Why is it difficult for African men to live in harmony with successful and WEALTHY WOMEN?

    Prince Debo Luwaji

    By Prince Debo Luwaji

    Let me admit from the outset that this title is not exactly mine. It was a question posed by one of my respected colleagues on our Lagos Business School Alumni platform. But for the desire to leave the question intact, I would certainly have put the heading differently. In any case, you win no prize for guessing that the person who framed this question must be a lady. That’s the only way it could have carried such unhidden bias and a presumption that puts men on the defensive right away.

    Before going further, there’s no pretending that my friend’s question was prompted wholly or partly by the trending news of the reported separation between one of Nigeria’s wealthiest women and her husband.

    Being one who appreciates that every family is entitled to the manner in which they elect to conduct their own affairs, I will refrain from addressing this particular couple beyond the sense in which this development relates to families generally.

    First, without being privy to the exact reasons behind their separation, it is totally wrong but admittedly well within the female psyche to imagine that an envious and intolerant hubby was at fault. That’s a common female angle in discussions of this nature.

    Methinks anyone or any reason could have been the trigger in this case, but I am prepared to stick my neck out that it certainly cannot be due to envy. Envy ke? As a man, how could your spouse of over four decades become a renowned billionare – not from an overnight jackpot but a wealth sustained over a long period of time if you’re not counting your own money in millions, at the very least?

    In the home of the truly wealthy, it rarely matters who is richer – the man or the woman, what binds a couple goes far beyond their individual financial weight!

    I am prepared to stretch my assumptions further. Ask any woman who is truly rich or has a distinguished career. Staying in a marriage must be because she has the backing of her partner. Anything to the contrary, a woman will be all by herself : single, having long shed herself of the weight that a so-called husband had constituted to her ambitions.

    I will make haste to add that there’s no authority on marriage, in the true sense of the word. Public speakers who have gained some popularity on the subject are only trying. In marriage, no one case is exactly like the other. For some, the more you look the less you see. There are those who would swear by their mothers’ treasured memory that there’s nothing like a joyful, problem-free marriage. All na packaging, they say. Really?

    In sharing perspectives, experiences count. For instance, I am bound to take your counsel seriously if, like me, you have had a blissful marriage for over 45 years and – please believe this, there was no single occasion in all those years when a family member or friend was invited to mediate in a dispute between us.

    Didn’t we ever have disagreements? Undoubtedly yes, but none that escalated beyond the privacy of our room, not even to the knowledge of the children who always lived with us except when they travelled out for studies.

    Indeed, as our three daughters were getting into their own marriages, one as far back as 15 years ago, we had to debrief them towards a more realistic understanding that what they had seen of their parents was not necessarily commonplace.

    I admit there are men who feel threatened by their spouse’s potentials, not to talk of wealth. Many women victims were never given the chance to shine much more become rich.

    But none of us went into our wedlocks blindfolded. We therefore deserve the partners we end up with.

    The faults in us are always there from the beginning if our partner would only care to see, and not go into a marriage wishing time will turn a beast into a beauty.

    Men who can only cope with pliable women as wives are welcome to their choices, just as wives who wont lift a finger unless the man so directs. Both are entitled to the persons and paths they have chosen.

    Our organisation once engaged a lady who was so good and happy at her job you would literally had to force her to leave for home daily. It was like an opportunity she had been praying for all her life and everyone could see her bubble, shining brighter everyday and being at her creative best.

    It didnt take long before her husband, a struggling guy, figured out that the job was the reason for her happy disposition. Despite what she was bringing to the table and without him providing any viable alternative, he kept at her daily with all manner of complaints until she was frustrated out of the job.

    A similar case with another much younger lady. She was a banker with so much zest and ambition on the job even before her marriage. Now with a hubby that’s mostly out of town on those offshore postings, this career-minded lady will drop her only baby with her parents as she made her way to and from work daily.

    Splendid arrangement, right?

    Not to husband who insisted she must resign to pay full attention to the baby as this was his own idea of how a good family must funtion.

    For her compliance, he bought her a second hand car and rented a small shop across the house for her to do some petty trading. In a little while, she was a far cry from the former bubbling personality her friends knew.

    Perhaps those men have their reasons. I can’t speak for them because I was never part of their clan. Some said they are afraid a richer wife would grow wings and become uncontrollable. How preposterous! It is simply absurd beyond words.

    How and why would you seek to ‘control’ your wife in the first place, as though she’s a horse with its reins in your hand?

    I submit that a woman doesnt need to become rich to be disrespectful or disobedient. She will probably be the worst of that variant without money. On the other hand, for many women, to be rich is to be classy, guarded and self-respecting.

    I can share, from first hand experience that retaining the adoration of your wife inspite of her ever expanding bank accounts is not rocket science!

    Dont be indolent. Be succesful in your trade too. Be smart if not smarter. Be wise if not wiser. Consider her rising as your own glory. Be there for her as a support base at all times. Spare her the hassles and the headaches. Make yourself indispensable to her by the soundness if not the superiority of the wisdom that oozes from your every counsel.

    Let her peace and joy be evidently your heart’s desire and she will treat you as a king like mine always treated me!

    In achieving stability in the home, I am all for loving and mutual respect. However I have reservation about submissiveness. The word depends on who is defining it. Some men for selfish reasons have turned this biblical injunction on its head. Like she must sit when and where you asks her to, even with the tendency of the average man to act impectuously ever so often? That’s rather unfair and subjugatory of a woman’s free will.

    Our daughters are very well brought up but we didnt train them to absorb such balderdash. They are treasured by their spouses with whom there’s never a contention of headship. Similarly, my message has been the same to the several dozens of young girls I have continued to empower through education and skills acquisition in over a decade now: Servitude is not what earns you a man’s genuine respect. Its your financial freedom.

    Thank God, tmes are changing and families are learning fast. Marriage is beautiful if it works. Yet, we must admit that our threshold of tolerance and forebearance differ from person to person. While
    all couples are encouraged to put in their very best efforts at making their unions work, it must be noted, nonetheless, that staying married inspite of irreconcilable differences is not a passport to be with Jesus in heaven. What if one gets killed by the other? There is no paradise for the folly.

    In any case, every woman owes herself an obligation to be successful and fulfiled in her own rights even if she has a billionaire for a spouse. If you sacrifice your ambitions for fear of losing a man, especially one who had literally asked you to chose between the marriage and your aspirations, the chances are you will still lose him anyhow. By then, you will be left with regretful reminiscences and it might be too late for ‘catch up’.

    Prov 9:12 says if youre wise, youre wise to your own advantage. If you become someone’s mumu ( in the name of marriage) only you will bear it.

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