In this eleven minute clip, Five Black men give their opinions on why so many successful Black Women are Not Married. It is quite intriguing and makes for a great discussion. I believe the reason why these men could be so transparent is that they were in a space that was emotionally safe to speak freely about their opinions and this is key because so many of us women complain that men do not communicate and that we want to “hear from the men” about relationships.
I do encourage all of the Keepers (male and female) to watch the video, however, I plan to speak to some of the content in this video from my personal experience as a female that is being referenced in the beginning of the video: A Successful Black Woman with Education (Two Masters Degrees) who wants to be married to a Successful Black Man.
My definition of a Successful Black Man is Going to surprise many of the Readers/Keepers of this Blog. I am putting myself out there and I hope by sharing my own personal experience and influences it is helpful, encouraging and insightful.
I grew up in a healthy two-parent household (both of my parents are African American) who were happily committed to marriage and family. My parents have been married for 53 years and have provided a beautiful example to my sister and I as to what a marriage is supposed to be like. In fact, my cousins and friends are inspired by my parent’s journey as well.
My parents came along at a time when many Black People were able to enter middle-class status as job (and college) opportunities opened up as a result of the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement, so in many respects, neither one of them really had to go to college as they had good jobs.
My dad was a visionary. He always wanted to go to college straight out of high school and although he started college right out of high school, he had to drop out because my grandparents could not afford to keep him there. He decided to put himself through school but ended up getting drafted and serving in the army, getting married and then working as he had a family to support. He never gave up on fulfilling his goal of obtaining a college degree and went to school at night and received his college degree on his 34th birthday. He also encouraged my mother to finish school for a really important and realistic reason: he always felt that she needed to have the education to be able to support herself and my sister and I in the case something suddenly happened and he was to die and leave my mother widowed. My father could not bear the thought of leaving behind a wife and daughters living in poverty due to lack of education. He wanted his wife and daughters to have the best life and options as possible.
My mother came from a broken home and barely escaped having to live in foster care as my maternal grandparents literally abandoned her and her siblings when they were children. By the time she graduated from high school, both her parents had died from living the hard knock ghetto life. My mother’s vision was to have a stable home and family with a man who shared a similar vision of family values and commitment. My mother worked and received her college degree at 34 years of age as well. Her college graduation was the same year as my elementary school graduation. My mother was also a supportive wife, my dad ended up doing very well in life with several career “firsts” in his life because he had my mother as his backbone and rock. She encouraged my sister and I to go to college (as did my dad) because she wanted us to be able to take care of ourselves, and to always be ready to be good supportive wives to a well deserving man with family values who could really appreciate women like my sister and I.
As you can imagine, my parent’s example and blessings made me picky. I look for certain traits in men and I will explain.
I have dated a wide spectrum of Black Men throughout my life and it never been about a man having the same amount or more education than me to be marriage material. Its really been about his emotional state of mind and stability as well as his commitment to family values for me. Its been about him having a moral compass and a respect for me and the things I like to do and enjoy. Its been about him being dedicated to working hard and knowing he has a woman (me) as his backbone and rock who will encourage him to aspire and fulfill his dreams.
I have dated Black Men who have awesome resumes in terms of education, jobs, and financial stability but emotionally they had ISSUES. Some were emotionally damaged by childhood trauma, some were emotionally damaged from previous toxic relationships with women. These emotionally damaged men brought trauma/drama to the relationship with me and that trauma/drama was overbearing and I had to escape from them. With other men it was a timing issue, the men just were not ready to settle down and be married yet.
I do understand things from a female perspective, and I am certainly not perfect, but I have learned a lot over time.
Contrary to what we hear, men do want commitment. I have met and become friends with many Black men who are single, who own their mistakes, are challenged with meeting a potential wife, and have shared their thoughts (similar to the men in the video) and experiences with me.
The point I want to make is that the healing begins with a heart to heart dialogue and men and women really listening to each other. This is the Keeping it 100 Mission: Allowing Men and Women to Speak Freely in an Emotionally Safe Environment to Debunk the Myths and Stereotypes that Keep Men and Women Apart.
Keepers, lets use this video as a message and calling to continue to listen to one another and continue the healing…our Black Community is in crisis in many ways, and the stability starts with building and sustaining relationships and creating families, just the way my parents and so many others have done before us.
Photo Source: Youtube Screenshot