If they Ask
Some people have mentors others have role models. I have godfathers. This particular one loves whisky and the occasional cuban. When the ice starts splitting in his glass you can be sure what he says next will change your future.
After clearing his throat, my godfather proceeded to tell me a story he had told many a young man before me. A story that I heard from my other godfather on the day of my wedding.
The story is about a man and his wife who lived in their mud and thatch homestead on the edge of a thick forest. The wife did everything around the house. She cooked and cleaned while the man tilled their land, split firewood and looked after their tiny herd of goats. The couple worked hard and were thankful for the simple life they had created for themselves. However, they were the laughing stock of their village because it was abnormal for a man to help his wife in work. Villagers considered him a weak man for openly caring for his wife and helping her with work. After all, a real man is supposed to enjoy the ‘benefits’ of marriage. Men would wake up late and head to sit under the great tree to enjoy traditional brew while they waited for sunset.
One day as the man was splitting firewood [so the wife could make them a meal], a huge venomous snake slithered out of the firewood and poised itself in an attacking stance. The man was terrified and let out a loud scream. He ran off screaming into the kitchen hut and jumped into the ‘itara’. [This is where firewood is stored in the roof of the hut to keep it dry.]
The wife was plucking tomatoes when she heard her husband’s desperate screams. She immediately rushed to where she had left him splitting firewood and found the snake still erect and ready to strike. Instinctively, she picked up a thick piece of firewood and started beating the snake’s head while screaming. She swung her stick until she was sure she had squashed the snake’s head completely.
Their neighbors heard the commotion and came rushing to help. When they got to the compound they found the wife sitting on the ground crying.
She said, “I was chopping firewood when this big snake attacked me. But my strong fearless husband came to my rescue and beat it to death. He fought it with such courage that it stood no chance! In fact, he has just gone into the kitchen to bring kerosene and some matches so we could burn it.I would be dead were it not for my husband!”.
When the husband came out from his hiding place, he was stunned beyond words. There stood the whole village cheering him for his bravery. He was after all the real man of the village and his wife was the luckiest woman in the world.
You see the woman knew she had married a coward but she also knew she had married a good man nonetheless.But this snake ordeal was their secret to keep.
When two people spend time together, they start discovering their strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes, these [strength and weakness] aspects defy the expectations of society.
I have seen men who’ve lost their jobs and agreed to stay at home and watch the kids while their wives brought the dough. I have seen women who have the guts to protect their families while their men go into panic because they lack the courage in adversity. Most of all I have seen couples who still love each other despite these ‘unusual’ and overlapping strengths and weaknesses.
Some women can’t fry an egg while some men can’t install a light bulb.
While I advocate for every sex to try their best to learn and improve on their natural roles, I also acknowledge that for some it may never change. We all come from different backgrounds so it would be unfair to judge the one you love based on your idea of the man or woman of your dreams. Love ignores such details.
The most important learning is how you talk about the one you love in their absence. This is the PR in a relationship. When you talk negatively about the man you’re with to the world. You cut off his feet and deny yourself the chance of ever making a good man out of him. Someone once said, ‘A wise woman knows the importance of speaking life into her man. If you love him; believe in him, encourage him and be his peace.’
The same applies to men. Like us, women come into a relationship with many faults that need fixing and adjusting to. This is natural. We’re all raised differently and have had different experiences that shaped how we behave now. Instead, always try to understand the genesis of that particular trait that you don’t like. You will be surprised that you’d have turned out the same given her circumstances! When you talk about her to others, paint her as the perfect picture. After all, perfection is how you choose to look at it.
In the end you will realize that the world feeds on your shortcomings and soon your words work against you. Be careful what you say about the ones you love.