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Stabroek News

When your wife becomes the Prime Minister
published: Sunday | April 9, 2006

Heather Little-White, Ph.D., Contributor

ANY MAN should be happy to have his wife as Prime Minister of a country. Minister Portia Simpson Miller is Jamaica's first female Prime Minister and it is obvious that her husband is very proud of her appointment. As they made their way down the red-carpeted stairs of Kings House at the swearing-in ceremony, Mr. Miller, by her side, was beaming from ear to ear and both were a picture of sartorial elegance.

When a wife becomes Prime Minister or takes on some other position of prominence it means that the spouse should demonstrate qualities that would strengthen the relationship and make the couple the envy of everyone. Some men become intimidated when his spouse earns more or is successful in her career. The reasons they give are many.

TRADITION

Greg, 38: It is tradition for the man to be the provider and bread-winner. It makes you feel like you have no identity when your wife takes centre stage all the while.

Paul, 45: You feel good for your wife in one sense yet you feel threatened sometimes.

Seaford, 68: That is something that I would not like. A man must feel like a man and be in control. I guess I am of the old school so I can't change my thinking.

Bill, 24: I suppose I could live with my wife being Prime Minister or some prominent woman. From I feel good about myself that should not be a problem. As a matter of fact it should strengthen our union. I would feel good and help her to succeed.

David, 19: When I get married, I would be happy for my wife to be Prime Minister or some woman of power. I would help her to be successful because women are great leaders and I would be happy to have my wife as part of the change.

LOVE

As husband of Prime Minister Simpson Miller, Mr. Miller is not emasculated by his wife's ascendancy to power. He is very much in love with her and according the report in the press, he publicly sang to his wife, "Have I told you lately that I love you", at the inauguration ball after the swearing-in ceremony.

When your wife comes to prominence, it means that she will be working long hours but men who like to be taken care of may not be happy with this arrangement. In this case, the husband should be able to pamper his wife, giving her comfort as she needs it in light of her stressful career.

Generally, men are reluctant to settle with women who are succes-sful and who earn more money than them. Their egos are bruised as they are driven by the pursuit of maintain-ing the traditional role of getting ahead in their careers and providing for their families.

CHEMISTRY

A man should not try to downplay the achievements of the woman he may be dating. During dating, the couple gets a chance to know more of each other and the man may learn that the achievements of the woman he is dating have not affected her humility and vivacious personality. Men should place less emphasis on money and the woman's success and focus more on the chemistry and the feelings that may develop between the woman and him.

Successful women have high expectations but they can help to massage the ego of the men they date. Women should let the men spend money on them and romance them with whatever funds they have. Successful women should be careful of the expensive gifts that they may buy preventing him from reciprocating in love.

FIRST PRIME MINISTER

The world's first woman prime minister was Sirimava Ratwatte Dias Bandaranaike of Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, in 1960. She left office in 1965 but returned to serve two more terms (1970 -77; 1994-2000). Born into a wealthy family, she married politician S.W. Bandaranaike who became prime minister in 1956. After her husband's assassination in 1959, Sirimava became a major political force in Sri Lankan politics.

The term "Madam, Prime Minister" is endearing in itself. It combines passion with politics. If the first female prime minister of our land is to tackle corruption, democracy, human rights and re-conciliation by peaceful means, she needs a husband who will love and cherish her while supporting her efforts. First ladies ought to live well and love their husbands.

According to three-term 'Iron Lady' of England, Margaret Thatcher, "If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing."

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