Don’t Buy Her A Gift…

gift

According to the movies and stories passed down over the decades, courtship in Africa, specifically Nigeria was rather a funny and awkward exercise; one that still influences how relationships pan out in present day society. In those days when a man became of age and his elders deemed it time for him to get married, he would be ‘let loose’ on the community to scout for a suitable maiden to wife.

Now, what made a maiden suitable you ask?

  • A broadened hip believed to make childbirth easier and also strong enough to ‘back’ the child when it cries.
  • An ample bosom to nurse a child.
  • A thin waist line to showcase an hourglass figure (they loved their amazons)
  • A good stock line to ensure children had no evil traits likely to rear up its ugly head.
  • And let’s not forget, the gift of preparing and serving meals in a manner that would rival Nigella Lawson.
  • Throw in a pretty face and the said scout had reached utopia.

Basically, he went about the process with the mannerism of a prospective buyer at a cattle market. And when our scout spots the right maiden does he personally take her a gift or try to interact with her? No. He interacts extensively with her family, including distant relatives, but rarely spends any quality time getting to know her as a person.  He bestows gifts on her parents, her relatives as a token of his interest. Any gift that makes it to the bride is delivered by a relative, not directly by our scout.

The maiden is seen as something you acquired after making a reasonable offer by way of a gift. There was no need to appeal to her emotions; it was more or less a business transaction.

Fast forward to present day society, not much has changed. Man still hasn’t mastered the act of gift giving without strings as a sign of intimacy and friendship.

Our modern day checklist will look something like this:

  • Does she have a job, is she hard-working?
  • Is she devoid of illness (this includes her bloodlines)?
  • Is she well known in the community? Hmm, this might be a sign that she flirts.
  • Is she prayerful? I have gathered a lot of demons and I need a stand by the exorcist.

And the list continues.

History has made it almost impossible for men to approach gift giving from any other angle other than as an investment that indirectly benefits him.

He gave gifts to her father, he got her. Business deal sealed and delivered.

However, today the woman has a choice and sadly that has thrown a spanner in the investment wheel of many scouts. Some have invested and lost heavily; some have played cautiously and still ended up cheated.

sheldon-cooper-quote

I know some of you are thinking, but we should invest in the ones we love. Absolutely true, however, investments are expected to yield returns; gifts are designed to please the recipient. A gift performs well under the atmosphere of love; selfishness on either side turns a gift into an investment tool for manipulation. Expecting to receive sexual favours or commitments because you gave a gift is totally opposed to the true meaning of gift giving.

 Most people give gifts to children simply to make them smile; to let them know you thought of them and you love them. If the lady in your life does not stir your feelings on gift giving the way a child would then I don’t think you should be together. Begrudging your partner a gift for any other reason other than you can’t afford or it feels inappropriate at the moment, is an indication that you evaluate your relationships based on what you expect in return from it.

Gift: something voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation.

Don’t buy her a gift this valentine because you see her as a potential ‘cow’ or ‘investment’ ready to yield an emotional, physical or spiritual bounty. Buy her a gift because she’s the girl who makes the sun feel brighter when she looks at you. Buy her a gift because your relationship is worth investing everything good into including gifts. Buy her a gift because you love her and respect her needs as a person.

Funny thing is when a girl senses she has your heart the benefits just keep giving ♥

 


 

Chioma is an avid reader and a non-biased writer. She writes to explore and change outlooks to life, while mothering and maintaining balance wherever she calls home. Visit her blogLifehomeandaway

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46 thoughts on “Don’t Buy Her A Gift…

  1. George February 12, 2016 / 1:57 am

    lol…”an investment that indirectly benefits him.”
    Now if that isn’t romance, I don’t know what is.
    The sad part is that, all too often, this statement is very true.
    As you so eloquently expressed, our hearts should be in a very different place when a gift is given. Let’s hope true romance prevails this year and the gift of love continues to give.
    Happy Valentines Day, uju..:)

    Liked by 2 people

    • uju February 12, 2016 / 10:42 am

      Wish you a happy valentine too, Mr. George 🙂

      Like

  2. Adaeze February 11, 2016 / 8:27 am

    Your checklists made me laugh especially the ancient one with the child bearing hips. I like your humourous yet insightful analysis on gifts and the act of giving, the timing of the post is beautiful. Kudos to Chioma and Uju for bringing us this beautiful post.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. D'Dream February 11, 2016 / 8:12 am

    All I just believe is – fall in love with your friend. But some will disagree about the fact that there is usually nothing exciting to be found out about each other anymore.

    Biko I’m not here to argue, fall in love with your enemy then – they have something to prove anyway

    Liked by 1 person

    • uju February 11, 2016 / 9:46 am

      Yeah we should fall in love with our friends, the people who allow us to be ourselves, while also encouraging us to be better.

      But we have to agree you can’t be in love with some friends. A friendly relationship with someone who has some vices is kinda easier than being married to them. It’s in marriage that you begin to realize just how thin or elastic your patience can be.

      Liked by 1 person

      • D'Dream February 11, 2016 / 10:50 am

        yeah i couldn’t agree more with your point.
        marriage to that person you have always known is another kettle of fish. it seems as the role change from friend/fiance/fiancee/ to husband/provider/wife/caregiver, the real person begins to surface. not that each person has been pretending all the while. perhaps its just that circumstances begins to reveal the true and deep core of each persons

        Liked by 1 person

    • creatingahome February 11, 2016 / 10:16 am

      ‘Biko I’m not here to argue, fall in love with your enemy then – they have something to prove anyway’
      😄
      Enemy or friend; pray to grow in love with the one who wants to love you back till commitment becomes eternity.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. livelytwist February 10, 2016 / 9:02 pm

    Lol@ is she prayerful; I have gathered a lot of demons …. 🙂 For real?

    Liked by 2 people

    • uju February 10, 2016 / 10:47 pm

      Lol made me chuckle too. But seriously you’d be surprised what people have on their marriage to-have list.
      I know of someone who once said she wants a prayer warrior for a husband so he can fight the (prowling) devil.
      I guess that’s legitimate now 😀

      Liked by 2 people

      • Adaeze February 11, 2016 / 8:29 am

        I want a prayerful husband too but not necessarily for the demons 😄

        Liked by 1 person

        • uju February 11, 2016 / 9:48 am

          What would be your reason then? We ARE battling spiritual forces in the high places after all 😀

          Liked by 1 person

    • D'Dream February 11, 2016 / 8:05 am

      The ridiculous reasons some people used to gauge this day is something CNN needs reporting on.

      Liked by 2 people

      • uju February 11, 2016 / 9:44 am

        I’d loooove to see a documentary on those reasons 😀

        Liked by 2 people

    • creatingahome February 11, 2016 / 10:13 am

      Well we all have different areas of weakness and some of us love to pass them off to others.
      😄

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Odii February 10, 2016 / 3:24 pm

    @Chioma, I was very delighted, much more delighted than I can tell you that you could see what I was saying and the grace with which you accepted my arguments made me very happy. Thank you for making it worth my while. 🙂

    @manipulation: it is true. But let us remember a very important tidbit: love never gives cheap gifts. Manipulation does. If someone is being manipulative, they will never be putting themselves on the line. That can be your escape. Love does have a right to demand returns. In denying that right, we will put ourselves in a very harmful position.

    In an abusive relationship, give-and-take already ceased so the mask has come off. When give-and-take stops, love has ceased. Old gifts make no difference then.

    @community: it’s important to remember that communities have always had good and evil people; wise and foolish people etc. There have always been those who abused the good systems that exist to keep society working. Also, like I said before, many narratives that exist about the African past and the Nigerian past are either mired in ignorance or exploiting the ignorance of the audience. I personally know that women have always held a significant position in my culture. There has always been a separation of roles. But times have changed and those roles should have evolved linearly but I cannot argue that they did.

    @treating women as equal partners: I agree. But that’s as much for women as for men. I could offer myself as a creator/partner and the woman would reject me in favor of someone else offering themselves as an investor/controller. Btw, I’d strike out “investor”. It’s a very good word. Everyone needs someone who’ll go out on a limb and invest in them. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • creatingahome February 10, 2016 / 4:26 pm

      ☺It has indeed been educative. Love indeed doesn’t give cheap gifts it demands an enduring commitment something money can’t buy, it might enhance it, but it will never buy it. Give a gift that might cost you your heart. I hereby rest my case Sir.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Odii February 10, 2016 / 5:15 pm

        A gift that costs you your heart. Amen, sista. Love shows itself in its thoughtfulness. If Oga goes beyond impressing to actually making a significant difference in her life with his gift, he is set.

        Thank you for discussing with me, Chioma. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • D'Dream February 11, 2016 / 8:08 am

      Please invent a platform to discus love matters. Look at me nodding as I read your love exposed.😀😀.

      Liked by 2 people

      • uju February 11, 2016 / 9:45 am

        Platform? Hehe I like this one already. How about doing a guest post on what you think about these love matters?

        Liked by 1 person

        • D'Dream February 11, 2016 / 10:56 am

          hehehe!! chai! do i really have to couple with the fact i have only love deeply and once my whole life …….. lols.

          i can only give inspired and read version but the experiential version biko!

          Like

      • uju February 11, 2016 / 11:20 am

        It takes loving once to do this lol. You learned a lot. You understood your own vulnerability a little more.
        That’s what I want you to share.
        Come on, it’s valentine 🙂

        Like

        • D'Dream February 11, 2016 / 11:28 am

          *grinning* okay i will try. your email is about to be bombed by yours truly before the week runs out then

          chai! someone iyaff catch me

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Ifeoma Samuel February 10, 2016 / 10:07 am

    Gal you nailed it!
    What more can I say….
    Loads of love and kisses.

    By the way still have fun on Val’s day😆*mischievous or trying to be*

    Liked by 1 person

    • creatingahome February 10, 2016 / 11:59 am

      Thanks Ify.
      Oh I plan to enjoy myself with no strings attached.
      😄

      Like

  7. Odii February 10, 2016 / 9:59 am

    You’re right. She does unpack her subject well. But I’m not sure about the history she described. In my hometown, the oldtimers used to do it in any number of different ways. One of them involved an ingenious method of building emotional attachment and integration into each other’s family. By the time, the marriage is formalized, it’s extremely likely that it’s become rather strange to both man and woman that they could marry somebody else. Gifts and expectations were fully involved even in that system.

    The other thing that isn’t entirely true is actually her subject itself. Now, even if anyone who reads this comment doesn’t care about Christianity or believe in Jesus, the Bible claims that Jesus is a perfect man and was even when he walked on earth and that his Father was God. Yet, He DEMANDED that his Father glorify him as he had himself glorified the Father. It was like a divine kind of “do me I do you”.

    I think that it isn’t very productive to think of gifts as something you must not attach expectation to. Even parents who love their kids to distraction and do everything for them cannot eliminate their expectations of good behavior and wise, productive decisions in their lives.

    I think of life as a circle. We are all of us giving and receiving. Each time you give you make room for receiving again. If nothing is given back, a negative pressure begins to build. It is not only a totally natural, humanly uncontrollable reality, it is actually how God created life to be. Without that need to receive, love would be impossible to the giver. Love necessarily requires people not to either just give or just receive but to share. That way, we are necessary to one another.

    Thus, a man gives in the hopes that his gift will provoke a return. That closes the circle and gives him the joy of his life. It’s not a bad thing when you think about it.

    🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • uju February 10, 2016 / 10:53 am

      We’ll wait for Chi to attend to respond to this…

      Liked by 1 person

    • creatingahome February 10, 2016 / 11:58 am

      Hi Odii,
      Thank you so much for reading and an insightful comment.

      I totally agree that in some communities over time the families become so close knit that the idea of marrying someone else becomes strange, however, I have some questions:
      a) Are they together because they truly understand each other or because it’s become too tangled to unravel?
      b) Does the family stay after the marriage when the ‘naked’ film begins and there’s no where to hide?
      Solomon courted his beloved, not her family, He spoke to her and not of her.
      Times have changed, women have choices and commitment can longer be bought or enforced.
      All I am advocating for is a generation of men who earnestly seek to love the soul for what it is before the body.

      With regards to gifts, it should never be used to buy love, commitment or trust. God loved so he gave …. and he didn’t stand around saying see I have given you this gift and now better fall in line.

      We give out of love or fear.
      Fear has many faces, but at the end of the day it’s message is the same; see what I have done for you what have you done back, it keeps count.
      Love says i done for you, because I know it essentially is for us as in the circle of life you described. It doesn’t keep count.

      Finally, I don’t give a gift I can’t go to sleep and forget about. If circumstance demands I do more, I pray for grace to forget, cos murmuring or keeping score makes the whole process of gift giving useless.

      Liked by 2 people

      • uju February 10, 2016 / 12:01 pm

        Hmm I’m enjoying where this conversation is going.
        I’ll definitely have to run a series on managing expectations now 🙂

        Good job, Chi

        Liked by 1 person

        • creatingahome February 10, 2016 / 12:02 pm

          Heihei.
          look forward to reading it and indeed it’s all about managing expectations in the long run.

          Like

      • Odii February 10, 2016 / 1:32 pm

        You were very engaging, Chioma, so it was easy to read. 🙂

        About communities, I actually think that the absence of a formal education in our national history in Nigeria is to blame for all the rather inane stereotypes that have been bandied about and promoted by Nollywood. Like I said, there were more than one way of working out marriage in my own specific culture. I just alluded to one that I know. I happen to know that one because my dad is actually very old and lived in the time before our culture was almost completely subsumed into Western ways, so he could tell me about it.

        To answer (a) and (b), I’ll explain how that method worked.

        Say, a man had a friend he grew up with or even met sometime in his life and has a lot of respect and affection for. They share values and are fiercely dedicated to each other. One gets married and has a son. The other has a daughter in the course of time. The first would go to the second and perform a well-known ritual. He would give his friend some money and say that that was his contribution to the baby’s needs (it happened a little after the baby girl is born). In our tongue, he says, “ana m etii nki o la mmiri nwa nta”. Literally, I’m giving this toward providing her water.

        As the little girl grows up, she is often sent to the family of her prospective father-in-law. She plays with his children and is fully treated as a daughter of his home. When she is going home, they package some of the foods that they have been giving her – a lot of it is dried for that purpose – to take home to her parents. It is how they show that they have been looking after her well. As the kids grow older and approach sexual maturity, they are increasingly isolated with each other so that they get used to dealing with each other without interference.

        At the appropriate time, if the two wish to be married – which is what both families hope for – the girl is taken into the house of “mgbede” to prepare her for child-bearing and the young man is given his own bit of land to farm and a part of his father’s compound to build his own house. When the “mgbede” is completed, they are married and she moves in with him. He will no longer be expected to go to his mother’s kitchen for food. His wife will have already learned all she needs to know about feeding him and have her own kitchen and her own role in farming vegetables and selling them too (or whatever else they do to contribute to their new household, because some men people were hunters rather than farmers and some were smiths and, in riverine areas, some could be fishermen. Some men could even be professional traders).

        They live their own life without anybody’s interference and are expected to deal with their issues like mature adults. But they will always have their parents on both sides to advise and arbitrate when there is any need.

        This, like I said, is only one way that people got married before our culture was confused. Widows and widowers often got married too. Divorce happened and divorcees got remarried. Orphans got married too. Wayward young men and women who later got their act together also often got married. There were bound to be provisions for every one of those situations and more. Because of the discontinuity in our cultural history and a very curious and terrible truncation of a formal education in our national histories, many of us don’t know just how sophisticated our various cultures once were and thus we make a lot of fallacious arguments about ourselves.

        You can see, for instance, that even with all that work the families do to tie the two kids together emotionally, there is still allowance made for the fact that they may not click. If they do not, they can choose whom they prefer and their families would go and investigate their choices to make sure that they were safe. Surely, you wouldn’t want your daughter to marry into a family with a culture of beating up their women as a matter of course or your son marrying into a family that glorified adultery. Either case would leave you living on edge. You would worry every single moment fearing that you’ll hear that your daughter is dead or your son has done something terrible out of his emotional pain. There were any number of things to look out for too in such investigations.

        As for marrying families: people can be different from their roots but that is always as a result of a conscious choice to go a different way than their family does. Apart from that, we’re often no more than a sample of our own upbringing. What our parents, siblings and larger kindred culturize becomes our own normal approach to life. So, yes, you do marry people’s family when you marry them. That’s partly why we always have an instinct to get to know their “people” and then try to insinuate ourselves into their family reality.

        I totally agree with caring about the soul of a person. I believe that when we take a study, we’ll find that most working relationships are practical in bearing. They involve people who want more than mere emotional euphoria. They’re about people who are invested in each other, who are willing to build something together even at the cost of something individual to themselves.

        That brings me to this: the whole point of being together is to “tangle” so well that you can’t unravel. That takes understanding and a willingness to sacrifice you for him or her when the choice shows up. Which is where the whole gift and expectation issue comes to a head.

        When you give a gift that cost you nothing, what exactly is its worth? David said, “I will not give God something that cost me nothing” when he was offered a threshing floor to build an altar to the Lord. He paid in full for it and made a lavish sacrifice. God gave us such a vastly expensive gift that he said without equivocation, “if you don’t accept this gift, you will die”. So, no, he didn’t do what you said. He did stand around commanding (according to Peter) everybody to repent because he had given everything he held dear (which was everything really) to make repentance and fixing our ruined relationship with him possible.

        When love is at work, giving is the theme and it goes and comes. Expectation cannot be eliminated because Love does not give cheap gifts.

        Finally, about keeping count: oh Lord, does love keep count! Love is nobody’s fool. It sure keeps count. God will give you the history of all he has done for you in a heartbeat when he has cause to. He did it to Israel several times. Jesus did it to Capernaum, Tyre, Jerusalem and promises to do it to the whole world when he returns. Love demands that it be returned. If you give without expectation, you step out of the circle and in isolating yourself, you kill love in yourself. Love’s biggest challenge is that it always risks itself in hope and can be left holding on to nothing because someone did not return its gifts. That is the only thing that can “kill” love.

        Sorry about the long comment. It couldn’t be shorter.

        Liked by 2 people

        • creatingahome February 10, 2016 / 2:37 pm

          I have been thoroughly schooled by your comment. It is very well reasoned and thought out.

          Love is indeed nobody’s fool, however, in the examples you gave God counted out those acts of love when people strayed. He did not recount or advertise his gift at the time of giving. And even afterwards his recounting was to remind them of his love for them. There are people out there who always push what they have done into your face as a way of blackmail. I do not believe God ever did that. Give out of love and accept like you said ‘Love’s biggest challenge is that it always risks itself in hope and can be left holding on to nothing because someone did not return its gifts.’ Simply put love reaches out in hope. People have been trapped in the wrong relationship or abusive relationships because they hoped their gift before love would make a way for them, this isn’t business but a personal relationship. The two might share a thin line, but the line exists.
          Again God loved thus he gave….

          With respect to the community and how love was established to be honest that was a beautiful retelling you did there. Perhaps like you said this is where we let another system turn ours upside down. However, I am sure certain relationships treated the girl like a parcel to be exchanged. And if history as retold by some others is true then a lot of women had no say or wiggle room in the matter, accepting the choice with good faith as it was all they knew.

          I guess at the heart of it all I am asking men to step up from the place of an investor/controller to the place of a creator/partner. Create the love you want to see, take emotional not just physical responsibility for that love.

          You have indeed given me a lot to mull over as I attempt to write the female version of the post.
          XD.

          Liked by 2 people

  8. A.PROMPTreply February 10, 2016 / 4:11 am

    I love this….the true definition of a gift – something too many forget! Also love how you illustrated the term investment. Great post at the perfect time of year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • uju February 10, 2016 / 6:05 am

      Chioma (the poster) has such a gift of unpacking her topics well.
      Very timely, I agree. So many people have forgotten what a gift should be about and spend their time creating obligations instead. I hope that this valentine we give love and happiness instead.
      Thank you, Tori 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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