The Trouble with Waiting for a Man to be ‘Ready’

January 3, 2012  |  

Mixed response would be an understatement to describe the public reaction to Lebron James popping the question to his long-time girlfriend, Savannah, over the weekend. For the most part, people were genuinely happy that two kids and ten years later, Bron was finally going to move Savannah from side kick to wife, but that didn’t stop a whole lot of “what took you so long” reactions, as well as comments that at 27, Lebron was too young and too sought after to make such a commitment.

But perhaps that’s the very thing that kept him waiting for 10 years, as so many common men do as well—with women who let them. To be honest, I didn’t give much thought to Lebron’s proposal, other than feeling happy that Savannah was finally getting something I’m sure she’d been wishing for for some time.  But watching Jim Jones give Chrissy a ring on “Love and Hip hop” last night did cause me to feel some sort of way, and it wasn’t exactly joy. I think part of it had to do with the fact that Jim didn’t even get down on one knee—which I didn’t notice until my third time watching (don’t judge). But then I remembered he was the one who had been proposed to so I guess it was OK for him to just pull out the box like he did. I was more so annoyed that it took Chrissy saying she needed a break from him and actually leaving, albeit for a weekend trip to Miami, for Jim to get it.

It’s safe to say Jim Jones and Lebron James probably don’t have a whole lot in common, but they do have access to a lot of money and a lot of women, which doesn’t make the prospect of settling down with just one lady particularly desirable. But something else they seem to share with each other, and tons of men in the general population, is a need for a woman to prove her loyalty, and even “wifeability” (made that up) by sticking with him through thick and thin for inordinate stretches of time.

It’s no secret men and women operate on different time tables, and that’s especially true when it comes to relationships.  Men are more willing to let a good thing ride while women are constantly wondering when things are going to move to the next level, and the question that becomes hard for women to answer is how long should they wait for their man to be ready? I don’t think there’s any concrete number you can stamp on any relationship, although personally I think if we’re at the five-year mark we need to figure out what we’re doing in the long-run. Chrissy surpassed that mark by a year or two and Lebron and Savannah doubled that—while making babies in the process. Some would take that as a sign of building a family but it could’ve just as easily been the result of a faulty prophylactic. I don’t agree with those who say if Lebron is old enough to make babies, he’s old enough to get married. Fifteen-year-olds can have babies. But if you’re man enough to decide to create babies with someone intentionally, you ought to be man enough to marry her—if that’s what you both want. Creating children without a family structure is not OK, especially if you don’t know that the person mothering your children is someone you want around for the rest of your life.

But there’s a fine, and sometimes painful line, between waiting for a man to be ready and wasting your time.  I thought Chrissy was doing the latter, but it seems there’s no better reality check for a man like the threat of being left that gets those engagement wheels in motion.  Despite waiting a long time to give her a ring, Jim’s love for Chrissy never seemed to be in question, it was just a matter of them being on the same page about their future. Still, the smack upside the head that’s needed to make a man realize it’s time to step up seems far too common for men in long-term relationships. Perhaps the women have already stayed around too long without demanding more of a commitment that the men see no immediate need to progress but there also seems to be a need for men to feel totally supported before they agree to walk down the aisle.

When a friend of mine talked about the reason he married his wife, he said that she was the only one who stuck with him through all of his “BS.” While my first inclination was to ask, why did you put her through that BS in the first place, his narrative is a similar one I’ve heard from many men. They want to be assured that the woman they are with will be down for them no matter what, and after six to 10 years, I imagine you would’ve seen your man at his ultimate low. The question is, do you want to stand beside someone through all of that when you haven’t even made a marital commitment to them or would you rather find someone who doesn’t feel the need to make you prove just how long-suffering love is to get him to say “I Do.” And more importantly, while you’re proving your loyalty to him what does his hesitation to step up say about his commitment to you?

Every relationship has its own issues, and Chrissy, Savannah, (and let’s give T.I.’s wife, Tiny, an honorable mention here) definitely win the gold medals for sticking it out. In the end, these women appear to have gotten what they’ve spent many years waiting for, but only time will tell if the wait was worth it.

How long do you think a woman should wait for her man to be ready to marry her? What do you think are the signs that a man just isn’t ready versus he’s not the one?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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