It's always the prayer of family and friends that every young man getting married turns out to be a responsible husband and father. This, however, doesn't come to pass in some cases.
Currently, there is a growing trend of men who get into marriage, but completely refuse to conform to what is expected of responsible and respectable husbands or fathers. Instead, they continues to live and operate like bachelors. Some women too, refuse to outgrow their spinster lifestyles, but in most of the cases reported, men stand accused.
Perhaps due to the poor preparation of spouses — especially men — before settling down, many cases have been reported of women trapped into marriage with 'die-hard bachelors'. These men, despite being married, have completely refused to mature into respectable family men. There is nothing husband-like or father-like about them; they are basically 'married bachelors', so to speak.
These men are stuck in 1985, oops that's a song, I meant stuck in singlehood. They sleep out clubbing or in their bachelor friends' houses. Such types always have a flimsy excuse to stay away from home. If they are not out drinking with colleagues from their office, then they are at Safari Sevens watching rugby with the boys or at IMax catching up with the latest 3D movie.
A 'married bachelor' wants to come home and leave as he pleases and stay out all night — without being asked about it by his wife. His life revolves around fun and his bachelor friends, obviously, to the detriment of his family.
A 'married bachelor' is neither an events' organizer nor an editor of an entertainment magazine, but knows the newest, trendy club in town, socialites (and his phone gallery overflows with their naked photos), which movie premiers next weekend and which event goes down and where in Mid-October.
He is fanatically addicted to sports, but ironically, barely remembers his children's names and ages, leave alone their birthdays. 'Married bachelors' are forever young, wild and free spirits. They club-hop like campus kids and come back to the house in the morning with no concrete explanation of where they have been.
What's more, some regularly invite their bachelor buddies over to their homes and throw parties till late, of course to the chagrin of their wives. Some belong to WhatsApp groups where they discuss nothing but women and sexual conquests. Others take the madness a notch higher by dragging their drunk Pretty Young Thing (PYT) home at 2 a.m!
Sue*, a trained journalist but currently a business lady, is married to a die-hard bachelor who is an engineer. "Richard* leaves the house at will without notification. He disappears and appears in the house just like a rodent in the kitchen.
He spends large sums of money without informing me," narrates Sue*, adding: "I'm always caught by surprise that he has a new BMW motorbike, a new iPhone, never mind at that time there are more pressing needs and bills that need to be taken care of. He never wants me to ask who he spends time with or what he does with his money. Asking such is the easiest way to earn a beating."
She proceeds to pour her heart out, saying that her irresponsible husband and father of two is so reckless that he can blow his entire salary in a weekend without a care in the world. He doesn't bother himself with how the family will make it through the month. Annoyingly, when Sue* complains, Richard* plays victim and even threatens to leave home for good.
"I ask him something and he jumps off the roof in defence. Sometimes, he leaves the house and returns after a day or two looking like he has been ran over by a transit lorry," a resentful Sue* says, adding: "I guess what makes him a hot head is the fact that he is monied. Money seems to have inflated his ego and made him aloof, the reason he never listens to anyone."
But Sue* is not alone. Nancy* is an administration assistant at a local university and her 33-year-old husband, Robert*, is a Nairobi-based banker. Nancy* says Robert* hardly has time for her and the family. "Robert* hardly sees the children or talks to them.
He leaves the houses so early in the morning and returns late in the night — at times high as a kite! Whenever he is home, he is always busy working on this or that "urgent report", sometimes doing it till late in the night. During his free times he plays games on his PS3 or goes to his single friends' houses in the neighborhood to play chess. We hardly have time as a couple," Nancy* narrates.
She adds that Robert will go on two-week business trips away from home and never call to check on her or their two children. Nancy regrets that it has hit her quite late that her husband is a spoilt mama's boy who looks like he was forced into marriage, just because he was growing older.
Clare*, a 29-year-old human resource officer in Nairobi, says her husband never takes responsibility like you would expect of a married man. He is an escapist with character traits of a typical bachelor. "My husband is too dependent.
He never has a solution to any of our problems. When things get tough, he gets stressed at work or when we have a small tiff, he resorts to drinking himself silly. I have been patient with him for four years now. I am losing my patience, I am working out an exit plan," explains Clare*.
Experts say, to some extent, the married-bachelor syndrome can be attributed to culture especially in the African context. Traditionally, a woman was to be seen and not heard. Around here, wives were, and still are to some men, mere sex objects kept at home as men wandered freely.
This backward tradition is still practiced in some communities, hence making some modern men go into marriage with a notion that a husband is allowed to do whatever he wishes without the wife questioning him.
Wandia Maina, a counselling psychologist at Phoenix Training Solutions Limited in Nairobi, says in some instances, married-bachelor syndrome is the result of men who grew up in a broken family unit.
"Most of these married bachelors grew up without male role models. This was probably as a result of their mothers being left to them how to become men while their were busy trying to provide for the families," she says. Wandia advises that those getting married should undergo pre-marital counseling, so that every party is made aware of what is expected of them.
The counsellor also recommends counselling for married bachelors and other men who want to be responsible husbands and fathers, giving an example of a men's forum called "Man Enough" that is run by Transform Kenya.
From a Christian point of view, Pastor Cyrus Kithele, Team Leader at Redemption Challenge says: "It really puzzles me when a man refuses to change his lifestyle when getting into marriage. Then there's what I call the "Big-Boy Syndrome"— the growing phenomenon of young men who don't seem to want to grow up.
They drift from job to job; live with parents even upon gaining maturity; or live in groups and spend most of their time drinking, carousing, playing video games, chasing women and succumbing to sports addiction."
These cases, he says, can be attributed to prolonged boyhood. He says some men get carried away by the single lifestyle due to the irresistible trappings of this stage of a person's development.
"Some, because of poor upbringing, find it difficult to resist aspects of human nature like craving freedom and independence. Others are influenced by foreign cultures that promote individualism, thus even when they settle down, marriage and family are put on the back burner," the man of God says.
Perhaps this should be a wake up call to men to step up to the plate, serve as role models and get involved in raising their children lest we end up with a generation of grown men who are still acting like little boys.