I was first introduced to term “Wifey” by the R & B group NEXT in 2000. They had a song entitled, Wifey, that flew up the charts because it was catchy and talked about love and marriage. However, that was the problem. All it did was talk about marriage. In the video, each one of the male singers had a female love interest but not one of them had an engagement ring. I was confused. How can you propose to someone without a ring? Oh, now I get it, will you be my wife-y?
I know you may be thinking, “Well, what’s wrong with that?” Well, nothing, unless you ignore the "y"! By definition, a wife-y is someone who is wife-like but not an actual wife. She provides the man with all the benefits of being married- sex, loyalty, home-cooked meals, raising his kids- but without the actual title and ring afforded to a real wife. That song is a decade old now but it captured the current and growing phenomenon of women settling for being just wifeys. As a man, I couldn’t understand why a woman would settle for being an Almost-Wife versus a real one and then I met Renee.
Renee sought relationship advice about her long-term boyfriend, Anthony, whom despite multiple affairs, she had remained faithful to for years. She was growing frustrated with him talking about marriage without actually proposing. He used all the typical tricks. He took her to meet his parents, window shopped for rings and even gave her a key to his apartment with an open door policy which, ironically, is how she caught him cheating each time. Renee was slowly beginning to realize that she would never be a wife, at least not Anthony’s, and wanted a professional male’s perspective on what she should do.
Renee was beautiful! She had beautiful teeth, full lips, was well cropped and never missed an opportunity to showcase a mean shoe game with matching designer bag, of course. Despite possessing all the fashion sense of Paris runway model, Renee didn’t even possess a Wal-Mart education when it came to understanding men.
My advice to her was simple and direct. I advised her to leave Anthony. By her response, you would have thought I accused her of shopping at PayLess. “I know you are not suggesting that I give up everything that I have worked for and endured- all the affairs, the lies, the broken promises- and leave with nothing to show for it, do you?” I calmly asked her, “Renee, what do you really have?” Before she could retort, the weight of the question overwhelmed her and she began to cry. I empathized with her and advised her on regaining the power in her relationship. The advice worked too because within four months, Renee had a ring on her finger. I bet you want to know what I told her, huh?
First, she had to stop allowing fear to drive her relationship. Her fear of losing Anthony, being alone and starting over again was preventing her from gaining what she desired most: A husband. You are what you think about; and if all you think about is not losing then it’s psychologically impossible to ever win.
Second, she needed to stop taking Anthony’s infidelity issues personally. Anthony’s own fears led him to sabotage the relationship every time he felt pressured to marry her. Like most men, Anthony feared being inadequate as a husband. How could he profess to love and cherish Renee for the rest of his life with no track record of being successful in the past? So, he purposely fouled up but not enough to permanently lose Renee, his “wifey”.
Third, I empowered her by showing her how to use Anthony’s greatest fear against him: the fear of losing her. Men are naturally possessive and their egos cannot handle the idea of losing the woman of their dreams and being forced to helplessly watch from the sideline as she give his love to another man, until death due them part. Men dislike feeling ashamed. Thus, avoiding it is a motivator. How could Anthony live with himself knowing that he lost his future wife all because he was scared?
Now, there was only one thing left to do. Renee needed to conquer her own insecurities so she could feel confident about leaving. She worked through childhood feelings of paternal abandonment, abusive ex-boyfriends and strengthened her relationship with God, the ultimate Father. She began to see what was so obvious to others yet had been blind too herself- the beautiful child of God who was most deserving of unconditional love and committed relationship. So, with God as her guide, she gathered her belongings and left Anthony in search of a real husband.
She explained to Anthony that while she loved him deeply, God’s love for her was far greater and that she refused to settle for less than equal value. She kissed him softly and walked like a Proverbs 31 woman to her car and sped away.
Poor Anthony couldn’t even make it one week before he was harassing her work, texting her daily and stalking her at church. When he did finally track her down, he came prepared and revealed a sparkling two-carat ring and proposed on the spot. She cried, took the ring with no response and made an impromptu visit to my office the first thing Monday morning. She wanted to say thanks, but then threw a curveball that even an ex-baseball pitcher (albeit little league) turned psychologist didn’t predict. She returned the ring and informed Anthony that she would entertain future proposals but not until he entered counseling to deal with his infidelity issues.
Besides, she had met someone else and wanted too see if this was the man God promised her. As it turns out, he was a male client whose appointment always preceded hers. His reason for seeing me…couldn’t find a wife. Go figure. Isn’t God good!
Oh, want more life changing relationship advice? Pick up a copy of my book, The Ring Formula: How To Be The Only One He Ever Needs (available on iBooks too). Why just read love advice about other people when you can be busying yourself getting your own ring?!