Why does it seem like women put more into a relationship than men? It has always kind of seemed that way to me. It’s as if there is this perpetual imbalance… women want marriage and men just do it because it is the right thing to do. You never see men giggling and jumping all over themselves because one of the boys is about to get married. Instead, they say to each other things like: Enjoy your freedom while it lasts and he’s about to get locked down! Women dream about marriage from the years before they even knew what love is. They imagine fairytale weddings, they can even tell you who their bridesmaids will be… although currently single at the time.
Last night, I was sitting watching TV with my other half when I suddenly asked him.
How did you propose to me?
“I don’t know… why?”
“Why don’t you rememeber?”
“What does it matter that I remember? That is not important to me. Everyone seems to have nuances that they obsess about, most importantly is that we made a choice to join as a union before God and man.”
I rolled my eyes at this response. He is always so dramatic. But I did think of something. Could it be that we women are somehow trained to obsess over marriage and all that comes with it? Is this detrimental when it seems as though the scales are always tipped? Can it get tiring always being the one to have to sacrifice for your partner to ‘save your marriage’? Lets dig in shall we?
Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars
Well not really, but we sure are raised that way. I can say, in my Nigerian upbringing, there were countless times I was told what was proper for a lady to be doing: cleaning because a man never pursues a dirty woman. I should learn how to cook because hungry men will roam. How I should pack my hair well because no one will marry a haggard girl. Every value I was given was in the setting of aspiring for marriage. It was as if my mother was eternally preparing me for my husband. I don’t at all consider myself the worst case, my mother was also a half-feminist and would also preach about working hard and having your own and not spending your life searching for a man who will only pull you down from your dreams. Confusing I know. But I reflected on my brothers’ upbringing and I didn’t see the same values being forced. In fact, my parents never mentioned marriage to my brothers. On some Saturday mornings, while I swept the foyer feeling like Cinderella, I would often scowl at my male siblings as they got to sleep in and play video games until my father finally woke up and gave them the more manly jobs outside and in the garage. Sometimes I would beg my mother to let me go outside and pick weeds and she would retort, “girls don’t pick weeds!” Who wants to pick weeds? My stupid brothers just made it look so good with all their laughter echoing in through the windows as they chased each other with the gardening hose before my father would reveal himself to survey their work, ugh.
Definitely two different ways to bring up children in the same family. Never saw my brothers in the kitchen learning from my mother how to cook chin-chin and meat pie and they never got seminars about how their wanton actions if continued would result in a broken family. The pressure on me and my sister to be perfect daughters and in turn future perfect wives was real, in a very subtle but blatant way. There were times I grudgingly thought,
well if marriage is just about cooking and cleaning and being submissive all day, then maybe I’d rather be single…
Honestly if my mother heard that she would dash me one dirty slap.
So we raise womenfolk to value marriage and relationships, and we raise men to value success and acquisition. Why? Even for a man, marriage is a form of acquisition. Why? The women is a trophy. The woman was hunted. The woman has different features to choose from, a beauty, a cook, maid, child-bearer, all that entices men in his pursuit for the best partner. We are the ones competing and clamoring for his attention. So when he has roped her in, and she is giving him problems then why wouldn’t he look for an upgrade? Even in church, our pastor warns us about Deliliah! Why are we trained to worry about Delilah … the upgrade?! Why can’t a man focus on marriage like I am killing myself to do?
Beware of Delilah
Delilah, is your worst enemy. Now that you are married, you cooked him good food and he has landed (and is now stuck) in your nest. You had the fairy tale wedding (that didn’t cost your family an arm and leg I hope) and now three bouncing baby boys… life is good. Then you step out to a party, maybe someone elses wedding, and for some reason you are feeling self-conscious. Maybe you didn’t drink enough flat tummy tea, your weave dropped its curls, that eyelash does kinda look like a dead butterfly… and there goes Delilah. Your first instinct is to look at your husband and pray his eyes don’t follow her. Now your heart rate is up because why should you be so concerned over some little girl who probably has no idea who you are. You are giving your husband the cold shoulder because even if he didn’t look, he could have, and that is enough to put you into this funk. Houston, we may have bigger issues.
You can’t spend your married life eerily peering out the window for Delilah.
But does he get jumpy why Idris Alba’s twin or cousin wades by in the path before you like it’s a catwalk. Does he pat his tummy and wince every time Trey Songs is gyrating on the big screen. Is he even drinking flat tummy tea? Probably not, because he isn’t worried, HE’S GOT YOU. And if he did, it would be a horrible thing because that would make him a jealous man. Any man with any insecurity about his spouse is automatically a jealous man, right? Who set this game up like this?!
Well there is obviously no remedy for the past. You can’t undo what your future mother in-law has done. You can’t change a man. But you can try your hardest to find a man who values marriage. Trust me, they are out there hiding in the cuts and you won’t have to sift through the clearance section either. Hell, I don’t have the complete answer but I know for a fact I will raise my sons better than that. I will raise all of my children to value marriage, value their partners and value that vow.
Ladies, no one is trying to get you to de-value marriage, just choose a partner who shares your interest. Life should not be a tug of war. Marry your best friend and make sure he knows what he is signing up for. And when you do start having bouncing baby boys, tell them to love their future wives to no end!