AOKO OTIENO: The Coronavirus-necessitated job losses will reveal whether you married a wife or a knife

Here is a yarn; in 1996, demised South African President and Anti-Apartheid icon Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela divorced his second wife Winnie Nomzamo Madikizela- Mandela in a highly publicized proceeding.

But the fundamental bond was never severed.

In fact, outsiders would be spared the wrath of assuming the two remained the love of each other’s lives until they drew their last. Madiba and Madikizela were separated physically by situations, but their souls remained imbued with a deeply seated affection for each other till their suns sank.

Many might not fathom why even in his dying bed; Winnie was right by Mandela’s side despite his remarriage to Graca Machel in 1998. When 22-year-old Nomzamo married Madiba in 1958, she said yes despite the air of uncertainty that hang on his future like the sword of Damocles. He had three children to support and was facing the possibility of a long jail term.

In the book, “A life,” chronicled by Anne Preez Bezdrob, the first year of their marriage was fiscally trying given that Mandela and Oliver Tambo’s Law firm was on its knees owing to the cudgeling of spending most of their time attending the Treason Trial and Madiba largely depended on Winnie’s salary as a social worker.

In fact, before he wedded her, he laid out the downside of her marrying him; depending on the outcome of the Treason Trial, he could go to prison, constantly being hounded by police and that the struggle came first to him. He was unable to even pay a 50 pounds’ debt that saw him lose a plot of land. He warned that after marriage, they were likely to live on her salary.

But those who are congenial with history understand that Winnie held him down when he needed a shoulder the most, taking care of not only him, the baby who came really soon but also Mandela’s sons from his previous marriage.

Sadly, days when they made women like Nomzamo are cold like a hearth that has not felt the caresses of embers in months.

Political pundits cum feminists, this article is from a social, family angle. Kindly, whatever ANC did and other shenanigan is for another day.

How many women today will marry, let alone stand by a man who is facing financial hiccups. An article published in the Business Daily dated June 14th 2020 revealed that at least one million Kenyans have lost their jobs or have been put on indefinite unpaid leave as the Covid-19 pandemic morphs into a major jobs crisis.

Granted, both men and women have lost jobs, but here is the catch. A study carried out by researchers at Ohio State University revealed that for men, unemployment status can also make it more likely their wives will divorce them.

Whether or not a woman had a job, however, had no effect on the likelihood that her husband would decide to leave the marriage, the researchers averred. The findings reveal that despite more women entering the workplace, the pressure on husbands to be breadwinners largely remains.

Woe unto you if you lose your job and is married to a trophy wife, the ilk men go for because they have a humongous dearie, a blinding dashboard, balances on heels like a trolley on wheels, flips weaves and would not touch laundry lest her fake acrylic nails are gobbled by detergents.

You wanted a fancy wife whom you can flaunt like the Ballon d’Or to your kith and intimidate your illiterate kin back in the village. You have been entertaining her excesses, her unnecessary purchases aimed at stirring the green eyed monster in her Chama mates. And now the rubber meets the road.

Did you marry a woman with whom you can sit and have a sober conversation about your finances, disagree to agree about adjustments and she will not neigh like an ass and throw tantrums like a teething toddler just because you said no more budget for Peruvian weaves? Or that you need to move to a more affordable neighborhood?

Did you go for a virtuous woman, one who will cover your nakedness; a woman who will buy Unga for a few months as you scramble to rise back on your feet without running to tell her mother and turn you into the AOB when she meets her friends?

Is she smart enough to keep a small stash during the summer for she comprehends that Winter might beckon? Is she the type who can buy you a vest without testifying to any ear that itches to listen that she clothed, fed and changed your life?

Will she suggest that, ‘hey baba watoto, I can go upcountry with the kids while you get a cheaper place now that you do not have a job,’ or she will pull a Jada Pinkett with an entanglement? In life, especially in relationships/marriage, extremes show whose personality really is larger than life and whose character is lower than a snake’s belly.

Unfortunately, men’s unemployment is unacceptable to many, and there is a cultural ambivalence and lack of institutional support towards them.

So to the fellas yet to marry, next time you want to pick a wife based on her complexion and fellatio skills, think hard.