A few months ago I asked the men of the “Men Say” Post Series to weigh in on the topic of a woman’s role. Today, the women respond. Check it out!
Define what you think a woman’s role is within a relationship? Do you identify with any of the men? If so which one?
Vanessa: Personally, I really don’t care to have defining roles in my relationship. Growing up I watched my mom cook the BEST meals and clean the house. Then, for a few years her “role” went out the window because my parents were having issues. If she decided to cook for us it was some quick fix trash meal just to say she cooked and head off to work until 11pm, wake up and do it again. She didn’t have the drive or desire to continue to play this womanly role. That made me think that, that’s all she had to offer in the relationship. I never want to be in a position where I become so consumed in these duties that I don’t know how do anything else. A woman in a relationship should do what’s best to keep her relationship strong. Doing what works for the two of them and not what society says they should do. I absolutely agree with Wale 1010%. Each person in the relationship should contribute the same amount of effort when it comes to household duties and where one lacks the other should give a helping hand. If I’m home all day and my husband is working until really late, why can’t I take the trash outside? If he knows how to cook and I’m working late, why can’t he cook a meal for himself or the kids?
Chanelle: In my honest opinion, I think a woman’s role is to be a lover. A nurturer. The glue that keeps everything together. The backbone and spine of the establishment. Not to say that glue insinuates that anything is broken, however the woman is usually what keeps everything intact. Typically, a man is looked at as the head of the household; but the woman is secretly running everything by his side. For me though, I have my moments where I can be very dominant within my relationship role. But I’m learning that sometimes it’s okay to be submissive, and to bend to the will of my significant other to please him. It’s all about finding the right balance to make sure everyone is happy in order for the relationship to be successful.
I can honestly identify more with where Wale is coming from. His reasoning is based on balance, and not just whatever society says is acceptable. People forget about the emotions that go behind the decisions that are made, and only want to find the rational explanation as to why things should be the way they are. The only things I beg to differ on are his views on loving more than one person. When I love, I am hopelessly devoted. I don’t stray; I don’t see anyone other than the one that I want. Love is a beautiful thing, and tends to be clouded when there are too many people in the mix.
Yani: I consider myself “traditional” when it comes to serious relationships. I believe in gender roles. Women nurture while men provide and protect. Anwar’s response was 100% on point with me and even opened my eyes to a few things. Once married (that’s my focus right now) I think women should be the ones who cook, clean, do the laundry…I can’t picture my husband doing the laundry. I’m not saying that men shouldn’t know HOW to do laundry or cook because some do. I saw men in the laundry room on campus all the time but that won’t happen in my household! As for raising children, I do think women have a more important role because there is a stronger connection between mother and child but I believe fathers have to be more than just a monetary provider with their children.
Also, you should be contributing mentally and spiritually. Anwar said women are “responsible for providing care to the body and mind” and I completely agree. You shouldn’t bring strife or “drama” into your man’s life (and he shouldn’t bring any of that either). Proverbs says, “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.” Would you rather be the crown or decay? I know some of my views may be seen as “old fashioned” or even outdated but even as the cook and housekeeper…I’ll be outside playing soccer with my boys too! lol
I leave this section thinking about Rudny’s comment, “If I allow you to contribute in any way while dating it usually means I want you to be around for a while and intend on paying you back. If I do everything it just makes it easier for me to walk away because in my mind I don’t owe you anything.”
Wale and Anwar were open to the idea of being a stay at home father, but Rudny seemed quite against it. What are you thoughts on his reasoning? How do you feel about stay at home fathers?
Vanessa: Rudny makes a valid point as to why he is so against being a stay at home dad. HOWEVER, I feel like the rules of society have caused men to have negative feelings about being one. Do understand that I don’t support bums who stay at home because they failed their GED test and can’t get a good job so the woman has to work 40+ hours a week to make ends meet. The reason behind why it would be necessary for either of us as parents to stay home plays a factor in the decision as well. But, if you can be a stay at home dad and still be a great husband and provider in other ways, and it works for the relationship then I’m all for it.
Chanelle: I think what Rudny had to say makes sense. For some men, they believe that their purpose is to be that strong forefront for their family. Not to say that they believe in overshadowing a woman, but they still have some of the traditional beliefs of what a man and a woman should fulfill. I don’t think there is anything wrong with a stay at home father, but me personally I would be jealous. As much as I love Cydni, I think I would feel some kind of way if anyone that I’m with got to spend more time with her, while I was out at work. I’m the type of mom that will come home cutting side eyes because Cydni wants to spend more time with Daddy than with Supermom Chanelle!
Yani: I am completely against my husband staying at home while I work. Sorry! I don’t think I have ever seen a stay at home father. That is foreign to me. Unfortunately, I see that as being “less of a man” like Wale said. I will say this though; if he gets injured or becomes ill then I will have NO problem with switching roles.
What does the phrase “let a man a be a man” mean to you? Have you ever overstepped this “boundary” and possibly emasculated a spouse?
Vanessa: I’ve gone back and forth with how I should answer this question and the only thing that comes to mind when I think of what this means is a protector. I see a man as playing the strong tough guy role and taking care of his family and providing a sense of security for them. That is something that no woman should ever take away from a man in anyway. I will admit that I may have overstepped my boundaries with this out of bitterness and anger. I’ve called my ex a “bitchass negro” and said “you ain’t shit” before because he pissed me off. I’m not proud of that and I’m working on communicating better.
Chanelle: I think to let a man be a man you have to let him be just that. A MAN. Men have shitloads of testosterone coursing through their bodies for a reason. To help us be strong when we are weak; to provide a sense of stability and a foundation; and to compliment the softness of our curves with their rugged edges. Let him feel like he’s really running things, knowing good and well that most husbands look to their wives before making decisions. It’s like that unspoken rule that the woman always knows best, so men know better than to purchase that $600 grill without first checking in with their wife to make sure she does not throw a fit.
I can look back at my past relationships, and say there was a time I DEFINITELY overstepped that boundary. My ex never even had a chance. He tried to be dominant, but had let me walk over him so much, that I never let him know what it meant to be in control. He was like my personal doormat, and I would clean my shoes off on him whenever I felt the need to. I really wasn’t worth a LICK of shit, and I can fully admit that. He is an Aries, and you know they are balls of fire, and I just kept stomping that fire out. I’m very opinionated and outspoken, which definitely got me into some trouble. I know now how to be submissive, and let that man be a man when need be.
Yani: “Let a man be a man” seems like a reasonable request but it really depends on each person’s definition. I know some people include infidelity in their definition of “let a man be a man” and I completely disagree. Like Participant 4 said in the conversation, some people use this phrase as an excuse for nonsensical behavior. Others, myself included, view men as providers, decision makers, alpha males…if that is your definition then yes, let a man be a man!
I loved what Rudny said, “No man wants a woman that openly expresses how much she doesn’t really need him.” I cringe when (don’t crucify me) some women rant and rave about not needing a man and being able to do it all on her own. I can see that being a turn off to the men who WANT to provide/protect their wife and family. Think about it this way ladies…would you want to be involved with a man who constantly tells you that he doesn’t really need you around.
Anywho, let that man be a man indeed but also don’t be scared of being picky! This will help you in the long run. I agree with Wale when he said don’t try to change someone so they fit your ideal. Be picky about who you date. For example, if you don’t like a drinker, then don’t date a drinker. Same with any other trait or hobby you might disagree with. There is NOTHING wrong with being selfish in that sense. You save yourself AND the other person a lot of time and possible heartache. Don’t let anybody tell you that your standards are too high or unreasonable (unless your goal is marrying a prince…then…yeah, good luck) The person I’m seeing right now fits all the requirements I had for a significant other and people said I was being unrealistic so I am telling you from personal experience to keep your standards/ requirements! Then you won’t have to deal with letting a crappy man be a crappy man in your life. I strayed from the initial question but if you choose your partner wisely then it will be easier to let that person be that person and there will be less friction.
Want in on the next round? Send me a note!