What makes a man marriage material?

This post was initially going to be about a woman’s “marriage-ability”, but then I realised that a big chunk of my life so far has been spent listening to old aunties telling me how I won’t get married if I don’t do that or “men don’t like this and that, they’ll bring you back.” It’s as though from birth, girls and women are taught to be good wives, how to please their husbands, how to care for them and so forth. What I often wonder however is, is there anyone teaching or telling young boys and men how to be good husbands, how to care for and treat their women right or how to be anything other than the revered “god” figures in their homes whose every needs should be attended to at the snap of a finger?

A phrase I’ve heard going around a lot lately is “if the man isn’t hitting you, marry him,” a phrase I’ve had many a heated discussions with friends and family over, because whereas a woman is told to be patient, tolerant, understanding, kind, obedient, submissive, do house chores, cater to her husband’s every need and keep the household together before she can be declared good wife material, all a man has to do is not hit her and he’s good husband material. In fact, what I gather from all that is “don’t give him any reason at all to even want to hit you (after all, you’re being the “perfect wife.”) yet be grateful that he does not.” Snag him, he’s a catch!

If anything, I think while we (women) are being taught to be the perfect woman, men are probably taught how to spot the perfect woman. They are being taught how to ensure “discipline” in their households and make sure that this woman “knows her place”. Perhaps they are taught to also be “providers” for the family as well, but at what cost? My problem with phrases like “if he’s not hitting you, marry him”, is that it tells and encourages women to turn a blind eye to any problems or any other kind of abuse or maltreatment they may be facing in their relationships as long as the man is not being physically abusive with you and he is bringing home the bacon then you should “stick it out”.

I think it is high time that our men are taught that not hitting or abusing a woman anyhow does not make you exceptional in any way or ensure that you’ll make a god husband, it merely makes you a decent human being. I think it is time our men are also taught that to make a marriage work, you need to respect your partner, you need to be cooperative and understanding, you need to work just as hard as she does to maintain the relationship. I think our men need to be taught that in order to have a good wife, you need to be a good husband, you are not ‘entitled’ to one simply by virtue of the fact that you’re a man!