COLUMN/OPINION

A Good Misleading Book


By Idang Alibi


There is an internet story that may have been trending for months, possibly years, before I happened to read it only about a month and a half ago. It tells the story of a book entitled ‘’How to Change Your Wife in 30 Days’’. The story surrounding the book gave me a good laugh. More importantly, it gave me something profound to think about also.
Upon its publication and distribution in Malawi, readers bought copies of the book in millions before the author and his publishers discovered there was an error in the title. The intended title and theme of the book was ‘’How to Change Your Life in 30 Days’’. Amazingly, after this correction was made, potential readers lost their enthusiasm for the book. Only two, not two thousand and not even twenty, readers now bought the book. It was that error of ‘’wife’’ instead of ‘’life’’ in the title that fuelled the mad passion by Malawians men and possibly many foreigners in their midst to discover the ‘secret’ contained in that book!
Please note that this book was not written and published in the USA, the land of the weird where, for example, a judge will convict a helpless house owner who is sued by a failed burglar who came to harm for attempting to steal by breaking into a house but was wounded by the sharp objects he used as burglary proof!. The judge will say the innocent house owner has a case to answer for doing something that occasioned grievous bodily harm on a citizen! No. the book is authored by a Malawian and published in Malawi, of all places.
It is clear from this story that many men value their wives and things relating to it thereof than their entire life. And wife is only supposed to be an aspect of a man’s life! Men prefer to learn the secret of how to handle a wife to knowing a whole lot more about how to change their mindset, how to acquire more emotional intelligence and other secrets of the ages about how to acquire, keep and grow their wealth and riches which seem to be the foundation of many marital and other relationship successor challenges.
What is it in wives that men of all ages and climes find difficult to figure out and deal with and which they seek to know about ‘’experts’’? If a people were misled by a book title which created the impression that an author was some expert who had expert knowledge of how to handle possibly troublesome, ever demanding and generally intriguing wives, it shows that millions and billions of men on earth have problems with their wives. It also means that the work schedule of many men is to want to know from others how to change their wives for the better for them and their relationship. If this is true, what then seems to be universally wrong with wives or women in general that men seek to change?
My question is do women feel the same about the men in their lives? If a book is entitled How to Change Your Husband in 3o Days, will women rush for it as the men did that book they thought was some manual to give useful hints on how to address the all-important issue of troubling wives?
From the Christian perspective, and I think for teaching of all religions, we are taught by those with insight who are ordained to help us live in peace with our Significant Other that men and women are wired differently by their creator. Men demand respect and honour from their wives while women are wired to demand love and security from their husbands. From this teaching, it stands to reason that if men are looking for books to learn how to ‘change’ their wives, it means that women are not giving their husbands the honour and respect due them. It also means that men are not giving women the love and security their wives expect from them. Any fairly reasonable man or woman will say that this demands from both looks fairly simple enough.
The question, then, is why are men not giving women what they expect and why are women not doing what they are wired to do? Why is there a failure in this simple basic thing? Is it happening because each is waiting for the other to start first? If it is so, who ought to start first and why? Should a man start by showing love and security to his wife before she can ‘retaliate’ with respect and honour? Or is it the woman who should start by showing humility and submission by starting first with what is expected of her as the junior partner in the relationship? Or must the two happen, should we say, concurrently, simultaneously or in parripassu or which one? If so, which referee will blow the whistle that the game starts now?
Looking for a book to find the secret of a matter upon which God has given a workable fool-proof formulae looks very funny to some of us. The author has done a great service to humanity by writing a book with a misleading title but which helps to draw attention to the stupidity of mankind.

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