Feature Article of Saturday, 29 September 2012

Columnist: Mensah, Dominic

Criteria for Becoming a Husband: For males only

For many young men my age, the notion of becoming husbands one day is becoming a painful reality. But unfortunately, most of us have no clue what it takes to become a husband. Daily on Facebook and other social networks, our young ladies remind and sometimes attack us that we are insensitive and ignorant about their needs. They argue that the modern average Ghanaian man lacks the spiritual, mental and social maturity worthy of an ideal husband. To this end, I've decided to pen this down to share my limited knowledge the role of a husband with my male friends aspiring to get married one day. I don't have in mind to address the role of the lady in this writing but our honorable lady friends are welcome to read as well.

For the start, in the English language, the very moment you consummate your courtship with a lady marked by a marriage ceremony, you become a husband. As clear is the term husband is to all of us, I, nevertheless, want to analyze the term husband by taking a look its origin. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the term husband means:

"O.E. husbonda "male head of a household," probably from O.N. husbondi "master of the house," from hus "house" + bondi "householder, dweller, freeholder, peasant," from buandi, prp. of bua "to dwell" Beginning late 13c., replaced O.E. wer as "married man," companion of wif, a sad loss for English poetry. The sense of "peasant farmer" (early 13c.) is preserved in husbandry. The verb "manage thriftily" is mid-15c., from the noun in the obsolete sense of "steward" (mid-15c.). Slang shortening hubby first attested 1680s."

From the above definitions, it's safe therefore to assert that husbandry (husband + -ery) is a careful management of resources- it is stewardship. Unfortunately, in our modern usage of the term, the word husband is understood as nothing more than a male legally tied (for a few years, if it goes well) to a particular female. From this fragmented understanding of the term comes all the issues of marriage that I'd like to save space and energy by not touching on-- not that anyone needs to be reminded of the calamity of marriage anyway! And this is where I come in to lead my guys who intend to marry to rethink of the label they would receive when they lock the padlock.

My dear friends, if you are contemplating the label husband in the future, you must marry wisely. To marry wisely means you must marry a woman you are willing to love and and lead with a servant's heart; a lady who would inspire you to be good. Only consider a lady for whom love for is going to help and motivate you to become truly successful as a human being; a person of whom the thought of would help you to manage your life and make the best out of it. You should desire someone whom the prospect of spending the rest of your life with, would feed you with the energy to develop your personality, explore your limitations and control your passions.

You might ask what about the lady? Before I continue, I need to set something straight. I'm not endorsing you give your lady (wife to be) an unconditional allegiance. You don't want to make her a god in your life. She's human with her own inner needs and can never satisfy the spiritual needs of your life. If you make a god out of her, she's going to become a demon; she would leave you dissatisfied whilst destroying you in the process. In the words of St. Augustine “Oh God, Thou hast made us for Thyself and our hearts are restless till they rest in Thee.” The point is that only a meaningful and edifying connection with the living God brings lasting gratification and not any human undertaking. Now back to the role of the lady, as I have already disclosed, I intend to be silent on the female side but regardless of the character of the lady in consideration, you don't want to walk the line with a lady who disrespects you, is unfaithful and foremost a lady who craves for masculine attention indiscriminately, must be avoided. .

Brothers, before you capture the preceding paragraph to heart, you need to be aware of your own duties of your future role as well. Dominic wants you to know that it's going to take more than your biological distinction as a male to become a husband. As a far as getting married to a lady (similar to biologically fathering a baby) is concerned, any fool, wise, rascal, obedient, philosopher or high school graduate can do, but it's indispensable you possess or train yourself to obtain intellectual and spiritual insights if you are to be successful at this endeavor as a husband.

Now, what qualifies you to be called a husband? How are you to be set apart from other married men if you are to be worthy of the glorious title husband? To answer this convincingly, we need to refer back to the origin of the word husband, which denotes a farmer (gardener)- not any farmer- but the one who manages his resources thriftily (with carefulness). As a gardener, It's your responsibility to cultivate your garden to see to it that it bears fruit. The label alone without the duties- managing, keeping, and tilling-- that come with it means your garden is going to yield only weeds. And trust me you don't want to curb the spreed of weeds when they are out of mastery-- a lost battle!

Likewise, you as the literal husband, are called upon to shower your wife with great care, sacrifice and tenderness. To husband her effectively would have little to do with your emotional intoxication. Your love for her would have to proceed from a whole hearted altitude of your will and not ideas and choices based on emotional high.

To be a husband to your wife means to cherish and nourish her. You cherish her by keeping her warm (figurative as well as literal) with tender love; and you nourish her by feeding and bringing her up to maturity (on both figurative and literal levels). The label (husband) you plan to acquire, instructs that you serve your wife with the authority of love and self-sacrifice. This responsibility comes with diligence, hard work, and courage. Without the wholesome understanding of your responsibilities, your authority at home becomes meaningless and tyrannical, selfish, destructive and overbearing.

Come that unknown day when you take the vow to become a husband (or if you've already taken it), you will assume with it the responsibility for your new home; you are going to provide the fundamental strength. As a husband (not just a married man), you will to have concentrate on becoming strong for the sake of your wife (and family); you will use your strength to give her- and hopefully she would receive and give back. Let's recall the strength of a man isn't in how respected he is at work; it's in how respected he is at home. The strength of a man isn't in how hard he hits; It's in how tender he touches. The strength of a man isn't in the hair on his chest; it's in his Heart that lies within his chest.

Prerequisite to marriage vows is the willingness of you, my dear friends, to set aside self-centeredness. Don't expect her to be faithful and lovely, if you don't know your role and worse, are not in the position to learn; if you are not willing to take the responsibilities that come with the role, don't ever consider becoming a husband for your own welfare. Ignore this you would never know peace at home; grief and bitterness would always be your pillow and bed. Call yourself a gardener without performing the duties that come with it and rather than reaping gracious fruits, you would harvest adultery, disrespectful wife, rebellious children, strife, violence, broken home and almost unmentionable immorality; and you yourself would be nothing more than harsh but crippled farmer.

But be warned, from a temporal standpoint of view nothing is so conductive to man's happiness as a good home. No other success or happiness can compensate for failure in the home. But there's hope! It's never too late to educate yourself.

Dominic Mensah