She had just shifted into the flat and did not know most of her neighbours. It was a four flat apartment, with two bachelors and one family staying on the other flats. On the second day after shifting, she was outside trying to fix herself a meal on the brazier with charcoal fire. She used a few tricks she had learnt from her grandmother on how to light a fire and after some struggle to light the fire, the meal was ready. Being bored alone in the house, she decided it was time to try and clean the front side of her house as it was dirty since the house had not been occupied for a while. Wrapped a chitenge around herself and swept the yard, slashing out the small areas where grass had grown. In no time, the yard was looking clean again. Since there was still time, she thought to herself, “why can’t I just wash the curtains and a few of my clothes too?” So she gathered her clothes, dishes and buckets to the outside to wash. By now, the tap by her kitchen window had no water. She checked the tap a bit far away in the corner of the yard and it had water. So she got her bucket and went to fetch water. Knowing her hands were not as stable and fit to carry the the bucket, she asked the lady who was also getting water to help put the bucket on her head, on which she carried the bucket, balancing it well an carried to her place until she had enough to wash with.
All this while, she had no idea one of the single guys from the neighborhood was watching and analysing her. He was surprised how such a beautiful, independent lady, could cook on charcoal, clean and slash the yard, carry water on her head and wash with her hands. The man thought to himself, “wow, this is wife material.” He was super excited and couldn’t wait to talk to her… The next few days, he did could talk to her as she was busy with work.. But after a fortnight, he had his chance, over a weekend to engage her in a conversation.
She was seated by her door scrolling on her phone when he greeted her. Without wasting much time, after a few ice breakers and getting to know each other, he asked what he wanted to ask; “I was surprised that you could do all that work in one day; cook on the brazier, clean the yard, fetch water, and wash with your hands, you are well trained and I think you make a good wife material. Not these ladies who just know how do office work but can’t do anything at home… Lucky is the man who will marry you.”
She had heard such talk before and thought, this is time to school a man in what really is wife material. She asked him to take a seat on the verandah so that she could explain. And she began; “Lol, you judged me wrongly… I had just shifted and my stove was not yet connected that’s why I had to cook on a brazier… I really don’t like using charcoal, but just had no option. Now that my stove is connected, you will never see me on that brazier again. Infact, I have even bought a gas stove with the pending load shedding. Ooh, about cleaning outside. I have a housebound who is just on leave and he doesn’t know yet that I have shifted to here. As soon as he is back, he is the one you will be seeing cleaning the yard. Besides, I have a full time job and can’t be sweeping the yard daily when I can pay someone. And the washing? Well, just like my stove was not yet connected, my washing machine was not yet connected too, so had to use plan B. Otherwise, my washing machine does all that work. Should I mention carrying water on my head? My arms are not strong enough to carry that big bucket, so my head was the only option. Otherwise, I hate all those menial and manual work. Even in marriage, I would not do those things because for most of them, we can actually pay people to do them. Probably apart from cooking for my husband and washing his personal clothes, the rest can be outsourced. So I guess I don’t really make your imagined wife material right?” The man was surprised that she could talk like that. He didn’t answer, and so she decided to school him further.
Look here sir: you make a very big mistake by judging a woman as wife material by her ability to adapt to poverty. It’s not how well a woman can adjust and adapt to poverty that makes her wife material. Some of the poorest women, who don’t even need to adjust or adapt to poverty, because they are already poor, are the meanest that you can’t even stay with them for three hours and yet they can do all those activities you think are wife material qualifications. What makes wife material is her attitude, and there is no way you could have judged my attitude in a day of observing me through your window.
Most of you men have married wrong women, likability, because of this so called “wife material” thinking. A good wife, or good woman is not in ability to cook or clean the house, but her inner personality, her attitude and natural disposition. It’s not even how beautiful or bootyful she is, it’s the nature of her soul that makes a woman wife material. And by soul, I mean: her mind and emotions. Sir, when you want to get married, look for a lady with a great attitude, the rest can be trained. All those things you saw me do, a woman with a good attitude can do, or not even do, but still be a great wife. But if you get her because of her ability to adapt to poverty… you will get a lady who can do all those things and yet insults you like she is from a Okpoko Onitsha. Sir, would you marry Amina Muhammadu, the daughter of the president, and judge her on her ability to sweep the yard. Yes all things are important, but in this age of technology and working women, it’s unfair to think marriage material is a woman who can slave herself at home.
Why can’t marriage material be a woman who can write business plans, a woman who can make sales projections for a family business and strategize how the whole family can work in the business without fights? Why can’t marriage material be a woman who can pray for the family until heaven opens? What about a woman who can go for work and make money to come and supplements home bills? What about marriage material being a woman who can be your business partner so much that she can help you build a business empire? That’s wife material. Not ability to light a brazier or wash clothes in the time for cheap washing machines from China.
Without giving him much time to say anything, she opened her small purse, removed a business card and gave him. He looked at it and it said: “Uba Elizabeth Patricia (Mrs)” Director – Strategy and Innovation. The man went away sad.. like the men who wanted to stone that lady in the bible, his whole world view had been changed in a day.