Let’s produce responsible and disciplined men
Here’s a question I received from a tired wife. “Dear sir: My husband seems to love his mother more than he loves me, his wife. She caters to all his needs. Up to our wedding she washed his clothes, cleaned his dishes, and his room. Now he is expecting me to do the same. Is there help for me? Signed, tired wife.”
My answer. Dear, tired wife: His mother is doing great harm to your marriage. Many moms and dads, but especially moms, forget that their parenting responsibility ends when their children become adults — whether they are married or not. Your husband is just as wrong to use his mother or depend on his mother to fulfill his everyday needs.
Boys must clean up also
A major reason many of our Bahamian men are messing up their marriages or romantic relationships is because their mothers made them believe that the best way to build men’s character is to serve them as servants serve their masters. Instead of building responsibility and self-discipline in their sons by allowing them to enjoy the privilege of doing things for themselves, mothers spoil their sons by picking up their underwear on the floor, washing their dishes, and ironing their clothes for them. According to these mothers, boys are just to play ball, rake the yard, and clean cars. The girls are to wash the dishes, cook, sew, and clean the house. This is a great disservice a mother can do to her son. In fact, she is not only hurting her son but her son’s marriage and her son’s sons.
Men who want to be served
There are too many Bahamian men who come home after work, many times before their wives do so, and just sit and wait until they are served the evening meal. They have no concern whether their hard working wives are also tired after the day on the job. These men are careless about their wives’ headaches, tired feet, stretched nerves, and sleepy eyes. They do this because this was the way their mothers taught them. Unfortunately, their mothers had a false notion that true leaders are to be served and not serve themselves — thus, many men who are taught that they are the lion king boss in the home expect their wives to serve them. This is pathetic.
Where did we get the idea that every male homo sapien is born to be a leader?
Where did we get the idea that women were born to serve men’s needs, desires, and wishes?
Where did we get the idea that a real woman is one who can cook and a real man is one who eats what is cooked?
It is my belief that God intended for couples in a relationship to focus on being partners and serving each other totally and equally. True partners do not expect one partner to do something that the other will not do. Husband and wife are to serve each other.
A couple’s story
After a one-week honeymoon, a couple settled into their new home, but the nightmare was about to begin. Each night the husband undressed and just placed his clothes on the floor at the foot of the bed and went to sleep. After a few days he discovered that he was running out of clean underwear because his wife was not washing them. Whenever he wanted clean underwear, he bought new ones. After a few weeks, a large pile amassed at the foot of the bed. The ground rules were that his wife would only wash what was placed in the laundry basket and she would not pick up clothing left around the house. His mother had done all this for him. His expectation was that his wife would do the same. After weeks of this, the husband got the message and put his clothes in the laundry basket. And from that day onward he had fresh clean clothes from which to choose. Within a few months he was also doing the laundry and other chores as well.
Dear husbands, whenever you wash the dishes or fold the clothes, remember that you are not doing it to help your wives — you are actually doing for yourselves. This is the true concept of partnership in marriage. Dear wife, you are not required to be a maid to the husband. You chose to be his lover and partner. Perhaps you can begin by not washing his dinner plate anymore until he cooperates. When you run out of clean plates, use sanitary plates and leave the unwashed ones stacked on the kitchen counter until they are clean.
Advice to moms
Mom, when you die and you are no longer there to serve your teenage or adult sons, you will leave behind spineless, dependent, gutless, and maybe worthless men. These men will produce other spineless sons and the vicious cycle will continue. Let your sons go. You are no longer first in their lives. Keep out of their marriages. Do not call to find out if they need help. Do not give your service unless asked for. Mothers, you are helping to create angry men who are at risk of becoming belligerent and violent. When these boys cannot have what they want, they seek violent ways to get their point across. Mothers, help build responsible and disciplined men by allowing them to be fully responsible for their own lives. Stop serving them.
• Barrington H. Brennen is a marriage and family therapist and board certified clinical psychotherapist. Send your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to P.O. Box CB-13019, Nassau, The Bahamas, or visit: www.soencouragement.org or call 242-327-1980.