“Marriage-Material” May No Longer Be A Compliment

“Marriage-Material” May No Longer Be A Compliment

An old friend and I recently reconnected on social media. We warmed up immediately as we both recollected fond memories of our bonding times back home

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An old friend and I recently reconnected on social media. We warmed up immediately as we both recollected fond memories of our bonding times back home. After congratulating him on his month-old marriage, he wished me well and in his exact words signed off saying, “I wish you good luck too dear! You will find a good man. You have always been a wife-material: Hardworking, smart, God-fearing (he probably meant church goer), stubborn; yet knew how to manage a home very well.” 

About 3-4 years ago, this would have been a humbling compliment, enough to get me blushing over my black cheeks. But it didn’t, and I will tell you why…

Majority of society believe that there are indeed two kinds of women: those we only date and those we ‘honor’ through marriage. What this loosely translates into is that, this same majority agree or think that it is okay for some women to be deceived, disrespected, hurt, abused emotionally, physically and psychologically, and then the opposite of such treatment reserved for the ones we marry.

So that collectively, we think that the rational behind watching on as these women invest their time, energy, resources and future; is justifiable. To the extent that even religious men hold these same views. Then it comes off as no surprise that these religious men also find no reason wrong with deliberately being with women they know they would only date (deceive, hurt, disrespect, abuse, etc.) only to ‘repent’ later and pick up the ‘already-made’ Marriage-Material women.

Now, because society is not made up of only one gender, it means there are women themselves who endorse the existence of the two kinds of women, permitting these injustices to be rendered to their own kind. Then again we end  up getting the wives who would even brag in the faces of scorned exes while enjoying their ‘privileges’ as wives.

Here is exactly why the marriage material may no longer be a compliment – A marriage/wife-material is a prototype, and like all prototypes, she is not her only kind.

1. Most men are not marrying the love of their lives, they are marrying an idea of a wife – The ‘already-made’ woman who already knows her place, duty, and cannot afford to make any errors. And this would easily explain why majority try to demand very similar and specific expectations from women who want to be ‘wifed.’ Many of us are going into marriage with a preconceived notion of what the whole union should look like, leaving no room for spontaneity, nor individuality.

2. Again, men who are preoccupied with finding a Marriage/Wife-Material are only marrying for selfish reasons – “What can I get from this woman,” “How useful is she going to be to me,” “I hope she is well-tasked so I don’t have to deal with too much wahala,” etc. Rather than, this is an amazing individual with unique traits that make her stand out and I am looking forward to being part of her future.

3. Most importantly, the woman who believes and accepts that she is a Marriage/Wife-Material ends up getting preoccupied with checking all the items/criteria on the ‘list,’ forgetting that she is also a human being: someone’s daughter, a would-be-mother to another human being and finally, a wife with her own needs (emotional, psychological, physical, etc.)

4. Quite significantly, when women partake in such labeling we are only doing the dirty work of men because both women (the whore and the wife) are useful in their own ways to men. In their prime when society watches on and let “boys be boys,” they benefit from the “non-marriageable” ones and when they think they are ready to begin their lives, go in for the Marriage-Materials. This is once again, another classic case of women encouraging injustice towards their own kind.

4. Finally, the wife material has been ‘trained’ for perfection and thus, there would be no room for spontaneity, errors, and most importantly, time off to take care of herself.

marriage

I don’t want to be a Wife-Material because I want to be seen as an individual first – Efe Plange. A woman who grows an inch every single day. A woman who is never short of mistakes (if events in my life are anything to go by), but makes a conscious effort to turn them into learning experiences. I am not a morning person, yet I love waking up to the smell of coffee (the reason God might give me a man who is a morning junkie). I only cook for fun and clean when needed. However, when I am depressed, anxious, scared, worried or making a major step in my life, I take cleaning to a whole new level just to get my mind off things.. I still remain a great lover of life and people, and I live everyday doing things that make me fulfilled. And as crazy as it sounds, I want my stubborn, naughty alter ego to be the biggest turn-on for my man.

Not to market myself or anything, I am only giving women a chance to market themselves as being simply human too…and we all know what this means: there would always be room for improvement (hopefully for both parties)…

Efe Plange

Efe Plange

Efe Plange is founder and editor of Sankofa Reviews. She holds a Master's degree in Rhetoric and Technical Communication from Michigan Technological University. She is passionate about the Arts and Cultural industry and her background in the field is fueled by a longstanding dream of seeing theory work together with practice. Connect with Efe on social media.
Efe Plange

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 20
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    Phyl 1 year

    Way to downplay some women Efe while outlining your idea of a better some women. You have succeeded in doing exactly what you criticized others of doing. Marriage isn’t black and white and there are no perfect ways to live except what each person does to survive and be able to look at themselves in the mirror.

    • comment-avatar

      Hi Phyl, I am not exactly sure of what you mean by I “downplayed” some women. Could you kindly point out specific areas in the article where I did that? Your concluding comment, though, is exactly what I tried to pull out in this article, that marriage isn’t a black or white affair and that we shouldn’t go into it with a preconceived notion or picture of what it should look like. Maybe you might want to have a second read of the article and come back with your clarification, please.

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    Morrygab 1 year

    I totally understand your point and i must say that I am not a reader but I found myself reading the whole article from top to buttom plus every single puctuation. Thumbs up! That shows how great of a writer you are.
    The issue about marriage material, I believe goes for both men and women and not only women. There is definitely male marriage materials and male non marriage material . It all boils down to wearing the cap that fits best. #myopinon #ihopeinakesenss

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      Thanks Morrygab, of course you make sense. However, what I attempted tackling with this specific piece are the stereotypes we attach to the term “Marriage Material.” So although it exists for both genders I feel the stereotypes we bring in those different instances should be addressed.

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    Kwame 1 year

    I see. Great piece. Can we comfortably say you left out the male part like Morrygab said because of the angle you wanted to approach the issue from?

    So I met a lecturer who said emphatically and I quote “Our graduates should be thought how to marry strategically.” And his reason was marriage is no longer a relationship. It’s should be a strategic partnership.

    Generally I think like u rightfully mentioned many a people go into marriage with what is very much like the fairytale picturesque of what they imagine marriage to be (one reason I detest most marriage/singles summits and seminars)

    I must honestly say however that, I never thought the phrase “marriage material” meant there was little or no room for spontaneity or for growth. Your point on men and their choice of partners pretty much depicts what we have led ourselves to believe – that the new era of marriage is a contract not a relationship.

    I’ll add finally that, while u speak for and on behalf of women, the “knife of tagging” swings in both directions as Most women now have a similar image of an ideal man who they’d call their “Mr Right” so we have women who’d equally “hang in” there and abuse the resources of men they very well know (or think) are not their “class”.

    • comment-avatar

      Very well said Kwame. My analysis is addressing the stereotypes associated with the term marriage material and not necessarily the term itself. And on my bias towards women, I did identify in the article that for women who accept the title they also do themselves a disservice because it’s either they always put on a front, or enter into marriage and realise they cannot put up with the act. I also focused on women because the term and notion of “marriage material” is mostly used on us. Most women would term their man as simply being a good man, and not necessarily a marriage material. Generally in society, this term is used as a checker on women to separate the “sheep” from the “goats.” For instance, a friend of mine from Nigeria noted how awards were being given in school for girls men can “take home to mama.” While I do agree that it sometimes applies to men, in most cases it used on women.

      • comment-avatar
        Kwame 1 year

        Well said. The use of the phrase “most cases” does a lot of good to our discourse. We can all make it better I believe… Only if we try.. Some awareness and some understanding

        But I’ll put it out for everyone to share their opinion (especially men); /who/how will u define (as) “MARRIAGE MATERIAL”

  • comment-avatar

    Nice read. First time hearing of you and reading from you. I write too but not as good as you. Still journeying the writer’s path you know. You can follow me via rythaephua25.wordpress.com

  • comment-avatar
    jeffery 2 months

    You’ve got me thinking…

  • comment-avatar
    Solomon Appiah-Kubi 2 months

    I’m happy for you for such fine education you have received and hence can put down such ‘i don;t even know the adjective to describe it with’ article.
    However, instead of putting only your academic educational background in your bio, I feel you should have added the church or religious group you fellowship with too so I could better rate you because reading this article,it makes me know how far away you are from God who gave humanity the blueprint for an institution you Ms. Efe Plange didn’t contribute to it’s establishment but now u feel because you hold a Michigan certificate, you can also comment. My dear sister, seek Christ and you’d understand how selfish you have become and how your write is full of I, I, I, I.
    And before you complain about the way the institution may have deteriorated over time, mind the kind of men you date. I’m sure it would help you change your mentality about men and marriage and what actually God has got to say concerning both spouses.

    Forgive me for being hard, I feel you should know some hard bitter truth served hot.
    Thank You!

    • comment-avatar
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      Enyonam 2 months

      Slomon Appiah-Kubi,I unfortunately could not resist the temptation of a rejoinder,Efe Plange,sorry for being nosy(as I’m just a reader passing by).I think this post addresses social injustice and a rather mild form of stigmatization towards some category of women by society.I wished though that it was generalised to include both men and women but i can relate to the fact that women suffer this more.Your sentiments are somewhat flawed in the sense that,the writer isn’t saying women have the right to live their lives anyhow ,in fact no human being reserves the right to that because no one is an island ,our decisions and actions affect our physical and social environments.That said,she only was pointing out the fact that ,enough of the stereotyping, and that choices of a life partner should be individualized and not a one way format put forth by society(by society I mean pioneers who have gone ahead).Practically put,it would be a great disservice done me should my parents or anyone “infuse”in me what and what to look out for in a partner,because they would only be telling me what worked for them which might not necessarily work for me.It is unfair to label some women as unmarriageable,even the so called marriageable women ,it is unfair to have strict criteria on what qualifies for the honour of marriage.It is wrong for men to play around some women and later settle for what is marriageable by their preference.Well,say the woman is “cheap”,she gave herself,she chose that life ,fair enough but has society thought of the option of encouraging and raising more men of integrity who would only go near a “cow” but to buy and not say why buy if the milk is free even if the nilk was offered for free.most marriages are ending in divorce because we are not doing us but what is expected,people are not marrying who they love like she rightly put because probably who they love doesn’t meet society’s idea of a partner, we sometimes get blinded by expectations and not our reality because of society’s ideal wife and husband.Advice is good,standards are good but when it is unconsciously forced down the throats of our minds ,then that’s disaster’s recipe,remember false balance is an abomination to God.Marriage is beautiful,let everyone choose one that will make them happy,let them fulfill God’s purpose for their lives and let everyone be chosen first because of who they are and how they complement their partner and not because they fit society’s idea of a husband or wife.

      • comment-avatar

        It helps that the premise of a blog is “Personal opinions.” I tried my best to bring a persuasive case. I’m not asking people to munch on my opinions as an inspired word by “God.” That is where this guy confuses me. Thanks anyways, Enyonam, for the support.

    • comment-avatar
      Enyonam 2 months

      After that long piece ,I still have more to write,your post just made me talkertive.I think it is inappropriate to talk about her academic achievements that way,and how does her religious inclination affect the validity of her post.And don’t be quick to prescribe Christ,she probably is on heaven’s dignitaries list.I guess you’re a staunch Christian, assuming she even needs Christ,as one whose speech should always be seasoned with salt,do you think they way you’ve have put it is a good advert to win someone for Jesus?God instituted marriage, she was a part of it ,neither you or I were also part or there.God’s idea is that when a man finds a a partner,an able helpmeet he finds a good thing and he obtains favour from God as he will not be alone on the purpose he’s been set out on,so is it fair for society to now set out strict outlines for who should be that help meet.Anyway,do i also have to state which church i belong to and by what “authority”i write…lol,I didn’t intend to step on toes,apologies in advance for that and for all typos too.

  • comment-avatar
    Solomon Appiah-Kubi 2 months

    Oh sorry, I forgot to add something.
    There are actually wife materials. Any girl who resists that, is LAZY to cultivate good manners from home and behind the veils of modernity and uniqueness and individuality, they want to demand to deserve the same rights that ladies who have set themselves apart as vessels of honour for such a holy period as Marriage deserves.
    No, we wont give you that. If you choose to mess around, ohhhh, the guys will mess with you and again, they will leave you for a better lady.
    If you seem to have a problem with that, revise your notes.

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  • comment-avatar
    Gifty 2 months

    Mmm……

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