Why Should Black Women Marry?

I don’t ask this question lightly. I’ve been asking myself the question for the past two days here at this historic conference on marriage and families. How does marriage benefit black women? I see why and how marriage benefits children (of course I mean here a “healthy marriage”). I even get what men get out of marriage. But what’s in it for women? Especially educated, upwardly women who don’t have to worry about being hurled into abject poverty if their husbands leave them.

Let me back up:

I’m here at the National Summit on Marriage, Parenting, and Families, a historic gathering that’s being held on the beautiful campus of Hampton University. More than 100 of the most diverse, influential leaders working in the area of marriage and family issues are here to witness the unveiling of the National Summit on Marriage, Parenting and Families which will be headquartered here at Hampton under the black familydirectorship of Dr. Linda Malone Colon (chair of the Summit). The summit is being touted as a groundbreaking public conversation about marriage and families aimed at increasing the national conversation on the declining status of today’s marriages, especially marriages in the black community and the importance of healthy, effective parenting.  I’ve met some really great people while I’ve been here, people working in the trenches to help families in crisis and children who don’t have a strong family safety net.

You can catch Wednesday’s sessions live on the web at www.hamptonu.edu.

It’s a great meeting with lots of provocative dialogue. I’m here because i was invited to participate on the religion panel where the discussion centered on questions like “What does God say about marriage and family” and “What can communities of faith do to transform marriages, empower parents and strengthen families in our country.” Except for knucklehead here and there who their own agenda and didn’t want anything to do with dialogue, it was a good panel.

Yeah, yeah: I’ve noticed that not a peep has been said at these proceedings about same-sex marriage. One look at the major sponsors for the conference tells me why. I get it.

There’s no denying the research that says that children raised in homes headed by their biological parents who are wedded are more likely to succeed than those who grow up in households where the parents never married or divorced early on.

Here are a few things I’m taking away from this conference:

  1. Marriage is a vanishing institution in the black community.
  2. Divorce and unmarried childbearing increase the chances of poverty for both children and mothers.
  3. Children raised in single parent households are more to have problems in school, to get involved in drugs, to enter the juvenile system, and to live without medical insurance. Not only are our children at risk, but adult single men are more likely to engage in risk behavior than men who are married (e..g, take drugs, drink too much alcohol, unprotected sex with multiple partners, reckless driving).
  4. When it comes to attitudes about marriage, one of the biggest difference sbetween those under 35 and those over 35 is that younger people think you should postpone marriage until your career or finances are stable enough to bring a spouse into the equation. Their parents grew up thinking that it’s easier to build and accumulate wealth in marriage than it is as a single and that marriage gives one the stability and inner fortitude needed to endure the vicissitudes that come with building a career.
  5. Children want their parents to stay together –even if for their sake.
  6. Men who are religious tend to make better father and husbands than those whowant nothing to do with religion.
  7. Young black people use finances, career, and emotional readiness a lot as excuses for postponing marriage. but they don’t seem equally vigilant about postponing having babies out of wedlock, cohabitating, and entering into joint economic ventures with lovers (things normally associated with marriage).
  8. It is important for the church to affirm the ideal of married couples rearing their children, while at the same time affirming the possibilities for self-actualization and purposeful, emotional healthy live for those not married.

I get all of this, but again I ask: what do black women get out of all this? How do black women benefit from marriage when you consider the high ratio of women to men (and men’s likelihood of cheating on their wives) and when you consider that many times women are better educated and better employed than their men?

54 Responses to “Why Should Black Women Marry?”

  1. Linda Says:

    I am 57 years had a child at 17 was married to the father at 18 had another child at 19 stayed married for 18 yrs have been divorced for 18 + years, so I’ve lived both lifestyles. It was hard being married and it’s been hard living single. All I can say is,”I look to the hills from whence comth my help….MY HELP COMES FROM THE LORD. In my experience men think they are at a premium so they feel they don’t want or need to get married with so many desperate women out here willing to have a man at all costs. Women who don’t play the games and put up with the stuff are not marriage material. I learned that long ago in the dating game. When we learn as woman to respect ourselves and other women and stop cheating with men in relationships there will continue to be mostly no marriage in our communities.

  2. RevMamaAfrika Says:

    @ Linda, thanks for saying that, I agree.

    This is a good question; I’m 52 years old, no children, never married (but I’ve been divorced, I’ll explain that later, smile, smile), college educated, steady job, etc.

    Perhaps you would not believe it, but I’ve been called a few choice “names” because on several occasions I refused to go out with “brothers” who I knew were married/with someone. I don’t tolerate being treated like a sex object and I don’t act like one. My hair is short (and nappy), my dresses long and no, I don’t have a kente cloth mini skirt, and I’m brown-skinned. :) Men or should I say “brothers” have said some interesting, if not out and out cruel things to me and my friends because we made conscious decisions not to have children outside marriage. Sometimes “sisters”, even church “sisters” said some crazy things because we wanted to be loved, respected wives before we became over-worked, no- sleep mothers. :)

    Conferences like these concern me because they seem to all push the conventional patriarchal marriage, “man/husband as head of the house” as opposed to marriage between TWO EQUALS. These conferences almost never have a detailed, substance discussion about sexism/patriarchy and how that contributes to the mess we have now. How is masculinity and feminity constructed/defined, how to have a healthy sense of self while single and how these things may also contribute to the marriage mess? What about domestic violence, incest, rape in marriage, marriage for “convenience”, sex problems in marriage, etc.? Nor do they discuss how a capitalist economy contributes to so many people not wanting to get married. Why get married if you’re not sure about a stable job market, lack of affordable housing, good public schools, quality health care, other public services in the city or town where you live? There are many real nitty gritty issues these conferences tend not to discuss. Naw, they ain’t even ready to discuss same gender marriage/marriage justice either. Not to mention the fact that some of their literature sounds like the marriage ideas former Pres. Bush was also trying to push. Make me wanna holla, throw both my hands! :) :( :(

  3. Renita Says:

    Cough. Cough. Come on my sisters. Talk to me. I’m here at this conference saying that my readers have strong opinions about marriage and family. Prove me right. Do you believe in marriage? Is marriage worth it? What’s keeping black women and men from marrying? Is this topic even important to you?

  4. Lynn Says:

    Although I still believe marriage is a great thing, you are right, the men and the children benefit most from the institution of marriage on the surface; however, because most woman are nurturing and need to feel protected, marriage mostly satisfies that need in women–I am referring decent marriages. I think the idea of marriage is all caught up in our core values, and since America continues to become the country that wants everything now and want to find all the short cuts, it is now becoming the norm to adopt children without being married, I remember when you couldn’t even buy a house unless you were married–I guess I am trying to say, marriage use to come with some priviledges and benefits, but now you are able to accomplish just as much if not more, by not being married. I think that is the issue–marriage use to be the key to so much, but now you don’t have to be married to get these benefits that use to limited to married folks. As far as the Black society, we are losing our minds, we need to realize that the family structure is what got us through our history, now the family is all out of whack–the black man is slowly being removed out of the family, and we are seeing the results of that with our black boys/girls. That’s my 2 cents.

  5. Wil Says:

    I don’t know if this will be ‘tussin for your cough.
    One thing that women appear to get out of marriage is societal, cultural and in many cases religious approval, particularly in the black community. Choices about partnering, sexual activity child rearing - conception or adoption - are sanctified by marriage, even if one or more of the participants or decisions is really not praise-worthy. As long as marriage is perceived and articulated as normative, women (and not men!) who are not and never have been married are suspect and somehow less-than.
    One outcome of this perspective is the need folk (married or not) feel to ask non-married folk why they aren’t married, when will they get married, or if their current partner might be transformed into a spouse.
    A question I have for your assembled experts is if the single parent statistics hold true for women of means who adopt or foster children. I worry about the number of children without homes, particularly black and brown children, and wonder if married (or partnered) couples cannot adopt all of them what do the professionals think about intentional, well-resourced single-parenting (as opposed to the underfunded, unplanned teenage variety) as an option for children in foster care?

  6. RUKiddingMe Says:

    This is a relevant topic but the reality is that most of the black women whom I have interacted with in blog discussions have not seen examples of healthy marriage in their own childhood/adolescence. About 80% of the black women who I have encountered (under 40 years of age) were fatherless daughters and they have half-siblings because their biological parents had multiple children without marriage with different sex partners.

    Now, that is the reality. So when blog forums focus on marriage, many black women are reluctant to step up and say that they have never even experienced a true marriage in their families when they were growing up and that most of their peers are unmarried women with baby-daddies. If you haven’t experienced it then you really can’t discuss the concept intelligently. I am not surprised that the room is relatively quiet. There are mixed emotions (and even shame!) that they feel about not having learned first-hand or experienced what healthy black marriage consists of. How do you prepare for what you’ve never been exposed to? That’s the question single, 20-something black women ask me.

  7. snb Says:

    I went to the website, but missed the sessions. I’m 35 & single, but hope to marry one day. I still believe marriage is the best, monogamous, committed relationship to have. Hopefully, it really will be monogamous. In response to #4, I think like the older generation: life is better built together. What should we do about #6 when there are fewer men in most churches than women? I’d like to marry a Christian man.

  8. Renita Says:

    Thanks everyone for weighing in. Thanks especially to RUKiddingMe. To your point, since when did experience become the criteria for sounding off on blogs. Women talk a lot here on this blog and elsewhere about topics they may not have firsthand experience about. If experience were the criteria for weighing in, chat rooms would be silent.

    Black women have opinions, and strong opinions at that, about marriage. One of the reasons it takes us a while to clear our throats and gather our thoughts when the topic is raised, I believe, is because marriage raises lots of painful, conflicted feelings in black women.

    Those who grew up fatherless, but who still desire marriage.
    Those who grew up with a father in the home and are disappointed about what the statistics say are their prospects of marriage.
    Those who are married, but can’t exactly explain what the benefits are even though they know they prefer marriage to not being married.
    Those who genuinely have no interest in getting married or re-marrying, and quite frankly resent the topic.
    Those who are lesbians and know that whenever anyone talks about a national summit on marriage and family, same sex marriages are not what folks are talking about.

    Just something to think about…

  9. Minister Monique Says:

    I never really thought about marriage when I was younger. I am a product of a divorced mom who made sure that the male sunday school teacher and the boy scout leader made up for the absence of my father. I thought I wanted a large family but the more I babysat, the more exhausted I got. The more I realized the financial responsible, the more I realized I have to sow a lot of time, patience, love, morals, ethics, and ethnic heritage, in the life of the child for 18 years, the number of childred I wanted dwindled to one. I want to adopt. I feel like I need to start the paperwork now before I complete my second masters. When asked do I want to get married, I respond sincerely, ‘I just like answering to God. when you get married, you have to minister to God, your spouse, and your children.’ I am happy. I tell my married girlfriends who are married, dont look for a potential mate for me. let me enjoy being me. all my mentors are married, except for one. they are strong marriages. I beleive in marriage yet I do not feel i need to be married.

  10. afrodite Says:

    i probably should not say this a minister but there is nothing about marriage that calls my name. marriage has never been on my list of things to do. does that mean that i don’t want to be in a long term committed relationship? no. the institution of marriage has never been on my radar. yea, i’m a 20 something year old chick and i get that. and yea, maybe when i get older my views might change but as of today i’m fine with never getting married.

    before you ask, i was raised by my grandparents and they were married 48 years before my grandma passed away. they were happy and did stuff together all the time and i think that’s a beautiful thing. but as for me and my house, i’m cool with being a household of one.

  11. Janine Says:

    Single, under 40, grew up with married parents, and sounding off. I really had to think hard about your question before responding Rev. Weems, but I’m still not sure how to answer. How DOES marriage benefit Black Women? What do we get out of it? In the past, that answer might have been security, financial support, status or an escape from your childhood home/neighborhood…but now? Do you need marriage to have those things? I want to think that we get love, companionship, support and friendship. I want to believe that we are stronger together than apart. I saw that in my parent’s marriage, but I realize that my view of that is far from objective. I also realize that while my mother loved us, if she had some of the opportunities that she sacrificed to give us, she might have made some very different choices.

  12. Lisa K. Says:

    Interesting questions. I am 45 years old and married for the first time 4 years ago. (My mother said she had decided that I was never going to get married. She also said she had no problem with that. At that point she had been married for 60 years and had 12 children and was not recommending marriage to her youngest daughters.) Many times in the last 4 years I have asked myself why I got married. I must admit, I often ask the question around issues of finances. I make more money and much of what he makes goes to child support for 2 sons from a previous marriage. But then I think of how nice it is to have someone to whom to vent at the end of the day, the fact that he works for the feds and so we have good health insurance, that he washes the clothes, and helps me out with my work related task, I think maybe I made the right decision. Maybe.

  13. Ms Michelle Says:

    The stock of marriage seems to have dwindled over the years but that’s only because everyone has developed their own perceptions of what marriage is to them. The reason or purpose of marriage was to provide a safe haven for rearing sound, sensible, God-fearing and loving individuals. Then, passing on the values, morals, wealth and wisdom. It was to establish a lineage that held up against time. It’s a sort of strength resting on all those who came before and all those who would come after. An honor to all involved and a blessing to any connected. But as we reevaluated our first love within the scenario, we found it difficult to keep the dream alive. Conquered and divided we all fall. It doesn’t matter what benefit you imagine from it. It’s built in by design. Its’ power and its’ pull is still the greatest either way. The shift destroys our family, weakens our children, and devastates our personal wealth and value. Materially we may seem to have the ticket but –wealth has never been in how much you can hold on to, but how much you can give away. For Black women, marriage still remains the greatest relationship next to God we ever can develop. We gain far more than what can be imagined within it than without it.

  14. shekinah Says:

    How does marriage benefit black women? I am a 43-year old never-married sister-minister and honestly, I see the benefits of marriage but the price is SO high! My parents (who met in high school) have been together for 60 years. I remember my grandmother telling me to make sure I had my own “stuff”. My mother and siblings are encouraging, my father has given up hope:)

    Needless to say I grew up with the traditional marriage model. More importantly, I grew up watching my father treat my mother as an equal. My mother saw her role as a choice, not a mandate. My grandfather called my grandmother “Baby” until the day he passed away. That is the treatment I expect.

    What’s my point? Marriage has to be loving and healthy or it is not worth it. In black communities, it seems to me that black women are taught at an early age that male needs are more important than their own. As more black women regain their sense of self, they are not willing to settle for that. We would rather be single than the personal satellites of our husbands. On the flip side, I think we may have a romantic view of marriage that is not realistic. You can only pretend for so long after you say “I do”.

    My sisters and I are going to increasingly choose to stay single unless our needs are valued as much as the needs of our spouse.

  15. querida Says:

    I am a wife of one year, and it has been both a blessing and a great struggle. I am blessed to have a partner who wants to be an active part of many things, but struggle with not losing myself as I lose some autonomy. I have had great difficulty at times in expressing myself, either because his words could literally suck all the air out of me, or feeling like my words were inadequate or just would not be well received — and we all know that not communicating leads to disaster. I want to be with him, he wants to be with me, but I hear from many friends that the 1st year of marriage is just really hard. I didn’t know how hard they meant. Marriage is not for the weak, if you want it to work. It takes thought and planning and sweat, and TIME. I could ramble on, but I will stop my ramble here… after saying thank you to those who have been married a minute who are willing to be real about how hard marriage can be. That would be a good blog post - things I wish I had known before I was married. Or things I have learned since being married.

  16. Renita Says:

    Thanks everyone for your honest, provocative reflections on this topic.
    @Wil
    I’m sure everyone agrees that one parent is better than no parent, especially when it comes to adoption and foster care children. So, no one at the conference (and others I’ve attended) is saying that it’s better for children to languish in the system than be placed with a single adult.

    The point experts are making is that children raised in a home with their biological, wedded parents on hand fare better than those who grew up without that intact safety net.

    I’m still thinking through the question I raised, but I don’t think social legitimation is the only (or sole)thing women get out of marriage. A wife has certain (automatic) rights his live-in lover does not. Rights to his assets, his insurance, his pension, etc. Even a wife with financial means of her own understands this one. Society grants her access to certain parts of his life and his substance that his girlfriend can never gain access to.

  17. Pearl Says:

    I am 53 years old and I come from a 2 parent family. My parents divorced when i was 28- they waited until all the children were grown and they have remained lifelong friends. I have been married for 27 years and with a strong spiritual foundation which was shattered when a 20 something decided to move in on my husband. I am not saying he is faultless, but she really didn’t want a relationship. She was getting money and almost got a co-signer for a large loan.
    We are doing counseling and trying to work it out, but I really don’t have too! I am financially secure, have a great job, look and feel good. I love my husband, I believe in the holy bond that is created when you get married in God’s site, but am angry. Not everyone believes that you shouldn’t mess with what God has joined together.
    I try to keep reminding myself that we wrestle not against flesh, but principalities.

  18. Sharon Says:

    I am usually not speechless or without a coherent thought as I read this blog but this question took my breathe away. It did so for the very reason Renita described the issue of “marriage raises lots of painful, conflicted feelings in black women. “,it certainly does in me. I was married for several years and have been divorced for several. My marriage was both difficult and joyous for lots of complicated reasons. My singleness has also been the best of times and the worst of times. I don’t think I would have the sense of self and self-actualization that I have had it not been for my singleness. I may also not have experienced the aloness and societal rejection I have endured had it not been for my divorce. I am fortunate to be a mother so I did not have the added angst of trying to resolve the parenting issue.

    I think that Black women gain what we all as human beings gain from healthy relationships. A sense of belonging, emotional support, ect. What is more important is that we understand that there are opportunities and losses in every decision and that there is pain and work in both life circumstances. I have lived long enough to know that there is no better or worse- the grass really isn’t greener on the other side-no matter which side your’e on.

  19. Janine Says:

    It’s interesting that we’ve singled out women raised in single-parent homes, yet nobody mentioned that just as many men come from the same background. How do they prepare for what they’ve never been exposed to? Who (what and where) are they learning how to be men, husbands and fathers from? Furthermore, I hope no one missed that the post is not an attack on marriage. Nobody said if you have a job and education, you don’t need a husband. I see this discussion as an acknowledgment of marriage as a relationship that can benefit and uplift ALL involved. There are statistics that imply married men are healthier, live longer and make more money. The stats for married women tell a different story. So again, why should black women marry? It’s not a conversation about what we stand to gain, but about give AND take—not just giving. I’m not anti-marriage, quite the contrary actually. I see marriage as a vehicle to rebuild our community one family at a time. But that’s my naïve take on the situation. What’s real?

  20. Renita Says:

    Dear ‘You Know Who You Are’
    You know I love you girl. And I love the fact that you’re one of my loyal blog readers. But I gotta tell you that you got a wee problem SOMETIMES with sticking to the topic at hand. If I bring up oranges, you rail about tangelos. If I talk about bananas, you wanna complain about the plight of plantains. Related, but not necessarily the same. All of which is to say, please don’t be offended when I choose sometimes to edit or not post a comment you leave. You still my girl. Just confine your comments to the topic at hand.

  21. Kesha Says:

    We must fix this. Strengthening, rebuilding and understanding marriage partnership in our communities is critical. Marriages are not the only ways to build family, but historically they have been an important way. That cannot be loss in this age of consumption, narcissism and individualism. When I read stories of how ancestors shipped themselves in boxes to be with their mate 200 years ago, I wonder sometimes why we can’t keep it together now.
    Yes, you can do it by yourself, but you shouldn’t really have to. Not if you don’t want to. A lot of people want to be married, but the good choices are limited. Don’t get married if its going to leave you more damaged than when you were single.
    Partnership is a beautiful thing when it is healthy. I am glad that there is another national conversation/conference about this. Strong families have a direct connect to so many issues that we face.

  22. Valerie Bridgeman Says:

    Renita,
    I just want to ditto Sharon above. After nearly 30 years only to find myself (unwillingly if necessarily) divorced, I know that I miss my FRIEND, the man I laughed with, talked about sports and politics with, played scrabble with, went to movies, and yes, had sex and/or made love with. All of these activities are social connecting events that I miss. The routine of them. I turn the key to the door knowing that there is no one on the other side of it. I have a longstanding fear that in this moment is magnified: I have always feared dying alone (this fear, according to AARP, is common in older adults). I wanted a partner and sometimes I had that when the impingement of what marriage was “supposed” to be didn’t act on our relationship. What do black women get out of marriage? We get human contact, relational affirmation (I am because you are–not in the I need you in order to validate me, but in the humans are humans in human environs). We get conversation, intimate touch, the dailiness of holiness and the heartache that must teach us forgiveness and bounce back and stamina and commitment and grace. Yes, you can get that in relationships without formal, legal commitments, but something IS different (and those of us who’ve been married know it). My take, for the moment…

  23. Fal Says:

    @Sharon,

    I just wanted to say that I find voice in your comment for many known and unknown reasons.

    Well, like many mid-twenty something year old black feminists, I once was very reluctant to entertain the idea of being married because of what comes to mind when I hear the word marriage—oppression, unequal rights for LGBTQ communities, my abusive father and uncles, economic manipulation, and everything that was wrong with the world. However, recently I’ve been trying to push myself to see marriage not only as an exclusionary social practice, but to see it as a public, spiritual, legal, and soul commitment between two people irrespective of sexual orientation. There is something to be said about making a pact, a commitment, and a vow to another human being to work on being in community even when it is difficult to do so and easy to walk away. I think what people receive from marriage if they are willing to let go of their conventional “gendered” ideas about marriage are lifelong friends who share friendship, sexuality, and perhaps children.

    I guess my new emerging thoughts about partnership derives from the only two couples I’ve seen make it work. One couple is heterosexual and the other is a lesbian partnership. And what these two couples have in common is that they both have made commitments to stay together for the good, the bad, and the ugly. Both couples accept their partners for who they are. And both couples refer to their partners as their best friends. I guess what black women get from marriage albeit a partnership is another best friend, if they are lucky to find a man or a partner who’s willing to be “unconventional” in how they love and negotiate the power dynamics of being committed.

    Yep, I guess if I ever get married or partnered I want what these two relationships have, friendship.

  24. Fal Says:

    I know I just left a comment, but I want to affirm Valeria Bridgman’s words about the need for human contact.

    I guess I have reached the point in my life where I have decided that i do not want to settle for a man who cannot embrace all of me (i.e. Feminist me, Cantankerous me, Sensitive me, Creative me, work-a-holic me, etc.) like my girlfriends, guy friends, and godmothers do. And I think sometimes I feel the scare of being alone too, but I must remind myself that I have good and life affirming non romantic relationships. And if I cannot have that which I know exist in the two relationships I described above than I prefer to be alone because I know all too well what it means to be with a man who does not know you or want all of you.

    It’s like sucking on dry grapes never filling and never satisfying your thirst.

  25. Renita Says:

    Beautifully said Fal and Val.

  26. Monique Says:

    What do I get?
    Love, confidentiality, protection, a prayer partner, help (even if it’s less than what I make,it still helps), a regular “piece” when I want it, the end of trying to figure out many and instead just working on learning one,a mirror, and a father for my children.

    I married late according to some and I’ve learned alot about myself that I don’t think I would have operating in my beautifully comfortable world with my girls and periodic relationships with men. I’ve learned the beauty of God’s grace by being forgiven and having to forgive much more regularly. I’ve also learned that the devil uses “money issues” very effectively to destroy black families and though I’ve always been “accomplished” I’m accomplishing more married.

    I remember wanting to be married so badly in my twenties and then I just stopped caring, yet never giving up on my belief in the covenant of marriage. It worked out with someone unexpected at an unexpected time, but I’m older, wiser, and much less fragile. I expect human failure, but trust God’s promises. I hope my husband won’t ever betray me, but he’s cursed himself and not me if he does. Will we have children? Hopefully, but I know that brings challenges that we don’t face now. Life is easier with a partner, but doesn’t have to be any less full — PERIOD.

    I have a friend that just orchestrated, what the old schoolers call, a trap. She’s almost 40 and resorted to this to be married. A hot mess, but it speaks to what the ladies have said about appearances and status seeking in society. I’m sad for her and the burden her child carries, even now in the womb. We all need healing so that we’ll stop hurting each other and cheating our children. This post makes me miss my grandparents–committed, Christ-centered, full of love, and little money. Sorry for rambling.

  27. Giselle Says:

    I’m in my mid-40s, single, no children. My parents were married for over 40 years, all of my siblings are married and none had children before they were married. I never really wanted to get married. Eventhough I saw a marriage of equal partners growing up, I only considered marriage when I was younger because I wanted to have children at that time - and in my family one must occur before the other. I actually expected to get divorced after I had my kids, since marriage was no more than a means to an end. However, after some circumstnaces convinced me that children were not in my future, I abandoned the idea of getting married.

    I’ve spent way too much time hearing things like “what’s wrong with you?”, “you’re just too picky” and even ” only ugly girls should end up alone”. What people don’t undersand is that my positon on marriage is not the same as my position on relationships. I love having someone in my life who enjoys my company, lets me spoil him, and likes what I like - I just don’t want to make a lifelong commitment. Why is that so terrible and why does that have to mean that I’m screwed up in my thinking or that I’ve given up hope ( that’s anoother one of my favaorite comments, BTW)?

  28. Minister Monique Says:

    i’m in my thirties. i’m tired of my students asking me if i am married. i tell them i’m single and happy. they look at me as if you cant be single and happy. i ask them in their culture if marriage is encouraged. they answer yes most of the time. i remember when i found out that my grandmother thinks that if someone does not married they must be ‘funny.’ im glad that is not something my mother instilled in my brother and i.

  29. SeekingSerenity Says:

    Whew! As a forty plus, never been married woman, the responses have definitely given me much to ponder.

  30. Glenda Clare, Ph.D. Says:

    I believe that marriage (healthy marriage) is the cornerstone to a happy, healthy, functional community. That being said, I believe that your question is a good one! Like RevMamaAfrika, I have never been married. My parents were childhood sweet hearts who married straight out of high school. They stayed married for 7 years then divorced when I was three.
    At the age of 51, I can’t honestly say that I have not spent significant time with those who have had “healthy” marriages. I believe in marriage and have spent considerable time trying to find healthy marriage role models. I attend conferences such as the one you are attending. My favorite conference hosted by the African American Healthy Marriage Initiative (AAHMI) meets every spring at the Friday Center in Chapel Hill, NC. I have read books such as “Standing the Test of Time” by Julie Rainbow to hear the stories of African Americans who have been married 25 + years.
    My personal search to find healthy African American marriage role models has been challenging. However, I have met a few role models. Healthy marriage partners had the following characteristics: strong belief in God, commitment to spending quality time as a couple, commitment to the survival of the marriage despite challenges, respect for their partner and a desire to involve both partners in decision making.
    I have noted that there is something about a man who truly loves God and is committed to his marriage. He treats his wife like a Queen. The benefits for a woman in a healthy marriage: companionship, an equal partner (both have gifts and strengths – each works in their area of gifting), financial stability, and partner support (the husband is the wife’s cheerleader as she pursues personal goals). As a result the woman has better emotional, physical and spiritual health outcomes.
    Although I have not had the good fortune of experiencing healthy marriage, I recommend it to others. Marriage is the cornerstone of the African American community. It is vital for the health and well-being of our communities. Dysfunction in the institution of marriage has resulted in the many of the problems currently found in our communities. Healthy marriage benefits ALL: women, men and children.

  31. socgrad Says:

    First, Black women need marriage like you need the flu shot! You get one so you won’t become ill, but chances are you’ll end up sick anyway (though sometimes it works).
    Second, the relationship between dual-parent homes and children’s outcomes is a spurious one, not a causal one. What’s actually behind kids’ outcome is parental income, not parental marital status. Children in single-headed households suffer because women are more likely to be poor than men, it’s the feminization of poverty. If we want to build healthy communities we need to divorce rights from institutions and recognize that nutrition, health care, quality education, opportunities and other resources shouldn’t be determined by your parents’ marital status. That’s just unfair to children.
    Lastly, I think we’re sometimes too quick to dismiss the fact that marriage is a part of a patriarchal system that controls women’s access to “property, rights, and respectability” (I’ll never forget when you said that at Trinity, Dr. Weems). Yeah, men “love” us. Why wouldn’t they, since we treat them so well? But at the end of the day, marriage has never been about women’s well-being. We can’t dismantle the master’s house with his tools.

  32. Valerie Bridgeman Says:

    @ Fal,
    I, too, would rather remain single than settle (especially after a 29-year marriage). I also have seen healthy relationships (hetero and gay). I would testify that my own marriage had its very healthy moments. We were committed to making it no matter what (as in, “divorce is not an option”). But things happened and divorce became a painful reality. I think the stats that men are happier in marriage than women (regardless to ethnicity) has a lot to do with women settling for the cultural norm of what marriage “ought to look like.” And the pressure to conform despite whether it works for the couple or not is enormous. For instance, my spouse was (at one time) willing to be Mr. Mom for my sons, and he was GREAT as a father to young boys (struggled with the teenage thing). Did all the grocery shopping, almost all the cooking, potty-trained his sons, etc. But you can’t even begin to imagine how many people accused me of emasculating him, him of being a “henpecked” man, and the negatives go on and on. It was REALLY working for us, but he could NOT resist “his boys.” So I think when people talk about “marriage” they are talking about a world that MUST look the same (”normal”) and not a world where the couple (male/male; male/female; female/female) draw on the strengths of each other and delight in WHAT WORKS FOR THEM. And, my children were happier when we were working with our strengths… Sigh….

  33. Renita Says:

    @socgrad

    For sure, class and economic advantages play a large part in a child’s chance for success. But make no mistake about it, a two parent family insures that a child has more than an economic safety net.

    Single mothers are not only likely to be poor, they are also likely to be tired, distracted, and overwhelmed from trying to juggle work and parenting.

    Children from two parent families have a better chance of thriving because they have two parents running back and forth between them, two parents on their behinds, two parents invested in their welfare, two parents tagging and sharing the duties of parenting. To be sure, fathers have a reputation for zoning in and out of the parenting zone. But it’s also true that that some make better parents to pre-teens while others seem to find their calling when their kid turns a teen.

    Two parents is not a luxury. Agreed, childrearing calls for lots of cash, but all the money in the world can not replace the missing parent.

    Is marriage — traditional marriages especially — a product of patriarchy? Heck yes. Just like pretty much everything we do in a patriarchal laden society (e.g., teaching, preaching, having babies). While we fight to dismantle patriarchy, women need to get smart — in a patriarchal society– about how to make love work for their benefit and not to their undoing.

    In a patriarchal society it’s just plain smart to marry the man you breed with. Wives (and the children of wives) have more “rights” than baby mamas and their children. Sad, but true.

  34. Fal Says:

    @Socgrad,

    I fully agree with your analysis of patriarchy, capitalism, and marriage. However, I am going to push back and say that I think radical feminist including myself are sometimes very quick to dismiss marriage because of how it is a patriarchal institution. However, the problem with either seeing it as an oppressive institution or as a god sanctioned union is that you cannot interrogate the grays and variations of what marriage means for women and in this case black women.

    I have read every comment that has been made on this piece and what I hear from those comments is that black women get “human contact,” “friendship,” and “romantic partnership.” So, do we ignore their testaments of marriage? In addition to this, do we ignore the marriage desire of some same sex partnerships because they like their heterosexual counter parts are buying into their own oppression? Of course, my questions are not to ignore the injustice of marriage, but it is to say that why women or gender queer people desire marriage is complex and we should at the very minimal acknowledge the complexities and agencies of their desires.

    And as a side point to extend your analysis of patriarchy, men too are harmed by marriage especially from the space of having to be the provider and live up to very hegemonic masculine ideas of manhood. Of course, this is not to say that they do not benefit from the institution of marriage because they do, but it is to say that everything is not as clear cut when it comes to apportioning privileges, oppression, and blame.

    @Valerie Bridgeman,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us (me). Yes, you’re right about marriage being a normalizing social, legal, and spiritual force where finding “your” space within it to be you (i.e. unconventional hetero-gender relationship or same sex partnership) is not acceptable and at times very dangerous. Once again, I want to say thank you for sharing, sis.

  35. Em Says:

    Dr. Renita,

    I would have to say a hearty AMEN to your last post on the benefits of marriage with regard to childrearing. I will have to admit that endeavoring “to have and to hold ’til death do us part…” is more than a notion. It is a journey fraught with challenges along the way and a discussion of it’s reality definitely raises “painful, conflicted, questions…”

    I am blessed to be married to a man that is an AWESOME parent and a pretty darn good husband. He trumps me in many ways with regard to sensitivity, patience and just plain good ole parental guidance and presence. While I am out trying to save the world in my multi-occupational lifestyle, he is ever-present and available with a listening ear, a special surprise for the child that is struggling with life, and he demonstrates constancy, commitment and courage.

    While my kids complain that I am always busy or not listening when they seem to decide to talk just when I have picked up the newspaper or decided to catch up on what’s going on in cyberspace, he seems to find the right balance to be there for them whenever!!

    He has to stand strong amidst his peers whose understanding of marriage is based on patriarchal ideology and even his ecclesiastical superiors (he is a Senior Pastor) who believe his wife needs to be more subservient and preferably silent in the global marketplace. Somehow he still lets me be me and it amazes me daily.

    I can list a host of things that have been less than ideal in our marriage, however most have over the years been remedied through creative intervention and understanding. We don’t fight over household chores, we hire a housekeeper to do the major cleaning and work together as a family to keep our surrounding livable in the interim. We ACCEPT that neither of us is perfect and BELIEVE that the other is committed to the good of us all.

    We both come from two parent families that were committed til death do us part and were raised in communities where that was the norm. We have seen both the good and bad of such agreement but overall can see that a strong family is definitely beneficial in creating a strong community. We have seen the struggle of the single parents/divorced family members and recognize the complications that can arise but we also recognize that life is complicated whether you are married or single.

    As humans we will always be in a state of growth and development and it is beneficial to have someone to commit to share with you in your development and be faithful to that commitment. So in answer to your original question regarding what Black women get out of marriage I would like to respond with the following. Through much prayer, hard work, willingness to fight for what you believe in, understanding and AGAPE LOVE- you get companionship, shared mutual responsibility, somebody to be in your corner when the world has gone mad, a partner in parenting, a fellow soldier in the war of life and a true friend.

  36. socgrad Says:

    @Fal,
    I’m not denying the need for companionship, or trying to dismiss our attempts to secure it. I’m questioning why we continue to push marriage as THE site to legitimate intimate relationships. It’s not as if getting married makes people take commitment more seriously. Just look at the rates of infidelity and divorce in our community and the nation in general. If people want to mistreat you, it will happen if you’re the wife or girlfriend, or mother of their children.
    Why marriage? What is it about marriage that is better than just being committed to a partner? It’s because we grant rights and resources to married people. If we can afford to live well as single women, why must we marry our partners? If we have the kinship systems in place, why must we marry our children’s fathers? Obviously these men didn’t think enough of us to marry before having sex with us (I’m being heteronormative for a moment) so why would they suddenly see as valuable and worthwhile if we wear a ring?
    @Dr. Weems,
    I agree that children benefit from the attention and support of multiple adults, but why MUST one of those adults by a parent? Why not mom and grandmother, auntie, grandfather, uncles, cousins, trusted family friends?
    I guess a question I’ve been skirting is that with the rates of physical, sexual, psychological abuse that black women suffer at the hands of our married partners, why are our leaders still pushing marriage instead of wholeness?

  37. Glenda Clare, Ph.D. Says:

    As I read through the comments, I needed to re-read the original question. Hmmmmmmmmm - interesting responses.

    ALL relationships are complex: man:woman, man:man, woman:woman, man/woman:mother, man/woman: father. NO relationship is without faults/challenges. The PEOPLE in the relationship develop the context and outcomes of the relationship - good, bad or ugly. Working together to overcome struggles/challenges is how relationships are strengthened. When members of the unit decide not to function as a unit and to be influenced by outside forces that may not have the best interest of the unit in mind - there is always conflict. As an African people we learned that we can do more working together as a unit than can be accomplished working alone as an individual. I think marriage is a good thing and can be beneficial to ALL. The issue - is the marriage healthy. Has the marriage been developed in such a way that the best interest of both parties can be met.

    I read a great many posts emphasizing the “I” and what a woman can do alone. In my experience, being out there alone - is not easy. I have been a single parent. It is by NO MEANS easy and I am a well educated woman who has not been impoverished. As I read about all of the problems related to marriage - I thought about the selection of the marriage partner. Hmmmmmm - I think we are on to something! Does mate selection influence the “health” of the marital relationship?

    Many spend more time thinking about the “wedding” and “sexual union” than they actually think about “the marriage” and the growth and development of the marital unit. A couple of respondents (including me) shared they had not grown up with healthy role models for marital relationships. As a counselor, I have encountered many who make marriage partner selections based on what looks good, tastes good and feels good. Television and movies have a great impact on the criteria for mate selection. Relationships begin and end in segments which generally last no longer than 2.5 hours. Many do not take a critical look at the potential marriage partner. Can you expect to have a healthy marriage if you made a poor selection for a marital partner? There are far too many African American women who believe that any man will do. Any and every man does not make a good husband as a consequence when you choose a marriage partner that is not appropriate - an unhealthy marriage will be the consequence.

  38. Fal Says:

    @Socgrad,

    I am not arguing that marriage is the site for legitimate relationship. However, what I am arguing is that we, feminist, must be careful not to silence the voices of women or LGBTQ people who choose or desire marriage. You’re right marriage in many ways is based on money and for women unpaid labor—capitalism. But, I would venture to say that women or LGBTQ people who desire marriage see it not only as economical arrangement, but as a commitment to someone they love whether that love is superficial or real is not the issue.

    The issue is that marriage has social meanings for people (and for children) and I think we, feminist, lose critically ground with women and LGBTQ people when we do not see the complexities surrounding what they believe they should and will receive from marrying. And let’s be honest the desire for human contact and commitment is powerful and because we are social beings we make meanings, rituals, and ceremonies for our behaviors and our desires. Once again, I say all of this not to dismiss the intersectionality of patriarchy and capitalism, but what I beseech you to understand also is that marriage is a contested ground because of the many social meanings people, law, spirituality, and the gods bring to it.

  39. afrodite Says:

    Warning: Off topic comment!!

    i have been reading this blog (read, lurking) for a while now. since graduating seminary i have been in prayer about what to do with my life. this conversation, along with many others, has helped me come to a decision. i’m applying to a ph.d program.

    as i have been reading through the comments (and i check the blog several times a day), god has really been speaking to me. omg, i have tears in my eyes. thank you ladies. god used each and every one of you to help lead me to the next step in my life.

  40. socgrad Says:

    @Fal,
    Ok, I’m seeing your point here. I agree that marriage doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone, and I recognize that heteronormative assumptions are off-putting.
    So here’s my point. Let’s separate marriage and the State. There’s a difference between marriage as a cultural practice and marriage as an institutions recognized and regulated by the state. It’s the latter that I’m trying to critique. If people want to form unions as a sign of commitment, then fine, but the state shouldn’t recognize that any more than it recognizes friendship. That goes for all marital pairings, heterosexual, same-sex, polyamorous, etc.
    Because marriage is a state supported social institution, married people get disproportionate access to health care, welfare, social security, and pensions. If you want access to these things, you have to marry. This puts population that are less likely to marry (black women across the spectrum of sexual orientations and pairings) at a disadvantage. These are benefits that should also be made available to unmarried committed partners, like close friends who are each others’ caregivers and siblings who are caregivers. These are the relationships that sustain many black women and they’re viewed as inferior to marital pairings.

  41. pioneervalleywoman Says:

    Rev. Weems:

    I get all of this, but again I ask: what do black women get out of all this? How do black women benefit from marriage when you consider the high ratio of women to men (and men’s likelihood of cheating on their wives) and when you consider that many times women are better educated and better employed than their men?

    My reply:

    If we marry and things work well, we get the support of a spouse, family, extended family, and various other networks.

    But I’m afraid that black people, women and men, have been saying for far too long that marriage is not relevant: the high rate of out of wedlock children and the high rate of singleness coupled with a high divorce rate.

    The issue, though, is for those who do believe in marriage, ie., because we have seen healthy marriages and are ourselves experiencing the same in our marriages, how do we replicate that for our sons and daughters?

    It seems to me that the strategies we urge our daughters to pursue only contribute to the perception that marriage is not a possibility, and that the norm is to remain unmarried and childless or to bear out of wedlock children. How are black people as a whole benefiting from this?

    What dating strategies are we encouraging black girls to pursue while in they are in high school? How are they implementing these strategies while in college?

    It seems to me that the strategy is to send them to college and hope and pray they find their black prince in the Black Student Union. But we are sending them to college where they already outnumber the young men. And this persists in professional schools and out in the real world.

    So in college, they get the social support of a black student group, but their dating prospects are lessened.

    We need some new strategies…

  42. Fal Says:

    @Socgrad,
    My issue with your initial comment was not to take issue with marriage as a state enterprise. I fully agree with your aforementioned analysis. However, what I pushed back was how feminist including myself often lose the argument of trying to get non-feminist individuals to understand how the state rewards heterosexuality because it is “the norm” and because it’s more cost effective to reward heterosexuality than having to reward all relationships outside of heterosexual unions.

    The reason we, feminist, lose ground is because first, we are too quick to throw words of “patriarchy” and “heteronormativity” at non-feminist and secondly, we devalue how they see marriage and their “agency” within that space.

    Once again, I agree with your analysis, but what I hope feminist including myself learn is that we must first hear why women and LGBTQ desire marriage, before “we” shake our hands and say to ourselves, “They are buying into their own oppression sponsored by the state.” I hope that the goal of black feminism is not only to embrace people who see the world as we see “immediately.” People have lived more of their lives within the idea of marriage than in the idea of black feminism. And perhaps we must learn how to create inroads into those spaces instead of silencing the voices of women who choose or desire marriage.

  43. RevMamaAfrika Says:

    @ Fal, I agree with you very much; but as a rad feminist myself, I always wanted to be in love with a man AS MY EQUAL, get married AND THEN have children, be in love and loved, respected, etc. I did not want to get married to be oppressed, therefore, I did not settle for less than what I wanted in a marriage. It’s very telling how some people will consciously or unconsciously will in some small way “affirm” a kind of marriage where “some one gotta be in charge”, meaning the husband. Often this is us church folks. :(

    As for LGBTQ sisters and brothers, of course they must have the right to a legal, state-sanctioned marriage, primarily because it’s the right thing to do, if all women and all men are equal, then why can’t two equals get married? That for me is a no-brainer. But what I always stress is healthy relationships, healthly marriages for healthy communities, for a healthy society. I just wish all the champions for marriage, especially us church folks, would go more for quality and less on quanitity; quality, healthy individuals for quality, healthy relationships. :) :)

  44. Renita Says:

    You don’t have to be “churched” to believe in the notion of the man being in charge in marriage. Patriarchy is embedded in the society. No big surprise when it comes to religion: Patriarchal religion is designed to uphold and justify patriarchal values.

    As critical as I am of “church folks” even I am not contemptuous of “church folks” enough to think that “church folks” push for marriage at whatever costs. Quantity over quality.

    Here’s where patriarchal religion has failed us: it assumes a certain kind of patriarch husband figure, the benevolent, indulgent one who is more protector and provider than sick, power-hungry, soul wounding abuser. It then pours salt in our wounds by binding women to the latter and offers usno theological escape from our wedded jailers.

    Although it’s nothing I’d want for myself (nor for my daughter) I suppose it’s possible to be happily married in a traditional patriarchal marriage. I prefer a marriage of equals, but of course what exactly does equal mean?

    Further, I’m one who believes that healthy marriages are built. They are not formed from the beginning. Sometimes you don’t know it won’t turn out “healthy” until you’re knee deep in the marriage.

    Finally, here’s what I know for sure. It’s possible to marry a decent man, a decent but deeply flawed man, a less than perfect man, even a man with some whacked notions about roles and rules — and still build a pretty decent marriage with such a man. In fact, I’ve never met a man who despite the love he professes didn’t have harbor some pretty flawed notions about what a woman’s role in the marriage should be. Show me a man who has completely escaped drinking patriarchal kool-aid and I’ll show you “a brother from another planet.”

    But some men change (even the patriarchal types), change in ways that even they never expected. Some women change too (especially feminists who marry), even in ways they never imagined — for the sake of the marriage.

    Marriage is a gamble. You gamble that you’ve married someone who will change along with you. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you win and you lose at the same time.

  45. NEA Says:

    I think marriage is a great thing. God instituted it, and all He does is…good. What we do with what God has given us is another story.

    Now that I’ve given the “textbook” answer, let me say what I REALLY think (lol!), at the age of 46 (never been married, no children): I think marriage benefits the man, primarily. I think it was designed to be most beneficial to the man. I think if a woman marries in this society, she has to really think hard about what she’s giving up, to be hooked up…for life (as God intended). I’ve seen a lot, over the years, and I’m a bit jaded. I admit that.

    When I look at what so many married Christian women are going through (and have been through), with their “saved and sanctified” husbands, I’m SO glad I’m not married. I thank God, everyday. When I was younger, I REALLY wanted to be married.

    There are some good Christian men, who are great loving, faithful husbands/fathers. I know a few. But would I chance it, hoping to get one of the “better” ones? Don’t know. I just don’t know.

  46. Woman in Transition Says:

    Well, I was all prepared to comment until I read Dr. Renita’s final comment and realized that those are the words I’d been trying to form in my brain. I, like others here, have questioned the necessity of marriage and, as a married woman, still do. Yes, men benefit more from it. Women bend more to it - for the sake of the family, the kids, whatever. Somehow, even in that bend, we seem to make it work for ourselves. I’ve managed to spend my marriage not being so angry about this somewhat chauvinistic creature that I’m married to because at least he understands my affront to his chauvinism when I “get in his face” about it (his words, not mine). We’ve managed to build a mutually respectful marriage in spite of our differences. Talk about a GAMBLE! We were both well into our 30s when we started this journey and considering all that we had to put together to make it work, we’ve done ok. It ain’t been easy, but it’s ok.

  47. pioneervalleywoman Says:

    Fal:

    Once again, I agree with your analysis, but what I hope feminists including myself learn is that we must first hear why women and LGBTQ desire marriage, before “we” shake our hands and say to ourselves, “They are buying into their own oppression sponsored by the state.” I hope that the goal of black feminism is not only to embrace people who see the world as we see “immediately.” People have lived more of their lives within the idea of marriage than in the idea of black feminism. And perhaps we must learn how to create inroads into those spaces instead of silencing the voices of women who choose or desire marriage.

    My reply:

    And especially because there are black feminists who support equal rights for all people, oppose oppression, and don’t like lgbtq discrimination, but who feel as though some among the more radical spectrum of feminists believe they have something to be ashamed or embarrassed about, when if anything, their marriages are fulfilling and satisfying and does not harm the community.

  48. Fal Says:

    @Pioneervalleywoman,

    I hear u in ways that I could not have heard you a year ago.

    @Dr. Weems,

    Well said in very knowable and unknowable ways.

  49. pioneervalleywoman Says:

    Fal:

    @Pioneervalleywoman,

    I hear u in ways that I could not have heard you a year ago.

    My reply:

    I’m glad. I made the reply, because I agree with your point. I have taught feminist theory, and whenever I have taught it, I always focused on the reality of different “feminisms,” meaning that when I hear students say things like “I’m not a feminist but…” it tells me something.

    There are many women who believe in feminism’s goals, but find some perspectives to be troubling, ie., that to be a feminist they can’t value marriage and partnerships with men.

    So I broaden my students’ understanding by showing them that feminists come in an array of perspectives and that they can find a place for themselves within it without feeling that they have to hide from the label.

  50. Al Says:

    wowzers, this made for an interesting dinner conversation with my wife…. nothing like food for thought…. keep them coming!

  51. candi dugas Says:

    i used to want to be married so badly, initially b/c i thought it would affirm me as a public declaration that someone wanted me and thought me worthy. then i wanted to be married b/c i thought that it made me a good and obedient christian woman.

    then i began to fully understand what marriage is and what it’s not. in our patriarchal, captitalistic, conservatively religious society it’s more legal than love; it’s more condition (status) than connection. and since i’ve turned this corner, my sentiment in this direction has strengthened. i see more struggle on the part of women regarding a marriage than i see on the men’s part. that bothers me. it’s a struggle for women if they marry and it’s a struggle if they don’t. that bothers me.

    i’m also in a space where i’m having a serious problem with most institutions. they seem to benefit the institution itself more than they benefit the people. and i cannot stand the fact that a single lifestyle is so not valued. (btw, i have been married, but it was so long ago, that i don’t feel like i ever was.)

    any relationship is at its greatest (most beautiful) when those involved connect and remain committed b/c they simply want to, rather than feel mandated to. institutions tend to strip this beauty from our connections.

    so why should black women marry? we should marry if, from all angles, we actually (not ideally) net a profit rather than a liability.

  52. SaintLouis Says:

    I just know this: I would like to marry, I am 46 years old, never had no “good luvv” on this life journey, got saved at age 40, I’m involved in the ministry and I live a very, very lonesome life. My birthday is coming around again and I just hate this time of the year, not being special to ANYONE and I’m tired of this. I had my children when I was in the world… the Lord brought me in out of extreme addiction and a horrifying life and I’m saved and grateful unto the Lord Jesus. Now? Life is work, church, school and just… No, there is nothing to come home to. I DO NEED TO MAKE PEACE WITH MY PAST, MY SINGLE STATE, MY AGE, and sitting in the church and too many single Black women trying to make it.
    I just do not know, and I know there are mature Women of God here, I’m just at the beginning of my journey. It is a lonely walk. I need some warmth in my life, it is a cold life.

  53. RLO Says:

    I am a single adult black female. I was brought up in a 2 parent middle class household. I expected to continue that kind of lifestyle. It was understood that you get married and THEN have children(if you want them).

    When did things change for the worse?

    I’m fine with being single though, I am open to marrying the right person. I have no kids (obviously), no criminal record and I am educated beyond the college level. It only follows that I am only willing to marry a similarly situated man. These are things that I value. I will not marry someone who does not share my values.

  54. Survivor037 Says:

    Marriage is exactly as you described in your introduction in “What Matters Most”. But what do I get out of it, adored, protected and if I’ve chosen well conpanionship, the likes I’ve never seen before when I was single. I married at 39, thank God, my husband was divorced and all grown up, at least I thought. But thank God, I was, because it hasn’t been easy. We were broke a month later, I was in poor health and he didn’t want to work for any one after his last employer couldn’t afford to pay him any more. We’ve been through serious financial hardship and I became completely disabled. What fun!!! And I kept my head with lots of answered prayer while he appreciated my love and support but still to no avail, financially. We, as one, have gotten stronger but not with out some failures and fights. But completely through prayer!!!
    Marriage with God can be a blessing for a woman. Youth, sex and money are not what marriage is made for. Marriage is hard work!

    My experience has taught me that the act of selecting a mate, maturing self and sex are the biggest challenges our community has to healthy marriages and families.

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