I generally believe that much like life, marriage really is what you make it. That being said, having been married for over eight years, I have found some freedom in breaking some rules that a lot of us have been taught, either by our families of origin, society or the media.
My observation has also been that the married couples that I admire, look up to and even get counsel from have also found freedom in breaking the same rules.
I don’t subscribe to completely abandoning our long serving traditions and cultures, especially if they help us function better in our families and communities. I do however feel that sometimes we can become trapped by outdated and misunderstood “rules” and a lot of dogma.
The following are the rules that I feel women need to break, or at least reconsider:
1. Don’t go to bed angry
I understand the value of this rule-basically, rather than prolong fights, it is better to just make up and move on. I do however feel that sometimes couples just need to go to bed angry. Sometimes a disagreement is so big that the “cooling off” period may take a little longer. It is important, however to make sure that when you take some time to cool off, that is exactly what you’re doing. The opposite of this would be replaying the disagreement in your mind and remembering it worse and worse each time. This does not help anyone and can only lead to destruction.
2. Don’t keep any Secrets
I don’t believe women should have deep dark secrets that would shock and devastate their husbands if they found out about them but at the same time, he does not need to know everything! A little mystery can add some spice to a relationship. You don’t need to talk to your man about your problem with constipation or a runny tummy and paint an unappealing visual for him. Let’s face it, “p00p” stinks and if you don’t want to kill the romance in your relationship, you’ll exercise some wisdom and keep some things to yourself.
3. Depend on each other
Anyone who has been married for a while knows that in order for the marriage to be healthy and functional, both partners have to allow themselves to be vulnerable. That does not however mean that they should be dependent on each other. Relying on another person is not the same as being their dependent. No woman wants a man who depends on her so much that she feels like his mother and no self respecting man wants his wife to be like his child. Couples can and should love, support and encourage each other but being dependent on someone else is unfair to them because of the pressure and it is unfair to you because you deserve to be loved without taking on the role of a child.
4. Your husband is the boss!
I often share that I grew up in a traditional house where the head of the family was my father and my mother wholeheartedly supported him in that role-and still does, to this day. Being in a leadership position is not the same as being “the boss” of another person. In a healthy partnership, everyone has the freedom to do what they want and be who they want to be. Of course, in a healthy relationship both partners exercise wisdom with that freedom. If two partners decide that what works best for them is that the husband assumes the leadership role in the relationship, that’s okay but that does not mean the husband turns into the woman’s father and acts like “the boss”. Again, no self respecting man or woman would want to be with someone who can’t function with out being bossed around or bossing someone around.
5. Women are nurtures and men are providers
Just so that it is clear, let me say this; I don’t believe that men and woman should abandon their “roles” entirely because I believe that both genders are beautifully unique and I absolutely encourage women to celebrate and embrace their femininity. I do however feel that we now live in a world where we can be more flexible and not trap ourselves with rigid gender roles. The recession has taught us that it is very possible for a man to be home with no job and for his wife to have a job. In these cases, the wife may have to step up and provide and her husband may have to step up and make sure the children’s needs are met. In general, I feel that even if the husband works and the wife stays home, a woman should have her own little “side hustle” to help bring in some income or to create a little financial freedom for herself and the husband should help with the care of the children and the household. Ever heard the saying “team work makes the dream work”? Well, it’s true (*smile)
Nomalanga is a Life Balance Expert. Her speaking and coaching programs help busy women who struggle to balance Marriage, Motherhood and Money-Making™. Nomalanga is an experienced instructor, author and avid blogger.