Sometimes, when I'm not able to catch a television show during its premiere, rather than watching it on On Demand, I'll put the title of it into Twitter (in hashtag form) to see what the viewers had to say (because sometimes that's far more entertaining). And bae-bay, there was a quote from a recent episode of Ready To Love that had folks wanting to pass the offering plate around…a couple of times. Drum roll, please:
"An unsure man is a dangerous man."
Let's let that sink in for a moment, shall we? When a man isn't sure — pretty much about anything, but especially when it comes to matters of the heart — he becomes dangerous. Another way to look at this is when a man is uncertain or lacks confidence in how he feels about you or the relationship that he's in with you, he's prone to risky, unstable, inconsistent, hazardous and even harmful behavior. It's not necessarily that he doesn't love you. It's that he's uncertain about what to do with how he feels. And yes, that — is — dangerous!
Now put a pin in that while I go a bit deeper…
Recently, I had a conversation with a male friend of mine who happens to be a relationship coach. Because he got married fairly late in life (when he turns 50 next year, he'll have been married for five years) and I'm a never-been-married-before marriage life coach who's currently in my mid-40s, we always have riveting conversations on why it seems like so many good women get caught up in men who are not interested in long-term relationships, let alone marriage.
During one of our latest chats, after he asked me why it seems like when we as women know what we want and a man refuses to give it to us, that we won't accept that it boils down to a man not wanting us. I shared the conclusion that I've come to — partly due to observation and partly due to my own experience:
I don't think it's that we can't tell if a man isn't interested. I think it's that we get emotionally invested before doing two things first. One, getting clear about what we want before a man even comes along and two, refusing to get involved with someone unless they want the same things that we do.
That brings me to the title of this article. How can we really determine whether a man is marriage material?
Before trying to figure out if a man complements your lifestyle, shares the same values as you do, or is the one who you want to share the rest of your life with, find out if he wants to be married (or not) FIRST.
I know it sounds simple, elementary even, but you'd be A-MA-ZED by the number of couples I've worked with who have so much contention around this one point. Again, it's not that the man doesn't love his significant other; it's that marriage is pretty much the last thing on his mind.
It's not a goal. It's not a priority. It's not even really much of a desire.
However, because this wasn't something that was discussed off the rip (meaning within the first three dates), the woman figured that because there was a mutual attraction, because they enjoy spending time together, because in many ways he was being really good to her, surely they were building a future together. Meanwhile, all he was really thinking about is how cool things are going in the present. No more, no less. And, since the topic of marriage wasn't put on the table from the beginning, it wasn't a part of his agenda now.
I know I'm gonna get some push back on this, but when a relationship plays out this way, that doesn't make "him" the bad guy. It's a heck of a reality check but just because some of us assume that a long-term relationship should ultimately end in marriage doesn't make it a hardcore fact for the people we're dating.
And that's why I say that the most obvious overlooked indication that a man is truly marriage material is probably that he actually wants to get married. By that I mean he wants to do it without any coaxing (which is usually nagging), coercing, or convincing on the part of his significant other.
What are some telling signs that a man wants to get married?
Is he dating with a purpose (with that purpose being to find a life partner)? Does he say that marriage is a part of his life plan? Is it evident that he's preparing for a wife and family? And — please get this — does he state that he wants to get married sooner than later? (Meaning within a couple of years rather than him saying something along the lines of "I mean…maybe…someday.")
If you can confidently say "yes" to these questions because you've actually asked him and you heard "yes" come out of his own mouth, then yes, he is marriage material.
I already know. If you're in a new relationship, there may be a part of you that feels like this is an uncomfortable topic of conversation to have with a guy. To that, it's my turn to push back.
When you're on a date, are you uncomfortable asking him about his life goals in general? Are you uncomfortable inquiring about where he sees his life in the next year? If you're not, asking him if marriage fits into his life agenda shouldn't bother you either because — catch it — the only kind of man who is irritated by marriage questions is a man who doesn't want to get married.
Think about it. What if you were on a first date with an attractive man and he said, "So, how do you feel about exclusivity in a relationship?" The only way that question would make you go on the defensive is if commitment is something you're not interested in (or you're cheating on your current partner but that's another conversation for another time). Otherwise, you're totally open to sharing your perspective…right?
And that's my point. When a man is ready — equipped, willing, and prepared — for marriage, he's gonna make moves towards making that happen. Like a man does with anything else he wants in his life. But hey, don't take my word for it. Sometimes, in order to really "get" something, we need to see it live and in living color.
That said, when you've got roughly 45 minutes to spare, check out this newly-married couple's story. Long story short, up until their wedding day, she was a virgin and her now-husband waited for her. He was actually so into her that they got married ahead of their wedding day (so that they could live together with a free conscience) and he still was willing to wait to have sex until their "official" wedding date, just so he could keep his word to her that he would wait until then.
MARRIAGE. MATERIAL. Because he wanted to get married and he wanted to marry her — yes, in that order.
Life's too short and you're too precious to be playing the adult version of Blue's Clues with your heart. If you want to get married and you're digging a guy, honor your time, effort, and energy enough to see if he wants to get married too.
If he does, awesome!
If he doesn't, keep it movin'.
If he's unsure, read this article all over again until it really sinks in.
Your future husband — the man who knows that he wants to marry you — will thank you for it. Trust me.
Featured image by Getty Images
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
If you haven’t scrolled upon Olivia McDowell's TikTok famous dinner parties, you may need to reconfigure your "For You Page."
What began as a passion for hosting aesthetically themed meals for her closest friends has quickly become a viral sensation. With an astonishing 12 million viewers, women describe Olivia’s picturesque dinner parties as the “dream girls' night,” complete with classy cocktails, beautiful table settings, elegant outfits, and, most importantly, food plated to perfection.
Seemingly reigniting the feminine urge to host fancy dinner parties, Olivia has perfected the finer details. Overlooking the skyline in her beautiful NYC apartment, she never fails to make her signature handmade pasta dishes while simultaneously looking effortlessly chic in the wardrobe of dreams while doing so.
Replying to @nara0630 what should the theme of my next dinner party be? #minivlog #nycliving #dinnerpartyideas #caviarinnewyork
What I love most about hosting intimate dinners for close friends are the connections and relationships that form over food. They don't require a caviar budget with a high-rise apartment, it just takes determination and a little creativity. Watching Olivia’s journey inspires viewers to be a part of a community of positive and uplifting women who share common interests and tastes in food, fashion, and decor. Simply stated, she’s raising the bar of friendship goals.
If you’re aspiring to host a holiday-themed dinner party this season, check out the four tips that will guide you along the way.
Choose Your Theme
Replying to @emz.life.tsv what was your fav part? 🤍 hope this gives you some inspiration to host a fancy friendsgiving too! #hostingtip #dinnerparty #pastamaking
Set the ambiance with a thoughtful theme, which will indeed be your guiding light for less stress during the planning process. Establishing a theme sets the tone for everything else to fall in place, such as menus, table design, and presentation. For example, a holiday-inspired dinner party is a perfect occasion for elegant all-white decor paired with draped table cloths, pillar candles lit atop luxe holders, floating floral arrangements, and, for a personal touch, handwritten place settings.
Utilizing free resources such as Canva for menu templates and creating a “Dinner Party” moodboard via Pinterest is perfect for gathering dinner inspiration for themes, decor, and recipes for the special occasion.
Simplify the Menu
How to host your own pasta making dinner party — part 1: pasta making from scratch 🤍 Hosting dinner parties has become my favorite thing to do this year. More goes into it than you expect, the prep, planning, guestlist, tablescape, etc. but it’s always worth it in the end. What do you guys want to see next? #hostingtips #dinnerparty #pastamaking
Don’t overcomplicate the menu. A simple dinner party formula to use as your guide to making sure your guests leave full of food and joy is appetizers, salads, entrees, sides, desserts, and beverages. As a starter, assemble an aesthetic spread that your guest can nibble on while awaiting the main course with starters such as bread, cheese, jam, nuts, and fruit. A simple salad will do, complete with a light dressing right before your entree. For a main dish, pasta recipes always go a long way and also allows your guests to interact with one another, which leads to McDowell's third dinner party hosting tip.
Include an Interactive Element
Replying to @itstai.tv 🖤 #girlhood
To break the ice and encourage guests to get to know one another, introduce interactive elements to the evening. Moments of interaction allow everyone to connect, like capturing content for social media or memorializing the essence of the night through fun Polaroids. Olivia also encourages her guests to participate in the pasta-making dinner process as a group, or if hosting a brunch, her friends indulge in building their own coffee bar as an opportunity for forming connections and conversation starters. Group board or card games are also great for laughs and healthy competition to help get the vibes flowing.
Don’t Forget the Dress code
Replying to @samantha_mendiz when all of your friends are the main character 🖤🥂 #dinnerparty #nycfashion
Tis’ the season for glamour and sparkles, so why not go all out with a super chic dress code? You can’t have a picture-perfect holiday dinner party without the coordinating attire to match. When planning, make sure to make the required attire specific yet broad enough for a range of personalities and preferences to comfortably partake while looking stunning doing so.
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Featured image by Justin Lambert/Getty Images