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Sooo...Do You Want A Marriage? Or Just A Wedding?

You're a bride for a day, a wife for a lifetime. Which appeals to you more?

Marriage

This. Right. Here. Whenever I even think about tackling this kind of topic, the first thing that I think about are all of the porn addicts I've encountered. What does porn have to do with weddings or marriage? Well, contrary to popular assumption, porn isn't just sexual. Porn is about being caught up in anything to the point where you basically obsess over it. And chile, I have definitely met my fair share of wedding and I-want-a-husband-although-I-don't-have-a-clue-why marriage porn addicts.


Just as with any kind of excessive desire, if you're more interested in preparing for one day (a wedding) than your entire life (a marriage), after the festivities are over and your big white dress is put away, you could wake up one day and wonder what the heck you signed up for (I'm not exaggerating either; I know some married couples who wanted to call it quits right after their honeymoon).

How can you know if this is the path that you're on? If you are totally into having a wedding, but you haven't given actually being married much thought? Read on.

A Wedding Planner Is in the Budget. A Marriage Counselor Is Not.

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It's no secret that I'm a marriage life coach. To tell you the truth, a part of the reason why I'm still single is because of that. It's not that working with troubled couples has jaded me; what it has done is made me so much more realistic about what a marital union requires.

You know what else being a marriage life coach has done? Made me very firm in the fact that if two people want to have a leg up on a successful marriage, they need to get into some serious—meaning more than three one-hour sessions—premarital counseling. Don't just take my word for it. There are countless studies to support that couples who went to premarital counseling had a 30 percent higher success rate than those who didn't.

I can't tell you how many married couples I've dealt with who somehow found the money for a top-notch wedding planner but claimed they didn't have the resources or the time for premarital counseling. Take heed, y'all. If you're more interested in one day of your life going off without a hitch than getting the tools that you need so that your marriage won't crash and burn, your priorities are out of order. Totally so.

You’ve Read More Fairy Tales than Relationship Books

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Living for the fairy tale. There aren't too many phrases that irk me more. By definition, fairy tales are stories told to children. They are also tales that are totally misleading (look the definition up sometime).

Why should any grown woman be living for a childish lie?

A whole lot of ladies are PISSED in their marriage because they spent more time fantasizing that they were Cinderella and their husband was going to be Prince Charming. One problem with that is the story is make-believe. Another is you have absolutely no idea what happened after "…and they lived happily ever after."

You'd do your marriage a far better service if you kept your head out of fairy tales (and rom-coms) and got into some relationship books instead. Off the top of my head, His Needs, Her Needs (Willard F. Harley, Jr.), Sacred Sex: A Spiritual Celebration of Oneness in Marriage (Tim Alan Gardner), Boundaries in Marriage (Cloud/Townsend), The Ten Conversations You Must Have Before You Get Married (Dr. Guy Grenier), Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Got Married (Dr. Gary Chapman) and Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy? (Gary Thomas) are some good reality check ones.

Your Dream Wedding Plans Have NOTHING to Do with the Groom

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Even if you don't want to admit it to your friends, I'm pretty sure you've seen at least one episode of WE tv's Bridezillas before. If there's a signature liner that comes from almost every bride-to-be on theirs mouth is "It's MY day!" Unfortunately, there's an epidemic of women who feel like even though a wedding ceremony is about two people joining their lives together, the wedding décor and festivities should only get their vote. That's simply not true.

Here's the exception to what I just said—If you happen to end up with a man who says out of his own mouth that he couldn't care less about the color scheme, food and music, then do you, girl. But if when you think about your dream wedding, the only role that the groom plays is "insert man here", that's not only a flag that you're probably more into your wedding than you're marriage, but you have a high propensity for thinking he shouldn't have much of a voice following your nuptials too.

This brings me to my next point.

You Know What Makes You a Great Bride, Not What Makes You a Good Wife

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If someone were to ask me about one of the biggest mistakes that I see women make in their marriage, it's not accepting the fact that they are a bride for a day. After that, they are a wife. Ask any wife who takes her marriage seriously and she'll tell you that being a good wife (just like being a good husband) requires a lot of dedication, faith and consistency. In fact, one of my running statements is "Marriage requires so much that women deserve an entire day-long party!"

If when you think about getting married, all that really comes to mind is how beautiful you want to be on your wedding day, how everyone should be at your beck and call and nothing more…yeah, do some pondering about that. A bride and a virgin have a lot in common in the sense that it only takes a few moments for that "status" to change over into something else.

After a day of being a bride…then what?

You’re More Interested in Having a Perfect Day Than a Healthy Relationship

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I like wedding videos just as much as the next gal (one of my favorites continues to be the young man who planned his wife's entire wedding without her knowledge; watch it here). At the same time, while checking out a clip of Steve Harvey interviewing some married couples recently, there are two things that stood out to me.

One husband said, "A lot of people say, 'I do' but what they really mean is 'I'll try'." (Indeed. Just think of how many people would not get married if getting a divorce was against the law. So many say "I do" with an escape clause in mind.) Another husband said, "The truth of the matter is, everyone you're attracted to, you're not compatible with. You might be attracted to the way that they look, but that doesn't mean you can live with them." Right again. Far too many people don't give their spouse too much thought beyond who would be a great sex partner and will look awesome in their wedding photos. Not good. Not good at all.

This Entire Article Totally Offended You

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Have you ever visited a church for the first time, heard a sermon and then got offended because you felt like the pastor was totally calling you out, even though he didn't even know you? Along those same lines, if you read all of this and you're low key pissed, remember that I can't see who's on the other side of my computer screen. So, if it bothered you, maybe there's some merit to it.

At the end of the day, I'm not saying that there's anything wrong about dreaming about having a perfect wedding. All I'm saying is there's a ton of folks who had a beautiful wedding day but, because they didn't give life after their honeymoon much thought, they are now divorced.

It would be a shame to have a flawless wedding followed by a doomed marriage, so please make it a point to invest in both. I'd say about 70/30 split (in favor of your marriage) would be wise.

If you're tempted to give me push back on this, read the article all over again, please.

Featured image by Getty Images

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our weekly newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

Michael Ealy On Why You Should Live With Your Partner Before Marriage

I Do's And Dont's: A Wedding Planner Emailed Outrageous Guest Demands

Anthony & Sopha Rush Talk Celibacy, Courtship, And Marriage In Our First Year

Taraji P. Henson Won't Be Wearing White In Her Wedding

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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