I basically got my start as a writer in the entertainment industry. I remember that one of the first rules I was taught is, while celebrities rarely remember the good articles that were published about them, they almost always remember the bad ones—all the way down to the person who penned it (a classic example of this is back in 2016 when Joe Budden flippantly dismissed a Complex writer while on Hot Ones and then in 2017, well, this happened—"Here's What Will Happen If You Write a Bad Article on Joe Budden..."). Keeping this in mind doesn't prevent me from being fair or honest when writing a piece, but it does (for the most part) keep me from providing commentary in a tone like I actually know celebrities personally; even when I speak with them directly.
Where am I going with this? I'm human. I'm also in media. So, just like a lot of the free world, I have my own opinion about a lot of things that make up celebrity culture. All of that stuff that went down with Omarion, Apryl Jones and Lil' Fizz last year is no exception. And yes, while Omarion did seem to display an impeccable amount of self-discipline when it came to choosing to respond rather than react to all that went down, as a marriage life coach, I also figured that there was a whole lot more to the story; things that could've caused Apryl to react rather than respond. And then came an interview that I recently checked out that featured Omarion. I'll share some of what he said. You tell me if it provided you with another piece of their complex and layered puzzle.
Ever Wonder What Omarion’s Take on Commitment Is? Here Ya Go.
While Omarion was on SWAY'S UNIVERSE discussing all things his life, I peeped something interesting that he said (at the 8:35 mark) when he was asked about how he feels about marriage.
"I'm unconventional and I don't really subscribe to the marriage business concept. It's not really beneficial for a person like me; to work hard and then split half with someone else…you can have yours, I can have mines and we can create something together. I'm definitely for that. Marriage is just, I don't know. The institution of it all, you know, going down to the court, it's the whole process. I've had to be in court before, and just to see the system not really support, you know umm, men, you know…in an equal type of sequence…down at the courthouse, it's literally two men who work there and then the rest of the staff is women."
OK, so let's pause here for a sec. Before you chalk up what he's saying to it being emotional or relational deflection, you might want to read where marriage licenses came from; it ain't a pretty picture (check out "The Ugly History of the Marriage License in America" and "Unlocking the Past: Marriage License History"). Plus, women do file for divorce most of the time. I once heard a guy (Preach from the podcast Aba & Preach) say that, "Marriage for men is, 'Aye girl, I bet you half my s—t that we're gonna stay together forever." But it wasn't what Omarion said there that, to me, was like a shot heard around the world when it comes to relationships (I'm merely providing that for context). It's this next part.
At the 11:45 mark, when someone on the show asked, "But monogamy? You rock with monogamy." (Monogamy means being married to one person; what she was referring to is exclusivity.) This is what he said.
"Well, elaborate. What do you mean by 'monogamy'?" (Sway clarified by stating, "Being committed to one woman sexually.") "Umm, I don't know. I don't know if I've been motivated or inspired to feel like I can be with one woman. I don't know if one woman has rocked my world like that…I am definitely a faithful person. I stand by my words and what I say I'm gonna do. But umm, that's a tricky question…I believe in it though, but I don't know if…"
Alright, y'all. What stood out to you about what he said there? For me, it was that no woman has rocked his world enough for him to try exclusivity or monogamy.
And hearing that caused me to literally say, "Wow" with an immediate follow-up of, "So, you can put two whole babies in someone but not be 'motivated' or 'inspired' enough to marry her?" Deep. Super deep. And if me, as a woman who has absolutely nothing to do with Omarion and Apryl's situation whatsoever, could feel a twist in my stomach while hearing that, I can only imagine what it must have been like for Apryl to actually live out that reality. Yeah…sometimes we don't know what causes someone to react; we just see them do it.
But this lil' write up isn't so much about Omarion and Apryl (because again, I don't know all of their story). It's just that, what came out of Omarion's own mouth, it actually served as a solid intro to this particular topic. I wonder how many hearts could be spared, time could be saved and delusions could be put to rest if more people didn't get into relationships assuming someone was on the same page as them (check out "The 'Pre-Commitment Interview' Every Dating Couple Should Have")—or thinking that, just because a person cared about them or even "created something beautiful with them", marriage was inevitable.
Hmph. It also caused me to wonder how many men are out here appearing to be commitment-phobes when the reality is that, like Omarion, they haven't been "inspired" or "motivated" enough by a woman to actually settle down. Could a part of that be because we are doing so much of the work in the relationship and, while they love us for it, they see no reason to make a lifelong commitment? I mean, some of y'all might be triggered or even pissed by what Omarion said, but only he knows what would make him want to say, "I do" to someone. Clearly, the mother of his children—two children—wasn't it (which is something else that he mildly addressed in the interview as well). Now bookmark that as we go a little bit deeper.
Men Know When They Are Being Pressured into Marriage. And They Hate It.
A podcast that I've referenced on this platform before is Aba & Preach. In a semi-recent episode entitled, "These women want to PRESSURE men into marriage", they featured some clips from Steve Harvey's talk show where three female relationship experts where interacting with a couple. It was a Black couple that featured a woman who really wanted to be married and a man who was basically put on blast on national television for not putting a ring on it…yet. Peep Aba's hot take on it all (at the 5:05 mark).
"Look at how they are coercing this man into making a decision that he is not ready. If you're not happy with how long it is taking him, you can leave. That is your right. You don't have to wait. The same way when I'm trying to get it on with a girl and she says, 'I'd rather wait for sex', you know what I don't do? 'Come on, give it up. Throw that poon-poon at me. Yo, I'm owed that poon-poon; I've been here. It's been two dates.' No, if she wants to wait and I don't want to wait, you know what I do? I leave…It's unbelievable, the entitlement of some people. This is a lifelong commitment."
He's got a point. There's more.
"You didn't even take the time to listen to his reasoning because he talked about not having any positive role models…maybe the reason why he doesn't want to engage in marriage and building a family is because he is being patient, 'cause he's seen what happens when men rush into things, start families and walk out."
"It kills me, because marriage is a disadvantage to men. In case of a divorce, it's men who get shafted. Child custody, it's men who get shafted. Family court, it's men who get shafted. And when you think of all of this stuff, men have to propose 100 percent of the marriages, women propose 80 percent of the divorces, we lose most of the money and yet, you still feel like you're entitled to pressure us into a situation that puts us at risk. Think about that. Slow it down."
Whether we want to accept this or not, I know a lot of men who see marriage from this perspective. It's not that they are incapable of love or even commitment; it's that 1) they don't want to be pressured into marriage (would you want to be?) and 2) they are fully aware of the risks and they haven't experienced a good enough reason to take them. Like most things in life, when a man doesn't want to get married, it's not (usually) a black and white reason; there are layers to this thing.
Yet the reason why I'm sharing all of this with y'all is two-fold. One, it's to offer up some words, not from a woman's perspective or even a female self-help author's book—but straight from the mouths of men. Omarion said that he is not really into marriage and some of his points, while I don't personally subscribe, are not frivolous; they have some validity. And Aba & Preach?
Ladies, if you feel like humiliating or emasculating a man into marrying you is the only way to get him to do it, you are in the wrong relationship. You also don't "love him" as much as you might think you do. Force (or control or manipulation), in any direction, is the epitome of anti-love. Whether it's coming from a man or a woman.
Again, I counsel people quite a bit and, when it comes to single women who desire to be married, a lot of their energy is spent in trying to convince a guy that marriage is for him rather than actually asking about his thoughts, accepting his perspective and then deciding if that works for them or not. The latter is the way to go because, if the two examples that I provided did not reveal anything else, it's that a man can feel deeply for you and still not want to marry you. So, if that is indeed what is currently happening in your life, what should you do?
Three Things to Consider If Your Man Loves You but DOES NOT Want to Marry You
1. Don’t Automatically Assume That Love Equates to Marriage
Not too long ago, I wrote a piece about how friendships have levels. You know what else does? Love. There is a difference between dating and courting. There is also a difference between loving someone and being in love. And, there is a difference between a man who enjoys a woman's company and a man who is ready to make someone his wife (check out "One Overlooked Yet Obvious Indicator That A Man Is Husband Material").
There is actually a guy I know who has been dating the same woman for about six or seven years now. He's only seeing her, he cares for her deeply and says that he is only sleeping with her. Know what else? He has absolutely no intentions of ever marrying her. Not because of "her" but because he never wants to get married. Do I think that he's a jerk or wasting her time? No. Whenever she comes up, I simply have one question—"So, she knows that you are never going to marry her…right?" According to him, the answer is "yes" so…there you have it.
Would I do what she's doing? No. But that's because 1) I desire marriage someday and 2) I have been the girl who has given my all to a man, all the while thinking that I was investing in a marital future, only to realize that I absolutely was not because that is not what he had in mind (also check out "Why You're Always The One Who Prepares A Man For His Wife").
Still, I think there is a dysfunctional conditioning that comes with believing—or is it assuming?—that if a man loves you, marriage is inevitable. Or if a man loves you and doesn't want to get married, he never loved you at all. Yeah, that "first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage" saying has a lot of us jacked in the head. Believing that romantic love can't—or even shouldn't—exist without marriage is about as dysfunctional as believing that there is something wrong if you get married and choose not to have children.
So, if your man reveals that he doesn't want to marry you, please don't automatically throw him into the "horrible guy who led you on" category or chalk what the two of you share up to being a farce. The love may be very real. It's just that you two are not on the same page about how it should manifest. Which brings me to my next point.
2. Honor Your Own Time
There are two men from my past who, I really should've ended things with them, way earlier than I did. One guy, I was "scared" to break things off because, although I wasn't in love with him, I was "scared" to start over. The other guy, he was a vacillator—one day, I was the one and he needed more time, the next day, he wasn't sure. So yeah, let me interject another point here. A guy who is ready for marriage…HE IS READY FOR MARRIAGE. There is no flip-flopping. There is no wishy-washy. There is no riding the fence. If he can't marry you immediately, it's only because he's got a viable plan and he is taking steps to get into position.
With that said, if you desire to be married and the man who loves you does not, you've got a decision to make—who do you love more? Him? Or yourself? And a part of what comes with self-love is honoring your time. Staying involved with those two guys took up a lot of my 20s and 30s—my prime baby-making years. I won't blame them for that because I chose to remain. But, if I could do things over again, I would've definitely honored my time more and better. I would've been more intentional about understanding that love isn't enough; not when you want love to manifest in a way that it's currently not.
If a man is vague, dragging his feet, doesn't know or, does know and you're just not accepting that his answer is "no", he doesn't want what you do. And to take on the mentality of "maybe he will one day" is dishonoring the precious moments that you won't get back. It really is best to release the relationship and continue preparing.
If he catches up to you someday, awesome. But if he doesn't, at least your heart will be free and open to someone who may be way ahead of him. Someone who, along with the Universe, has been waiting on you to let him…go.
3. Be a Wife…ONLY TO YOUR ACTUAL HUSBAND
Something that I tell my single male friends who claim to be unsure about marriage is, "I bet if we quit acting like we're already your wife without requiring that you marry us, you'd figure it out real quick." We're out here cooking meals, giving up the good-good, supporting men like they've already told God that they would have our back until death—then we wonder why they aren't considering marriage? For what? They've already got a wife in us without them having to do nearly as much in return. In our minds, we think that "overdoing it" is how we can "win them over" but, more times than not, that backfires. We really do need to pull back a bit—if not a ton.
The root word of relationship is "relate". Relating is about establishing a true connection. Pardon the pun but, for better or for worse, we as women have an uncanny knack for running waaaaaay ahead of men in relationships. That's a part of the reason why we're so devastated once we realize that who we love—and claims to love us—doesn't desire marriage or…doesn't desire to marry us. And that's why it's so important to practice reciprocity. Discuss with your partner what the two of you want, where the two of you are and what you're both willing to do or not do. Don't give your all—on any level—if he is not doing the same. In short, pace yourself. The only man who deserves your very best is the man who is willing to reciprocate that. And if, to you, your best is wifedom, don't be a wife to anyone who isn't your actual husband.
Do I believe a man can truly love a woman and never want to marry her? 100 percent. At the same time, do I think that a woman loves herself if she desires marriage and stays with a man who doesn't want what she does? Not as much or as well as she should. You deserve what you desire. Don't allow any kind of relationship or even a man's "level of love" to convince you of otherwise.
Otherwise, you could be out here married to someone who will never marry you. And that is no way to spend your time. All that will do is cause you to react than respond. Time's a tickin'. Choose wisely.
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:
Feature image by Shutterstock
- Men Know When They Are Being Pressured into Marriage. And ... ›
- He Loves You. He's Just Never Gonna Marry You. Now What? - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- Celebs Who Never Wanted To Get Married - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- 7 Differences Between Marriage & Dating - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- Men On How They Feel About Marriage Pressured - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
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. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Deanna Robinson, a health and wellness advocate and professional based in the Washington D.C. area has been helping Black and brown women reach their fitness goals for more than a decade. And with her brand of self-love and faith, she's redefining just what "fitness" means when it comes to women of all shapes and sizes.
There's definitely a need for women like Robinson, especially since recent research shows that between 47% and 55% of Black consumers' needs "are not being met" in the wellness space, and the U.S. fitness industry hit $32 billion last year and that it's important for Black women to see themselves prominently in the space.
As a health and wellness programming expert, licensed nutritionist, mom, wife, and former all-women's gym owner, Robinson has built up a body of experience that has culminated into doing something she loves via the FabBody Retreat, an experience for women ages 30-60 to be enriched via group activities, good food, and connection in the backdrop of tropical peace and tranquility.
This year's retreat was held in Grenada, with special guest and TV host icon Free Marie (BET's 106 & Park). Next year's event will be held in St. Maarten with plenty of opportunities to enjoy beach vibes, authentic and healthy dishes, and all the pleasures of being among other fabulous Black women seeking holistic wellness in paradise.
"My God-given purpose is to help serve, connect, and heal Black and Brown women," she said, taking her experiences serving corporate and individual clients via projects like the NFL's "Fuel Up To Play 60" initiative and the Nike Training Club live experience, to do just that.
xoNecole caught up with her to talk about why she chose the fitness industry, her success in launching and running the FabBody Factory, and how she's pivoted to use her skills to build impact on a larger scale in health and wellness.
xoNecole: What sparked your interest in a career in health and wellness?
Deanna Robinson: I have always been involved in sports, always been active in cheerleading, dance, [and] gymnastics. In my college career, I was a competitive cheerleader at the University of Maryland, College Park, and I've just always been passionate about physical activity, health, and fitness. I double-majored in kinesiology and public and community health, and it's always been a passion for me about others being well.
Out of college, I wanted to be a personal trainer, and I interviewed at a big-chain gym. I was really excited about getting this job, but when I had the interview, they informed me of what the split was—what the client paid, what I'd get as a personal trainer, and what the gym got. And I just thought it was a ridiculous split. I've always been into entrepreneurship as well, and doing things on my own terms, so I actually opened up my own gym in the community I grew up in called the FabBody Factory, an all-female gym in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
I was able to hire several trainers, offer group classes and personal training, and one of the things I was always a big proponent of is making sure that they got a better cut than they would get at larger chains.
xoN: Talk a bit more about that in terms of starting a gym, especially one that caters to women. What was the process and motivation?
DR: I have worked out in big-box gyms before and just never felt comfortable. It was always really uncomfortable working out in a huge gym where men would be gawking at you or try to get your number when you're trying to focus on yourself in that moment. So I always wanted the FabBody Factory would be a safe haven where we didn't have to worry about our titties flopping when we're doing jumping jacks, it was just for us by us, and we could just [be] comfortable making ourselves a priority.
I was almost talked out of doing something like that because people would say, "You're cutting off half of your potential clientele," but I never had an issue. Women flocked to the gym, and I'd sometimes have to split classes. I might have to do part one of a class at one time and a second another time. It was majorly successful. Ladies loved it. And on top of this being all-women, it was all Black and brown women.
Culturally, we get each other, so it was a big social thing for us, too. We were able to fellowship with each other and get fit at the same time.
xoN: Your brand includes the concept of a 'Fab Body.' What does that mean for you---and just wellness---in general, for Black and brown women?
DR: FabBody in itself is not a look at all. It's more of a mindset and a willingness to invest in your mental, spiritual, and physical self. In promoting the FabBody Retreat, I actually had someone DM me and ask me, "Do you have to have a 'Fab Body' to come on the retreat?" and my response to her was that you do have a 'Fab Body.' Everyone has a Fab Body. It's more of a state of being—a sound, healthy mind, body, and spirit. It's not about aesthetics at all but about overall improvement.
xoN: You decided to pivot from owning a gym, which you ran successfully for more than a decade, to your current role in health and wellness programming and launching the FabBody Retreat. How did this come about?
DR: My gym closed last year, and the reason was because of where I saw myself going and where I wanted to be in the next 10 years. A lot of my time at the gym was selling and getting people to register for classes, and it wasn't as lucrative and fulfilling for me as it had been in the beginning.
Now I'm doing more consulting work with larger companies. One of my passions is programming, and that is where I see my future going. I'm moving more toward passive income, coming from my being able to use the knowledge I have from years in this industry and putting together programming that can reach the masses versus individuals.
xoN: What can people expect from the FabBody Retreat next year, and how does this venture continue your love for advocating for health and wellness among Black and brown women?
DR: One of the things that really sets this event apart from so many other retreats is that I have married everything that is important to me: wellness, my faith, and my community. God is a huge part of all of the events we do, and all are interwoven with faith-filled, intentional activities, and I think that's what makes it different. On Sunday, we do a service on the beach, and we always have a guest speaker—someone you can relate to where you don't feel like you're being preached to. It's an awesome experience, unlike any retreat I've seen.
It's definitely rooted in faith, but at the same time, there's a balance. We'll get on a boat and have a cocktail with an umbrella in it, and then we'll go back to wellness. There's a healthy balance.
Find out more about Deanna Robinson via Instagram @deannarobinsonfit and more on the FabBody Retreat via the website.
Featured image courtesy