A male friend of mine is getting married early next year. This super-romantic guy proposed over Christmas and by January 5, his new fiancé had quit her job.
She intends to spend the year planning her wedding and getting ready for marriage. If you are thinking that planning a wedding is not a full time job, well then, you and I think exactly alike.
It has only been a month and my poor friend is traumatised. Wedding magazines, looking at wedding venues, dress shopping... what shoes will I wear?
What do I do with my hair? Who will be my maid of honour? How many bridesmaids? What about all the family functions? I need a special outfit for each one!
The guy's brain is reeling. He never thought pictures of lace and flowers could be so hostile, and he never ever thought this enterprise would cost him so much. All of it is on his tab. He cannot believe it.
I listened to my friend vent and tried to sound all Zen as I gave my two cents, "feelings are like clouds - fleeting and changeable; but your marriage will last forever and is worth starting on the right, albeit expensive, foot." The lies we tell our friends. If that woman was my sister, I would 'komonga' her with an enthusiastic back-handed slap.
As I drove home from our coffee/his venting, I wondered about two things: who quits her job just before her wedding? And, why would a woman put herself in such a position of dependence?
As I get older and wiser (a.k.a. more judgmental) I keep arriving at the conclusion that I was raised by Wamaitha and not everyone sees the world as she does, nor as I consequently do.
You see my mother believes in women having choices. She gets that choice has a cost and that that cost is usually financial. She is therefore an advocate for every woman having a few cents to rub together.
She would not understand why a woman who is planning what is arguably the biggest event in her life choose to do so without any of her own money.
You see, Wamaitha knows that a woman needs certain things leading up to her wedding - regular facials and massages, a make-up artist on the day, a fantastic wedding dress, shoes, the photographer of her choice etc.
Explaining these choices, which can at times seem extravagant and unnecessary to those paying the bills, is annoying to say the least; and humiliating to say a bit more. Also starting a marriage when one person is very dependent on the other will put a strain on most relationships.
Love and good intentions are one thing, and we all have them, but the banal annoyances of everyday life are entirely another and they can ruin a home before it ever gets built.
It is vital to man's sense of value and purpose that his woman be proud of him; that she be impressed by him. Men already feel the pressure to be great providers.
Why would you add your list of small ticket items to the already-too-long list of big ticket items like venue, food, décor, transport etc? Shouldn't you be shouldering some of the cost as a partner? Isn't this your wedding too?