Spouses must be partners

Spouses are meant to be partners and support systems. That is part of the bigger essence of the marriage institution which solidifies unilateral decisions. Many people enter this institution on the misunderstanding that its fruits are about sex, sex and more sex. They overlook other equally important matters that contribute towards its demise or success. The list of such matters is endless, but I wish to dwell on a more contentious one. Relatives visitations.

I have seen tensions in marriages, sometimes to the point of breaking because of relation invasions. By all means, visitors are more than welcome to their kin’s homes, but not to the point of overstaying their welcome.

Take the scenario of a wife’s mother, sisters, grandchildren and even previous neigbours she befriended while single visiting her marital home. She either invites them or they ‘show’ up on their own with her outstanding welcome. They come and show no sign of leaving two months down the line in spite noticing their invasion of space which members of the family sacrifice to accommodate them. They prolong their stays and when the husband complain to the wife, she lashes out on him, blaming him of greed and intolerance of her people. She lets them stay, disregarding his opinion. Meanwhile, tensions rise.

What about the husband who wants to play god to his people by inviting children of his dead relatives to come and stay at his marital home. He doesn’t care about the ‘invasion’ because he is hardly home anyway. He forgets that the burden of raising those children lies heavily on his wife’s shoulders as the home maker, yet he wants to play king. Meanwhile, when she complains, his relations deem her wicked, the witch who does not tolerate her husband’s people. The jezebel they have been against him marrying.

The other aspect is the lack of consciousness from the visitors. They never know when to leave, only how to get to their relations’ houses. That mother feels entitled to be in her child’s house, causing discomfort to the one she did not sire because life cannot continue as normal. Those sisters, cousins and friends turn a blind eye to everything else because they have been welcomed. They take those smiles to mean ‘stay as long as you can’ and the words ‘we are taking leave’ do not exist in their vocabularies.

My point is simple. Spouses must learn to share and agree about information regarding their households. When visitors come, it must be agreed upon the two and when the need to ask those visitors to leave arises, it must be a shared concern without the need for accusations. That is how two people run affairs. Otherwise, why not remain single and do things unilaterally.

We all have been and will be visitors in people’s homes. But just because they are relations, it does not give us the right to do as we please. Their spaces are not ours and ours not theirs. There is a time for everything-including visiting, be visited, leave and be left. n

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