AFP: Malaysian women launch ‘The Obedient Wife Club’

I’m sure this article will ruffle a few feathers, particularly with “obedient” in the title.  Used in that context, it takes on a rather ugly connotation.  Dogs are obedient.  Wives are companions – equal partners who can (and should be) thoughtful, conscious, and respectful of their husband’s needs and doing so out of love for their spouse and their marriage.   Self restraint in tough times and giving of yourself, when you don’t necessarily have to – when there is no other reason than the greater good in your marriage – takes a strong person – and shows a discipline that not many possess.  It’s a trait of masters – not servants.  But to be fair (and perhaps it’s the optimist in me) the use of the word “obedient” could be a translation issue manipulated for shock value.

 Anyway I’m sure, at the same time, it has put smiles on the faces of a few men out there – and a few might be purchasing plane tickets to Malaysia as we speak :).

I think there is no doubt that woman and men have false expectations going into marriage. People want to be married, and all the fantastical things they’ve been taught marriage is, but a lot of times, when it comes down to the nitty-gritty of day-to-day living, women don’t really want to be wives and men don’t really want to be husbands because it requires a selflessness and personal sacrifice that a lot aren’t prepared for.  I think pre- marriage, in general, people are given a false image of what marriage is…yes, it’s beautiful in a lot of ways but it’s a lot of work and requires a lot of giving…at times, possibly much more than you are getting.

I think women (myself included) can benefit from learning what it means to be a better wife to meet her husband’s needs.  Men and women (and the needs of each) are so fundamentally different, that I think there is no shame in learning and understanding what a “good wife” means to a man, and to learn how to make a marriage more harmonious.  Sometimes you may THINK you are fulfilling your spouse’s needs, based on your own thoughts and expectations and be surprised to learn that you’re completely off. :).   BUT, in the same spirit, men are EQUALLY responsible in learning that being a husband goes beyond financial responsibility, and should learn how to be a better husbands, and get a full understanding of what their wife’s needs and expectations are as well.  Our Beloved Prophet (pbuh) was the epitome of that, and had such an understanding of his wives’ needs and of home life in general, that it’s a shame more Muslim men don’t follow his true example. 

What gets to me about this article, isn’t the premise of necessarily wanting to be a better spouse for the sake of your marriage and your husband,  but it’s the idea promoted in some (perhaps many) Islamic circles, that the complete burden is always on the wife and the woman to make things work.  That men are these helpless, faultless creatures that should have no responsibility for their actions and need to be entertained and have their egos stroked and their whims addressed to be coerced into being a loyal and good husband.   It makes men seem simplistic and one-dimensional, and if I were a man, I think I might be a little insulted. 

Anyway, I think it’s a 2 way street, and I think a woman SHOULD do her part in making her husband happy and comfortable, etc.  And at times, that may involve swallowing one’s own pride or stroking his ego – and that’s ok.  It’s part of being in a relationship and part of what marriage is, but again, he should be working just as diligently for the sake of his marriage and pleasing his wife.  Men forget sometimes that while women are there to fulfill their needs, men play the reciprocal role in a woman’s life.  Women have emotional and physical needs and desires (yes, her needs go beyond financial – and some wives don’t even need their husband’s financial support – though Islamically she’s entitled to it), and may potentially seek out their needs elsewhere if they don’t get what they need at home – much the same argument that men give when they feel like their wife is “short-changing” them.  Perhaps women are better about suppressing it than men are, or feel more vested after years of marriage and children, and learn to be complacent in order to maintain a passable home life for the greater good of everyone involved – but it doesn’t mean the thoughts don’t exist – and that some women aren’t driven to the point where they may act on it.  Just like a wife is there as a means to fulfill her husband’s needs and protect him from fitna, a husband is there to fulfill his wife’s needs and protect her from fitna as well.

Anyway here is the article 🙂 iA may we learn to take the underlying “lesson” from it, which ultimately is about learning what it means to make your spouse happy and fulfill their needs, etc.  and leave anything we find sensational and that pushes our buttons the wrong way :).


(AFP) – 1 day ago

KUALA LUMPUR — A group of Malaysian Muslim women say they will fight divorce, domestic violence and other problems — by appealing to wives to be more obedient, according to one of the organisers.

Maznah Taufik said “The Obedient Wife Club” being launched Saturday is aimed at drawing women who will be taught how to please their husbands better to prevent them from straying or misbehaving.

“We just want to ask all the wives to be obedient wives so that there will be fewer problems in our society,” such as infidelity, divorce and domestic violence, she told AFP.

“Obedient wife means they are trying to entertain their husbands, not only taking care of their food and clothes,” Maznah said. “They have to obey their husbands. That’s the way Islam also asks.”

Malaysia is a Muslim-majority country, with some 60 percent of the population practicing the religion, alongside large ethnic Chinese and Indian communities who are mostly Buddhist, Hindu and Christian.

According to local media, the country’s divorce rate doubled from 2002 to 2009, with rates higher among Muslims than non-Muslims.

Maznah said it was also the men’s responsibility to teach their wives to be obedient.

“Some wives, they just want to get married for leisure but they don’t know the responsibility,” she said.

“To entertain their husbands is compulsory. If she doesn’t do this, the husband will look for another woman… and the house will break down.”

Saturday’s launch near the capital Kuala Lumpur will include speeches and a show to demonstrate to women how to be good wives, Maznah said, adding that a similar club was set up in Jordan last month.

Maznah is already involved in another controversial venture — the Ikhwan Polygamy Club, which was launched in 2009 to promote polygamy. Muslim men in Malaysia can take up to four wives.

She is herself in a polygamous marriage, as the second of her husband’s two wives.

In 2010, a study by a Muslim activist group found men in polygamous relationships find it difficult to meet the needs of all their wives and children, and that the result is often unhappy and cash-strapped families.

One thought on “AFP: Malaysian women launch ‘The Obedient Wife Club’

  1. Pingback: [4.3] Blogs = News? « prispho

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