Wives and Concubines – The Child Inside a Man
The subject of unfaithfulness in marriage is a very controversial one. Often it is claimed by most married women that men are the main reason why there is unfaithfulness in marriages.
Some women have been inclined to have extra marital affairs because of their husbands’ inability to meet their sexual and emotional needs. According to my observation, women who are married to financially successful men have ended up being in an extra marital relationship with men of a below average financial status. They tend to take care of such men’s material needs in exchange for sexual and emotional attention. They claim that busy husbands spend less time with their wives.
However, I will deal with the subject of married women and their extra marital affairs in the follow up article to this one.
My discussion here will be more focused on why married men have concubines.
The meaning of concubine which I will restrict myself to, is the “long term intimate relationship that exists between a married man and his girlfriend whereby the man is responsible for his girlfriend’s material needs, as may ordinarily occur in a family setup.”
Meaning, a relationship where a man buys household property, rents or buys a house for his mistress and possibly has children with her with or without the knowledge of his wife.
What causes a married man to leave his wife and live with another woman?
Is it because men are naturally lustful and would always want to have more than one woman?
Why would a man have a long term relationship with another woman, going to the extent of starting a discrete family and fathering children outside marriage?
Is it the man to blame?
There have been instances where a married man leaves his matrimonial home to live with a concubine without the knowledge of his wife. The man would rent a house or buy property where his concubine would live.
Some men impregnate their concubines in order to deliberately trigger the need for divorce in the event that their wives found out about it. Some men will run an ‘underground family’ that will forever remain unknown to their wives.
A man, who loves his wife but is merely promiscuous, is more likely to have short term relationships with other women.
A man who is fed up with his wife is more likely to be involved with another woman in a long term relationship. Factors such as consideration for children would normally cause such men to stick to their wives even when love has diminished.
Some of the men I spoke to, claimed that they had decided to have concubines because of the following reasons:
1. Lack of respect by their wives.
2. Too much nagging by their wives.
3. Indifferent moods by their wives
4. Lack of support by their wives.
5. Failure to attend to natural obligations of a wife.
6. Lack of submissiveness.
7. Lack of common social interests.
I will discuss each of these issues in turn hoping that a way to build a strong relationship of no deceit between man and wife may be explored.
It is important to understand that views expressed herein, are not necessarily of this writer. They represent views of many of those men that this writer has interacted with on this subject.
1. Lack of respect by a wife.
A wife may drive away her husband due to lack of respect. In the Zambian traditional sense respect is about conduct and mannerisms that are traditionally acceptable, such as the way a wife responds when her husband calls her, or the way a wife talks to her husband when she does not approve of his actions. Naturally a man has a dominant character. He does not like a woman who asserts herself in a more confrontational way.
2. Too much nagging by a wife.
A wife may drive away her husband by nagging him constantly. A man who predicts confrontation at home each time he is away from home is more likely to develop habits of keeping late nights or even avoiding coming home.
3. Indifferent moods by the wife.
It can be expected that there will not be happiness in the home all the time. Men whose wives have sulky faces,however, very often tend to avoid their wives.
4. Lack of support by wives.
A man is always full of ambition. He would like to explore all areas of development and self actualization. Women who are sensitive to this need are more likely to have their husband stick to them faithfully. These men will always involve their wives in everything that they do.
A wife’s failure to recognize this issue has in some instances led to men involving concubines in their ambitious plans. It's not uncommon to find a man has invested his resources in a business venture with a concubine rather than with his wife.
5. Failure to attend to natural obligations by a wife.
There is a child inside everyman. A man is like a child. He wants attention from his woman.
Wives take on the roles that a mother used to play for a son. Just like the mother would ensure that her baby has eaten, he has bathed etc.
That is what a wife should endeavour to do for a husband. A man will always appreciate a woman who treats him very closely to the way his mother treated him in childhood.
There is a general tendency among career women to trust maids to cook, do the laundry and carry out other chores for their husbands. All these are not bad things for a wife to delegate, given that some of them have very busy jobs. Care should be taken.
I have heard of stories where a man packs his bag full of his clothes and takes it to his concubine for laundry on the pretext that he is taking them to the dry cleaner’ shop.
Have you not heard of a story of a husband sleeping with a maid? Have you not heard of a story of a husband marrying a maid? Do you think this is just a matter of immorality in a man? It is because the wife has totally alienated her responsibility of caring for the emotions of the child inside her man to the maid.
6. Lack of submissiveness
Some wives when they attain a higher social status than their husbands, tend to belittle their husbands. They want to swap roles with their husband.
A man is adventurous, even at his lowest ebb, without resources or status. He can still find a woman outside home to ‘soothe his soul’. It is a mistake for a wife to think that she can tame a husband because of her superior social status.
Have you not heard of how some men have used resources obtained from their wives to support concubines? Is it a matter of immoral conduct from such men?
It is much deeper than that.
Men can talk of promoting equality with women, but those are statements that men make when they are in NGO’S. Back at home they want a wife who will submit.
7. Lack of common social interests.
The reasons given here are by no means exhaustive. They are an aggregate of what those that I spoke to explained in our discussion.
A man is a playful being. He likes fun. Most women have a tendency of giving men the impression that they follow the same social interests with their men while in courtship.
When they get married then they drop those interests. This gives men a tendency to venture out and explore the world to find a woman with whom they can share common social interests.
It is a very big challenge for wives to begin to discover their husbands and to look for those things that deter their husbands from having concubines. What I have said here is not new. The African woman has been taught by marriage counselors at the time of preparation for marriage.
Should the modern way of life dilute the traditional responsibilities of the African woman towards her husband because of gender equality or because of the working class woman?
How will the African woman deal with the child inside the man?
People have spoken about these issues on different forums yet we still see homes falling apart because of wives ignoring these small but important details.