Dear men, seeking your wife’s opinion doesn’t make you a lesser man

Happy couple

A woman’s intuition and laser focus on the finer details are what a man needs to enrich his eagle’s view of an idea.

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I read an anecdote about identical twin boys, *Kevin and *Zach, who turned out vastly different when they became adults. Kevin took up a career in finance, eventually transitioning into an employer after setting up a business.

In addition, he was a committed husband and father, involved in every aspect of his children’s lives, a loving husband who invested his time in growing his relationship with the wife of his youth and well respected for his community involvement and mentorship of the young people.

As for Zach, their mother would describe him, not with words, but with a deep sigh, followed by that sound that African mothers make when a child or a husband has caused them long suffering, that neither fasting, prayers, nor threats have worked to cause a change.

Zach was lost in alcoholism, and his debauchery made his wife pack up and leave. He ended up losing his job, and were it not for his twin, he would have lost his house too. Unlike Zach, Kevin never touched alcohol.

A talk show host invited both brothers to feature in a show. Zach barely managed to get a bath and put on some clean clothes, let alone brush away the alcohol breath, while Kevin appeared looking spark and sharp.

Their stark biological resemblance was not enough to cover their equally striking, different physical appearance. The talk show host, after introducing the well-known twin, Kevin, asked him, “You have made a lot of impact in our county. Who inspires you?” Kevin paused, then said, “Our dad.”

Turning to Zach, the interviewer asked him. “What about you Zach, who inspires you?” Without losing a beat, Zach replied, “Our dad.” “Oh…but…” the interviewer attempted to hide her surprise, but the twins came to her rescue. In the uncanny way of the twins, they simultaneously said, “Our father was an alcoholic.”

My people say it is better to sire a ngiti - an obstinate, strong-willed child - than a fool (kia). A person whose folly cannot be redeemed. They are unteachable. They listen to no one and in their ignorance and folly bring destruction. It is worse when folly is in a husband since leadership is expected of him, both from a spiritual and cultural perspective.

In our patriarchal society, some husbands will never listen to their wives. They disregard any idea generated by the wife and will not seek their wife’s opinions even in matters of critical family decisions.

They make ill-informed decisions, forgetting that the other half of the gender owns half of the wisdom. On the other hand, a husband who listens to his wife connects plugs into a mystical power.

A woman’s intuition and laser focus on the finer details are what a man needs to enrich his eagle’s view of an idea. But like the Biblical Nabal, whose name means fool, he will not listen to his wife even when the king’s wrath or favour is at their doorstep.

Like our twins, Kevin and Zach, there are two types of people on our planet. On one hand, are the teachable types who look at situations, interrogate them, dissect the outcomes, and become intentional in using those lessons in their lives. The Kevins of our planet end debilitating cycles and leave great legacies.

On the other hand, are the Zachs who will copy-paste, and regurgitate what they watched growing up, never unlearning, and relearning. They perpetuate the ills and perfect the art while at it. Our father was abusive? I will be worse than him. When I cough, my kids, wife, and even the roaches will scamper, just like our father did.

 Zachs transfers trauma like a baton, creating the phenomena of ‘family and generational curses.’ It is better to sire a stubborn child than a fool who cannot learn. A strong-willed child might be difficult to parent, but in their stubbornness is a boldness that will lead them towards untrodden paths.

They question the norms. They do not buy into societal dictates. They break barriers. They innovate. They leave a mark. They do not listen to naysayers and when they do, it is to use the negative talk as fuel to energise their intentions.

Most importantly, a strong-willed child is teachable and malleable. They are not scared of being different, because their sense of self-awareness is a daily curiosity, which means, they are always learning, always growing, and turning out better, for themselves and their families.