There are women who cling to their men by the skin of their teeth, literally. Whether abused, cheated on, or neglected, they stick with their husbands and live every word of their marital vows, ‘for better or for worse.’ These women will do anything to keep their men and protect the marriage. Here are some of the methods they employ to keep their men:
1. Charms and magical portions
It is said that after preparing food, they go outside, squat to urinate and then pour the urine in the man’s soup and juice before serving him with a seemingly innocent exhortation, “If only you knew how preparing this has pained me!”
Then there is kukaliwa chapati. “This chapati thing actually does not need any consultation. Just make chapatis, sit on them while hot and serve. Be sure no one sees you while doing this!” Nancy Moraa*, a city businesswoman says.
2. If you can’t win, beat them!
Women are not averse to dousing others with acid, splashing the competition with hot water in the face, or unleashing their claws and getting physical with those they accuse of ‘stealing’ their husbands. They’ve also gone digital and will inundate the ‘other’ woman with taunting texts like: “Having his kids in quick succession doesn’t make you a wife but a very desperate woman. Since you are broke, save your money and feed your sick kids instead of wasting it on calling him.’’
3. Spying, snooping and stalking
They will hire detectives, tip the watchman, go through the man’s wallet and trawl his phone for any ‘evidence.’
Others will stalk and track the husband’s every move, even insisting on going with them to the bar!
4. Housewife in the city
You’ve probably heard of women who have refused to be left in the village to till the land as the husband ekes out a living in the city. These women would rather be housewives, as long as they are with their men in the city. Like the politician’s wife who abandons her career to concentrate on her husband’s campaigns, after which she stays at home ‘cooking for guests’ as the man traverses the country or trots the globe.
5. Man over family
Some women have abandoned their families in order to retain their men. This is the case of Sarika Patel, who has forsaken the comfort of a wealthy upbringing for a peasant’s life, all in the name of loving Timothy Khamala.
6. Blackmail and threats
There are women who will not hesitate to call the employers of their ‘rivals’ lodge complaints. They are the ones who will also forward emails or compromising pictures to the rival’s colleagues to embarrass and shame her into leaving ‘my man alone.’
7. How much?
In some families, where the woman is the breadwinner or earns more than the man, the woman may splurge by bribing the husband with cash and other gifts, to keep him from straying.
8. I am your doormat, darling
What would you say of women who are treated like dirt but choose to keep quiet for the sake of their marriage? These women will stay put, even if the philandering man brings other women to their matrimonial home.
Why will women go to such lengths or endure so much humiliation for the sake of their men or marriage?
Scholastic Adeli, a sociology lecturer at Moi University attributes this to what sociologists call ‘attachment theory.’
“If a woman had a father figure when she was growing up, she will tend to be dependent on a man. How she was socialised in the past will influence her present life,” the sociologist says.
“Women who grew up without a male figure are often torn between seeking love or independence, both of which are important, but may be contradictory. At one time she may need love, but this may become an interference at some point,” explains Adeli. The sociologist explains that belief in witchcraft has more to do with value systems.
“You may be educated or religious, but your value and belief systems are more entrenched. This is why even educated people may still force their girls to undergo certain traditional rites,” she adds.