Marriage : The black male perspective

So I put the previous post on facebook and had some of my black male friends there respond to it and wanted to share some of the comments.

SuperDave -
I think some of this is true. I don't think more educated women can't find good black men. It's just that they look for men who have what they have. Who are just as traveled as them. So they shut off a whole group of men who may not be college educated or worldly but are still good dudes.

D C -
Pastor Davison made great points. Much of what I believe to be powerful and applicable.

Let me first say that I believe that in order to effectively deal with your topic that we define the characteristics of the "Black Man" that avoids marriage. Is it the individual whose age legally entitles him to the "man" category? Is it the individual who believes that becoming a man includes sexing as many women as possible as a rite of passage? Could it be the individuals environment was never inclusive of a mentor/role model to break the cycle of fear in commitment?

Lots of fellas I know didn't entertain marriage thoughts until their 30's or later. Modern society regurgitates go to school, career, marry and have kids. What happens if that order is disrupted? Fear of the unknown can be immobilizing.

Lastly, ask men from different religions to define marriage, you may get different results. That's my two cents. Hope it helps out

Tone -
I could be wrong but my thoughts are that the way most marriages turn out scares some guys away from those commitments..Marriage is not what it use to be with most people getting married for the wrong reasons therefore most end too soon and too messy....some people get married for lust or convenience instead of love which should be the foundation...Some even feel obligated just because we slipped up and had kids too soon doesn't always mean we should get married.....some guys sit back and become fearful because of what they see or hear and don't want to find themselves in that same situation....but like I said some guys...others are not scared they just don't see marriage in their future....believe it or not there are a few guys who rather remain "PLAYERS" and play the game instead of settling down with that one special person...

RR -
How does economics play in the factor? The trite sentiment with many folks is that marriages fall apart due to finances more than any other factor. I'm not sure if that is true, or rather a rhetorical stat I've heard many times.

I guess my 'food for thought' is looking at how one's socioeconomic background might affect their behavioral patterns with marriage. Cognitively speaking I think most men, of all ethnicities, agree that marriage is a wonderful thing; it's might be the excuse of limited resources that keep the likelihood low.

Keep in mind I know many broke folks get married, but maybe a different cultural (real & artificial) nuances and media influences effects these things.

Personally, I'm planning on getting married (sooner than later) as I've been in a long relationship; so maybe I don't know what in the hell I'm talking about :) haha

Speech -
A lot of men don't want to get to married cause we live in an era of no morals. Sex is as common as breathing these days. And its just as easy. Men don't want to give up their options. They feel like if they get married they'll be trapped and forced to change a way of living that they are already used to. Let me clarify that this isn't all men just the ones that are scared of commitment. Then on the flip side of that some men just don't trust women. You got those that have had slept or dealt with married women so they feel like "if she married and sleeping with me who knows what a woman I think about considering my wife can do." So its just a lot of trust issues and people being afraid to commit. That's my opinion anyway.

I also agree with RR that finance plays a big part of it. But it plays apart of why men can't find some good women not so much as in why men don't want to commit.

spchrist -
With all due respect to Pastor Davison, marriage, and I use the term loosely isn't for everyone. It never has...and probably never will be. That's why so many marriages end in divorce because people get married for the wrong reasons. If marriage was for everyone, a lot of attorneys would be out of work.

The withholding sex thing to get someone to marry you is a gimmick. It is almost as bad as Beyonce's silly song "Single Women". If a man wants to have sex, he's going to have sex (with or without you). Now, I would say you must be consistent in what you say/do when dating. If you state from the jump that you are not having sex unless you are in a committed relationship then stick to it. Don't say one thing and do the other. Notice I didn't say no sex at all. Sexual chemistry is important even though a lot of people will not admit it. A relationship or marriage with bad sex or no sex is a relationship or marriage doomed to fail.

Rada -
I honestly say for me its a bit different. Do women wanna get married? What happens when you give a woman the ingredients that your ultimate goal is marriage and she doesn't bite? There are men out there who get these type of women, back to back, and we get screwed. I am ready, more now than I was. What I saw growing up in my home is something I never wanted to give my children and I now have two from two different mothers. That eats me alive. If I could take that aspect back, I would. It won't happen, but I guess going through the struggles, trials and tears of having my heart broken brought me to this point that I'm at. But give me a good woman with trust, compromise and understanding and we can make some things work. Don't believe the hype, there are still brothas focused like never before on holding true to their sistas.

Kuann -
My view is that it is very complicated and hard to trust for myself..I want to get married and have children but i also dont want a baby mama or a woman that is looking at me for financial gain or my credit score yea yea you always hear no romance without finance but what about putting that to the side and having true love without the incentives..

______________________________

Oh and just so I don't continue to depress all my RBW's out there...
Black Men are getting married...
...and to black women. Essence.com has been doing this "Will You Marry Me?" feature for the past couple years and this year's is going on right now. Click on the pic to check it out.

28 comments

Video Vix[o]n January 5, 2009 at 12:41 PM

i decided to comment on this post, but i did read the last one.

bless this pastor, mos def on all cylinders. makes too much sense.

i feel I (as well as other men) have experienced all three of these things.

-my parents split when i was younger, so the perfect marriage didn't fall through. everything is all good now, but i looked at a pic of my parents when they got married and it was kinda beautiful. my inner kid wishes it was like that still, but time moves on.

-I don't like thinking of marriage as a piece of paper, because its not. its definitely a spiritual/emotional bond that should be taken whole-heartedly, but society only sees it as a "license," which gives it a lesser purpose.

-commitment is the number one reason why black men avoid marriage. some of it is fear, but a majority of it is not being prepared mentally. black men know how to love and can be trustworthy, but commiting is the part that sound so infinite that they don't want to give up their lifestyles to incorporate another person, a woman, into it.

I want to get married one day, but i don't want to think of it as a "piece of paper," but a spiritual bond through God or whichever higher being is there.

I think most men decide to get married around their 30s because they finally get out of their boy stage into manhood. i read in a book, called "Visions for Black Men," by Na'im Akbar, that the only way a man in the Black community can come into manhood is though marriage; otherwise they will forever be in that boy stage of playing games and not learning how to be responsible and commit to the black woman.

For all the male readers commenting, find and read "Visions for Black Men," by Na'im Akbar. it's a simple book, but put a lot of things into perspective.

great post RBW.

Amber-Alert January 5, 2009 at 1:35 PM

black men are most def scared of marriage...they will "date" u 5-10 years and see nothing wrong with it, shacking up and the whole 9 but u bring up the M word and its a serious problem. cant tell u how many arguments (heated discussions lol) ive gotten into on the topic of commitment and marriage...it just doesnt seem like black men and women see eye to eye when it comes to that...dont kno if its more about religion (someone mentioned that in their comments) as much as it is about race...heres where i would normally start talkin about slavery but thats too much writing...

another thing is people dont date with a purpose...people just be all willy nilly with it!

Thoughts of a Southern gal January 5, 2009 at 1:48 PM

I like what Spchrist said.

This is 2009, the game has changed and will continue to change. I agree with whoever said men don't think about marriage until their 30s.

My good friend and his fiance were in Essence's contest last yr. They didn't win but came in 2nd place.

Smarty Jones January 5, 2009 at 1:54 PM

Wow, great comments fellas. I would like to comment on spchrist's comment.
I agree that withholding sex for any reason is just stupid. You do get results, but more often than not, it's a result that you don't want. It's childish to ransom the booty. I've never been that type of chick.
Cause you mad I don't get none? That's bull.
I think the one thing that hasn't been said is the fact that people who are no where near ready emotionally are rushing into marriage.
How many people do you know in their late 20s and early 30s who are divorced because they got married for all the wrong reasons? It's ridiculous.
Since you are quoting the good pastor, let's go biblical for a minute. The Bible says a lot of things about marriage and finding the right person.
The thing that sticks out most is, "He who finds a wife finds a good thing ..." That tells you that he is supposed to be the one looking, not the other way around.
In other words, sit cho ass down and wait to be found! Christianity teaches us that God knew our end at the beginning. So chill!
If He intends for you to be married, you will be.

The True Urban Queen aka Sharon January 5, 2009 at 2:05 PM

Maybe most black men don't understand marriage because they don't have any role models to look too for an example of a good loving long lasting marriage.

Marriage takes a lot of work.
I know I was married 10 years before I gave up on mine. We were both young. And he was not ready.

Marriage is in the beginning the idea of two people who met and fell in love and decide to build a life together.
Marriage is in reality two people of different backgrounds, thoughts, and ideas coming together to live under one roof on a full time basis and who are going to have to learn to compromise, understand, and deal with the other when it is time to make decisions for the better of the relationship.

And also in society men who are playas or something like that tend to get the praise from their peers then one who has decided to be with that one woman.

Tee aka The Diva's Thoughts January 5, 2009 at 2:53 PM

I agree with much of what DC and Speech said. Most of what they said are things I've been telling my girls for the longest time.

THE JODY January 5, 2009 at 3:17 PM

Ay Eb, from majority of the comments I have read from sistas, there is still alot of generalizing goin on and that aint fair. BROTHAS ALREADY GOT DEAL WITH BEING LABELED CRIMINALS, DOGS AND BABIES DADDIES NOW WE GETTIN CALLED COWARDS AFRAID OF MARRIAGE. NOT ALL BROTHAS FIT UNDER ONE OF THOSE LABELS. I stated this fact in the original post. Not all brothas are scared of marriage. There are some brothas out there that want to get married, have families and all that good stuff. It just so happens that those type brothas are the brothas yall sistas aint checkin for. THERE ARE GOOD BROTHAS LEFT THAT LOVE BLACK WOMEN AND WANT TO GET MARRIED. I AM ONE OF THEM.

THE JODY January 5, 2009 at 3:22 PM

I AGREE WITH WHAT SMARTY JONES SAID ABOUT THE BIBLE STUFF. BUT SISTAS THESE DAYS ARE SO HEAD STRONG AND DON'T REALLY KNOW WHEN A GOOD MAN IS IN FRONT OF THEM CAUSE 99% OF THEM GO BY LOOKS(EXTERIOR) WHEN HIS SOUL(INTERIOR) COULD BE ROTTEN WHILE THE COOL NICE DUDES LIKE MYSELF GET DRAGGED AND OVERLOOKED.

Soulstress January 5, 2009 at 3:26 PM

I'm gonna co-sign speech & rada's comments. I think they made sum valid points.

Eb the Celeb January 5, 2009 at 3:46 PM

@The Jody - I hate hearing what you said "CAUSE 99% OF THEM GO BY LOOKS(EXTERIOR) WHEN HIS SOUL(INTERIOR)COULD BE ROTTEN WHILE THE COOL NICE DUDES LIKE MYSELF GET DRAGGED AND OVERLOOKED."

That's a crock of ish. So are you saying I have to be with someone that isn't pleasing to my eye just to have a good man. I dont think God made it so that every successful female in the world has to be with a guy they aren't attracted to in order to get married...unless your making that Donald Trump paper. Fact of the matter is when you hit a certain bank roll it doesnt matter what you look like anymore for certain women... and that has no racial bounds.

The fact of the matter is that the same thing goes for men so for you to make up that percentage of 99% is just outrageous. We can make the same generalizations about men. A man isn't going to marry an ugly woman just because she can cook and bare children and doesn't talk back. This is not the Color Purple. Both men and women have the right to be utterly in love with how their partner looks both on the inside and outside. What you've said shows a slight bit of insecurity. Everyone has different types so I'm sure there are women out there that think you are the flyyest thing they have ever seen but I bet you aren't checking for that chick. Its a never ending cycle and journey to find that one that is just as excited about all aspects of you as you are of them. Men live with a sense of entitlement no matter how they look that they are intitled to have the flyest chick everytime they go out. Just check the club when you go out. 3 model looking chicks walk in and every dude in the spot is checking for her. Taking turns getting their 2 little words in, buying her a drink, etc... when there are a thousand other chicks in the spot that aren't getting any love. I have had to check several of my homeboys that get mad at me for being realistic with them. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO GET THAT MODEL CHICK and then you get mad when she takes the drink you bought and ran. Date within your means or you will get manipulated and taken advantage of. That is the way of life. Everyone knows whether someone is out of their league. So if you keep going after them chicks that are out of yours you cant keep saying that all black women are alike because you have ventured to get to know the ones that are in your league.

Like when I go out. For the most part you can tell a dude by looking at him if he doesn't really date chocolate sistas like me. No matter how fine he is, I'm not going to be sweating him to get to know me to prove to him that we are the shiznit... I'm scoping the land to see if my eyes happened to meet with someone that is glaring at me the same way I am glaring at him. If I spend all my time looking at that one I may miss my glare.

and1grad January 5, 2009 at 3:57 PM

Glaring is a good thing?

@The Jody
I agree with Eb. Its not fair to generalize about women while complaining about them generalizing about men.

@eb
One thing I'm not sure anyone's mentioned is the financial risk of getting married. I know thats something I used to think about. Seems like the man is more at risk of a marriage failing in that case as well as in the case of child custody. Might be something that gives some guys pause also.

Eb the Celeb January 5, 2009 at 4:09 PM

@and1grad - lol... yes I said glaring... not staring... glaring is happening to catch the eyes of someone from across the room with a slight glare in his eyes that lets you know he's interested

To add to your financial risk situation I have to quote Will and Jada who said something to the effects of if you ever think that divorce is an option than you have no business getting married. For that reason alone, your comment gets negated. But in reality people do change and grow apart. So even if you go into the marriage not thinking it will ever end, if its does, nowadays men have just as many rights as women to get custody and there are more and more men getting the alimony than the women when there is a divorce. Fact of the matter is, the men that are the most worried about this aren't the ones that are making 6 figures so they have no business being worried. A judge cant take what you dont have.

Just my 2 cents... I dont know why I'm all hype today.

I hope no one takes anything personally as if I'm attacking them... Just stating my opinion...lol.

and1grad January 5, 2009 at 4:23 PM

lol, I'll have to keep that in mind whenever I next find a woman glaring at me.

Since I dont live in the Fresh Prince's fantasyland, I have to at least CONSIDER the possibility of that happening. The fact of the matter is custody battles favor the mother (assuming she isnt on drugs) and even if there are more men getting alimony, its the exception rather than the rule.

Regardless of how much money is made, it is a potential concern for SOME.

RealHustla January 5, 2009 at 6:48 PM

I was happy to read the intelligent thoughts of these black men, but was hoping to see more of them say something like, "I really want to get married as soon as possible, but it's just a bit of a challenge finding the right woman."

That's just me.

At this point in my life, I have to find someone who is a good match AND someone who is willing to sign a pre-nub.

One Man’s Opinion January 5, 2009 at 7:27 PM

I have to say, I like what Tone had to say on the topic. I really don't have a lot to say on this, but I really can't say what goes on in the mind of other black men.

Oyin January 5, 2009 at 8:37 PM

Tell Kuann I need to hollar at him

PrettyBlack January 5, 2009 at 8:59 PM

Ibelieve it's up to the woman to make it clear what they want if the men at that point can't fall in line then the woman needs to find a man whose open to the aspect of marriage

Miss BB is... January 5, 2009 at 9:15 PM

I was so mad at the winner of last year's Essence contest that I wanted to fight. Me and my co-workers voted a million times a day for one couple. LOL!

Ms. Independent January 5, 2009 at 9:19 PM

Loves the comments from the guys. So many different view points. They make good points. The whole thing is a complex issue whith many factors to be considered and more importantly the individual.

suga January 6, 2009 at 1:37 AM

I love when Essence does the Marriage project. every year, me and one of my girls watch all of the videos and gush over the proposals. It's grand...and it gives me hope.

Mr.Slish January 6, 2009 at 9:31 AM

Whats up Eb it's baby daddy slish checking in..I have some thoughts on this topic but it's too much to post in your comment section..guess whaaaat you've probably inspired my next blog post...lol

TravelDiva January 6, 2009 at 1:49 PM

Interesting.....

Happy New Year Eb.

THE JODY January 6, 2009 at 1:49 PM

Ay Eb, First, this is a interesting topic. I am tryin to speak for some of us brothas. Not all brothas are scared of marriage. Some of us are ready to jump in and take part in this sacred institution. No male bashing needed. I hope sistas are listening to us brothas for a change. I see whatcha sayin. I am a single brotha with no kids and I wanna get married again someday soon. My biological clock is tickin as yall women folk say. My issue aint with steppin to sistas outta my league. I have been married before and it was great for 10 years until my wife cheated on me. I could've left her ruin my perspective on marriage but I didn't. Now I am looking to upgrade and it just so happens that the women here in atlanta that fit in the upgrade status are souped and stuck on themselves or just too upped. I admit, we brothas have preferences also when looking at sistas. But some of ours aren't as shallow as yalls. MY ex-wife has a phd and her own thang. I have a masters degree and my own thang. The next sista I fall in love with has to have at least a undergrad degree. I AM NOT SAYING YALL SISTAS HAVE TO SETTLE FOR AN OLE JOE. I AM SIMPLY SAYING TO LESSEN THE SEVERITY OF THIS TOPIC AND SITUATION, WIDEN THE YOUR PERSPECTIVE WHEN LOOKING AT THE DECREASING ELIGIBLE BACHELOR POOL. Anyway, I am THE JODY. I am confident I will be married to a beautiful sista within the next 2 years and I'll have found my smile again.

spchrist January 6, 2009 at 3:15 PM

My initial comments were in direct response to the pastor. I should add that I'm one of those black men that wants to be married.
Although I do want to be married, I'm only going to do it once so I'm waiting for the right woman that I can settled down with and have kids. If she never comes along, I can say I tried my best.

Mr. B2B January 8, 2009 at 6:27 AM

Eb
thanks a whole bunch for sharing their feedback...

i love the different angles that they have all hit on

economics
committment-fear
getting laid consistently
trust
honesty

and many others

my two cents are from a very different angle Eb...
i am your age 28 this year, and in my country, many of my hommies have already jumped the broom, so really.... it does not seem to be a problemo...

the ones i know who have done the ring thing have really fallen hard for their wives, and are willing to ease into the marriage...

in your case (i.e. America), the drama continues....
unwed mommies/ no father figures/ general fear of committment and generally men acting like boys and not knowing what they want!!!

it takes a little while to get there, and men are just to pig-headed to allow a woman (read a wife) to help him get there with him... (and her help notwithstanding might make him feel like a weaker man)

my classmate got married 6 months outta Uni, and he is light years ahead of us...

in terms of stability financially, emotionally, and he is getting is spirituality in check and yet he is moslem and is not really bothered about looking for wives 2,3, and 4...

anyways, thanks again for the post eb!!

~B2B~

Eb the Celeb January 9, 2009 at 11:14 AM

@Realhustla - I'm still a little jaded about the whole pre-nup thing

@Baby Daddy Slish- I cant wait to read that post!

@B2B -"it takes a little while to get there, and men are just to pig-headed to allow a woman (read a wife) to help him get there with him... (and her help notwithstanding might make him feel like a weaker man)"

exactly... that is the problem... ego's are tearing us apart...

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