If you’ve been living with your man for a while now, you may have noticed that he likes to do things on his own terms. If there’s something to be done or to be bought, he will want to do it at his own time and pace.
You, on the other hand, might consider this chore or repair job as higher on the to-do list, and you want it done more urgently. You have heard it preached over and over that men do not like to be nagged; so how do you get him to re-prioritise without becoming the ultimate nag?
I don’t see any way out of this without a fair share of actually doing just that or, what might appear to the guy to be nagging. This is why. When a boy and girl live together, they aren’t really playing house the way we played doctor and patient when we were kids. This is real. They talk about and give birth to babies, they invest, and travails are borne long, beyond we know how to bear what we must suffer, in grace.
And somewhere in this is the business of living life, which makes it necessary for you to handle your day-to-day matters. The good thing is that life is fairly routine. The exception to this is if your man has a personality disorder or an addict in active addiction. To them, life without thunder crashing and rivers on the proverbial brink of the great flood makes no sense. So the rest of us play our part and expect that others will too for the benefit of the greater good.
So, back to routine... This implies a division of labour in a household...mainly decided by our gender and what we are conditioned to do and expect. Women are socialised to be nurturers.
This means, or tends to, that with all things home life, the lady had better represent! Meals on time, a clean home, ...continuity. And one reason guys will not do this is that it takes a certain amount of being “on.”
Someone monitors the dishes as they pile up, the kids as they fight and need a mediator, or as they get ill, the floors as they need cleaning and so on. If these things don’t happen, it reflects badly on the lady of the house. Maid, cook, butler, gardener handyman and so on notwithstanding! These things are supposed to be done.
So here is Baba Faith walking in from, let’s just call it, wherever, looking over things as he heads to his seat and the remote, and even though you can hear his stomach growl in hunger, you still registered his taking a quick inventory of how-the-house-looks. In fact, it’s your competence that led him to promise you a new washer and dryer. A combo not that common amongst your friends and circles. Granted though, it was offered out of a recognition on his part that you take good care of his ailing parents who are almost always with you, as they come to see their clinicians, requiring many changes of certain garments, which have often caused you the distress of finding house helps jumping over the fence after midnight as they ran off in protest. This is just an example, it could be a promise to run electricity to that 'kibanda' that you want to rent out, or to fix a constantly running water pipe or anything like that. Which never seems to get done.
This can lead to resentment. Resentment borne of frustration and anger can lead to passive aggressive harping and carping, otherwise known by men as the dreaded "kelele ya mama.” Looked at this way, it can be a reasonable way to channel frustration. But before that, harness what you have to say and while you give your man his regular "you the man!" pep talk, throw in the "and this is what is expected of a man" qualifiers.
But, in unpacking this manliness, what value is he if he can’t follow through on being this man that society has so much to say about. Since he is not an ornament, but rather a functional part of the partnership, let him do his thing. Remember, ladies, for a man to be a man, he actually has to be one.
If you have to make sure the home is running, which is hands-on and fairly involving work, then the infrequent vacuum cleaner or washing machine, or other appliance isn’t exactly unreasonable. Men, after all, are expected to show love by giving of themselves and money, while women tend to nurture and support and so on, in addition to contributing part of the income often by working full-time.
So where does the thin line between “asking respectfully” and nagging begin and end?