of some couples in their 60s. It is the friendship that is keeping some of those marriages going.
The husband is the parish priest or pastor-in-charge of his domestic church. It is his duty to create a praying family. It is also his duty to lead spiritual battles. I said earlier that part of a husband’s protection of his wife is spiritual. How can you protect your wife spiritually when you are weak? A husband should be spiritually strong.
A husband should respect his wife. My people say that if you call your emekpe (a measure for garri, beans, etc) bad, people will use it to pack ashes instead of using it to measure garri. There are homes today where the children do not have regard for their mothers (and fathers in some cases) because they have seen their father show a monumental lack of respect for their mother.
Finally, husbands (and wives too) should show gratitude. Just because you provided the money for food does not mean you should not thank your wife after being served. Can you eat Naira notes or raw meat and food ingredients uncooked? Even people, who went to their own farms are greeted by neighbours when they get back. Husbands (and wives), show gratitude.
There are other duties, but let us try to implement these for a start and watch the magic that will happen in our marriages.