My Pops used to have this corny ass saying “Don’t take advice on growing hair from a ball-headed man” now on the surface it seems rather cheesy but there is a bit of truth there. Case in point, I see both in real life and online, women who have never been married giving advice on men and marriage. Yep, I am about to go there. Look, we all are entitled to our opinions and thoughts but let’s be real, maybe getting your advice on having a man from someone with no man is a bad idea or taking advice from a man who has been married a few times and possibly stole his book idea from a woman (hello Steve Harvey) is also a bad idea.
I have been married 11 years, been with my husband 13 years, he is in fact my second marriage but I am his first. The first time I got married at 18 and it was just a bad idea, so I ended the relationship and marriage. So one could say I know a few things on marriage, my own parents were married 31 years, it was a true to death do we part situation.In the 5 years since my Mom’s death, my Dad has no desire to be with another woman, instead waiting to be reunited with my Momma when he dies. In fact he says that since her death, he no longer even has “those” thoughts and desires…
So I come from marrying stock as you can see, no missing Dad, shit at times when I was a kid I used to wish I could have a single parent home like many of my friends had, of course now I am thankful for what I had…we may not have had much money but I saw the blueprint daily on what a marriage looks like.
Oh, they had their bad times and good times, it was not all happy in the hood but they stuck it out and in some ways its those memories of how a marriage looks that keeps me grounded when I start thinking of flying the coop up here in Maine. Of course we get urges its just that as an adult I have to think about the choices I make.
Anyway I often see and hear single women particularly single Black women creating a checklist about what they want/need in a man…lets see most lists seem to include college-educated, good job (financial stability), attractive looks, no ex-wives, no baby Mamas, no Mama boys, no down-low history (that means he creeps with men at times for those not in the know), no prison record. I think that seems to sum up the list of requirements most women I know who are currently man-less seem to seek.
On the surface it seems like a good list, however as a woman who has been married a bit, that list makes me laugh, it seems so childish. I mean a man can start off with all those things but as life goes on shit happens. Shit, my own hubby is looking at a mid life career crisis, 13 years ago he met that list truth is life has gotten rocky. Thankfully the most important thing we have is friendship and love, its that love that carries us in these rough times.
I fear that many women particularly Black women have no idea of what is truly involved in marriage and we will create barriers to having relationships because we cling to some fantasy idea of what a man should or should not be or we base his worth of what he has, rather than his accomplishments as a human. Look, by all means no one needs to date or marry a hardened criminal, or share a no-good man…hell no! On the other hand I know some sistas who have their advanced degrees who only want a man with an advanced degree. I have a masters degree but truthfully if I were single and seeking a man, I would not require or need a man that matches me in education. Instead I would seek a man who is curious about the world and seeks out knowledge, there are a ton of assholes with fancy degrees who are intellectually limp. Once they got out of school, they were no longer curious or engaged with the greater world.
Also to have a relationship that lasts I think we must be flexible, I think inflexibility is the death of any relationship. You have to be willing to continue to redefine and renegotiate the relationship so that it is mutually agreeable for both parties. I think when we are with a man and wondering if he is the one, you need to envision yourself with that man should his good looks start to flee, his amazing job and thus financial stability goes south and life throws you curve balls (death, any other bad things) yet you can still find yourself happy with that man, then he might be the one.
One thing I have learned over the years is that life happens and it happens when we are making plans but those plans don’t always go the way we want them to…so look for a man that you can imagine being with when life is at its worse. Love is easy when all is well in our lives, the real test is when life sucks its at that point we know and learn what love is about.
Love is hard enough without setting up superficial requirments as to what we think we must have in a man.
8 thoughts on “For the ladies especially the single ladies”
I’m super late on this conversation, but I think there is a difference between getting dating advice (how to meet men and get to a relationship) as opposed to relationship/martial advice (long-term). There are lots of single women who understand the rules of engagement when it comes to dating even if they aren’t married. For example, as a woman over 30 I refuse to take dating advice from anyone who has not been single over the age of 30; this is a very specific dynamic, especially for black women, and if someone just met their significant other casually or in passing in their 20’s, they most likely will not understand the challenges many women have with meeting the right guy.
I’m not a fan of lists, but I think many women have them because they are hoping to meet men who have similar qualities and values as themselves. Men may not have lists, but they most certainly have a mental checklist about a woman’s appearance, and men do not settle or compromise when it comes to a woman’s looks. It just seems like single black women can’t get it right, in other people’s eyes anyway.
Shay . . . I got pulled into a debate once on the net arguing with folks who’ve never been married, not once, not ever. Their expertise came from talking to men who were in the process of getting or already divorced. Huh? There’s wisdom in experience. For real. Your dad had it absolutely right . . . great post.
Hello there Shay!
As a minister, I counsel married couples often. The thing is that these couples ASK FOR my counsel and they know that I have never been married. I honestly feel that they are just seeing someone who will offer impartial views. Perhaps they feel that a wife counseling them would have a tendency to see their problems from the view of A WIFE or a husband counseling them would have a tendency to see their marital problems from the view of A HUSBAND. Instead, they pick someone to counsel them who is neither a husband or a wife.
I truly have no idea why they want to seek counsel from a never-married person. I don’t think that I must be married in order to help a couple sort through relationship dysfunction.
With that said…I’ll jump to my other point… *smiles*
I think it is IMPORTANT for women who want to get married to have a list of criteria. I don’t think that it is unrealistic for women to set their standards very high…provided that they MEET those standards themselves.
I don’t have a mental checklist for the man that I will choose to marry but I do know what I will and will not respect and value in a life time partner and I know what I will bring to a life time partnership.
Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!
There are plenty of men who focus on the exterior and are not putting their emphasis on internal qualities. That mentality exists with men and with women.
Black women need to understand that they CAN AND SHOULD look at partnering options outside of the black race…they are entitled to choose quality men from any group they want to.
Shay: I loved this. A married friend (who is about to turn 50) of mine gave me the same advice: stop asking women who don’t or have never had a man for advice about men. It seems mean but true. I’m learning a lot about love. And you’ve been a great rock of wisdom to me. Keep doing your thing!
Sending much love in your direction, honey.
Still planning to work off that gut a little now that I can walk around without slipping and breaking my neck on icy, poorly paved sidewalks.
I have heard so many of my friends talk about what constitutes being a good man. My single friends aren’t dating at all despite their advanced degrees and high paying jobs. They wonder why a successful brother won’t date or marry them when they have the cars, the house, the corporate job. I suspect they’re single because they focus too much on exterior bullshit and don’t think about the inner qualities of a person. Thank you BGIM for always keepin’ it 100.
Rev, I would say that I have come to realize what I was feeling is just a passing bump in the road. Yeah, my love still has the gut and is bald but I love him anyway. 😉
Its one of the reasons I was inspired to revisit the issue- I think too many women myseld included have bought into the Disney version of marriage and that’s just not reality for both.
Experience is a great teacher. It seems that this post reflects a maturation or a settled understanding that you have reached since a past post some time ago on the same subject matter.
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