Just recently a secondary school classmate of mine circulated a message on our WhatsApp group chat. He said he got the message from a lady and he was filled with admiration and praise for the lady.

The message read:  “To me its’ my duty…I can’t be at home watching my husband washing. He remains the head of the house.”

This resulted in some form of discussion, trust most modern generation and empowered women speaking their mind on the issue. One thing that struck is the argument that some women overdo house chores during courtship because that’s their own way of convincing the man to marry them or because they want to portray themselves as good wife material or because they want to show that they are capable of adding value to the man.

The question which this has opened up is:  Whose duty is it to wash clothes in a marriage? By default everyone thinks it’s the duty of the woman/wife. But women have different views on this issue. Ok, you might say you cannot imagine a man washing baby clothes, baby poo, and his wife’s undies. Infact such man in Nigeria will be widely proclaimed to be under a spell either Kayamata or other forms of juju. (I still vividly remember the uproar Neo’s washing of Vee’s undies in Big Brother Naija Lockdown caused on the social media space.)

Then what if it becomes a case of each person wash your clothes in the marriage, now that’s where that lady’s comment comes into play. She said she cannot be home and watch her husband wash his clothes, that it is her duty.

If it were to be a case of each party do your laundry, I suspect some men will still complain about not having the time to do it.  Others feel that as soon as they marry even those thinnest house chores they do, they cannot execute it anymore, because they have assumed the status of “Married man” (MM for short).

They become too lazy to remove the plate they use in eating because they are MM. They cannot tidy up the bed if they were the last to wake up because they are MM. Washing their clothes is not part of their duty anymore because they are MM. They cannot even flush the toilet where they pee or poo because they are MM.  Issues like this usually arise when “the wife” has no source of income. The MM equates himself to a demigod and expects to be worshipped, afterall he provides it all. The shelter, the food and the clothing. It still arises in homes where both couples are working, the man just feel too superior to assist or believes if he assists himself he becomes less of a man. But what if the tables is turned? And the woman is the sole provider?  Then the wife is castigated as being evil, mean and oppressive because her husband is not working she wants to turn him into a houseboy (however that is story for another day).

So here is my take on whose duty it is to wash clothes in a marriage:

Times are changing and we are changing with it. Most marriages save for the marriages of old are new generation marriages with new generation gadgets or ideas. Marriage is now meant to be enjoyed and not endured. So the act of washing clothes or doing the laundry is not the sole duty of the wife or the husband. Infact anybody can do the laundry and in cases where this is a burden for the family, they can purchase a washing machine (they are affordable ones so money should not hinder you from owning one. Moreso, the family or couples can prioritise this if it is a big deal to either of the parties).  The family should be ready to invest in private electricity generation (owning a generator that can power the washing machine and also having enough resources to buy fuel and also to pay for their electricity bills).

There is nothing wrong in a husband assisting with the laundry, again if the husband does not like washing clothes or chooses not to assist in this wise either as a result of time constraint or other external factors, this should not be a source of quarrel or keeping grudges. The couples can get a cleaning lady or a cleaning man or a house help who will assist the wife in this house chores. Additionally, the clothes can be given to a professional drycleaner.

Marriage is not slavery, it is meant to be enjoyed and not endured. Hence, a woman should not look old and worn out at an early age. A woman is like a flower, she needs to be pampered to blossom, her body goes through a lot during pregnancy and childbirth thus she will look older than her age if she is overly stressed while her husband will always look fresh and ever young. In such situations, at some point people will ask the husband if his wife is his elder sister, aunty or even mother. (God forbid that such a time should ever come).

When a woman is worn out she becomes depressed, frustrated and unpleasant to look at.

My point is times are changing and anybody can wash clothes and anybody can provide the needs of the family. As a woman not personally washing the clothes of your husband does not make you a bad wife, you should know your capability and that’s why it is important discuss this issue before marriage.


By floramichaels

Hi, I am Flora Ngo-Martins. I love writing and I am passionate about fashion, stories, news and food. Sometimes I get a little bit serious but that's alright, I can also be mischievous. I also like to analyse stuffs people do and sometimes judge.*wink* Most of all, I love to influence the lives of people positively and tell people's stories from a totally different perspective. Feel free to contact me if you have any suggestions or....

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