QUESTION

I’ve heard rumours from my married friends that people in the township I come from refer to me as lefetwa – someone who hasn’t got married. It really hurts and embarrasses me. I'm in my mid- 30s and have been in a vat-‘n-sit relationship for almost five years.

I'm not sure whether he wants to marry me or not. I get along with his family very well, but there are no signs of marriage. Is it possible to make your man marry you? And if so, how do I do it? Is it even a good idea to do such a thing? I have a dream of walking down the aisle with our families present. How do I turn this into a reality? CONCERNED

EXPERT ADVICE

You’ve already “wifed” yourself by moving in with him without the commitment and security of marriage vows. You can’t “make” someone, who either doesn’t want to get married or doesn’t see you as marriage material, marry you. If he hasn’t voluntarily proposed marriage to you, why do you want to “make” him pop the question?

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If he isn’t married to you, why is he your man? Are you both on the same page that you’re in an exclusive relationship with intention of a long-term commitment in marriage? What if another guy was to approach you for marriage while you were still with him?

Or what if your boyfriend approached another woman and asked her to marry him? There’s a myriad of possibilities why he’s dragging his feet. Some of those reasons may have something to do with you, and others with him.

CONTENTMENT

Contentment in this context is self-respect. We feel it’s critically important to be happy with who you are above everything else, especially your desire to get married. Being content means you set standards for yourself that are your deal breakers. It means you define the type of relationship you want to have before you even get into it.

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You decide how long you’re prepared to date before the marriage proposal, and what kind of behaviour you’ll accept and reject from him. Contentment helps you maintain your self-respect should no marriage proposal come your way. This virtue will also squash any judgemental disposition from people.

You’ll be happy being you, by yourself, without caring what people say or how they label you. You won’t feel the need to put pressure on yourself to want to make a man propose – as though you’re incomplete without marriage!

COMMUNICATION

When you decide to date any man with the standards you’ve set, it’s important to communicate them to him clearly and unambiguously. You’re not being unreasonable. You negotiate your standards where necessary with the view to building a future together in marriage.

With those that are non-negotiable, you have to be clear. Generally, men are terrible at reading between the lines. They don’t always catch the clues, until you clearly verbalise what your expectations and intentions are. If he already gets the benefits of a wife from you, then he probably sees no reason to make you the wife you already are. He’ll be happy to ride along, especially if the ride is free. It’s unnecessary to go get stuff we already have.

COMMITMENT

Getting a commitment from a man tends to be something that secure women do naturally. Secure women love their boyfriends and share their positive feelings freely without concerns about being misunderstood or rejected.

They never tolerate bad behaviour from their boyfriends or make excuses for them. Secure women are not whiners or complainers that men have to satisfy. They bring out the best in men because they have standards and accept nothing less.

They're loving, but not overly caught up. And they’re not scared of walking away if they don’t get what they’re looking for in the relationship. Such women get the best men and quickly. Men would rather marry her than lose her.

It’s her willingness to be loving and secure, to not be controlling, and to walk away that creates the desire in men to marry her. She understands and will quickly let him know that she is in fact the prize in the equation, not him.