Last Saturday my hubby had been officially married for 15,811,200 seconds which amounts to the equivalent of 263,520 minutes or 4392 hours or 183 days or 26 weeks or more simply 6 months. (Yes I am that petty, lol). We are half way through the momentous 1 year and I am glad to say that my wedding ring has not been flung out the window of our speedy Citroen C1. Don't get me wrong, we have had some tense moments and have had to deal with circumstances that have altered our lives in the last 26 weeks BUT we are still going strong.
Recently, we have been entertained by other married couples who made what we had dealt with look like a slow motion stroll through Victoria Park. Sometimes in life, our emotions manage to create the wonderful illusion that we are the only one suffering. We send out invitations for our extravagant pity party and punish all those who don't attend. My hubby and I were really humbled when we heard their stories and admired their strength. I greatly admired the wives as I could not even try to understand how they had managed to keep their cool. How had they resisted sending out electronic pity party invitations? I was truly in awe. They demonstrated the kind of strength that I had only seen in wives of old.
In the class of wives, I feel that my mother's generation are at the top the game. They were and still are able to deal with the most difficult situations. Their emotions had structures of steel that refused to bend or break to the winds of life. They have spines made of titanium that refused to be corroded by the acidity of life. Wives of old absorbed every single pain and were literally the rock of their families. It somehow didn't seem to matter if their husbands had begun extracurricular activities with their secretary; they continued to hold the home together. They didn't seem to throw tantrums over matters like who should switch off the light or who was the last one to load the washing machine. Through adultery, domestic violence, money and poverty, these wives remained like Rosa Parks; unmoved.
Aside from this great emotional strength, old school wives were adaptable and resourceful. When their little princes needed a new pair of shoes, their older brothers' rejects got a lick of shoe polish and some new laces. Clarks couldn't even compare to this level of workmanship. When the little gems needed their hair done, old school wives become hairdressers. It didn't matter if you had about 5 different types of extension on your head – (curly, crimped and crisp) your highly unique hair do was complete! These wives always did their best with what they had and worked hard to get what they had. An old school wife didn't mind waking up at 4am to start work at 5am, cleaning the offices of oxford schooled professionals.
Wives of old had aspirations and dreams, far beyond their one bedroom flat. True they may not have had the opportunity to go the university, but they had carefully mapped out the destiny for each of their doctors, I mean children. There was never a shift too long or a bank account too empty that would deter them from reaching that goal. Educating their children was of extreme importance, they may not have always understood what simultaneous equations were but God their princess, if they didn't score 100% in the end of year exam.
Old school wives created masterpieces from their tiny kitchens; they could recreate any food on the high street or fast food restaurant. After their child has thrown an EST (Embarrassing Supermarket Tantrum), they would toss a few pounds of cooked oxo induced mince meat sandwiched between slices of Kingsmill to create their version of The Big Mac. Wives of those times provided meals for their husbands irrespective of the arguments they had, even though they probably wanted to christen them with the hot stew they just made. Some of us mod wives serve up a series of finger clicks and neck bends for starters, a healthy helping of the silent treatment for main course and for desert 'I have a headache'.
Wives of old had profound respect for their husbands, irrespective of how low or high his position was in society, what car he drove or his income. Their respect came with an amazing submissive nature. I have heard of husbands that I have come home to declare that they are moving countries, changing careers and religions. And even in the 'unlikely' event that their husbands ideas were out of this universe, wives of old seemed to have a manual on how to change that mans mind. Millions of children used and abused this principle: to get money from dad go to mum.
Sometimes, when I have come out of one of my unreasonable tantrums (for which I believe my husband drinks kegs of patience), I compare my actions with those of the old school wives and wonder if I will ever get there. Will I ever get to the point where a 'you said, I meant' situation won't make me boil over with 'if I wasn't a Christian what I do to you' anger? Truth is, only time will tell. These women were not born as wives but as baby girls. Time and bitterness of life have made them the old school wives they are today. There are some that are still learning, that still refuse to understand the basics of wifedom. We the mod wives need to make it our responsibility to listen, look and learn. I crave the kind of titanium spines these women had; the ability to not only find peace but also to maintain it in the middle of chaos. I believe that this economic crisis is crying out for women who will not be moved by the rates, redundancies or repossessions. Sure, I have only been married for 15 million seconds (and counting) but with each second that goes by I am working towards demonstrating the kind of strength that the old school wives did, who is with me?
By: Susan Emina