The Top 4 Myths About Black Marriage

Do black people get married? That question has been asked in one form or another in a series of news reports about the black marriage “crisis.” On the surface, such stories seem to be concerned about black women in search of love, but these media reports have largely served to fuel stereotypes about African Americans. Moreover, by suggesting that too few black men are available to wed, news stories on black marriage have done little more than predict doom and gloom for African American women who hope to marry.

In reality, black marriage isn’t reserved for the likes of Barack and Michelle Obama. Analysis of census data and other figures has debunked much of the misinformation floating around in the media about the black marriage rate.


Black Women Don’t Marry

The barrage of news reports about the black marriage rate gives the impression that African-American women’s chances of walking down the aisle are bleak. A Yale University study found that just 42 percent of black women are married, and a variety of high profile news networks such as CNN and ABC picked that figure up and ran with it. But researchers Ivory A. Toldson of Howard University and Bryant Marks of Morehouse College question the accuracy of this finding.

“The often-cited figure of 42 percent of black women never marrying includes all black women 18 and older,” Toldson told the Root.com. “Raising this age in an analysis eliminates age groups we don’t really expect to be married and gives a more accurate estimate of true marriage rates.”

Toldson and Marks found that 75 percent of black women marry before they turn age 35 after examining census data from 2005 to 2009. Moreover, black women in small towns have higher marriage rates than white women in urban centers such as New York and Los Angeles, Toldson remarked in the New York Times.


Educated Black Women Have it Harder

Getting a college degree is the worst thing a black woman can do if she wants to get married, right? Not exactly. News stories about black marriage often mention that more black women pursue higher education than black men — by a 2-to-1 ratio, by some estimates. But what these pieces leave out is that white women also earn college degrees more than white men do, and this gender imbalance hasn’t hurt white women’s chances at matrimony. What’s more, black women who finish college actually improve their chances of marrying rather than lower them.

“Among black women, 70 percent of college graduates are married by 40, whereas only about 60 percent of black high school graduates are married by that age,” Tara Parker-Pope of the New York Times reported.

The same trend is at play for black men. In 2008, 76 percent of black men with a college degree married by age 40. In contrast, only 63 percent of black men with just a high school diploma tied the knot. So education increases the likelihood of marriage for both African American men and women. Also, Toldson points out that black women with college degrees are more likely to marry than white female high school dropouts.


Rich Black Men Marry Out

Black men drop black women as soon as they reach a certain level of success, don’t they? While plenty of rap stars, athletes and musicians may choose to date or marry interracially when they achieve fame, the same is not true for the bulk of successful black men. By analyzing census data, Toldson and Marks found that 83 percent of married black men who earned at least $100,000 annually got hitched to black women.

The same is the case for educated black men of all incomes. Eighty-five percent of black male college graduates married black women. Generally, 88 percent of married black men (no matter their income or educational background) have black wives. This means that interracial marriage should not be held responsible for the singleness of black women.


Black Men Don’t Earn as Much as Black Women

Just because black women are more likely to graduate from college than their male counterparts doesn’t mean that they out-earn black men. Actually, black men are more likely than black women to bring home at least $75,000 annually. Plus, double the number of black men than women make at least $250,000 annually. Because of pervasive gender gaps in income, black men remain the breadwinners in the African American community.

These numbers indicate that there are more than enough financially successful black men to go around for black women. Of course, not every black woman is looking for a breadwinner. Not every black woman is even seeking marriage. Some black women are happily single. Others are gay, lesbian or bisexual and were unable to legally wed those they love until 2015 when the Supreme Court overturned the ban on gay marriage. For heterosexual black women in search of marriage, however, the forecast is not nearly as gloomy as has been portrayed in the media.

By: Nadra Kareem Nittle

Healthy Relationship

Here are a few of those things that I’ve learned do seem to say something about the strength of your union:

You Speak Your Mind

Relationships thrive when couples can express themselves freely and honestly. That means no topic is off-limits, and you both feel heard. Consistent communication is vital to building a lasting life together.

You Have Your Own Space

Just because you’re in love doesn’t mean you have to spend every moment together. Taking time to pursue your own interests and friendships keeps your relationship fresh and gives you both the opportunity to grow as individuals—even while you’re growing as a couple.  

You Fight

Disagreements are normal, so if you aren’t fighting, chances are you’re holding back. But when people in healthy relationships fight, they fight productively and fairly. That means avoiding name-calling or put-downs. It also means striving to understand your partner instead of trying to score points. And when you’re wrong? You apologize.

You Like Yourself And Your Partner

Chances are your relationship won’t suddenly get better if you win the lottery, have a baby, or move into your dream house. So don’t base your partnership on the hope that it will change. You recognize that neither of you is perfect, and you accept and value each other for who you are right now—not who you might become.

You Make Decisions Jointly

You don’t call all the shots. Neither does your partner. From what movie to see to how many children to have, you make decisions together and listen to each other’s concerns and desires. Sure, this may mean you see Transformers on Saturday night. But on Sunday night, it’s your turn.

You Find Joy

Healthy relationships are full of laughter and fun. This doesn’t mean you’re giddy every hour of the day—or that she doesn’t drive you up the wall sometimes—but it does mean that your life together is mostly happy in sometimes simple ways. (Making dinner, laughing at the same things, finishing each others’ sentences…)

You Find Balance

Sometimes your partner needs to work longer hours while you play chauffeur and chief cook. Or you must devote time to an elderly parent while your spouse tackles the chores. That’s life. What matters is that, in the long run, your trade-offs seem fair.

You Treat Each Other With Kindness

Nothing is more important than treating the person you love with care, consideration, empathy, and appreciation. If you find yourself showing more respect to people you hardly know than you show your partner, take a step back and revisit your priorities.

You Trust Each Other

Healthy relationships are built on trust and a commitment to communication without reservations or secrets. Want to know how much you trust each other now? Take this quiz  

You Let Things Go

Your partner will annoy you. You will annoy him or her, too. You will say things you don’t mean. You will behave inconsiderately. The important thing is how you deal with all this. So he forgot to pick up milk for the second time? Tell him you’re disappointed, of course—then let it go.

You Are Intimate

Sex is an important part of healthy relationships, but it’s only one part, and it’s different than intimacy, which is less about physical satisfaction than about bonding, friendship, and familiarity. If you’re in a healthy relationship, you’ll feel connected—in and out of bed.

Your Relationship Is Your Safe Place

Your relationship should be a safety net—a stable place to come home to at the end of the day. That doesn’t mean you don’t fight—it just means that when things are hard, you’d rather see your partner than commiserate with coworkers at Happy Hour.

You Talk To Your Partner, Not To Other People

When you have issues and concerns, you share them with your partner, not your Facebook friends. You can use pals as a sounding board, of course, but not as a crutch to avoid hard conversations with your significant other.

You Say The Magic Words

 “I love you”, “Thank you,” and “I’m sorry.” 

By: Devon Corneal

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