Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Do Black People Still Get Married?

In a much read and discussed article, Joy Jones posed the premise (in the Washington Post) 'Marriage Is For White People'. This article goes on to highlight the declining rate of black marriages and black families that are headed by two-parents. Ms. Jones goes on to accurately point out how black women's choices are changing in the marriage landscape. That marriage is a goal when black women are in their early 20's and 30's, but as they financially prosper and build networks to support their single lifetsyles, they more readily begin to accept the idea of being a single parent. Here is a quote from her article:

Most single black women over the age of 30 whom I know would not mind getting married, but acknowledge that the kind of man and the quality of marriage they would like to have may not be likely, and they are not desperate enough to simply accept any situation just to have a man.

I completely agree with Ms. Joy's article. I realized that my mindset had changed in the last couple of years (I'm in my early 30's) from the idea of having a husband and children to one day having children. I found myself looking at adoption statistics, contemplating sperm banks and re-thinking my plans as a single person to include parenthood.

As a black woman and as a Christian, I have to say I think we have gotten way, way off base. Sure, it's hard to date and find a 'good man' these days, but they still exist. And though we are perfectly capable of raising a child ourselves, why should we if we don't have to? And I'm not talking about those who want to be married, but are not due to circumstances that have prevented it. I'm squarely focusing on those among us who have decided that men are not essential in the equation of our lives. Yes, I believe we can live 'happily ever after' by ourselves, but what does that mean for our society, our children, our neighborhoods and our legacy? Aren't the ideal circumstances upon which to raise children and build a nation founded on the idea of a two-parent family? Why would God espouse the sanctity of marriage if that state didn't represent His highest idea of a perfect union?

What do you think?

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ms mimi the mocha soulchild said...

Hi Sonya:

You know, I still believe that marriage is possible, and is scriptual. I dont believe that Black women are destined to be alone, and for those who marriage is something to be desired, that God will provide them with a mate.

But it is a huge decision, that must be taken seriously.

I've learned, if God ain't in it, you don't want it. Also learned God can bring a man to you, but if it isn't the right time it won't work.

I think that each of us has to spend some quiet time in preparation for that moment and that mate, like Esther.

I also think people get married for the wrong reasons. They get married to fill complete, because of social pressures, and for security, or fantasy. Marriage is a lot of hard work. The reason God puts us in relationship with others is to either support each other, or develop our own walk. In that case, it is no surprise that marriage is full of challenges. That is what it is supposed to be-- a challenge to develop your faith.

Many of us are not strong enough or spiritually prepared for that when we enter into it.

The Bible also admonishes us to consider that marriage is not a bad thing, but it diverts our focus from God. Consider 1 Corinthians 7:
Marriage Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry.[a] 2But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. 3The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. 5Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6I say this as a concession, not as a command. 7I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.

I say that we should first pray for God's will to be done in our life, and If willing, he will send people to us right on time.

confederateson said...

Are you sure about verse 1? In the King James and NASB, it says "Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is (A)good for a man not to TOUCH a woman."
In verse 7, Paul makes the point that not everyone has the gift of celibacy. God uses marriage as a way to expand His Kingdom. Christians marry and raise Godly offspring, on and on. Marriage is also a witness. If the husband loves and cherishes his wife, this witnesses as to how Christ loves His church. It glorifies Him.

ms mimi the mocha soulchild said...

Thanks Confederateson:

I was looking at a different version, but you're right: in the text Paul doesn't discourage marraige, attributing celibacy to a gift not everyone has. But he doesn't encourage marriage, which I felt was interesting.

I'm not against being married by any means, but I do think that we sort of understate the level of committment that it requires.

confederateson said...

ms mimi said:

I'm not against being married by any means, but I do think that we sort of understate the level of committment that it requires.


Jesmoi said...

I just wanted to tell you that I love your blog! I had to put a link to it on my page. Let's just say it's something I def was looking for right now.

Anonymous said...

Ms Mimi -

Thank you for your wonderful comments. It makes me feel like I'm not alone in seeing marriage as a potential challenge - but a good one. And you're absolutely right - if God ain't in it, we shouldn't want it!

Confederateson -

Thank you for being the fact checker! I love the idea of being married and having children as another way of spreading God's kingdom! I absolutely never thought of it that way. You've given me something new to chew over in my prayer/quiet time.

J. Lynn -

Thank you for your positive comments! I checked out your blog and I'm liking what I see. You seem to have your head on straight and I love your analytical approach towards life. I will be coming by regularly to visit and see what you're up to! Talk you soon.