I was at a social gathering last night with a group of young, black women. Most were in this group called “Pinky Promise,” a new movement out there to stay pure before God in EVERY single way. The purpose of this movement and the different groups that have formed because of it seem like a good idea from what I could see. Yet, there was something that kind of threw me off.
During the evening’s discussion, the subject of men (of course) arose. One of the women looked around the room and asked, “Does everyone in here pretty much desire to be married?” Mostly every girl nodded yes (besides me and another girl who said, “Not anytime soon.”). And as the conversation continued, the topics of husbands, and “the man God has for you,” and waiting and being patient were on full blast. As I observed those in the room, I got an overwhelming sense of “I want to be married!” Even as I talked one-on-one with one of the ladies, she also noted how the focus seemed to be on getting a husband, which was not what she expected.
After telling my older (and married) cousin about my experience, she asked me a very good question: “Did you ask these ladies why they desire to be married so much?”
And although it was in my head (and obviously influenced this post), I never thought to simply ask the women why?
Why is it that women desire to be married so much? The entire group was black, and this also made me wonder, is this more of a focus for black women? Or does every woman have such a strong desire to be married?
Take me, for instance; I certainly want to be married one day because, as a Christian, I do believe this is just one aspect of God’s plan and purpose for my life. He designed marriage and I do believe in the long run He created men and women to ultimately enter into a marriage covenant (for multiple reasons). Like any other gal, I want a life-long partner and a beautiful relationship, but it’s not a pressing desire for me. It doesn’t consume my thoughts nor do I focus on it day in and day out.
Now, we should take into consideration that I’m currently in a relationship, and these women, from what they were saying, are not. So, in fairness, I thought, “Well, perhaps I’m not as focused on being married now or getting a husband because I have someone.” Yet, I think about my close friend who is single. She also desires to be married one day, but unlike the women last night, she doesn’t have this sense of urgency or feel like she needs and wants to meet her hubby-to-be right now. Even when I was single, which was FOREVER, this wasn’t my sole focus.
The topic made me think about something my pastor’s wife said one day. She said, “99.9 percent of women want to be married, yet only 50 percent want to be a wife.” That’s real.
I wonder if, in their longings for husbands and wife titles, women really take the time to consider what it means to be married? What it really means to be a wife?
I know God checked me about this very same thing awhile ago. My friend pointed out to me that whenever I’d talk about marriage, I’d usually only talk about my wedding. “It’s going to be this” and “I want to have that” yet I rarely spoke about actual marriage. And the Lord quickly opened my eyes to the true definition of marriage and being a wife—cause it’s not at all about a special day or a title. For so long, I didn’t know what being a wife and entering into a marriage covenant really meant, and I wonder if the same is true for so many women who are searching for husbands right now.
No one wants to be lonely; I get that. Yet, marriage is (and will be) so much more. Do we think about commitment? Do we think about serving our husbands, even when we don’t feel like it? Do we think about making sacrifices and being selfless? Even seemingly small things like visiting relatives on holidays. Perhaps you really enjoy being with your family on Christmas, but in marriage, you may have to spend plenty of Christmases away from your loved ones and be with your husband’s side, especially if they live in different states. Do we consider that? Do we think about permanently sharing our space with someone else? Learning to live and interact with another person EVERY DAY? Mixing different living styles, likes and dislikes, ideas and opinions, backgrounds and upbringings: Do we think about these things?
Even more, what about when the lovey-dovey stage fades away? What about when you can’t stand your spouse? Or things start to feel routine? Or, God forbid, offenses come (and they will come)? Do we think about forgiveness? And moving past hurts and pains?
I think that in a society filled with slim pickings—men who don’t date black women, are on the DL, bisexual, playing games, are immature, and/or don’t have any goals or ambition—we as women can start to feel desperate, even at such young ages (the women in this group were 24-25). We see a lack of quality “good men” and it creates this sense of urgency in us to have something we 1) truly don’t understand enough about and 2) most often times are not even ready for. I mean, if when referring to marriage all I used to focus on was my wedding dress or venue, it’s clear to see I had no idea what marriage truly is and wasn’t ready.
No one will ever be 100 percent ready for marriage because, obviously, there are some things about marriage one can only learn in marriage. To every woman that longs to be married and snag that husband, I think you should take the time to make sure you fully understand what you think you desire. As they say, be careful what you wish for, and you don’t want to wish for a role your mindset, maturity level and character aren’t fully developed for yet.
Service is her passion, writing is her platform, uplifting women and the Black Community is her purpose. Shala Marks is a writer, editor and soon-to-be author. Through her work, Marks aspires to demonstrate “The Craft of Writing, and the Art of Efficacy.” She has a B.A. in journalism from Arizona State University. Connect with her at: http://shalamarks.com/.
Have you ever had a relationship, on any level, with someone that meant the world to you? Someone that you would just do anything for, they were the epitome of friendship, love, or whatever the case may be. You wanted this person in your life, for whatever purpose, and you thanked God for the joy they brought! Then one day you woke up, and prayed you would never have to see that person again?
My sophomore year of high school the most amazingly handsome man I’ve ever seen, even to this day, walked into my class. James was so beautiful he literally looked like someone drew him. I didn’t think that kind of beauty was even possible. It must have shown on my face because he locked eyes with me, and gave me the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen…even to this day.
I can still remember that feeling. I remember the day very clearly. It took maybe a month for me to see his personality did not match that beautiful face and smile. His inside was as ugly as they come. I can also remember the day I looked at him, and he was no longer “Denzel”…he was “Flava Flav”….that’s at best. He had done nothing to me personally, but I’d seen his interactions with others. I heard his conversations. His willingness to always put other’s down, or have a good laugh at their expense. It was unappealing. That’s when I truly learned and experienced the meaning: If you’re ugly inside…you’re ugly outside.
I recently had a similar experience. My head was completely wrapped in a man that I thought was just amazing. I remember our second date, and I thought God was blessing me ridiculously for being faithful in my walk with Him. I came home, and pulled out my “man list” of everything I wanted in a mate. This guy matched most of my list, and caused me to add a few things I had not thought of. That was exciting because my list was long. God said be specific in your prayers…I was very specific. I’d been praying over this list for a couple of years, and this man was God saying to me “Here is your list…and then some!” Amen!
Well, obviously, I was wrong. We never even made it to friend. It was circumstance. Though the guy himself was gone, without provocation warning or discussion I might add, the fantasy of him was still there. Since I did not know at the time what kind of man he truly was, I was left with a busted fantasy. For a couple of months I mourned what I thought was the loss of the guy, but what was actually the loss of the fantasy.
Several months later, after I finally let that fantasy go but still held a bag full of anger, I encountered him again. He said things were different, and he was no longer carrying the “baggage” which caused our getting to know each other to come to a screeching halt. I no longer carried the fantasy of him and my heart now belongs to another, so I thought it would be good to actually get to know this man he could turn out to be my very best friend. I, personally, believe people come into your life for a reason. I have a difficult time believing, not that it’s not true or doesn’t happen, but I can’t buy some people come just to cause misery. I can’t believe MY God would allow that. Since I didn’t get a lesson or a blessing the first time, and he came back, surly I’d get “something”. God brought him for a reason…either I needed him, or he needed me. Our story wasn’t done. In retrospect, it’s amazing how little apprehension I had about letting this guy back, but my fantasy allowed me to step out on faith.
Admittedly, I threw myself into the thought of a friendship far more than I should have. I put a lot of energy into attempting to get to know this man. I’ve always been a really good judge of character, and after the fiasco the first time, I had to redeem myself. I don’t usually misjudge people this badly. The wool doesn’t get pulled over my eyes easily. I saw by the third week nothing had changed. I knew three weeks in he still had that “baggage”. I knew that even though I was only looking for friendship, he was still holding onto some type of resentment towards me. It was a pretty horrible experience, but I am no quitter. I could not let my fantasy, or my months of mourning, be in vain. Anything worth having is worth working at….right? That may be true, but at some point you have to realize what you’re working so hard at, may not be worth having. Friendship should flow smooth, it should come easily. When you have someone that is fighting you, intentionally or not, every step and insisting everything you say or do means you want them it can be a little frustrating. I finally had to admit to myself, there can be a fine line between not giving up, and being stupid. My toe was tipping that line.
After months of talking I finally saw him face to face again, and I instantly had a flash of James. He looked totally different. I knew by the conversations that he wasn’t the same guy I remembered, but seeing him was a different story. A wave of sadness filled my body, because my heart wanted to desperately believe what my mind knew months ago wasn’t true, that this man was not the fantasy I thought. Not at all saying he is a bad guy, with a horrible spirit like James, just that he wasn’t what I thought. He is broken. I am whole. Broken people bring misery, because they are miserable. I don’t think it is their intention, at least I hope not, but it just turns out that way. I don’t think it was his intention to pick unnecessary fights with me. I don’t think it was his intention to always misread what I said, and react horribly to it. I don’t think it was his intention to constantly blame me for ridiculous things. I don’t think it was his intention to be such a horrible communicator. Again, at least I hope not.
What I realize now is when you are broken you tend to think that everyone is like the person you became broken for. When you come out of a relationship of pain, fighting, and misery you expect everyone to be like that. You expect everyone to have the intention to cause you grief. You will take a simple statement, and turn it into an insult. Knowing this I thought I could “fix” him (I know, I know stay with me). I put in so much effort because I wanted to show this man, everyone doesn’t leave. I wanted to show him there are women that will show infinite patience, and that misery is really a choice. I was going to show him blessings that he didn’t know existed. Be his sunshine, after the rain. You can choose to invest time in a relationship that is really just a dead cause, or you can open your eyes to accept the blessings that God is sending you and be thankful.
In the process of trying to show him that, I realized I was doing the same thing. I was becoming so involved in trying to develop this friendship with someone who didn’t want to know me, I was becoming miserable. My friends and coworkers were becoming upset, because they saw it was happening all over again. I lost my “glow”. I have a constant smile on my face, I was losing it again. You can’t fix broken people…if they know they are broken or not…the only thing that can fix that is time, and a willingness to want it fixed. I’ve found that when someone is whole, and they get with someone that is broken, the opposite usually occurs and they become broken themselves. It is a chain reaction. The problem is a lot of people don’t even know they’re broken, and they continuously bring other people into their broken situation, and cause them misery. Then have the nerve to blame them.
I feel really sad for him now because in the process of writing this, I realize he is living with a busted “fantasy” of his own. He has his own baggage that will be a lot harder for him to get rid of. One of my favorite sayings is “The first time you do something it’s a mistake….the second time it’s a choice.” When I welcomed him back into my life that was my choice, and I deserved the misery I got from it. I own it. I wanted to repair the busted fantasy I had been holding onto for months. It didn’t turn out nearly as I had hoped, but it did turn out how I had expected. No regrets. A lot of sadness, but new hope that God is working on the man of my list, and when he comes he will be complete and he will be whole.
So, I say to any sister that is unaware, if you know a man is not “right” or you are in a bad relationship hoping it will get better…assess. Ask yourself, how will you feel if you invest another year of your life, in a miserable situation, and it doesn’t get any better? If you think you will be okay with that…stay, work on it. If you think you will be even angrier that you wasted that time…get out now. Life is too short to spend a day being unhappy. I ask that if you do decide to stay, just make sure the person you’re staying with is willing to do the work too. A relationship, on any level, will never work if both parties aren’t in it. If you can’t build a friendship a relationship will never work. Your companion has to be your best friend. Does he know what a real friend is? A friend will not cut and leave you because things aren’t going the way they want. A friend can have an argument, and work it out. A friend doesn’t twist everything you say into a personal attack on them. A friend is patient. A friend is kind. A friend knows how to forgive AND forget, because forgiving without forgetting is a grudge. It will cause problems to keep occurring. A friend will talk to you, and work things out. A friend will not leave you holding baggage. A friend will not send you a letter, divorce papers, or just disappear without warning or discussion. A friend will always be there to listen to you, and a friend knows how to apologize. Is this man your friend? If he is…you have a chance. If he isn’t get out now, God/Allah/Buddha or the universe in general has something way better for you.