Monday, August 24, 2009

The "Husband" List

Monday, August 24, 2009
There's is something I've always wanted to share with all my girlfriends. I don't know how many of the readers here are single ladies but I'll share an insight from my experience that seems to be consolidated with other people's experiences that I've read about.

I think it's pretty normal behavior these days for us young women out there to at least voice out and be vocal about our "independency", and not needing any man. Believe me, I understand this completely. But one of the biggest "aha" moments I've had in my life was in my Feminism class in university. The teacher said to the class on one of the first days of that course "true feminism is no bra burning, or looking down on domesticity, real and true feminism is the giving/allowing a woman the right to choose WHAT and WHO she wants to be at any point in her life without feeling guilty about either choice". In essence what she was saying is that if a woman is at a point where all she wants to do is have babies, sit at home and raise those babies and cook for her husband, that's fine and no one should begrudge her that, and on the other hand if a woman is ultra-career oriented with no time for children, husband, housework, that's fine too, and no one should begrudge her that. Then, what is important for all women, is to find their balance, and be comfortable with that. This single thought changed my life and the way I saw things. I started to see that it's okay to want or need a partner in your life, it's okay to look at babies and feel that clock ticking, while at the same time keeping an eye on making my own money, and charting my own destiny.

I'll tell you why I'm saying all this. I think a lot of the times we as young ladies in this generation, we get carried away and when we get to this our age, I'm talking mid-twenties to mid-thirties, we still find it hard to admit to ourselves that YES, i'm independent modern woman, BUT i want a man, a boyfriend, a husband. Unfortunately I think this is the first step to getting a good one. I think what we have to do is be very honest with ourselves as to what we want in our lives. I've noticed that everytime I speak to a young woman who is in a happy relationship or marriage they tell you that yes, before that relationship, they admitted to themselves that they want a boyfie/hubby and acknowledged that feeling and took it to God somehow. Now I'll tell you my little story in this regard.

After moving back to Nigeria I think I "dated" a lot of frogs. Nigeria is just another kettle of fish it seems. Abroad I think there were setting "codes" of dating I was quite used to and aware of. Not that men didn't play games, they did, but in Nigeria I think men are used to being the boss, and getting their own way with EVERYTHING so there's not even the extra level of trying or sincerity I thought (everything here is just my humble opinion). There are large displays of "love" like buying you things, but I felt they almost approached it like a computer program: grandiose romantic gestures+i-want-to-marry-u=easy sex=leave girl high and dry. It was all just so complicated for me and I quickly got tired of that race so consciously, I knew I was tired and I wanted something real. I had read some excerpts of TD Jakes and I knew that I was interested in reading more about what other people thought of relationships and how to navigate the waters. So one day I was in the bookstore and came across this book:

It's called Love Smart by Dr. Phil. I know I know, there so much that many people reasonably don't like about the cliche of Dr.Phil but this book had so much common sense about it. The kind of common sense that is not so common perhaps, the kind that ladies KNOW but willingly ignore or make excuses for when faced with a tall, dark, handsome man with a killer smile. Reading the book made me confront head on a lot of my issues. One of them being that a jerk is a jerk is a jerk, regardless of whether he is pretty, or hot, or makes me coffee in the morning. If he never picks up my phone, or never keeps to his word, then he's a jerk and he's gotta go. No compromise. I had to face these things head on. But one of the most important exercises in the book is to really think deeply about what you want in a man/partner and actually list them down. And it's not a vague list that you come up with yourself but there are different categories of attributes listed and you have to think deeply and think of which one you would like in a partner. I did this exercise and some things actually surprised me. You start to think what's more important to me, a man that saves money almost to the point of stinginess or a man who gives you the world but at the end of the day you're both broke in the bank. Or how religious do you want him to be? goes to church every sunday?? once a month? tries to go to church? still figuring himself out? I had to list all these attributes down. Once I did the picture became clearer and I really felt I could make better decisions. For example if I met a man who was a fiiiiiiine man but lacked some of those qualities i thought most important, I just didn't follow through and at most we would just become friends. I did not compromise on my key list AT ALL. Of course the books also mentions the 80/20 rule, meaning there's not one human being out there that's gonna have the entire list of qualities but he SHOULD have about 80% and the most important 80% at that. Do not compromise on this.

So knowing what I wanted, I also began (like the book instructed) to think about that man and what about me would attract that kind of man. If i said I wanted an outdoorsy kinda man, then I should start learning outdoorsy things too or cross it off my list. If i said I wanted a man who was very serious about his walk with God, then I have to buckle up on that aspect too! If i want an outgoing, social kinda guy then I've got to be outgoing, and find out if I'm the sort of person who could stand an outgoing man. In essence, I began to work on ME. And it's not changing yourself to suit any man, no, but more of finding out more about yourself, and then becoming a better version of you. I started to concentrate on teaching myself to get closer in y walk with God, to listen better, to learn how to make a few dishes perhaps, to meet new people and learn about new things, to read more perhaps, to be more confident, etc. Things that actually make me a more well rounded person.

I have to say once this process was started, that's when Bolaji came into my life. He just waltzed in really. No drama. I wasn't attracted to him at first, I didn't even like him like that. And he pursued me, I mean REALLY pursued me. Not in the annoying drama-filled ways people do but he was just there for me and like he said, he just said to himself, "i want this woman in my life and i'm going to be patient, and I'm going to learn all about her, and I'm going to be there for her and support her as a friend even if she doesn't want to date me. I just want to be a part of this woman's life". For me I just started to notice that, wow, this man has A LOT of my qualities that I wrote down. I even went back to the book to re-read the qualities I checked off and stack them up against Bolaji, and my eyes just opened! I just saw that hmm, this girl, you better give this one a try, this is what you've been looking for.

So I just want to encourage everyone out there, that's truly fed up of the dating circus and craves a real relationship without the drama to just first sit down, even if you feel silly, sit down and right down what exactly it is you want. There are no right or wrong answers, right EVERYTHING down: tall, killer smile, religious, calls his mama but is not attached to his mama, wealthy, has a car, a house, whatever, just write it down, the shallow and unshallow. Know this man, then set out to know yourself, and ask God that he should bring this person into your life, AND he should help you and work on you so you'll be a good mate for this person.

True love, is a beautiful thing and never give up on finding it.


yankeenaijababe said...

You said it all my sister, today's relationship are often viewed from the wrong perspective, I think women need to value themselves better before getting to know a man. If a woman isn't whole herself, what can she bring into a relationship.

African men are really bossy,I know what you where you coming from.

jasmine said...

Thank you for this post... I just turned 20 and I'm still young but I am already a graduate. This has helped me put a lot into perspective. I bookmarked this article especially.

H said...

Makes a whole lotta sense.

Anonymous said...

loads of sense.. this is still relevant today.. important to valeue one's self as a woman be confident and carry yourself like you are worth it..

Daughter of Her King said...

This piece makes alot of practical sense. It is right up my street..

Thinking across the same level as me...

Thank you for sharing...

Ogz said...

Absolutely right.. It got me thinking. Many women do not deserve certain men, they deserve someone better but the fear of heartbreak keeps them in a relationship that they know would end up nowhere.

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