By: Chioma Onyewuchi
Almost every woman dreams of getting married. We dream of being pursued relentlessly as a hunter pursues his prey with love and determination. We dream of giving our pursuer a hard time by playing hard to get. We dream of finally relenting to this pursuer as he proves himself to us, and finally, giving him the gift of our love. As women, we understand how deeply and passionately we can love and so, we are naturally very cautious and guarded when our hearts are on the line. At least I know I am.
Of course, African women are no different. We too want these things that are universal to women everywhere, and for us especially, those desires can be much deeper. Our cultures expect us to be married at a certain age and have children at a certain age. Talk about pressure! The reality of this can be depressing and more than a little scary.
Sadly, for this reason, many of our women are rushing into marriage way too soon. By too soon, I don’t speak of age. I speak of knowledge of the spouse. Because many of our cultural views have long held the belief that women begin to have an “expiry date” that renders them unmarriageable at a certain age, they settle for the first man that they see. Worse still, they settle down with the man who refused to treat them like queens before marriage with the knowledge that that horrible treatment would likely deteriorate to abuse in marriage. All they care about is the “Mrs.” Before their names, and the fact that they can stop the wagging tongues from wagging.
Cultural backgrounds aside, it is my sincere belief that many African women settle for subpar African men because they believe that is all there is out there-subpar men. They don’t have the understanding that there are men of African descent that can love even more passionately and deeply than they can; that know when to switch the role from being the captain of the army to being a co-laborer in the household; and that have as much joy in the smiles of their children as their women do. Many of us are used to the myth of the big, bad African man.
Though there are, sadly, many men that fit the stereotypes of the unloving husband/father, there are many African men who know what it is to be faithful, to love their wives deeply and to take delight in their children. This is not the figment of my very active imagination, but a reality. These men just have not been highlighted enough, and they need to be.
It is imperative that they are talked about because it is time for a new standard of the African man to be raised: a man that is not afraid to speak of his wife with love and pride or carry his babies proudly in his arms. We have not always had a culture of family love in African households. They have sometimes been households built on tradition, or the need for procreation, or security, but not always on love.
In highlighting these amazing men who take their pride first in their families, there will be something for this generation and the next to look up to. Young men will learn that loving their wives and delighting in their children is a virtue not a vice. They will see that partnering with their wives does not make them a “woman wrappa,” and the next generation of young men will be raised with this as the new standard of an African man. Best of all, African women will see that because these men exist, they never have to settle for less ever again.
***Chioma Onyewuchi is documenting the relationships of these amazing men of African descent at www.lovenwords.wordpress.com. She loves writing about love and passion in marriage, and is ecstatic at the opportunity to promote a culture of pure and passionate love among men of African descent wherever they may be.***