Black and Single: Is Marriage a Dying Idea?
A nice career. Loads of memories an experiences. College education and maybe some missionary work. Married by thirty. First kid at 35.
A perfect life. A perfect plan. I had it all figured out by age 10.
My focus on life, career, family and happiness was set long before puberty. I knew that I could accomplish all of those things with ease. But the only thing that I can cross off that list is… well nothing. Somehow, though I don’t feel like a failure.
But now, after reading several articles lately, I realize that I am a statistic.
According to the Washington Posts own research 43.3 percent of black men and 41.9 percent of black women in America had never been married. In the period between 1970 and 2001, the overall marriage rate in the United States declined by 17 percent; but for blacks, it fell by 34 percent.
The numbers are against me. They always have been. Being the product of a single parent home and educated primarily in an urban, underperforming, under-budgeted educational system I was never expected to be a success story it seems. Remaining single, weighed against the statistics above, only gives the numbers more credence.
In an effort for full disclosure, I was married before. Needless to say, by using the word ‘was’ I am now no longer married to the young lady. Long story short: too young… too head-strong… too not ready.
My problem isn’t the one faced by women of color: a virtual unavailability of ‘eligible’ women. There are lots of women who’ve approached me on one level or another. So why am I still single?
First, it’s a matter of responsibility. I will never marry before I am absolutely sure that the woman who I’m with is going to be in my life forever, and not just a season. She has to be cultured, college educated preferably, traveled, weathered(having had experiences outside of partying etc), have a goal, and be a Christian. I’ve waited for 34 years…someone out there has to fit that simple criteria.
Until I find her I’m content to wait. I, like many other people of my generation, are happy chasing career goals, personal happiness, and worldly pursuits while we wait for ‘the one.’ I wear my ‘single black man with no children’ crown proudly.
If it doesn’t happen it won’t be because of any outside influences. Yes, my ideal woman’s strengths are important, but so is the drive to love and have children.
If I never marry it’ll be because I’m staring at a sunset in Thailand, listening to the rhythm of drums in Johannesburg, or doing the Dougie in Tiananmen Square.
Along the way I’m bound to find ‘the one’… hell, I pray I already have. My life, though, will no longer be slave to the granules that slide down an hourglass.
Being a 40 year old dad doesn’t sound so bad now 24 years later. It could be great. We’ll see.