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Don’t reduce your man’s responsibility to a pay cheque

Saturday October 15 2016

A man who is a good provider ought to be appreciated for his efforts. That said, a man’s role in his marriage or family does not end at his monthly pay cheque. PHOTO | FILE

A man who is a good provider ought to be appreciated for his efforts. That said, a man’s role in his marriage or family does not end at his monthly pay cheque. PHOTO | FILE 

JOAN THATIAH
By JOAN THATIAH
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“But he is a good provider. He pays all the bills and I do not lack for anything.”

This is the biggest lie that Kenyan women in relationships tell themselves. Usually, a woman will say this when things are not going well in her relationship. When her man has been cheating, is absent or is emotionally abusive. She will talk about how alone or unhappy she is in the relationship and then at the end of her rant, she will say, “But he is such a good provider!” As if this piece of information is supposed to make it all better.

“Oh, so he brings the bread and the butter? Then why are you making a big deal just because he didn’t stir the sugar?”

“As long as he is providing, stay put. Don’t go anywhere,” a woman in such a predicament will be advised by her well-meaning confidantes.

GREATER EXPECTATIONS

This is the wrong attitude to have in a relationship. Why do we demand so little of our men? To be fair, in a country where there are so many deadbeat dads and uninvolved husbands, a man who is a good provider ought to be appreciated for his efforts. That said, a man’s role in his marriage or family does not end at his monthly pay cheque. A man owes his woman respect, love and affection, total honesty and sexual exclusivity.

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His more than adequate material provision should not be used as a substitute for any for these things. Turning a blind eye to a man’s wrongdoing because he is providing is akin to saying that a woman’s role in a relationship or marriage is limited to the traditional gender role of nurturing.

That if she is a good mother and if she cooks well, then it doesn’t matter of she sneaks around on her man or if she abuses him.

The bigger problem is that we expect too little of the men in our lives. We have probably listened to too many unhappy married women that we are going into relationships with too little expectations. When you expect nothing of a man and he does one thing, you feel like you can let him off the hook for the things he isn’t doing and for the ones he is doing wrong.

Let’s up our expectations in romantic relationships. Don’t let the money he paid for rent be a substitute for the time he is supposed to spend with you but spends out with the boys or in clubs with people he shouldn’t. Also, do not let the reality of an abusive relationship be dulled by the fact that he is a good provider. Let’s demand for more love and commitment in relationships. Your man owes you so much more than the bacon he brings home.

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