The most dangerous threat to marriages is the power tussle which has significantly increased as a result of a growing awareness and agitation for gender equality by our women. This new awareness has affected not only marriages but almost all aspects of our daily lives. Women all over the world are questioning stereotypes and the old order of gender relationships in the home, communities, offices and even churches. As a result of this, we have seen some improvements in the gender relations with the inclusion of women in the clergy, communities, and even in political associations as equal partners in progress.

While other environments have managed to survive the trend and make significant progress, marriages have continued to groan under this new order. Men whose only claim to the position of leadership is either by gender entitlement, religious or traditional beliefs have continued to resist this movement, even where it is obvious that they do not possess the requisite qualities and capabilities of a leader and the woman has clearly shown that she is more capable and better equipped to manage the affairs of the home. This power play has destroyed many homes more than anything else. Even when there is nothing at stake, no trophies or monetary gains, marriages have continued to crumble under this menace.

In this battle of the sexes, the pertinent questions are, what is the real value of the power you so passionately desire? What is at stake? Why has it become so important to control or subjugate your spouse? Why have people thrown away perfect relationships over the insatiable need to control and subjugate each other? I am at a loss here, apart from ego and low self esteem, I see no other reason why a man will want a wife with whom he has kids to serve him like a mere servant. I have seen men raise so much dust over their wife’s insistence on equality at home and I have seen women take resistance of their husband’s authority to a sickening level.

Feminism is an interesting concept, one which I whole heartedly support, I don’t believe any human being was born inferior simply because of their gender. I have seen women do better than men in previously male dominated vocations. I have also seen women hide under feminism and gender equality to emasculate their husbands just because they want to belong or to live like single women. How can a woman succumb to overtures from a man, go through courtship, marry him, get pregnant by him, bear beautiful kids, build a family only for her to throw it all away because she refuses to recognise him as the head of the family. If your husband is hung up on the whole submission madness, let it be, and if your wife refuses to submit, for goodness sake don’t push it, when you finally subdue him or her, what is the real value of this victory? Male chauvinism and feminism do not belong in marriages, it is a dangerous terminal cancer which destroys marriages beyond redemption.

If your husband refuses to listen to your advise instead of confronting him and complicating matters, let him fail, conscience is one thing which never lies to its owner, deep down he knows he has failed because he didn’t listen or take your advise. A couple of failures should nudge him back to his senses. If your wife insists on contesting your position in the family, let her have it, uneasy lies the head that wears the crown, when the weight of the power she so desperately seeks becomes too heavy, she will come back to her senses. If she doesn’t, let her relieve you of the pressure of leadership while you seat back and enjoy the holiday from the burden of being saddled with the huge responsibility of being the head. It doesn’t change that fact that you are a man.

The energy expended on these struggles is enormous; effort, time and energy which would have been directed towards something more positive and productive that will invariably improve the lot of the family is spent fighting each other. Winning in these domestic battles adds no value to your person, it adds no resources to the family and it certainly doesn’t create a conducive and happy atmosphere required to raise kids, it is an effort in futility. One thing one must remember when engaging in these needless fights is that it never ends well, it is either you forcefully subdue a spouse, end up having a spouse who silently hates your guts and patiently waiting for an exit strategy, or the marriage ends instantly, either way, it is a no win situation.

Being born male does not give you the right to subdue her and be a tyrant at home, it doesn’t make you superior to women. Similarly, being born female gives you no advantage over a man, it definitely does not make you a warrior or freedom fighter. Your gender only balances the order of procreation, he brings the sperm, she brings the eggs and without either of these equally important inputs, life as we know it will end. I believe marriages will Work better if we all understand that each gender has a very important specific role to play, these roles are indispensable and have been predetermined by nature, no matter how hard we try, it is impossible to usurp each other’s role. It is therefore unfair for any gender to claim superiority in marriage.

In summary, it is important that we understand that a win at home is hardly a win, the battle for survival is outside and not anywhere near your home. Fighting your spouse for control is like fighting yourself, even if you win, you loose. A lion is only the king of beasts outside it’s den, while in the den he is meek, gentle and completely harmless to his kind. So while at home, make love, not war – Sir Stanley Ekezie