Marriage & CouplehoodMarry Me 4 Life

Live In Wifeys: Are You For Real or For Rent?

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of hanging out with a friend I have known for more than 22 years. We met on my first real job with the federal government. She and I have kept in touch by sending each other birthday wishes, and Christmas cards over the years as a way to make sure that we kept our friendship alive. We had not seen each other since my mother’s death back in 2001. Well we found each other on Facebook and decided we must go to lunch to play catch-up with one another. We set a date and made it happen. It was great; so much had changed since 1989 for the both of us. I asked her about “BOB” (that’s what we will call him for this blog) and she proceeded to tell me they were still together. I followed up with, “So you both finally decided to get married”, she answered, “No we’re not married”, and a hundred thoughts went through my mind.

You see my friend was with “BOB” back when we worked at the federal building over 22 years ago. She’s absolutely beautiful, holds down a great career, owns a home and drives an M3.  She is no joke when it comes to integrity and work ethic.  I know because I worked under her. However at 51, how could she justify being a girlfriend for over 22 years? Yes, I suppose it is possible that they could be fine with how things are and don’t want to mess-up what is working.  My theory for that logic is if it’s good like that then keep doing the same thing only with a legal name change, the title of wife, and tax benefits to back it up.

But where do you find this type of loyalty and wrapped in this type of packaging without having to earn it? I wanted to shout from the top of my lungs “Why aren’t you all married”, but I felt it inappropriate as we were just starting to rebuild our bond.  To cross into that territory with her would have seemed rude and judgmental so I politely moved on to the next subject of her career.

I couldn’t help but think about how this smart and beautiful sister could allow herself to be a girlfriend for 22 plus years while giving “Bob” all the perks of a wife. What allowed her to feel like she was not worthy of being a wife but that “Bob” was worthy of all the benefits that a husband receives? What could have caused her to be cool with being a rental but never a purchase (wife)? I understood more clearly why my Big Momma used to say, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free”.

Ladies please stop playing wife until the man makes you his wife. Stop wanting someone to be in your life so bad that he takes your power, your goodies, and your sense of worth as a woman and relegates you to the role of a long term or in some cases short-term girlfriend. While you are meeting his needs he could very well be waiting until he meets the one he wants to call wife. Be honest with your self and know that if he doesn’t see you as “Wifey” material upfront no need to be investing your time or loyalty in him or the relationship.

I don’t want to sound like Debbie Downer so by all means date, definitely enjoy being single and learning what traits you can and can’t live without in a mate. However, to many times we allow ourselves to become a placeholder instead of being held in the place of honor. If he does not see your worth, move him out the way so that another brother can claim and lay hold of your value as a wife. It’s not cute to have had 22 anniversaries with a man that hasn’t said “I Do”, or vowed to have, hold, love and marry you. Don’t be a rental property; be sold out on who you are, and what you are worth. Your value is more precious than rubies.


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Tarenia Carthan

Tarenia Carthan

Tarenia Carthan is an advocate for making lasting relationships. She and her husband Tony are the founders of Marry Me 4 Life, and are currently co-authoring a book together. Tony is also a blogger for Black Love Forum. Together they focus on couple’s enrichment.

1 Comment

  1. October 13, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    Presuming that the woman actually would have liked to have been married, living with a man for 22 years is kind of ridiculous.

    If I found myself living with a man before marriage (which I wouldn’t, but hypothetically), I know that personally I would look at it like this: If I can share bills, a bed, children and a house with someone, then what is the point in getting married? Why be locked down like that when I can have the exact same thing without a marriage certificate?

    The woman in the article may feel like that, too. Maybe she wanted marriage at one point, but since they are living “like” they are married, anyway, it’s not that important to her.