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What Marriage Looks Like To Me(n)

January 19th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Once again, I’m falling behind on things at the day job, so I have to prioritize accordingly. That being said, I can’t write one of my usual lengthy posts and instead have to make this one short. Please bare with me as I try to get myself caught up, I promise you all, posts will go back to their regular length soon, and hopefully, I will get my usual substantial number of commenters back. I’m beginning to wonder why y’all are so quiet these days, has it been because everything I write lately has been so on point and impenetrable to outside opinion that you all are just nodding your head in agreement? I’m kidding, because I know that couldn’t be the case, unless it is, in which case, carry on.

Putting business aside, let’s move onto today’s topic, one of my favorites: Marriage.

Of course, I know nothing about this topic from personal experience, only outside observations, so I’m not really qualified to wax poetically on it from an insider’s perspective. But I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who asked me why single and unmarried men look at marriage as some sort of prison sentence or analogous to death. My reply, below.

The men who think of marriage as some sort of prison sentence are kind of exaggerating their point of view. We don’t really see it as prison, because let’s face it, prison sucks. Period. Marriage is more like signing up to be in one of the armed services.

There’s a lot of honor in getting married, but the commitment is huge, and while you don’t lose complete control of your life, you do have to give up a significant chunk of it. Also, let us not forget, just like enlisting in one of the armed services, marriage comes with risks, huge risks. If you’re not careful, it’ll be the end of you.

Now there, does that make marriage sound so bad?

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  • Jessica N Bell

    this was not very eloquent. let’s revisit it when u have the time to flesh out the metaphor. perhaps by then u’ll see the need to abandon it and go back to the drawing board. 🙂

  • hu2011

    yes, it does actually. marriage is beautiful and wonderful, it surrenders lust for love and brings new meaning to life. to compare marriage to the armed forces, something that signifies war and death, isn’t the best metaphor.

  • All Ears

    Ouch… I thought it was a rather good anology… What would you compare marriage to? I’m curious.

  • KitKatCuty84

    My mother and father are the ideal of Black love, marriage and commitment. They’ll have been married for 35 years in June, were college sweethearts at a VERY awesome school, to which both their children attended and now they have a law practice together. Honestly, I was messed up before watching all the rom-coms and reading all the romance novels, because I GREW UP looking at a fairytale romance that seems more and more rare as time passes and generations change.

    That being said, my parents HATE the common idea that men are giving up so much. You could do SO MUCH more with your life (according to them), if you teamed up with someone who has your back, pooled your resources, worked together and built EACH OTHER up. Add the that amazing love, a companion, friendship, sex and trust, and marriage sounds awesome. To be honest, the guys running from it seem like complete FOOLS when you really look at how amazing and beneficial marriage could be. Honestly, I wish my parents could spread the word across all the nation to all the dudes that I have the displeasure of meeting/dating. Y’all REALLY have it wrong.

  • Jessica N Bell

    lol. the iliad and the odyssey. renovating a house or an apartment. buying a house. training/entering a marathon. yawn. yawn. yawn. the challenge to this post would obviously be to stick it out and elaborate. but abandoning ship would make for a great apology to the readers with ruffled feathers. let’s keep it interesting. 🙂

  • adrina hinton

    Ok armed services was better than the “prison” analogy most men of the 21st century run to. The fact is that marriage, or any active healthy relationship for that matter, takes a certain amount of work. I think that is the thing that most PEOPLE, especially men, run from or dread when talking about marriage. My observation, marriage is like any other job, you have to communicate effectively, work accordingly and you know that part in your job description that says, “any other duties as assigned by management,” yeah your have to expect that too! Truth is, yes Jozen is a man and thus writes from the male perspective, but what he expresses applies to MANY a woman today. There are plenty that know, and declare, that they are not ready for that kind of commitment. Yes marriage is a beautiful thing and you are gaining so much by joining in that union, but if you enter into a marriage before you are ripe pickings then you end up losing yourself, and your mate loses you too. Ok thats my 2cents…signed, a single girl 🙂

  • Dancinggreenapple

    I have to disagree with the other commenters. I think it’s a great analogy. Being in the armed forces does not signify only war and death. It signifies honor, sacrifice, commitment and selflessness. It’s all about perception. Some ppl think a person is crazy to voluntarily enroll in risking his/her life to protect this country, while others see it as admirable, a call of duty, and honor. The same way for marriage. Some ppl think that marriage is ridiculous and don’t understand why any man or woman would voluntarily sign up to be put your trust, happiness and future partially in someone else’s hand. Others relish at the thought of falling in love and giving up the “I’s” for “us”.
    You can look at our armed forces and see life or you can look at it and see death. The same goes for marriage and ultimately is your perception that will determine your results.

  • All Ears

    Wait… What?

  • Jessica N Bell

    What would you compare marriage to?

    the iliad and the odyssey. renovating a house or an apartment. buying a house. training/entering a marathon.

    things that can be really promising and come about with the best of intentions…but could result in an epic failure.

    so yes enlisting in the military is an admirable, honorable, sacrificial thing to do. it could also go terribly wrong. just like training for a marathon, renovating a house, and the ups and downs of Homer’s epic tales. so the problem is not that the analogy itself is bad, it just needs to be made more clear for readers. so you won’t get hate mail from angry black women. lol.

  • Anonymous

    “If you teamed up with someone who has your back, pooled your resources, worked together and built EACH OTHER up. Add the amazing love, a companion, friendship, sex and trust, and marriage sounds awesome. ”

    If this is what people sought or even got when they got married, I would agree that marriage is a wonderful thing. But to use an old phrase it is easier said than done. I am not married and why would like to have relationship that resonate with all those traits you mentioned. As a matter of fact sometimes I would just settle for “…teamed up with someone who has your back, pooled your resources, worked together and built EACH OTHER up.”

    Even that is hard to find. Your parents have found the key to their successful marriage what many of us, especially men see is a lot of unsuccessful marriages and even when they last they have unhappy people. Deep down most us don’t really think marriage is not good for us, it’s just that we don’t see those benefits on display.

    Plus men and women tend to approach marriage different, men generally view marriage as a life change to enhance who they are and many women seem to think it means now I can stop pretending I like who he is and start transforming him into whom I want him to be.
    You see how the prison or military can be interchanged for this state?

  • KitKatCuty84

    “…what many of us, especially men see is a lot of unsuccessful marriages…”

    Are you implying that women don’t also see unsuccessful marriages? Everyone sees the unsuccessful versions of the good things we all strive for. We look forward to having our first drink at 21, even though we’ve seen alcoholics. We look forward to taking a trip abroad even though we’ve heard stories about American’s getting kidnapped. We look forward to getting our own apartment even though we know it makes us less mobile and adds a whole heap of responsibility and stress.

    We ALL KNOW what COULD happen, but dudes seem to be the main ones focusing on it and letting it stop them from pursuing an ideal. And yes, it IS an ideal. Which means yes, it IS hard to achieve. It’s not around every corner. Every girl/guy you meet isn’t going to be the one. MOST of the girls/guys you meet aren’t going to be the one. That’s why it’s the ONE. It’s scarce and extremely valuable, and dating, which USED to be the way people tried to find it, is being DEvalued, and so now we’re getting STUCK with people that, if we’d taken the time, we’d KNOW weren’t the ONE.

    So yeah, I get that it’s tough. That’s no reason to say it’s not something worth pursuing, and I see no basis at all for why MEN should be any more afraid of it than anyone except that that’s the status quo. Lets change that. Lets wise up and stop acting like all traditions are BS. They’re NOT. They came about for a reason and they’ve lasted for a reason and I, for one, don’t want to be another person in this generation that tries to bring everything crashing down.

  • ♞ they call me kj ♞

    this exchange could be a good analogy for marriage…lol.

  • JusMe

    As I’ve been told, I am a rare female. I have doubts on marriage. Idk maybe I’ll grow out of it (I’m 22) but right now I can’t picture myself married. Fear of failed relationships, I suppose. Parents are divorced and I dealt (and still having issues) with a major breakup from my daughter’s father after 6 years of being together. My current boyfriend wants to get married in the future and I kinda cringe but I’m working on it.

  • Aries_Rose

    One thing I am starting to learn (slowly but surely) is that I’ve let a lot of possibilities go because I was afraid of the risks involved. I believe we are a generation that often gets so afraid of getting it wrong that sometimes we miss opportunities to get it right. It’s scary to pledge your life with somebody when you honestly will never know what happens in the future. As a woman I don’t know when or if I will ever completely get passed this notion so it stands, I’m still working out my fears about marriage.

  • Aries_Rose


    I can relate to how you feel. What I try to do (and it is definitely a process) is to understand that some things are just out of my control and potentially a risk. Sometimes we land on our feet, sometime we don’t, but at the end of the day, we will end up as we are supposed to. Good luck! : )

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  • Naijababelove

    i don’t know about anyone else, but ever since the comments section started being powered by disqus, i can’t comment from my blackberry anymore, which sucks because that’s the way i read all of your posts.

    as a married person, i wouldn’t equate marriage with the armed services. my main objection for joining the military is that you could literally lose your life for, at best a sense of altruism to your country. more likely is that it’s a job and want to “see the world” or get school paid for and think that this is a good way to do it.

    since there are other jobs in the world which don’t include the possibility of being shot at, i can’t really see what the personal benefits are for joining the military. no doubt, i’m really grateful that there are people that make that decision, it’s just not for me.

    marriage, on the hand has plenty of benefits. a life partner, kids, and family. yeah, there are some hard times, but only a very miniscule chance of being killed, and that’s only if you picked the wrong person.

    i’m a woman, so maybe i’m biased on this one. sounds silly, but i would compare marriage more to the three-legged race we used to do back in elementary school. you’re tied to this other person in such a way that when they move, it affects you. if they decide to stop, you’re stopped as well. basically anything that the two of you are going to accomplish takes coordination, communication and must be done together or you’re just wasting time.

  • Ne

    Hmm, I’m not sure about comparing Marriage to enlistment in the Armed Services. The Armed Service is completely voluntary, comes with an at-will contract, and some nice tangible benefits, including free education, health care, and so on. Marriage no so much, just saying.

    But I will say this, I used to say Marriage license should come with a renew clause to review the marriage contract & progression at 2yrs, 5yrs, 7yrs, 11yrs, and every 5yrs following just to be sure both partners are living up to the agreement…

    And to address yesterday’s post and other posts related to casual sex, I can’t relate to the concept, thought process, or action…just saying

  • Dancinggreenapple

    “my main objection for joining the military is that you could literally lose your life for, at best a sense of altruism to your country. ” < how about a sense of altruism, and continued freedom for future citizens? Some ppl have no idea what servicemen and women do and DIE for us. *smh*

    "more likely is that it's a job and want to "see the world" or get school paid for and think that this is a good way to do it." < I also know many folks that need medical benefits, a tax cut, a shopping spree, or a destination vacation and they think a marriage and honeymoon are the best way to get it….

    "marriage, on the hand has plenty of benefits. a life partner, kids, and family. yeah, there are some hard times, but only a very miniscule chance of being killed…." < Personal benefits of military service – a national brotherhood, personal & professional growth, continued freedom in this country. yeah, there are hard times, but there's also a chance a city's entire population could get killed if they didn't protect us….

    "sounds silly, but i would compare marriage more to the three-legged race we used to do back in elementary school." <<< Please stop while you're ahead… A 3-legged race in elementary is more comparable? The benefits of this race are more related to the the benefits of marriage? You also have a "life partner, kids, family" and a feeling of accomplishment in this race too, right?

    Apologies for my snarky tone, but come on son!

  • Anonymous

    Not implying that women did not see what I stated but I can only write what I know.
    50% of drinkers do not become alcoholics and I am certain if they did we would be looking to bring back Prohibition. But near 50% of marriages end in divorce.

    I am not anti-marriage if you should know, my parents have been married for nearly 45 years, I would not say happily for all that time but they are still sticking it out. But I also know that the world has changed and how we view marriage has changed. It no longer holds the high status it once did and unfortunately is not the place where many children are being reared.

    I think rather highly of marriage, so I would agree that it is an ideal but I am reasonable enough to know that we have lost an understanding of what it takes to make a marriage beneficial to both men and women. Which I can tell you is a primary reason for many men’s fear…they cannot or are not being shown the benefits not at home, in the media or in the society. In sales they teach you that people will resist buying things that they do not feel or are shown will improve their lives.
    “Marriage is not a love affair. A love affair is a totally different thing. A marriage is a commitment to that which you are. That person is literally your other half. And you and the other are one. A love affair isn’t that. That is a relationship of pleasure, and when it gets to be unpleasurable , it’s off. But a marriage is a life commitment, and a life commitment means the prime concern of your life. If marriage is not the prime concern, you are not married.” Joseph Campbell

  • Anonymous

    I think some of your blogs have been teetering on the “reaching for material” side lately and haven’t really been sparking real thought or discussion. Especially all of these neurotic I can’t date women who: no1 likes, have cute friends, don’t own sex toys, wear football jerseys, don’t work out, etc postings. Then, when you do post about more substantial topics (like this), it’s pretty short (as you’ve noted). Hence, less comments.

  • Vetcanty83

    Comments have probably been a bit sparse because lately you have been talking about ex girlfriends, sleeping around, monogamy, marriage…etc. I think your readers realize you are going through some sort of transition and don’t want to interfere with this process. Believe me though people are reading

  • Naijababelove

    ok, i feel a cynthia bailey-“friend contract” moment coming on…

    the three legged race was an (admittedly facetious) metaphor for a situation where your fortune/destiny is directly linked with the actions of another person and where it takes a lot of communication and trust to get things accomplished. if your spouse is slipping or doesn’t have their stuff together, both of y’all’s stuff is jacked.

    my comments on joining the military were just that-mine. i don’t expect anyone else to see it that way. i actually wouldn’t want any high risk job, be it honorable or not.

    ultimately, my point was that i can’t equate marriage with joining the service because the worst that could happen in the former is having a hard life and endless drama because you picked the wrong person, but the worst that could happen in the latter is you could be dead. very different.

  • Tea

    We’ve been quiet because we’re busy too, but we’re reading.

  • Jess

    I agree with pretty much everything stated, and I’ll add that from a psychological point of view, people today have a few unrealistic ideas about marriage that many didn’t have 20-30 years ago. For instance: people overestimate the level of happiness and underestimate the amount of work done in a marriage, which is causing such high rates of divorce. The presence of love in a relationship does not solve every (or even most) problems — perseverance and understanding are part of an essential foundation of a couple’s married life. I’ve seen my grandparents argue and go through their troubles, but what kept them together was their understanding that they’re going to need to put in some work to make it work.

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  • guest

    Not only can’t I comment from my blackberry, I can’t even read the comments anymore.

  • CourtyJ

    Marriage is selfless. It’s not you anymore, it’s us. Men are extremely selfish. Not surprised they don’t like the idea of marriage. No selfish person you know wants to give up the most important thing to them: themselves.

    If they are lucky, they will perfect themselves and realize that they can’t get any better alone. They will tire of being all about themselves when they have so much awesomeness to share… and will look up, see a face and finally get it.

    Again… if they are lucky. 😉

  • Kaiser Villaviciencio

    Marriage is one of the essential events between a man and a woman. It’s more than a promise! Maybe, some singles are wondering why it’s important. They may only find the answer when they meet the one they love and the one they want to live forever with. The happiness is very incredible. That’s why most of us made a lot of preparations for wedding events. Perhaps, some also borrowed money from cash advances in order to make their wedding memorable.