Welcome to The Curvy Christian Hashtag series where I pick one of the latest trending hashtags and share my perspective on it.
Welcome to the 21st century were you can find “The One” by swiping right on an app. But before you swipe right or ask someone on a date, what are the things that you’re look for in a potential significant other?
The other day I was talking to this guy and we seemed to be really hitting it off. We had similar backgrounds and communication styles. But then came THE question that I always get without fail: “Are you a good cook?” Now it’s not a bad question to ask in itself, but you’d think that we’ve progressed enough as society that women don’t get asked that question within minutes of meeting someone. If the woman’s answer is “no,” then it’s almost as if something clicks in his head whispering that “No way that this girl could be #WifeyMaterial.”
So this got me start thinking, in a world of dating apps and hashtags, what does the term #WifeyMaterial even mean? (Men, stay with me. This is good for you to read too).
When I hear #WifeyMaterial, I usually hear it in the context of a woman who is “put-together,” a bit more conservative in the way she dresses and behaves, and an all-star cook with an obsessive passion for cleaning. The same can go with guys. Ladies traditionally might expect a man to have a six-pack, be 6 feet tall, know how to fish and hunt, be super outgoing, etc. Those qualities are great on paper, but in reality, are all of those qualities actually necessary to make a relationship work? Or at least, are they necessary to make the RIGHT relationship for YOU work? Also, is the term #WifeyMaterial (sorry guys, there’s no trending #HubbyMaterial hashtag) a term that we should be using to describe anyone at all? So many questions.
To answer the last question – the phrase #WifeyMaterial itself can be pretty problematic because a woman is not material or any kind of object to begin with so to refer to her as such is, in my opinion, to demean her and disregard her humanity and wholeness as an individual. (*Whew you probably weren’t expecting that. Take some space to process and breathe here if necessary*).
When some people use the phrase “#WifeyMaterial,” they truly have good intentions. But what I’ve found more often than not is that it’s used as a tool to compare women against other women. To deem some worthy of marriage and others unworthy based on immaterial, and at times even irrelevant, criteria. These assumptions are usually made without even getting to know the individual first. And that’s never okay.
Now on to the other question. Is it necessary for women (or any partner) to possess the full laundry list of “traditional” qualities to make a relationship work? That’s an easy answer. NO. A person shouldn’t have to assimilate to one boxed up role or a list of qualities in order to become a “good partner.” And let’s not assume that everyone’s goal is to get married one day. Especially women. Women can have goals that don’t include marriage. That’s just a fact. I know, I know. Shocking.
In short, there are so many different kinds of women that are capable of way more that just cooking, cleaning and looking pretty. That’s not what defines us. And that’s not what determines how good of a spouse we’ll be (if that’s even what we want to be).
So what does it take to be a good partner? Well I believe that’s for your future partner to decide. Commitment, communication and intentionality with a whole lot of love at its core are required to make any kind of relationship thrive, but there’s no checklist or hashtag that can perfectly define the other stuff for you. To me, a couple should balance out each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They should be stronger together. A team that doesn’t fit a cookie-cutter description of what a relationship should look like in terms of roles in the home or qualities that he/she must possess. They just need to be RIGHT for each other. It should just work. And it is work.
Yep, before we go any further, know that relationships are work. It’s not just a happily ever after story. Marriage especially is a daily decision you make forever to love someone else to the best of your ability — in good times and in bad. And that’s why it’s problematic to so narrowly define what would make a good husband or wife. Marriage is too big of a deal to be so dismissive of its weight and limit it to a pre-defined hashtag.
So men and women, I urge you to commit to more. Commit to making an effort to not assume anything of anyone and to not constraining them to societal roles. Commit to viewing each other as fully human with unique qualities to bring to the table. Commit to loving without limiting. Commit to joining forces with your significant other to be the best partner you can be. And commit to bring out the best in each other and be better versions of yourselves.
Curveball: You may have noticed that the laundry list that usually comes to mind when we think of “the perfect partner” typically refers to acquired skills and doesn’t speak to the character of the person. And that’s part of the problem.
How to Catch the Curveball: If you want to be in a serious relationship one day, here’s what I want you to do if you haven’t already – Take a step back. Write a list of characteristics that are absolutely crucial for your future partner. Then write down another list of qualities that would be “nice to have,” but aren’t as necessary to make the relationship work.
Then, do the same for yourself. What qualities do you think you’d want to give to a relationship? And what skills or qualities would you want to acquire before committing to a person that you don’t have yet but would still be “nice to have” before taking that big step?
This way, you have a clear idea of & an active role in what it is you’re looking for in yourself and in another person.