6 do’s and don’ts for Pakistani husbands
It isn’t often I feel the urge to write a long winded response to a fellow blogger’s work; however, this is one of those instances. Before I begin, I want to make it clear that I mean no disrespect to the author of “13 ‘Do-Nots’ housewives can wave goodbye to in 2014” and “14 ‘Dos’ for die-hard housewives in 2014“, nor do I intend any insult. I would simply like to share my two cents.
While I feel the topic on marriage has been ‘done to death’, after reading two consecutive articles centered on what a wife should and shouldn’t do, I felt the urge to respond.
Why are such lists only ever made for wives in Pakistan?
Is there no need for a similar list for husbands or are husbands in Pakistan without flaws?
Granted the woman who wrote these blogs can only write them from the perspective of a wife. However, I can’t help but take issue with her pointed ‘to-do’ and ‘not-to-do’ lists. Among the points made, some were apt while others were completely unreasonable. Some of these points would have been better suited for a list devised to promote a wife’s already secondary status in Pakistan.
I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that the last thing Pakistan needs is more paraphernalia promoting wives as ancillary in nature, or condoning that wives should bend to the will of their husband and in-laws without expecting reciprocation in return.
A list, such as the one devised, although not outrageous in nature, is far from needed in a society like Pakistan where women are already expected to do more than their fair share.
As I read the ‘to-do’ and ‘not-to-do’ lists for wives, my mind immediately began formulating an answer for husbands or husbands-to-be.
1) Don’t treat you wife like one of your children
Your wife is supposed to be your equal, your partner in life and an active part of the household decisions. Protect her, don’t patronise her. Respect her, don’t treat her like a child that needs to be shielded from everything or is inept at handling things of a serious nature on her own.
2) Treat your in-laws the way you want your wife to treat your family
As important as your mother is to you, your wife’s mother is equally as important to her. As much as you want to keep your mother and father in your life, and take care of them as they age, your wife also wants to be a part of her mother and father’s life, and take care of them in their old age.
A woman is not a loaf of bread that was given to you. She is as much a person and offspring as you are. She came from a home with two parents who also bore her, raised her and took care of her throughout life. I point this out because too often I hear men use the ‘but-my-parents-raised-me-and-took-care-of-me’ excuse when their wife complains of neglect.
So did hers, yet here she is.
If you are not willing to take care of your in-laws as your parents, it is unfair to expect your wife to take care of your parents as her own.
3) Don’t complain to your mother (or father) about your wife
I imagine most men are perturbed when their wife complains to her parents about him, and rightly so. In the same regard, don’t complain to your mother about your wife. Troubles between a husband and wife should stay strictly between a husband and wife. Third party involvement, even when meant well, seems to do more harm than good.
4) Don’t insult, condescend or patronise your wife in front of your children
If your children don’t see you respecting her as an equal, they will remember that and potentially end up doing one of two things; either they will resent you for mistreating their mother, or your son will mimic the same behaviour with his future wife while your daughter will think it acceptable to be disrespected by her future husband.
5) You cherish a boy’s night out? Let your wife have a girl’s night out
It’s perfectly acceptable and healthy for husbands and wives to have their own friends. Just as most men don’t want their wife to interfere with their boy’s night out, husband’s should not interfere with their wife’s girl’s night out.
Women cherish and need time to themselves or with their friends as much as men do.
Sitting at home, waiting on hand and foot, is nobody’s idea of fun. Having a little time apart and out of the house can be a good thing for a couple.
6) Don’t expect your wife to be the only one to keep the marriage together
It takes two to tango.
As with any relationship, it takes both sides to put in an equal amount of effort in order for it to work. It’s a common expectation in Pakistan for the woman to be the one to keep the marriage together and, if it fails, the woman is blamed. Men ought to take a more proactive approach to their marriage, as they would with other things of importance in their life.
There are many more points one can think of to add to the list. Some may apply differently to couples depending on their individual circumstances, but the overall element of respect and equality is vital to the stability and longevity of any relationship.
For far too long women have been expected to bear the brunt of marital problems, be responsible for its stability and take the blame for failures. It’s high time that things changed, parity between men and women was created.
Before taking your leave, I’d like to point out that I don’t at all think men alone are responsible for a marriage’s success, nor do I think all husbands are evil and wives angelic. I know women have the capacity to be difficult, sometimes downright mean, and I understand that men don’t always have it easy either.
This blog isn’t meant to start a blame game or create a battle between the sexes – it’s simply an answer to the plethora of the ‘to-do’ and ‘not-to-do’ lists, and the endless instructions aimed at women surrounding their pending marriage.
As I’ve said before, in a place like Pakistan, the gap between genders is already too big and I see no reason to continually uphold or encourage it. If a husband isn’t willing to put his best foot forward, neither he nor society should expect a wife to do so. Some of you may ask if I’m married yet, or why I feel like I’m any kind of authority on the matter.
While I don’t at all deem myself an expert, one doesn’t have to be married to understand that marriage, as any relationship, requires an equal compromise from both parties involved.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.