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Questioning the Expression "Behind Every Great Man is a Great Woman" in Modern Malaysia

The email questions the relevance of the saying "behind every great man is a great woman" in the context of modern Malaysian marriages.

Picture: Boggi Milano

The reader expresses frustration with his ex-wives' lack of understanding during his financial difficulties and their materialistic demands. He suggests the expression is no longer accurate and proposes "There is no Free Lunch" as a more fitting reminder for men to be cautious of women focused solely on financial gain.


Question from Mr. F (real name is undisclosed):

Dear GC,

I am addressing this email to the Co-Founder of GC Bon Zainal because I think he, with his experience (especially in the field of marriage) and his age, is more qualified to answer my question. My question is on the adage "behind every great man is a great woman" whether it is still relevant today? Why I ask is because the expression was used in the 1960s where the women of that time still had feminine characteristics that were based on aristocratic / royal lineage characteristics. The femininity characteristics that I mean are they are more polite, speak less and listen more, are not easy to judge, do not like to argue, do a lot of worship and so on. Unfortunately, today's women have been likened to end-of-life women because their roles have changed a lot. They feel that living with a man is like a competition rather than a partnership. They feel threatened if the man does not give what they want regardless of the man's ability. Materialistic values to them is everything.

I have divorced for two times at different times. I never expected my marriage to be only for a while, but unfortunately both my ex-wives have high ego problems. They never understood my financial problems at all. For example during the MCO era, I was fired because my company suffered huge losses due to the lack of income generated in the tourism sector. I can no longer afford to provide the same maintenance to my ex-wife but unfortunately, what worries me is not my fate that has lost my job but the amount of maintenance that I have to reduce. The utility bills I have been paying all this time, I have discussed with my ex-wife to "split" the bills so that I can get a stable job but my proposal was received with a cruel face and a loud voice as if forced. With the situation where I have lost my source of income, in addition to my ex-wife who is not sensitive to my problems, my household continues to be chaotic and eventually fall apart.

What happened to the women in Malaysia? Where is their maturity? What do they want from men? If currency is a sign of a happy life for them, why don't they marry a man who has a lot of property? Are we the men used and played by the women? So to Bon Zainal, please enlighten me if the expression "behind every great man is a great woman" is still relevant. Should this expression be reviewed by the GC parties? I think the expression that is relevant now is the expression "There is no Free Lunch" which I think should be buried in all men's hearts to be wary of the women of today. As white people say, "it is never wrong to be cautious".

Answer by The Gentleman:

Hey there, Mr. F!

Thank you for your email and for sharing your experiences. We understand your frustration and the disappointment you've faced in your marriages. While we at GC believe Bon Zainal's insights would be valuable, the issue you raise extends beyond individual perspectives.

The expression "behind every great man is a great woman" certainly originated in a different era, where societal expectations and gender roles were vastly different. While it acknowledges the vital support women often provide, it risks painting an overly simplistic picture of modern relationships.

It's important to recognize that the challenges you've described in your marriages are not representative of all women in Malaysia. As with any demographic, there will be a spectrum of personalities, values, and approaches to relationships. Attributing materialistic tendencies or a lack of empathy to all women is an unfair generalization.

Your experiences with your ex-wives highlight the importance of open communication, financial transparency, and shared responsibility within a marriage. While financial difficulties can strain any relationship, a supportive partner should strive to work through them together rather than viewing them as a competition.

While we at GC believe strong, supportive partnerships are crucial, we do not endorse the notion of viewing women solely as the supporting force behind men's achievements. Men must be willing to commit to be the best version of himself, and this goes beyond physicality, financial, intellect, culture, decorum, lifestyle, and style. When he'd hard on himself, then life will be easy on him.

The saying "There is no Free Lunch" might hold some truth in terms of being cautious in any relationship, but it shouldn't overshadow the potential for genuine, mutually beneficial partnerships built on trust and shared values.

We encourage you to focus on finding someone who aligns with your own core values and is prepared to build a relationship based on mutual respect, understanding, and shared goals.

We wish you Godspeed in your future undertakings, F.

Best regards,

The Gentleman

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