OUTLOOK — By Nizar Al Musalmy — Fellow husbands, Gather around and listen to me because today I am in the mood of telling you things that you should never do if you want your marriage to really work and last. The secret is in what professionals call ‘job description’ — clear lines outlining each partner’s ‘job’ with minimal allowances for exceptions. Before I continue, I have to warn you that the father of junior, the man speaking to you right now, is not an expert in marriage counselling. As a matter of fact he is not an expert in anything. He just happens to be a scribe without portfolio. I hope you will be able to make sense out of the senseless.
As a result of pursuing the modern ways of life, relations between men and women have become so confusing. Our elders left us with rules and guidelines on how husbands and wives should behave towards each other, but somehow things took a different turn. And because those rules and guidance are no longer being followed, we now have people practising trial and error in their marriages, and reading books to help them along. When these don’t work, they seek ‘help’ from their friends, who know no better than them.
As a result of that confusion, there is a mixed up of roles between a man and his wife. More confusion is bound to happen because the lines between them begin to show. That is why when a woman takes on the responsibilities of her husband, you hear people say that she has become the man of the house, rendering her husband useless. Similarly, when a husband takes on his wife’s responsibilities, he becomes the woman of the house and renders her useless. Neither scenario gives comfort to an amicable situation! The following are boundaries where no husbands should dare cross.
The kitchen affairs; this is the wife’s role, and she can get a helper if she finds this task too much, especially if she works during the day. But as much as possible avoid it. Never allow a scene where you are found busy washing dishes in the kitchen while the wife sits on the sofa with nothing in her hands except a newspaper and a bar of chocolate. I cannot imagine a wife shouting across at her husband in the kitchen wondering how long it takes him to prepare those chapattis for dinner. So always leave this activity to her. If some cooking at home starts to taste like herbal leaves, tell her in an assertive manner. Be clear in your needs and express them respectfully.
Never allow your wife to pay for any bills at home — water, electricity, telephone, mortgage, school fees, medical bills, groceries, credit payments, etc. All these should be funded from your pocket. Never wash your clothes, including your inner wears.
Many women draw a line where washing their husband’s wear is concerned, and they have their own reasons but you should learn to leave this job to them.
Never make the bed. When you require taking a nap, and the bed is still not made, you should let your wife know and she should do the needful. Another ‘don’t’ for you is not to allow your wife to drive when you are around, or let her take the car to the garage. That’s your job.
Arranging or selecting the wardrobe — that’s your wife’s job. She plays a bigger role in determining what you should wear where and when. Believe me; she knows where everything of yours is. So don’t cross her boundaries. Do not forget important dates. Occasions especially birthdays and anniversaries are very important to women.
Forget it and you’re doomed. I know men don’t intend to hurt their wives by forgetting but at least make an effort to remember. If you know you’re the type who easily forgets then you definitely need a planner.
And if you can’t avoid all these and you are really keen to keep your marriage brimming, with love in the loving cup, then remember that whenever you’re wrong always admit it and whenever you're right always shut up. Enjoy a happy marriage!