We tend to lay too much emphasis on the training of the female child. We ensure that at a very young she begins to learn how to cook, clean and be virtuous. As a young boy, I heard my mother and even my father remind my sisters on a regular basis how important it is that they behave well and learn various domestic skill because they will one day become someone’s wife with a home of their own to manage. As a father, I hear my wife say the exact same thing to my daughters every day while my son is left out. We start very early to prepare our daughters for marriage, the mothers meticulously guide them through various house management skills, personal hygiene, etiquette, virtue and respect. Father’s ensure that they stay on track by watching over them like hawks ensuring that they do not derail.  

While the female child is put on this very high pedestal, parents tend to forget that the boys also need to be trained on the basic principles of marriage. It is almost as if the only lesson boys are expected to learn is to go to school, be obedient and level headed enough to get a good degree, then get a job, get married and become providers for his family, too much emphasis is laid on the need for material provision, in doing this valuable lessons on other very important roles a man plays in marriage are forgotten. We do not take time to also educate them on the nitty gritty of marriage, on the need to respect and honour their wives, to be patient, fair, compassionate and wise in the administration of their homes, we fail to teach them that it takes more than just providing and being present to be a good husband and father, and most importantly we forget to teach them how to be good companions to their wives and a good father to the children.

I remember vividly my childhood and teenage years back in owerri, the liberties I enjoyed were far more than what my sisters, female cousins and aunts were allowed to enjoy. My aunts who lived with us back then did not enjoy some of the liberties I had despite the fact that some of them were much older than I was. I heard my mother constantly preach a sermon about them being able to manage their homes when they get married. So basically while the girls stayed home being prepared to be good wives and mothers, we the boys were busy growing up without being specifically prepared for marriage. We were basically exempted from this very important tutelage on marriage. The only lesson some of these boys will learn from watching their fathers is that once they are able to provide shelter, food and clothing, their work is done and the rest is left for the woman to do, the boys are not taught other salient roles husbands play in a marriage, important roles which may not be learnt by merely observing a father. These roles can only be learnt through a consistent verbal tutoring and showing good examples by both parents.

The major problem we have in marriages today is this difference in the level of preparedness. We have very well trained and marriage ready women who have spent their entire lives learning the skills required to be good wives and mothers, these women will go on to marry a largely ignorant male population who have no real clue on how to manage their homes or be good fathers. While most of the women hit the grown running once they settle into their matrimonial homes, the men who are mostly, immature, childish and sometimes insecure, will struggle to catch up and match the level of maturity and intelligence exhibited by their new bride. Even while in the marriage there are so many seminars, prayer groups, supports groups and counsellors who concentrate on the woman, she gets regular refresher courses on marriage while the man is left to roam sometimes without a clue, men are brought up to believe they don’t need anyone to tell them how to run their homes or advice them on marriage. The lack of foundational mentoring is the reason why it is very difficult to counsel or advice a man on marriage. 

It is important that parents to begin to spend sometime preparing their sons to be good husbands from an early age, if mothers dedicate half the time they spend training their daughters to training their sons, marriage problems will be reduced to the barest minimum. Being a woman and a wife, a mother has the natural advantage of possessing the required knowledge to teach her sons how to treat a woman well. Father’s on their part should teach by examples, treating your wife with love and respect will form the foundation of your son’s treatment of his own wife when he eventually gets married. Resource persons, churches, mosques and NGOs should endeavour to organise seminars workshops and counselling sessions on the role of husbands in marriage for men, they should be taught over and over again that there is more to being a good husband and father than just providing, they should know that being a good father and husband must come together, you cannot be one without the other, they must be told that that the wife is your better half, she is neither your enemy nor competition, she compliments you and her efforts does not challenge yours but compliments it. Let us all begin today to orientate our sons to be the husbands fit for our precious daughters – Sir Stanley Ekezie 

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