There is a biblical background to the role of the male figure both in life and in the performance of duties in a household.
At creation, God made both man and woman and gave them freedom to eat of all other fruits of the Garden of Eden except for one.
But alas, a serpent persuaded them through the wife to eat of the forbidden fruit. That then attracted some consequences from the Lord in retribution for their disobedience.
To the man, He pronounced; “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it’, cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth to you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3).
It is from this cause that the man is expected to go out in the fields to till the land or work elsewhere, so that he can put food on the table for both himself and his dependents.
According to the Lord, he has to sweat in order to eat, till death.
A man has to go through many tough experiences to be recognised as a true father or husband.
He has to find his own path to navigate his daily route in search of bread for his household.
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In that journey, he may go through some unspeakable trials and tribulations for his livelihood.
During the process, he sustains many mental injuries he may not at times discuss with his family.
He may shield his wife and children from understanding some of the pains he goes through during the course of finding the money to put food on the table.
He endures insults from his boss, embarrassment from his customers or sometimes naggings from his own wife; but he can’t quit.
In our current difficult economies, businesses fail and lots of people get retrenched, jobs are hard to come by, salaries and wages are low etc; and yet life must go on. Food must still be put on the table, children’s fees must still be paid, other bills should still be met irrespective of circumstances.
It is the man who is expected to provide. Let’s not forget the single mothers out there, who have to take both roles of being the father and mother. The dual parenthood may exacerbate the rigours of life, yet again there is no quitting.
The children’s fathers must, however, carry their responsibilities whatever the situation or wherever they are. There is no escape.
At times, when a man gets home from work or from trying to find piece jobs to sustain the family, he is welcomed with unending requests or belittlement from the wife. He is often taunted for not being man enough and blamed for not being able to meet up.
To rub salt to the wound sometimes he is compared to other men and ridiculed for not being like those other men. There is often little appreciation for his struggles in our difficult economy or little regard for his drive and push just to keep the family together.
Some men have secretly dipped their hands in so many things which they can’t discuss or reveal to other family members just for the sake of keeping the family unit intact.
Some have borrowed so much that they have become unending victims of ‘loan sharks’ awaiting to attack their belongings to sell each time they fail to repay.
No wonder there is a booming market for those ‘loan sharks’. Still, a real father has to take anything just to keep food on the table for his household.
There is an old adage that says, “a goat sweats but his hair does not let people see his sweat”.
Many men are sweating, but very few people see their sweat. When it comes to celebrating a father or husband, it is done casually. He may not have breasts to breastfeed, yet everyone sucks from his unseen breasts.
He may not carry pregnancy for nine months, but he is always pregnant with family needs. He may not know how labour pain feels, but he endures more mental pains than the physical.
Tears may not flow from his eyes, but he bleeds from inside when he has no means to put food on the table for his household. The hardships of life often lead to men having some temperaments, as a result.
They need to be understood, as some of their moods, hostility and shouts are not premeditated but are mere fallouts of what they go through in life.
For the working wives, here is a story of a woman who preached at a particular women’s conference. It reads: “A woman was invited to preach at woman conference and as she was preaching, she asked all the working class women to stand out. They humbly did. And she asked them, ‘when you get your salary, how much do you give your husband as a seed?’ Before your money gets to anywhere else, the priest in your life, which is your husband, should get something from you. Even if he is a rich man, sow seed in his life. Sometimes, we women don’t know that our husbands need something from us.”
Men can be financially broke and pretend to have everything. Most men are married, but they have lonely lives. Sometimes, ask your husband out. Men are not always busy as women think. You have to understand that your husband has pains and needs too. Don’t judge him by things you want from him. Sometimes, your husband doesn’t have the things you want. Men also have emotional needs and problems. Men still cry for love”.
St. Paul wrote (Corinthians 7:4-5); “For the wife does not rule over her own body, but the husband does; likewise, the husband does not rule over his own body, but the wife does. Do not refuse one another except perhaps by agreement for a season, that you may devote yourself to prayer; but then come together again, lest Satan tempt you through lack of control.” Don’t use your body as a tool to get back at your husband or vice versa.
n Prosper Tingini is the Scribe of the Children of God Missionary Assembly - God’s messengers. Contact details: Mobile & whatsapp – 0771 260 195. Email address: [email protected]