I packed his lunch. I got up early before my workday started to drive to his apartment, pick him up and drop him off at the office. I rearranged my schedule to make sure I could take him home. I picked up his favorite snacks when we had movie night. I used my credit card to pay for his shopping sprees and loaned him my car when he wanted to take an overnight trip to see his family.
The pain of discovering he was cheating on me was magnified when I realized our whole relationship consisted of me acting like his wife—when he hadn’t even treated me like his girlfriend yet.
Of course, I’ve moved on from that relationship and have found better for myself. I’m now happily married to the man of my dreams.
Yet, now as a wife, wiser woman and dating coach, I’ve worked with plenty of women who still hold my old mentality. These women believe they need to act like a wife, so a man can see them as marriage material. I now know this truism couldn’t be further from the truth.
If you’re doing these four things in your relationship, you may be bestowing wife privileges to someone who doesn’t even treat you like a girlfriend. And as a result, you could be sabotaging your chances for marriage.
You cook his favorite meals every night, fix his plate and bring it to him while he’s watching the game. You clean his house, pick up his suits from the cleaners, run his errands and basically take care of his every need before he even asks. He gives you a key to his apartment because you practically live there.
Maybe you’ve been listening to the (bad) advice that a woman’s worth is related to her ability to keep a home and that a man won’t marry her if she can’t cook or clean. Or perhaps you’re just a traditional sister who embraces traditional gender roles. No matter how you got here, playing Suzy Homemaker isn’t going to convince him to marry you. You want a man to choose you because of who you are not because of what you do for him.
Putting His Needs First
You’re a vegetarian, but he likes surf and turf, so you always go to his favorite restaurant for date night. You need to study in order to pass your comprehensive exams, but he says he really wants you to come over and hang out. You want to go with your girls for a special outing, but he says he wants you to be available when he gets off work.
While healthy relationships require compromise from both individuals, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice what you need to be healthy and happy just to please him. Furthermore, if he is marriage material, he will want the best for you and will take greater care not to put you in predicaments where you’re forced to choose between his needs and yours.
Sleeping With Him
I remember running into a woman at the bookstore who was browsing the shelves, looking for dating advice. She told me she believed unless she slept with her man, he wouldn’t want to commit to her, much less marry her.
Sadly, you hear this kind of advice everywhere you turn. Some people think you have to “test drive” your partner to make sure the sex will be good, otherwise you could end up trapped in a bad marriage. Others act like sex has magical powers that can convince a man to get down on one knee and pop the question.
Sex may make you lovable for a moment, but if you want to be married for a lifetime, you need a man to commit to you because he loves, honors and cherishes you.
Giving Him Money
Sisters fall into this trap one sad story at a time. First it’s a cell phone bill. Then it’s a “family emergency.” The next thing you know, you’re paying for his vacations, supporting his kids and buying him a car. If you’re trying to help him manage his finances, you’ve stepped over into a co-dependent relationship. You give him money in exchange for him giving you a false hope that your relationship will go to the next level.
If you aren’t sharing responsibilities, you are not obligated to share your finances with him.
Girl, playing house is for kids. Grown folks will set clear boundaries in their relationships, which carry over into their marriages. You shouldn’t have to take care of his house, his body or his money to convince him to marry you. You are his girlfriend, not his wife. Act like it.
BMWK, did you play house in a past relationship? What was the result?
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