Dealing with Gender difference in marriage.
In the few years we have counselled couples, we have realized few key issues in marriage and one of the key issue noticed is gender difference.
Gender difference are those things physically, socially and otherwise that differentiates a man from a woman. Some of these gender differences are vital to our growth but some are built by social construct that are not necessarily advantageous to a particular gender.
Recently we watched a movie –‘on the basis of sex.’ This movie is a true life story about a couple, who are both lawyers and how the husband went ahead in his career just because he was a man. Interestingly another man petitioned because he was not allowed to be a nanny; simply because he was a man.
This brings us to the gender differences between husband and wife and its effect on their marriage. Hubby and I also struggled with gender differences; but this changed as we carefully discussed on the kind of marriage we wanted, our roles in achieving it and its effect on our beloved children.
The effect of gender difference is seen in our daily affairs, but it is left for us to treat each other equally and with respect no matter the sex.
Example A: Hubby and I come from the eastern part of Nigeria, where women are seen but usually not heard. But for the uniqueness of our journey we had to tailor this social gender difference to suit our marriage vision and preference.
Example B: A friend came for counselling quite upset with his mentor, who told him that he helps his wife in washing clothes. He came to enquire from us, if it was right…. I guess you know our answer.
Many couples during counselling tell us what they think their roles in marriage should be, but none has asked why it should be so; nor asked if it has impacted the marriage positively or negatively.
As couples, we need to be aware that we live in a global village with different issues that our parents might not have had, and if we will succeed, we need to begin to ask different questions from the usual:
- Should the man pay all the bills alone?
- Should a man feel that he is doing his wife/family a favour because he helped out in the house chores?
- Should one gender sacrifice more just to fit into a particular way that soothes the society?
- Can we identify our gender differences and intentionally agree on what will work for us as a couple?
Remember, gender differences are good only if they are tailored to fit our unique marriage.
Ngee and Rich
(Dr Richard and Ngozi Okonkwo)
Relationship Coach/Habit Instructors
Founders – Keeping Marriage Alive Initiative
“Will two people walk together unless they have agreed to do so?” Amos 3:3 (CEB).