Author: Manasseh Azure Awuni
One reason I think people date for some time before getting married is to enable them to study each other. And our relationship is no different.
But what is the essence of dating if you don’t get the faintest idea of how your marriage would look like with your prospective husband or wife? I’m getting worried that after all these years of being in a relationship with you, I can’t get the mental picture of how our marriage will look like.
Anytime the subject of your attitude towards me pops up, you’re always quick to remind me that we’re not husband and wife yet. “I’m not your wife,” you would say. “We’re only dating and I can’t treat you like my husband.”
Serwaa, this is where I think you’re getting it wrong. The line between the duties of a fiancée and the duties of wife is thinner than the edge of a circumcision blade. The duties are almost the same and the earlier you confront this stark reality, the better it will be for us.
I’m well aware that there are certain things we cannot do until we’re pronounced husband and wife. I called for the suspension of sex until marriage because it is a preserve of the married. And I think our relationship has grown stronger ever since. For now we cannot live together, have a joint business or property registered as a couple until we’re legally recognised as husband and wife.
This notwithstanding, our attitude towards each other should give us a clue about what to expect in marriage. I have tried to do my part of this all important bargain, but you don’t appreciate it. Neither do you reciprocate it. You consign everything to the future and I wonder when you’ll learn all these and begin to implement them.
In the olden days, the taste of a woman’s cooking could either attract a good man or drive a potential husband away. But for three years now, I have never tasted your cooking. Don’t get me wrong. I’m marrying you so that you become my cook. But cooking will be a key component of your duty when we’re married as it will be mine, too. I have already told you time and time again that your bizarre love for restaurant food must not follow you into my house. That is an irresponsible behaviour, I think.
I’m not the kind of men who still think that the woman’s place is in the kitchen. I have told you that when we’re married and I happen to get home from work earlier than you, I will not hesitate to head for the kitchen. Cooking for you will not reduce the size of my manhood. It won’t diminish my intelligence or overthrow me as head of the family. But this should not be a one-way traffic.
Anytime you visit and I’m cooking, you go to sit down and watch movies and when I serve, you eat and complain about excess salt, too much oil or inappropriate combination of ingredients. That doesn’t hurt me because you have the right to comment or help me get better in my cooking. What annoys me is your insistence that you’ll never cook for me, help me to wash or do any wifely duty until we’re married. Even after lying on my bed, you don’t even care to do the sheets when you’re leaving.
Serwaa, you’re making the greatest mistake of your life. How do I know whether you’ll ever do these things well when we get married? Most of you ladies of today are living in imaginary worlds, obeying instructions in books and telenovelas to the letter when such situations are sometimes millions of miles away from reality. You ought to be sober, obedient and respectful and treat your guy with all the honour you would accord your husband.
Marriage is not an institution we enter with egos and pride. Have I told you this story about a man who swore never to share the same roof with his wife just because she got angry and called him a fool? Neighbours had to prevail on him to rescind his decision. But both of them were still angry at each other and exchanged harsh words before going to bed.
That night, it rained heavily and the weather launched his restless “Kofi Manu” into an irresistible mood. But when he touched his wife, she retorted angrily: “Who is that BIG FOOL?”
In a very polite and respectful tone, like that of a well-bred Akwapim woman, the man answered: “Honey, please, I am the one! ” Yes, he is the one. You see, there are times we must let go our pride in order to get what we want. I’m sure after that night, this man will realise that being called a fool is not the worst thing that can ever happen to him in his marriage.
This is an extreme case, but in real life, it happens at all the time. No marriage will succeed when both parties stick to the uncompromising this-is-how-I-am posture.
I have often told you that marriage is the only democratic institution without human rights. Marriage strives on compromise. When the Bible says a man and woman will become one, it doesn’t mean that our differences will dissolve as soon as we marry. That is not possible. They will exist and our duty is not to wish them away. Ours is to learn to compromise, tolerate each other and be ready to shed some of our interests as a way of keeping our marriage.
Serwaa, rethink your stance and let not your insistence on your rights deceive you into thinking that you’ll always have your way. That is utopian, it is planets away from reality.
Many young ladies of today have the fallacious mentality that they must never disclose all their love and care to their guys before their marriage. “You must not let him know the extent to which you love him, else he’ll take you for granted,” they often say.
This is the greatest mistake any young lady trying to build a lasting relationship can make. Security is a very important consideration in relationships and in marriage. If your partner is not secure because he or she is not sure about your love or level of commitment, then there is a high probability that they will look elsewhere. Yours is not to hide your love or commitment. Let them have it and you’ll be in the better position to judge their side of it based on how committed they are.
Before I sign off, let me remind you that not all guys are what you think we are. There are those who are not ready to settle down and have no sense of purpose in relationships. For them, every attitude is acceptable as long as they will always have the girl around to quench their libidinal thirst. For guys dating with the expectation of getting married, however, they want to see the good wives in their fiancées and not good girlfriends.
Serwaa my love, there are only two people that can come together to become one flesh: a husband and a wife. Wedlock is an office ordained by God, a holy union, wherein the husband serves the wife and the wife serves the husband. The worst thing I can ever do in life is marry the wrong woman, a woman who will not return my service.
According to Proverbs 27:15 of the Holy Bible, "On a stormy day, drops of rain drive a man out of his house; so also does a railing woman drive a man out of his house." I will not want to close from work one day and dread going home because I have a Patience Ozorkor of a wife.
There are many men who dread closing from work because of what awaits them at home. They’re living in perpetual hell, and for me, it is better not to marry than to put this unbearable yoke on my head. I want to see your wifely attitude now.
Serwaa, I’m worried about your attitude. I’m not sure this is how you’ve been trained. Whoever planted this mentality in your mind has not done you any good. You ought to discard it if you want us to have a good relationship. We can only move ahead and get married if we’re certain of what to expect when we finally take the irrevocable oath.
I will continue to love, cherish and serve you the way I would treat you when we get married. If for nothing at all, it is part of the training process. You cannot start running if you’ve never crawled or learnt how to walk. I hope you’ll understand this and reciprocate it. On this reciprocity of love, mutual respect and understanding shall we build our marriage and the gates of divorce shall not prevail against it.
I still remain your love,
Manasseh Azure Awuni
A Letter to My Future Wife is a weekly column published in the Weekend Finder/ Ghana every Saturday. Writer’s email: email@example.com