A conversation I had with friends made me realise how important it is to review social norms and truly ask ourselves: are these still relevant in our time, does this make sense, how can we think differently??
Some of the many social norms around marriages are:
A woman needs to be a super active wife who is not lazy: be a good cook, spring clean the house, dress ‘like a wife’, speak ‘like a wife’, do your man’s laundry, cheer him up.
And for men it’s more of: have umkhaba – meaning from the cooking wife does it needs to show in the man that his wife is taking good care of him – and this is ‘shown’ by him putting on weight (rolls eyes); he needs to dress like a husband, drive a car that looks like a family car (apparently sports cars are not in this league), etc etc..
Now once people show these qualities they are seen as people who understand what it is to be married and also most single people see these traits as things to aspire for when they do get married. Mind you there are also other social norms like a woman needs to be strong (stomach his husband’s abuse & cheating coz that’s how our grandmothers showed strength) and listen to the husband to the point of where some husbands even choose what the wife will wear and the kind of hairstyle she should have and also the lady choose the tie the husband will wear to work but the type of shirt. A lot of single people are booking themselves in domestic work boot camp so they can meet the high standards of marriage.
When are we going to define marriage and roles within the marriage context within probably generation relevant attributes or within evaluated and freshly marked norms? We are growing in a society where unemployment is very high and also where moral values are at an all time low. Shouldn’t the family structure be about grooming the character of the child or personal development of the couple so that they can both strongly play into the economic space of the country and also be able to raise kids that will understand their value & role within the community and with a mental capability that will give them a go ahead to be independent thinkers, critical analysers of social norms as well as build their confidence for them to know that they don’t have to wait until they are 21yrs before they are millionaires that as early as 18yrs they can aspire and be all of that and so much more.
It seems some married couples revolve their marriage around checking each other phones to see who is cheating or who is flirting with my husband or wife, who is wearing what & the control game just keeps growing – is there no way to kind of find different focus areas??? Imagine transferring all these energy to actually building not just the marriage but the community as well…”the Bible says without a vision people perish…”
What’s the point of focusing on silly petty theatrical when there is so much more to live & aspire for? Should we not redefine the role of woman or role of a man?? Should not a couple that’s about to get married not sit down & define for themselves the vision & purpose for their union & crash out social norms & live it up they way that will WORK for them & not the society?? Where should people draw the line??? When should intention & purpose start???
A friend of mine Nonyaniso Leve also added this question: Why is a wife expected to dress a certain way when married.. Why can’t she still look sexy (extra HOT even)? Mostly those who are not allowed to wear pants.. And their dresses or skirt are to be long…then as if that’s not enough… a duke must still be on her head? Why is she expected to change her entire wardrobe and yet the man still keep his?? For the why mara?
P.S. Dear Future Husband – I couldn’t care less if you tie is floral with a shiny blue shirt & purple gold suit as long as you understand what’s key: Purpose, vision, implementation plan, motivation, ambition & drive. Let’s do this. And please leave my fashion sense alone .. I need my own type of confidence to be a partner with you in this journey while we become legacy leavers and raise legends & change makers!