On no day will I understand why black men wait so long to get married. The US Census Bureau shows, on average, every other race, both men and women, get married between 26 and 29. But you wait till you’re nearly 31.
And for-real tho, who they countin’? Most of the single black men I know aren’t close to walking down nobody’s aisle.
Two of my close friends, who I’ll call Mr. Eastgate and Mr. Astrodome, are in their mid 40’s, single, no kids, and never married. They both want to get married. But they haven’t found the right one yet.
Let me tell you a secret: finding the right one has nothing to do with her. It has everything to do with you. There are four things that transpire in a man’s life for him to make the decision to get married.
- Belief in Marriage. You must have a value system that believes the institution of marriage is something that’s good. This valuing began in your childhood, most likely from your family.
- Expectations. Your beliefs develop a set of expectations of the kind of woman that’s a perfect wife for you.
- Past Relationship Experiences. Your past relationship experiences clarify your expectations of what you want and what you don’t want in a wife.
- Preparation. According to your refined expectations, you know the kind of husband you want to be. For me, I wanted to be like Heathcliff Huxtable. However, when you where younger, you probably weren’t ‘ready yet’ to take on those Huxtable-like roles and responsibilities. So you took time to work on yourself, get your finances right, and eventually get rid of past relationship baggage/demons.
Here’s where you went wrong. Your expectation of married-life is one-sided. Yes, you’re willing to compromise, but your expectations are all about what you will get from your wife, not what your wife needs to get from you. You also waited to settle down after you completed the preparation stage.
The problem is…
Your expectation of the perfect wife, the woman you’ve painstakingly spent the last # of years preparing for doesn’t exist. You believe there’s someone out there that already meets your expectations of the perfect wife you’ve prepared for. But it is impossible to predict or forecast what your future wife will need you to give her. Why? Because she also went through her own 4-step process to get ready for marriage. And she also has expectations for the perfect husband, which is now your unexpected list of things she needs you to give her. But you didn’t prepare for some of the intricacies on her list. So instead of meeting those expectations, you disqualified her from ‘perfect wife’ status and moved on to the next one…hoping she’ll meet your expectations.
When I got married, I thought I was prepared. In order for us to make it work, and be happy, I had to learn how to communicate in a more caring manner, drive slower, become more patient because she takes longer to get ready, come home sooner because she gets tired quicker, be more affectionate…I could go on. Through 17 years of trial and error and give and take, I have handcrafted the perfect wife for me, the likes of which I could never find on the open market.
Mr. Eastgate, Mr. Astrodome, and my fellow black men, the perfect wife for you is not found, she is forged in marriage. All the things you want and don’t want in your perfect wife, you have to cultivate in her as your wife through the hard work of learning new communication skills, coping skills, adapting skills, etc.
I know you’ve done a lot to prepare yourself for marriage. But don’t confuse what it takes to get married…to what it takes to stay married. As a potential husband, know…every time the level of your relationship increases (i.e., from dating to engagement to marriage), the level of work you have to put in increases to perform at even the lowest levels of proficiency. By the time you reach the marriage level, you don’t settle down, you ramp up!
So fellas, reset your expectations, accept the unknown variables a woman will bring to your life, and stop waiting to find the perfect wife before you get married. Create her in marriage.
*Originally published on BlackAndMarriedWithKids.