Ngoza Phiri-Mazarura: Is Marriage a Limitation or a Positive Consideration for Career Women?

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NgozaBy Ngoza Phiri-Mazarura

Whether marriage is a limitation or a positive consideration for women is certainly a provocative question, I know; one which some women may ask themselves on their journey to becoming successful.

I was watching Oprah’s interview on her OWN channel and she explained why she chose not to have children. In summary, she says that her work is her baby. Now let me put this conversation into context. I am a 34 year old married woman living in a third world country (second world technically) , South Africa; a country that some may consider to be one of the more progressive countries on the African continent. My friends are career driven and also have families. Being in our 30s, we are arguably at our most productive in the work space and making career in-roads; owning successful businesses. The world is our oyster! Or is it?

The conversations we have now revolve around balancing our home lives and work. We spend a lot of time on the road, participating in global business. Opportunities beckon all over the world, however, many times we are stuck between realizing our full potential through chasing our dreams and maintaining healthy marriages.

An American gentleman said to me that he didn’t understand the issue. He said, in the USA, couples simply look at who is bringing in the most money and that is who calls the shots. I found that to be a limiting approach because it considers the needs of one and not both of the people in the relationship. If I am constantly having to follow my spouse, then how do I fulfill my own ambitions?

In our communities, many of us don’t have older women to advise us because most of our mothers’ generation may have been employed but they certainly did not run or lead companies so they generally can’t relate. Our husbands are not too sure how to communicate or live in harmony with these powerful ever achieving women. Our churches preach all forms of submission to our husbands, which can be difficult to comprehend. How do we not die inside whilst submitting?

All ye of Solomon’s wisdom, help!

What Do you think-Is marriage a limitation or a positive consideration for career women?

Ngoza Phiri-Mazarura is a wife, mother and businesswoman who loves initiating meaningful and thought-provoking dialogue with her writing.

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10 Comments

  1. Thanks for a thought-provoking article. I think one of the major problems with submission is that many Christians agree on the principle, but we don’t spend time discussing it. We avoid it like an accident scene. I think for us to survive it is important for husbands and wives to openly discuss what submission is and how to apply it, especially in today’s dynamic world. Without active discussion submission can be a burden on both men and women; we need to redefine it and agree on its subjective implementation in our lives.

  2. Samuel Burnham on

    As both a Christian and a Pan-Africanist brother (and no, there’s no contradiction when it comes to serving God, as long as you don’t sin), I see where today’s socio-economic engines…created by mostly greedy, anti-people, anti-African-minded folks…encourage us to remain confused and hostile to ourselves and our spouses/potential spouses on this subject.

    However, using the spiritual and moral values I’ve been taught, a marriage of almost 14 years with a wife who works, and related experience, I hope I can provide some positive answers to those who are sincerely trying to do the right thing. The capital words are just for emphasis, and are not “internet shouts”.

    First things 1st…too many couples fail to honestly discuss this BEFORE marriage. The old saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure applies, even for complex situations like marriage and careers.

    But people do change before, during, and after the marriage ceremony, but using the old adage of “growing together”, “praying together”, instead of drifting apart, I’d like to first mention some basic concepts, assuming that we all wont to change for the better, then I’ll talk about…

    “Submission” in the Christian context.

    Consider the following:

    1. The potential wife should already have focused on self-development of spiritual, moral, and cultural character to know if she…as an individual, would make a “good wife”. That’s the foundation also for any MAN who wants to be a husband…but since this post is specifically about women…
    2. The woman must ask herself if her career goals are even conducive to marriage…or marriage to the person she is currently considering marrying! Like it or not, and depending on the abilities “God” has blessed a person with, some careers may demand too much of your essence for you to have a healthy marriage.

    As a side note: 2 examples: A beloved sister, who’s now an ancestor, Adunni Oshupa Tabasi, told me that she remained unmarried because she was “married to the movement for the true freedom” of African people…and that she didn’t want to put a husband through the ordeal of always being “2nd place” to that struggle.

    Carter G. Woodson, the brother Who wrote “The Mis-education of the Negro (from which too many African/Black folks are still suffering from) hinted at this concept also, not wanting to burden a would-be wife with his extreme dedication to African/Black people.

    These two noble people spared would be spouses so much grief by being honest with themselves and being considerate of others. THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH DECIDING NOT TO MARRY…as long as you DO NOT SIN.

    3. Next, the woman must know the meaning of the phrase “successful career”. I’m not talking about the self-centered, Eurocentric, capitalist idea of who makes the most money and who’s what type of manager at a major corporation. That’s POSITION…NOT SUCCESS! She must answer the question: “What will make me feel happy and fulfilled as a career woman”?”
    4. Finally, the woman must know enough about her career goals to know when to place limits on how much she will allow her career to encroach upon her marriage and/or family relationship. This is not a one size fit’s all limit, but it’s an individual limit that a righteous woman must consult “God” for…and be willing to consistently impose this limit on herslelf if she’s sincere.

    While some may remind me that the same can be said for a man, I must remind them that I do not disagree…but this topic is about women. However I will say it is the potential husband’s responsibility to ensure he knows his potential wife’s (or present wife’s ) views on these if he’s serious about maintaining a healthy marriage.

    SUBMISSION TO ONE’S Husband:

    First….The husband must love his wife as “Christ also loved the Church, and gave himself for it”…

    well, if a man loves his wife THAT MUCH…WILLING TO die, to protect an promote the welfare of his wife, then…that makes it much easer for THREE major things to happen:

    1. The husband, as “head of the household”…will only be assertive on things that promote the spiritual needs of the household, as well as what he feels…while consulting “God” for guidance…are the needs of a healthy household & family relationship. In other words, his wife won’t have to worry about a bunch of “rules, regulations, curfews”, etc., that have nothing to do with the above.

    2. Assuming the husband loves his wife as Christianity requires (to the point of death and sacrificing his life for her), he will be slow to obstruct the goals of his wife, and will only consider it (while consulting God) if these goals are “sinful” or not conducive to a healthy household (the latter of which is not a one-size fits all, but is honestly discussed). After all these goals of the career-minded would-be wife, if done with the right mindset, provides the woman with a sense of dignity, usefulness, happiness, and “completeness”.

    3. Consequently, the unmarried career woman who finds a man that understands the above concepts will have a much easier decision determining if marriage is right for her (to that particular man) or if she must find another man “compatible” with career goals to marry…or if she should hold off on marriage and is just not ready.

    Well, I’ve made assumptions that all the readers are not selfish, are trying to do the right thing, and understand the Christian principles, even if they respectfully disagree with Christianity.

    We live in a society that promotes the man verses woman foolishness for various reasons, and Black man verses Black woman foolishness, specifically, for the obvious racially charged reasons. Hopefully, I’ve said something to keep us on track.

    Respect,

    Sam

  3. mark english on

    the slavemaster gives you money that was predominantly earned by blackmale slaves and now you say we are a liability because your gendre based priviledges???you whores!!!!

    • Imagine if the question was “Is marriage a limitation of a positive consideration for career men?”
      Women are so silly it’s not even funny.
      I bet the only thing “powerful and ever achieving” is this woman’s ego. Whites in South Africa (of all places) gives her a job and now she’s “above” all the men. Not saying she should not enjoy “success” but she should begin by realizing if men did not carry the struggle and die, she’d still be changing some white kid’s diapers for a living. Here in the U.S., Rosa Parks would have just been another female arrested on a bus if MLK did not turn her arrest into a movement.
      My advice to this woman is “don’t marry”,if you have to ask that question I wouldn’t wish you on any man.

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