The Case for Marriage

by Herina K. Ayot

By now, many of us have heard the story of Barack and Michelle on a dinner date. Apparently, they went to one of the finest restaurants and the owner, noticing the President and First Lady, came over to their table to make their acquaintance. “A pleasure to meet you Mr. President,” he said shaking hands. Then he looks at the First Lady with admiration. “Michelle. You look amazing. Great to see you again.”  She smiles and then he leaves the table.  Curious, Barack asks Michelle if the owner was an old friend of hers.  “He and I used to date years ago. Before I met you,” she replied. “Wow,” the President continued. “And to think, if things had worked out, you would be co-owner of this fabulous restaurant.”  Michelle shook her head. “No. If things had worked out, he would be President.”

It makes you crack a smile, and then in the back of your mind, you ask yourself if it was really she who made him.  But Obama had a B.A. from Columbia and was on his way to a law degree from Harvard before he even met Michelle, so perhaps they made each other. Perhaps, all of his potential was there all along, stored away in a vault when Michelle came and released it with her feminine charm, powerful influence, and knowing just what to say and when to say it.

A lot of men are afraid of commitment. Not the “let’s go steady and move in together” kind of commitment. Some are afraid of that too. But most men under 40 are afraid of the “put a ring on it, let’s get married and have babies” kind of commitment.  They want to accomplish something first. They want to sow their wild oats, live their best life, travel the world, sleep with dozens of beautiful women before they settle down, trade in their condo for a house with a picket fence, a Golden Retriever, and perfunctory sex.

A lot of men want to wait until they’re ready.

And considering Shaquille O’Neal’s recent divulgence of his infidelities, maybe more of them should. Shaq’s book, “Shaq Uncut” reveals his thoughts on an athlete’s privilege to cheat and his unreadiness to be a one-woman man.  And although it is good for a man to admit his temptation to play in the street, his desire to dedicate himself to his work and not his woman, and his frequent bouts of selfishness, it is much better to admit these things before marriage and not after.

But in all of their “waiting” to get ready, could men be missing out on what a committed woman could contribute to their life?  It’s like waiting to eat but nothing is cooking.  Many men will never be ready to settle down until they meet the woman who makes them want to. The promotion they are waiting for that puts them over the six-figure mark, and in a fitting position to raise a family, may only come when they have a partner to encourage them in all of the right ways, to bounce ideas off of on a Saturday morning after sex, or on a Thursday night before it. The affirmation they need to feel adequate can only come from someone who genuinely has their best interests in mind, and that’s often not a frequently changing bedmate.

  • bosslady

    The story about the waiter in the restaurant and Michelle is cute (but not true) I’ve heard the same story told about former president George Bush I and his wife.

  • Timcampi

    Great read! Although I don’t plan on getting married, I understand how this article is valuable. It was a really nice piece. I love it! Small interruption though; although single men live waaaaay shorter lives than married men, married women beat out their single colleagues by a sliver.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=why-women-live-longer

    So, this isn’t really a case for marriage. It’s a case for why men would greatly benefit from it– as most of your points rightly suggest. =P Any man with a good number of female friends would be in the same position. But what I have to offer there is purely anecdotal…Also:

    “[...]are afraid of the “put a ring on it, let’s get married and have babies” [...] They want to sew their wild oats, live their best life, travel the world, sleep with dozens of beautiful women before they settle down [...]

    This sounds like me to the fullest. Tell me I’m not the only chick afraid of commitment and I’d call you a liar haha!

  • MarloweOverShakespeare

    “The only thing that can really keep a popular man faithful wanting to be.”

    Huh?

  • jessie

    “The only thing that can really keep a popular man wanting to be {faithful}”

    I think they just put the word faithful in the wrong place lol.

  • MarloweOverShakespeare

    But then it would still be an incomplete sentence! Confuzzled like a mug…

    #englishmajor/grammarandspellingnazifreakdomineffect

  • CaliDreaming86

    “Many men will never be ready to settle down until they meet the woman who makes them want to.”

    I don’t understand really. Why is it that a woman will want to settle down, but it takes a woman for a man to want to do so? Why do men need for their to be a woman in their life for them to act like an adult?

  • Crystal

    “The only think that can really keep a popular man faithful {is} wanting to be.” Maybe?

  • QON

    Is George Clooney an adult? He hasnt settled down. I think he epitimizes adulthood. He knows what he wants and doesnt wants and seems to be upfront with that. Also he doesnt have a bunch of children. Personally I admire any adult who either decides to settle down or doesnt but is honest and doesnt bring children into tacky situations.

    It think a man who doesnt want to settle down is epsecially offensive and threatening to women. We just have a biological imperative to reign them in.

  • CaliDreaming86

    I am not a fan of George Clooney, so I do not follow his life, nor do I care to.

    “We just have a biological imperative to reign them in.” – HUH? Women have a crucial biological importance to be the best at making men settle down?

  • QON

    Women and children have the best chances of survival when we are attached to a man. This isnt the case today-kinda- but it has been historically.

    Im from Cali too-L.A. What part are you from?

  • CaliDreaming86

    “Women and children have the best chances of survival when we are attached to a man. ” – Eh, I survived even though I have an absentee father. I am surviving now without being ‘attached to a man’.

    I’m not from Cali. My name is CaliDreaming because I wish I lived in California.

  • B

    This article sort of annoys me. Maybe if we took a good long look at the institution of marriage (like a long, critical look), we might begin to understand why men AND women are seemingly straying away from marriage these days. That’s just a hunch. All this article does is reaffirm marriage without critically examining it. The author doesn’t “make a case” for marriage. I’m not saying she needs to write a dissertation on marriage, but I am saying there should have been some actual analysis and inquiry into the institution. Rather, she just restates what has always been said concerning men and marriage. While I appreciate some points made in this article, I find it to be rather empty and it seems to me more an attempt to convince men of why they should marry. I’m just saying…

  • Timcampi

    @B

    Exactly. I didn’t want to be rude though, haha

  • QON

    Cali,

    Of course in the modern world we have super markets, modern housing, medicine, law and order, policing, educaiton and jobs. Men are so obsolete now but then without them we wouldnt have the comforts and the security of the modern world. Like I said, historically a woman and children would not have survived without a husband or father or brother.

    Originally I just questioned why you presumed a man wasnt an adult because he hadnt settled down. Are you an adult?

  • QON

    Cali

    My I suggest the Bay area- San fran if you can afford it. Most places in Ventura country if you like the natural life and Santa Monica or South Pasadena if you like the city.

  • QON

    A “critical look” at marriage huh? Is that just code for a rebuttal? No institution is perfect but as I have said many of times, marriage is how Winston Churchill described democracy- “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”

  • CaliDreaming86

    I’m very much an adult.

    “Why do men need for their to be a woman in their life for them to act like an adult?” – This isn’t a thought that originated with me.

  • Anon 411

    How about this:

    The only thing that can keep a popular man faithful is wanting to be faithful.

  • Trini

    While I agree with most of what was said in this article, I cant help but think that it seems a bit absurd that there even NEEDS to be a “case for marriage.”

    Like everything else in life, marriage has its place. Scrutinizing the institute of marriage in and of itself to me is equivalent to shooting the messenger. Classic case of projection and not to mention totally missing the point!

  • http://www.thelovejourney.com Desiree

    I like the idea of husbands and wives encouraging, pushing and motivated one another!
    ~Desiree http://www.thelovejourney.com

  • http://anorexicescapades.com bougiehippie

    Diluted but good article.

  • Ref

    I agree with what your saying. However, sometimes I feel like there needs to be a case for marriage on this site. Judging from most of the comments (not yours), the whole idea of marriage is constantly under attack. So maybe this article was written with the ultra (borderline nazi) feminist comments in mind. *kanye shrug*

  • QON

    @Trini

    I agree with you. The case for marriage needs to be made as robustly as the case for drinking water.

  • CaSweetface

    Our society continues to make a mockery of marriage so I guess there is a case to be made in favor of the institution. Seasons and Seasons of shows like divorce court, marriages lasting 72 damn days with people who dont truly know each other and a media driven culture counting down and blowing up breakups like its the thing to do. Like said above, every individual person should do what they are ready for and what they can handle and not bring children and other people into their world when their actions and mental state aren’t in it! Period. Committment is not this generations strength so I admire the Barack and Michelle’s of the world for seemingly “getting it” and making it work.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/KMichelPress K. Michel

    I’m one of those guys who wants to get ready before getting married. I’m too fly to deprive the world of a “K. Michel Jr.” So, marriage is definitely the end game for me… and this is the case for a lot more guys than most people realize. It’s just that we don’t want to fail at being great husbands and fathers. So, if it takes us a little longer to get there, I think it’s a beautiful thing as long as we’re honest about it in our prospective relationships.

    On the other hand, I have a Black lady-friend who holds this perspective as well. She’s willing to wait however long it takes before she’s ready to get married, and even advised against my setting up a deadline for getting myself prepared before getting married.

    At the end of the day. A lot of the apprehension and confusion that men feel toward marriage can easily be quelled with a little communication, especially with African-American couples. Come up with a plan together. Write it down. Why not? I’d do that.

  • Perverted Alchemist

    ..But this was over 20 years ago, though- when there were people actually worth marrying. You probably will never see anything like this now. In every relationship these days, almost all of them are one-sided. You will never see one spouse support another for virtually anything.

  • Trini

    @Ref

    I think youre right! Apparently its sorely needed on this site!

    @QON

    LOL. Yeah, water, air, sunlight, food, all those things immediately came to mind for me as well when I first read this article. Just couldnt think how to say it. Thank you for that!

  • Peter

    Real men don’t marry. What kind of fool would I look like laying up under one of these feminist BLACK chicks, that don’t ever want to cook me a meal, never want to take care of me, not even going to make my life easy.

    I say to all my dudes, enjoy life, don’t fall for the marriage trap. It’s horrible, and at the end of the day you’re going to wind up with an overweight nag that can’t comprehend the word ‘submit.’ Don’t ever get with a woman that won’t submit, cuz all you gonna get is a headache!!!!

  • Nina

    Peter, I feel sorry that you never had a good, gracious black woman in your life, you’ve really missed out and sound completely bitter and angry about it, I hope you don’t give up, but if you do, just know that you can go and find a woman who isn’t black and she just might agree with you on everything and never learn how to develop a backbone, but just know that she is lying to you as well as trying to satisfy and confirm your warped views on black women, trust me, I have white cousins and know Asian women who date black men, they still see you as a monkey at the end of the day, and a sista will still be there to rub your nappy head….aint that something?!?!?

    Quiet as it’s kept, women feel apprehension towards marriage as well, especially with these guys out here who are still stuck on women being totally 100% submissive, what do you want a wife or a crash test dummy? Marriage does not equal ownership.

  • Ketta

    The institution of marriage is that of the prescence of a cockroach, it will never die. In the Black community it is on shaky ground, which is a problem because the bonds that people need to thrive successfully in society are weakened or non existent. I think marriage gives men obligatory ties to form a bond to his offspring along with his wife. I don’t understand why men are abandoning their responsibilities and losing the opportunity to hone what could potentially become our future President.

    Lets face it, we all need social bonds to maintain a healthy lifestyle and I think marriage is the ultimate bond. Some people realize this much later than others and if the innocent lives of children are at stake, it is an unfortunate problem that produces the social problems in communities.

  • simplyme

    I’m in med school and I find it interesting that the few married folks seem happier and less stressed despite the fact that they clearly have more on their plates than the rest of us..it seems they go home to a rejuvenating and renewing environment while the rest of us go home to spoiled cheese in the fridge and unpaid electric bills (or maybe thats just me…) Anyway, I think its great that the societal stigma for not getting married is all but gone, so the folks that are truly anti-marriage (or just bitter) don’t feel forced into a marrying and ruining things for those that are genuinely interested in being happily married. Imagine marrying a guy who is fully expecting his wife to be a competitor rather than an ally and a drain rather than support…I can see how that can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  • Destiny

    I agree wholeheartedly with your comment. Nicely said…… and may I add, Marriage is all of what you make it. If you put in the work, you will have a true foundation – But you MUST BE willing, ready and able. Divorce should not be an option when you believe in the commitment (under the eye sight of God) to marriage.

  • E.M.S.

    I do personally believe that being committed to one person for the long haul is much more fulfilling for both sexes than just jumping in bed with as many people as possible. You are able to connect on so many other levels aside from sex. Support is a very important factor in our lives, and I think the support you get from your significant other is the most important.

    This article highlights the upside of marriage, which is empowering each other with your love and support. If only all the other strings attached to civil union didn’t taint its purity.

  • TW

    Huh??? Of course a female will write STUFF (I almost said crap) like this and cite examples and limited research done by other females….the men I talk to say that a lot of women are running around talking about they want to settle down but when they are faced with the reality, they back off…they get those small puppy dogs to become their companion and they get comfortable and don’t show affection and appreciation for the man in their life. They cite the bible when it comes to infidelity but when it comes to honoring verses that state that the man is the head of the home…they play death ears…The fact is NO ONE should have to make the case for marriage (men or women)…if two people find each other and they seem to know that this person comes with a lot of baggage but would still love to spend the rest of their life with them and share mutual happiness…then fine…if not, oh well…

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