Don’t Be A Wife to a Boyfriend… Eh, Really?

‘Don’t be a wife to a boyfriend.’ Don’t give your boyfriend husband privileges’’.’ Don’t act like a wife.’ Yaddi, yaddi, yadda. In this Internet age, I could point to a million blog posts, articles and memes telling women not to be a wife to a boyfriend. Hell, someone even wrote a book a whole book about the topic. But every single one I have come across personally is basic. The reasoning points were shallow and primarily unrealistic.’‘ Don’t be a wife to a boyfriend.’ ‘Don’t give your boyfriend husband privileges.’ ‘Don’t act like a wife.’ Yaddi, yadda, yadda. In this Internet age, I could point to a million blog posts, articles and memes telling women not to be a wife to a boyfriend. Hell, someone even wrote a book a whole book about the topic. But every single one I have come across personally is basic. The reasoning points were shallow and mostly unrealistic.

While I understand that we need to protect ourselves as women, I don’t think the overall ‘why buy a cow a cow when you can get the milk for free‘ sing-song approach to a committed relationship will yield the results most practitioners of the philosophy believes it will. Ladies, sit here, get a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and sit down. I’m talking to you.

As always, these posts I make are intended for women who date with the intention of marriage. If that is not you, I am not speaking to you. You can go on and head out. Here we go.

He Knows Whether He Wants You or Not

I have a straightforward sentence for you to remember always. Are you ready?

If a man wants to marry you, he will.

It’s as simple as that: no bells, whistles, or flowery. I don’t care if you are doing nothing for him. I don’t care if you’re washing, cooking, cleaning, baby popping, dick slaying, gargling balls, being his peace, being independent, bringing home the whole damn table and offering him a one-on-one conference with the Lord in heaven. Whether you bring it up or he brings it up. If he wants to be married to you and you are willing, he will.

When it comes to talking about a boyfriend, as with anything else, there are levels. For example, the level of commitment and trust you have with your boyfriend of one month is certainly not the same that you will have with your boyfriend of two years or your fiancé of five. So then, how can the blanket statement ‘Don’t be a wife to a boyfriend’ or ‘Don’t give a boyfriend husband privileges’ make sense? It doesn’t. Stay with me here.

Do not marry anyone’s potential. Do not marry a man because you think he will turn into the husband you want after you say vows. Conversely, I would never encourage a man to marry a woman hoping she will be the wife he wants. If you don’t be a wife to a boyfriend, how will he know if you are the kind of wife he is looking for? Grown folks know that love is not enough to keep a relationship, let alone a marriage.

In the end, what will keep a man accountable, are your standards and how they tie into his standards and convictions.

The Dating Boyfriend

In my blog post Things Dating Couples Should Talk About Sooner, I talked about not delaying the talk on specific critical topics, even though dating culture echoes the sentiment that serious or heavier discussions should be saved for when relationships move on to the committed relationship stage. That’s hogwash. It’s a waste of time and enables the illusion that men are choosing their wives, but the women are simply taking a husband they can get. No. I don’t buy it. I rebuke it. Women choose their husbands. Men are auditioning to be husbands, too.

Now, dating and committed relationships are different stages of any relationship. Some people move through the steps faster than others, but essentially, that is the typical structure. Dating is an elimination phase. You meet people, spend time with them, and get to know them—their personalities, likes, dislikes, quirks, et cetera. Then, when you feel you have enough information about whether you want that person as a long-term partner, you get more serious about the relationship and the potential for it to be lifetime-worthy.

This boyfriend, you shouldn’t be a wife to.

The Committed Boyfriend

This stage is different. This stage is where you dig deeper. It’s where you mimic what your life will be like long-term. You’ve decided your goals are compatible. You have discussed them and are putting into practice the steps to achieve your individual and collective life goals. You’ve decided on the when, the how many, if any, kids you’re willing to have, whether you want to buy a house, or if you already have one, you’ll talk about that too, all that jazz. But this point is where you walk the walk you’ve been discussing.

If you decide to cohabit, you share the most intimate personal spaces. You’re now noticing how the other half lives, whether freakishly neat or a slob. You’re discovering who is better at the laundry, who cooks more or better, what debts you have as individuals and how you’ll approach them in your lives together.

This boyfriend, you should begin to be a wife to.

This is where you decide if you want this man for your husband. Why wouldn’t you treat him as you would if you were his wife? Remember, it’s a two-way street. You also decide, ‘Is this how you want to be treated as a wife?’ Would you be okay with this person for the rest of your days? Just because you’re dating and moved on to commit doesn’t mean it’s a forlorn conclusion that you’ll marry. It’s the opposite. You’re still deciding, but with more information at your disposal.

This is when you should be free to be who you are at your very core. This is when this man is supposed to treat you as he would as his wife. This is when you will both decide if you want this for keeps.

‘This is the time to take stock of red flags, not ignore them. You talk about them and over-analyze them. The things you don’t get to see when you are doing all that lust-filled, hazy dating. The things that make you go’‘Oop! Hold on, now.’’This is the time to take stock of red flags, not ignore them. You talk about them and over-analyze them. The things you don’t get to see when you are doing all that lust-filled, hazy dating. The things that make you go ‘Oop! Hold on, now.’

This is when you discover and work out the finer kinks. It’s when you pay attention to the more important but profound things. And decide if they are worth a lifetime commitment to you. This should be the best of yourself you have to offer your partner.

The Fiancé Boyfriend

Some people move into another stage of the boyfriend-girlfriend relationship to where they are now each other’s intended husband or wife with a plan (usually a timeline) on when they will be getting married. But let’s be clear a fiancé is still a boyfriend, just not on the same level as a dating boyfriend.

Decisions, Decisions

If at any of the boyfriend phases, when doing the analysis, they do not reciprocate what you are giving or present as wanting or deserving of the best version of you and the wife you would like to be, then…

They are not your life partner!

This is where you end it. You don’t stay and lead yourself to marriage like a lamb to slaughter, knowing fully well that you would not be happy if this person never changed a thing about themselves for the rest of their lives. Please do not marry potential.

You May Also Like: Five Things I’ve Learned in Five Years of Marriage

Romanticizing Marriage as a Destination

We need to stop romanticizing marriage as a destination. It’s not. It’s a journey. It is a hard, long (well, it’s supposed to be) one that will be long and hard even if you do absolutely everything right.

What I’m not Saying…

Let’s be very clear; this isn’t to say that you will be out here willy-nilly doing everything and anything for every Tom, Dick and Harry. I am not suggesting you enter-twine your whole lives before marriage. If your values are centred around certain constructs that you will only participate in after you have wed, it is certainly possible to continue to do so.

There are definitely some decisions I feel you should not make until you are legally connected to someone as a spouse. Some big-ticket items things that may be common for persons to decide they will not engage in before marriage are:

  • Sex
  • Cohabitation (Living Together)
  • Having Children
  • Mixing Finances

What I mean is, whatever your standards are, stick to them but don’t simply engage in a hold-out game. If you don’t want to cohabitate or have children before marriage, that should be communicated, respected and accepted by both parties involved, and you proceed accordingly.

In Conclusion

Have standards, and enforce them. That’s all. Nobody should get married hoping that the other person will be what they want to them in their marriage. Puss inna bag is a dangerous game, and that’s what the ‘don’t be a wife to a boyfriend’ perspective mostly is. I’m just saying.

Do you believe in the ‘Don’t be a Wife to Boyfriend’ spiel? Let me know in the comments.

Xo, Shandean.

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Shandean Reid

A lifestyle blogger, digital and strategic communications practitioner and self-published author, I am also a heavily caffeinated, quintessential wife, mom and bookworm. This space is my contribution to the internet for the practical, resourceful everyday millennial.




  • Alexis Chateau

    Having married and divorced a man, I do actually agree that boyfriends should not have husband privileges, but not for the reasons you referenced. My husband learned early that I was 100% capable of not just caring for myself but for him. So, why do anything? He became lazy and complacent, because I got it. But, was he eager to marry me? Absolutely. Was he eager to divorce me? As you may have noticed from my Twitter rants: no. I had to threaten the law firm to get out of that marriage and it took a year just to get him to sign, much less process the paperwork. Simply put, marriage is not the be all, end all of a relationship and some people change after marriage. My thankfully now-ex-husband always marveled at the fact that I remained exactly the woman he married and had not hidden anything or participated in pretence. Neither I nor the rest of my family can say the same for him. Not everyone has luck in marriage, so marriage itself should never be the end goal. Just my two cents as a VERY happy, childless divorcee.

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