Of Men and Ambitious Spouses

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Well, it is known that ambition can creep as well as soar.”
Edmund Burke

‘When I grow up I want to conquer the world, I’ve got to have my own job, my own car, and my own crib. I’ve got to be my own woman, totally independent.’ A group of young girls at a teenage workshop made these strong statements. It exhilarated me to see the determination that these young women had. Despite my support for their enthusiasm at living fruitful lives, it got my mind wondering of the older generation. Women who have stood up and taken a chance at conquering the world.

Nowadays, the issue of gender no longer takes precedence in our social debates. When it does, it is not an eye catcher as it used to be back then. When I was growing up, women took up to the streets demanding for their rights and equal treatment as their male counter parts. With time, things have changed and today’s world is easily settling down to the idea of a modern woman. She can do just as much as any man can do. She has become a breadwinner, a leader in all contexts. Be it in politics, religion, academics, and the world of business. She walks shoulder high and exhumes great confidence, takes on the world without any inhibitions; she is surely living up her newly found status.

We might want to be fully independent as women, but we want love and companionship too. We want a beautiful world where we find compatible partners who support and grow together with us. Some of us are lucky to find such men but the majority of us have quite a different story to tell. A part of the male population is still intimidated by the idea of a strong and ambitious woman. The sight of any signs of ambition spells insecurities leading to them, scramming to dark corners.

“Hush babie hush”, such has been the response given by most insecure men in a bid to quell their spouses sprouting horns off ambition.

Catherine, a middle-aged woman has been married to her husband for almost five years now. Though she is a working woman, she still feels like she needs to do more with her life. She wants to achieve and accomplish her full potential. So, having thought it through and convinced that putting up her own business was the way to go, she set out to share her thoughts with John. Excited and greatly anticipating the birth of a new venture, she did so and to her disbelief, she was not quite prepared for the response that hit her.

“You know, there is no way you can come up with enough capital, and babie, you know you cannot do this. Don’t you have your job?” Said her hubby. She was completely dumbfounded. Wasn’t this the man meant to urge her on, and help her overcome any obstacles? What was she supposed to say to him now? Her closest source of support was only concerned with whether she really had enough capital for start up. He kept on and on but Catherine was lost to everything he said. Her husband wanted her satisfied with her job and taking care of their kids. On the verge of tears, she tells me of how she had nodded and sworn not to bring up the subject again. And just like that, like a rose withers and dies, Catherine’s dream was crushed and smothered into tiny inconceivable little pieces. I guarantee you that this experience is not any exceptional. Dreams of most ambitious women suffer the same inconceivable fate.

Emotional beings as we are, we hold on to what is familiar to us and choose to stick to the fate that has been handed to us by our spouses. Because, when it comes down to it we don’t want to lose our husbands, let alone our kids.

Why do we really have to succumb to this fate? Ambitious women love life, they are bubbly and happy, challenged by situations and determined to conquer any inhibitions. Like any other woman, all they want from their spouses is love and support. They want their men to be a part of their life’s adventures. They want them to feel loved and accepted for who they are and not threatened by them. Is it really necessary to clip our sprouting wings for us as women, to achieve happiness? Is it really the only way to go?

Most women like Catherine when faced with such criticism from their spouses let their ideas die while others inspired and fueled to succeed continue on and hold a burning candle for their dreams.

Kay, now a manager of her own business says that it is not easy to face an insecure husband, especially one threatened by your ambitions.”It was tough knowing that my husband was not being supportive but I chose to go ahead and make my dream come true. “He felt that with my success I would be no longer reachable, that I would not have time for him and most especially that I would get to interact with a lot of men in my line of work.” She says. Despite her efforts to assure him of her sincerity, he seemed relentless. Kay made a decision not to mention it to him again and kept building her ideas secretly. And ten years now, she is happy and successful but unfortunately, her marriage isn’t.

They say that behind every successful man is a great woman, but pray tell me why it can never be the other way round. That behind every successful woman is a great man.

I know something though, that you might not have figured out yet. That, no man lacking in ambition wants an ambitious woman around. All a man wants is someone they can pat on the shoulder and nudge forward, someone ready to stretch out their hands and look up to them like gods and beg for their help. You can imagine what happens when such a man is faced by a woman who wants her own. They either hit back physically or sip at your emotions and then act the victim. They play around with your own insecurities and manipulate your every move.

It’s sad though, that most women are not ready to stand up for their dreams. We took the step to fight for recognition as equals to our male counterparts. So then, what are we doing letting men trample on us. For what are we in our relationships when all we feel is suffocated and enclosed in a tight vacuum? We must realize that no happiness comes before our own. And that to venture successfully in anything we must satisfy our own hearts first.

Take a look around, at that female personality that you look up to. Think of the many women that have made it and from their lives take a leaf. What we learn every day, is that we are a creation of utter magnificence and to look down on ourselves, let alone letting others prey on us is not just an injustice to ourselves but also a lack of respect for our creator.

Author: Jecinta Githaiga
Bio: I live in Nairobi and love writing. I write about women’s lives and issues in the modern world. My hopes are to inspire and enlighten Kenyan women into being exceptional beings.

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