After working a huge social media gig last Thursday, I was lucky enough to have Friday off. Unfortunately, after sleeping in, I awoke to folks arguing over whether women should quit working and let their boyfriends take care of them. View the Twitter exchange below at your own risk. (Trouble viewing the tweet slideshow? Click here).

Anyone who has halfway perused my blog knows that I’m pretty old school. I believe a man should be a man and take care of his woman. HOWEVER, I’m also wise enough to know that there are HUGE differences between a boyfriend/girlfriend and a husband/wife. And I was honestly blown away that in a world where men don’t want to provide for the women they promised “til death do us part” to when the relationship goes bad (because she “wasn’t with me shootin’ in the gym”) that women are really quitting jobs and shacking up with boyfriends. WOW!

At some point, probably around 2000 when Next released their hit single “Wifey,” it became cool, acceptable, desirable even to be a man’s wifey—someone who gets all of the responsibilities of being a wife with few of the benefits. In reality, being someone’s wifey is actually a pathetic substitute for the ring, the name, the commitment, and the legal protection it all affords you. However, many glorify and settle for the wifey title every day.

I know plenty of women who have settled into the wifey role. Moving across the country, sacrificing and dimming their own light in order to be the “wife” he desires. I tried to play wifey at one point (read a couple of times) in my life. I loved, sexed, and supported (mentally and emotionally) this dude like he had promised me til death do us part. At the end of the day, it ended (and it ended badly). I remember lying in the fetal position on my closet floor and crying out to God, “What am I doing wrong?” God replied, “You’re doing all the right things for the wrong people. Stop playing wife to boys who don’t deserve it.”

At that moment I realized that what I thought I was doing out of love and devotion, I was actually doing out of fear, insecurity and desperation. I felt like I had to prove to him that I was good enough, that he needed me, that I would be the one that would always be there for him. I was working overtime trying to convince him I was wife material. And as long as that’s what you’re doing, things will ALWAYS go wrong.

When you play the wifey role without the title, it sets you up for a world of hurt and mistreatment. It sets you up to be used, abused, and controlled. These are not characteristics any relationship should have, and they are definitely not the qualities you look for in a marriage!

Stop giving folks the benefits of marriage without the promise. Marriage is a partnership, a commitment, and you shouldn’t have to convince anyone that you’re good enough. If you find yourself doing such, it’s time to reach down deep inside you to find God so you can learn to love and value you. Like Auntie O said (Oprah for those who don’t know), “Your crown has been paid for.” So wear it and stop waiting on someone else to put it on your head.

Below are highlights from a quick Twitter chat on the differences between a dating relationship and a marriage. Enjoy. (Trouble view the tweet slide show below? Click here.)