HELPING ARAB MEN SOW SEEDS OF CHANGE
In Egypt, “effendi” is an old-fashioned Arabic term that can describe a husband who is “master” of the house and over his wife. With the new men’s talk show Effendi, SAT-7 is helping Middle Eastern men find an alternative, Christ-centred model for family life.
Effendi, which made its debut on 27 February, is the third men’s program ever to air on SAT-7 ARABIC. The show features three male presenters who discuss topics including family relationships, parenting, and work and offer a Christian perspective on the issues.
There is a great need to support men, as well as women, in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to create healthy family dynamics within patriarchal cultures. The roles taken by husbands and wives vary greatly across the region and from family to family, but Effendi’s message is applicable everywhere. The program explains that instead of being controlling, men should try to understand their partners’ needs.
The show’s first 60-minute episode went straight to the heart of the issue, tackling communication and respect in marriage. Seated in a comfortable living-room set, presenters Larry, Andrea, and Shahir kicked off the debate with the topic of whether a husband should consult his wife before making plans on behalf of the family. Viewers heard from Dr Magdy Makram, who advised them:
“Respect your wife. If she doesn’t want to go out, then she is more important than the outing. She’s more important than anyone in your life… when the relationship between you is on the right track, all other relationships will fall into their rightful places.”
Effendi also includes an engaging drama segment that illustrates the topic at hand. In this episode, the plot focused on a man who arranges an outing with friends without talking to his wife. When he tries to force her to go, his wife refuses, saying that he should have consulted her from the beginning.
A SHIFT IN PRIORITIES
Dr Makram suggested that husbands and wives should each make the other their highest priority, second only to God. Then, he said, they should focus on children and work, followed by service, parents, friends, and hobbies.
By prioritising each other and apologising, Dr Makram argued, spouses can create mutual love and respect and break the “vicious cycle of selfishness”. He urged men to remember the values of closeness, openness, understanding, loyalty, and respect in their relationships with their wives.
“The Lord says, ‘This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh’ (Genesis 2:24). After a man leaves his family and gets married, they form a new family and it must become a priority and independent,” said Dr Makram.
Effendi is produced by VCI Productions, which also produces Moustache, an innovative talk show for teenage boys. The first show especially for men on SAT-7 ARABIC was Men’s Talk (Dana Productions), a popular magazine show that sensitively tackles difficult issues while entertaining its viewers. Repeats of Moustache and Men’s Talk are currently being shown on SAT-7 ARABIC.