Wifespeak: Ditch your entitlement and embrace gratitude

Be careful to embrace gratitude towards your spouse and watch them gladly serve you.

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Our bodies were created for walking, and stretching, so if you are seated, stand up, walk towards the nearest window, and observe the view. Take a deep breath, stretch. Smile. Go back to your seat and read on.

There are beautiful things we take for granted, just because they are an everyday occurrence, a guarantee. Like the sun rising. We are so used to these things that there is even an English expression about it; ‘as sure as the sun shall rise tomorrow.’

What if the sun, one dawn decided, you know what? I am tired. In fact, I am all burnt out! I am done with watching these humans do wicked stuff right under my nose. I am tired of how they take me for granted. Especially in Africa where I shine every single day without failure. They do not even look up to say thank you, not like those guys in Tromsø who celebrate me, who even bake sun cakes when I appear.

Here in Africa, I faithfully, sacrificially, and hopelessly love them, serve them and I am dedicated to them. Without fail. I favour them, in fact sometimes I shine so hard that I scorch, but they still do not notice me. They do not even as much as appreciate my efforts, day in, day out, for years, decades, centuries. During their so-called winter, a measly two months of chilly weather, a necessity for moisture balance, I still rise. You know what? I am leaving their ungrateful black foreheads and moving on, to Tromsø.

A wife wrote back in response to the article about being wary of men who claim to be Christians but their actions, especially towards the very people they should love and protect, speak otherwise.

“They take us for granted. Mine is a senior elder in church, but he doesn’t even say thank you when I serve him a meal.” Nothing kills intimacy than being taken for granted. No one takes another for granted like a husband does a wife. Blokes, you can cuss me out as you wish, but I am speaking from experience! A woman translates that as, she is no longer of value. It is worse when this turns to an attitude of entitlement, instead of gratitude. An online medical journal describes entitlement as ‘a sense of deservingness or being owed a favour when little or nothing has been done to deserve special treatment.’

We may not easily recognise this attitude in ourselves unless someone calls it out. We had a communal argument in our estate when the management sent out a communication that the residents were to stop -with immediate effect - using the estate security guards for errands, such as carrying luggage. Si, we went up in arms.

“Some of us do not have a man in the house, how are we supposed to lift a 13kg gas cylinder up four floors?”

“Even up one floor!”

“We can lend you our husbands or sons…” someone chipped in and was promptly shut down.

“This is not a time to joke! We have pregnant women, are they supposed to carry heavy stuff up the stairs?”

This communique was on an online platform, so information was being relayed fast and furiously.

“How much do we pay for service charge? Where does it go?”

“What do the security guards do the whole day and night anyway?”

Finally, the estate chairperson brought sobriety to the argument when she said, “carrying your luggage to your house is not part of their scope of work.”

Pause. “We do not pay them for that. They only do it for you as a favour.” One of the few men in this discussion chipped in, “as a man, my masculine instincts kick in when I see a woman struggling with luggage. I am very likely to say, ‘Let me help you with that.”

“Your point is…?”

“I think that is what the guards have been doing.”

As it turned out, a polite request to help, or an offer to do so from the guards, had in the course of time morphed into entitlement. We took it for granted and expected the guards to jump in haste to carry our luggage. What brought it to the attention of the estate management is when a resident turned rude and ranted on a security guard for taking too long to haul her heavy stuff up the floors. Be careful to embrace gratitude towards your spouse and watch them gladly serve you.

Karimi is a wife and mother who believes marriage is worth it.