For those of you who missed it, Prediker Dedré (that's what she goes by on the cover of Die Huisgenoot) is a preacher who caused quite a ruckus in the Afrikaans community this week. Soon after Friday’s issue hit the shelves, photos of the cover were coming through thick and fast on Whatsapp chats and other social media.
She said WHAT?
The general consensus was something along the lines of “What the actual?” Dedré’s school of thought reads more like something from one of those bizarre 1950s handbooks instructing women to await their husbands at the door with a martini in the one hand and slippers in the other.
Her three main nuggets of advice highlighted on the cover were:
a) Your husband needs sex more than a plate of food
b) You should always look your best so as not to make him feel ashamed of you
c) You should admire him and laugh at his jokes
You can obviously see why people were upset. This type of advice seems almost masochistically misogynistic in that it makes it sound as if women should be carefully coiffed concubines who pander to our kings, instead of equal partners in the contract that is marriage.
So why do I find myself kind of agreeing with it?
Have I lost my mind?
Okay, okay, I obviously don’t agree with the apparent one-sidedness of it. If you expect something from your partner, surely it’s only reasonable to offer them the same?
Relationships can, but in my opinion, really shouldn’t be some sort of elaborate play where two characters play dress up and pretend to be delighted with each other. While some couples can sustain this farce, most people finally crack. If you want to be in a proper, emotionally intimate relationship with someone you respect and who respects you, you’ll have to first see, and then learn to accept their flaws.
What goes for the gander should bloody well go for the goose
That said, I think if BOTH partners willingly follow those three “rules”, they’d probably be pretty happy with each other. Hear me out…
Let’s start with a): How many of us get so caught up in, and exhausted by, the never-ending daily admin of life that we start sacrificing the fun stuff in life? And yes, sex is one of the fun things that often fall by the wayside since frankly, at the end of the work day (after you’ve cooked dinner and put the kids to bed) you’d have to be some kind of sex bot to feel up for it. So yes, I agree with Dedré. Sometimes you should just screw dinner and rather do each other. You can have ice cream or pizza in bed afterwards.
Point b): Like I said, at first I found the idea of looking good so as not to cause him to feel shame completely nauseating. Am I some sort of bauble to be worn as decoration on his arm? But then I think of all the unkempt, unwashed, malodorous chaps walking around barefoot in any shopping mall in South Africa that I wouldn’t have the desire to claim as my own. And I think of all the trouble people take with their appearance when they’re about to get married or start a new job and how looking after yourself generally comes from a place of self-pride and love. No relationship should be based on looks, but you know what you find attractive in your partner and vice versa, so why not indulge that every now and again to make the other one feel special?
Point c): If you don’t feel genuine admiration for the person you’re with, why are you spending your life with them? Nothing kills love faster than lack of respect. Except, perhaps, not having a sense of humour. And all people need the three As: Affection, affirmation and admiration. And really, if you don’t get that from your partner, or if you don’t think your partner deserves that, then it’s probably time to call it quits.
Love and pizza-stained linens,