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Men who tell their wives, ‘I am the head of this house’

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When I got married to my wife, Carol, in 1986, there were many things that made me feel inferior and insecure.

For example, her family status was higher than mine. While I am the first university graduate in my immediate and extended family, Carol’s father was the first university graduate in his immediate and extended family.

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While Carol’s father was a renowned educationist, who was principal of some secondary schools, my father ended his education in primary six. While Carol’s father was the commissioner for lands and housing in the then Mid-West (now Edo and Delta states), my father was a patent medicine dealer, the vice president of the state patent medicine dealer’s association and a small scale contractor.

Now, let us talk about my mother and Carol’s mother. Carol’s mother trained as a mid-wife and also became a successful businesswoman while my mother joined my father and two salesmen to sell medicines in my father’s patent medicine store. Carol’s mother spoke perfect English while my mother spoke passable or pidgin English. Carol’s mother and father each had a Mercedes Benz car while my mother moved around on her white bicycle and my father went about his business and other engagements on his pick-up van.

As a small boy, I knew and I can still remember till date the plate number of Carol’s father’s car. It was ML 82.

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As a minister of the gospel, he was very well known within the Anglican denomination, university campuses and far beyond. He used to be in front-page news of some of Nigeria’s national newspapers.

When, therefore, I told my mother that I have seen a girl I like to have as my wife, one of the first questions she asked me was, “which family is she from?” I informed her that she is from the Marioghae family. She then asked, “which of the Marioghaes?” My response was, “Elder Michael Marioghae.” She looked so worried and the words that came out of her mouth when translated into English language were “we are not up to their level o.”

Let us now go to the area of my income and Carol’s income. When I got married to Carol, her monthly income was higher than mine.

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She was a member of staff of one of Nigeria’s then fourth-largest banks while I was trying to build up a young business having lost my job due to the change of government in 1983.

Can you now see why I said earlier in this write up that many things made me feel inferior in the marriage. During the first three months of our marriage therefore, when Carol and I disagreed on how something should be done, I will tell her, “you must know that I am the head of this house.” After about three or four times of telling her “you must know that I am the head of this house”, it dawned on me that I had inferiority complex. My inferiority complex gave me a feeling of insecurity. I then decided to solve my problem of insecurity. And by the eighth month of our marriage, when I hit a major job the profit of which was more than her yearly salary and I bought a freezer with part of the profit and my income started getting high, I had already conquered the fear of inferiority complex and insecurity.

From my personal experience and from the number of people I have counseled over many years, I have found out that many men who tell their wives, “you must know that I am the head of this house” do so because there is something that makes them feel insecure. To be continued next week. Love you.

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