Growing up, little girls visualise pictures of their prince charming. For Monica Mugo, he was supposed to be tall, dark and handsome man (TDH) – a bad boy who would rock her world. But as fate would have it, she settled for the complete opposite.
“Although my idea of Mr Right kept changing, I’d always been attracted to the TDH. But the man I married was about the same size as me and completely nonthreatening,” says Mugo. It’s every girl’s dream to walk down the aisle, in a celebration that is her wedding. But nobody ever knows what kind of lives they are signing themselves up for.
Immediately their wedding ended, life began. Their personalities were different. He was comfortable with her taking the lead and being in charge, which she wasn’t.
There was trouble in paradise. “We thought we were fully armed for this union. We had read books and journals about marriage in preparation to what most couples called, the ‘bumpy ride.’ Unfortunately, Mugo feels the union doesn’t live up to the roles of men and women she has in mind or rather what society portrays. “Two years later, I admit that marrying him messed up my life,” says a bitter Mugo.
“I’m bored and frustrated with this man. He is a beta, he doesn’t make any decisions or plans or take responsibility for anything. I find myself longing for an alpha man. In most relationships, the man calls the shots but in our home, I am the man. I don’t want to be the one who makes all the decisions, it’s exhausting!”
The end result? “Its tough on me. Sometimes, I’m tempted to date other people and honestly, I’ve had a couple of dates on the side but feel guilty about it. I’m afraid becoming a philanderer – thoughts I never harboured before.”
What she really wants is a man to lead her, isn’t that not what men are wired to do? Jane Mumbi complains about her man being responsible and available but too ‘girly’ and non-confident. She sites incidences where during arguments, her man is the one always shouting, while she’s the calm one.
“He’s the one insisting on having ‘the talk’. He makes small issues a big deal. Once, he left me in a club and drove off because he saw me talking to my male friends. He didn’t talk to me for three days,” Mumbi says, prompting her to encourage preying men who make her feel like a woman.
She is quick to add that she does not like it but her situation at home makes her tolerate it. “What I really want is someone to make me feel safe and secure, and I feel like I am the one who is doing that for him. I just want someone strong for me and who I can rely on.
I want to be the lady in this relationship. If only I knew, I’d have delayed our marriage,” she laments. While it’s true that some couples only come to see the reality when they get hitched, sociologist, Jackline Wamunyu believes that we are all different.
Instead of focusing on oppressive societal delusions about gender and blaming the effects on your man, the woman needs to be a person with her own strengths and weaknesses. Do you want your husband to be a bossy, irritable man or do you want him to be a human being who can show up and be himself and give you his absolute best?
On the other hand, marriage counsellor, Syaviha Mlengya recommends that men should step up and take charge of their families. “It is the man’s duty to control the decision-making process of all family related matters or at least pretend he does.
Once you lose your authority, there is little else to look forward to in the home. A man should take full responsibility for his family. His roles are: Protection, Providence and Priest of his home.