Back in the day, men had to ask a woman’s father for her hand in marriage, but now that’s considered old fashioned and unnecessary. These days, some men aren’t even meeting the fathers until the wedding rehearsal. “Ask for my hand? For what? What am I, a piece a property? So I’m not capable of giving my own hand?” This is the response many men would be hit with if they even suggested talking to a woman’s father first. And that’s part of why things have gotten so bad.
I was completely capable of “giving my own hand” if I chose, but still my father had a talk with my husband before we married. I don’t know exactly what he said, but it was probably something along the lines of, “Listen here, boy. F_ _ _ up and see what happens. I’m from the streets, son. Jersey all day!” Ok, so that was a bit of a stretch. I’m sure my father said nothing like that, but he did make it clear that there were certain standards he’d have to live up to if he wanted to marry his daughter.
It wasn’t about passing ownership from one pair of male hands to the next. It was about a man being held accountable by another man. In the same way that women find it easier and best to talk to other women about issues of femininity, men should approach other men on issues of masculinity and manhood. Women shouldn’t have to yell, “Treat us better!” “Stop beating us!” Stop abandoning us with your children!” Those messages should come from other men– fathers, uncles, brothers, sons and friends (or even a random man on the street who witnessed some foolishness and couldn’t help but to get involved).
A woman knows if another woman is up to no good, and so does a man. That’s why fathers need to be the intercessors. You might be fooled by a nice smile and a smooth baritone voice (and so might your mother), but your father won’t. You might be captivated by his cologne and conversation, but your father is immune. He has been taking care of you his entire life, doing everything he can to make sure you are safe and happy, so he’ll be damned if he’s going to let another man come into your life and ruin all the work he’s done. No sir. Not today. Not on his watch.
That is what fathers are for.
Let’s be clear. This is not to discount the work or importance of mothers. Mother’s are absolutely essential, but this is an area where a father (not necessarily biological) needs to be present. When a woman gets in a serious relationship with a man, she’s not just agreeing to be his companion, she is agreeing to let him be the father of any children they may have. She is agreeing to allow him to be the leader of whatever family they may create. She is agreeing to be the mother of any offspring he may produce. That’s a big deal, a super big deal, one you shouldn’t be making by yourself.
Love is great, but it isn’t always logical. In fact, it can be downright crazy. Think of all the people that stay in bad relationships because they can’t bring themselves to leave. (Perhaps you’re thinking of yourself right now.) Think of all the people that are so attached to the “loves of their lives” that they put up with horrible treatment. Love actually makes it harder to judge a person’s worthiness. It fills the air with a sweet-smelling fog that makes it difficult to see what’s in front of you.
Ladies, we need to turn down the Destiny’s Child long enough to realize that we do not have to exist in this world completely by ourselves. We’ve been convinced that we have to have our own everything, even our own backs. Well, that just isn’t possible. If your back is going to be covered (and we can probably all agree that it should be), it has to be done by someone else. There is no way around that. And since you’re dealing with a man–something you are not–why not have the cover of someone who is? Makes sense, don’t it?