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Mina Martins: Here Is Where Most People Go Wrong in Choosing a Spouse

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Do you know what you want in a life partner? At some point in your life, you will ask yourself this question. If you never have, and you are looking to settle down soon, then you are headed for trouble.

It is simple to assume that you know what you are looking for. Tall, dark, handsome, financially stable, Godfearing… coming up with the perfect adjective to describe your future partner might not seem like that hard of a thing to do. But are you looking for what you want or what you think you should want? Let me give you two examples that inspired this article.

Deborah is a very good friend of mine, I have known her since secondary school. We hang out a lot and of course, often had discussions about men, relationship and all. The guys she dated, she never asked them for a dime. Some offered and some didn’t but Deborah was determined to not be the ‘materialistic’ girl.
A few years ago, she met Fred. Fred was just about to conclude a post-graduate course. Fred was a dreamer. He hoped to build and run a successful business one day. He was completely disinterested in working for anyone. Deborah saw his passion and was drawn to it. She was his rock while they dated. Even though he didn’t have it all figured when he proposed, she agreed because she believed in him.

She believed that even though he was not where he should be in terms of finances, he would get there. She believed her patience and -for lack of a better word- investment will pay off someday. It sounded noble and like Deborah often repeated to me whenever I asked her why she would want someone who could offer her less than what she grew up with, “I am a good girl. Good girls don’t go after the money.

Things were perfect for a few months after their wedding. Sure, they struggled since they mostly had to depend on her income but it was okay. She had her man’s back.
Then a while later, resentment started to build. She found herself envying her friends’ marriages where the men took the reins financially and showered their women with gold and trinkets. She looked at her struggling husband and started to even doubt that he loved her. She once told me, “how would he say he love me but cannot buy me ordinary birthday present?” I said, “well, you never minded when you were dating.” “Yeah, but it’s been four years,” she said, her voice quiet.

To Deborah, hanging in there with her man had an expiration date. Underneath it all, she wanted the fancy things but she could not bring herself to admit it because she feared how others would interpret it. So she got into a marriage with someone who was struggling. She figured someday, she will get returns for all her ‘hard work.’

Maybe he will make it, maybe he wouldn’t. But one has to worry how badly the resentment would affect their marriage. Her man could begin to feel insecure. And even if he becomes a multi-trillionaire someday, there may be way too much damage done to their marriage to survive.

Then there is Olu, one of my husband’s closest friends. He could not wait to get married. He was nearing 35. Most of his friends were either married or close. He and his buddies would hang out and the subject of an ideal wife will come up. I was hanging out with the guys one day when they seriously bashed one of Olu’s ex-girlfriends for being unable to cook. ‘What was the point in her being a woman,’ they wanted to know.
So Olu continued on his quest for a great cook. And he found one in Dolapo. Dolapo was beautiful, respectful and brought it in the kitchen. His buddies patted him on his back. Olu had found the perfect woman, they thought.

One day, a year after they got married, Olu did not go home after work. He came over to our house and asked to speak to my husband. They both went out to a nearby bar to talk. They were out for hours and I knew it must be big.

It was nearly midnight when they both returned. I asked no questions while I set up the guest bedroom for Olu for the night.

After he left for home early the next morning, my husband revealed to me that his marriage was in trouble?

From what I gathered, while Dolapo, to everyone, was the perfect wife, she was not fulfilling the biggest need Olu had. There were complaints about how she would not upload his photo on her social media, she did not notice when he got a new haircut, clothes and so on. Even though she cooked his meals, took care of his home, was respectful and mostly minded her business, Olu did not believe she loved him because she never held his hand in public or gave him random words of admiration and affection. Whenever he tried to bring it up, she shrugged it off. She grew up with a certain idea of what it meant to be a wife and as long as she did all she had learnt, then Olu had no reason to complain.

In fact, the night Olu spent at our home, he sent her a simple text message saying he was okay but was not coming home. She replied with ‘ok.’ No questions asked, no suspicions or query. Olu showed my husband the text as proof that his wife did not care.
“I would pay someone to cook the meals and clean my house if that meant I have a wife who gives a damn,” I was told he said at one point.

These are two people who were sure they knew what they wanted oblivious of the fact that they were subconsciously letting other people’s opinion make the decision for them.

So, again, do you know what you really want in a partner or do you want what you have been conditioned to want? Have you subconsciously allowed society, your friends, the media tell you what you should want?

The choice of who you spend the rest of your life with is one of the most important choices you will make. Stand in your own truth. Want what you want. No apologies.

If for instance, you want financial stability, then find that. Do not settle for less unless you know for a fact that if he never reaches that goal of big mansions and expensive cars, you will still be perfectly okay. A man is not a business investment. Stop listening to those that say, “hang in there, he will make it someday.” This puts a clock on your marriage and pressure on your partner. This ruins you before you even begin.

If emotional and physical connection is more important to you than a woman who makes the best meals, then be true to you. Because at the end of the day, it’s you and your partner in that room, figuring out your marriage, reaping its benefits or wallowing in disappointment.
This is one decision no one can make for you. There are no perfect traits. Find what works for you and stick with it
Do you know what YOU want in a partner? If you have no idea, you shouldn’t be getting married.

Photo Credit: Andrey Popov | Dreamstime.com

Mina is the writer alter-ego of a very introverted woman filled with dreams of changing the world. She is a wife, mother and cupcake lover. She can be reached via Email: [email protected]

50 Comments

  1. A Real Nigerian

    April 12, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    “Find what works for you and stick with it
    Do you know what YOU want in a partner?”

    I don’t know what I want. But I know what I don’t want, and that is a NIGERIAN MAN.

    • Huh?

      April 12, 2017 at 8:48 pm

      How is it going with that your Swedish lover? Still making sweet love?

    • A Real Nigerian

      April 12, 2017 at 9:43 pm

      Yes

    • Ladybird

      April 12, 2017 at 9:27 pm

      LOL WTH

    • Mbe

      April 12, 2017 at 9:45 pm

      A real Nigerian indeed. God punish you.

    • LemmeRant

      April 12, 2017 at 10:16 pm

      Then you’re not truly living up to your name.

    • The Queen Salma

      April 12, 2017 at 11:21 pm

      I second that my dear. Nigerian “men” are beasts, not men. Always beating, raping and oppressing women. They’re not even fine too

    • Neke

      April 13, 2017 at 10:16 am

      T-Boss is that you?

    • Chu

      April 13, 2017 at 12:42 pm

      Not nice

  2. blackbeatle

    April 12, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    magic subject guaranteed to get torrent of responses and advice from BVs..dont you guys get tired?

    • Pink

      April 12, 2017 at 7:32 pm

      Always complaining! Don’t you also get tired?
      P.s i enjoyed reading this article. So thank you Mina.

  3. John Matilda

    April 12, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    I also know what I don’t want : a man that feels I should do the domestic chores for the rest of my life just because I have a vagina it scares me to death, a man that feels raising a child is the woman’s responsibility, a man that does not love God, a man who is not financially stable……

    • LemmeRant

      April 12, 2017 at 10:30 pm

      Lemme complete the list for you.

      >> A man that doesn’t get you
      >> A man that cannot stand up for you
      >> A man that doesn’t call you every 2 hours
      >> A man that won’t give you money to buy all the expensive things you don’t really need.
      >> A man that has female colleagues
      >> A man that doesn’t brush at least 3 times a day
      >> A man that can’t speak at least 2 foreign languages
      >> A man that has 2 legs
      >> A man that eats food
      >> A man that watches football EPL
      >> …

    • anon

      April 13, 2017 at 4:45 pm

      hahaha “man that has 2 legs”..that one got me

  4. Zee

    April 12, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    OMG this article is so apt. I’m 25years old and it’s dawning on me that I don’t even know what I want in a man. Ironically, I want to get married before the end of next year. Oh Jesus Lord God.??

    • Adeke

      April 16, 2017 at 3:13 pm

      Same!!! This article is literally a wake up call. My usual definition of an ideal guy is usually just the generic adjective.

      I definitely need to wake up.

  5. john

    April 12, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    @blackbettle I wonder ooo even her second point was wack bcos majority of men will do anything to have a wife as dolapo..A woman who cooks, wash and work at the same time and doesn’t disturbs you unnecessarily..thats it is a jackpot

    • truth

      April 12, 2017 at 9:15 pm

      thats your opinion because you are immature

    • Omoté

      April 12, 2017 at 9:15 pm

      Really???? Your average house help can provide all those services, no need getting a wife. I’m pretty sure u ain’t married. When you do get married and you get home after a really horrible day at work n she doesn’t even notice may be then u’d understand better.

    • john

      April 12, 2017 at 10:04 pm

      Haven’t you heard of stories of men sleeping and marrying their House help and living happily contrally to public opinions.. while the ex wife (not knowing what hits her) laments to those who will care to listen

  6. Baby gurl

    April 12, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    Oh wow. Thank you. In summary, Don’t get married to “potential”. What is potential? How do you know that the potential you dream up in your head will materialise. Marry him or her for what he or she is right now. What you can seen. Goodbye to anyone that tells me to manage. Manager. I have a lot to say about this topic and a lot of stories/second hand experience about folks that have fallen into this trap but I refuse to comment an epistle LOL.

    • ah baby gurl!

      April 12, 2017 at 9:55 pm

      Why you gon do like that? Please give us gist

    • LemmeRant

      April 12, 2017 at 10:33 pm

      You know I’ve heard this alot.

      So lemme ask you now:
      Assuming you don’t go for potential, then what are the odds you’ll end up wifing a rich man who will provide all your needs.

      You babes make it sound as if just because you turn down men that are hustling. Rich boys will start lining up to marry you and cherish you.

  7. LemmeRant

    April 12, 2017 at 10:18 pm

    @mina

    Help me ask Dolapo if his wife has any sisters. Na that kind babe me I they find sef.
    Not to nosy, won’t bug my life. Also not into the PDA shit.

    • Ify

      April 13, 2017 at 12:51 pm

      Then hire a house help

  8. Alterego

    April 12, 2017 at 10:34 pm

    Dear future husband, I can cook but that isn’t my strongest point. My thick thighs and curved bottom is ideal in traditional African society but it isn’t the most important thing. Yes I have childbearing hips. But alas, they don’t matter either. What matters is that I am an improver. You see, I turn things around. It’s what I do best. You see, for example, I moved into a hovel, a cupboard because I needed a place like yesterday. But today I have turned it into a home. From Lawansin to posh boutiques, from flea shops to online shopping, I have managed to transform it into a haven that awes people. They visit me and never want to leave. So imagine what I would do to you if we crossed paths.
    But first you would have to sustain my interest. I would have to know for sure that remaining single wouldn’t be better for me. That my life with you will be fine. We would improve each other.
    You would have to be eclectic. Unorthodox, a non conformist. I like art. Do you? I like to sleep in hotels as a treat. Hope we can travel together. Me with my camera and straw hat and shorts and sandals. Hope I can read to you in bed. And when I can’t sleep and need to add a chapter to the book I am writing, you will understand. I hope you know about poets, about history, about jazz and soul. Hope you don’t mind when I bring home things I find in flea markets. Hope you won’t be noisy and demand we always hang out with friends, yours or mine.
    Hope you want a small family? A kid or two. I hope I can be me, I hope you will give me the space I need to flourish. And know that even when I’m quiet and in my space, I still love you. I used to think I was crazy, that I wouldn’t find love. But I know for me to be this way, God made others like me. I just have to find them.
    So I know what I want. I do.
    Writer, thank you for this article, reminding me again to know what I hold dear. What is important.
    P. S, I bought a new waffle maker today. Sooo excited.
    P. S. S….. I am normal.

    • john

      April 12, 2017 at 10:54 pm

      u better wake up from ur slumber before I start panicking about youe state of mind

    • Alterego

      April 12, 2017 at 10:55 pm

      John. It is my state of mind. Not yours

    • Psalm 23

      April 12, 2017 at 11:18 pm

      You can’t even spell “your” and you’re worried about someone else’s state of mind? Sit down, boo

    • Dt

      April 12, 2017 at 11:38 pm

      U are not normal.
      Nne you are eccentric. Wish you all your heart desires though

    • CoMMENTER

      April 13, 2017 at 3:08 am

      So glad that you can be yourself. Continue doing so. It is nothing to be apologetic about 🙂

    • Kay

      April 13, 2017 at 5:36 am

      you are awesome!

    • Alterego

      April 13, 2017 at 9:23 am

      *chuckles*

    • PH Boy

      April 13, 2017 at 10:31 am

      ……if only i had seen your post some years ago, Dont despair, men that match your list exist.

    • tunmi

      April 13, 2017 at 5:40 pm

      kisses!!!

    • Tobi

      April 14, 2017 at 10:25 pm

      Oh no! You sound just like me. Writing, jazz, flea market…well except the waffle maker. Super eerie moment!

    • Alterego

      April 14, 2017 at 11:08 pm

      You see, there are people like us!

  9. caramel chic

    April 12, 2017 at 10:43 pm

    This article was rather disturbing in my opinion..

    Marriage is a journey!
    A journey where numerous mistakes are made.But one hopes the commitment to the marriage keeps both parties. You don’t meet someone and marry them the next day. Your words suggest women/men are to have this ultimate power to ‘know’ and identify this perfect spouse. Yes what if Olu had expectations for his wife and finds out she did not meet them. That is the most normal occurrence in any relationship.Were all one step away from not meeting the expectations of those in our lives. I don’t know any who isn’t. Rather than lamenting an unmet expectation as a revelation that one is in a bad marriage. Why not equip people with how to be better communicators, how to handle unmet expectations.
    We need to stop these articles that insinuate a perfect marriage as this ultimate emotional orgasmic positioning of life. Or this subtle competition to have an amazing marriage., because you knew it all and what you wanted in a marriage. What does that mean anyway?We put to much pressure on perfection in this our generation. If you worship that idea and carry it as an idol. Obviously you will be more concerned by the Jones and the Shola’s. Rather than acknowledging your own relationship and working on yourself to be the best individual you can. Some women your husbands will only ever buy you roses on valentine day. He has no romance in his blood what so ever. Does that mean, your marriage isn’t strong? Some, your marriage will be plagued in constant financial uncertainty because your husband is a business man? You never know where the money is coming in. Does that mean you leave to find a man who has constant salary? Because you can’t handle it??Many of us have been plagued with the idea that this marriage is what will bring you complete joy and emotional happiness. THIS IS A LIE! No human being especially one whom you sleep next to will ever be able to give you that consistently. It will not happen. He/she can give that three days in a row. But then he/she falls and exposes their true human issues and perplexity. Unless you are being beaten or abused daily. (get out) But many of the frictions you are going through in your marriage is very normal. Hence we have a hope in marriage that those chapters will fade and a couple will transit to the next chapter. You need to work it. Nobody can get their daily joy or validation in their marriage day by day. Conflict between two people is extremely normal and doesn’t mean you married the wrong person. Once you said yes in your vows you are now married to the right person.
    The question is are you committed to working everything out?

    • Aunty

      April 13, 2017 at 12:15 am

      Bless you girl!!! will you marry me? ❤️
      Marriage is a journey. It’s life. I dont get the need for perfection from day one. I wish more people thought like this.

    • Madman

      April 13, 2017 at 1:16 am

      Nailed it. And when you can’t take the person anymore, you divorce and leave.

    • anon

      April 13, 2017 at 5:03 pm

      When people with much experience talk you listen….You said it all caramel chic and I doff my hat for you!

  10. alwayshappy

    April 12, 2017 at 11:53 pm

    You are better knowing what you do not want as in write a list, this way the alarm bells will ring loud enough to make you borrow legs and brain to waka far from troubled men, f**kboys and ________ fill in your blank before you say #ido . If you begin compromising on nonsense and ingredients before i do, na that same load you go carry for head, neck go begin ache . As dem culturally bondaged Nigerians would say, you are the neck he is the head, hmm i wonder who will buy you alomo or bengay for your neck pains/injury.

  11. Madman

    April 13, 2017 at 1:21 am

    Marriage is as is, as is.

    Not potential, as is. So that means more people need skills to identify qualities they want in a partner. Are they honest? Are they hardworking? What are their values?

    The other thing is, know who you are and what you value before bringing someone in with you on your journey. Most people dont know who they are and have no business getting married.

  12. Lonely Girl...

    April 13, 2017 at 6:48 am

    What do I want… who do I want…

    All is well… I pray I meet my friend. Please I have a question to ask though; What would make a guy whom you think you are getting along with go ghost on you?

    The trauma is real

    • funmilola

      April 13, 2017 at 8:20 am

      he was never into you….put an end to the trauma by forgetting about him or better still talk to him and ask what’s up.

    • caramel chic

      April 13, 2017 at 11:03 am

      It is totally okay to not know what you want. It doesn’t make you any less of a woman/man. Perfection and having it all together is a societal lie. Before trying to know what you want in a man. Take a chapter out of your life and find out who you are? What are your weaknesses and what are your issues? have you dealt with your fears, woes and anxiety. Do you have anger and social issues? deal and address them. Do you need counselling for any childhood issues? face yourself in the mirror and acknowledge thyself. Know thyself first dearest friend. Many of us are seeking partners based on our own insecurities. Once you can acknowledge thyself then your heart can be open to having a mature relationship. Whether it leads to marriage or not. Lots of love @lonelygirl

      ps- the fact you have to ask if a man likes you is a clear sign darling.

    • tunmi

      April 13, 2017 at 5:43 pm

      madam!! you are speaking to me with this one.

      I knew I had my own issues but I never saw counseling for them until recently. Things I thought I was done with and had dealt with came bubbling right back on the surface. Childhood issues are no joke. I didn’t even know I had them but talking to a counselor helped me connect the dots. It was truly eye-opening. It was the eru (baggage) and the eru (fear)

    • ogeAdiro

      April 13, 2017 at 7:45 pm

      You’re spitting some mad knowledge here. Any idea how one goes about identifying their issues? Taking a break from dating is good but how does one guard against making the same mistakes?

    • caramel chic

      April 14, 2017 at 12:01 am

      My precious @Ogeadio how I wish I can ‘guard you from making mistakes’ I never want to see anyone hurt, My own heart has been bruised and blemished in the past. From your question I can already tell that you are scared and fearful of getting into a wrong relationship. You want to be in that perfect, heartbeat walking down the beach relationship. My dearest those blessings can truly come. When they come, I don’t know.

      I started identifying my issues by asking my close friends. Traits that you see in friendships often show in relationships. Look at your relationship with your parents. Address any issues you have with them that you have ignored and said ‘that’s just life’. You don’t have to address it directly to them. Start with being honest with yourself.I had severe issues about not having a MuM. Those were abandonment issues which for me I thought I had dealt with. But I just merely hid them under, being an independent, I can do all bad by myself chic. I’m always strong. Then ended up in a relationship where I found it impossible to be vulnerable. I was filled with fear and couldn’t open up. The guy left! (don’t get me wrong he had his own issues) but there are two in a relationship. We must be able to address our own contribution to relationships.

      I encourage you to have a ‘three wise man clique’ We live in a generation of ‘I too know’ we think we know it all and rarely seek counsel from others. Which is such a foolish mentality. Whenever you find yourself ready to start dating someone. Share it with your three wise men clique, Ask them for their wise counsel, be truthful with them. Their counsel can be of importance when in a relationship. Iron sharpens iron. More importantly human beings can be clouded with emotions. Your wise men clique should give you counsel on your behaviour within the relationship. Choose people who know you. Know you properly. A pastor sees you on a Sunday or at a Wednesday prayer meeting. That isn’t knowing someone. So choose three people who know you. Consider an older person in the family.

      You don’t need to guard yourself against mistakes. That is called prison and misery.
      You need to be free with yourself to see your own weaknesses and address them.
      Free to be you in truth and grace.
      Your truth is the perfect and imperfect you. That vulnerability and strength of knowing yourself is what you are bringing to a relationship. Not this fake mirage of perfections . What if the person uses it against me?What if the person misuses my openness and vulnerability?
      Nobody can use your truth against you. They can only misunderstand it.
      Being misunderstood is not the worst thing to happen to a human.
      Living a lie is.

      So be free dearest @Ogeadio the African culture wants you to lie and pretend.
      Life is to short for that.
      So many blessings await you, Be free. Be free to Love. Real Love. That patient, calm, gentle , mature and wise love.

    • memebaby

      April 15, 2017 at 7:33 pm

      hmm ma sista..ee happeded to me 3 years ago.. FURST time in mah life! babe like me lol.. we were in the getting to know phase.. no kissing or anything at all.. to be honest. I was still trying to figure out if I liked him or not as I love to take my time.. we went out for dinner and went dancing… next day uncle didn’t send my good morning text… and that’s how communication died o..
      I felt rejected as I’m the one who does the rejecting. I had questions. but I could not get answers from this Yoruba man..but with time, I moved on.

      so baby girl.. you will be fine.. you only need time :*

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