Post Overview

I recently wrote a post on my personal site asking a simple question, Do Black Men Not Value Marriage? Ideally, successful posts generate conversations that extend far beyond the limits of the comments section, Twitter, Facebook, and/or wherever people choose to socialize online. A well written, thought provoking post will continue to haunt me and generate debate for months or years after its original date of inception. I’m not sure the above post is the best example, unlike the one I wrote about how I don’t care for name brand purses and the women who love them…

An Offline Friend’s Perspective

*takes a moment of silence and solemnly shakes head*

But, staying on topic, an off-line friend (@Caesar20417: owner of a relationship-consulting firm) contacted me via text after reading my inquisition on black men’s prioritization of marriage and he did not care too much for my theoretical accusations. In fact, he outright disagreed that black men do not value marriage. Instead, in so many words, he suggested that I would have better served the public to propose that women have removed men’s incentive to marry. He raised some interesting points and I thought I would highlight some excerpts from our conversation.

Editor’s Note

I received permission to quote @Caesar20417. I do not go around sharing conversations without consent. Bold emphases were added for what I believe are key points from the discussion.

Excerpts from the Conversation

Caesar20417: The latest numbers on marriage statistics on African American men have AA 56% married. The real issue is that black women don’t value being married. Because if they did, they would [not] represent 70% of the women with children out of wedlock, a situation that statistically places them as the least likely to be married.

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Men are waiting longer to get married because the benefits traditionally assigned to marriage are available on the open market. Therefore, it’s an adaptation rather than devaluation.

WisdomIsMisery: Not sure we disagree, as it would be more accurate to say, “prioritize.” I do believe black men don’t prioritize marriage, which is why, by and large, they wait longer to get married.

Caesar: Is it that the motivation for getting married i.e. sex is no longer behind the veil of matrimony? The motivation is no longer there because women no longer require marriage in order to have sex. … When the requirement to procreate was relaxed, the need for marriage became a financial merger and acquisition.

Women are the culprits in the devaluation of marriage

The 1931 invention of birth control, and women’s suffrage/feminism in 1937. All of this was documented in the 1959 book of Alfred Kinsey the American Woman and Sex. Women thought they were becoming equal to men. … If women decrease the supply of free market sex and place sex behind the iron curtain of marriage, you would increase the number of men wanting to get married.

WIM: That’s a good point but I think it depends on how you view marriage. I think most men see marriage as you describe but women are still holding on to the “Love” aspect. Namely, because financially they don’t have as much to lose and never really have. … Then, are men getting married for the right reason or are you saying historically [sex] was the justification?

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Caesar: Women get married to improve their lives. From as far back as the biblical text to the current state in which we live. A woman’s greatest value historically was her ability to conceive and provide a man an heir…more specifically a son. Love has never been a conduit of marriage. Marriage was about survival, alliance, etc. The 1964 civil rights bill removed the ownership of a husband over his wife’s property and assets. If you look at the state of marriage, from this period to now…the greatest change in attitude has not come from men…it has come from women. Therefore, the assessment of a man’s priority on the matter of marriage seems incompatible with historical data.

Men haven’t changed

They still want the same primary things from women. Sex and heirs. And if getting those things no longer requires a marriage. Then the point of marriage is obsolete. That’s like walking a mile to get water and bring it back to your home…there was a necessary time. But along came indoor plumbing and walking was not necessary…because the water was the main motivation, not the walking. So to me, the question should be have women devalued marriage? Because men are still getting what they have always wanted…women are on the losing end. Do men complain to you about wanting to get married but being unable to? Women need to start by making an analytic observation to determine why they, as individuals, aren’t married.

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As you know, I have a relationship consulting firm. “I can tell you that women often have no idea what men look for in a marriage. When people ask them, they don’t know. So, it’s interesting that a person would want a position that they don’t know the qualifications for. I challenge you to simply ask the question to all those wanting to be wives…do you know what a man looks for?

Conclusion and Questions for the Audience

As stated in the beginning, this is a shortened version of the conversation but the main points are sound. Regarding the specific questions you asked me to address to the audience today:

  1. Have women devalued marriage?
  2. Why do black men not value marriage?
  3. Other than tradition, with many of the intangibles traditionally associated with marriage now available without commitment in today’s society, why should men get married?
  4. For those women who want to be married someday, do you know what a man looks for in a wife? If yes, please share your opinion. Inversely, for the men who plan on marrying, please explain what you are looking for in a wife. For additional context, if you are comfortable doing so, sharing your age will add to the discussion.