A wedding is a day that most women dream about as little girls. Many have imagined exactly how the day will look, having picked out the venue, the man, and of course the dress. It marks a time filled with love, joy, and hope for the future that the two of you will spend the rest of your lives together. But before a wedding, it would be wise to take a moment to get clear on your reasons for saying "I do," thinking not so much about the wedding but instead, your reasons for wanting to be married.
The wedding day itself can be filled with both anxiety and excitement but this one day should not be the determining factor in your decision to make a lifelong commitment. With divorce rates as high as fifty percent in America, according to the APA, a marital union is one that should be weighed with careful consideration. A wedding ceremony is literally one day that will change the course of your life so it's important to be clear on your reasons before taking the leap to husband and wife.
Here's my top ten list of reasons NOT to take a trip down the aisle.
1.You’re lonely or feel alone.Lonely Season 4 GIF by FriendsGiphy
This is probably the dumbest--I mean, the most common reason single people desire marriage. Most women, particularly those of a certain age, have bought into the narrative of dying miserably and alone. This fear is so great, sometimes, that if a man comes along, even if he lacks qualities that we want in a life partner, we may feel a knee-jerk reaction to cling onto them, if they'll have us. The sinking fear of losing our last chance at love is so intense that it can cause us to settle for anyone that comes along just so we don't end up being alone.
2.You feel pressure from your family, friends, or society.
Let's be honest. Women over 30 are all too aware of the ticking time bomb that is our biological clock. And if the prospect of our eggs drying up isn't enough to scare us into finding a mate, then the fear of becoming an old maid is. And you know what's worse? It be your own family! Single folks have it hard enough on the dating scene trying to explain our singlehood to other singles, let alone those closest to us. I bet I can speak for a lot of singles when I say we all had at least one reason to thank COVID in 2020: for helping us evade the inevitable inquiries about your dating life at the annual family functions.
Instead of feeling the pressure from our relationship status, it may serve us better to get clear about what it is we actually want. I, for one, have had to get clear and really ask myself, "Do I really want a relationship? Or do I feel this way because it's what's expected of me?"
3.Because you have chemistry and amazing sex.
Unfortunately, it's a common mistake that many people make, confusing sexual attraction for compatibility. Child, I would be lying if I said I've never been in a relationship where the sex was so good that I considered proposing mid-act, myself. But sexual compatibility does not a marriage make. Couples who have been together for long periods of time will tell you about the challenges of a marriage that come after years of being together and that the physical nature of intimacy grows with an emotional connection rather than a physical one. I'm not saying that sex isn't important in a marriage because it is, but sex is not a foundation for a relationship.
Once sexual attraction wanes (and it will) what's left needs to be something that will carry you through to the "ever after" far beyond the "happily" part.
4.Simply because you get pregnant or have children together.
While I'm all for saving the structure of the Black family unit, staying together for the children's sake alone is not a good reason to stay or enter into an unhealthy relationship. In fact, staying in an unhealthy relationship where couples argue can cause more harm for children than those whose parents divorce or have a healthy co-parenting relationship.
5.For unethical, monetary reasons.
It's a known fact that marriage has financial benefits when it comes to things such as filing taxes, merging assets, and getting a green card. Wait, what? True story, right? My ex-boyfriend actually married an illegal alien in exchange for $7K so she could become a US citizen. According to him, it was more of an arrangement than a marriage, but a legally binding contract nonetheless that ended up being a legal nightmare. I guess you could say, it also ended things for us, too.
6.Because you want to be a trophy (kept woman).
If you can believe it, there are actually women who would rather marry a man who is well off and live what they consider to be the dream life of a "housewife". Don't get me wrong, there's absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be in a domestic capacity, but I just couldn't see myself trading my independence for an allowance, no matter how hefty it may be. God forbid something happens where your Prince Charming moves on to the next silent arm candy and you find yourself in a financial bind because you were completely dependent on someone else.
7.You think being married will make you happy.
I hate to be the one to break it to you, but marriage was never intended to complete us, but rather, having a loving partner and a healthy relationship should complement our lives. It's dangerous to place your degree of happiness onto someone else. What happens when they inevitably let you down? Not only is it an unrealistic expectation, but that's a lot of pressure to put on someone's shoulders. The idea of another person making you feel happy or complete is a lie we've been told for far too long. It's better to seek someone who adds value to your life with the understanding that you are responsible for your own happiness.
"...Marriage counseling was a turning point for me, understanding that it wasn't up to my husband to make me happy, that I had to learn how to fill myself up and how to put myself higher on my priority list." — Michelle Obama, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon
8.For religious reasons.
I could probably write a whole other article on this topic, but I'll save that discussion for another day. However, the truth is, I know people whose sole motivation for being married was based on their religious beliefs, maybe even fears of living in sin. I came up during a time when cohabitation was called "shacking up" which was considered just a few steps away from being "knocked up" both of which were taboo, and still are for some folks. Bible scholars, which I am not, argue the context of the man leaving his father and mother to become "one flesh" with his wife to couples "playing house" and living in a marriage-like relationship. I'm not here to tell you what God does or doesn't approve of, but I can't say I'm in favor of religious scare-tactics to induce life-changing decisions, either.
9.You think marriage is a cure-all for your relationship.
Listen, the truth is, your relationship before you get married is probably as good as it's going to get. If you think getting married is going to cause your partner to change dramatically, for example, that he'll stay home with you and the kids more, force him to settle down, or treat you any differently simply because you've managed to upgrade your title, you may be in for a rude awakening, sis. While marriage does afford some luxuries and securities that you don't get while dating, it also adds a layer of pressure for some couples. While some people see the intermeshing of lives as a benefit, some view it as a burden of having to take on someone else's problems, responsibilities, and financial woes. That saying of "when two become one" takes on a whole new meaning when referring to a spouse that owes back child support during tax time. IJS.
10.Simply because you love him.
I can just about guess what you're thinking. "But, I love him, and that's a good enough reason to marry him." And you would be absolutely wrong. Sometimes, love alone is not enough to make a lifelong commitment. Life is hard and it comes with real challenges. People die, things change and life moves forward. You need someone who shares your values and can keep you anchored when times get tough. Should you marry someone you're in love with? Absolutely. But marrying someone just because you're in love may not always be a wise choice. As sorry as I am to say this, love isn't always enough.
These are just a handful of reasons why you need to get clear on your reasons for walking down the aisle. Believe me, I understand the allure of a man getting down on one knee with a diamond to propose. Even though we have clear ideas on how our dream wedding will look, we may not have a realistic idea of what the marriage will look like.
But which is worse, canceling a wedding or going through a divorce?
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Also known as The Real Black Carrie Bradshaw for her relentless love of shoes and emotionally unavailable men, DeJa K. Johnson is unapologetic in her pursuits to find love, happiness, and orgasms. A graduate of UA Little Rock, DeJa earned a Master's degree in Applied Communication with an emphasis on Interpersonal & Romantic relationships. She is also the founder of TheBreakupSpace.com, a safe space for men and women who need help getting over the loss of a romantic relationship. To connect, you can find her on all social media @TheRealBlackCarrieBradshaw or send her an email to love@TheRealBlackCarrieBradshaw.com.
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.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masterdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masterdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masterdating All About?
Masterdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masterdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masterdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masterdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masterdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masterdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masterdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masterdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masterdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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