God recognised the crushing loneliness of Adam and in His infinite wisdom created Eve, to make him complete, give him a vital helper, companion, counsellor and confidant. God also purposed that the man and woman (I should rather say husband and wife) should be together until death separates them. So when marriage kicks in, the man gets 100 per cent attention from the wife and vice versa.
However, we know for a fact that when couples begin to have children, attention starts to shift gradually from the husband to the children. Yes, it is natural, God ordained it because the children have to be nurtured in compliance with scriptural injunction to “train up a child in the way he should go, for when he grows up will not depart from it.” So, the man does not really mind because he is involved in the responsibility of raising the children, while also getting some attention from Mommy, especially in the Other Room.
For most men, the real trouble comes when their beloved “Baby Girl”, their once tight romantic friend and ‘amebo partner’ passes middle age, is menopausal and has probably become a grandmother. That is when the stage begins to be set for the “horror” that often drives some men into “some things” outside the home.
The shift in attention away from the man and towards the children gets deeper and deeper as the couple age. Some women even abandon their homes and husbands in pursuit of different things including greener pastures. It is more horrible when women, through their attitude flaunt the line, “we have been together for several years and therefore he can sort out himself.”
The issue here is that some women simply abandon their husbands and spend several months outside their marital homes, and therefore literally force their husbands into bachelorhood late in life. This is not to say that all men are saints. Certainly not. Though some women see the perceived abandonment as payback time to their promiscuous husbands, nevertheless, it is of utmost importance to know that the marriage institution is to be built and sustained like a house that is well maintained, repainted and renovated from time to time, to make it last. Imagine the depth of care, commitment and expense that goes into maintaining Buckingham Palace in London through the centuries and it still looks very royal. That is how God wants couples to relate to their union.
Women who abandon their husbands with ‘style’ probably do not realize or understand the plight of such men when they are left alone. One pertinent question is this: why are some men seemingly abandoned by their wives? The first reason is the beautiful period the Igbo people call omugwo, during which a wife goes to visit and care for the daughter after she has given birth. Normally, it should last for about three months though some women have stayed for a longer period, even up to one year, moving from the home of one daughter to another.
Take the case of Mr. Sam Nwanguma, a devoted well-to-do Catholic, who retired from the business he set up and ran for decades. When his daughter had a baby and requested the mother to come for omugwo, he strongly opposed the trip, asking rhetorically: “Who will take care of me when she is away? In our own marriage, my wife is a full time housewife. She runs the home while I provide all the money for everything required, food, provision, fuel, everything. It has worked for us and we have raised our six children. Do you expect me to begin to go the market, cook, clean and take care of the house? Even when my father-in-law died many years ago, her family knew how we lived, so they released her after two days to come back and attend to me.”
In another instance, Dr. Agunwoke Okoh, a properous health entrepreneur told his daughter to bring her newborn baby to their home if she wanted to experience the care of her mother having given birth. He flatly told her to accept the offer or stay back in her own home, to care for herself. In his view, it would amount to disobedience for a wife to stay away from her husband for a long time, especially if the man did not approve of the long stay.
One danger of wives’ long stay away from their husbands is that it could lead some men into an undesirable extramarital affair. And when news gets to the wife, she would rush back and try to play defence like a soccer team that had a long free kick close to the 18-yard box with two dangerous forward players of the opposing team in control of the ball. A strong open confrontation between the husband and the wife may be the outcome of the woman’s rushed return.
Abandonment of men sometimes happens in other innocent, unintended ways. Genial Mr. Nathan Akpan and his wife, Beatrice, retired from the same federal ministry though they worked in different departments. They met as young, newly employed graduates. After 35-years of meritorious service, both retired honourably and had a big retirement celebration with their children and grandchildren.
Having retired, life became a bit slow and the day seemed too long. To fight boredom, Mrs. Nathan began to volunteer for service in various departments in their church, which was a Pentecostal ministry. But Mr. Akpan firmly resolved to rest after 35 years in the public service. For Mrs Akpan, serving in various church departments made her become a busy bee again. The assignments associated with the departments made her spend a lot of time away from the home. In essence, her domestic worker, Esther, who was hired by their children to help them as retirees, took up the responsibility of running the home in addition to doing the house chores, ranging from cooking, cleaning, laundry, errands, shopping, taking the regular blood pressure readings of Mr. Akpan and giving him his routine drugs. Unconsciously, friendship and companionship began developing between Akpan and 23-year-old Esther, who had become almost indispensible to the retiree. On calls with his children, he would effusively talk about her good character and value to him. Before long, he began to desire the absence of his wife as it gave him a clear coast, to enjoy the undivided attention of Esther, who would often massage him and generally be nice to him. The attention he got from her more than compensated for the several days of his wife’s absence from home. Esther’s caring attention to him was so good that when he went for a comprehensive check, the doctor found his vitals to be very good for a man at his age. There were occasions Mrs. Akpan would attend church programmes outside their state and spend two to three days. On one of such occasions, Baba Akpan followed Esther to the market. Even though there was no sexual intimacy between them, the companionship and laughter did much more to lift Baba Akpan’s spirit and compensate for Mrs. Akpan absence.
It is important for wives to recognise that their husbands should not be turned into single men again after pampering them in the early years of marriage. Only few men are able to survive as
‘bachelors’ at a certain age when their wives die. If it was easy, why then did the likes of Rev. Dr. WF Kumuyi of the Deeper Life Christian Ministry remarry after the death of his wife, Mrs. Biodun Kumuyi? Why did Chief Ade-Ojo of Elizade Group remarry after the death of his wife? Why did the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe marry Prof Uche Azikiwe after his first wife died?
Another pertinent question is: why do women suspend sexual intimacy with their men when they reach menopause? It is also very common for women to live together with their men, yet be very far as they grow older. All those women who run away from their husbands are not getting it right. You should not separate your rooms and bed at old age. Share it the way you started from the onset and enjoy it till death do you part. This practice of separating has often created a vacuum that resulted to other relationships between the men and much younger females. Women, do not make your husbands lonely bachelors at old age. His need is not only cooked food or young boy servants. He needs a feminine voice, face, and touch around him. Most times, women push them into secondary marriages, unknowingly. There are women who understand their men while some would have lived for donkey years, yet never really understood their men’s needs. Some men need obedience, while others need good neat and well-arranged environment, respect and care for their families for peace to reign. Some need their wives to also exhibit the boldness, knowledge and unhindered sexual prowess of a prostitute in the bedroom. Some men just need a cheerful, beautiful face that is well-shaped. Instead of abandoning your man, discover his need and just flow with him.
One of the greatest reasons the celebrated fashion entrepreneur, Abba Folawiyo, who just celebrated her 80th birthday won the heart of her late husband, Chief Yinka Folawiyo, Baba Adinni of Lagos, was simple obedience; even her friends could testify to this.
God gave men to women, and said that they are to care for them, to bring out the best in them that will fulfill His will on earth.
Therefore, my beloved fellow women. handle your men like golden eggs, don’t abandon them. You have a god-given assignment to tend to them every way. Don’t fail in this ministry. Yes, that is what it is, certainly, because even the Holy Ghost said so through Apostle Paul said so in Colossians 4:17: “And say to Archippus, ‘See to it that you fulfill (carefully the duties of);the ministry which you have received in the Lord.’”