From the Book: TIME TELLS by Mohamed A. Khalfan – Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
You are a housewife, if you who are reading this are one. You feel anxious when your husband is late in coming back home. And yet when he is around at home, you feel that your sense of being “free” in the house is constrained. You feel a vague sense of relief
mixed with that of guilt when he leaves the house for his workplace despite your intense love for him; and it has not crossed your mind to want to know why.
You feel an oppressive air reigning in the house and it bites you when your husband is unusually quiet which is a signal to you that he is in a state of worry or anger or apprehension and you do not know why though you are sure that the cause, whatever, is outside the house and you have nothing to do with it. You glare with anger at the children if they make the usual noise around the house on such occasions.
You see your husband “freer” than you are in the house. You hesitate to suggest some thing bold or you worry over how your husband will react if the decision you have made and acted upon is wrong; and yet you know that your husband is not concerned about your opinion if he wants to make a decision, nor about your judgment if he has made a wrong one.
The unfortunate thing for you is to believe that this self-intimidation is normal with almost all housewives except where the husband is a ‘hubby’ (single mindedly obedient to wife). The fact is clear. This is a marital pressure but you cannot define or realize it. If you think
and accept it as a part of living for a good obedient wife you are wrong.
Loser is Family
A housewife who lets herself suffer marital pressure can not make a good mother or wife or a daughter-in-law and the children she brings up cannot be mentally positively influenced. The loser is the family in general and the husband in particular. He must be missing the wife’s rare light laughter and not knowing why.
It is not certain that the wife who goes for a workplace is exception to this situation. It can be a culture of gender docility that vaguely haunts women, particularly any wife, in general, without however a true love between the spouses or a lack of it having anything to do with it.
It is pity therefore that the husband is in most cases unaware of this marital pressure to which the wife at home is prone, or if he is, he thinks it normal for a home. He takes the wife’s docility as part of her loving and perhaps he gratefully senses satisfaction from it.
There is another aspect of the effect of this vague and inexplicable pressure felt by the wife. Let us consider the following scenario:
The wife was on the path of a slow recovery from jaundice with a strict adherence to her doctor’s advice for a complete rest and restricted diet except for one small omission. She left home once to visit a bereaved family on hearing of a death in the family.
Even after that, the recovery seemed still well on the track until the time when the husband heard about her brief visit out when he returned from a trip. He exploded with emotional outbursts accusing the wife of endangering her life by stupidity.
Obviously, the relation became strained temporarily between the spouses. With no house chores in hand, the wife had all the time for brooding over the strained relation.
On the other side, the doctor was mystified to notice that the patient who had been on the path of recovery was now showing serious signs of set-backs in the results of the tests taken at regular short intervals.
No wonder, there is an explanation for this. A recent research has revealed that wound healing rate is slower where a spouse has a marital stress and that the slow healing or curing rate for other diseases too cannot be ruled out in similar circumstances.
It can be presumed from this revelation that a healing rate and response to a medical treatment is likely to be adversely affected while a couple suffers a strained relation. It can be worse where a marital stress on the part of the wife is a continuous pattern of her life and accepted as part of a normal role of a wife in a culture of a community.
The toll inflicted therefore can be worse during the period of the wife’s pregnancy and breast-feeding. The physical and mental health of suckling children can be at stake as a likely consequence.
You are a husband if you who are reading this are one. Know that there can be an elusive culture of meekness crept in from self intimidation or otherwise, which vaguely haunts the wife without both the spouses being aware of it. Both breathe from the same air in the house except that the wife does it less freely.
True love is firstly knowing the natural and pre-acquired weaknesses of the wife and then providing support of strength and not exploiting or ignoring them. Not knowing this is a bigger weakness on the part of the husband. In the complexities of life there is always a price paid in the family for these weaknesses among any of its members; if it were only possible to know when, how and on what score the price is paid.
This life is, after all, a fleeting moment; the best part of which is the marital life – for those who deserve it. Marital life is a journey enjoyed as long as the road stretches ahead. And yet, for others, it can be a journey by a detour through a rough bumpy road and they cannot enjoy the scenery as they journey along.