I’m Gonna Make You My Wife…

My Mom & Dad...

My Mom & Dad...

Hello World!!!

As of this Friday, August 14, my parents will have been married for 38 years!!! Congratulations to my dear ole Mom & Dad!!!

As the creator of this blog, I don’t mind sharing some personal details about myself but as a courtesy to my friends and family I don’t share much about them without their permission. However, I will say this: the stability of my parents’ long-term marriage has always been my safe haven. When the world has wronged me and I don’t know what to do, I go to my Mom & Dad’s house. They may not always know how to comfort me, but just their presence alone is like a balm for the weary soul. I thank God that He put my Mom & Dad together…

Sadly, from everything I’ve read and what I have witnessed around me, marriage is becoming a rarity in the black community. I think marriage is becoming more difficult for all races according to what I’ve read, but for today’s post, I will focus on marriage in the black community. In fact, this issue was highlighted on CNN’s “Black in America 2” which aired last month. Soledad O’Brien, the host of the program, interviewed Nisa Muhammad about her organization, the Wedded Bliss Foundation, which was created to save  and encourage black marriage. Some grim statistics were shared on the program. In 1963, married couples headed 60 percent of black families, but that number has dwindled to half.

O’Brien was able to follow one couple, James and Tina Barnes, who were considering divorce after 21 years of marriage. The couple enrolled in the foundation’s eight-week Basic Training for Couples and were able to address their issues and remain married. I was especially touched by the couple’s eldest daughter Jameeca, a college student, who admitted that her grades were being affected by her parents’ marital problems. I don’t know her but I would guess it was the lack of stability that affected her the most. From what I have witnessed, marriage offers stability to children that enables them to explore the world around them but still have a safe haven.

Former Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court Leah Ward Sears wrote a heartfelt column about her plight to end disposable marriage in the wake of her brother’s suicide. She felt her brother commited suicide due to the frustration he experienced in trying to parent his two children after a bitter divorce. Read an excerpt below.

Tommy’s loss has catapulted me even farther down a path I was already on. This may sound like heresy, but I believe the United States and a host of Western democracies are engaged in an unintended campaign to diminish the importance of marriage and fatherhood. By refusing to do everything we can to stem the rising rate of divorce and unwed childbearing, our country often isolates fathers (and sometimes mothers) from their children and their families.

Removing no-fault divorce as a legal option may not be the right way to move forward, and the solutions we need may not be entirely legal in nature. But answers must be found. The coupling and uncoupling we’ve become accustomed to undermines our democracy, destroys our families and devastates the lives of our children, who are not as resilient as we may wish to think. The one-parent norm, which is necessary and successful in many cases, nevertheless often creates a host of other problems, from poverty to crime, teen pregnancy and drug abuse.

Actor and writer Hill Harper (isn’t that a great name?) is also tackling the topic of black marriage in his latest book The Conversation: How Black Men and Women Can Build Loving, Trusting Relationships which will be released next month. On his Web site, Harper states that 34 percent of black children are raised in two-parent households when that number was 85 percent in 1966. (Hmm, the stats cited on CNN’s program and in Harper’s book don’t seem to match, but the message is still clear.) Through his book, Harper hopes to address issues that may have contributed to this troubling statistic. I heard Harper talk about his book on a radio program earlier this week. I was tempted to switch the radio station until I heard Harper, who is single, admit that he may be a part of the problem.

Harper plans to host free town hall meetings throughout the country for people to discuss the issues that are presented in the book and is looking for corporate sponsors. As a result, he is asking people to pre-order his book so that he can prove to prospective sponsors that this issue is important to many.

If you are in the Atlanta area and are looking for tips on how to attract and keep a good man or woman, you may want to check out this event…


Any thoughts?

P.S. I love this song by The Whispers…They don’t make them like this anymore…Maybe a part of the problem is popular music…Somehow songs like “Birthday Sex” don’t make me think about marriage and family…



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3 thoughts on “I’m Gonna Make You My Wife…

  1. Wow Jackie as you know this speaks to where I am at right now considering marriage number two. I think that the images presented in society do glamorize doing your own thing without thought of the consequences of diminishing family life, marriage and any other arena of stability for that matter. I know that for me it comes down to humility. Is what I want that important that I would sacrifice a stable home? I think that by us thinking me, me me all the time our children, our mates and others get lost in the dust. Its so much easier just to stay single and date but is it really? I don’t have the answers but I am willing to go forth and find them. It takes action not wishful thinking to have a strong marriage. It also takes putting the God of your understanding FIRST in any relationship for it to work.

  2. As always, Jackie, your comments are insightful and thought-provoking. I do believe that marriage in the black community is an endangered species, and there are many factors that contribute to that (e.g. the continued emasculation of the black male in society and as head of the household; the upward mobility of single black women and the need to find an “equal” male partner; more couples opting for co-habitation instead of marriage, etc…). Still, successful marriages are possible and do exist (look at your parents :D) in our community. Marriage takes a lot of dedication, hard work, and prayer. My husband and I will observe 13 years of marriage next month, and I will be honest when I tell you that it hasn’t been easy. My husband’s parents have been married for 46 years so I think he’s had that foundation to model after. Marriage really is a “for better or worse” situation. You have to take the good times with the bad times and be willing to work through them.

    I agree with you about today’s music- it doesn’t inspire family and marriage. I’d love to see less songs about “makin’ it rain” and more songs about “shower me with your love”. 😀

  3. @Stephanie B., go forth and find those answers, girl!

    @Trella, you are so right, there are so many factors that contribute to the decline of black marriage…it’s the perfect storm…black men have been emasculated in our society while black women have more opportunity to be upwardly mobile…and I wonder what women are looking for when they want an “equal” partner…that could be a topic for another post probably, ha,ha. And congrats to you and your husband for your 13 years…I wish y’all many more…And you’re especially right about this: we need more songs about “shower me with your love” instead of “makin’ it rain!”