Harriet James @harriet86jim
“He wants me to quit my job and be a fulltime house wife,” a deeply disturbed woman posted on women-only Facebook page, Kilimani Mums. It elicited a heated debate.
Well, it is often said that the term “sacrifice” and a “woman” are synonymous. While making sacrifices in marriage should be a two-way traffic, there are instances where one partner, particularly the woman, feels like they are giving way too much than they should.
The Internet is full of rants by women who have been asked by their husbands to quit their religion, well paying jobs, their native countries, trendy lifestyle to either please their spouses or save their marriage. Which begs the question; do women sacrifice way too much more in marriage than men?
Former nominated senator, Daisy Nyongesa Kiyondi, admits that she had to give up worshiping in her family’s church and follow her husband’s. She went through various trainings on the doctrines of her hubby’s church and later on was baptised to be a member.
“Since we all worship one God and I love my husband, it was easier for me to go through the process. I wouldn’t have wanted my children to grow up and be confused on who to follow,” she says.
More often than not, when a woman gives up something, it is always for another person’s greater value. “As a career woman, I am sure if I had no husband and children, I would have been more focused, especially careerwise.
If I were a stay-at-home mum, I would have spent such time with my babies, that my fingerprints in their lives would be manifest. But since I’ve chosen both, I’m successful in both, but there are compromises.. I choose jobs also based on family convenience,” says Joy Mdivo, the executive director for East Africa Law and Justice,
Relationship coach and CEO of La mead Woman (women and family empowernment organisation), Pastor Cynthia Otieno had to give up her successful life in the US and live with her husband, Donald Otieno, in Kenya.
Considering she already had a thriving career, home and a community of people who loved her, she admits that it was one of the hardest, but most rewarding decisions that she has ever made.
“I cried not because it was painful, but because I was anticipating what will become of me when I return back to Kenya. I can’t say that things were easy when we got married. We hit rock bottom, but I never looked back and things worked out well for us,” she says.
Psychologists argue that men have ego and pride and when something makes them inferior, they react in self-defence. Sometimes their form of self-defence is to make their wives not do certain things that make them feel insecure.
Eric Masaku, a 30-year-old businessman, admits that he apparently forced his wife to quit her job and take care of is one-year-old son to make him feel in control. And because he loves women being natural, he also forced his wife to quit wearing make-up and to cut her hair. However, he confirms that his wife hates her present look.
Daisy advises couples to attend premarital counselling to help in handling differences in marriage. “Couples should sit on the table and discuss how they are going to handle their differences. Women are clever; they shouldn’t go directly to men to demand for things. They should be careful not to bring arguments that lower the ego of men,” she advises.
The sacrifices ought to be for the overall good of the family and men should not do it out of fear or insecurity. According to Cynthia, sacrifice must be an intentional and purposeful process, which makes every individual give their contribution wholeheartedly.
“Do not be quick to say that I won’t do this or that. There has to be negotiation and compromise instead of rebellion. However, a woman can opt to stand her ground should she feel that the prohibition is out of control or manipulation,” she advises.