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Ese Atakpu: Did You Choose Your Partner for Passion or For Security?

Choosing safety over passion does not guarantee safety. When it comes to another human being, you are never really sure. People change, and Mr. Safe can too. Are you ready to spend the rest of your life resenting your spouse for somehow deceiving you into settling for him? Are you ready to spend forever resenting yourself for allowing fear to push you into settling for a man you don’t love? Because the truth is, you don’t love him, not romantically at least. If you did, being with him would not feel like settling for the safer option.

Ese Atakpu

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As an unmarried Nigerian woman, most of the advice I have received on choosing the right spouse revolves around one central point: make sure to choose a man that loves you more than you love him.

I have been repeatedly warned not to marry for passion or love. Let him be the passionate one, blinded by affection. They say marrying for love is how women end up with wife-beaters and serial cheaters, that love blinds us to telltale signs of a latent abuser. And in a country where nearly 3 in 10 women have experienced gender-based violence by the age of 15, this is not an unfounded fear. This advice is usually punctuated by anecdotes of women who married charming men and ended up bitterly regretting it.

So that is the rule: do not marry for physical attraction. If possible, do not get married to someone you find physically attractive. That way, you can be sure of entering into marriage with eyes clear and senses alert.

Despite the obvious flaw in this rule (men cheat in spite of and not because of their looks), I fully internalized it and prepared myself for a reasonable marriage to a ‘safe and just presenting’ man. You might have done the same.

But remember this…

Choosing safety over passion does not guarantee safety. When it comes to another human being, you are never really sure. People change, and Mr. Safe can too. Are you ready to spend the rest of your life resenting your spouse for somehow deceiving you into settling for him? Are you ready to spend forever resenting yourself for allowing fear to push you into settling for a man you don’t love? Because the truth is, you don’t love him, not romantically at least. If you did, being with him would not feel like settling for the safer option.

One could argue that since every man is a potential cheat or abuser, it might be better to settle for safety. That way, if he hurts you, it will be easier to walk away. Because abuse from someone you never really loved won’t hurt as badly as abuse from someone you love with all your heart. But you know this is not true, don’t you?

In any case, let’s say Mr. Safe remains safe, what then? After years of marriage to Mr. Safe, love will come. Love as an accompaniment to gratitude for his treatment of you. You will love him because he first loved you and because he is the perfect husband (and father). Although not passionate, this love will be steadfast and rooted in feelings of security. And it will be just as valid as the love you could have had with the man that lit your soul up.

So where lies true love? Security or passion? I conducted a poll on Twitter and the general consensus seems to be passion.

Getting married to the love of your life is true bliss, getting married to Mr. Safe and eventually growing to love him is also bliss – of a different kind. But if there is a possibility of experiencing true bliss from the beginning of your marriage, why settle for anything less? Regardless of the option you pick, safety is never truly guaranteed. Life will hurt you, why give it a head-start on that hurt?

Constant reader. Occasional writer. Eager explorer. Ese Atakpu is a lawyer, arts enthusiast and a fierce advocate for women’s empowerment. You can find her on twitter @beeblebrox_E

7 Comments

  1. MR. Prince

    June 24, 2020 at 9:51 pm

    Truly choosing safety over passion does not guarantee safety.
    Thanks a lot Ese Atakpu for sharing this. Truly there is so much to learn here

  2. Crown

    June 28, 2020 at 2:28 pm

    For the first time, someone writes truthfully.

  3. Zinny

    June 29, 2020 at 7:04 am

    Safety trumps passion.

    By the time he starts snoring or spittle drizzles down his mouth when he sleeps or farting near you , passion fades

    Singles must learn that love , passionate love is not such a necessity as Disney and Hollywood and Romance novels have made us believe.

    Love is a choice, a DECISION, never a feeling. That is why we say in sickness or in health. If he has a stroke and can’t walk, passionate love would fade.

    Its the choice to stay that keeps people in marriage.

    Feelings are so fickle.

    The mind should choose its life partner, not the heart. Else, divorce would happen, even when it could have been avoided.

    Not to say, that some marriages shouldn’t end in divorce BUT the more we seek for passion in our relationships ,the more we break out hearts.

    Moreover, in the bible, love wasn’t a prerequisite. Disney invented it.

    If basic love is present, Agape kind and the willingness by both parties to obey the Golden rule, they are good to go.

    4
    • Grace

      June 29, 2020 at 8:35 pm

      Funny you use snoring and so as an example for safety over passion. You made a point for passion if anything. The human weaknesses of someone you do not love shine brighter than those of someone you love. Little things irritate you and resentment builds. Passion, on the other hand, accommodates those weaknesses. Whether or not that is a good thing is left for whomever to decide.

      1
  4. Edes

    June 29, 2020 at 6:30 pm

    Nice Read.
    Passionate love or Safety… that’s the question 🤔

  5. Justus

    June 29, 2020 at 7:43 pm

    Amazing read. I need more writings like this.

  6. Ofuure

    June 29, 2020 at 10:18 pm

    Life will truly hurt one definitely better not to give it a head start. True words ♥️

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