I once interviewed a man whose wife donated one of her kidneys to him when he was diagnosed with kidney disease.
“She saved my life long before she gave me her kidney. She stuck by me, encouraged me, and cussed me out when I felt ready to give up. She is God’s gift to me.”
I was reminded of his words earlier this month when I had a chat with a healthy, hearty, successful man who was celebrating his 80th birthday.
I asked him the secret behind such a full life.
“God, most definitely, because He gave me that girl as my wife,” he said, pointing at his wife who was busy with other guests. This intrigued me.
“So, you do agree that behind every successful man is a woman?”
He looked at me, shook his head and laughed for far too long. I felt silly, not laughing along since I did not get the joke.
“Hellen has never been behind me. She sets the rules and I follow.”
I managed a chuckle. He looked like someone who called the shots.
“So, the secret of a successful…”
“Listen,” he interjected, leaning forward. “You women are wise. You see things that men can’t.” I nodded, smiling. “Fifty years ago, an old mzungu missionary told me to learn to listen to my wife.”
He said that indeed, it takes a mother, wife or even a sister to pray for a man, support him or push a man to achieve his highest potential. He added that it takes a woman or women to bring down a man. He particularly decried the behaviour of men impregnating women "all over the place" and not taking responsibility.
“I have no other children out there, other than the ones you have met today. And they are all blessed. If a woman is not praying for a man, she is cursing one. God listens to women. I fear them,” he said once again breaking into prolonged laughter.
It made sense. Look around you, all the men that deserted their wives and children and took off, where are they now? Look no further.
They are all around us, wearing the exact faded grey hat, and sorry shoes, living under the same dilapidated house, with a forever faulty door. Meanwhile, their wife hustled to raise and educate her brood - and now lives in a beautiful home that she owns.
Gentlemen, when she nags you, maybe she sees the potential of your greatness. After all, didn’t the creator say that a man needed a helper? Maybe the Almighty did send you a helper and gave her a hindsight that you do not have.
Listen to her patiently and when you get into your man cave, consider her words, and her nagging, as you call it. Do not be that macho man who belittles women to prove he is man enough. Do not be the one that beats her, believing that she must be small for you to remain big. Do not be the one that extinguishes her fire of ambition so she can fan yours. Take home with you these words from the old man. I asked him what he would tell a young husband.
“Listen to your wife, treat her right and the world will smile at you. Treat her wrong and the world, even the animals in it, will despise you. A bee will choose to sting you, just because.”
He laughed again, and this time I joined him in prolonged laughter.
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