Black women have a harder time getting married than anyone else. Chile. How many times have we all heard that?
Listen, it's not like I don't see the click bait. There are studies from highly respected sources that say divorce rates are higher for Black women than white ones and we "also have relatively high rates of marital instability." To that I say, "define instability" because stats reveal that whites and Blacks divorce at about the same rate (it's Hispanics and Asians who remain married the most; Native Americans who get divorced the most).
All of this is solid data. It's also only one side of the coin. In "The Top 4 Myths About Black Marriage," it was cited that the ever-so-popular statistic, "42 percent of Black women never marry" actually includes women who are as young as 18 years of age (people who are barely adults). If you remove the teenagers from this, the percentages drop significantly.
How often do you hear this kind of information shared about Black women and marriage?
Research also revealed that according to 2005-2009 census data, a whopping 75 percent of Black women actually DO get married before they turn 35. Also, Black women in small towns have higher marriage rates than white women who live in urban cities like New York and Los Angeles. This article also states that 70 percent of college-educated Black women are married by the age of 40.
Is it just me or is the takeaway from this info that it's not that Black women aren't getting married; it's that they are getting married later in life — once we are more established, settled, and know exactly what we want — and don't want, in a relationship or otherwise.
Personally, I think this all proves that if we're not getting married as often or quickly as the media thinks that we should (and who cares what they think?!), it's because we're more pro-healthy relationships than undesirable when it comes to saying, "I do."
On behalf of us all, I believe this is why we're OK with not rushing (or even having to) jump a broom.
We Respect Marriage.
I don't know why this isn't brought up more, but there is an overwhelming amount of Black women who find marriage to be so serious and sacred that they don't want to do it until they can truly honor it. That requires being holistically healthy, finding the right complement in a partner, and making sure we — and our partner — are emotionally and spiritually mature enough to mean "til death parts us."
For the Christians reading this, it's kind of like in Matthew 19, when Christ broke down the expectations of marriage and the disciples said (paraphrased and modernized), "Man. If marriage takes all that, I'm good. I'll stay single."
Exactly. Some of us aren't married because until we're sure we can take on the awesome weight and responsibility of that kind of union, we'd rather leave it alone. We should be respected for thinking that highly of marriage.
We Love Singleness.
What is the problem with singleness? Goodness. If you've read more than a couple of my articles on here, you know that I'm all for cracking open a dictionary on the regular. That said, yes, singleness does mean "not in a romantic relationship" and "in an unmarried state". You know what else it means? Unique, sincere, and undivided. Some of its synonyms include particular, special, exclusive, exceptional, rare, peerless, uncommon and unrivaled. I don't know about you, but those sound like words that need to go on somebody's T-shirt line to me!
Did I think I would be 45-in-June and still single? Absolutely not. Especially not 20 years ago. But you know what? The more time I spend counseling couples, working on and celebrating myself and enjoying my seasons as they come, and the more I watch folks try and heal from broken marriages, chile…I'm good. Better than that.
I like being exclusive, rare, and undivided. I like knowing that I love men but I'm not needy for them. I like knowing that marriage should be seen as a blessing but not some mandated life goal. And, I really like resting in the fact that if I ever do get married, it will be because it will add to my life — not fill some void.
We Refuse to Settle.
Another informative read is "High-Achieving Black Women and Marriage: Not Choosing or Not Chosen?" It was the subtitle that really caught my attention — "Black SWANS (Strong Women Achievers, No Spouse)".
Some things that the author cited is, "There are 157 Black women for every 100 Black men while there are approximately 450 white men for every 100 white women in [the $100,000 annual income] bracket!" and "If we just count people with master's and doctoral degrees, there are 209 black women for every hundred men versus 133 white women, 101 Asian women and 173 Latinas for every hundred of those men".
Hmm. If a Black woman invested time in order to create a life where she earned multiple degrees and a six-figure salary and then decided that she wanted a partner who did the same, what's wrong with that? I'll answer for you — absolutely nothing.
As for me — a woman who doesn't fall into either category — what am I waiting on? First, I'm not waiting. I'm living my life. Second, something that I know how to do is love. I LOVE BIG too. Whenever someone asks me why I'm still single, I simply say, "Until a man can love me the way I know I love, I'm cool." When you love yourself big, you're not only able to say things like that, you're able to mean it.
Why love yourself in a healthy way and then settle for someone who won't do the same? Yeah, what the media also doesn't speak on enough is most of us are single by choice versus circumstance.
And our choice is to not settle. Point, blank, and period.
We’re in No Rush.
The women I know who desire children (and want to be married when they have them), once they hit their mid-30s, my heart does go out to them (although women are having healthy children well into their 40s and even 50s these days). I'd venture to say that most people who are already parents would still warn against getting married just so you can have kids. That's too much pressure to put on yourself or your unborn children.
But overall, most of the single Black women I know who do want to get married someday are in no rush. They're too focused on getting degrees, starting businesses, traveling the world — doing what my mother advises to single people: "Do everything you can't compromise before getting married because marriage is all about compromise."
When your life is full of goals, plans, and adventures, you're too excited about what's already on your to-do list to be worrying about whether or not a husband is in your future. I mean, you're literally so busy that the thought doesn't have room to cross your mind as nearly as much as your mom or aunt wants it to.
So, can everyone finally stop trying to freak us Black women out about marriage?
Marriage is dope. So is singleness. When we're ready to jump a broom, you can rest assure that it will be because it will make the life we already have that much bigger — and that's some really big shoes to fill!
Until then, don't let the click bait fool you.
Trust us when we say we're doing just fine. Because we are.
All the definitions of single confirm and affirm it.
Featured image by Getty Images.
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I Didn't Become A Wife Until A Year After I Said "I Do" – Read More