Are you considering tying the knot? Before you say "I do," it's important to understand the true meaning and purpose of marriage. From its historical roots to modern-day expectations, this article explores the complexities and beauty of the sacred union known as marriage.
Marriage and dating relationships are different types of interpersonal connections that involve emotional, physical, and/or spiritual intimacy. Since my audience here are women, I’ll be focusing on their perspective in this topic.
One key difference between marriage and relationships is the transition between dating or courtship and marriage involves a change in the role of provisioning for both genders. What I mean by this is In a dating relationship women are not considered to be an active provider but in a marriage, she is expected to provide for him in terms of monetary and other aspects. What I mean by being a provider as a women will be explained further.
Studies have shown that men generally benefit more from marriage and are the happiest demographics when married, while women who are married tend to be the unhappiest. Why is this so? We shall un pack this further.
Typically, Marriage has three main aspects:
Financial and legal,
and Gender roles and cultural expectations.
I will touch upon two of these, which is: Emotional and Gender roles based on the female perspective.
Gender roles and cultural expectations
In a marriage, women are often expected to conform to traditional gender roles that have been reinforced by centuries of social constructs. These roles are design to target women to be providers - this can include providing domestic labor, providing offspring and babysitting services, and physical sexual services, among others in exchange for status and lifestyle if the husband is rich. Men used to pay a bride price or dowry in exchange for these services and these practices still exist in some parts of the world today. In contemporary society, women are also expected to provide financial contributions to the marriage. In contrast, when a woman is in a dating relationship, she is not required to fulfill these traditional gender roles obligation.
Men are often expected to continue in their pre-marriage roles and may not fully understand the burden traditional gender roles have placed on their spouse when women are turned into providers even if those provision may not be directly monetary. When a woman has to financially support or take care of her partner's needs and his responsibilities, she may feel that he is dependent on her - like a child rather than her equal partner. This can lead to resentment and a loss of respect for her partner. Men who wants true love and a healthy fulfilling marriage needs to embrace their full responsibilities of a true provider.
If you are a woman considering marriage, it is important to communicate with your partner about your expectations on gender roles and responsibilities in the relationship. Do you want to provide all these services and later resent him? Or perhaps you might feel guilty for being provided for completely? A healthy feminine women in her balanced self would naturally gravitate towards being provided for in all totality but a women who is unbalanced and have more masculine traits may struggle with this concept. Wherever you stand on this scale of femininity, you should consider whether his expectations aligns with your own standards, goals and values. If a woman is planning on living in with her partner after marriage, it is important to discuss and establish these roles beforehand.
By being open and honest about your needs and expectations, you can set yourself up for a healthy and successful marriage with the right man.
Just a word of caution, acting on these new standards i.e to be provided for in every possible way, challenges existing beliefs or norms and it’s ahead of its time, that a lot of men, due to centuries of social construct will rather throw themselves off the cliff. It sets a high bar for men, potentially disqualifying those who are financially lacking from marriage. Setting standards like this may cause anger, discomfort or insecurity in men who are not yet stable in life - financially, psychologically, or spiritually.
I will talk about what women bring to the table in marriage in the last section of this article.
The emotional aspect of marriage
The next aspect of marriage is the emotional aspect. It refers to the bond that forms between two people in a committed relationship, which is often based on love, sexual intimacy, psychological safety, and mutual respect. While emotional bond may exist in dating relationship, it is less intensed if certain protocols are adhered to. For women who practice living together and have physical intimacy only after marriage, this bond is strengthened by consistently intertwining both their lives together. Women's bodies produce oxytocin and dopamine more than men when engaging in both sexual and non-sexual activities, making it harder for them to leave a marriage due to the time spent together.
Many men unfortunately have not been taught empathy, conflict management skills in relationships, communication skills, or emotional intelligence while growing up in most families. As a result, they may struggle to provide the level of emotional intimacy and connection that women crave, and instead rely on sexual connection to sustain the relationship. If you are a contemporary woman looking for an emotional connection with your partner, it's important to understand that he may not have these skills, so be open to both of you learning them if you want to have an amazing relationship and marriage.
There is a lot at stake in marriage. To protect yourself from being manipulated and used as a provider - for domestic labor, parenting, personal assistance, financial planning, and physical and monetary support - it's important to set high standards for yourself. If you feel guilty or uneasy being on the receiving end, it may be because you have been conditioned to be in provider mode and are entertaining an emasculated man. Some women from more religious backgrounds are told to serve their husbands to be good women, but it's important to understand that men value someone they need to put effort in.
Women's idea of marriage is often to have companionship, love, and a best friend forever, but when they enter a marriage, they may not receive this and instead are expected to provide for their partners as prescribed by social constructions and culture. This can lead to a disconnect between dating and marriage, as women's roles change drastically between the two, causing a decrease in love and respect as they step into the role of a provider. A healthy woman is designed to be receptive to receiving provision from her partner, which is a cornerstone of being a healthy, feminine woman. In a long-term connection like marriage, relying on sex as a bonding tool will become less effective over time, so it's important to focus on deepening emotional intimacy and other non-sexual connections to keep the sexual intimacy alive and strengthen the relationship. Men who don't have these skills may struggle to provide this connection to their partners.
What do women bring to the table in marriage?
Man might cry out, “oh then what do women bring into the marriage if we are providing everything!”
Some men may wonder what purpose women serve in a marriage if the man is already providing for everything. It is important to understand that marriage for women is not about taking care of his responsibilities and providing him with basic needs and resources.The man should already have these things in order before entering into a marriage with a woman.
There are certain aspects of a marriage that men may not be aware they are seeking, but that women bring to the relationship. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs can help to understand this concept. This hierarchy is a model that explains the different levels of human needs, which must be met in a specific order. The needs are: physiological needs, safety needs, belonging and love needs, esteem needs, and self-actualisation needs. In order for individuals to progress to higher levels of the hierarchy, the lower needs must be met first.
Physiological needs: These are the most basic needs that must be met in order for an individual to survive, such as the need for food, water, shelter, and rest.
Safety needs: Once physiological needs are met, people seek to feel safe and secure in their environment. This includes the need for personal security, resources, financial security, and health and well-being.
Belonging and love needs: After safety needs are met, people seek to feel a sense of belonging and love. This includes the need for friendships, family, intimate relationships, and a sense of community.
Esteem needs: Once belonging and love needs are met, people seek to feel a sense of accomplishment and self-esteem. This includes the need for self-respect, respect from others, and the achievement of personal goals.
Self-actualization needs: At the top of the hierarchy, people seek to fulfill their full potential and achieve self-actualization. This includes the need for personal growth and self-fulfillment.
Translating this concept into marriage, When true healthy masculine men get women into marriages, he should provide her with Physiological and Safety needs while a true healthy feminine women faciltates and inspire him to attain the higher up needs - such as Esteem needs and Self actualisation. Why do I say this? It’s because when a man is fully ready for marriage, bringing a woman into his life is the highest form of validation he can get from his community - it is a mark of his manhood and masculinity. Men who are married are respected more and this echoes a sense of achievement for him. When this level have been attain, women will instinctively propel the relationship into self-actualisation. Wonder why women are sometimes nagging their men or complaining? That is because women by design is made to take men into the self - actualisations pathway, although we need to acknowledge that nagging is a toxic communication method
As for belonging and love needs, both man and women are mutually facilitating this connection. Bringing a women in his life will create a bonding of friendship, growth of family, its an intimate relationship and it will expand both of your already existing sense of community.
Women are searching for true love, companionship and a lifelong best friend in their marriages. However, if they are constrained by outdated social constructions to focus solely on providing men achieve his basic needs and feeling unfulfilled emotionally within the marriage, both men and women will loose out and not be able to realise the true benefits of marriage. Both men and women desire fulfilment, peace and love within a union, and these needs must be achieved. The benefits of marriage are numerous, but women are often not given the opportunity to experience these benefits due to outdated social norms.
By having meaningful conversations about our expectations in relationships, we can help create stronger marriages that are based on respect and emotional connection—not outdated social conventions. Allowing women to be their true selves in relationships will result in more successful unions that benefit both men and women. Ultimately, it is up to us as individuals to create a healthy marriage with our partners that will stand the test of time.
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