On ‘Packaging’ For Marriage – Olubunmi Ajai Layode

We women are the ones who always feel we have to fit into society’s expectations of what we should be as wives. So, we hide our real shelves and out on a mask. We package ourselves.

I will address us ladies because in my experience, men don’t usually package. They present themselves as they are. We women are the ones who always feel we have to fit into society’s expectations of what we should be as wives. So, we hide our real shelves and out on a mask. We package ourselves.

Growing up with my father, before he bought a washing machine, we had an ‘alagbafor’ – washer man called Apakofi used to wash our clothes. But even after we got a washing machine, my dad would still hand wash our expensive fabrics.

He would also iron our expensive clothes for us and our school uniforms as well. So, basically, I grew up in a household where the man of the house was not too proud to lead by serving. We did not disrespect my father because of that.

Then, I started dating and I would be the one ironing for my boyfriend. I would resent doing it but would still do it because I wanted to impress them so that they would marry me. When I met my husband, I found myself doing that again. I then had to ‘borrow myself brain’ as they would say in street parlance.

I thought to myself, ‘I hate doing these. I dry clean my own clothes, but I will iron my lover’s clothes. Why?’ I stopped it. At first, it was a shock for my husband, then boyfriend to get used to me not ironing his clothes anymore. But you know what? He still married me.

Yes, it did not matter to him but because I was doing it for him, he came to see it as my job. Obviously, it is not a show stopper and that is the thing – a lot of things we package ourselves into doing, are not that important to the man and are not showstoppers for them. Thank God that I borrowed myself sense and stopped it. I can imagine still ironing now years into the marriage and being resentful. When we started being sexually intimate, I had to teach him how to make love to ME. I showed him how I love to be touched as he was not touching me the way I loved to be touched. Before I met him, I had laid in bed, giving pleasure to my former lovers and not getting much back because I was packaging myself and did not want them to think I was wanton or loose. I know myself, I touch myself and no one knows what turns a woman on more than the woman who knows what turns her on. If I had not taught my husband, then boyfriend, how to touch me, imagine being in a marriage that is not sexually fulfilling.

Believe me, ‘Packaging’ oneself as a wife material only results in heartache. The poor guy marries a mirage. He expects wife material to be the wife. Wife material is tired of packaging and since she has gotten her ‘prize’, decides to undo the package and be real. Impressed boy is shocked, disappointed and can’t reconcile this wife to the wife material. He thinks she has changed.

But she has not. What you saw was a façade hiding the true woman. The wife is the true woman. The wife material was just a façade – a mask; beautifully carved and painted to entice you.

As you make your bed, you lie on it, literally and figuratively. If he is stingy, let him know your expectations. If he is not sexually satisfying you, let him know how to. If he drinks too much for your liking, smokes too much for your liking, womanises too much for your liking, let him know. Or leave. Don’t pretend that everything is great only to force him to change after marriage. You cannot change any individual. Only God, and that individual can.

Seeing all his inadequacies, not resolving them or making peace with them, but going ahead with the marriage, thinking you will change him is just unfair. It’s unfair on the guy who thought everything he had been doing is fine by you. It’s unfair to you because you are going to live a life of misery. It’s also unfair to the children who will be brought into this toxic environment.

On the flip side, if you decide to continue with the packaging in the marriage just to hold on to the man, you end up unhappy and frustrated. It takes two people to make a marriage work. For instance, if he doesn’t satisfy you sexually but you choose to always fake orgasm at his touch, who then is having a miserable sex life? Him? No, my sister.

This life is not a rehearsal of the real life. We only get one shot at it. You only live once or YOLO as they say. Do you REALLY want to go through life like this? You know you cannot share your man, yet you pretended to be ok with his womanising and are still accepting the promiscuity for the sake of being a Mrs? Really? You want to continue to sacrifice your emotional well-being for life?


Written by Bunmi Ajai Layode