All Articles Tagged "marriage"
How important is the blessing of your mother and father when it comes to tying the knot? Could you go into a marriage knowing your parents didn’t approve of your spouse or your decision? And if they don’t, how much attention do you pay to their reservations?
I’m asking because a young woman (let’s call her Efie) I know is struggling with this. She’s in love with her boyfriend, and he feels the same. They’ve been together for about a year now and have been talking about marriage here and there. But being a Ghanaian woman, it is important that her family have a say and approve of her taking that next step.
The problem is, they don’t.
According to Efie, her mother is not a fan of her boyfriend. Not because he isn’t a good man, but because he comes with three children from previous relationships. He’s in his mid-30s if you were wondering.
Efie is rightfully upset about this and feels like she can’t freely move forward in her relationship with her boyfriend. Her father actually gave his blessing, but her mother wants her to date someone else, someone with less (or preferably no) kids, someone with a bit more “potential.” So when her boyfriend came to her family’s home bearing gifts of goodwill and looking for a “Yes, you can marry our daughter,” they were both shocked when her mother said “No.” It’s created quite a bit of drama, not only between Efie and her mom but between Efie and her boyfriend.
He wants her to think for herself since she’s an adult. And while he would have loved to receive the blessings of her parents, he asked more so out of respect, and for Efie, than for himself.
So she’s caught between a rock and a hard place, feeling like her mother is holding her back from being with the man she truly loves, and, at the same time, being hesitant about going against the people whose opinions and approval matter so much to her. Complicated or nah?
So what is a girl to do? The support of my parents is extremely important to me, as it is to many young women out there. And while I would keep in mind their reservations to ensure that my fiancé was, in fact, the right guy for me (and maybe give myself time to see where things go between us), if my heart were telling me he was the man for me, I’d politely have to tell my parents to either support me or mind their business. (I’m Nigerian though, so it would be much less curt and probably a lot more Nollywood-esque.)
There are some times where parents do know best, and base their decisions on how they’ve seen you treated. And then there are times when they simply, stubbornly believe they know best because they have certain expectations, hopes, and goals for you. But at the end of the day, it’s not their life. And if you’re making a mistake, well, such is life. It’s a mistake you will have to live with and learn from. But again, it’s your, or Efie’s, mistake to make.
How would you handle it if your parents didn’t approve of the man you wanted to marry?
When Cynthia Bailey confessed to her sister Malorie that she didn’t find Peter Thomas (who is in his mid-50s) attractive with his clothes off, coupled with the fact that he had just been caught getting close to another woman in the club, the divorce rumors immediately started. But since when did “for better or for worse” not include a few wrinkles? Marriage can’t survive every trial and tribulation, but these are ridiculous reasons to get divorced.
As a teenager, church was a crucial aspect of my life. As a matter of fact, it was the most important part of my life until I went to college. Life changed after that.
It’s crazy how something is meaningful one day, then the next it just isn’t.
For me, church was the first time I ever felt accepted by a collective group of people. I was an oddball kid, and I didn’t fit in with anyone at my high school. I was a nerd; always looking for a library and another fictional adventure to lose myself in.
My mother didn’t believe in minors going to unsupervised parties or teen lock-ins at the local skating rink. Didn’t matter how many times I asked, she wasn’t having it. So after years of being an awkward loner, aimlessly wandering, meeting and losing friends, I discovered the Youth Whole Life Network.
YWLN was the youth ministry at the church my family and I were attending at the time. Prior to becoming a youth leader, church was a routine for me. Every Sunday morning we’d start around 10:30 am and let out somewhere between 1:30 and 3 p.m., depending on how good the Holy Ghost hit that day. Praise and worship, some prayer, a hefty offering, long, boring sermon, and then altar call.
During that time, church was routine. Nothing more. Nothing less.
But after becoming a youth leader, that all changed. Church became not only an enriching place but also a social necessity. It provided me, a loner, with a chance to thrive and dwell amongst others like myself. But at a cost.
Some expectations came with church leadership. Although I was still a child, I was held to a higher standard, and I had to do more. Be more.
I was taught to pray without ceasing and spent long hours studying the intricacies of the scriptures, old and new. Long nights were spent planning youth conferences and retreats where other kids just like me could be filled with the Holy Ghost. Every fourth Sunday I found myself in the pulpit on Youth Days, nerves racked as I spewed long, powerful prayers over the congregation.
I would sit in the bathroom stall before service practicing how to pray; fitting in praise and worship clichés in between Lord We Thank Yous. The prayer had to be perfect. It had to be impactful. It had to have power.
Over time I realized, despite the many positives of being a youth leader in the church, I was developing a religion instead of an actual relationship with God.
Ten years later, both myself and the other young people I grew up with in church are all adults. We’ve graduated from our respective colleges and universities and moved forward with life. Our youth pastor, who led us with such diligence, care, and precision, now has his own ministry. About 70 percent of the youth leaders from my old church are now members of his church, and their congregation is thriving and growing more every day.
I don’t go there, or any house of worship for that matter. Years of active church leadership revealed the flaws behind the veil of ministry, and I needed to separate myself from that to have a real relationship with God.
But social media keeps us all in contact with one another. Memories of piling into the church van and ministering to other youth, traveling across the country for church retreats and the jokes and laughter I shared with my fellow youth leaders still cross my mind and leave a smile stretched across my face.
I’ve watched their lives blossom and develop through Facebook, and everyone appears to be leading rich lives. They are all married, and the majority of them have children.
Not that there is anything wrong with being married. Marriage is a beautiful thing. But everyone is married to other youth we grew up with in church.
And I just find that a tad bit odd.
After all, these former youth leaders are around my age, most of us not even close to 30. But people are in full-blown marriages with babies or babies the way, creating families. It makes me question if church influence and fear of the consequences of sex before marriage pressured some people to move sooner than they should have.
As a youth leader, we were taught about conviction, but I never fully understood it. It almost felt like beating yourself up for doing bad or “sinning.” I would find myself repeatedly repenting for the same things; seeking internal forgiveness from God–and from my church. I think we all were as we kneeled before the altar, tears running down our faces, thanking the Lord for being a forgiving God and for giving us a chance to get it right.
I learned at an early age that self-conviction was a silent killer, and any kind of sexual sin seemed to be the ultimate letdown to God. Although I wasn’t sexually active in my teenage years, I was extremely curious and would sneak to watch porn when no one was at home. As an adult, I realize it’s normal for teenagers to be curious about their bodies and sex. But as a Holy Ghost-filled, praying, retreat-planning youth leader, I was convinced after every click on YouPorn that I was going to hell.
I was a sinner. And so were others.
Growing up, when girls would get pregnant in church, they would get dismissed from ministry. A.k.a., they would “sit you down.” It was almost like church punishment for your sins. I remember multiple teenage girls getting pregnant before they were married. They were soloists in the choir or youth leaders, like me. But after they started showing, they seemed to disappear from those roles.
I think that was a fear for every youth leader. That either they’d get caught having sex or get pregnant and be ineligible for ministry. So when I noticed everyone suddenly hopping on the marriage bandwagon, that was the first thing I thought.
There was so much pressure on us to be great. To uphold righteousness and be set apart. We were told we didn’t fit in with the world because compared to those in the world, we were unequally yoked. So we all gravitated towards each other and, subsequently, started marrying each other.
But everyone is still so young.
In my mid-20s, I feel that I’m nowhere near ready for marriage. There is so much more of me to explore; pieces of me that I haven’t uncovered yet, gems within myself that have yet to shine.
I want to travel to countries I can’t pronounce, fill up a passport with rare stamps, and dine on food my mother can’t prepare. There is so much more of me to see before embarking on a lifetime partnership with someone else. Your 20s are for discovering yourself, right?
With divorce more prevalent, marriage just seems like something not worth rushing into. Yet, with my church upbringing and the Bible’s ‘no sex before marriage’ command, it’s easy to see how some can be persuaded into marriage to avoid carnal desires of the flesh. But I can’t help but feel like organized religion is dissuading people from getting the most out of life’s experiences.
One thing is for certain: Either I’m moving too slowly, or all my peers are moving full speed ahead into the rest of their lives. Or perhaps, there is a pace for everyone, and there is no race to the finish.
What do you do when your fiancé does good by getting you one of the biggest engagement rings you’ve ever seen? You put it on Instagram for the world to see. Get ready for a serious case of ring envy!
Being in love is an enthralling experience, so much so that people often forget one day that vow to love one another in sickness and in health may be challenged and saying “I do” in that moment won’t be as easy as it was on your wedding day.
One woman recently wrote to Slate’s Dear Prudence column asking if she was wrong for divorcing her husband who’s slowly dying from brain cancer because she’s found herself in another relationship.
The woman revealed, “Four years ago, my sweet and loving husband, the awesome father of our three children, was struck down by brain cancer and suffered brain trauma following emergency surgery. I’ve cared for him at home, dealing with the hassles of hospitals, insurance, family drama (his parents blame me for his health issues). He will never recover and he is declining. It is like being married to a 41-year-old Alzheimer’s patient. He does not remember me, our long marriage, or our kids. I’m trying to place him in a nursing home, but there are waiting lists.”
As the wife’s relationship with her husband continued to dissolve because of his health issues, she met a man a year ago whom she fell in love with. At first, the two were friends and the man would help her with errands, household chores, rearing her children, and even caring for her husband. As they spent more time together, the woman and man became exclusive and she decided to divorce her ailing husband. As these plans unfolded, life threw a miraculous curveball. “ My boyfriend and I recently found out that, despite using protection, I’m pregnant. We are excited, as once I am legally able, we want to marry. My family is not happy, as in their eyes this is not appropriate, and they have been icing me out.”
Slate’s Prudence assertively responded congratulating the woman for her pregnancy and finding a supportive man. She also told the woman to have a conversation with her family members about their behavior to help bridge the gap that is widening between them. “As for your family, they deserve nothing but scorn for their attitude, and for apparently not being there to help you provide care for your husband and your suffering children, but I understand you don’t want to create a breach that would be even worse for the kids. I suggest you try to arrange for them to visit the grandparents. Your children need their extended family, and they also need a break from their dying father. Maybe that visit will provide a bridge to better communication.”
Interestingly, Prudence didn’t say much about the woman’s new relationship except for her to be prepared to raise children with a man she’s not married to. Marriage aside, I don’t think the woman’s budding relationship is necessarily wrong, though it raises an interesting question: If your spouse is physically bedridden and their health is declining, do you get a pass to cheat on them?
I’m sure the woman had no ill intent towards her husband as she pursued her new relationship. I can understand how frustrated she must’ve felt watching him succumb to the disease while raising their children alone with no familial help. In my opinion, her boyfriend is a supportive godsend. Though their relationship didn’t begin at an ideal time, I don’t believe in prolonging your happiness when it comes to getting the love you think you deserve, no matter how it looks to outsiders.
Should the woman have waited until her husband died to start a new life?
Do you have trouble understanding your significant other’s money mindset? Try as you may, you just can’t get the financial priorities of your mate? Well that’s because when it comes to money matters men and women seem to speak a different language.
“Many people think differently about money,” explained Marsha Barnes, founder of The Finance Bar, a mobile hub offering personal finance resources and advice. “In many cases, we’re told that men absolutely think differently, and while this is accurate in many ways it’s not always the gospel truth.
“For men and women, our beliefs and past experiences shape our thinking. However, there are some pretty fair differences in the way that I’ve found men to think differently about money when compared to women,” she added. “Men have a tendency to feel more confident about their money and what they deserve compared to women. In many situations men are more apt to negotiate salaries than women. As women, we have a belief of simply being thankful for opportunities while men have a strong belief in being compensated for what they’re worth.”
Usually, that gap in thinking between the sexes is due to different priorities, Barnes noted. “In many cases men are focused on the key need to eat and survive while women are focused on lifestyle and dressing the part. Unfortunately, there are deep roots that continue to remind women that we must dress up to measure up. Women are very detail oriented while men often see the big picture. For example, ‘How does this purchase help us long-term?’ is a question that men will likely ask.”
Sometimes, due to a lack of confidence when it comes to money, the fear of losing money, or self-esteem issues when it comes to seeking money, women can be hesitant to investment major amounts of money, and take their time when figuring out investment goals. According to some experts, the slower investment approach of women might actually be the way to go. ”It’s interesting that women are usually perceived as being more emotional than men, yet their more-conservative approach to investing often ends up being a better choice, long-term,” Christopher Kimball, president, CK Financial Services, said.
But if you want to get on a joint financial path with your partner, it’s time to learn a new language, and practice full financial disclosure. “It’s always necessary to come to the table and ask your honey to show you their finances. If this conversation doesn’t take place prior to marriage everyone will be left to assume what the other is thinking. Create an open dialogue about your beliefs around lifestyle, shopping, trust, credit cards, travel, debt, lending money, planning for retirement and understanding if you will need a finance gatekeeper for the home,” said Barnes.
One great way to get the conversation started is to set up a regular time and day to discuss your finances. “There should also be consistent conversations around money (finances), I like to refer to them as Money Dates. The more comfortable you become with discussing your thoughts and beliefs, the less confusion there will be,” Barnes suggested.
This is something all couples, regardless of their financial situation, should do. Not speaking the same money language as your mate can lead to a lot of miscommunication, which in turn could cause relationship problems and even divorce. “Money can often be the wrench that tears relationships apart,” Barnes pointed out. “Topics around spending too much, saving too little, or the lack of priority around paying bills can wear greatly on even the strongest marriages. Money decisions and actions point back to the level of respect that either spouse has for their family. How does my husband or wife plan to protect me financially if we’re not even having the conversations? This ultimately equates to how serious and committed we are in ensuring that, financially, our home is a place of comfort and reassurance.
While you may think money shouldn’t be discussed until someone puts a ring on it, Kimball said these conversations should be happening long before then. “It is critical for couples to have in-depth discussions about money matters before engaging in any sort of long-term relationship. Money is one of the top three problem areas in marriage (the other two being sex and communication. People often joke that the problem in marriage is communication about sex and money!”
Sometimes learning a new money language requires a professional, so if you are finding it difficult to speak with your partner reach out to a financial advisor. “It’s important to add balance to each other’s perspective which will alleviate the unknown,” Barnes said. “Both short-term and long-term goals will be conquered once you are speaking the same financial language. Some questions to think about are: How much would we like to have in an emergency fund? Where would we prefer to live? Will we rent or buy a home? How many kids will we have and how does that look from a financial standpoint. Those are necessary questions that require honest dialogue. The only way to see the future is to plan for the future.”
Wedding planning can bring out the best and worst in brides-to-be. Depending on how they envision their wedding day, some brides would prefer their friends place their lives on hold for their big day — literally.
For instance, there are some women who have openly stated they would be infuriated if one if their friends became engaged before or on her wedding day. While others, in an effort to have their big day be a perfect fairy tale, would rather their friends not become pregnant or get married also as they plan for their upcoming nuptials.
Droves of women opened up about these fears on The Wedding Bee, believing if their friends were to wed before they do their creative ideas would be stolen. Some even shared that their newly engaged friend may not be of much help because she would be more focused on planning her own big day.
Within the same social board chat, a man opened up about not wanting to play “second fiddle” to his friend who decided to propose to his girlfriend a few weeks before he did: “If it hasn’t been made clear, I’m trying to propose to my girlfriend, and I just don’t want her moment to be any less magical than she imagined it. I’m a little bummed that my friend bumped up his proposal date that close to my plans, but if it doesn’t seem like it’d affect many ladies, I’ll accept it and be happy for everyone.”
A newly engaged woman nervously wrote on The Knot about not wanting to steal her friend’s moment when she decided to get married a month before her friend. She shared, “I live abroad and most of my friends still live in the US. A few months ago, one of my good friends called with news that she was engaged and plans to marry next autumn (yay!). I’ve already said that I will fly back to America to attend her wedding. This week I’ve just become engaged…and we need to be married next summer for immigration reasons and plan to do it in the country where I currently live.” She continued, “I’m nervous about calling my friend to tell her that I’m engaged and will be getting married before her. I don’t want her to feel like she has to find money to fly to my wedding abroad when she is saving for her own upcoming wedding. I also don’t want to seem like I’m “stealing her thunder” by getting married first.”
I asked those around me if they would have an issue with their friends getting married before them and the answers I received were rather interesting. My best friend said she would be happy for any friend who weds before her whereas a coworker revealed she wouldn’t mind, but she would make sure her wedding was better than her friend’s. When I asked if it was okay for a friend to get engaged on the bride’s wedding day, emotions flared. My best friends and co-worker said that was rude and taking away from the bride and her groom’s day (especially since they didn’t pay the venue fees). My bestie also noted that the friend’s significant other may be viewed as lazy if he didn’t plan his own proposal and used someone else’s wedding as his personal backdrop. As for pregnancies, one co-worker shared she would prefer none of her bridesmaids became pregnant because she doesn’t want them to “waddle down the wedding aisle.” Another co-worker said she would be more concerned if the pregnant friend could not help or participate in certain wedding activities. Personally, I could care less. I would be more excited to have a wedding and change my last name because (#N*ggaWeMadeIt).
Also, I think I would be more focused on spending an important day with those I genuinely love; because, you’ll never have another event where all your family members are together, at the same time.
Despite the personal preferences we all have, I do think it’s interesting how we try to control the lives of others as we prepare for our own important milestones. It’s as though we think a friend’s life-changing moment may subtract from the attention and well wishes we may receive. Most important, I believe this behavior makes us believe we’ll only have one (or very) few moments in life to feel exceptional. This level of competition pushes brides to be overly dramatic. For example, one woman told other Wedding Bee users she became extremely angry when her friends got married before her although she decided to have a 28-month engagement. Because of this she found herself not celebrating her friends but becoming envious of them. Although other Wedding Bee users said her feelings were valid, sounds like she was just a green-eyed bride-to-be. Thoughts?
While I was under the hair dryer last night, I found myself scrolling through The Shade Room’s Instagram page. I came across their latest debate-worthy post that was a simple picture of a birthday cake. On the cake, the candles were neatly placed to display the number 35. Instead of the typical “Happy Birthday” message, “#NoBabyDaddy” was written in icing on the cake. It was written as if to say that being without a child and a “baby daddy” was on par with celebrating making it through another year of life.
While the birthday cake could have been a hilarious inside joke between friends, followers of The Shade Room felt the need to either justify the cake receiver’s celebration or call them out:
“My only issue with this is why is it such an accomplishment to not have kids??? I’m pretty sure there’s something else in his/her life that could be celebrated. Oh and wait, when did being a mother with a kid (s) mean that you’re lonely??? Just like having no kids doesn’t mean you’re lonely, same goes for a person with kids. Smh”
“She’s bothered. Why else would you have this sorry cake made and then post it. Her life must be empty.”
“Eggs gettin’ old though”
“The world is so twisted now. People are so used to seeing things done the wrong way that it has become the right way. I’m 29, 30 in March, no kids/baby daddy. My mama had me when she was 31 and my lil sister at 32 after she married my dad. It’s better to wait till you’re older anyway because chances are you’re more stable and mature. I know plenty of folks that have had kids in their 30’s and even one at 40. I know stuff happens and people get pregnant and end up with baby daddies but quit putting it out there like it’s the thing to do, confusing our young generation.”
The comments under the post turned into quite the debate as people went at it, shaming those who say they are waiting to have kids or don’t plan to, as well as criticizing those who already have children but are not with the father of those babies. All this left me wondering, do people think single women are better than women with children and vice versa?
I winced as I read the cake, remembering how, as naive college students, my friends and I would pity “baby mamas” as though they received a death sentence for becoming pregnant by men who were nowhere near well-to-do Black men who worked on Wall Street and could provide five-carat rings. We were pretty young-minded.
At this time in my life, I can understand not wanting a child and the man who comes with it right now. It takes maturity, stable finances, and patience, to say the least, to have a healthy relationship when a child is involved. Most importantly, if you want your child to be successful, you have to invest in their education and personal development, all of which takes time. At 26, I lack all of that. Therefore, I’m not ready for motherhood. But I applaud women who are good mothers and balance all of their responsibilities. Between my career, community service and personal life, I easily get exhausted and cranky, craving sleep as though I haven’t had a good night’s rest in ages. So, I don’t know how many women do it.
However, my current disposition never makes me feel like I’m doing better in life or made better decisions when compared to my cousins who’ve had children out of wedlock. To be honest, they’ve given me insight on how I want to raise my children in the future, and have taught me how to be patient with kids. Also, if we were to be real, many single women would have multiple “baby daddies” if contraception, Plan B, abortions and divine intervention were not at their disposal.
I believe the reason this tired debate continues is because “baby mamas” are viewed by some as the women who lacked the self-esteem or self-worth to wait or require marriage from their said “baby daddies,” and in the end, got duped. Single women, on the other hand, are criticized as people who couldn’t find men to be with them, let alone have a child with them.
And it’s all complete foolishness.
Whatever your circumstances, with child or childless, you’ll never be able to hide from life’s curveballs. So we need to do a better job of supporting one another and being less judgmental. Because what works for the goose, doesn’t necessarily jibe with the gander.
These celebrities decided not to untie the knot, and you might be surprised at the reasons why. Should they stay together or should they go their separate ways?
Many of us love to hug our significant others. Whether it is in the morning, after work or before bed, hugs are a good way to express your appreciation and love for your partner. A hug helps increase intimacy and, most importantly, allows you to plant a few kisses on your boo, too.
And while most of us love to be squeezed by our main squeeze, there is one woman in America who hates to hug her husband. According to her, he is just doing way too much.
The woman wrote to Slate’s “Dear Prudence” column about her husband, whom she referred to as a “hug bully”:
My husband forces me to give him hugs. I know this sounds like a really stupid problem to have. He has created a “hug toll,” and he won’t let me leave the room until I give him a hug. Here are some examples. I am running late for work and need to rush out the door. He will physically block my exit until I give him a hug. He doesn’t do this in a way that will hurt me; he’ll just pick me up until I give him his hug then he’ll let me go. Another scenario is when we are downstairs and I have to use the bathroom. He will block the stairs until I hug him. It’s really annoying. Sometimes I just don’t feel like giving hugs. I have told him this, but he just laughed at me. The hug “tax” is really obnoxious. How do I make it stop? He is 100 pounds heavier than me and a foot taller, so I can’t push my way out. How can I make it stop, Prudence? I love hugging him, just not on command. He’s a hug bully.
Prudence responded swiftly, telling the woman that most people treat their pets better than her husband is currently treating her.
“Your very large husband manhandles you when you’re on your way out the door or even going to the bathroom. This is profoundly not OK. People treat their pets with more respect for their autonomy than he’s giving you. You need to tell him this has to stop—now. Explain that he is undermining the very basis of your marriage, and you cannot continue to feel as if your own home is the equivalent of Checkpoint Charlie.”
Auntie Prudence doesn’t mince words!
When I read the woman’s plea for advice, I began to think about the word I would give this woman if she were my friend. To be honest, I don’t think I would give sound advice because I wouldn’t react calmly to this situation, especially if I needed to go to the bathroom (somebody would get cursed out if they held me and my bladder back). Because of this, I wonder if the husband uses his “hug toll’ to trigger his wife’s anger, if he has always been this clingy, or if he feels unappreciated because they don’t physically touch each other more often. If I were this woman, I would not only communicate how immature this practice is to him, but I would also try to understand why he is desperately seeking out an embrace each time I desire to leave the room. Seriously, what is that about? What is he not saying verbally that he’s trying to communicate through such an invasive practice? If that doesn’t work, I’m sure my husband would be hugging a blow-up doll, and not me, very soon.
What advice would you give this woman and how would you deal with a partner who is a “hug bully”?