If you’re over 23 (or younger these days), then more likely than not, your friends have started getting married. Weddings now have new meaning for you. They have graduated from being an event you attend with your parents to an occasion that gives you “ideas”. It has graduated from a “family” function to a “friends” function.
If you tell yourself the truth, before you consider any guy who shows interest in you, your mind must have taken a picture of him in a suit standing next to you. If he doesn’t fit in that picture, you’re not interested. In fact, you have started to analyze every “potential” relationship after “Hi, can I get your number?”. You are no longer into “casual dating”. Everytime you and your friends get together, a good amount of time is dedicated to catching up on “potentials”. If you’re Nigerian, everytime you visit home, or even worse, attend a family wedding, they ask you when your turn is; “when are we coming to enjoy on your behalf”, they ask; “you’re next o”, they tease. Worse still, woe betide you that your older sisters are married and you’re “next in line”. Worse still, if your younger sister is married, the pressure (sometimes indirect) is doubled.
Yes, marriage is on your mind (even if you pretend its not).
Before I continue, I have to add a disclaimer: I am not married (yet ;-)). So my original thoughts are yet to be endorsed. Hence, this post is inspired by long conversations with my mother and my married older sisters, cousins, friends and mentors. Also, as you can tell from its title, even though men can find inspiration in this post, its mostly for the ladies 🙂
According to my married friends, every eligible spinster has at least one of four types of men in her life. I will detail their profiles and why you’re (probably) not married to them yet. But I won’t prescribe a solution. Instead, at the end of the post, because I’ve been so inspired by my deep conversations with the married ones, I’ll share some tips I have received and you can take the liberty to apply them to your personal dilemma.
Here we go:
1. The first love/ex: This is the guy you’ve been loving for a long time. He has your heart and probably always will. You have pictured (or planned) your wedding with this guy. Infact, your family/friends even expected you guys to have been married by now.
The problem is that he knows how much you love him so he’s relaxed: in his mind, he knows you’ll always be ‘around’. Probably, something has gone wrong. You guys may not still be together. Or you may still be excusing his “not so serious” behavior. Regardless, deep down, you ‘hope’ he’ll still be your husband.
2. The awesome friend: This is the guy who has been your friend for the longest time. You have spent a lot of time with him. He tells you everything, and you do the same. In fact, when either of you goes through heartbreak, you call each other for a shoulder to cry on, to ask “why are men/women this way?” He’s the person who helps you understand men. This is your quintessential buddy.
The problem is either (1) because you know everything about him and what has done to girls, you know he won’t make a good husband, or (2) you guys are so cool with each other, he now sees you as his sister. He may have even hooked you up with his friend or vice versa. That closes the deal. Regardless, both of you are now stuck in the friend zone.
3. The ‘not-your-type’ guy: This is the guy who has liked you for years on end. He has chased you and never gets tired of telling you how he feels, every chance he gets. You know he loves you and he will take care of you but you just can’t get yourself to commit to him.
The problem is that he’s not your type. Maybe he’s not your typical dashing guy or not as rich as you’d like your husband. You sit around thinking “if only he was taller”, “if only his nose wasn’t so big”, “if only he didn’t have those pimples all the time” or “this guy needs to leave me alone so I can focus on “elusive but hot player guy”. Either way, you don’t take him seriously even though he tells you whenever you say “yes”, he’ll marry you. Instead, you just laugh it off. You’re focused on the other guy- the one who hasn’t even looked your way.
4. The ‘potential’ family friend: This is the guy you see around all the time. You may have even grown up with him. Maybe your brother’s friend or your brother-in-law’s friend or friend’s husband’s friend. Either way, he’s always there at most family/friends gathering.
The problem is that you guys are cool but it never surpasses platonic conversations. He probably doesn’t even have your number. He’s single, and you know this. You’re single and he knows this. But he doesn’t know that you “wish” he’d just notice you. You even secretly why noone is making an effort to hook you two up.
These are the basic prescribed “types”. This list is not exhaustive. Perhaps there are more. If you think so, feel free to leave that in the comments sections. But I digress.
If you recognize at least one in your life, you’re not alone. Regardless of which of them are in your life, your “solution” lies in these “finding a good husband” tips the married ones gave me.
1. Drop the “tall, dark, rich and handsome” criteria. God bless you if you find one that meets all those credentials AND is a great husband but that shouldn’t be your focus at all. Focus on the important characteristics of a good husband: caring, hardworking, good listener, affectionate, loyal, honest, humble, ready to forsake all others, kind, respectful, and a good communicator.
Stop worrying about what people will say about your husband- “he’s not hot enough”, “your ex looked better” “your ex was richer”, etc. Those people won’t live in the marriage with you. A friend of mine mentioned sometime ago that the congratulatory Blackberry and Facebook updates about a wedding are more rampant (even from those who don’t know the couple personally) when the bride is beautiful and the groom is handsome. I laughed so hard. Well, because if you pay attention, its true.
A tweet I saw last week captures my point in black and white
-“a beautiful bride and a handsome groom will make a beautiful wedding but a prayerful bride and a dedicated husband will make a beautiful marriage”.
The wedding is for a day, the marriage is for a lifetime. Focus on the lasting values.
2. Focus on making yourself better. A lot of girls focus so much on finding the perfect man, they forget that they are imperfect. If you spend your time upgrading yourself (and I don’t mean plastic surgery), very soon you’ll be scraping the men off you. When I say upgrading, I mean, get educated, get closer to God, fix character flaws, dress nicely, keep a good reputation, etc. And like my mother always says, you can dress nicely/provocatively without being half-naked. Many a time, it is in the process of making yourself better, that you find your soulmate.
3. Recognize your Obama/Michelle when you see him/her. On the night of the Democratic National Convention when Michelle Obama spoke, social media was buzzing. Girls were talking about how they need to marry an Obama. Guys were yarning about how they need to find their Michelle. The truth is that people are only saying that because Barack and Michelle have become Obama and Michelle.
Let’s face it, Obama is handsome alright. But he isn’t the most handsome man out there. In fact, he’s a bit nerdy. Imagine you, him and Idris Elba went to the same school. You’d probably pick Idris over him. Obama is more desirable now because he has power. And Michelle, although she is elegant and intelligent, she isn’t the most attractive woman there is either. There are numerous Michelles walking around with no man because the same man who says he wants a Michelle is busy being occupied with getting the Beyonce. The reason why Michelle is so attractive now is because she has had the chance to show the world that she’s an intelligent “ride or die” wife, something Barack only saw because he actually looked ‘beyond’. Not to say Idris or Beyonce are not smart, but you get my point: Mind over matter.
“Don’t choose the better man, choose the man who’ll make you a better girl”~ Chelsea Handler in This is War
4. Be prayerful- God makes no mistakes. Tell him what you want in a husband. And sit tight, He heard you. Enough said.
5. Choose the one who feels lucky to have you. Don’t make the man who treats you like an option your first choice. Choose the one who’s excited to make you his wife. Husbands aren’t meant to complete you; they are meant to compliment you. As women, we get drawn to the “bad boys”. As Mary J Blige sings, “bad boys ain’t no good, good boys ain’t no fun”. While that may be true in dating, its the opposite in marriage. We listen to MJB sing about how she can’t stop loving her bad boy (the one who drives her crazy) and we follow her to keep loving the bad boy in our life forgetting that she’s been married for years. Hehe.
One of my “happily married” friends told me this- as women, our expression of love aka affection continues to grow but once a man gets comfortable, his expression of love dwindles. If you marry someone who loves you more, as a woman, eventually the love will level out because yours will grow and his will dwindle. Don’t look at me- I didn’t say it.
Late last year, one of my friends told me she was engaged. After all the excited “OMG Congrats love!” and “how did he pop the question” gist, I asked her how she knew he was the one. She said, “Ral, I finally stopped chasing shadows and realized my one has been there for me every step of the way”. Then she added, “He loves me so much and I like him enough to marry him”. The last statement haunted me for a bit but after picking the mind of some seasoned and successful married women, I now understand what my dear friend meant. Just like Pastor Irukwu said (and I blogged) in his 7 Keys to a Successful Marriage, she had chosen her husband not using her emotions, but using her brain- she just made a decision to love a good man; the only kind of comitment that makes long-lasting marriages.
6. DON’T ignore the signs. As women, we often ignore and justify every inkling we get that the man we are with will be a lousy husband. He belittles you and you say its because he wants to see you as a better person. He makes you feel like an “option” and you sit around begging him to “choose” you. He hits you and you say because it only happened once and he apologized, it won’t happen again (even after it happens over and over again). He says bad things about your family and you laugh it off, convincing yourself that when he gets to know them better, he’ll change.
He cheats on you and you believe him when he tells you all men cheat but that its more important that you’ll always be number one. He doesn’t care about your interests or friends and you convince yourself that his interests are enough to be your hobbies too. He tells you that his ex or that girl from the office just calls in the middle of the night because they have noone else to turn to and that they are just friends, and you choose to look the other way. He’s always “having drinks” or clubbing with the boys and never invites you out with him, and you make yourself okay with the fact that he’s coming home to you.
He tells you he’s into “business” and even though you’ve never been to his place of work, you convince yourself that he’s too “good” to be crooked. He never listens to your opinion and you credit it to him just being “a man”. When you want to break news to him, you worry about him flipping out on you, and you convince yourself its just because he’s stressed with his “work”. He treats you like you are worth nothing, and you tell yourself, it will all change once you become Mrs. I could go on and on but You get the point- Like my sister Oby always says, marriage doesn’t automatically change anything. The way he was before the wedding is the way he’ll be after you marry him. The only difference now is that you have to live with him and have his babies (should you choose to). The purpose of signs is to provide direction: Pay Attention!
7. Quit the “I don’t need a man” talk, especially in public, before God and karma both start to believe you. Most women who have that “shakara attitude” really don’t mean it. If you really don’t need a man, you’d know it and think it, but never feel the need to announce it in public just so people can think a certain way of you. Yes, please by all means, focus on being self-sufficient but be humble enough to admit you’d like a “happy ever after”.
That’s it folks. Can’t wait to hear your comments.
And by the way, I hope you were taking notes, because I was. 😉
NwaVic – www.nwavic.blogspot.com | email@example.com