Being a mama’s boy must end before any young man thinks of marriage, says the writer. Picture: PxHere
As a mama’s boy, I am proud and unashamed of this label, irrespective of the many connotations it carries. I know from the attachments I have with my mother, how important her inputs are as I grow older, especially when it comes to whom I marry and how I go about my life in marriage.

However, I didn’t and still don’t think that the challenges of the attachments are the most difficult to deal with when the time comes to let go - despite the fact a mama’s boy worships his mom and will do anything for her.

As a young Christian man, whose life is mostly influenced in a biblical way, I take the following verse to heart: “A man shall leave his mother and father and be one with his wife.”

On Monday morning, I had a conversation with a woman who’s involved with a mama’s boy like me. She revealed that he wanted to pay lobola for her but was concerned he was very much under his mother’s control.

The woman said: “If he wants to marry me, he must understand that as his wife I come before his mother and cannot live in his mom’s house even though he is the heir and will eventually have the rights to the estate after she dies.

“I need to be myself and have a say in my own house, and that will not happen if I live with my mother-in-law.”

This had always been my biggest worry growing up, because I realised that I loved my mom so dearly. I fully shared her sentiments.

I was always scared of not wanting to marry someone who resembled my mother because that was typically what mama’s boys look for in their partners.

I separated myself from my feelings and started looking at what I wanted in a partner.

But I can’t fool myself and say I am marrying for me. My Africanism, culture and tradition dictates that I marry into a family, the whole family. This also means that the one you marry becomes part of your whole family too.

However, it doesn’t mean my family (mother in particular) should control my marriage.

A while ago, I sat down with her to discuss the elephant in the room, our challenge of letting go.

I remember telling her: “Mom, if you want to visit me and my wife, please do it through my future wife, and always remember it’s her house and not yours.”

I didn’t want to find myself unnecessarily caught between my wife and mom in the future.

Also, I feel that it’s our fault as mama’s boys that we let our moms dictate our lives.

Those who are blatant will tell you if your mom runs your life, you are still a boy who needs to man up.

To a large extent, I agree.

Most importantly, the one thing I respect about Christianity is how it emphasises the importance of respecting parents, and equally the importance of immediate family.

I think every mama’s boy must understand this: to have a healthy marriage or healthy relationship, we have to be mama’s boys enough to let go of the unreasonable emotional attachment we have with our mothers.

Until then, we shouldn’t bother anyone’s daughter about marriage and starting a family.

Not listening to our mothers’ counsel where our marriages are concerned is the first step to a healthy marriage.

Our mothers are most likely to choose our side in an row with a partner because we are their baby boys, forever and always.

Disclaimer: I am a proud mama’s boy and my mom did a tremendous job as single parent in raising me. I just think that being a mama’s boy must end before any young man thinks of marriage.

* Kabelo Chabalala is founder of the Young Men Movement, the 2018 Obama Foundation Africa Leader and the 2018 Finland Correspondent Programme participant. Email: [email protected]; Twitter: @KabeloJay and Facebook: Kabelo Chabalala