Balancing between work and family

DIRECT FROM THE LABOR FRONT - Atty Josephus B Jimenez - The Freeman

Way back there in the US, this Christmas season, I was asked to give a Christmas talk to Filipino couples as well as those with mixed marriages, like Filipina women married to American guys and Filipinos married to Mexicans and Japanese and Chinese but are all working and living in the US. And so, to spice up the topic, I opted for a more specific one which I titled "The Ten Commandments For An Effective And Purpose-Driven Husband."  It turned out to be a real big hit that right now, I'm getting invited to speak in Toronto and Vancouver in Canada, San Diego and LA, Stockton, San Francisco in California, in New York and Connecticut and even, believe me, in Puerto Rico. I don't even know where on earth that is, or how to get there.

The first commandment is: Thou shalt love thy wife, without any condition, nor exception, much less qualification. And love here is not a feeling but a decision, a judgment, which is result of will and determination. A husband should make his wife feel that she is number one, ahead of everybody else, enjoying absolute and uncompromising priority. Husbands should not attempt to understand their wives. Wives are not to be understood but to be loved. They can never be understood because they are a mystery to be accepted as a total package. As long as they are mysterious they are easier to be loved. And so husbands should not ask too many questions. Asking questions is the wife's domain.

The second commandment is that when the wife talks, asks or interrogates, the husband should listen: no TV, no phone, no magazine. Listen to every word that she says (I didn't say you follow all of them) but just listen. Don't interrupt. Women hate interruptions. That is their domain too. Third, thou shalt be happy if your wife is jealous or angry because jealousy and anger are manifestations of concern. Imagine, they are willing to have heart attacks just to express these positive emotions. And so, be silent. Invoke the fifth amendment, use your right to remain silent. Any word you utter may incriminate you. Fourth, if you have a very urgent thing to do, and you did it without prior notice, ask for forgiveness. Don't argue. You can never win an argument with a wife.

Fifth, keep your wife busy. The mind of an idle wife is the workshop of the devil. Enroll her in yoga, aerobics and ballroom dancing but be sure that the D.I. is gay. There were many rich matrons of wives stolen away by the D.I. from their rich and famous but busy husbands. Sixth, be affectionate to her mother. Be extra caring to your mom-in-law, because like your own mom, she is the one who calls the shots. Give her gifts, perfumes and chocolates. She will side with you in case of conflicts with your wife. Seventh, when you are out, call your wife regularly and when you do, be sure the TV is off. Or, else she might hear a woman's voice and suspect you of philandering. Worse, if it is a man's voice, she will confirm his suspicion that you have metamorphosed into a closet gay.

Commandment number eight is: Thou shall always give your wife surprises. She loves surprises, especially if she came to know about it in advance and she will specify the color or the brand.  When your wife is shopping, never call her. That is another interruption that she hates. Just kneel and pray for the eternal repose of your credit card. The ninth is, if despite all things that you do to please her, she still wants to quarrel with you, give the pleasure to her. Women like intermittent fights provided that she will win at the end. Just follow the strict protocol on Marital Quarreling and adhere to the internationally accepted principle in international law, the Geneva Convention on Civilized Confrontations. Fight inside the bathroom, while both of you are naked, taking a bath. And expect an armed struggle thereafter. In that way, the innocent kids shall be shielded from collateral damage. It will end with a peace treaty and you will both live happily ever after.

Lastly, when all else shall fails, pray for the gift of patience, perseverance and fortitude. You entered into this state of marriage with full knowledge, freedom of will and with unaided voluntariness. You assumed the risks and hazards of a life sentence with hard labor. You must grin and bear it. Love and marriage can be rewarding too. But you have to work hard for it. I have had 35 years of marriage myself, and so, I earned the right to counsel you. As my favorite song goes:" I've had my shares of life's ups and downs but fate has been kind, the downs had been few." There are no schools or courses on how to become an effective husband. Just like swimming, you learn to master it by jumping into the water, not by reading manuals on it. I have been ''wounded and scarred'' in my struggles, but I survived. If I could make it here, I could make it anywhere. Marriage is the ultimate test of manhood.

What matters most, however, at the end of the day, is that every husband should have learned to surf over and above the waves. In matters of principles, you should stand like a rock. In matters of styles, you have to dance with the music. Happiness in life and marriage is not merchandise that you can pick up from Sears, or Macy's or from SM and Rustan's. It is the fruit of your patience, hard work and a large quantum of positive attitude and a sense of humor. Believe me. I have 35 years to back all these up. If  I could only write a book on these 12 commandments, imagine, how many marriages I can save from ending in divorce or annulment. Write this, why not? Come to think about it.

vuukle comment












  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with