Media, like many other industries, has been hit hard by the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. So when jobs for over 100 media colleagues were terminated at the end of June, my good friend Silas Nyanchwani had words of warning for them, vis-à-vis their relationships.
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"If you are young (25 to 40), married, and your marriage wasn’t on a very firm foundation, brother, just know following this job loss, unless you get another job/career in the next year, you will also lose your wife..." Silas cynically wrote that it doesn’t matter if you are a great father, or even imagine that your wife is the world’s most understanding and supportive woman. Then he gave the Five Stages of Detachment, that I will now rephrase.
First, he said that shortly after your job loss, your financial arguments will become frequent. And grow more hostile with time. I can see how that would happen, especially if even when a household has double income, skirmishes are there. When it is only the woman now bringing in the bread, she may start to resent how you spend/waste her money, making you feel ‘small.’
Secondly, Nyanchwani said, "utaanza kuonyeshwa madharau ndogo ndogo." If you liked buying the weekend papers for example, and ask the wife, she may say something like "hiyo 120 ni maziwa na mkate tutanunua ama tutakula hio gazeti?"
Or your relatives may come home and to look like a tough host, with a submissive wife, you call out to her in the kitchen ‘honey, please fry our guests some eggs.’ And her voice floats back from the kitchen: "Which eggs? Ama ulitaga mayai asubuhi ukikunywa chai hapa?" (Did you lay some eggs as you had your tea in the kitchen?)
Third, the insults may devolve from cruel sarcasm to an utter ‘un-manning’ of Self. Adjectives you may see starting to pop up are – lazy, silly, slow and ‘ungainly’ and ‘unmanly.’ Dare you get into depression, then you will know you married the small sister of Satan 'himuselef'.
If, by chance, your former colleague (and family friend) who was laid off with you in June finds themselves in an even better paying position (with another company) by the end of the year, be sure what you’ll hear all of next year is – ‘but why can’t you be like Dick, who, blah-bla!’
Denial of conjugal rights will follow as sure as night time follows daylight. That is if you are one of those brave souls who still expects action in the bed, 'yet' you are (now) bringing nothing to the table. There is a direct line, often, between your ATM and a woman's libido.
The ultimate contempt, of course, is when the woman decides to cheat with another more ‘supportive’ (better off fellow), when her contempt for you has hit the ceiling.
I know the true life story, from Western Kenya, where this local businessman owned a dozen boda bodas, all ‘bought’ on loan. But with lock downs, and so on, he had to pawn the motorcycles off to this Kisii broker in March, who gave him money to tide him over for the next two months.
By the end of May, the businessman hadn’t repaid the cash, so the broker seized the bikes. By this end of June, the businessman’s wife, under the guise of going to negotiate for the bikes back, was throwing herself at the pawn-broker, and accepting cash for her favours.
Silas says while most women won’t go to these extremes, many will still desert in these hard times – especially if you don’t have savings, downscale housing, have zero insurance, and once schools open, you have no fees for the kids. His advice is that you must learn to distinguish between unfair ego-stripping and her challenging you to try harder, and if she’s actually supportive, be humble and thankful. If it’s all contempt, Nyanchwani says violence is not the answer. Just start plotting your EXIT.
For once a woman decides a man is useless, or worse, has become a burden on her finances, it’s ‘bye, bye, man.’ A woman with madharau for you has moved on, no looking back.