Protecting your wife from harsh customs

Charles Ighele

In the part of Nigeria where I come from, there is a culture that any woman married into the family has to kneel down to greet the youngest male in the family. It does not matter how old the woman is. The lady has to either physically kneel down or simply say the words translated this way “I’m on my knees.” When the person says, “I’m on my knees” without necessarily practically kneeling down, it is also interpreted to mean that she is actually on her knees. I knew there would certainly be a clash between the culture of my beloved home people and the culture of the kingdom of God, which I represented the very day I got my passport and visa into God’s kingdom through the new birth. But I had fully made up my mind to protect my wife, Carol, from any custom that does not bring honour to females.

Before visiting our hometown for the first time, I had told Carol that she would not greet any male that she is older than as if the male was older than her. I made her realise I would protect her from this culture. Our first visit to my hometown after our wedding was quite interesting. Some of my lovely extended family people resident there were very happy to see my wife. Pointing at a boy of about 11 or 12 years of age, one of my excited relations said something like: “Charles’ wife, this is your in-law. Kneel down to greet him. That is the custom here.” I immediately jumped to her aid by holding her and declaring humorously, lovingly but very firmly that my wife would not obey that aspect of our culture. I made them realise that any younger male that wouldn’t want to greet her as an elderly person could as well hold his peace. Interestingly, my parents had already educated my younger male siblings not to keep to that aspect of our culture.

So, right from day one, my younger male siblings greeted my wife as their elder. So, I had no problem with them at all. The problem I had was with a few extended family members. And because of the stand I took, people began to say, “Charles does not joke with his wife o.” I was able to give my wife her honour by putting a wall of protection around her from any aspect of our tribal or family culture that does not honour females.

Men should always protect their wives against any family or cultural beliefs that do not align with God’s word. When family members come and say your wife must partake in ritual or traditional rites, you should stand your grounds and say an affirmative NO. I am not saying that the man should be rude in protecting his wife against any family culture that is ungodly. He should be polite and gentle. But he can be firm in his gentility.

In Peter 3:7, God tells us to give honour onto the wife. This is what a God-fearing husband should do to his wife. The same verse also says not giving honour to the wife can lead to your prayers being hindered. Let all men and, indeed, family members protect women married into their families from being dishonoured by tribal or family customs. If people of those days started the customs that dishonour females, the people of today can as well change the culture. After all, culture is dynamic. Culture should have the ability to grow unless it is demonic. Protect your wife.

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