Single Sisters Speak Out

The Modern Life of the Single Sister

SSSO Black in America: Black Marriage and Family August 3, 2009

Filed under: Single Sisters On... — FlawedBeauty @ 11:00 pm
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“People do not marry for love – for love they already have, people marry because they have chosen in the universe to be each others teachers through life.”

When Victoria Rowell said that she really hit the nail on the head.  Marriage is, as ministers tell you, not to be entered into lightly or unadvisedly.  I believe it takes a great deal of characteristics.  Marriage is a contract between two adults who have found it better to be together than apart.  And yet in America the institution is not really happening and when it does it is not surviving.

In my ruminations and prayers on the subject I have come up with something I know my relationships have lacked (which is how I know I could not have married any of my ex’s) and that is perseverance.  I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but Pleasure P said it best…you did wrong and I did wrong but I wanna be with you and I’m gonna work this out because I put in too much time to let it go.  He’s right…because in a marriage people don’t stop and try and make it work anymore…they see one flaw and move on to something that they think is bigger and better (they’re not usually right and that’s where things like the 80/20 rule come in).

Therefore, my first reason why the success of black family is on the decline is the fact that we are looking for microwave anything.  We crave instant gratification and if we’re not getting what we want at home then we should automatically leave and find someone willing to give it.  In our pursuit of something quicker and more gratifying we become dishonest and we violate the trust in our relationships causing them to be irretrievably broken because there is no longer any trust…there’s no understanding of the most sacred vow.  It has gone out the window.

So, in my quest to find out what makes a marriage work and why is stopping certain people from getting married…I asked our resident married folk…and here’s what Shawnta said:

1.  What makes a marriage successful? a) In my opinion, having (& keeping) God at the center of your marriage makes it successful. If a marriage begins with both spouses having a personal relationship with God it’s off to a good start.  This will not make marriage easy but it will make marriage easier.  b) Great communication skills and c) willing to sacrifice & compromise…remembering daily that it’s no longer all about you and knowing that EVERY decision you make affects the life of another person.
2.  What is the breakdown of marriage in America today? There are so many reasons why marriages fail each day.  One of the reasons, in my opinion, is that marriage is seen as a contract rather than a covenant.  And as we all know, every contract has loopholes and one or both parties can find a way out of it.  Too often, divorce is seen as the ONLY answer instead of as the last resort.  Being unwilling to compromise and/or sacrifice for the sake of your spouse or the ‘team’ is another reason why marriages fail.  Communication is key.  If we become unable to clearly express our thoughts, emotions, pains, anxities, etc. to the one person we vowed to share everything with for the rest of our lives, we lose a connection to that person.  Every couple communicates differently but if/when that communication decreases or stops, other issues arise.  I believe that marriages also fail because one or both spouses one day suddenly realize that they’re not the same person they once were and they don’t recognize/like the person they’ve become.  I think this leads to resentment towards their spouse and they start to accuse the spouse of ‘changing them’.  Change is inevitable but we don’t always embrace it.
3.  I agree that in marriage both spouses have a lot to learn (from each other) and to teach (one another).  It is a growing process.  Spouses grow and mature together.  I do believe that people marry for love but this is not the one and only reason why they marry.  I believe people marry for love, companionship, friendship, connection, comfort, security, happiness, completion and so many other things.  Love is all of these things so if someone says they married for one of these things, they’re basically saying they married for love (or at least some aspect of love).”

So I am curious…do you agree or disagree?  What reasons do you cite for the disintegration of the black marriage and family?  Does anyone out there even wanna get married anymore or do the startling divorce rates make you wanna give up on that?
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12 Responses to “SSSO Black in America: Black Marriage and Family”

  1. V dot Says:

    I so agree with you.

    I hear a lot of my friends say they’d leave a future husband if he did this or if he did that. I always ask: how do you know? have you been married?

    Short of abuse, I think issues in a marriage can be worked on. Even infidelity (not habitual cheating, mind you). Yes there are vows, but people mess up. And if they are remorseful, then you can work to fix it.

    I also think folks have a fairytale view of marriage: that’s it’s this never ending date and non-stop romance. The truth is, over the course of time, people fall in and out of love and get weighed down by the pressures of life. A couple has to work to make sure that they always find that spark, that connection that drew them together and to ensure they are ‘in love’ more than they are out of it. Unfortunately, very few people seem to want to work that hard.

  2. I think people aren’t getting married for the correct reasons in the first place.. they are taking it lightly.. People are getting married because “we ain’t getting any younger,” “I want to have a big party and get presents,” and “we have kids.”

    Addiitonally, in marriage, everything that works for you isn’t going to work for me. Some women may be ok with their man cheating, or be able to get over it easier… I know I cannot. Know yourself and your prospective husband before you get married.

  3. V Renee Says:

    “Short of abuse, I think issues in a marriage can be worked on. Even infidelity (not habitual cheating, mind you). Yes there are vows, but people mess up. And if they are remorseful, then you can work to fix it. ”

    I so agree with this. I always say that I think most reasons that people give for divorce can be worked out. Including infidelity, if both parties are willing to try.

    I can’t even say that I am mad that people are reluctant to marry. Obviously they know they are not ready to get married, that’s a good thing. I think people often feel pressured to get married, and end up doing it for the wrong reason. Parents on the side questioning when they’re going to get grandkids, or what happened to the last person they brought over…they liked them. Women dropping hints that it’s either marriage or they’re leaving. And it’s fine to say I want to be married, and leave if that’s not happening. But I feel some men hear that and not wanting to lose the woman, marry her even though they may not be ready.

  4. J Money Says:

    “But I feel some men hear that and not wanting to lose the woman, marry her even though they may not be ready”

    I think this happens a lot because a guy just wants the conversation about it to be over with so he gives in and marries the girl. Not fully realizing what the commitment involved in marriage and how it will change their lifestyles. They think they are healing a situation but really they are putting a band-aid on a deep wound.

  5. thecomebackgirl Says:

    Is Jenny Lynn a new SSSO..??

    Hi Jenny..I’ll finish reading in a few.

  6. Reecie Says:

    I have not read this yet (I apologize) but I remember last week you stating you (or was it another poster) were going to do a piece on this topic and wondered if you have ever frequented the blog “black and married with kids” the writers on that blog just produced a documentary on this topic, that may be of interest to you. I’ll come back and respond with my thoughts in a few!

    http://blackandmarriedwithkids.com/

  7. Shawnta` Says:

    Morning, y’all.

    I think people do still desire marriage but high divorce rates make them a bit more cautious in making this decision. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing because as you stated above, marriage shouldn’t be entered into lightly. It’s a huge commitment.

    I agree with the other posters who said they think that just about every issue in marriage can be worked on and worked out as long as both spouses are willing to make that happen.

    @Reesie: I love Black & Married With Kids. I try to read it everyday & I follow the documentary page on Facebook. I am interested in seeing the documentary.

  8. Reecie Says:

    I know about 5 people considering divorce or are recently divorced right now. Mind you I’m in my late 20s and most of these people are around my age or a few years older than me. the marriages lasted between 2-5 years. I think people like the IDEA of marriage, but aren’t really ready to work at it. I do have some friends that are happily married and are making it work, so I have hope. I’m a hopeless romantic, but I am NOT delusional to the amount of work it takes to be with another human being, forever. Because I too, outside of abuse, do not see myself divorcing. I know it takes two, so I’m not marrying anyone that doesn’t feel the same way. I’m very interested in the topic obviously because I’m at “that age”, because I see it all around me, and I’m a sociologist so pay attention to all things relationships.

    I agree with your thoughts. I think its inevitable that we will change as we grow, but its important to partner with someone that you will be delighted to change with, and as you said be a teacher, as well as a pupil.

  9. Jenny Lynn Says:

    Good morning everyone and thanks for joining the dialogue here this morning…since I am apparently more late than usual…let me jump right in!

    @V Dot

    Short of abuse, I think issues in a marriage can be worked on. Even infidelity (not habitual cheating, mind you). Yes there are vows, but people mess up. And if they are remorseful, then you can work to fix it.

    Bingo! And here’s where Pleasure P comes in…you have sit down and be like you know I screwed up and you screwed up too…but we are going to work on this and we’re going love each other. It really does go back to what Jada was saying about her and Will and how there would be no divorce. I agree with this…unless you’re whooping my arse then I’m out.

    @Nicki Sunshine

    Know yourself and your prospective husband before you get married.

    Absolutely…I think we are meeting people and marrying them all in like 2 or 3 months time…THAT’S NOT ENOUGH…and I know I hear plenty of old folks in my family talkin about WE don’t know enough about him…well…that’s true…your family needs to know the person and that person’s family…so that as my cousin says “If I need to beat him, I know where to go”

    @ V Renee

    But I feel some men hear that and not wanting to lose the woman, marry her even though they may not be ready.

    right…and I am waiting on No Mo to ride in on his white horse and explain the reasons why women are rushing men to marry or running them away…because honestly men aren’t ready for this commitment or they don’t have themselves together…and my question was…

    how can you expect a man who doesn’t have himself together to decide he wants to marry you?

    To me…the above question has a completely unreal expectation on the part of women…which again is a generational spirit/stereotype…

  10. Carlotta Says:

    Excellent post!

    It is more about commitment than anything else. I’m a divorcee and my marriage failed not because my ex and I were two imperfect people trying to make it work, but because ONE of us lost the desire to be committed. My ex started viewing the children and me as a burden and in the way of his financial success. Well, two marriages and two divorces and several girlfriends later, my ex is still looking for that “success.”

    The foundation must be centered upon Jesus Christ and the bible must be one’s marriage manual – as well as life manual! Selfishness is at the root of many marital breakups and that’s even within Christian marriages that have Christ as their foundation.

    For marriages to work, people must be willing to give up “self” for the others good. In my church we have “couples” counseling (for boyfriend and girlfriends), pre-marital counseling for the engaged, and marriage counseling. In many churches the young marrieds are sometimes even paired up with successfully married people as mentors to help them along the way.

    But marriage is all about two imperfect people learning about themselves and each other and maturing togetherh as they try to raise a family together. As we all know a strength to any society is measured by the strength of its families, and you can see the deterioration of our nation primarily because of the breakup of the family – especially within the black family. We are the most churched people according to the statistics, but we have the highest divorce rate, highest out of wedlock births and on and on. In other words we go to church but we don’t take God’s commandments very seriously.

    I agree with Shawnta in that marriage begins with one’s relationship to God. And from that point it must be one’s giving up of self. My ex and I were counseled one day using only 1 Corinthian’s chapter 13 on love. He pointed out our lack of loving one another God’s way as a failure of our marriage. He was right!

    Just imagine if couples were to love each other God’s way, how many would still be together!

    “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

  11. Hugh Jazz Says:

    V dot: ” I also think folks have a fairytale view of marriage: that’s it’s this never ending date and non-stop romance. The truth is, over the course of time, people fall in and out of love and get weighed down by the pressures of life.”

    Cosign. Most people just don’t realize love is a decision, not a feeling. If you’re getting married just because s/he thinks you’re super spiffy and cool and stuff, and s/he makes you see rainbows and little bunnies bouncing in the grass, it’s not going to work. Love is about sticking with that person when you want to choke them.

    Carlotta: “The foundation must be centered upon Jesus Christ and the bible must be one’s marriage manual – as well as life manual!”

    Marriage should be viewed as a commitment to God and spouse. God has to be at the center of the marriage because it forces you to realize your commitment is eternal.

    I know not everyone is religious and believes this. But at the same time, if you aren’t religious, you need to question why you are getting married in the first place.

  12. The Sphinx Says:

    I think the problem is many people aren’t even getting married anymore, and like you said, the ones that are, are going in like it’s a trial period. It’s like they’re going in saying, “well, I can always just get a divorce if it doesn’t work out.” And that’s the problem. Also, I think the media is a lot to blame for the situation too. As you also said, it’s this whole thing of wanting/feeling like we need instant gratification. We are living the fast life with cars, money, and now families. I think I read somewhere that marriage is the new dating, and having kids is the new marriage. So true. Seems like our values have totally shifted. Maybe it’s also because of the rise in education (which is a good thing) which may have also led people to think divorces aren’t a big deal (bc they no longer need two incomes to survive).


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