I like hearing men's perspective on things. So, while watching a video on their hot take on relationships, as I read the comments, I noticed one that said, "There are only three reasons for a man to get married: You hate sex. You hate your money. You hate peace." Ouch.
While I don't agree with that particular hot take (because I know some husbands who truly love being married), it's not like this mentality is coming totally out of the blue. I counsel many couples who are in sexless marriages. It always fascinates me that the majority of divorces are filed by women (somewhere around 80 percent) and a lot of those wives do end up receiving alimony. And when husbands tell me their number one pet peeve in their marital union, nagging always tops the list (there are Scriptures in the Bible to back that up; ones like Proverbs 21:9). So yeah, I get why some men are gun-shy about making a long-term commitment. I really do.
When I ran this guy's resolve up the flagpole of some of the men featured in this article, it was interesting what most of them said. To paraphrase everyone's point, "A lot of this is because many marriages start off on the wrong foot. Couples aren't friends. People don't really get what they are signing up for. And a lot of men feel pressured to get married, so they're not really ready when they do it."
Yeah, this point hasn't escaped me either. I actually know several men who said they got married because they were given an ultimatum and/or they proposed but then the wedding date was put on the fast track and/or they loved their significant other but marriage was all that she talked about and so they did it to satisfy (and sometimes pacify) her.
Listen, some of y'all aren't gonna like this piece. A big part of that is because oftentimes, we'd rather decide how a man thinks (or should think) or berate him if it's not what we wanna hear. Yet you'd be amazed by how much bullshishery you can avoid if you'd simply listen to them. You don't have to agree. You don't have to enjoy what you hear either. Still, if you listen to what men are saying, it can give you a different outlook than your girlfriends have which can spare you a lot of frustration and disillusionment. It can also help you to better understand why sometimes we're on one side of the fence and men are totally on another when it comes to certain matters. There's nothing wrong with that. We're designed to be different, and therefore bring about a balance, for a reason.
So, when it comes to jumping the broom and the pressure that some men feel comes with doing that, here are what 10 different men had to say about feeling pressured to get married. Try and avoid going on the defensive. Just hear 'em out, OK?
*Middle names have been used to protect the men's identity. Folks tend to be more candid this way.*
Craig. 28. In a Serious Relationship.
"Some ladies won't want to hear this, but I don't think a lot of men see it as 'pressure' so much as manipulation. Like that saying, 'The man is the head and the woman is the neck that can turn the head however she wishes?' WTF is that? If you grow up thinking that it's your role to manipulate men, then you will believe that includes marriage. If a man wants to spend the rest of his life with you, trust me, you won't need to 'twist his neck'. He will come to that conclusion all on his own. He will make it very clear without your help too."
Frederick. 46. Married for 20 Years.
"I hate ultimatums. They're futile. If you are out here telling some guy that unless he marries you, you're out, you best leave because if he falls for that power play, he's going to always resent you on some level and you're always going to wonder if he truly wanted you to begin with. What men want, they will strive for. Marriage is no exception."
"I married my wife when I was ready and she never brought marriage up once. Sure, we discussed goals and desires but that whole, 'So, how long before you propose?' stuff? I never heard it and that was really attractive to me. I was clear that she didn't want to date forever but I wasn't pressured into moving at a faster speed than we were going. I chose her. I wasn't pressured. We both have no regrets to this day."
Lavell. 35. Single.
"What's crazy is all of my boys got pressured into marriage. Not one of them has told me that they got married because they decided on their own that they wanted to be with their wife. There were ultimatums or engagement ring pictures that were laying around or pregnancies that happened and their baby's mom saying, 'I don't want to be a single parent'—something along those lines. It's like women assume that the only way a man will marry them is if they push them into it. Why is that?"
Stanton. 33. Narrowing His Options Down.
"I know that I'm considered to still be somewhat young, but I dated a lot in my 20s and it's crazy how much marriage came up even then. I definitely didn't bring the conversation up. A lot of the ladies I dated seemed to almost be programmed to get married. Like it's not something that they necessarily wanted to do but it was expected of them. Now that I'm in my 30s, I've had some time to see what I want and don't want…what I like and don't like. There is one woman, in particular, who I am strongly considering becoming exclusive with. One thing that I really like about her is she's really confident. She has told me that she wants to get married one day, but in the meantime, her life is full and good. That is the kind of woman that men are drawn to—a lady who knows what she wants and also knows she'll get it, whether it's you or not. 'She' is never lacking in men who consider her to be wife material."
Jago. 40. Twice Divorced.
"My first wife, I was totally into her. Long story short, we didn't work out because we were too young. If anything, I pressured her to marry me. My second wife, she had just come out of a long-term relationship and was on this 'I date to marry' tip, so everything was on the fast track. Clearly, I cared about her because I married her, but in her mind, she couldn't be loved without a wedding ring and so the focus was so much in having to prove things to her rather than allowing things to naturally evolve. Marriage ended up being her end goal, so once it happened, she didn't know what to do next. We separated on our fourth wedding anniversary. She's on her third marriage now. I was her first."
Benson. 39. Dating.
"If you bring marriage up on the first three dates, I'm already checking out. Women like that sound like they are more interested in saying they've got a husband than getting to know a man for himself."
"At this age, it can get super crazy because women in their mid-30s who want children are really trying to fast track it. Then, when you're like 'slow down', they try and act like you've got some kind of unresolved issues when really, they come off as needy and desperate. Let us get to know you as a person first. Damn."
Alexander. 24. Single.
"This topic is comedy to me because can you really pressure a man into doing something he doesn't want to do? If he decides to go ahead, for whatever the reason, he must've wanted to on some level, right? Maybe that's just me."
Nathan. 30. Married for Two Years.
"This is what I'd like women to consider—please stop with all of the 'God told me you are my husband' stuff. Do you know how many celebrities say that and are on their umpteenth marriage? You make God look crazy out here. Besides, if he told you, he will also tell the guy. That's how it works. Spiritual manipulation is also a form of marital pressure. It's the worst kind too."
Donovan. 33. Single.
"This topic. Why is it that when an accomplished woman in her 30s or 40s is still single, it's some form of liberation and when a guy, especially a Black man, is in the same boat, somehow we must be defective or commitment-phobes? A lot of the men in my circle aren't afraid to get married. We just don't want to get a divorce. So, if it takes longer to find 'her', it's all good. The one who is the quick turn-off, though? The woman who tries and emasculate us by making us feel like if we're not with someone then something is wrong with us. No one wants to be shamed into marriage."
Luke. 42. Engaged.
"Remember when you showed me that article you wrote about a man being marriage material is a man who wants to get married? That really is the bottom line.
"If a woman wants to get married, she needs to get involved with men who are on the same page. Don't wait until you are so emotionally invested that you feel like you've got to drag a guy down the aisle because you have put so much of yourself into it. Men who are ready for marriage are gonna act like it. They won't need to be pressured. They are already in that head and heart space."
Again, some of this may not have been your favorite thing to hear yet it is directly from the mouths of men. And if you were paying attention, pressure isn't beneficial—to them and, in the long run, for us either. Bottom line, a man who is ready for marriage embraces it. A man who isn't—while he might respond to pressure, it ultimately isn't the wisest approach. Choose wisely, y'all.
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