Now, I struggled to finish the book years ago as I found it sexist and wasn’t interested in Steve Harvey telling ME what to do in ANY of my relationships. So I was a cynic all day before the screening thinking it was going to be some simple foolery.
How wrong was I?! I LOVED the film? No. Really. I LUV-HED. The. Film?!
Starring Taraji P. Henson, Gabrielle Union, Kevin Hart, Jerry Ferrera, Meagan Good, Michael Ealy (YUM), Romany Malco, Terrance J. and Gary Owen, this was a romantic comedy home run.
Talented blogger S. Shaw wrote a brilliant post at Front-Free.com explaining and launching the call-to-action movement, “Father Your Sons.” READ the post before reading my response!!!!!
In total support, I began thinking of ways single Black woman with/without children could encourage Black men to take a stand in raising the children created in prior relationships. Modern dating brings awareness that many men (women too) have a child/children from previous circumstances, and this information is divulged at the start of a new relationship. The unspoken relationship dynamic however, is that a man’s actions directly reflect what is allowed in the relationship. Meaning, while a woman can not make a man be a better father, we are in a position to demand that men either step up, or get to stepping.
A man’s relationship with his family (offspring), is a major indicator of decent character. Sharing custody, spending time, and bringing them up in conversation, are examples that a man values his family and makes them a life priority. Providing for one’s family is a clear job description of a parent, no matter the circumstances. If a man has children yet produces a myriad of excuses as to why he’s never with them, barely (or rarely) pays child support, and you can’t recall the last conversation that involved his kids or a family relationship in detail, well, that’s a red flare of distress in the sky. *Frankie Voice* “MAN DOWN!!!”
What would make a “fresh” relationship with a man whose previous track record is sketch based on lack of attention to family, be any different from that with the mother of his child(ren)? Consider he vows to “do better” in the next relationship/with a new family, how have his actions affected his seeds currently walking the earth?? Responsibility is universally sexy to women, so men who make family their #1 priority will forever be attractive to single women (especially women with children). Yet there are far too many single women dealing with men who have abandoned responsibilities to their children. Why treat him like a King when he’s not worthy? “Father Your Sons” is past fitting, but “Hold Him Accountable” should be the empowered single woman’s echo.
Men know that woman have individual expectations and demands, but Black women should be universal in demanding that Brothas father their children?!?! We should stop laying underneath them and calling them our “men” if they’re obviously neglecting the major aspect of manhood: taking care of one’s family. That excludes child support, which is a parental obligation (no gold stars for doing the minimum mandated by a court *eye roll*). No, you can’t make him, but you daum sure don’t have to date him. If more women adapted this mentality, there would be fewer places for men to cower avoiding accountability for their fatherless children. Trust. Women have more than enough power and we should utilize our strengths.
Only we can break the cycle of dysfunction in our communities.
Shacking up or living in sexual intimacy without being married, remains a popular alternative for couples while dating. Some feel living together is the crucial step before making the ultimate commitment, and enjoy the benefits of combining living spaces. For example, frequent access to sex, a boost to savings accounts, discovering new levels of intimacy, and more. In a struggling economy, the option may seem ideal in the fresh stages of the relationship (you know, when nothing your “SugarHoneyIcedTea” does is annoying). Consider the following points when ordering the U-Haul truck:
1. Spending Habits – Viewing first-hand how much is spent on life expenses can alter your perception of a future together. May want to discuss spending that $300 at Whole Foods or Magic City, where before, living alone it never mattered.
2. Personal Space (How much is needed per individual/ how to provide it) – Everyone needs time away from their partner, either spent alone or with friends. Living together teaches how to respect the other’s space and preferred time away.
3. Personal Hygiene (cleanliness, secret idiosyncracies) – Knowing your partner’s cleaning habits, products, and procedures is essential. Essential!
4. Work Ethic/ Responsibility – A lazy streak may weigh heavier if it prevents day-to-day accomplishments, slows hustle for generating more income, or the reason for not paying what’s owed. When couples decide to share responsibilities, not pulling one’s weight can be a huge issue. It’s all fun and games till time to split the Comcast bill.
Once the lust fog settles and a couple becomes comfortable as lovers and roommates, some things become soberingly clear and unavoidable. Not trying to be Cynical-Cindy, but allow me to divulge a personal aside. *Adjusts spotlight for monologue*
Over a year ago, a younger, naive, and delusional version of myself met a man. Immediately enamored, ignoring the world and our better judgement,
we decided I allowed him to move into my spacious apartment. The rationale was quite simple. Economically–it served better to combine our efforts, we were attached like Krazy Glue and wanted to know more about one another. Besides. It was going to be FUN?! Duh. In the midst of our hormone-fueled planning however, I blindly disregarded a major factor, his character. Character, the foundation for most relationships, tells you the most about a person, and is usually revealed before you’ve ever split the cost of groceries. So, if he’s lazy, trifling, un equally yoked and ridiculously loyal to a busted pair of Timbs, (oh, wait. Overshare. Excuse.) you should pick up on that while in the “courting” stage, prior to moving in together. After that relationship crashed and burned (bittersweet subject) I vowed to never be that foolish again, especially without an engagement ring. A personal affirmation as I’m only interested in settling with the ONE, so till further notice I’ll be living alone.
Living together is a serious step that requires careful thought and organization. Cohabitation without horror stories can occur, as some couples approach it like a trial-run for marriage. However, there are no set rules for when or if a couple is ready, nor is it necessary before marriage (contrary to popular belief). Couples are tested in relationships regardless of their address, and people show their true essence if you simply wait and observe. Placing the focus on character, values, and the actions of your chosen should serve better than stressing over designating underwear drawers.
2010 continues to serve as the year to badger the Single Black Woman so, I find it refreshing that several of my close friends have announced engagements and pregnancies. *Adjusts bridesmaid dress & tosses rice* A close friend, @KaseoSpades, just got engaged! *throws confetti* Her road to relationship bliss was not the norm, and she experienced her share of bad relationships and poor decisions. This time however, she tried a different approach as she and her fiance began as faith-based friends (Muslim) in different cities, and fell in love entirely over the phone. That’s right. No Zoosk, eHarmony, Millionaire Matchmaker, or club rendezvous. They shouted “love” after 2 months, and…wait for it… decided to remain celibate (read NO SEX of ANY capacity in the CHAMPAGNE ROOM) until marriage! I asked @KaseoSpades a few questions about love, marriage, and making it work. Single readers, her advise could provide direction whilst waiting for your MR.,…hey, she’s engaged. *smile*
Dawnavette: So! The general background is the two of you were introduced through a mutual friend that shared the same values and goals, and you began a rather “old-fashioned” courtship. When did you know the relationship could be more than a great text/phone friendship and relationship?
@KaseoSpades: We began emailing each other and when I felt comfortable, I gave him my number. Through the phone conversations and text messages I learned his quirks, sarcasm, moods, then came the “exfoliation” period. This is when we got to the core, learning if we share the same values and qualities Allah would have us love each other for. I realized I love him simply for following Allah, and the fact he would love, provide, and respect me and my child. Ultimately, my mind decided and my heart followed.
D: You crazy kids fell in love…that’s beautiful! Why did you decide to remain celibate till marriage considering you both have had sex prior to each other? [Both have children from previous relationships]
K: Our religious belief was the primary factor. The lack of intimacy is actually great! I enjoy the sexual buildup, tension and anticipation. There is more focus on conversation and we have a deeper knowledge and understanding of each other.
D: What if you aren’t sexually compatible?
K: I am confident in my sexuality and ability to “make it work” (like Tim Gunn). The mental connection is already in place so I believe Allah/God will allow for physical compatibility and satisfaction.
D: As your relationship is not the norm, surely you’ve had opposition and skeptics. Share some of your greatest challenges.
K: Well, we decided to get married, and that meant assessing our personal comfort level with that decision. Marriage is something the couple must be more than sure about. You know rather soon in getting to know someone if you could be married to them or not. Usually family and friends, with their opinions, expectations and pressures that bring about insecurities. Their opinions are often based on their personal experiences and they are anxious to say “I told you so.” You have to be sure about the decision and ignore all doubt. Be careful who you allow into your world or with whom you share emotions. Rely on faith, because the Creator will sustain you.
D: Congratulations again on your engagement! What’s next for the two of you?
K: We’re setting a date and planning our wedding, just excited and ready to begin our lives together!
K: Have a stake in marriage and be determined to make it work rather than focus on the option to walk away. As long as it is a healthy relationship, go for it! It’s hard out here, and waiting often allows the naysayers (haters) to deter you from the decision to follow your heart. Consider all the relationships most people go through, sex included but dissolve after six months. Try putting the creator first and let him guide you to a compatible mate and happy marriage! To the skeptics, get ya faith up! It could happen to you too!
Well, alert the media, another single Black woman found a mate! LOL. Just kidding, but it’s such a joy to see people in love. More to come on the couple’s nuptials, for I’ll surely be in attendance! Thanks to @KaseoSpades for the honest take on her relationship and recent blessings. Appreciate you sis! The point in sharing her love story was not to persuade your opinion in any way, but to present an alternative perspective through a quick interview and testimony. By sharing examples of what works in Black relationships, particularly the opposite of their depiction throughout popular culture and media, affirms that the Black woman, and couple, are in fact multi-dimensional with diverse stories of success. What are some of your alternate love stories? I know you’re out there… with varied experiences in a variety of brown shades!