The replay of our latest Blog Talk Radio Show: Dr. Mother Love on Love–Let’s Talk about Family and the Woman’s Role is ready. Click here to listen!
Today, we start with woman’s role in the family, but first, this last comment about man’s role: Family matters are very dear to me and should be to everybody because family is where everybody and everything begins and ends. It takes a man, woman and kids to form the nuclear enclave and embraces the extended members to complete the healthy network that keeps the family sound, stable and successful, (the SSS code). It also takes a committed team to build a sound family, but just one bad egg can mess up everything. As we have discussed at length, the man, the natural head of the family, has the greatest responsibility for maintenance and balance. I hope he will continue to live up to this expectation.
Now comes the woman. Among other attributes, she brings into the marriage and her new family her natural gifts of wisdom, grace, patience and fairness to all in the family including herself. She is the neck that rocks the head and pilots the family on a daily basis. Are most women meeting these expectations? Yes and No! Just like men, women have flaws and challenges influenced somehow by upbringing, marital environment, culture and the society she finds herself. How she handles her situation is key to the success or failure of the entire family. Some cultures do not give women the credit they deserve but their role in the family has been vital from time immemorial. This reminds me of my great-aunt’s advice about marriage: “Go there and kill every family member with kindness; that it takes only a devIl not to reciprocate.” She did not know that there are almost as many devils as angels to go round. Such is the reality of our human society.
Let me narrate my meeting with the wife of the man I talked about in the last episode. He claimed that he used silence and indifference to “protect himself” from abuse and disrespect from his wife and children. So I promised him that I will have a chat with his wife, and I did.
Here is the summary of our discussion: I introduced myself, summarized my encounter with her husband and asked for her honest response. It took some time to get her to open up, with tears flowing down her cheeks. Right there, I could see a frustrated, disappointed and broken woman.
Slowly, painfully, reluctantly and cautiously she gave me a short history of her life in this family.
At age 19, she got married 18 years ago to her high school sweetheart, her first and only love, the oldest son in a family of ten. He was 25, vibrant and full of life and hope. The first few years were great until the kids started coming. “After the arrival of our first two daughters and a third one on the way, my husband changed into a monster, irritable, impatient and demeaning in words and deeds. Our kids became ‘your girls’. He cared less and teased all of us with utmost meanness. Gradually the girls became withdrawn, avoided him and used me as their only shield. To protect these three innocent girls, I had to become a different woman, bringing out the worst in me, talkative, insulting, insensitive, critical, ungrateful, defensive– you name it, all in self-defense. He would take off for days and come back with no explanation or apology.
I had to abandon the virtues I was raised with and took on a thick skin to protect myself and the girls from emotional abuse from him and his family especially his mother who saw my daughters as unwanted strangers because of their gender.”
She burst into heavy tears and I had to stop her from talking and consoled her.
Both sides of the story left me with many thoughts and unanswered questions about relationship, marriage, family and cultural influence on value system.
These give us enough issues to think about till the next episode when we will try to make some sense of this problem and see how women deal with their realities in the family.
Please continue listen or visit our Facebook Group: Positive Family Front, and post your comments and questions: https://www.facebook.com/groups/PositiveFamilyFront/
Dr. Mother Love.
The family unit is at the heart of raising healthy, happy, successful children, and achieving one’s maximum life fulfillment as a parent. It is therefore necessary to pay attention to the family unit and protect it from impending danger. The family loves, protects, supports, guides, and nurtures all of its members unconditionally. The acknowledgement of the importance of this unit has led to support and services from a variety of sources: the government, the community, the school system, the religious community, and many more. These entities make up an external support system, all coming from outside the family unit. It is vital to look closer and evaluate the quality of the support from within the family, especially how its leadership is piloting the affairs of the family, including the physical and emotional health of all its members. Like every institution, the quality of a family’s leadership depends on the ability and wisdom of its leader to exercise sound judgment in the best interests of all its members.
Parents and family members become natural leaders within their own families. What values, skills, and competences must these natural leaders have to do their jobs well? I will only touch on one value: faithfulness to one’s marriage vow. Infidelity and Related Sins (I & RS) are among the worst triggers of family dysfunction, and it is time to aggressively protect the family against them.
According to Wikipedia, a dysfunctional family is “a family in which conflict, misbehavior, and often child neglect or abuse on the part of individual parents occur continually and regularly, leading other members to accommodate such actions.” Most children growing up in such families tend to understand this as normal and may repeat this unhealthy process in their future relationships and families, so the vicious circle continues. Infidelity occurs when a partner goes outside the relationship for physical or emotional needs; the other partner may end the relationship or may forgive the offender and stay, but either way, extramarital affairs deal major blows that send painful ripples to all members of the family, causing permanent damage.
In most families, these offenders are usually men, but these days females are catching up with men in this dangerous behavior. For now, I will focus on the male. In most circumstances, he is the head of the household: the provider, protector, leader, lover, role model, and more. You can imagine the magnitude of disappointment and betrayal other family members must feel to see their idol indulge in such demeaning actions like infidelity, sometimes repeatedly, and with no apology, as is the case of families with outdated cultural values that have little respect for women and children. Can such a leader ever be effective or enjoy the loyalty, respect, and trust of family members even when he demands them after a careless act of infidelity? Why should he complain or feel disappointed if he loses their cooperation? Are such serious consequences not enough to deter these behaviors?
Recently a friend called me to report that her husband, after over thirty years of marriage, moved out of their home because he “did not get any respect or cooperation from his wife and children.” Later, I found out the truth about the situation. He was having extramarital affairs, and when his wife and children discovered this and confronted him, instead of being apologetic, he became defensive, citing faults of every member in the family, and praising his mistress in their faces. At this point, he lost every last atom of respect from them and so had to leave.
A leader who can risk losing his family for selfish and personal gratification has no wisdom and no family goals. His leadership will more than likely meet a dead end. No intelligent person will follow a leader who lacks direction. Therefore, family leaders, male or female, do not demand respect as a birthright, but instead try to earn respect by exhibiting integrity and wisdom and the knowledge of the direction in which the family is heading. Faithfulness to your marriage vow is vital for the success of your leadership. We are in the 21st century, and most people, especially women, are speaking out and making better and healthier choices in their lives. The era of coping with bad behavior is over. Be wise and reject Infidelity and Related Sins (I & RS) and enjoy the peace and harmony of a happy home.
–Dr. Mother Love, The Infidelity Doctor.
Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!
In celebration of this day, I would like to share with you the story of how I became known as Dr. Mother Love.
My brother-in-law gave me the name Dr. Mother Love because of my passion for offering random acts of kindness and turning tears of pain into tears of joy. When I got married, I saw abuse and exploitation of poor and helpless young women who were brought into the family as servants by my mother-in-law, a powerful and wealthy matriarch in Nigeria. These girls were extremely poor and stranded, and were looking for families who could at least give them a meal and roof over their heads. I protected these women and their children and gave them love and care. Later, despite discovering that my husband had fathered some of these children, I continued to educate them and give them a chance for a better life. My brother-in-law, who had also fathered some of these children, saw that I had done what most wives would never do, and called me “Mother Love.” Later, he added “Doctor” to my name after I earned my doctoral degree in Education from Boston University.
Some of these women and their children now live in the United States and are doing well. They may not be grateful for everything I did for them, but I do not regret lifting them out of poverty and pain.
Dr. Mother Love