Woman being led by a man is not a show of weakness

Young businesswoman working at her desk in an office. (Courtesy/iStock)

I have heard many ladies say they are strong women just because they are single. Most of them are divorcees. I have always wondered what the link is between strength and a failed marriage or an inability to tie down a man, for lack of a much better description.

Strength, like most things in life is relative. Someone said that you never know how strong you are until being strong is the only option.

Break ups and divorce are painful, I will not go there, but once that happens, each party havs no choice but to be strong and face the future with confidence.

No doubt strength becomes necessary especially if you retain custody of the children and you have to play the role of the parent for most of the days. That part is clear, and I get it.

If the man was dumped for a better man, it will also pain and it takes strength to move on. The world does not expect a man to whine about the pain of breakup and divorce because it is believed that he is responsible for it.

There is also shame for the man for failing to hold down his family, which is rarely acknowledged. There are also widowed men who must stand in as the mother to the children.

It takes strength. Why would a lady shout that she is a strong woman and a man who is interested in her must be able to handle a strong woman?

First, let us agree that life is about pursuit of happiness, as one defines it.

Secondly, a man does not need a strong woman to be happy. A man just needs a good feminine lady, not necessarily beautiful by world standards, but good in character and demeanour.

The moment a lady goes into a marriage on the basis of her strength, that marriage has failed before it begins. She may have her money, a flourishing career and social life where she calls the shots in several areas. These are the things she bases her strength on.

However, when it comes to a marriage and running a home, it takes a different mindset.

The world changed with industrial revolution when industries needed more hands than agriculture. As agriculture became mechanised, more hands were needed in the production lines and corporate world. Men had to contend with their wives and sisters going into the job market. This shift brought with it numerous changes, especially at the home front because ladies were no longer staying at home.

In the past, they were responsible for sustenance and nurturing at home. They could not own property or vote. Actually women voted in all American states in the 1920 elections for the first time, over a century since men began to vote.

In the early days in Kenya, women did not own Identity cards, they could not open a bank account. Even when they were allowed to open accounts they could not take a loan without being guaranteed by a man, in most cases, their spouses.

I understand the excitement when the modern woman finds her voice, her wealth and freedom that comes with it. It is definitely power as she can take her rightful space at the table that was once a preserve of men.

It has been a journey too, a journey where several women have refused to serve colleagues tea in the board room simply because men expect them to do so, as women. It has been an internal as well as external battle and the women have every right to savour the benefits that come with it.

However, for marriage to succeed, a different mindset is required, that of compromise.

I know several strong women who are high ranking career ladies, good wives and astute mothers. Being a wife and mother does not take away her strength. So strength is not a preserve of single women alone.

The differentiator is wisdom. A strong woman is also wise enough to leave her corporate airs at the company parking lot before driving home. When I got married, I understood why the single African man would not be allowed to speak at the table of men. I cannot explain how marriage makes a man strong, for that matter.

All I know is that marriage changes the perspective of a man, how one thinks and how you show up. It takes great wisdom to balance the many fronts in a household. Especially today when women have their money with options as well.

Two people are a hoax, the man who bangs the table at home shouting “I am the man in this house!” and the woman who shouts for the world to hear that she is strong.

Single, empowered women should not highlight what they call strength.

They do not need a man who can handle a strong woman but a supportive husband.

Meanwhile, a man must marry a woman he loves, but one who he can lead if he expects his marriage to survive.

A strong woman, must be one who can be led without losing her strength.



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