The Happy Nappy Bride

About weddings. About relationships. About the first year of being married.

the loneliest number? December 19, 2009

Filed under: Black weddings — Happy Nappy Bride @ 2:24 pm
Tags: , ,

I’ve heard it for a long time and I’m sure that other Black ladies have heard the same:  Black women have a crappy shot at getting married.  For myriad of reasons:  Black dudes are in jail, they’re gay (“not that there’s anything wrong with that.” –Jerry Seinfeld), or they know they’re in high demand so they don’t want to go and ruin it by getting married.

Here’s a link to an article titled, scarily enough, “Marriage Is For White People“.  It’s from the Washington Post and was written in ’06…here are a couple of quotations that I’d like to chat about:

“In 2001, according to the U.S. Census, 43.3 percent of black men and 41.9 percent of black women in America had never been married, in contrast to 27.4 percent and 20.7 percent respectively for whites.”

“A woman who takes that step (marriage) is bold and brave,” one young single mother told me. “Women don’t want to marry because they don’t want to lose their freedom.”

First, I hope you go and read the article.  I read some of it to The Mister and he turned into a maninist (what’s the male version of feminist? Mascunist? Maninist? *shrugging*)…all about men’s rights.  It was a little bit funny.  Second, I’ve heard these numbers for a long time in my life and while it’s certainly true (the numbers don’t lie), it’s the wrong way to look at things.

Black women, and women in general, need to get rid of this phrase:  what the man’s “bringing to the table”.  This isn’t high stakes betting!  Shouldn’t it be about having someone with you through thick and thin? When you’re killing it at work and when you’ve just been fired?  Isn’t it about building something together?  And doesn’t that building assume an ebb and flow?  Sometimes you’ll carry more of the load and sometimes it’ll be his turn?

Anyhoo, I’m not marrying The Mister because I need him to buy a house (already have one…and so did he, by the way), or to have kids (I suppose that could be accomplished without becoming a Mrs.)…it’s because I believe we’re better together than apart.  Good or bad, up or down…I’m a better Dawn with The Mister.

Surely we’ll dig into this more later, but what do you guys think about the article?

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7 Responses to “the loneliest number?”

  1. Hi! I stumbled across your blog via my friend at Cupcake Wedding and as a future psychologist, I find this article really interesting. Moreso, I really like your point that your reasons for getting married are because it will enrich your life, not to increase your material wealth or be a way to have children more easily. I think that many people, regardless of their race, get married for the wrong reasons, and that is why we have such a high divorce rate. Many people do not even stop to analyze why they are getting married other than to say that they’re “so in love,” so kudos to you for taking the time to think about this issue and share it with others!

  2. Kesha Says:

    The black perspective is certainly missing from the wedding discussion and in my opinion young black girls grow up with the perspective that marriage is optional, whereas my white girlfriends grew up that marriage was mandatory. I grew up around so many strong independent black women with no husbands, making money, owning homes and businesses, etc. The message was if you get married, great. If you don’t you’re gonna be just fine. Most of my white friends married right after college, if not earlier. It wasn’t about them needing a husband…I’m sure many of them would have been fine solo. It was just an expectation. Prior to age 18 I had only attended 1 wedding of a family member!!! Other than my grandparents, I didn’t know any other married people. None of my aunts and uncles were married, my mom didn’t get married. Such an interesting topic. I can’t wait to read what you and others think.

    I also noticed that the right man did not come into my life until I decided that marriage is something that I want. I think you hit the nail on the head Dawn. When we change our attitude and perspective on marriage more of us will walk down the aisle. Surely I kissed a lot of frogs before I met Derrick. I’m sure it was my attitude of not desiring marriage because I was focused on other things that prevented me from pursuing marriage earlier.

  3. […] you want and then going for it.  I’d love it if you went back and read Kesha’s entire comment, I think it’s […]

  4. Erin Says:

    I know this is an old post, but I just stumbled across this AWESOME blog. First, I’d like to say thank you to Dawn for providing a fresh and funky perspective (you’re absolutely correct in saying that the Black perspective is missing in the wedding industry). Now for this article, as a young African American woman it is discouraging to hear some of these statistics. As a pastoral counselor who is familiar with research I realize that there is still hope for us. This does not mean that Black women don’t get married at all, but rather that if we want it to happen we need set standards and not settle for less. I believe the problem begins with the Black family. Hill Harper wrote a wonderful book entitled “The Conversation” that delves into the breakdown of the relationships between Black men and women. What are we teaching our children about relationships. Do we uplift one another or do we refer to one another in negative stereotypes (i.e. lazy Black man, nagging Black woman)? I wouldn’t want to get married either if I saw a culture of people who don’t support one another. I was fortunate enough to be raised by both parents and they taught me to love and how to receive love. The taught me not to settle, but also that loving another person can be a wonderful experience. Some of us are so concerned with a WEDDING and engage in no preparation for MARRIAGE! Do you enjoy spending time with your boyfriend or girlfriend? Can you have a conversation with them? Is there more than just a physical attraction. Too many people view marriage as a contract with an exit clause instead of a lifetime committment. We must change our perspective on RELATIONSHIPS and then we can began to move forward with healing the Black Community.


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