By Justine Namara
A big percentage of women these days feel like kneeling down for their spouses to convey greetings or serving food is an outdated practice that belongs to the ancient days. To them, kneeling before a husband may be looked as subjecting women to disrespect and unequal treatment.
Discussing this subject creates a hot debate especially when a much respected woman like Winnie Byanyima stands out to speak against it. Much as she is considered a role model to many, when she recently came up on her social media ridiculing her neighbour who knelt down to great her, she received a lot of backlash from mostly men who think that an African woman ought to kneel down while greeting her elders and most importantly her husband.
What kneeling means to different people
According to the African set up, kneeling before your husband defines submission. Marriage is about understanding and compromise. It is no secret that both partners must have their needs met, in order to feel satisfied within their union. Well, a simple discussion with a few of my married friends yielded more thoughts about kneeling before spouses.
Rachel Namagembe, who describes herself as a strong Christian, agreed to the idea of kneeling for her husband as an act of submission. She cites this from the Bible Ephesians 5:22 which reads, “Wives, submit to your husbands as unto the Lord.”
“Sustaining a marriage revolves around the idea that women should submit to their husbands which includes kneeling,” explains Namagembe.
As opposed to Namagembe’s idea, most of the women do not think that kneeling equals to submission or respect. “I only kneel down for my husband when I am blackmailing him. I am forced to do it because I know it is his weakness. When I ask for anything from him while on my knees, he never says no, so I use it as to only trick him”, says Loyce Kamukama.
It has become public knowledge that women like Kamukama who hail from Western parts of the country are not so much familiar with the habit of kneeling before their spouses all the time and probably that is why we may not put so much blame on Winnie Byanyima.
To men, a wife is never equal to her husband, neither is she a slave. She is a queen while the husband is the king.
“I am a man and I saw my mother doing it once in a while and will be happy to see my wife do it to me once in a while too. Kneeling has a way of melting a man’s heart. Most marriages are crashing nowadays because of these little things that matter the most,” says Ben Mukisa, who has been married for 7 years.
He adds that most women nowadays lack the proper attitude towards their husbands. He points out that when a woman shows respect to her husband, it creates a strong bond between them and it is hard for such a marriage to fail.
Moses Kigundu, 34, says “I am not opposed to submission in marriage but I do not find this whole idea of kneeling as the best way to have a successful marriage relationship. We flourish when we are ourselves and we encourage our spouses to be themselves. I do not care whether my wife kneels on not, the key for us is just to try and celebrate one another for who we are and not try to cram ourselves into a mould that doesn’t fit.” He adds that kneeling does not mean she loves you, she may be doing what she grew up doing and it all does not make sense to her.
Modern relationship experts advise that it is better to marry someone who has a similar way of thinking like you. If you marry a typical traditionalist, someone who is so deeply entrenched in the African culture which involves kneeling before him and you decide to do otherwise, definitely that will cause trouble.
Here is the most hilarious opinion thought; “There is nothing wrong with a woman kneeling especially if she is kneeling before a good husband”. Do not be surprised but to some, kneeling depends on the type of husband. They believe that a good husband makes a good wife. If he treats her well, then she finds no problem in kneeling before him.
The truth, however, is that human beings are different and one man’s cup of tea is another man’s poison. If a wife kneels before her husband and she sees nothing wrong with it, then that is fine.