by Demola Rewaju
Ladies, there is such a thing as setting one’s standard too high and it applies with the man you want to marry.
The problem with being well-known is that it confers on you a feeling that your life is constantly being watched by others and all that you do will be subjected to media scrutiny. While some celebrities are able to stand up to this spotlight and manage to go through unscathed, the majority are not. Twitter in Nigeria has introduced a new set of celebs – those with thousands and hundreds of followers who somehow have to shoulder a burden they never knew about when they first started tweeting. Of course this is a general problem but as with many things in a less than ideal patriarchal world that Nigeria is, women feel it more.
Ladies, there is such a thing as setting one’s standard too high and it applies with the man you want to marry. Now, I have no problems with anyone being single if you don’t have a problem with it but griping about how there are only a few real men out there while wishing the wedding coming up this weekend was yours means you have a problem with it. A single lady with an air of celeb status around her subjects herself to the scrutiny of those who look up to her and wants to meet their unexpressed standard of the kind of man she should marry. A man in that same status has only a part of this problem – a man can marry any kind of woman and still be considered respectable.
One of the problems as I see it is that too many ‘real men’ who are married are the ones prescribing the kind of man a sister should marry when they themselves were less than the ideal man when they got married. One of my mentors once told me that the issue he had with a particular singles’ meeting was that it taught ladies how to be more single than how to get married. No matter what it is or who says it, if it keeps you single, it obviously is not working and you’ll be better off submitting to your own deeper instincts and choosing a man you like enough to work with and build into the kind of respectable man that society expects of you.
I think we need to make it clear: every man is less than ideal until a certain point in his life. Holding a young, single and free brother up to the standard of your father, your ex or your mentor is less than fair and will keep you in that status of being single. The mentors tell us a man who asks for your nudes has no intention of marrying you but I know guys who got married to a woman whose nudes they once requested. That’s why I try to avoid generalisation or making my own experience the standard for others. What works for one doesn’t always work for all and what doesn’t work for one doesn’t always fail for another – you’ve got to find your own path while receiving as much guidance as possible.
I was with one of such ladies as recently as the beginning of last year though we’d been off and on for a while before that and I knew somewhere deep within me that I could not measure up to this standard she and her mentors were holding her future husband up to. She came prescribing how much I needed to change about my life (that’s why I wrote this piece titled DON’T USE YOUR MOUTH FIRST) and I remember after a break of about four months or so, we met again and then she asked me to send my goals for the year 2013 “in bullet points” and I lost it a bit – I wrote a polite email back to her explaining why I wasn’t comfortable with sending my goals for 2013 bullet point by bullet point and she showed it to her mentor who concluded I was arrogant. That relationship ended badly due to no fault of hers and we both moved on.
Chubby Cheeks (my wife) never had any of those mentors and chose to marry me based only on personal conviction. Even when we had to weather a very difficult storm few weeks to our wedding, she held on to the conviction she had inside her. I can’t say I’m a perfect husband or man in her life but she knows I’ll never stop trying. I try not to impose but I tell younger sisters who are close to me not to use me as a standard for the guys coming their way; I’ve had that kind of life too before and if I can outgrow it, they can too. Marriage is not an entirely emotional decision or a mental one but a spiritual one most of all. The demand for perfection in another presupposes the idea of perfection on your part and well, if you are perfect, why do you even need a partner?
Forget all those big brother theories of who a man is, how a man should treat you and all that – only ladies buy them, because they know you are more in love with the fantastical image of the perfect man than working with an ordinary one to build an extra-ordinary life. I remember another dear sister who wasn’t sure whether to marry the man she was with or not – the guy had no job but she could see he had potential. “How are we going to do live/ How do we survive?” and on and on she went. After I’d ascertained she really liked him, I urged her to go all the way with him and use the strength of her womanhood to bring out the best in him – they got married and are living fine today.
Everyone (including you) is on their way to being someone better and if you think they are worthy to walk with, go on and walk with them into a glorious future. Most mothers married less than ideal men who later became the real man you use as a standard for other men today but if you’d seen him many years ago, you wouldn’t have given him a chance. Men grow better with age, we reset our priorities as we become wiser and feel more responsible. The thing to look for is that spark of potential. Once you find it and ascertain that you can work with it, don’t let it go.
Still searching for alpha males like your mentor? If it has kept you single so far when you’d rather be married, it obviously isn’t working.
Demola Rewaju blogs at DemolaRewajudaily.com
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.