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Question
Posted by: Dondo | 2004/01/16

Marriage : Why is it so difficult

I got married last year May and gee it’s so difficult. My husband he won’t understand. He expect me to be umakoti for all his families, I mean distant relatives. He expect me to be at the kitchen for all those families.
He expects me to come with him to all his family funerals while on the other side he doesn’t come to my family parties or funerals.
He says because he married me, that I’m one of his family members and not the other way round. He says he will only come to my family parties at his discretion and that with me it’s not negotiable since I’m part of his family I have to be there.
We’ve talked about this a thousand times and he’s not prepared to even start thinking otherwise about it.
I on the other hand I’m not against the fact that I should go to his family parties/ funerals coz yes I’m now part of his family but I also think that he is part of my family too since he married their daughter. I’m his family’s daughter in-law and he is my family’s son-in-law.
I believe we have to treat both our families equally while he believe that his family need to take first priority to my family.
I really don’t know how to deal with such a situation, I was thinking of speaking to one of the family member but then I don’t know who to speak to about this.
When I suggest we go and see a marriage counsellor he doesn’t want to saying we’ve been to one before we got married and he is still not happy about the things that we talked about on those sessions.
Please I need help.
Doc will you please recommend psychologist around the Midrand area.
Thanks

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Dear Dondo,
Taking the last bit first, I don't recommend specific therapists / shrinks in this site, for many good reasons, including the impossible expense and effort it would take for ANYONE to get to know enough about the nature, qualifications, interests, skills, etc. of all he shrinks available in SA !
You're describing very well a combintion of factorshat can place a serious strain on a relatonship, including traditional customs and values, male chauvenism and paternalism ( not always the same thing ) and wat I've noticed is a relatively new and very selfish tendency by some folks like your husband, to treat traditioal cultures and customs as a sort of buffet or salad bar, from which they pick out those bits that suit them and their selfishness, and ignore the others. They become very aware of any way in which they can use or interpret old customs to suit the selfish way of life they want, and ignore what are usually equally old and respectable duties and responsibilities which they'd find inconvenient. That's not fair, and actally insults our cultures, rather than honouring them
He also seems to be choosing to ignore the fact that slavery was abolished many years ago, and we didn't struggle to abolish apartheid just to swap opressors and make it easier for husbands to lord it over their wives --- equality between the sexes is guaranteed under the constitution.
I can understand that he wouldn't want to join you in counselling, because he doesn't want to face the facts, and would hate the idea that perhaps he ought to change any of his deliberately old-fashioned ways. If he wants to live according to the cultural rules of the 18th century, then he should have made it very clear that this was one of his conditions for mariage --- and of course he ought to give up all other aspects of his life that don't meet those 18th-century customs and standards, like the cellphones, fancy cars, etc. He should go back to dressing honourably in the costumes typical of the times he apparenly wants to maintain within his house. If he wants to take advantage of the adantages to him of the progres all SA communities and groups have made over the last 100 or more years, then he should accept also the changes that aren't so favourable to him, like eqality between the sexes.
Counselling for you yourself sounds like a good plan, as it will help you to plan better how to work for your liberation ! I'd suggest you look for a psychologist familiar with your particular family culture and that of your husband ; because although ANY psychologist from ANY cultural background would be able to be helpful, if your husband is likely to be relying on specific cultural beliefs, it'd be better if your shrink could spot when he was cheating and misquoting those beliefs !

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2
Our users say:
Posted by: Wow | 2004/01/19

You have a very funny Idea of a difficult marriage.

Reply to Wow
Posted by: Understand | 2004/01/19

I also went throught the "makoti" stage and I know how you feel. I think the biggest thing is to stand your ground and realise that even though this guy has married you, you are still an individual with your own wishes and aspirations. I am not being radical or anything but I am not a "makoti" but am a person with my own name and identity. If you can manage to see this in your self the battle will be half won. Otherwise you will go through your entire married life unhappy and constantly running around serving other people.

I seriously get the impression that your husband is the type of brother who thinks that because he has paid lobola for you that he owns you. Luckily my husband politely but firmly tells anyone who adresses me as "makoti" that I am not a "makoti" but my name is so and so. And I find that helps as he wont let his family boss me around i.e expect be to work like a slave duirng family do's just because I am a "makoti"

Good luck!

Reply to Understand

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