Check out this article we found this week, that cracks open the social economics surrounding the institution of Marriage.

Check out this article we found this week, that cracks open the social economics surrounding the institution of Marriage.

“6 Reasons Why Black People Aren’t Getting Married” 

Disclaimer: I am in fact a single, straight, educated black man who has JUST within the last few years matured enough to seriously consider marriage. Now for me its about timing and the right woman. 

There is an epidemic in The United States.  A country wide problem that threatens to destroy the very fabric of our union if we don’t get it figured out.  The problem is this; people are not getting married as often as they have in the past.  In fact, many of the people who do get married don’t stay married. The numbers say close to fifty percent of marriages end in divorce.  Selah.

My question is why? Intuitively we know marriage is a good thing.  Couples that marry have children and create families, which make strong communities, cities, states and ultimately a strong vibrant country.  Statistically speaking married people live longer, healthier, happier and wealthier lives.  Marriage is surprisingly beneficial for men.  Married men have sex more often and make up to 40% more than their single peers. Yet our generation seems to be waiting longer to get married and in many cases not at all.

The situation is substantially worse in the black community; black women are two times less likely to marry than any other ethnic group of women.  The numbers for black men are down right scary, almost twenty five percent of us will end up spending time in a jail cell. In all honesty when you look at the statistics, many of the problems within the black community can be traced to the lack of couples that marry and stay together.  But again the real issue is why.  Based on my observation and the input of friends here are six reasons.

Finances: Getting married is expensive.  In fact dating is expensive, particularly if you are a man.  The average couple spends over 26k on their wedding and that cost doesn’t include an engagement ring or honeymoon. The average cost of dinner and a movie is north of 145 dollars when you include hair cut, dinner, tip, drinks, movie tickets and popcorn…and I didn’t include taxi(for us Chicagoans and New Yorkers) or gas.  It takes cold hard cash to date and get married.  And if you look at the fact that less than 20 percent of black men advance to college and only a third of those graduate you start to see how this plays out.  The average salary for a black man with no college degree is $18,396 a year.  Its hard to pay 145 dollars for a date on that salary let alone pay 1.5 times it for a wedding.  As a side note: Ladies, men are usually happiest when we are satisfied with our career direction and financial state…dating a man with issues in those areas is usually problematic.

Too Many Choices: For the fellas that are in a practical position to date and marry choosing who to date can be tough.  There are many choices and it can be hard to figure out who is for you.  I call it the “candy store effect”. Even the most God fearing and well intentioned man can find himself entertaining too many “friends” if he isn’t careful.  This causes a completely different set of problems. 1) Men don’t really pursue women like they should…because somewhere some woman is pursuing them. 2) Men can become selfish, seeing women they date as a commodity that can be replaced when the situation requires. 3) Women become objects and trophies to be collected. The only cure for this is maturity, Jesus and a renewed mind towards relationships.  The unfortunate thing is that it takes time for that to happen. Many black men aren’t ready for marriage until there late 20’s and most in there 30’s.

Lack of Maturity: It’s a sad fact but most black boys grow up without a father in the home.  According to the US census, 75 percent of black children will spend some portion of their childhood without a father in the house.  It’s hard to mature into something you’ve never seen.  Additionally the media (music, videos, radio) in our community define a man as a testosterone driven, misogynist who’s main goal in life is the pursuit of pleasure the consumption of more alcohol, more toys and more women. Look at the most popular rappers and athletes to see my point. Many boys grow up trying to emulate that type of man; the rappers they see on television without even knowing it.  The sad part is they are often successful in doing it.  It’s just too bad that type of a man doesn’t value marriage.

Too Much Baggage: The lack of a healthy marriage in the home doesn’t just affect young men.  In fact, it may be difficult for women to identify the traits of a good future father and husband as a result.  This means that many women make poor choices in who they date and are hurt because of the experience.  Often times the damage is carried into the next relationship with similar consequences.  Unfortunately many of these women never understand that the issue is not that good men aren’t available.  The problem is actually that they don’t have the internal discernment to identify a good future mate.  That kind of intuition can only be passed from father to daughter.  Many times they prefer the immature man without even knowing it…passing over many “good” men in the process.

Fear: Personally I define fear as faith based on bad experiences or information.  Unfortunately because so many of our families had bad experiences with relationships and marriage we fear it.  We internalize the pain and frustration we saw so many loved ones go through and shy away from marriage as a result.  For men oftentimes we see it as restriction and loss of freedom.  Many women see it as pain; submitting to a man who ultimately may hurt them emotionally.  It’s a tragedy in the classic sense when you think about it.

Dating Poorly: My pastor used to tell us that dating was to collect data on a future mate.  He also would say if you weren’t ready to be married, then why date? In today’s day and age, dating is less about finding a life long mate and more about selfish pursuits in the now.  Let me explain.  Some women are going out to dinner because they are bored, hungry or just want to get out the house.  They aren’t looking to focus their attention on learning about the guy.  As a consequence they aren’t asking the right questions to identify traits of a good husband and father.  We already know what most men want and even if it isn’t sex, they want the attention from the woman and could care less about her being a good wife or mother.

Conclusion: What if we decided to change? What if we changed our focus? What if we made it popular to be married? Making it a point that Sean Carter and Beyonce aren’t just “together” but they are married and then had a child.  What if we saw Barack and Michelle as more than just the first couple, but as blue prints to design our life after? What if women were open and decided that they would learn how to identify a good man instead of screaming that they don’t exist.  What if we did a better job educating our young men instead of labeling so many “emotionally disabled” at a young age? Then they would have a fighting chance in life and be able to afford marriage.  Fellas what if we decided that central to manhood was the ability to love and cherish one woman…as a wife? What if we stopped honoring the rappers and singers who blatantly objectify women?  If we did this, things would change.  We would see marriage levels rebound within our community and our social ills decline.   The United States itself would be strengthened if we got married more often.

“What do you think?”

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