Marriage & Divorce in the Black Community
With the divorce rate for people of African descent hovering around the 70 percent mark (a crisis by any definition) it is time for some unsolicited intervention one sister to another about how to be better at being married. I have thought up five key ways that so called “black” women can be better at marriage (I really should say women of African descent).
These points are probably universal and would apply to women in any community, but since the African American community has such a disproportionately high rate of divorce, I will focus this post on this community:
#1. Be more patient. Put up with more of the nonsense a little bit longer than you are normally inclined to. The fact that you have got it all together does not mean that he does. Maybe he needs a little scaffolding, more supportive guidance from you. Maybe he needs a little more forgiveness, and/or a third chance. Maybe he needs to believe that you love him no matter what he does, that your love is unshakeable. That is to say, he is probably just testing you. Don’t take the bait and let him say “see, I knew you never really loved me.” This is not to say that you just throw all your standards and boundaries out the window. There are some things that are dealbreakers. But it is to say that you could consider the possibility that you could be a little bit more patient sometimes.
#2. Be more of a buddy to your husband. A buddy system will ensure that you look out for each other a lot more and you are more in tune with what is going on inside the other than ever before. Talk. Ask questions. Observe. Be his best friend. His BFF. This means you stick up for each other more, raise each other up rather than being negative all the time and looking only at the faults. It means being “in like” as much as being “in love.” It means spending more time just hanging out, going on more cute, fun dates and excursions, and otherwise just being like teenagers in heat.
#3. Get him to get marriage counseling with you but don’t let him feel that the need for marriage counseling is because there is anything wrong with him. Find a way to convince him using your powers of persuasion that your marriage is worth the extra effort.
#4. Lead from behind. No question that this thing needs to be your show it it is going to go anywhere but you can’t let it be obvious what the real deal is. You have to let him think he is in charge. So designate certain powers to him and defer to him (sometimes even when you know better how to deal with the situation than he does) and do not ever overrule him in front of the kids or third parties (but definitely do so in private so he does not lead you and those kids over a cliff with precipitate decisions that totally lack efficacy or reason).
#5. Allow yourself to be more vulnerable. This is really hard, I know. You were forced to be this tough strong woman to survive in this experience you found yourself in. But guess what? You don’t have to be so strong and stalwart all the time. Sure, it is an unforgiving world out there and you have to be tough and hard and strong and resilient otherwise, with everybody standing on your head and shoulders (seemingly), Ofcourse you are going to feel like you are going to collapse. By the time you reach your front door, it should be a relief to just let go and let your guard down but ironically, it is the opposite that often happens. You find yourself unable to turn off this tough girl switch. Well, this is killing your relationship. He just wants a wife. A soft, trusting, vulnerable lass that he can protect and rescue when she is in distress. But if you are busy being Mrs Tough all the time, he can’t be the hero. The less of that side of you that he sees (and we know why you had to bury it but that is another post), the greater the likelihood that he is going to go out there in search of it and that is going to mean that your marriage has cracked up.
So those are the five ways I think women of African descent can become better at being wives. It is hardly an exhaustive list of course.