This is a question us men need to ask ourselves more often when we think about our partners or significant others because I'm not sure we act like it or we understand what it entails.
Do you love her? Not because she has a smoking body, or a pretty face, not because she gives you everything she has and everything she is. Do you love HER?
Do you love her individuality? All the little things that make her who she is. Do you respect her interests no matter how strange or silly they may appear to you? Because newsflash, our interests are just silly & foreign to them, but they learn about it, they get involved. What about you?
You see women sit through our unhealthy relationship with sports and its stars, and they take this on, champion our teams, watch 7 hours of the football/golf/basketball/tennis coverage with you, they buy us tickets to go see these games together, they buy jerseys, they get all involved. Do you even bother to find out her interests? What she'd like to spend her weekends doing other than watch you hero-worship sportsmen.
Do you know the difference between infills & just gels? Do you know the merits/demerits of closure vs full frontal? Do you even know whether she's a 4a, b or c? Do you know her favourite authors? Do you know whether she writes or paints? Sigh!
Sometimes we do know the answers to these questions, but we're so disinterested, we disregard it whenever it comes up, we call it silly or boring or point out the flaws of even having those interests to begin with… and often, we end up dousing the fire behind those talents and interests. It is a truly awful thing to do, to kill the excitement a loved one has for something or make them feel silly for ever daring to like it in the first place.
Sometimes we do get lucky and her interests are similar to ours, but more often than not, they inherit our love for those things...because it means they get to understand us just a little more, a bit better, but mainly because they love us, and our individuality. They never actually disparage the things that make us unique as individuals, instead, they get involve and celebrate and learn to enjoy it with us. But we can't be bothered to do the same. Is that love? Is that caring?
Do you love her? As an entire human being with her own flaws and battles, or are you expecting perfection from her at all times, while you mire yourself in mediocrity? Men get quite frustrated on every little wrong thing a woman does, almost as if she's meant to be always perfect. They are not given leeway to get things wrong, no sir.
Anything less than perfection in a woman and frustration sets in. However, we're always quick to say "I'm still learning" in response to actions we should have learned by age 16. Oh, how a woman allows you to grow out of your massive flaws some even learn to love you WITH them! We should either cut them some slack or retain the same energy by demanding the same level of perfection from ourselves and our male friends.
We don't allow women the same benefit of doubt we allow ourselves. We give them no scope for growth. It is inherent how most men expect their wives to automatically make their lives better, but ask yourself, "is her quality of life better with me physically, mentally and emotionally?” As uncomfortable a question it is, we need to answer it and then decide what we want to do about the shortcomings.
Do you love her? Not as your property; not as something you own but rather as an adult with agency? Here's another newsflash, marriage, long/short term relationship does not mean you own her. She is allowed to have friends outside of you, she's allowed to spend her days and nights as she sees fit. She is not a child nor are you her father.
You claim to love her but want to control every aspect of her life; who she's friends with, what time she leaves, what time she gets back, what she spends her money on, how you spend your weekends. God forbid you don't get your own way, you'll sulk like a toddler or lash out. The logical gender indeed.
The funny thing is that these are the same men who'll turn on you and say "why don't you have your own life" once it begins cramping their style. When they've isolated you from every friendship and sisterhood you can have, they'll get mad at your dependency on them. They’ll resent you for wanting to be around them all the time. Men can be clowns like that.
This, amongst many other feminist reasons, is why a growing number of women are eschewing traditional titles like wife or girlfriend in favour of 'Partner'. The title does not signify ownership, but rather a partnership of two individuals with the hope that the synergy exists. This is two adults with agency coming together to make their collective lives better, easier and full of love. Two adults who make the decision to do life together.
Do you love her? Do you enjoy making her life easier? Or are you the reason her life is harder every single day? Do you think all the women in your life (mother, sister, partner) enjoy doing everything they do? Or rather do you realise they do it simply because they seek to make your life better or easier? There are men out there who have deluded themselves into thinking women have some genetic make up that means they enjoy cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry more than we do. It’s a thankless task that we’d all ditch if we could. That a woman chooses to do so needs to be appreciated and never taken for granted, but more importantly, reciprocated whenever possible. Take away some of the mental and emotional load.
While on the subject, the only time is woman is obligated to feed you is when you're still breastfeeding. If food is all you want from a woman, there are professionals for that. You want her to be everything! To be your friend, therapist, chef, cleaner, sex worker, cheerleader all the while thinking it’s her duty to do so and you don't do the same?!
Some of us men just love what the woman represents. A wife, to our warped societies, often signals respectability, or progress in life, so some men are known to choose a partner they feel gives them that. Us men sometimes, don't love the person just the idea of the person. It is why things that make her who she is, can upset you so much. You don't love her the person; you love everything she represents & brings to the relationship (In terms of labour)
Do you love her? Do you love her loving her career, her pursuit of excellence in her chosen field? Or do you only want her supporting your own pursuits. Is her career only ever a second thought to yours? Is your ego more important than her success? Would you ever put her pursuits first? Are you comfortable taking on more responsibility to enable her have the space and time to shine, to excel? Or will you punish her every opportunity you get and constantly make it a choice between two things she loves?
When us men like to utter the phrase "marriage is about compromise and sacrifice" we generally don’t mean us, when we talk of compromising. The woman is made and pushed to give more and sacrifice more in pursuit of a happy relationship. In fact, the only thing we men really think we're sacrificing is all the women we think we would've had if we weren't doing you the favour of being with you which is just laughable really.
Do you love her? Love her enough to read this and think about all the things we men are doing wrong. Do you love her enough to apologise sincerely? Do you care about her at all, about her wellbeing? Because if you did you'd respect her agency, you'd show kindness & understanding every chance you get.
Do you love her enough to change, to improve yourself to the level she deserves? Do you love her enough to make yourself uncomfortable in short term while learning all about her interests, and encouraging her to pursue excellence? Do you love her not as property but who she is? Do you love her as a person?
Do you love HER?