• Do you want one wife or are you into variety? I do not cook, can we afford a maid? I do not want any children. I do not expect my wife to work. You will be my fourth wife and I expect you to get along with your co-wives. I just want to live with you, I do not want to get married. I have to run every decision by my mother.
• Ignore the sensations in your body for a while and have sober, well thought out conversations
If you were a teenager in the 90s, then you know there was no better time to think you were in love.
We were glued to these RnB songs that described symptoms of being in love. Symptoms that if you presented now, you would be quarantined. I mean the feeling hot all over (fever), sweaty palms, not being able to speak and having to clear your throat (coughing), shortness of breath and aching all over.
Then there was not being able to sleep or eat. I am telling you, if you experienced all this, the last person you saw was a doctor. You were in love and it was supposed to lead to happily ever after. (I am thinking of suing Boys To Men and co.)
Someone said if you meet someone and your heart skipped a beat or beat rapidly, the said person was causing you anxiety and you would probably do well to stay away from them. In our days, it meant to love and you had to now do everything in your power to make the person ‘yours’. Forever.
This process of making one yours included almost solely, getting married to them. That was the goal by whatever means, really, you had already got the symptoms of love. I think this is where the phrase lovesick came from! But anyway, I digress a bit.
So, here you want to get married. In most cases, only you knew you were getting married, well, and maybe a girlfriend or two. The girls were handy because they were the other witches (commonly known as prayer warriors) trying to make someone's son accept something against his will (the real term is witchcraft). But well-meaning people, I must add.
You get to figure out what men want because once you give it to him, he will not want to live without you. At no point do you discuss his or your expectations in a relationship. All you know is you felt the sensations in your body and you got to work.
You call his job until the lady at the switchboard knew your voice (these were days of landlines), then you would appear at his favourite hangout till one day you got your breakthrough. It was probably an approval from the buggers he hangs out with. ‘Si kabaya!’
Now you were dating and spending most of your free time washing his cubicle and doing his laundry. Oh yeah, and cooking chapati. Some of you had to carry the pan in your handbags because he did not one.
After he established that you were a hardworking domestic worker, also you were probably pregnant, you both set a wedding date.
Remember, no one has asked the other what they expect, much less expressed their needs and wants. You have a bridal shower and they tell you to cook and wear a sexy nightdress. He, on the other hand, is told to be a man, whatever that means.
And you start your nightmare. If you are lucky, it is manageable, if one party just decides to conform.
Someone said to me that he would be very worried if I insisted on doing the cooking. (By the way, I am a very good cook). What would he do with his cook, at a time when the unemployment rate is at all-time high? I was grateful that we had that conversation because had I insisted on doing all the cooking, which I do not particularly enjoy, his cook would be out of a job and he would secretly resent me for contributing to joblessness in the country.
What I am saying is let us have these not so romantic discussions. People have hated each other for things that would have been sorted with a discussion at the beginning. Full disclosure.
Do you want one wife or are you into variety? I do not cook, can we afford a maid? I do not want any children. I do not expect my wife to work. You will be my fourth wife and I expect you to get along with your co-wives. I just want to live with you, I do not want to get married. I have to run every decision by my mother.
Ignore the sensations in your body for a while and have sober, well thought out conversations, then, in my opinion, you are on your way to a better quality, hopefully longer relationship.