Posts Tagged ‘marriage


Quit Hatin’ on Single People

Let me preface this by saying, I’ve no problem with married people. I hate to sound cliché, but some of my best friends are married!

However, it’d be easy for me to label all wed people as needy, dependent, insecure conformists who need marriage as a way to validate themselves as worthwhile human beings.

I could make assumptions about the character of husbands and wives based solely on their marital status, but that would be stupid. Right?

Guess what’s equally as stupid?

This recent article in The Huffington Post attacking single people, described us all as selfish, dishonest and shallow, among other things. I’m not going to pretend there aren’t some unattached people who fall into these categories, but I’m sure there are some married people for whom the shoe fits, too.

Fortunately for married people, society just assumes that they entered into the union because they fell in love.

Unfortunately for single people, it seems nearly impossible for the general public to believe that an unattached person could be perfectly pleasant and of good character. Instead, we must be majorily flawed.

Is it so hard to fathom that maybe a SIS just hasn’t met her match yet? Is it so difficult to wrap one’s mind around the fact that some folks don’t want to be married? Is it beyond the realm of reason that marriage might be an option for some and not a life requirement?

Is “you’re a bitch” really the only plausible explanation, as the article’s author suggests? I think not.

I have at least one friend who believes in aliens. From what I can tell, it’s easier for the masses to believe in Alf than it is for them to accept that it might take some single people a bit longer to fall in love.

However, instead of a little patience and acceptance from society, singles have to deal with prejudice. I’m obviously no MLK, but when people start targeting members of any specific group, it makes me wonder what exactly their problem is.

Other than the fact that maybe the author had a deadline to meet, what would motivate her to take the time and write about how damaged single people are? Obviously, there are some issues there.

Maybe the author is jealous of independent singles who aren’t desperate to wed. It’s possible she’s coming to terms with the fact that her third marriage has ended and is lashing out at the group her ex-husbands have chosen to join. There are endless explanations for her obvious hate.

I don’t know, but unlike her, I’ll refrain from making too many  judgments.


Waiting for Him to Pop the Question

The word “single” can be used to describe a few different relationship scenarios. You have those who don’t have a significant other and rarely date. There are singles who are too busy dating to even realize that they’re single, and there are those who are in a situation, but are technically unattached, according to the IRS.

Over the summer, it was reported that actress Zoe Saldana was engaged to a man she’d dated for 10 years.  That made me wonder about the latter group of singles – many of whom are with someone, but don’t have a commitment toward marriage.

If you’re a SIS who wants to get married, how long do you wait for your man to pop the question?

I don’t know Saldana’s situation. It’s quite possible that she was the one putting their relationship progress on hold, but most women I know who have boyfriends, would be less than enthused to wait a decade for a bona fide commitment.

However, in the case of Saldana, it seems patience paid off.

So, where does that leave the average SIS? Do you patiently wait and remain faithful to your man until he’s ready, whether that is five years or 15?

In the meantime, you’re fielding questions and skepticism from family and friends who are regularly interrogating you like a suspect on “Law & Order” and wondering what the holdup is.

Some would argue that it doesn’t take men that long to decide who they want to spend the rest of their lives with, but marriage is an important decision. So, maybe a decade worth of getting to know one another is warranted.

On the other hand, I personally know of several marriages that took place only six months after the two met, and the unions were long lasting. So, maybe a 10 year courtship is being overly cautious.

As with most issues within a relationship, only the two people in it can really decide what’s right for them. The problem comes when one person wants a commitment before the other is ready, and that’s when something usually has to change. That may mean compromising or just ending things. 

Being on the same page about how well you know one another and when walking down the aisle is appropriate, could very well be an indication of your compatibility and how you will work together when married. If seeing eye-to-eye on when to wed is a point of contention, then that may be a sign of something, too.

For more on this topic, click here:


Is Single Motherhood a Wise Option?

I stumbled upon this article today, and several things came to mind. Not the least of which was, “Really? Haven’t I been seeing articles like this since second grade when I was using the newspaper as my finger painting canvas?” Sigh.

The article, like many before it, offers statistics on how poorly many blacks are doing achieving the “American Dream.” According to a study done by a Harvard professor, male incarceration, lack of educational opportunities and single-parent households are factors that have led to or are a result of our community’s troubles. According to the scholar, 70% of black children are born to single mothers.

A second study, this one from the Educational Testing Services’ “Black-White Achievement Gap,” is quoted in the article and suggests that “increasing marriage rates and getting fathers back into the business of nurturing children” is one way to improve the chances of young people in our communities.

The studies’ findings made me wonder: for the SIS who is more interested in Baby Right than Mr. Right, is planning to have a child out of wedlock a wise choice?

I am not “over the hill,” but even at my youthful age, I’ve been asked whether I’ve considered having children on my own. Just last year my younger cousin, an HBCU undergraduate, not-so-subtly hinted that it was time for me to pop him out some new kinfolk. I responded that I’d like to be married first. His comeback: “That’s antiquated.”

I know several successful and healthy adults who are products of single-parent homes. So, while the study results included in the aforementioned article are depressing, there is living proof that one person – especially with the help of extended family – can do a fantastic job rearing a child.

However, as one close friend of mine consistently tells me, “It’s hard.” She remembers her mom’s struggles and doesn’t recommend it.

So, there you have the SIS’s dilemma.

Should she miss out on motherhood just because there’s no marriage? Does she forge ahead and have a child on her own when she’s ready, or is that the selfish decision, realizing that her child might face more struggles and disadvantages being raised in a single-parent home?

Some suggest adoption is the answer for the SIS, but this option doesn’t solve for the single-parent household issue. If both parents raising a child is the Holy Grail, then adoption still falls short of that ideal.

Honestly, my biological clock is ticking very softly. Having children is not something I spend lots of time thinking about, but I don’t doubt there will come a time when the alarm sounds, and I think I’ll hear the bells loud and clear whether I’m married or still single.


The Church Factor: Helpful or Hurtful?

I participated in an online discussion recently, and this question was raised: Is the church one reason so many black women are single?

The answer to this question should probably be determined on a case-by-case basis. It’s possible that someone’s devotion to religious activities might keep her too busy to worry about romance, but I doubt that’s the norm. I’d argue that any divide between the church-going SIS and a fulfilling romantic relationship has more to do with that Christian woman’s spiritual standards and less to do with the actual church itself.

In my experience, the church doesn’t encourage women to remain single. I’ve found most focus the majority of their ministries on supporting marriage and family. However, it does advise Christians to live in a way that’s often contrary to society’s norms. The most obvious example would be that of premarital sex. While, it’s a popular and accepted practice these days (so much so that even adolescents on Teen Nick are with child or visiting the clinic for STD vaccines), many Christians believe that sex should be saved for marriage.

How many single men wanna hear that (… or women, for that matter)?

I’ve also met women who won’t date divorced men because these sistahs don’t believe the Bible condones it. Then, there are the lifestyle differences. If a woman is giving the church 10% of her income, it’s probably best she marry a man who also participates in tithing. If she doesn’t drink alcohol or listen to secular music, these lifestyle choices based on her beliefs, will likely greatly decrease her dating pool.

So, a Christian SIS may have certain standards that others, who have no spiritual expectations for their partners, might not have. The same goes for members of any religious faith.

While it may be true that one’s preference for a partner of a specific faith may limit her dating options, this SIS doesn’t think that the problem is with any particular belief system or religious institution.

It’s just another thing that helps determine when you’ve met “the one.” It’s something else you’ll share with your partner that indicates he might be Mr. Right.


Handing Out a ‘Cheating’ Pass

I was having a discussion with a married friend about Steve Harvey and his advice for single women. While it’s my opinion that a lot of his suggestions for the SIS are self-serving (or at least blatantly biased toward the male perspective), she felt his common theme was empowering for the ladies. What she took away from his words of wisdom was basically hold suitors up to your standards ‘cause they’ll only do what you allow them to do.

Whether that was Harvey’s main point or not, I think it’s concrete advice. However, it seems when it comes to monogamy and fidelity, a lot of women have completely thrown up their hands and given guys a pass. Instead of expecting a significant other to be faithful, they’ve accepted the belief that men are too primal to be with just one woman.

During Oscar season, talk-show host, Mo’Nique, announced that if her husband cheated on her it would not be a deal breaker. Not long after, R&B artist Erykah Badu shared pretty much the same sentiment.

Badu: “I want [men] to be happy and the more I see how the male of the species behaves, the more I understand, and the less I blame him.”

I’ve never been married, but I can imagine that if I were wed to a man for 20-something years, and he confessed a one-time indiscretion to me, I might be inclined to try to work things out, as opposed to end the union. Maybe.

However, this SIS thinks it’s a slippery slope when women begin excusing men’s cheating and accepting it as part of their nature. Isn’t that the exact lack of accountability Harvey – and my married friend – warned against?

I suppose there are people out there who are genuinely comfortable with open relationships. However, from Erykah’s quote, I detected a hint of acquiescence.

I don’t blame men for trying to sell this philosophy. Few would deny that men’s appetite for various women is generally greater than that of women’s for a bunch of dudes, but I wonder why women are so eager to accept this from men who are in supposedly committed relationships.

I think the “biology” excuse is an insult to men. They’re able to control themselves. They urinate outside because they can, not because they have to. I think women should challenge fellas to commit when they’re ready to stay faithful to their partners. Even if these ladies are unsure about it, I’m pretty positive Mo’Nique, Erykah and the rest of us deserve that.


Is It One or the Other?

I used to be a fan of MTV’s “The Hills” before it became a show solely about folks making bad relationship decisions. However, I still tune in to that series’ spin-off, “The City,” which is centered on a 20-something, single gal trying to create a successful career for herself as a designer.

I think lots of women can relate to watching the show’s star work hard, stress and network to make it in her industry. (She also dates.) Luckily, she has a mentor to help pave her way and offer great advice as someone who’s been there.

One nugget of advice from the mentor, Kelly Cutrone, had me nodding my head when I first heard it, but after further contemplation, it just really had me thinking.

The quote: “Some women follow men. Others follow their dreams.”

For me, that raised the question: “Is it either/or?” When it comes to career vs. relationships, can a SIS successfully pursue and manage both, or is it one or the other?

I know more than a few single, independent sistahs who are on their grind. They have professional goals they’re trying to meet. They’re on career paths, and although they want marriage, too, the path to that goal seems a little less obvious.

I also know a SIS or two who would be perfectly content just being housewives (the real kind, not the reality TV kind).

Either way, they’re all single.

I do know some wives who are professionally motivated and still focused on their marriages. They own their own businesses and work long hours, but manage to find lots of quality time for their husbands, too. So, I’d have to conclude that it is possible to have both a successful career and a healthy relationship.

Maybe you don’t have to choose one or the other.

However, the truth is that, I know a lot more career-minded women who are single. I’m not sure if it’s a cause or an effect. Are these ladies focused on the job ‘cause they’re not in relationships, or are they not in relationships ‘cause they’re focused on the job?

I’m not sure, but I think it’s a lot more fulfilling for a SIS to have a life while “waiting” on a man – if that’s one of her goals — than waiting on a man to be her life. Doing the latter may leave you with neither.


Should You Date Potential?

It’s been suggested that a lot of women seeking relationships have difficulty finding them because they fail to appreciate or recognize a man’s potential. At least one actor-turned-author (whose name I’m not going to mention, since I quote him waaay too much), points to Michelle Obama as an example of a woman who noticed a man’s potential, despite his not having fully reached it just yet when they met. Now, she’s the First Lady.

I don’t disagree with taking a person’s potential into account, especially if you’re expecting to be involved with him for years to come. However, I think it’s important to be clear about what exactly potential is. I submit that it’s not just about what people are able to do, but it’s also about what they want and are willing to do. In short, character is the deciding factor when determining someone’s real potential; people who aren’t willing to put in the effort to realize it, don’t really have any at all, despite their God-given talents and skills.

However, motivation and drive to achieve don’t always result in success. So, when it comes to dating, it’s important to be satisfied with who and what the person is, not just who you hope he will become.

Sure, Florida Evans would have loved for James to become foreman one day and move the family out of the ghetto, but she was content with him in that two bedroom apartment with a view of Willona. Like Florida, I don’t think Michelle Obama was complaining when her husband was merely a successful U.S. senator. If he’d never become president, I’m pretty sure she’d still be happily standing by his side.

So, maybe that’s the test when deciding whether to date a guy who hasn’t yet achieved his goals, but who has potential. Are you happy standing by his side now in the present? If not, then there could potentially be some problems down the line.

July 2018
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