Bongiwe Nkomazana, Gender
THE pressure of finding a spouse or partner that checks all the boxes is real. And as if that is not enough, there is pressure to find a spouse or partner that checks our friends’ and families’ boxes too. So in other words, a woman has to know what their grandmother, their auntie, their mother and father, their siblings, pastor and the lady from next door want in a man and try to find one that addresses all these people’s different ideals.
Off the bat, I know we all agree that that is impossible but because women are always expected to accomplish the impossible, we find ourselves eliminating potential partners based on what everybody else but ourselves, wants. We all look for the man we can bring home to mum and one that will live up to our dad’s accomplishments. That is not only unfair to the potentials but grossly unfair on us.
Let me pose a question to kick off our discussion. Why is it still a problem to date outside your race? In fact, why is it still an issue to date outside what is familiar? In 2018, why are inter-tribal, inter-denominational, cross-national and inter-racial relationships still turning heads? Some women genuinely do not want to go the conventional route and will find the idea of going outside their race, tribe, country or church more exciting than it would be to spend the rest of their life with someone who is just a male version of them.
First of all, we are all built differently and will, therefore, seek and appreciate different traits in a partner. Some women like “pretty” men; you know the ones who would join you at the spa and are very particular about their skin care routine. On the other end, some of us enjoy to see a man that is ruggedy and tough. Others love dark skinned men and others straight up want men of a different race. It is perfectly fine for a woman to want to be with a man from within her tribe, church or neighbourhood but those women who prefer not to let such factors stand in between them and a love life should be given the free will to choose from whichever bracket of people.
I understand how it has been explained that the more similar your background is to your boyfriend; the easier it will be to understand each other. It is true to an extent because there will be less clashes in terms of traditions and culture but also realise how much more you could learn if you were different. I will be very frank with the issue of tribe in our country. It is scary to be with a man of a different tribe because you know your family will discourage you with all their might and it is almost a fact that his family is doing the same on his end.
They are judging him by the language he speaks, or the colour of his skin and when or where he chooses to worship the same God. You however, have seen his personality, how he interacts with children and how ambitious he is and have loved it and chosen it. Stand by your decision.
Another issue that has caused a lot of us to step back from a seemingly good man is his social class. So when we say social class we are referring to a group of people with similar levels of wealth, influence, and status and the pressure is to find a man who has high levels of all three.
This pressure usually stems from everyone else but you. Listen, I am not saying walk into poverty with your eyes wide open, however, do not select a man/spouse/partner based on his pocket’s history alone, especially if it is just to impress people. Yes, you will be the boss lady that has the final say at family meetings and yes, you will be the queen bee with minions that look at you to buy those drinks at the club but will you have that power behind closed doors, in your relationship.
Many a times if you settle for a rich or influential man and he knows that he enticed you with his money and power he will get you to stand on one leg and jump for him and you will forever be in his shadow. Men from humble beginnings who might not be rich or popular, are just as capable of being amazing life partners. If he respects and supports you, choose him over money any day. There is no better scenario than to meet a man and the two of you realise each other’s potential and achieve your goals together and live equally ever after.
There is no greater truth than when they say “the heart wants what it wants” because as much as your head will say this man is not of your calibre, your heart will still do somersaults for him. As little girls, we all want the perfect picture that has ourselves with our husband and kids but life is not always that simple and when we make plans, God laughs. God’s husband for you could be a divorcee, a widower or a single father and trust me your friends and family will cringe when they hear that about your person.
Those looking in from outside will fail to understand why a woman would choose to be with a man who has failed in another marriage or to be a mother to another woman’s children. But because God knows that even these kind of people deserve to be loved, He has designed it is in such a way that you learn to love even the baggage that comes along with the one you have chosen. We all know such couples who are a testimony to how happy people can be despite what may seem like complicated circumstances. As much as we love our families, there are some things they can never fulfil for us like the role of a partner because they are busy being a partner to the ones that they chose with no interferences.
Friends and family will discourage and critique. This may be good sometimes and we appreciate it if it is productive, however, sometimes we need to disregard it and do what we want by being with whom we want. In most cases, families win because their talk leads to break ups and the biggest loser is always you. Society will dispute your decisions and judge on what they think is right for you but as a grown woman, you know exactly what it is that you are looking for. If you find it, do not throw it away because it does not fit the world’s criteria. If he makes you happy, choose him.