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Is marriage worth it for black women? 


Month after month black women are bombarded with articles surrounding the “black marriage crisis.”  On top of that, movies as old as Waiting to Exhale and as recent as Think Like A Man have provided wide screen images of beautiful and successful black women who are dying to have some man put a ring on it.  Most of this media production seems to assume that all black women want to get married.

But is this an accurate assumption?  The social research and anecdotal evidence regarding marriage would not necessarily lead to the conclusion that marriage is even desirable.


First, the fact that approximately half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce is certainly not encouraging. Certain statistics suggest that African-Americans are more likely to divorce than their white, Hispanic or Asian counterparts.


Second, while social research overwhelmingly suggest that men benefit from marriage through longer life spans, increased access to sex,  lower rates of physical disease and lower rates of depression, the jury is still out on whether marriage equally benefits women.  Some studies suggest that married women are less successful, more depressed and less healthy than their single sisters!

Third, the presumed economic benefits of marriage may also be diminishing for some women.  Withgeneral male unemployment exceeding female unemployment for both the general population and the black population, it appears as if many black women and non-black women believe that marrying men, including the fathers of their own children, presents economic and emotional burdens that are simply not commensurate with any potential rewards.


Sadly, women assessing this cold, hard fact may feel as though marrying a man would be like assuming the care of another child, because their potential mates would not provide additional earnings and would not engage in their fair share of domestic work such as cooking, cleaning and child-rearing. Perhaps it is for this reason that today — for women of ALL races — more than half of births to women under 30 are occurring outside the institution of marriage.

For women whose potential mates are gainfully employed, marriage may bring significant economic benefits as household bills are split in two and surplus cash may be used for nice family vacations, domestic help, private schools or piano lessons for the kids.


But still, a high-earning single woman or a single woman with family and a supportive social network should still be able to afford or gain access to child-care help, extra-curricular activities, and the other niceties (or necessities?) that go into raising productive little ones. Such a woman could presumably enjoy the company of family, good friends and an exciting sexual companion here and there — without the burden of housework and other inequalities that plague many women in their marriages.


So we ponder the question: is marriage worth it for black women?

With the odds being difficult that many black women will find a partner who matches them economically and socially, and the extreme length some are going through to get, keep, date, or even share a man, if you can take care of a child yourself — or don’t want children — some might wonder “what’s the point?”

Is there something to be said about marriage that transcends the allure of fulfilling the inner little girl’s dream of receiving dazzling jewels, wearing a stunning white gown and enjoying a kiss from someone dressed like prince at the wedding ball?  The vast majority of the single and married black women that I asked answered with a resounding “yes!”


Although Marie-Gabrielle Isidore, the twenty-something and single CEO and Co-Founder of Brand Haiti, concedes that marriage can appear scary because of discouraging statistics, she told theGrio, “Marriage is something that is extremely beautiful and I look forward to it one day.”  Marie-Gabrielle bemoans the negative media image of black women as not being worthy of love and protection from men and or society’s institutions. She feels that black people should work towards strengthening and empowering the institution, especially considering the ills of fatherlessness, which is linked to the poverty that severely impacts blacks.


Similarly, B. Araba Essien, the single thirty-something mother, artist and entrepreneur behind B. Araba Photography, agrees that marriage is worth it with all its pitfalls and risks.  However, she fears that some black women are not finding love because they are focusing on a potential mate’s height, titles and wealth instead of trying to foster a meaningful connection.  She elaborated, “marriage is worth it for black women, but we must keep our options, minds, as well as our hearts, truly open.”


I could not agree more with Araba’s determination to focus on establishing a meaningful connection.  As human beings we all long to feel loved by and deeply connected with other human beings. There is something unique about the love and connection that marriage provides because of its nature as a public commitment to engage in an exclusive relationship based on both sexual and emotional intimacy. This special intimacy often allows marriage to be a place where old wounds are exposed and current vulnerabilities emerge.


Spouses are called to be sources of love, healing and encouragement for one another.  It can be wonderful to wake up with a fellow adult and go to sleep with that same adult and to know that you have an earthly partner on this not-so easy journey called life.  Additionally, there may be an elevated sense of freedom in expressing and exploring your deepest of sexual desires with someone who has officially promised to love you for life.


Lurie Daniel-Favors, a married consumer rights attorney, mother and author of the upcoming book Afro State of Mind, Memoirs of a Nappy Headed Black Girl, embraces this idea of marriage being primarily about connection rather than a system of economic support or labor-sharing — which tends to be how the act is evaluated in recent reports.  “For the first time in modern history, marriage can be about two equals coming together to create a union between their personal and life visions.  Now that I no longerneed a husband, I can truly enjoy the husband that I chose,” Lurie told theGrio.


Indeed, as a married woman I can truly say that my husband and child are sources of great enjoyment.  No, marriage is not easy and it may not agree with everyone.  Decision-making regarding financial obligations, household chores and child-rearing approaches can be contentious. Each spouse’s mood-swings, ego-trips, silent treatments or screaming fits can wreak emotional havoc on both partners. But in my experience, these negatives do not destroy the tremendous human value and joy of this age-old institution for any group of people, including black women.


Yes, when you look at the numbers, and weigh them against the alternative of permanent singledom, the struggle for marriage might seem pointless to many of us. But children and friends cannot replace real adult intimacy. It might be harder for us to find that real connection — regardless of whether you are gay, straight, or your “marriage” is more one of minds than on paper.

But don’t give up the fight or the dream based on statistics, if it’s something you want to make a reality.

Ama Yawson is a co-founder of, a romantic networking site for black women who are ready for love and men of all races who are ready to love them in return. Ms. Yawson was inspired to create because of her own experiences in discovering romantic love. Ms. Yawson earned a BA from Harvard University, an MBA from the Wharton School and a JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son.

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I must admit..   In a non-homogeneous society, I don't think it has any real benefit to anyone outside of children and a rare few that luckily find mature and sustaining "love."


it is easier to find and sustain love when you are in a somewhat homogeneous society- the less differences you have to overcome.  Black women have to carry the burden of the fallout of the decimation of her society and existing within the development of a subculture struggling to find it's identity while under constant attack.  


"ain't nobody got time fo dat"


Keep it moving..  For many Black women it is best to learn to live life without romantic love... and find solace/comfort elsewhere.  You can't go "seek" love; you can only put yourself in places that will seemingly be likely to increase your chance at dating.  But honestly most successful love stories are not borne of a party deciding they needed a mate and then going "shopping" for one."  Chemistry, compatibility and lust are all components that you simply can't create.


 The best that can be done is to explore life, continue to improve oneself.. and prepare our daughters.  If it happens..  it happens...  If it doesn't..  there are other fulfilling things in the world...

  I think it can be worth it for the RIGHT reasons.  But as a student of world history,..,.,marriage is another word for SLAVE.  It's just that westerners have turned into a fantasy type thing to lure women into believing that it is a wonderful position to be in.  Otherwise, they would be kicking, screaming and hiding in the hills for the REAL reason marriage was created. If not?  Child brides, mail-order brides, arranged marriages wouldn't be the open wound in humanity today.  


Historically, marriage was developed for MEN.  Not women.  And the younger the female the better in other parts of the world.  When the new world was being explored by massa...he was very content on selecting a Native American woman to be his "woman"-marriage was never considered-until the legality of inheritance began to play a part in it.(cuz back at the ranch in England....women were not looked upon as a catch...young bucks were)  Anyway...white men [in the new world] could not leave the land they stole from the Native American to the Native American women they had children with or had spent a lifetime with.  So massa's legacy could not live on.  So in the  new world it became against the law for Native American women and a few African women to inherit land after their white men had passed on.  And that was the ONLY reason why the mail-order bride was created and literally blew up and is still active today.  These brides came from Europe via brothels.  And the goal was to marry these white whores-(cuz that's what they were) to ensure that the inheritance would passed down to ANOTHER white person/family.  


In terms of marriage on the other side of the world?  Men were marrying girls as young as five years old....and sometimes as infants for thousands of years.  As why today Iraq is trying to implement it back into law that it is okay for a grown ass MAN to marry a little girl as young six years old.  Sick!!!!   


Additionally, there is a REASON  why 60 percent[and growing] of marriages fail in this country.  Why?  Because people are marrying for the wrong reasons.  Cuz the real reason why marriage was created in the first place was faulty and one-sided.  Men did it to bring children in the world legitimately. It is a form of slavery when fathers promise their infants girls to men to pay a debt or transfer monies or property, to emerge rich families together[the same thang royal families do]-which is where the term "dowry" comes from.  And during those times [and still in some places today], females were considered a burden not a blessing.  


However, if you look at world history especially in places like Rome and Greece, men were busy focking each other[just keeping it real yall], they didn't give a damn about a woman until christianity came on the scene and so by the time they were 31 years old-men HAD to marry even if they didn't want to.  What an incentive for women...right?


Trust and believe if women back in the day had the ability to work on their own, make their own money, had certain rights equal to men and there weren't LAWS to prevent them having certain type of jobs to ensure their financial and social independence?  Marriage would have FAILED and been eradicate way before the discovery of America.  


So to answer that famous question is marriage worth it for black women?  And we just evolved outta slavery and from there being told we are worthless and not valuable from many of our men?  It would have to be for the right reason..cuz yes we evolved from slavery....but we also evolved from royalty.  So if we can put that in perspective, be confident in who we are as women?  And move away from massa's idea of worthiness.  Then yes.  But it is a weak yes cuz we still have many many social issues with our community as a people.  We have to invent the reasons why we should cuz we can no longer live by massa's fake standards of matrimony.  We just can't.  We have to create our OWN standards.  But! 

Last edited by Kocolicious

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