Marriage isn’t quite what it used to be regardless of race

I am in faux vacation mode; I call it faux because regular readers know I stay busy like a field hand in 1887. However today aside from dealing with email for an hour, I pretty much chilled on the beach with my kids and had no intentions of writing anything tonight.

That was until I checked in on twitter and saw several of my tweeps spitting nasty fire over this post. Wowzas! Seriously you have to read it but if you aren’t inclined let me paraphrase, the long and the short is that Black folks are dysfunctional and don’t value marriage. Sure, a lot of Black babies are the result of pairings between unmarried folks but the fact is in 2012 most babies born to moms under 30 are also the pairing of folks who aren’t married.

In the US alone half of all marriages end in divorce and those that stay married are looking at some new and shall we say interesting ways to stay legally married…open marriages anyone?

Marriage is a lovely thing but in a society that sells it as fairy tale, it’s no wonder so many marriages fail, marriage is work. I have been open about the fact that my own marriage dodged some bullets this past year, hell last year this time I was pretty certain that I was headed towards divorce #2. My own parents were married until death ended that union and they logged in 30+ years, in the end it was a solid union and they loved each other but there were a lot of frankly painful and messy years wedged between the I do and the death certificate.

When it’s good, marriage can add so much to one’s lives but it’s not a cure all and when we think of marriage as a tool that can better one’s plight in life, well that is a recipe for disaster. We live in a different world, one where marriage doesn’t necessarily mean it will turn one’s economic fortunes around. When I think of Black marriage specifically I see many reasons why it doesn’t happen, for starters while if it’s a recession for white folks economically, it’s been a straight up depression for Black folks for many years. Finances are a huge factor, let’s face it, two broke folks marrying isn’t always a great idea especially in a world that many years ago decided to dole assistance out only if a man wasn’t present…

I admit I could go on with reasons but fuck it, I am tired but I will say that lack of a legal piece of paper doesn’t preclude two parents from being active and involved in their kids’ lives. I stumbled upon this piece last week and of course no one talked about it, it’s so much easier to see the negatives than the positives. Turns out many Black men are quite active in their kids’ lives even if they aren’t married to the mother of their kids. I admit this jives with my own anecdotal stories.

In the end love doesn’t need a paper and while marriage offers with it many privileges and rights, marriage done wrong causes a world of heartache. While studies like to fixate on the woes of Black folks, the lower marriage rates are really across the board, so let’s not act as if Black folks are any more dysfunctional than any other group.