It occurred to me only last week that the holy institution of marriage is mostly supported by a woman. Men enter it with different objectives although we may not like to admit it.Husbands tend to loosen the knot when the pressure grips the nerves, while wives like to tighten it to tidy up the loose ends. When anxieties hit a married life, men would readily blame their wives. Women, sensing the drawing of the curtains, would unwittingly take responsibility. With some matrimony, it is like a private war where the man acts like a general pushing the wife to the front line. In the line of fire, a woman takes the bullets and shelters her man from harm. Keeping the rocking boat steady has never been a man’s job in most marriages. Ironically, it is the same boat the man is supposed to steer to safety. When I was admitted to a hospital for food poisoning, the nurse had a private chat with my wife on the sidelines. I saw them giggling and they kept glancing at me in some mysterious way. They would not tell me what it was all about, but I had a pretty good idea on the subject 10 minutes later. Moments later, a doctor came and informed me that I was to be kept overnight for observation. I flatly refused saying my wife was capable to nurse me at home during the night. The doctor stood his ground rigorously supported by the nurse. I accepted defeat, but pulled my wife to the side and asked her to stay with me overnight. Of course, it was up to the doctor to grant my wish, but I let her ask him. The doctor said there was no problem, but there was a smile on his face. It was then I knew what the giggling was all about when the nurse said to me: “What a big baby you are!” In gentle terms, this is what I meant by pushing our wives to the front line. Why would not I ask the doctor myself? Moreover, why would not I spend just one night alone in the hospital? The truth with modern men is that they seek to change the definition of marriage. They say the roles of husbands and wives are never the same, although they are both in the same marriage. Men make the marriage rules and break them when it suits them.Men would also try to exploit the maternal instincts of their wives to get more attention. It is all about them, isn’t it? To a large degree, men want their wives to be an extension of their mothers. I guess that is where we men sometimes take advantage of the gentler side of a woman. A woman leaves her home to assume a new life as a wife and mother to her children. A man never leaves home, he just changes houses. He takes his set ways to his new life and being pampered by a younger woman is one of them. I think it is one of the perks of being married, as far as a man is concerned. However, having said all that, it still takes two to make a successful marriage and men need to understand that better than their wives.Thinking about that hospital night, I think the nurse was right. Men are big babies and nothing would change that. Some of you would say it is a nice change to act like a big baby. In conclusion, I have no doubt that a woman plays a pivotal part in most marriages, whether men agree or not!The writer is an Oman-based freelance columnist. This article has been reproduced from the Khaleej Times.