“…a man is not determined by how much he earns. You can still be a man of the house and earn less than your woman. Being a man is not what you have, it’s who you are. Being more of a man doesn’t mean your woman has to be less than you…”
Some weeks back, I was reading Trevor Noah’s “Born a Crime” when I came across the above paragraph. It actually piqued my interest and I was like, “Do most Nigerian men understand that being more of a man doesn’t mean that your woman has to earn less than you?”
We had this family friend, Mr John who for several years had issues with his wife because she earned far more than he does. It was totally against his traditional belief that “a wife must be less than her husband”; that’s the only way she can ever submit to him.
To make matters worse, because of the nature of her job, the lady always returned home late. The man who was at the brink of depression and frustration asked his wife to quit her job.
According to him, he didn’t feel like he was the man of the house. And the constant yabs he received from his friends fuelled his decision to have his wife quit her job. It crushed his self-esteem so badly that he became abusive and intolerant. It was a tug of war. Though it got to a point, the wife who loved him to a fault couldn’t handle the incessant quarrel and fights at home.
She finally did as she was instructed and tendered her resignation letter. The family started living on the man’s income; it wasn’t long, the man’s business collapsed leaving the family in abject poverty.
You see, that’s the scenario in most homes. The man in order not to look like a weakling strives to take charge of everything at home both financially and otherwise. If by chance, his wife happens to earn more than he does or be of a higher status in the society, it causes his self-worth to take a hit.
But then, I think it all boils down to understanding; the wife understanding that her husband isn’t less of a man because his income is lower and the husband having it at the back of his mind that his wife isn’t a competition. An arrangement could be made on how to handle the bills.
Personally, I wouldn’t mind if in future I earn more than my husband. I don’t see any problem in that. It will only be a big deal if he turns out to be a lazy being who is totally dependent on my income. Nah. Kolewerk! It won’t work.