All Articles Tagged "marriage material"

Long-Term Girlfriend or Wife Material? Do You Really Need a Ring?

June 22nd, 2014 - By Brooke Dean
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A friend of mine recently celebrated her 3 year wedding anniversary and posted pics on social media from that day as a way to reminisce. In many of her photos were pics of her proud parents who had been together for over 20 years. I found myself saying a silent prayer that she and her husband’s marriage would last as long as her parents’ had – until I remembered that her parents were never married.

That got me to thinking – is my friend’s union more “official” than her parents’ because she is actually married? And knowing that her parents have been together for so long, what made her want to get married as opposed to simply being in a long-term, committed relationship with her man – which is essentially the same thing right? Is there a big difference between being a lifelong girlfriend or partner as opposed to being a wife?

I remember once hearing Oprah say that she never wanted to get married because she didn’t want to let Stedman down as a wife. Yet they have been together for over 25 years and are still going strong. Wouldn’t some argue that she’s still just as much his wife as if she had that piece of paper stating so? After all, they live and have built a life together, so isn’t that a “marriage”? What about the commitment of marriage is so different from simply dating for a long period of time?

I guess some put a certain amount of expectations on a husband or a wife that they wouldn’t put on someone who is “just” a girlfriend or boyfriend – so if there’s no pressure, then there’s room for the relationship to simply “be.” While some say that divorce should not be an option when it comes to marriage, maybe simply knowing that you have an “out” if you wanted to leave has some sort of reverse psychology, Jedi mind trick thing going on that actually keeps some couples from breaking up.

I realize that there are legal benefits that kick in automatically when a couple decides to marry, but that same couple could just as easily, in some cases, execute those same benefits in a living will or other legal document. And more and more couples are having children outside of wedlock, but does that mean their union is any less “real” than a legally married couple, especially if they’ve been together for 10, 20 or 30 years?

I never understood couples who have been together for upwards of 20 years who say marriage isn’t for them. I figured that they were essentially married anyway, just not on paper – which is common law in some states – so what about it didn’t appeal to them if they’re living as a married couple anyway? But then again maybe it’s not for me to understand. Marriage for many is a very personal, individual concept, and perhaps those couples don’t believe in the Western concept of marriage, or “institutionalized” relationships. But if you know in your heart that you are more “long-term girlfriend” material rather than “wife” material, there is nothing wrong with that – even if you wind up being someone’s girlfriend til death do you part. After all, you can’t have a marriage without commitment, but you can have a commitment without marriage – and as long as that’s what both of you want there is no need for the rest of us to label it.

Dating A Man with Less Could Be Your Ticket To Marriage

April 16th, 2014 - By CAP
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You’d think young black successful women would have their pick of the litter when it comes to men right? Wrong! I’m sure everyone has heard the stories and statistics associated with young unmarried professional black women. It almost makes you want to stifle your success and underachieve just to find a man.

Many women in this predicament start to compromise, for example by dating outside their race when they would prefer not to or finding nontraditional ways to meet men like shady online dating sites. But when is it time to compromise on how successful your man has to be?

I would assume that for most women marrying a man of equal or greater financial, educational, and career status would be ideal, but many times this pool of men is already taken. For example, in my graduating MBA class at Howard a large number of my male classmates who went on to become investment bankers and corporate managers, were either engaged while in the program or already married. Among the women in the class, I was the only one engaged, while the rest of the women in the class were single, and many not in a serious relationship at all.

So the saying the “good” guys are already taken, might have a bit of merit. But we might be overlooking the brothers who are late in the game with starting a career. I’m referring to the guy who may have gotten into a bit of trouble in his youth, or chose not to go to college and as a result has a slow paced career progression. Now don’t confuse the man with a slow start with the man who has no ambition. I’m not talking about him. Unless you are comfortable with being the indefinite breadwinner and/or sole provider I’d stay away from that guy. No, I’m talking about the guy with mounds of potential and ambition that hasn’t quite found his path to a lucrative career. In a recent MN feature Camille Edwards, VP at ABC, advises women of color to be more open about the man they are seeking, stating, “Just because they’re one thing today doesn’t mean they’ll always be that.”

I’d have to agree with that comment. According to the Journal for Blacks in Higher Education, black women account for over 58 percent of African American college graduates, meaning black women are graduating college at a faster rate than black men. So there are more black women of the world educated and career advancing, while many black men are getting slower starts to their careers.

I have to admit, my husband was one of those men. He chose not to attend college, but the military instead and chose a career that likely would have a modest earning potential. However, he has always been ambitious, which is something you can’t learn and carries a lot of weight. After we linked, I was able to leverage what I knew about business and with support and a bit of nudging, he has a well-paying career and even higher earning potential.

I’m not quite sure if I would do this all over again later in life. It took a lot of time investment and if I’m a woman of a certain age and want to start a family, I might be searching for a more established man to get cooking with. As one of my closest friends, a marketing executive at a large beverage company, said at 30, she’s “not interested in a project.” But at this rate that may be her only option.

7 Times You’ll Feel Confused About Your Feelings For Your Man

March 19th, 2013 - By Julia Austin
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No couple feels one hundred percent enthusiastic about each other every single day, for their entire relationship. Even the man who is “perfect” for you may fail to excite you, sometimes for months at a time. But it’s important to know when it’s your partner’s doing, or life’s doing. Sometimes what feels like the end is just a bump in the road and if you’d stick it out, you’d be so happy you did. Here are seven of those bumps that will make you question your feelings for your partner.

Stop Playing With That Man! Signs You’re Not Really Serious About Him

February 1st, 2013 - By Julia Austin
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Source; Shutterstock

Source; Shutterstock

Let’s face it: everybody wants to fall head over heels for somebody. Even the self-proclaimed lifetime players would give up that lifestyle for someone who swept them off their feet because you can’t choose when you fall in love. And just like you can’t decide not to feel in love if you are, you can’t decide to feel in love, if you’re not. But, since the concept seems so good on paper, sometimes we (yes, mostly women) will tell ourselves, “This is love” when really he’s just not the one. Here are signs you’re not that serious about him, hard as you may try to be.

Are You a Kenya Moore? 10 Signs You’re Desperate For Marriage

January 12th, 2013 - By Brooke Dean
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If you’re a fan of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, you’ve probably become very familiar with Kenya Moore, the resident desperate woman who, as “Gone-With-The-Wind-Fabulous” as she is, still hasn’t found her Prince Charming. She’s made it known on almost every episode of Season five that she is more than ready to be married and have children, pressuring her poor [faux] boyfriend Walter to put a ring on it.

While there is nothing wrong with knowing what you want and going after it, there is a difference between actively pursuing romance and desperately trying to find a husband.  In case you don’t already know, desperation isn’t hot by any means. As a woman who is knocking on 40 herself, I understand her level of concern – especially as it pertains to having children. But pressuring yourself and others into marriage can cause more harm than good if you’re not careful. If the following describes your approach to looking for a relationship with marriage in mind, it’s time to slow down and take it easy before you find yourself with the wrong guy, or pushing the right one away.

He Is NOT The One: Signs He Doesn’t Have His Life Together

November 28th, 2012 - By Julia Austin
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There always seems to be someone that is about to hire him, or publish his novel, or invest in his start up idea. But all the talk in the world can’t cover it up when it’s just so clear, a guy does not have his life together. Not even close. Moocher, slacker, loser—call it what you will—here are signs you’re dealing with one.

Fear And Other Things: 14 Unhealthy Reasons To Stay In A Relationship

October 2nd, 2012 - By Julia Austin
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How can you tell if your relationship is unhealthy for you? (

A healthy relationship is the perfect balance between comfort and something that pushes you outside your comfort zone, rational and a little bit of fantasy, sexual and emotional chemistry. Lean a little far one way or the other and you have a relationship that could easily be broken by the ever-changing climate of life. Don’t even base your relationship on these elements.

Predicting The Future: How To Tell What Your Man Will Be Like in 10 Years

September 21st, 2012 - By Julia Austin
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Right now you and your guy have no major financial responsibilities, no kids and you’re both still attractive and energetic. So, what’s there to worry about? Well, time. Some behaviors and habits that are cute or at least harmless now could be what make a man impossible to live with later. Or, they could be what make him a great partner for life.

15 Crazy Thoughts About Love and Insecurities All Women Have Had

September 7th, 2012 - By Julia Austin
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You’re not crazy: you’re just female. And I don’t mean that in a derogatory way. I mean that in the sense that you are a woman that lives in this world, today, dealing with this crazy scene of online dating/Facebook/casual sex/open relationships and all the other confusing elements that come with being a modern day woman. You may think you’ve lost your mind if you’ve thought these thoughts but really, you’re strange if you haven’t!

The Love Of Your Life: What Actually Makes Love Last A Lifetime?

July 22nd, 2012 - By Julia Austin
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It’s the burning question that you ask yourself every time you’re a bridesmaid (yet again), or you go through another breakup, or a man tells you he’s not looking for anything serious but you secretly know he’s just not looking for you. And when you start to answer it, you probably start to analyze yourself, and your exes. You try to understand what is wrong with you, and what was wrong with them. But you’re missing the point, which is this: it’s not about who you are as an individual, or who he is as an individual. It’s about what happens when the two of you come together. A guy might seem great on paper, but for some reason, it didn’t work. And that’s because what’s more important than character traits, is dynamics. Like these:

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