When Abraham Maslow talked about self-actualization – which is at the peak of his hierarchy of human needs, did he picture in his head that for women, perhaps their peak experience would be achieved through marriage only and nothing else they dared deceive themselves believe was self-fulfilling? I seriously doubt that.
However, it has come to be accepted by many in societies around the world that no matter how successful, confident, psychologically balanced or secure a woman is, if she is not married, then she is one sorry miserable and lonely individual. The adjectives even get worse when she gets pregnant out of wedlock!
All that money and she still can’t get a man to marry her?
No man would wanna marry such a successful woman. She would intimidate him.
She is so beautiful yet no man wants to make her his wife.
Oh wow congratulations on your engagement, finally!
Whenever a woman announces her engagement, the most common reaction from her friends and relatives is a positive one, ‘congratulations!” Unfortunately, it’s not always the case for men. For the latter, the pronunciation of an engagement is usually received by this reaction, “oh hell, there goes freedom!”
When I was being prepared for my marriage just a few weeks before the traditional ceremony, I remember one woman saying to me, “you wanted marriage right? This is what you get and you should work hard to attain that goal. Do you think it comes easy?” Because these statements were delivered in the local vernacular, the impact was thrice the intended outcome.
I was very stressed during that period because as most African women know…and especially Zambians in this case, getting ready for the traditional marriage ceremony is most likely the most stressful and humiliating process a woman can ever go through during her journey to marital bliss…especially a woman who was not raised very traditionally!
I cannot emphasize how many times I thought about giving up on marriage during that whole experience. Despite it being done mostly for my own good, I did not appreciate the fact that almost all the women that surrounded me during that time kept on telling me how lucky I was to be getting married and how I should prepare myself mentally to deal with my husband’s infidelity in the future.
I kept wondering, is my future husband also going through the same lessons as I am? Is someone also telling him, “Watch out for that Annie, you better treat her well so that she doesn’t run off with another man.” I don’t think so. They were most likely telling him about the things he should expect from me as a perfect wife and very little about what he should do to be a good husband. If I remember correctly, not once was I told what I should expect from a good husband! It was like it was enough that he chose to marry me in the first place. I did not appreciate that.
Being the kind of person who is not very used to being told what to do and being stamped on by women whose names end in the suffix ‘inlaw,’ that experience and many others after that were very awakening. I did not take kind to the fact that such behaviour was not from men, but by women themselves towards their fellow woman!
If anything, I was only able to make it through that whole process due to my husband’s support, a man who does not buy into the concept of wives being a man’s slave.
How is it that when a wife becomes pregnant and delivers, it is the man’s swimmers that are congratulated on their delivery but if a wife fails to become pregnant, it is her womb that is cursed and insulted? I think that as long as no tests were taken to prove the efficiency of either party’s productive parts, if the man’s swimmers are the key to a woman’s pregnancy, then the swimmers should be shamed publicly for failing to deliver.
I mean, why would anyone kick and trample an oven for failing to produce bread if no dough was put in it in the first place? It doesn’t make sense at all. If you start out believing that the swimmers are kings of pregnancy, then keep with the trend all the way. Don’t change ships just because the weather is bad.
From my experiences, I have come to understand that sometimes…and mostly, women opt for marriage as a symbol of commitment; a means for them to be exclusively committed and dedicated to that one person, to raise a family with that person and to have someone to lean on during life’s journey. It’s a companionship thing, I am sure Maslow would agree with me.
It is not always that a woman will get married just so she can have exclusive access to a bank account or have someone take care of her because she has failed to do so on her own. When these things come, they are like a bonus and sure as hell they should be if she is going to dedicate the rest of her life being his helper. Yes it is very likely that a woman will choose marriage as a means of attaining self-actualization but marriage in itself is not the actualization being sought after…it is simply a means to an end. And this end can be attained through other means as well but it is always fun and fulfilling if the journey is filled with love and companionship.
I have been told so many times before that the major problem men have with women is that they always tend to portray themselves as victims of society or men, always forgetting that the women themselves are catalysts of that reality. And they are very right! It is a bitter pill to swallow but the truth is that most of the times my femininity has been bruised; it has been at the hands of my fellow women.
A few years ago I saw a post on Facebook from a female friend that read;
Stop walking tall and acting as if you own the world because everything you have belongs to your husband. You were nobody before he married you. You did not work for any of that…. Success is not a sexually transmitted disease.
I cannot even begin to tell you how offensive I found that post to be. In fact, I was mostly offended by the author of the post than the contents of the post itself! I do not know about the woman who was being talked about but whether she was a ‘nobody’ or not before he married her, she must have contributed her efforts somehow to whatever she became after marriage.
Whether it was her beauty, her laughter, her ability to care for someone enough to cause them to want them to marry her…and whatever else went on between them behind closed doors, if the man was still with her, then she was definitely doing something to earn her keep in that marriage.
I refuse to believe that marriage is the ultimate goal for women. The only reason it works is because it has a legal clause to it and with it comes the possibility of proudly raising a family of your own that will love you unconditionally.
Just as Maslow stated, it is not guaranteed and its certainly very rare that during the course of their lives, people will actually attain self-actualization.However, to reiterate a point here, marriage in itself is not what makes a successful and fully self-actualized female.
You have to remember that by society’s standards, a man is the one who gets down on one or both knees to beg a woman to marry him. Why would anyone stoop so low just so they could make something out of the person they are asking to marry? Can’t we conclude then that there is a dame good reason why anybody would get down on his knees to ask for something? Isn’t it obvious that they need something from that person?
It is that which they need and that which the woman expects from them that makes them equals, although we all know who actually gets to wear the pants. But, the bottom line is that they are both bringing something to the table. Any person who gets the chance to get laid on a daily basis or reasonable basis is dame lucky in my opinion.
And certainly any person who as a result of a few seconds or minutes of pleasure gets another person to carry the proceeds of that pleasure for nine months and then release the heavy product through a very small and narrow gate…if you have anybody that has ever done something like this for you or you are hoping that they one day do it for you, believe me you are the luckiest bastard to have ever lived!
And you better recognize.