Can A Single Woman Do Too Much Before Marriage?

BY: - 5 Sep '12 | Home

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Photo Credit: Mike Hughes

As a woman, who graduated college in four years (despite being a parent), purchased her first home by age 23, and who was the first person in her  immediate  family to go to college, I can say I’m “driven”. I’ve been that way since I was old enough to see my mom struggle with her independence after she divorced my dad. I had a yearning to make sure that I never had to rely on anyone else to ensure that I was OK . My yearning was never over confidence; it was just the confidence that I could be self sufficient–if necessary.

When I met my husband, that’s one of things he loved about me–my sense of independence. It never intimidated him; he was proud I didn’t “need” his help but instead I “wanted” his help. This is what all men think… Right? That’s what I thought until the other morning I was driving to work here in Atlanta and I heard the following:

“A woman should wait to purchase “big” things(dream car, house, etc) until she’s married. If they don’t wait, then it’s intimidating to a potential mate.”

As I listened, I was not only disturbed but also angered that, in 2012, it’s okay to tell women to lessen what they do in hopes that, one day, they’ll find a mate to do it with. Are men encouraged not to buy a house or a nice car until they find their wife? Of course they’re not!  But society makes women believe they always have to change to find a mate.  And, this is just another metaphorical slap in our face as women. According to  societal  standards, women have to now not only be perfect, but  they also are being  driven in fears that they’ll “scare” off the “perfect” mate!

Is this what being single has come to:  literally to wait on the “right mate” so that you can move forward with your life? Shouldn’t secure men be proud that women can do things “on their own”? You see, the belief that women need to “hold back” is the advice given to women usually by insecure men; these are men who are intimidated by a woman’s drive and passion and who will use it as a tool to make us feel like something is wrong with us. The equally sad part is there are single women who listened to this and thought that actually stopping their flow would attract a mate.

As I continued to listen to this show, the hosts went further to say that women who already own big ticket items (car, house, etc.) usually possess confidence like they are “too good” for men who don’t have the same. Now this is one point I could understand because after buying my first house at 23, I had a sense of accomplishment that others might mistake for arrogance. Luckily my then boyfriend (now husband) had to let me how it could “put others off” so I had to adjust my attitude from accomplished to grateful.

Ladies, the reality is  if a man wants to be with you, it won’t matter if you own a million dollar mansion, a sports car or if you’re the Senior Vice President of Coca Cola–they will pursue you. These men are usually already secure in who they are, and they appreciate the drive and ambition that many women are forced to have. They understand that becoming someone’s mate is a process that takes a lot of giving and taking.  And they aren’t scared off because a woman is successful. So don’t be ashamed of what you’ve done so far in your single life. Whether it’s you buying your first home, your “dream” car or taking your “dream trips”. Instead, be confident that the man for you will view those things as an “add” to the relationship and not as a subtraction from who you are!

Now BMWK family, do you believe that women should wait to do some things after marriage?

About the author

Franchesca Warren wrote 44 articles on this blog.

Franchesca Warren is writer, author, blogger, educator, runner, entrepreneur, mother and overall BossyGirl. She's currently working on her second book detailing her chronicles of working in two of the roughest urban school districts with a release date of August 2012. You can find her full-time on her blog chronicling her life trying to balance it all and run a marathon by the end of the year. In her spare time she runs her own editing company, The Editing Nerd, and working on the launch of her first magazine. For a daily account of the good, bad and ugly of being a BossyGirl follow her on Twitter!

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27 WordPress comments on “Can A Single Woman Do Too Much Before Marriage?

  1. PatriciaW

    No way! My mom, who was born in the 1920s and earned a master’s degree at a time when few Black women even had access to college educations told her daughters not to wait. She and my father were married for over 40 years. I too got my degree in four years and bought a house before I got married. 21 years later, he’s still not intimidated by me. He respects me and appreciates what I bring to table. No need to dumb it down, hide it in the bank or wait for a rainy day to catch a man before knowing your worth and treating yourself well.

    Reply
  2. Melissa

    I don’t agree with what was said on the radio this morning. However, I do caution single women to make sure they’re financially ready to take on big ticket things like houses and cars. Living within your means may include continuing to rent for a couple more years until you can save up a sizeable down payment for a home. It may mean continuing to pluck around in your old car until you can put cash on the table for a new one. Two people with healthy financial habits bring healthy financial habits to a marriage. If you’re willing to make the necessary sacrifices in the short term for long term benefits, that’s a characteristic any man should spot from a distance and appreciate no matter what you’re driving or living in.

    Reply
  3. ttjam

    My sister and I bought our home a year ago and at the time we were both single…well I was dating but that’s neither here nor there. Anyway, we paid for our home flat out with cash and were able to buy a 4 bedroom home at a great price and NOT be in debt as a result of it. Its possible and people should seriously look into buying right now especially in this market rather than renting. One of my favorite books speaks on the woman’s ability to buy a home BEFORE getting married and I encourage all women to read it. The title is “Your money and your man” it has a wealth of information in it from finances to love and relationships.

    Reply
    1. stephanieb

      Wow, I wish I could do that. Do you have any tips on how to purchase a home like that and not be in debt. I agree with Melissa though, sometimes buying the nice home, car, etc., can be biting off more than you can chew. I have a masters degree in public administration and have been working for state government for the past few years and still am not able to purchase a home on my own and I’m 30. It is still tough out here in this economy, but if you have the means, I say go ahead and do it, but it depends on each individual’s financial situation. I don’t see the point in waiting to get married to purchase a home, because if I was financially able, I would have bought a home a long time ago.

      Reply
      1. ttjam

        If you are willing to look into fixed uppers or Hud homes you can do it too. Look into fannie mae homes too. We purchased our home for 15,000 cash and only had to invest our own elbow grease into fixing it up to our own design maybe spent an extra 5,000 in cosmetics and other things such as that. Also, save up as you look because trust me this will be a long process and the bidding may make you want to quit but YOU CAN do it.

        Reply
        1. ttjam

          Also my home is a ranch style 4 sides brick home on half an acre with a huge back yard and a garage. Having a home that you OWN is so liberating and it brings me joy

          Reply
  4. Lisa

    Yes and no.

    I bought a home before I was married, but it was a 1-bedroom, 1 1/2 bathroom condo. I wanted to own my own place, so I did. However, I always knew that my dream home was something I wanted to have with a husband and hopefully children, so I specifically chose NOT to buy my “dream home” as a single woman. I wanted to have something to look forward to owning with my husband… and we will have that this November. My husband was the same way. He bought a home while single, but it’s a small bachelor pad. He considered building his dream home but waited… now he’s glad he did, because we truly feel like this home we’re getting is OURS and it’s a symbol of our marriage.

    As for cars, neither one of us think that’s a big deal. I don’t really have a dream car, nor does he. Cars are kind of a waste of money in our minds because they depreciate immediately after you leave the lot.

    All that being said, I don’t believe women should dumb anything down for a man. I had two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s degree before I met my husband and wouldn’t change a thing. If I had wanted a Ph.D., I would have gotten that too. If I had wanted the dream home, I would have gotten that as well… BUT, I do think that if marriage is something that you want for your life, then perhaps it would do you well to wait on a few things (like dream homes, dream cars, etc.) so that you can enjoy them WITH someone… and like Melissa said, it’s got to be harder for a single woman to get all of that on one income. Why not wait until there are two incomes in place before getting all that dream stuff. Seriously, what’s the rush?

    Reply
  5. Melissa

    Well said Lisa! I like your perspective of ‘choosing’ to leaving something to achieve together as a married couple. Whatever a woman decides to do, it should be an informed decision.

    Reply
    1. Lisa

      Thanks Melissa! Yeah, for me, it’s definitely not about holding back because I’m afraid of “intimidating” a man. After all, I would hope that while he’s single, he’s doing things as well that he can bring to the table of marriage… if a man is intimidated, it’s usually because he hasn’t done much himself and therefore can’t appreciate what a potential partner is doing! (And I’m assuming this is what the person on the radio was discussing… in that case, I disagree with him!)

      But I see that as completely different from building an entire dream life as a single woman and then expecting to just plug a husband into that life. I do wonder how exactly people expect to build a life with another person if they’ve spent decades being single and buying dream houses, cars, vacations, etc. How does one even make room for enjoying joint dreams in that case or have the satisfaction of saying, “Baby, WE did this?”

      Reply
  6. Thacker

    I’m not opposed totally to the Idea of buying big ticket items but does that make you take a position of if you marry your mate has to move in your house? What if he wants to establish something together or you both have a home any ideas on what to do then ?

    Reply
    1. Lisa

      This is a good question. In our cases, luckily, the homes we owned were both small ones. I moved into his place and rented mine out. We’re in the process of getting our new home and will then sell his. (And maybe mine next year.)

      I have to admit, both of us owning homes has made it a lot more difficult to get something of OUR own together. Not that either one of us regret buying homes (we don’t), but this was one of the downsides of having separate bigger ticket items before marriage. But we’ve worked it out and it helps that we can rent out our bachelor/bachelorette homes and still be able to afford our marital home. And you’re right… it does require decision making about who will move into who’s home and what you’ll do with the other house when two single homeowners decide to get married.

      Reply
  7. Lorri

    I agree with the both female and males not waiting for Mr or Mrs. to pop up before purchasing big ticket items. I will say I have seen it cause problems when the decision making comes and they have to choose whose home to live in. It almost seems better to but a new home to start off together. But nix the idea of waiting. Thumbs down for that.

    Reply
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  9. Cheryl

    It is scary to me that someone would say that a woman should wait to but a house, car, dream vacation until she is married. I think that you should do what you can to accomplish your goals, and when you meet that mate you prayed for, you guys dream new dreams together. I do not have the same dream house now at this age as I did when I was 22. Why would it be so difficult to create new dreams with your husband? Why would it be impossible to buy a new home (if you both decide that)? What a trick road this radio person has created – on one hand, wait until a man can provide that for you, and then on the other you are a gold digger if you don’t want to go out with a dude that cannot provide. I did not hear the show but I can guess who said that fragganackle crap…

    Reply
    1. stephanieb

      I agree Cheryl, it’s like when you’re a woman, you are darned if you do, and darned if you don’t. I say just DO YOU, and if a man really, truly loves you, whether you live in a house, apt, whatever, it shouldn’t be an issue as long as both of you are making an honest living and knew how to take care of yourselves prior to getting married. If you can take care of yourself single, then all the more so once you’re married. If a man is intimidated by what you have, that’s his problem and only shows how insecure he is!

      Reply
  10. Anitra

    You can wait to get the big ticket items and still not find a decent man. So, why deny yourself what you work your butt off to EARN? You may be attracting an arrogant man who thinks you can’t do anything without him. Toss it up. If you’re not the “kept” type, the man who wants that kind of woman is not your match anyway. Conversely, the man who appreciates your work ethic and accomplishments wants you for WHO YOU ARE! I see so many marriages between people who pretended to be something they’re not to catch “someone” and not the “right” one. The man who’d rather visit me at small apartment and with a raggedy car out front than see me taking care of myself is not the man for me. Face it, there aren’t many decent men left as it is. Enjoy your life and the fruits of your labors. At least you’ll have that if you don’t find a good match. The odds are not in our favor….no if you want a Black man.

    Reply
      1. REV B

        WHAT HAPPEN TO PUTTING THE BIBLE IN THE CONVERSATION, ALL I HEAR IS ME, MY, SELF, SELF SELF. WHATEVER HAPPEN TO WAITING FOR GOD TO ORDER OUR STEPS, BEING HAPPY WITH WHAT YOU HAVE AND THEY ALLOWING GOD TO BLESS WITH THING’S THIS IS WHY OUR CHILDREN ARE TEACHING THEMSELVES HOW TO BE GROWN. MOTHER’S DON’T WONT TO WAIT. MEN OUR TIRED OF WAITING.

        Reply
  11. Afia

    This is just a cop out for a man that does not want to commit to a woman. If so, don’t let this be the reason. Just be honest about the reason is all I ask.! Recently, I just had an exchange with an EMOTIONALLY MATURE MAN (age: 47) and this is what he said: “I don’t even see it as an issue of money. Any man who has substance, wants a woman who has substance as well. That might be a flourishing career, or it might be a passionate cause for which she works. As long as she knows how to keep the balance between her passions, it’s all beautiful.” So, I responded where do I sign up for a man that shares his view? IJS! Now, if a man feels “intimidated” (btw, I hate to use that cliche) that is not the woman’s problem.I have concluded that it is best that he find a situation to make him comfortable instead of suggesting that the woman, who is simply living life and providing for self, is a reason that he does not commit. In my opinion, this is a sign that the man feels insecure in a relationship! *SMH*

    Reply
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  13. Evolme

    Wow, this is an interesting topic because I remember when I was dating my ex, I use to love traveling. I travel the world and I wanted to go to Italy. My Ex at the time said your doing too much, some things should wait until you get married. This was a guy that wanted to marry me. Thank God that didn’t happen. After our break up I realize this guy was very insecure. It bothers me when a man always claim I need to be a man. I think a man need to be secure in his self and not feel intimated when a woman has success. I understand the roles a man plays as well as a women. My Ex never travel outside his state until I came into life. What I soon realize is I don’t have to stop living my life to make him feel like a man. Some man feel this way, they want to purchase you a home and take you on trips this behavior justify their masculinity. There is nothing wrong with doing all those things for your lady, but don’t feel intimidated if she has these things or have accomplish.

    Reply
  14. Pingback: Lost and Found: Searching for a Mate for the Winter? « Curly Deviants

  15. Superwife

    Depends on the person and the circumstances. Single, no kids, maybe that woman will buy a “starter” house and when she is married move on to a different house. I was single with children and wanted to give my kids the security of their own address. So I purchased a home that we could live in for all of their growing up years. Besides – you have no clue at what age/stage of life you will actually get married. By the time I jumped the broom, those kids were all in college. Again, whole thing depends on the individual circumstances.

    Reply
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