I like Nick Cannon. Sure, I don't agree with everything he has to say—P.S., we've got to stop acting like we're supposed to in order to appreciate what someone brings to the table and the culture—but ever since I saw his video "Can I Live?" many years ago, there's been a part of me that has respected his candor. Yesterday was no different. As he and T.I. (or is it Tip? I can't recall what Mr. Harris prefers these days) chopped it up on T.I.'s new podcast ExpediTIously, the segment where he discussed why he'll never get married again, it particularly caught my attention (of course, it did. I'm a woman, a relationships writer and a marriage life coach).
Nick Cannon On Why He's Never Getting Married Again | ExpediTIously Podcastwww.youtube.com
And because he said, right around the 6:13 mark, "I wish we had some women up in here because there's nothin' but testosterone goin' back and forth", when it comes to a few of his points, I simply wanted to share some of my own thoughts (after reading this, in the comment section, I invite y'all to do the same). Not because there is necessarily a right or wrong to all of this. But because, I believe, with everything in me, that one of the biggest problems in romantic relationships is, we don't listen to what the opposite sex is saying. We dismiss it. We judge it. We berate and denounce it. But we tend to not truly listen. And when it comes to what Nick said—along with some of my male friends who offered insight and clarity—I think a lot of emotional disappointment and relational drama could be spared if we actually did. Share our side? Sure. But give the floor to the flip of it? Also, yes.
Nick on What He Had to “Unlearn” in Life:
"My behavior when it comes to women. It's a whole new paradigm shift. Because I come from the culture of wantin' to be pimpin' and wantin' to be, you know, glorifying the aspect of disrespecting women. I'm still unlearning it, I'm gonna be honest, because my music is still using 'bitch', still using 'ho', but you know, at the same time, we're comin' into this world like, we're embracing our queens; we're gettin' back to that idea of uplifting a woman and understanding that the Black woman is god. But it's a hard thing to unlearn when it's been perpetuated from our music to our movies to sexism, in general, treatin' women like second-class citizens."
Kudos to Nick on this one. My senior year in high school/freshman year in college (1992) is when there was an episode of A Different World entitled "Someday Say Ho!" It was about Charmaine being called a "digit ho" by her math classmate, Terrell. He had to go before the school board because of it. You know, it's kind of amazin' that it really wasn't all that long ago when hearing a woman being called a "ho"—by a man or a woman, even if that woman is her friend—was considered to be highly-offensive. But I digress. Anyway, this part of what Nick said is important because it should be a reminder to us all that, whether it's "popular" or not, being seen as royalty is something that we as women should require regardless. When it comes to valuing Black women, giving the honor that is due is not a trend. Full stop.
Nick on If He’ll Ever Marry Again:
"I don't think I'll ever be able to be with just one woman again; that's gonna be tough for me. I did it in a marriage; I was very faithful in my marriage…the whole time I was married…but once I stepped away, I was like, 'That construct is not designed for me.'"
Something that I was telling a male friend of mine last night is I wonder if we as women are willing to even entertain that we might be a part of the reason why so many men seem to feel this way. Wasn't it in the intro of the movie Think Like a Man where Kevin Hart narrated that a part of the reason why men "prized" marriage was because they knew they weren't going to get sex any other way? And these days, a lot of us are giving way more than our treasure box. We cook for men, clean for men, help men with their bills—we act like we're their wife without even remotely requiring that they act like they're our husband. So honestly, I get why and how Nick could come to this conclusion. I used to be the kind of woman who would help a man get to this exact place (see "Why You're Always The One Who Prepares A Man For His Wife").
Still, I think there's a bigger point here. Nick said that he does not want to get married. He stated that it's not the proper construct for him. Right after saying that, he went on to share that he doesn't believe in marriage. So, why did he marry Mariah Carey? I believe his exact quote was, "I don't believe in marriage, but s—t, it's Mariah Carey. Whatever she says, I'm with it." He also said that he knows he'll never be in a relationship again ("never" is a really strong word and a really long time, Nick). This is what came out of his own mouth. Nick actually said some form of this, several times, during this 13:32 minute portion of the podcast.
If Google is right, Nick will be 39 on October 8 (Happy Birthday in advance, sir). Although he has accomplished a lot, he is still relatively young. There is still plenty of time for him to evolve into other views and perspectives; like all of us, he still has the right to change his mind. But for now, he said marriage is the furthest thing from what he wants. He doesn't desire a wife. It doesn't matter how wonderful the woman may be. It doesn't matter how much he digs her company. It doesn't matter how good the sex may be either. He's not interested. He clearly said it.
Y'all, when a man tells us where he's at, it's not our job to try and convince him otherwise or to attempt to detect or decipher what he "really" means.
The reason why I wrote "One Overlooked Yet Obvious Indicator That A Man Is Husband Material" on this platform last December is because I used to be notorious for not taking men at their word; for thinking that since we had some sort of connection, they wanted the same kind that I did—if not immediately, eventually. I had to accept that taking that type of approach was not only semi-delusional but disrespectful to those men as well. Disrespectful? Yep. How would you feel if you told a guy something and he didn't take you seriously? See what I mean? It's OK to want what you want. It's also OK for a man not to want what you want. The key is to know when to let him go so that you can get to what you want. So that you both can be happy.
Nick on Why He Doesn’t Want to Get Married Again:
"I don't wanna be responsible for nobody else's happiness. Like, I'm still tryin' to figure out my s—t. I'm still tryin' to get my shit together…and, the fact that I have a condition that, stress, [it] puts me in the hospital on some lupus-type shit. And, to me, all relationships equal stress. I ain't never been in a relationship that wasn't stressful. Whether I was puttin' the stress on myself, or she was puttin' the stress on me…ever since I've been out of relationships, I haven't been back in the hospital… I love women, I love various women, and they understand how I move."
A wise person once said, "We all need to learn the difference between who we are responsible for vs. who we are responsible to." Although the responsibilities that a man has with a wife vs. a girlfriend are different, a woman with a healthy sense of self-worth knows that no man is "responsible for" her happiness; that is something she is to figure out on her own. But if what Nick is saying is he doesn't want a lot of relational responsibilities, period…then yeah, he should remain single. And again, kudos for him saying that he needs the time and space to get his own life together. No one should be out here "saving" folks. Let your Creator do that.
That said, the reality check for me was when Nick said that since he has not been with a woman, he has not been in the hospital either. Yikes. This one really hit home because I'm in sessions all of the time where I'm either looking at the husband or wife like, "Geeze, if you're like this here, I can only imagine what you're like at home." It definitely reminds me of what my final boyfriend once said, "A woman should be a man's sanctuary." It also reminds me of one of my favorite check-yo'self-before-you-wreck-yo' self Scriptures: "A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands." (Proverbs 14:1—NLT) Oh, this one too—"It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop [on the flat oriental roof, exposed to all kinds of weather] than in a house shared with a nagging, quarrelsome, and fault-finding woman." (Proverbs 21:9—AMPC)
Love and stress are not synonyms. All of us could stand to remember that on a daily basis.
That's what I have to say to us. What I will say to Nick and men in general, is I hear you. Just make sure that when you say "stress", you're not really meaning "responsibility". You know, I thought it was interesting that Nick did say that he wanted more children, just not a committed relationship. I don't know any relationship more "stressful" than the one parents have with their children and Nick, you're all for signing up for more of that. So sir, while I definitely think that every woman reading this should strive to be a "sanctuary space", at the same time, with TIME articles like "A Good Marriage May Help You Live Longer. Here's Why" and Vice's "Marriage Makes People Happier, New Study Finds", I'd encourage you to reflect on if it's relationships that are stress-filled or if it's the women who you're choosing to be in those relationships with. Or…could it be you, as you also mentioned? Just sayin'.
Nick’s Feelings on Love:
"I'm still a hopeless romantic. Just because I don't believe in relationships, doesn't mean I don't believe in love…I have certain situations where I'm like, 'Yo. I want this person to be in my life forever, but I don't wanna sign no paperwork with 'em''…why we gotta bring in government into this? I don't f—k with them already."
Ah, the government. If you don't know the history behind where marriage licenses in the United States came from, it's not a pretty story. It was basically a way to "police" interracial relationships. Still, whenever someone (usually a guy) tells me that they don't see the point in getting married because "it's just a piece of paper", I'm always like, "Then hand me the deed to your house or title to your car." Yeah, don't come at me with that. A marriage is a contract, no doubt. Benefits come with it too.
A woman who desires marriage is worthy of one. Again, full stop.
Aside from that, I will say that, although Nick seems to live, eat and breathe commitment-phobia, that doesn't mean that what he said here was contradictory or ridiculous. I know some men who feel the same way—that just because they don't desire a long-term commitment, that doesn't mean that they don't know how to love, or that they don't love. I think the reason why this is hard for a lot of women to accept is because, when they see all of the blaring red flags that a serious relationship isn't in the cards, it's usually after they've given their all. As a result, they feel gypped and resentful. I've got a couple of non-committers who love me. We get along just fine…now. Why? It's simple really. Since they don't want what I do, we're just friends. When you accept that out the gate, it's easy to care for—and be cared for by—someone who isn't on the same page as you but still has something of value to bring into your life (if indeed you feel that is the case).
Here’s a Doozy—Nick’s Feelings on the Purpose of Marriage:
"I believe that relationships, in mainly marriage, is designed to please women. Just because, they get the dress, they get the ring, and all of that stuff. All of their life, they're talking about oh, getting the husband…Like even at my wedding, I was a part of the wedding. Tell me where to stand, where to go, I'll be there. I'll repeat what this nigga say and…"
T.I. (in agreement on wedding planning, in general): "I've never seen anything that was so much of a racket."
A wise man once said, "God and a good wife are two of the best things that a man can have." That said, something that I tell brides-to-be all of the time is, "So, you're a bride for a day. You're a wife after that." Meaning, if you're a wife who's reading this, don't you find it interesting that Nick said that marriage is designed to please women, but then he immediately went into weddings to illustrate his point?" Personally, I will say that there aren't too many things that irritate me more than a woman who exclaims the Bridezilla statement, "It's MY day!" while she's in the wedding planning process. If you're taking your marriage seriously, your wedding day is an official declaration and celebration of your union; not of you to yourself but you to your husband. So, no…it's not just your day. It's y'all's day. Maybe if more of us saw it like that, less men would think about wedding like Nick does.
But Nick—and I think this is a great place to end this piece—I've heard you speak of God and the Bible often throughout your career. Again, even when it comes to religion and spirituality, humans tend to evolve. But I will say that when a woman was first introduced in Scripture, the word that was used is "helper" (Genesis 2:18).
God knew that men needed our help. And while being married to the right husband (which is another message for another time) means that we are loved, cherished and valued in a way that is truly incomparable, don't ever get it twisted—when a man is married to a good—and his right—wife, it pleases him. The help—"to give or provide what is necessary to accomplish a task or satisfy a need; contribute strength or means to; render assistance to; cooperate effectively with; aid; assist—that he receives, daily, most certainly pleases—brings pleasure and satisfaction—to him. I can send you at least 10 email addresses, off the top of my head, of husbands who will certainly vouch for that.
Again, although I didn't agree with all that Nick had to say, it did offer up some food for thought. It reminded me that in order to have my views respected, I need to respect the views of others; that men and women are not the same and it's OK because God made it that way, and again, when a man says something, whether I like, agree with it or not, I need to take it at face value. It spares a lot of unnecessary-ness. It helps to keep things clear and peaceful too.
Thanks for showing up in my YouTube feed yesterday, T.I. and Nick. This was the kind of talk—that needs to happen more often on both sides of the gender fence—for sure.
You can check out the entire part of the podcast here.
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