Will that basket of vows be card or cash?

Confidence it extremely sexy. Arrogance on the other had leaves very little to be desired. The line in between the two? Rather thin!

I recently discovered that I have been carrying a very inflated and superficial idea of self in relation to my marital status. My psychologist reduced me to tears when she explained where a bulk of my issues stemmed from. I was failing to reconcile what I thought I already knew to the constantly changing state of a regular marriage and what the changes implied. I had dropped my value and esteem into a matrimonial jar and had begun to suffocate once the lid was closed shut.

Men treat you differently depending on what they see or do not see on your left hand. Will the ambitious handful still make an attempt for your affections? indeed. But, it comes with a bit more consideration, finesse and “respect”. In fact, some men will walk you through the muted yet merited CV that your wedding band is. How another man is currently leading the charge in using your potentially dwarfed view of womanhood and marriage. Further perpetuating the culture of religious bred patriarchy, which your mother continues to advocate for in the annual #TeamBekezela meetings. And how he simple is purposed to empty what’s left of your reserve before society deems you a whore and him a hero.

Women will treat your differently, usually depending on how deeply their own minds are crippled and/or how limited their ambitions are. A woman will side eye off a sidewalk simply because your war began at 21 and they have had to wait till 30 to hear anything more than “thank you for a good time”. Gossip is definitely the perfect tool to screw up what was left of our dignities and defiance. Spitting and swallowing conflicting commentary such as “marriage is not an achievement” alongside “her man was in my DM’s before she trapped him with her families money”. Rarely do we discuss as woman how to protect the next generation of daughters from this form of femicide by sacrifice. Some will glorify your status by starting to dress like you, speaking as you do and completely abolishing anything that remotely reflects a standard.

There is no warmer embrace by the church family than that which they offer one who is married. Oh no goodness, there are the “blessed tithers” but that is definitely a conversation for another day. If you offer the church and it’s affiliates the bragging rights of your upbringing, engagement announcement, wedding ceremony and blessing of children, you are well on your way to earth’s paradise which is governed by mortal salvation. I still long to weigh in on conversations with congregational elders about pursuing education, careers and true self actualization before cooking classes and knee bending for in laws. I still hear very few sermons that articulate the concept of ‘submission’ in marriage appropriately without subtly encouraging various forms of abuse and an invitation and acceptance of these. Will our mothers ever tell us the truth of what to look forward to before the clockwork reminders that you dare not embarrass the family name?

And somehow I’ve been wondering why any space outside of being a partner or a wife has been gravely uncomfortable for me in the past few years.

My yoke is not only furnished with the general marriage title. With me it has always mattered “who” I am married to. Before anyone else, to myself. So much so I completely lost Mathunzi and found myself walking around with the stinking corpse that is “Mrs Someone”.

Mrs MacDonald. Hah! Listen to that. How could I not trip over my own ankles at every glimpse of my new signature? The branding on my handbag was also of world class standards; what a gorgeous man. So gorgeous some of my “friends” had him as the wallpaper on their cellphones and for years I was completely oblivious to the insult and disrespect of this. It bothered me little to hear that chitter chatter suggested that I sought material gain in my agreeing to be betrothed because how many envied me? How many begged for a life that replicated what I chose to post on Instagram? How many praised me for my wife material personality, what ever that means, and helped me ignore the necessary investment in personal growth that I abandoned for the grace and dignity of being a modern makoti.

Marriage made me someone without me having to be someone of substantial value. At least that is what I thought. The price would be constant deposits and very few withdrawals leaving my being bankrupt. If fact at some points leaving me financially bankrupt as well.

What breaks my heart is an inability to break the cycle because of a failure to realize how deeply embedded this social and psychological conditioning of what defines a woman is. Worser so in religious settings and homes; and I assume our parents have no cooking clue as to the deep dark pits their good intentions keep digging.

I no longer hold being married to such great esteem. Marriage as an institution I do respect, honour and advocate for but I am completely against the mess we have made of it. Especially in assuming that in becoming one flesh we no longer have to cultivate our individual existence. And please stop organizing your vision board with images and text from Instagram and the likes. Why would we not ONLY show you what we know you wish to see? Could we also respect each other on a basic human level and not the possession of a certificate void of actual qualification. Most of these rings are cubic zirconia anyway and with time will fade like the broken glass that they are.

And with that out of the way let me get back to the Confessions of a young Wife series as promised.

Remember that the value is on you. Not your marital status as defined by law or life.

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Author: Mathunzi Macdonald

South African born Creative, writer. performing artist and educator. More about me on www.mathunzi.com

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