Do you know what you want in a life partner? At some point in your life, you will ask yourself this question. If you never have, and you are looking to settle down soon, then you are headed for trouble.
It is simple to assume that you know what you are looking for. Tall, dark, handsome, financially stable, Godfearing… coming up with the perfect adjective to describe your future partner might not seem like that hard of a thing to do. But are you looking for what you want or what you think you should want? Let me give you two examples that inspired this article.
Deborah is a very good friend of mine, I have known her since secondary school. We hang out a lot and of course, often had discussions about men, relationship and all. The guys she dated, she never asked them for a dime. Some offered and some didn’t but Deborah was determined to not be the ‘materialistic’ girl.
A few years ago, she met Fred. Fred was just about to conclude a post-graduate course. Fred was a dreamer. He hoped to build and run a successful business one day. He was completely disinterested in working for anyone. Deborah saw his passion and was drawn to it. She was his rock while they dated. Even though he didn’t have it all figured when he proposed, she agreed because she believed in him.
She believed that even though he was not where he should be in terms of finances, he would get there. She believed her patience and -for lack of a better word- investment will pay off someday. It sounded noble and like Deborah often repeated to me whenever I asked her why she would want someone who could offer her less than what she grew up with, “I am a good girl. Good girls don’t go after the money.
Things were perfect for a few months after their wedding. Sure, they struggled since they mostly had to depend on her income but it was okay. She had her man’s back.
Then a while later, resentment started to build. She found herself envying her friends’ marriages where the men took the reins financially and showered their women with gold and trinkets. She looked at her struggling husband and started to even doubt that he loved her. She once told me, “how would he say he love me but cannot buy me ordinary birthday present?” I said, “well, you never minded when you were dating.” “Yeah, but it’s been four years,” she said, her voice quiet.
To Deborah, hanging in there with her man had an expiration date. Underneath it all, she wanted the fancy things but she could not bring herself to admit it because she feared how others would interpret it. So she got into a marriage with someone who was struggling. She figured someday, she will get returns for all her ‘hard work.’
Maybe he will make it, maybe he wouldn’t. But one has to worry how badly the resentment would affect their marriage. Her man could begin to feel insecure. And even if he becomes a multi-trillionaire someday, there may be way too much damage done to their marriage to survive.
Then there is Olu, one of my husband’s closest friends. He could not wait to get married. He was nearing 35. Most of his friends were either married or close. He and his buddies would hang out and the subject of an ideal wife will come up. I was hanging out with the guys one day when they seriously bashed one of Olu’s ex-girlfriends for being unable to cook. ‘What was the point in her being a woman,’ they wanted to know.
So Olu continued on his quest for a great cook. And he found one in Dolapo. Dolapo was beautiful, respectful and brought it in the kitchen. His buddies patted him on his back. Olu had found the perfect woman, they thought.
One day, a year after they got married, Olu did not go home after work. He came over to our house and asked to speak to my husband. They both went out to a nearby bar to talk. They were out for hours and I knew it must be big.
It was nearly midnight when they both returned. I asked no questions while I set up the guest bedroom for Olu for the night.
After he left for home early the next morning, my husband revealed to me that his marriage was in trouble?
From what I gathered, while Dolapo, to everyone, was the perfect wife, she was not fulfilling the biggest need Olu had. There were complaints about how she would not upload his photo on her social media, she did not notice when he got a new haircut, clothes and so on. Even though she cooked his meals, took care of his home, was respectful and mostly minded her business, Olu did not believe she loved him because she never held his hand in public or gave him random words of admiration and affection. Whenever he tried to bring it up, she shrugged it off. She grew up with a certain idea of what it meant to be a wife and as long as she did all she had learnt, then Olu had no reason to complain.
In fact, the night Olu spent at our home, he sent her a simple text message saying he was okay but was not coming home. She replied with ‘ok.’ No questions asked, no suspicions or query. Olu showed my husband the text as proof that his wife did not care.
“I would pay someone to cook the meals and clean my house if that meant I have a wife who gives a damn,” I was told he said at one point.
These are two people who were sure they knew what they wanted oblivious of the fact that they were subconsciously letting other people’s opinion make the decision for them.
So, again, do you know what you really want in a partner or do you want what you have been conditioned to want? Have you subconsciously allowed society, your friends, the media tell you what you should want?
The choice of who you spend the rest of your life with is one of the most important choices you will make. Stand in your own truth. Want what you want. No apologies.
If for instance, you want financial stability, then find that. Do not settle for less unless you know for a fact that if he never reaches that goal of big mansions and expensive cars, you will still be perfectly okay. A man is not a business investment. Stop listening to those that say, “hang in there, he will make it someday.” This puts a clock on your marriage and pressure on your partner. This ruins you before you even begin.
If emotional and physical connection is more important to you than a woman who makes the best meals, then be true to you. Because at the end of the day, it’s you and your partner in that room, figuring out your marriage, reaping its benefits or wallowing in disappointment.
This is one decision no one can make for you. There are no perfect traits. Find what works for you and stick with it
Do you know what YOU want in a partner? If you have no idea, you shouldn’t be getting married.