My husband is too traditional

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Thing is, my father would refuse to eat if his food was not prepared this way or if my mother was not there to serve him. I purposed not to marry a Muganda because of this. However, having ended up with someone from another tribe, I was surprised when he started demanding matooke cooked the same way

Growing up, I used to watch as my mother went out of her way to cater to all of her husband’s needs. One of these, that I really found unnecessary was the way she cooked our traditional food; matooke. She would wake up so early in the morning, peel the food, wrap it in banana leaves and steam the matooke until lunch when she would kneel down and serve her happy and contented husband. Thing is, my father would refuse to eat if his food was not prepared this way or if my mother was not there to serve him. I purposed not to marry a Muganda because of this. However, having ended up with someone from another tribe, I was surprised when he started demanding matooke cooked the same way. My husband also demands that I cook all his meals and also serve his food. Between working full time and taking care of two young children, I find this rather impossible. What can I do?


Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for sharing your story. Family life is changing, and so, are the roles mothers and fathers play at work and at home. Relationships are highly reciprocal in nature and it sounds good to do what your partner loves most since this spices up the relationship. If all things remained constant, this would be the ideal. This is the reason why your mother was able to so much for your father because the setting could have been different.

Today, most women are in the workforce and yet the setting of our African marriages remains the same due to the different cultures. It is important to note, however, that there is a significant gender gap in how women and men describe their household’s distribution of labour.

Mothers in two-parent households, regardless of work status, are more likely to report that they do more house work than fathers.

Role conflict has also deepened this issue since regardless of women working as hard as men, there are roles such as childcare and cooking that are generally done by women. Men are also expected to sort all the financial needs even when they earn less than their partner.

Generally speaking, this role confusion may not just go away since it is embedded in the cultures.

People usually do things according to what they learnt as children. It is possible that this is what your husband saw while growing up and so, this shaped his love language of acts of service.

Choose an appropriate time and without complaining, discuss with your husband how you feel about having to hold down a fulltime job, take care of the children and at the same time prepare and serve him a traditional meal. It is possible that he is not aware of what to do. You can also politely ask your husband to support you by either taking care of the children as you cook. If you work as team, you will find that preparing the food the way he prefers it is also easy.

You can also suggest hiring a house help for support. The help can start the process such as peeling the food and putting it in banana leaves and then on fire.

It is also important that you and your husband learn to communicate effectively. Communicating in a marriage is an effective way of getting things done and coordinating with each other. The effort that it requires to be open may seem exhausting, however, it is better and less time-consuming than rectifying mistakes when you try to do things together with your spouse.

Reader advice

Get a house help

Sarah K Frankie. Women should not overwhelm themselves with tasks just to live up to unrealistic ideals of a ‘dutiful wife”. While some women enjoy being the traditional housewife taking pride in their homes and family, others may not be the same way and there is nothing wrong with that. Make your life easy by getting a house help and just be smart about how you manage this help.

Cook when you have time

Ken Sera Akiiki. I personally love my matooke cooked in banana leaves and since it needs time, I do it when I have the time. If you love your marriage, get a maid and teach her how to cook matooke this way. But above all, pay more attention to your happiness. It is not the end of the world if your husband does not eat this kind of food. Cook the food when you are home say at the weekend.

Talk to your husband

Prissy Mirembe. Food prepared this way is tasty. Your man believed that marrying from such a background, he gets to eat tasty food. Talk to him and see if you can cook for him on the days you are not working.

Communication is key

Cheeritah Mayqueen. I think it is all about communication. Our men are understanding but because of their insecurity, all they need is to feel like they are the heads of the family. Therefore, choose to prepare the food at the weekend when you are at home and make sure that on such days, you pamper him. Above all, make him your friend so that one day, he will choose to help you with some of the chores such as taking care of the children as you cook.

Seek mum’s advice

James Brians Nakhaima. Ask your mother how she used to do it. The good thing is that you grew up in a close knit family where you should have learnt by example. Therefore, your mother is the best person to talk to about such an issue.

Agree on what works

Christabel Chanda. Those are some of the things that can be done once in a while and especially at the weekend when you have enough time to cook and rest as well. Just sit as a couple and agree on what works.

Plan together

Alpha Lulu. Please sit down with him and have a discussion because there has to be a compromise. For example, he should take care of the children while you prepare the meals so that you both hit your deadlines and have good days. Make a plan together as a team.


Derik Twinamatsiko. This economy and generation needs two incomes. Our parents somehow survived on the father bringing in the money and the wife keeping the home. So, if a woman is bringing in an income and contributing here and there why not meet her half way? How do you expect one to work from 8:00am to 5:00pm and then come back home and prepare a meal that took her mother about six hours to cook?

Evelyn Khorono Lufafa is a counselling psychologist with Sermotherapy Counselling Foundation


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