If our history as depicted by Nollywood movies and hand me down stories are anything to go by then the true measure of a man’s love and his intent depends on the gift he gives. It wasn’t a parameter we (women) plucked from the air, rather one that has been propagated by the courtship rituals of our ancestors. In the past a groom was judged suitable by a girl’s family on the following criteria:
- Was he a good hunter or skilled farmer? (one must be able to provide for his own)
- Was he from a good strong bloodline? (we do not want the ‘crazies here’)
- What gifts did he bring for his intended in-laws? (the bigger and more outlandish, the better)
- And if he was the man amongst men, you know, the alpha male that everyone listened to then he was almost perfect.
- I think they also considered good looks, but it didn’t weigh as much as the other criteria’s.
Thus, when our scout (groom/man) found a maiden to wife, her family not her essentially weighed him according to the above list. She was entitled to murmur and complain if she didn’t like him, but at the end she would marry him if the family deemed him fit. Everything about the process placed women in the role of an extra or at best a supporting actress in the movie. called her life.
Fast-forward into present day society and women have found a lot more control over who they marry, but sadly they still go about the process with the same list, add or minus a few things:
- Is he a good provider?
- Is he from strong bloodlines?
- How big is his largesse? (Is it a river ready to overwhelm my enemies and relatives or is it a stream for me to sit by or fetch with a pot? If it’s the second hmm.
- Is he TDH, or at least, TYH?
- Does he carry his six packs or does his pack proceed before him?
And the list goes on.
Sadly, this has robbed many of the ability to see a gift for what it truly is, an act of love extended to another. Ladies want a guy who buys us this, that and so many others. The whole process has gone downhill making most guys see the act of buying gifts as an upsetting necessity. They sense the value of the gift outweighs their essence. While some other guys go ahead to buy exorbitant gifts in a bid to keep the girl interested. And as many end up feeling cheated ‘commonly called mugus’, others reap undue benefits ‘players’ and the rest stand like rabbits caught in headlights.
As for the ladies, many get confused indecisive, trying to judge a book by its cover, a giver, by his gift rather than his heart. It is true that a gift can tell you many things about a person, however, using it as the first or most important measure of a person can be truly fatal.
Many have sort after gifts so much that they have become blinded by the poisoned drink of lust, manipulation, insecurity, selfishness presented along with it. The need to show off something on valentine’s day has dragged many to a place they would never want the world to see.
I read a post by Ifeoma Obiora, she made me think deeply about how we celebrate a single day, but forget to be a gift/blessing on every other day. Don’t hold your boyfriend/husband/intended to ransom for failing to give you a gift when everyone else has one. Hold them to ransom because their hearts might not be in the right place of love which transcends all things. Don’t judge them by the quality of the gift, evaluate the intent of their heart and why it fails to express love as you expect. Off-course this requires dialogue between both parties, not just a mental check-list. Approach your partner with an open mind, lay your thoughts bare. Worst case scenario you confirm your fears and what you do from there depends on you.
I am not against gift giving or valentines day, I only ask that the gift reflects the true intents of the giver and receiver’s heart else they both become wrapped in a present that has no future.
Happy valentines day folks.
Love yourself, love others.
Last week I did a guest post my friend Uju, it’s sort of a first part to this. Click on the link to read it.