As I scroll down my Facebook mini-feed, I notice a trend. My white friends are throwing statuses, pictures, etc. up of them getting either engaged or married, while my black friends are discussing their “baby daddies” referring to themselves as “wifey” and living with their significant others with children. If I were to put a percentage on it, I would say that about 70% of my white friends and 25% of my blacks friends who are in committed heterosexual relationships are engaged or married. Why is it that black women seem to not walk down the aisle as often as their white counterparts? We’ll live with our man, have many of his children, play house but not take the plunge.
I took my curiosity to social media and gathered the following responses:
“I think it’s a mix of issues, but what I see being the overriding factor is a matter of standards. Many of the White women that I know and am friends with are pretty upfront about marriage in the beginning of their relationships, so there is never really a question of “where is this heading?”
“Black women don’t require it from us brothas like other races do. A lot of black women require “swag” and materialistic things, so guys don’t have to have much of an obligation other than look a certain way and maybe have some cash.”
“Really I look at it the opposite way. White American men are the wealthiest, most powerful men in the history of the world and HALF of their marriages end in divorce. I think the problem is that we try to copy what white people do, but we’re neither the wealthiest nor the most powerful.”
For the most part, many who commented erred on the side of standards. They felt like black women just did not demand that next level of commitment from their mates. This is a point that I agree with. Why do we continue to settle? Is it because we don’t recognize our worth? Is it because we’re so glad to get a man that we will take him any way we can get him? Allow him to plant his seed in us, live with us but not commit to us for a lifetime? Personally I am a believer in the philosophy of teaching someone how to treat you. You ultimately have the power to either stay or leave. Not to say that every black woman living with a man is settling. Or wants to get married for that matter. There are plenty of relationships where both partners are happy without the desire to tie the knot. Hell I’m not sure if marriage is for me. I’m referring to the women who want to get married, but for whatever reason remain in situations where their partner clearly is not interested.
The idea of demanding that someone marries you as stated in the above response does not sit too well with me. Call me old-fashioned, but when a man has a good thing in front of him, he locks her down. It shouldn’t be the other way around. Of course this comes with the assumption that the woman is a good thing. One thing is for sure, a woman should never have to DEMAND that a man should marry her. In fact, the only thing she should demand is that he treat her with respect. Demanding that he marry her provides room for forced marriage, which can ultimately end in divorce. This brings me to the third response stated above. Are we, black people copying what white people do? Is marriage just an institution that few believe in, but follow because they’ve been told to do so? Is marriage an institution in which one race benefits from more than others? I wonder. I don’t have any answers to the questions above but I know one thing, no one should ever settle. If you do, then you are solely responsible for the way in which others treat you,and therefore you cannot complain. You’re ultimately choosing to live in unhappiness, which is a choice that many make more often than not.