Black Women and Marriage

The topic of black women and marriage was a topic of conversation on the radio earlier this week. First, Michael Baisden asked why white women are more likely to get married than black women. Then, the people poll question on the Russ Parr Show was a question asked by a white woman on her observation that her black female friends were raised to take care of themselves, where she was raised to get married. It had me wondering, if this were true. 

By no means am I a relationship expert, so this post is based solely on my experiences. I am very conservative when it comes to love and marriage. I’ve always wanted to be married. I’ve never wanted to be someone’s “baby momma”. My thought, if I wasn’t bringing virginity to my marriage, the least I could do is make sure the only kids I have are his. I’m not asking you to agree with that, but hey, it’s how I feel. My wish to be married wasn’t always viewed favorably. I remember a conversation I had with an aunt in college. At that time I was thinking about going to med school and she was so excited. I could be the next surgeon general. I told her I didn’t want to be the surgeon general and somehow I got into how I wanted a husband and kids one day. She looked at me like I’d grown another head before asking why. It’s not hard to understand where my wish came from. Growing up all of my friends came from two parent homes and everyone in my family with kids was married, or in a long-term relationship. I wasn’t around many single parents. To me being married was normal.

I will say that my mom instilled in me that I be able to take care of myself. She frowned when guys gave me presents and to even consider asking a guy for money…child please. Don’t even think about it. As I grew older, and the rosy bubble of romance and relationships burst, I still wanted to get married, but I also knew that I had to have my own stuff. Even if I got married, there’s no guarantee I’d be married forever. I love being a wife. I love taking care of my husband, making sure that he has dinner, taking care of the kids and the whole nine. But, I also love being a working wife and mother, because I can financially support myself if my husband lost his mind and ran off with a 22-year-old one day. Even with this, I thought I was pretty conservative until I had a few conversations about love and marriage with a white girlfriend. Her ideas of marriage had me questioning my “wifely duties”. Her husband came first. There wasn’t a question that he was the head of the household. Not in my house, we run a joint operation. No head of household here. Then there was the money. They shared an account. That was crazy to me. Didn’t she need to keep her money separate? And when I told her some of the things that I’ve said to my husband, she couldn’t imagine telling her husband something similar. (i.e. F-up if you want too. You’ll only see these boys every other Christmas and two weeks in the summer).  Now are our views on marriage different because I’m black and she’s white, who knows. I’ve talked to other white women who share my same view.

I think it all comes down to what you see every day, and what you think is normal. All of my closest friends, most of whom are black, are married. I’m still not around a lot of single mothers. In my case, I was raised to take care of myself, but by surroundings (and my early love of romance) made me want to be married. I don’t think you can say all black women sabotage themselves from getting married. Look at the facts, a lot of other black women don’t grow up surrounded by what I had. The reason for fewer marriages is bigger than race. It’s culture, and until you have more kids surrounded by loving families, why wouldn’t they think it’s abnormal to be married.

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About Synithia W
I write love stories filled with passion and drama at night, I improve air and water quality during the day, and I love my husband and kids in between.

5 Responses to Black Women and Marriage

  1. megan w says:

    Great post Synithia! I agree with you on the role of marriage and husbands. And funny. I just heard a segment on NPR about black marriages. You did a much better job at explaining the reasons for fewer marriages in the black community.

  2. Danita says:

    Excellent post; it’s such an interesting topic. I agree with your viewpoint and I also suspect that the white woman on Russ Parr makes a somewhat valid point as well.

    Of course it’s difficult to broad stroke an entire group given all the personal and cultural variables, but I feel that like you there’s a determination and expectation to build and maintain autonomy prior to engaging in monogamy (sorry, I had a Jesse Jackson moment).

    I’ve never believed that I could “have” it all, but there’s a part of me that still believes I can learn to do it all well enough to strike that ever-changing balance; and a big part of that belief comes from the men and women in my life requiring me to strive for self-sufficiency. Not because anyone was jaded about marriage per se, but because if you’re aware that you’re already complete and capable, then you’re likely to have a better understanding of what you can bring and how you can work in a marriage. Your sense of resourcefulness is expanded; perhaps you are clearer about boundaries (especially financial ones) and firmer about adhering to those.

    I don’t know. I’m rambling while hanging out at my grandma’s, but I’ve been reading all the articles about marriage and black women lately and it stirs up so many thoughts. Anyway, enjoyed reading your perspective.

    • Synithia W says:

      Good points Danita. I didn’t realize how much it was in me to take care of myself, until Eric and I attended a marraige retreat last year. One of the sessions talked about this issue and I realized that it was important to acknowled that I “gulp” need my husband. I couldn’t say that outloud before. Sure I can do all of this on my own (house, kids, etc.) but it’s so much easier to do it with him.

      • megan says:

        haha…”need”. I remember that conversation we had. I think I can now say, out loud, that I need my husband too.

        btw…I promise I’m not stalking your blog. I came back to see the other comments 🙂

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