When Racheal Lukia, a close friend told me she had a serious talk with her boyfriend and asked him to introduce her to his parents, my heart skipped a bit.
Traditionally, a man should take such a step without being pestered. Ideally, a man takes time to decide whether to introduce his girlfriend to his parents or not.
In a phone conversation, Lukia argued that she wanted to know her position in a relationship that had lasted for more than five years.
“It was only fair that we discussed this. Five years of living with someone whose family is not known to you is not something one should take so lightly. I have not met any of his family members,” she narrated.
“What if anything happens to him? Who do I run to? Where do I start from? What will I tell my son? I needed answers to all these questions because I felt I was being taken for a ride,” Lukia adds.
Lukia is not an isolated case. There are many women out there who are neither married nor single. They stay with men under the same roof, sire many children yet their men have not taken the initiative to make things official or at least introduce them to their families.
Definitely. I must pester him to show me his parents. About knowing friends and relatives, I will get to know them gradually, especially during the time when we are organising our introduction ceremony or wedding. Parents are the most important people in any relationship because they have the power to bless or reject the relationship. It is very hard to continue living with someone if his family does not like you.
Regina Nantege, Nutritionist
This is an idea that has to come from the man, not the woman. When a person enjoys your company, naturally they will invite you to see their family and friends, as well as attend family events. If a man cannot think of doing this, perhaps he is not ready for marriage and he should be given time and space to reflect on what he wants in his life.
Agnes Ssembatya, Teacher
A relationship is between the two people. The rest are just additions. So it is important to build a firm relationship first and then bring in all other people in the picture later. Relationships are like a football match. You first do enough practice before you invite the spectators to come and watch a match. After having enough rehearsals, then you can involve all the relatives and friends.
Margret Nabukenya, Bussinesswoman
When I was still dating, I constantly told my husband that I wanted a more serious relationship. I never wanted anyone to waste my time. There is a certain degree of security a woman gets when a man introduces her to his family. It means that he loves the woman and he is willing to spend the rest of his life with her. But if he is non-committal, despite your efforts, it is a sign that he is not interested in you. You are most likely keeping him company as he pursues his goals in life. Watch out for such men.
Immaculate Daisy Yossa, Social worker
If a relationship has moved from boyfriend - girlfriend level, the woman ought to ask some important questions. But personally, I would not ask him to introduce me to his family. I would be interested in knowing why he is not taking the step, considering the time we have spent together and the number of children we have. I would not take the relationship seriously if the man does not make that step. It means he is non-committal.
Phiona Alinaitwe Kadooli, Company director
I would never ask him. It is a man’s responsibility to do that. I would not even talk about it. When a relationship is built on the foundation of love, any sane man would yearn to introduce a woman to his parents and friends. My husband did this without me having to request for it. Up to now, he continues to introduce me to other friends and relatives he wants me to know.
Ziporah Nalubega, Cashier
Love is a feeling. If a man really loves a woman, he will take that step without being coerced. I would in a simple conversation raise the issue but not necessarily ask him to make the step. It is important to know how much one values our relationship and find out if there are any plans of making the relationship official.
Jonathan Okiru, a marriage counsellor affiliated to Family Life Network, says relationships today are built on sketchy foundations and this explains why women are now assuming the leading role.
“Some men get into relationships just for pleasure. Once he gets the pleasure, everything else becomes secondary. At this point, the woman will have to fight to keep the relationship going, lest it falls apart. Yet a woman can only feel secure in any relationship if she has been introduced to parents, friends and family of her man,” he says.
It is not automatic
Okiru says taking the next step in a relationship is not automatic. He says: “There is so much involved. It is not only about finances. One has got to be prepared emotionally for the next phase in life. Men naturally fear commitment, the fear of uncertainty and many questions run through their mind. Many fear that the relationship may not work out. At this point, there is no problem when the woman tries to push for commitment.”
Allow the man to own the idea
Okiru, however, says it is important for the man to take the lead in this discussion. As a woman, talk about it with your man but allow the man to own it. God created man with the ability to lead. Allow him to steer this important phase of life. In fact, if you have made all efforts to get him to commit to you and he is not responding, do yourself a favour and call off the relationship until he proves he is ready for the next step,” he says.
According to Okiru, every woman deserves the best from a man and shortcuts that seem appropriate now may only last for a short while.