In her excitement, she had tried on many outfits. She was going to a friend’s birthday party and was looking forward to seeing friends she had not connected with since they left secondary school 15 years ago. She had finally settled on a pantsuit. She was about to apply her makeup when her husband stormed into the room. “Where do you think you are going to, all dressed up? He asked.
Startled, she replied, “I told you about my classmate’s party a month ago. It’s this evening and that’s where I am going to.”
“So when did I give my permission for you to go? He retorted.
“Permission ke? Shebi I told you nau, when did I start needing permission to go out with friends? I told you a month ago, and you didn’t say anything.”
“Told or asked?” He replied, you told me but did you ask if you could go?
“You didn’t say don’t go and I took that for a, yes, it’s just dinner with my classmates all girls, you know some of them now. Ha, dear please don’t do this ooo” she turned from the mirror to face him her eyes pleading. Her lips quivered and her mood dampened.
“Well, I am sorry since you didn’t ask for my permission, I forbid you to go out to that dinner.”
And that’s how Ngozi ended up missing the party and reconnecting with her old friends. Nothing she said, changed her husband’s mind. At first, she thought of defying him but remembered her husband is the head of the home. Tearfully, she removed her pantsuit and went to bed. Thirty minutes later, she heard her husband driving out of the compound as he routinely did every Friday night to watch football with his friends.
Ngozi cried herself to sleep. She wondered how it was okay that her husband could go out without her permission and treat her as if he were her parent and not her husband.
Bimpe was in a fevered state not because she was ill. She had left an outing with her two female friends, had enjoyed herself so much that she had yielded to their plea to spend more time. Her deadline for being outside as laid down by her husband was 7 pm. Her husband routinely confirmed the time she returned home from outings from the security man. Her plan was to bribe the man when she got home. She only hoped that her husband would not have got home before her as she was two hours behind her
7 pm deadline.
Do you make your spouse seek your permission?
I remembered the above true stories when I recently read stories of women seeking permission from their husbands. They sort permission to visit relatives, including their parents,on festive occasions, to go out with friends, spend their money and wear certain outfits.
Some of the comments I read were downright ridiculous. I was truly amazed that in this age, many women were seeking and obtaining permission from their husbands (not fathers) to do certain things. Many women and of course men were justifying the practice, citing cultural practices and religion.
The stories made me more appreciative of Mr Aisi. I can truly say that in all our 29 years of being together, 5 years of courtship and 24 years of marriage, I had never had ask for his permission to do anything I wanted to do. He gave me the freedom to be myself . To do the things that pleased me so far he was in the know. He never controlled me in any way- not in where I went to, the clothes I wore, the friends I kept not even when I changed my hairstyle which he didn’t like at first.
Love or need for control?
If he had, I doubt we would have got married. I hate possessiveness in a man. It’s okay to look out for me, like the time he stopped me from getting into a bus with my maternal uncle who was being arrested by security agents. But possessiveness as a means of control is an absolute No-No for me. I can’t imagine living with a man who will control me in such ways as the examples I had earlier given.
So am I advocating that people be free to do whatever they like in a marriage and be answerable to no one but themselves? Of course not. When you are in a relationship you must submit and be mindful of one another. You cannot live your life without considering the impact of your decisions and choices on your partner. However, each partner does not need the other partner’s permission to be themselves or express themselves freely.
Is it ‘eskiss me…can I go and…”
There is a big difference between asking for permission from your spouse and providing information. It seems that many people don’t know the difference. As far as I am concerned, the pivotal question is that of control. Asking for permission generally connotes that your partner must agree to the choice or decision before you make it. He wields the control stick. On the other hand, providing information means you make the decision but give him or her the privilege of knowing about the decision before it is made.
There are instances where your partner’s permission is required and should be sought. Instances like when inviting people to stay in your house, spending extended time/ nights outside the home, volunteering their time and service, making plans that include the other person, making significant purchases, especially where you have joint accounts, getting pregnant or adopting a child, borrowing stuff etc. Not seeking one’s partner’s permission in those circumstances will cause havoc in the relationship. Partners whose spouses need their permission should be reasonable in withholding or giving their consent.
You can be controlling when you withhold consent
It is controlling to withhold consent in cases because you want to have the final say. In some instances, it is downright evil to withhold consent. For instance, when a woman needs to be operated upon to have her child. The number of women that have died just because their husbands did not consent to them having an operation is mind-boggling.
Providing information, especially when done without being asked is being respectful, responsible and making oneself accountable to the other. A willful decision to submit to another and to let them know what is going on in your life. They often include things like changing your hairstyle, taking a new job or having more hours at work, going back to school etc
Controlling behaviours are toxic
I have often wondered why some partners demand to know and have a say in everything that goes on in their spouse’s life. Though I am aware that in most cases, it is a subconscious need fueled by fear and distrust emanating from past experiences or their backgrounds, it is also indicative of their low self-esteem and toxicity. It is my opinion that control in any relationship is always counterproductive. Controlling behaviour breeds lies, secrecy, resentment, bitterness, and hatred on the part of the person who is being monitored and controlled.
If you love someone, let them be themselves, respect them and their choices, give them the gift of making decisions whether or not you agree with them, do not belittle them and treat them as you would your child.
Love does not hide under seeking permission to control.
My take is, what keeps a home going in some places may not in other places. My advice is, stick to whatever will make your home a pleasant home. No comparison of homes.
This is deep . I think allowing your spouse control u especially going out or seeking permission to do things is something that should have been corrected the moment it started . Me like this, if u tell me no my head can’t take it I will do yes ? so he just leaves me to be me .
Nice piece sis.