What you need to know:
“Mum, what’s the difference between an apartment and a flat?” Our son asked me the other day as we watched a show on housing.
“Apartments are clean, have spaces for children to play, cars to park and they have lots of greenery,” I replied and added, “some flats are clean too, but many times people don’t try that much to turn them into apartments.”
The kids looked at me puzzled.
“Okay, it’s like when you dispose of garbage and soon other people also dispose, then the place becomes a dumpsite.” Still puzzled. “Flats start off like apartments, but then, there are no rules about such things as cleanliness, so they get dirty and congested. Just like marriages.” That last bit, I did not say.
Your marriage is either an apartment, enjoying constant care and tendering, or a flat, started off like any other high-rise apartment but with neglect, turned into a lacklustre flat. From my world view, the wife is the caretaker, or landlady of their home, while her husband and children are the tenants. They are either paying dearly or are enjoying value for money.
Enough with the abstract.
Also read: What kind of husband are you?
A very open-minded husband wrote to me in response to the article about the kinds of husbands that we have. “You speak on behalf of wives, let me also stand up for the husbands.” *Koech wrote. “Please teach some of these things to wives as well.”
He said that a lot of women enter marriage with damaging world views, including toxic attitudes towards men in general. There are things women tell each other about men, which bundle all men together. “For example, not all men cheat, not all men are irresponsible or abusive, but some wives enter marriage wearing combat gears,” Koech says.
While he acknowledges that indeed there are broken men who should not be married to someone’s daughter before they have fixed themselves, there are also women who are impossible to live with.
“They are angry, always quarrelling, they make life very difficult for a man. In fact, they make us fear women!”
He clarified that, as a father of daughters, he understands equality and gender inclusion, but he is averse to toxic teachings about feminism. “There are people who teach little girls that men are bad and that she can do better than a man. It is not a gender war!” Koech was keen for us to understand that when we teach about gender inclusion, we should not make it look like we are taking away the rights of others to give to another. “Remember the saying, what a boy can do, a girl can do better? That is toxic feminism. What a boy can do, let him excel. What a girl can do, let her excel. Give them fair playing ground, in consideration of their biological differences and capabilities.”
His biggest beef was with women who teach other women damaging attitudes about men.
Such teachings include the belief that a girl should be taken care of by a man.
“When you ask a single woman what she is looking for in a man, financial stability is top of the list.” Koech believes that we should teach our daughters to look beyond provision and focus on character. “That is why we have young women selling themselves off to men, some as old as their grandfathers. A woman should also ask, what am I bringing to the table?”
Also read: What kind of couple are you?
“You once talked of self-love. Tell the women to love themselves first and not be too needy for a man’s love.” Koech continued, “A husband is not capable of giving love if you don’t already love yourself. Even the Bible says that one should love their neighbour as they love themselves.”
He echoed the saying that someone can only love you to the level that you love yourself. While it is true that a wife’s greatest desire is to feel loved and protected by her man, she must remember that human love is conditional.
On a personal note, I have learned – still learning- that a husband cannot give the love that a dad did not demonstrate. A lot of women who did not get a father’s love struggle with this realisation. He cannot be your dad and husband.
Karimi is a wife and mother who believes marriage is worth it.