A Declaration or an Obligation?
So the question posed from a blog (www.verysmartbrothas.com) was about the cliché “conditions of the black community in a multi-racial world”. Basically, questions that blacks need to ask themselves regarding racial ignorance and stereotypes. I came across this post, which gave me a breath of fresh air that led to the next sequence of inhales and exhales.
“#3 historically marriage had to do more with social status, acquiring a help mate, procreation and to cover up the fact that you got a lady pregnant NOT about love, finding a soul mate. from my ethnic/cultural background: singleness (especially after you have finished your education, employed and in your mid/late 20s) is frowned upon, and a man is not considered a full adult among elder males until he is married. he gets respect for the fast car, nice apartment and job but point is, he doesn’t head his OWN household.”
I agree! What really irks me is how we are looking at a lack of desire for commitment as a “flawed trait” in “blacks”. This is a universal issue. We have BFs and GFs as the test drive. The essence of love is not about endurance…it’s about borrowing and receiving to explore the multi-facetedness and complexities of love. To evolve based on change…not sameness. [Most] People marry because they figure that things won’t change. They sense a bit of “stability and consistency” after a period of time in a mate that they feel that God sent them. [Indeed He did….for an experience. How long it lasts depends on the two lovers]. While they verbalize that they understand this, [initially] (conceptualize)….experience is totally different. Just because the West Indians and Arabs arrange their marriages doesn’t make them mature or evolved – these young couples figure out “well, we can’t separate now, or else our families will disown us; let’s see where it goes. If it don’t work, we will force ourselves to make it work for the sake of the family” <<That’s not honest. We force ourselves to believe that commitment and obligation is God’s will. That doing the things our hearts do NOT desire is what makes us grow. Commitment does not EQUAL MATURITY! We are alive for the human experience – not solely to establish ourselves only to settle down, reproduce, and raise a family. That’s the best God can do for us?! Come on! I have a soul ya know? (This is not directed at you KBBN – just a reminder). And my soul does have its own purpose; soul mating is not priority, it is an experience like any other. As self centered as it may appear, humans exist to experience who they are – to “be” something – rather than DO something. The number of people I support, as a man, doesn’t constitute maturity. Just because I raise kids, finance a home, and keep my wife happy and entertained does not birth the statement: I am a child of God! I am doing exactly what He wills (even though I am, just a smaller scale). I’m more mature than most of the married folk out there that have these “compliments” in their lives. Our view of what’s mature, in the human experience, needs to extend outside of “race, gender, actions, age, acquisitions, idioms, and reputation”. <<<these are all material/corporeal things
I personally don’t agree with the institutionalized version of marriage. The way that [western] society depicts marriage lacks the romance and naturalistic-feel to it. The word “love” is thrown in the mix; however, “commitment” and “obligation” are a means to achieve a “desired result”. I wonder if the black community understands what a “contract/covenant” is. <<< There are so many pains that come with this. “Oh but John the joys that comes with it are heavenly!” Not when the excitement fades, as you struggle to reignite what was obviously just a short term experience. But we lie to ourselves, believing that it’s supposed to be a stick of Big Red…let it last a lil longer. Some are successful, but the divorce rate is higher this decade. Characters change. Priorities change. Views change.
When you are obligated to something, it implies that you CANNOT change your mind nor heart IF the conditions of the contract change. I’ve been under 4 contracts in my life (work related and monogamous) and let me tell you…when you CAN’T escape the negativity that wasn’t forecasted in the contract….it’s very counterproductive. But the cliché that bubbles from these experiences: hey…it made you stronger right? Sure, 4 heartbreaks later….and several lies after.
Marriage feels like a trap. It’s all about security nowadays: Financial security, Emotional security, Sexual and physical security, Social security and Spiritual security (help me with my relationship with God, please!).
I’m a black divorcee, at age 26 (after 3 years of commitment)….I’m not saying my experience with love is the epitome, nor is it law. But from what I gathered, my views of marriage were not in favor of what I truly desire out of life. I did it because it “seemed like the right thing to do, since I loved her; I didn’t wanna lose her”. I’m not prepared to marry, but I am fit to do so; anyone can marry…but it requires a mastery of love (mastery of self) to endure. We should not PRESSURE people into marriage, nor deceive them into believing that longevity equals success in marriage until they know themselves. Choose quality over duration. Change your vows from “for better or worse, til death do us part” – THAT IS NOT LOVE! “I will stay even if I’m not HAPPY?” That’s not being true to yourself.
We should not deceive people into believing that marriage is the final and ultimate destination for love. And I strongly believe that SOME black men recognize that marriage does not support the experience that makes the statement “love is free”. And furthermore, that they don’t know themselves well enough to make a long term declaration of love to ONE person. Would you rather me lie to please you or tell the truth and gain your respect? Women (not just blacks – we are ALL HUMAN [one race]!)….can we slow things down? Tomorrow isn’t promised but forever is!
Spiritual unions are awesome, contractual obligations depend on your “goals”
Now, these are strictly my views, and its application is universal; it’s not directed towards any specific culture, race, gender, or age group. Maybe it bashes the American perception, but aye, I’m American because that’s where my citizenship is right now. We have a love-hate relationship. My views on romance are nontraditional and unconventional. My definition of marriage is the declaration of BEING in love. Yes, this includes body language, behavior patterns, thought processes, and emotional connectivity being exercised consistently. The candidness of this declaration is recognized through the emphasis on nonverbal behavior, not contractual submission nor vernacular prowess. My definition excludes the requirement of pastor, reverend, minister, or any priest. God is everywhere, He’s listening to our body language so well, that the loudness of the universe will silence as He nods His formless head to the beat of a spiritual union. I’d rather have that sort of praise and approval, than familial, societal, tribal and secular approval. And, yes, I don’t believe that a man with a strong sense of duty and authority, a stack of written documents, nor any tangible substance of symbolism can authenticate this declaration….
……except in legal and societal terms…..
Even in those terms, the renouncement of this declaration is more painful than it should be; it becomes so…feudal (a term that represents Capitalism in a genetic sense). The “what’s mine is yours” process undergoes a horrific metamorphosis of “b!tch, I’m getting everything!! I want every orgasm that I ever gave your trifling ass!”
So, yes, my definition is basically a direct communication with God without the middle guy (or gal). It’s straight to the point – in the warmth of elatedness we scream “God, we are in love” and God replies with laughter “I hear you, and it shall be until it is not”
So, yes, my definition isn’t too much an “American Dream”, nor is it the product of centuries of social construction – I consider that a blessing. And although I believe that a celebration should support this declaration, I don’t deem it necessary.
We confide in so many illusions, and grow bitter from so many shattered promises, and it’s because we lack the maturity to support them. Yet awkwardly, we believe that marriage signifies maturity. So, many of us get married to reflect the desired maturity so we can be accepted and labeled: mature. Notice that I said, many and not all….so cough up those props (thank yooooou [cheesy smile]). But, yes, the desire for this maturity would furthermore and therefore suit the obligation that is (wait for it)…… a contract.
I know sound like I’m disrespecting the westernized paradigm of marriage in an emotional, artistic, and lightly intellectual way. If this institution serves your romantic pursuits, please feel free to respectfully express your disagreement. The external “stuff” serves the external purposes to facilitate our living conditions (contract = tax exemptions, joint-loans, life insurance benefits, health insurance benefits, etc). I’m just trying to identify the core of the issue with our romantic and cultural views. We gotta separate the two sometimes, because they seem to be meshing together in some sort of tantric sex experiment.
Marriage isn’t defined by how long you’re together, but WHO you are when you’re together. Some people are together for years just because the contract says they can’t leave each other, so at this point they’re just tolerating each other. They remember their vows, indeed, therefore the statement they make is: I’m a sentient being of my word. But, we all say what we don’t mean, and mean but we don’t say. Yesterday’s truth is not the truth of tomorrow. The truth is always tangled in the fabrics of the now; it flows with the current of life, which is always changing. You witness that the couples are with each other, but don’t look excited because they understand that the quality of their union is a vain comparison to the quantified time spent together. The ring is there, but the joy is absent from class. They’re under the same roof and on the same bed, but the passion is on a getaway trip in some faraway place called “lost”. What’s the foundation of the relationship? Where is it?! I’ll hint that it’s all a visage; it’s all physical at this point. The joy of marriage is internal, not external; it just happens to show from the…inside….out. Joy screams a “hello” that’s so loud that it gives away its secret hideout within the soul. And when joy is found in a spiritual union, its decibel levels break the sound barrier due to the harmony of the two. It can seem chaotic to some, but to those who understand the chaos, they see the beauty and glory of the unexplainable. <<< You cannot institutionalize that….and you cannot promise that without first knowing the true essence of who you are. The consistency of how most of us exhibit love is based on the conditions. Does he/she love me due to these conditions? Or do they love unconditionally?
Unconditional love is bred from a master. If you’re hungry, you can ALWAYS expect to receive bread from a master (note the wordplay please) because they recognize their self abundance and capability to distribute and produce their self. However, contrary yet beneficial to this behavior, they teach others to be themselves. They are independent and co-dependent with the universe. A master reproduces their self in others because they realize that we are all one…and the same. Conditional love is bred from the student who seeks to become the master.
Now, I understand that women feel like they’re not progressing in life if they lack a stable marriage; and this is why a lot of women trip, fall, stumble, and slip into the web of divorce. As a blogger associate (<<sounds like a job) of mine said: “being single is not a death sentence”. Some men are often afraid that the excitement and freshness of the relationship will die down, leaving them at the mercy of stings and whip lashes of complacency and normalcy. Marriage is not the equivalent to a crucifixion, gents! Some men aren’t conditioned with the romantic endurance that exceeds beyond their sex drive. And some women lack the sex drive and creativity to keep their mates interested. And both genders tend to lack both! Regardless, there exists, a misunderstanding in of how marriage is perceived; the true nature and meaning is camouflaged with the secularities that facilitate the materialism in living. There is even a sense of fear that we will not be loved in the relationship. This is quite delusional and unhealthy for any union, not based on the “we’re not perfect principle” but because self love is always a priority; independence is always at the top of the list.
It’s always been I before U, not U before I.
You graduate into the latter when you are established in your sense of self. When you lose yourself, you start over from I. Sometimes, we love ourselves more than we love the other, and when the unloved is aware of this, it’s often misconstrued (which is why communication is vital to the survivability of the relationship). There is a union, indeed, but often a separation is in order to rekindle with our independent selves; self development is always priority because you cannot develop anyone else, without first developing yourself. So, yes the essence of the marriage is tainted with a fairytale perception of what it should look like, rather than the truth of what it really is. Substance over fashion (like with our music – ahem). I’m not generalizing here, just identifying the trends. This is not applicable to everyone. Life is not a race; and as I mentioned before, tomorrow isn’t promised but forever is. We marry so young, and then we witness the solidarity of vows becoming watered down in apologetic rhetoric. But hey, that’s the process of life – trial and error. Many say “wait on God” but it’s difficult to wait when people are instilling the “tomorrow isn’t promised doctrine” and the “you only get one life to live; one chance” policy. “Live fast because romantic couples are an endangered species”. “Get married while you still can…so you can be widowed instead of divorced”. It’s amazing, right? Do we feel that marriage, career, material ownership, children, scholastic achievement, and political, socioeconomic placement are a reflection of success? If you’re westernized, this may be a great standard to start from. Maybe the western culture needs to experience the offspring of divorce and pass the lessons learned. Maybe the views and studies of statistical imagery, from various sources, need to be recognized as a sign that our romantic perception is a nightmare encased inside a hallow dream. Could it be that our vows don’t state the truth of who we are?
When a married couple (or a contractually obligated couple) recognizes the changes within themselves (as in…they’re tolerating their significant other rather than cherishing them), they should individually ask their selves (separately…like….in different rooms):
“Can I continue this relationship as I am, currently, in relation to her/him? Can I adapt?”
Honesty is so vital!! And let me say that I am proud (today anyway) of my ex-wife for remaining true to herself, instead of submitting to the legal bounds of our now obliterated contract (it is a destructible device people, don’t be fooled!), and my sorrowful, vindictive, petty behavior (“you’re gonna regret this! You hear me!?”). Get in touch with the part of you that relinquished all of its independence, for the sake of the togetherness with your spouse, (which is why is you practice love of self often) and say:
“Hey, so um….you wanna try something new? Is this it? Did we reach our goal? Can we do more? Do we wanna do more? Are we ready for the scolding? This does look like a b!tch move ya know? But according to whom? THEM?! Well if we live by their standards, then who are we…them or us? (confused look) Are we prepared for the hell that’s behind that line of scrimmage keeping us from heaven? [conversation continues]
…”So again, can I continue this relationship as I am, currently, in relation to her/him? Can I adapt?”
An Obama supporter will tell you: “Yes…you can”, but your soul will tell you if you will or won’t. The decision is YOURS not God’s. He gave you the power not to serve someone else, but to serve Him by being true to the love that’s within you. There is a God in you, as well as in them…but your purpose is to serve the God that is in you. So, if not (whether agreed between you two or not), then close your bibles, and declare to our understanding, graceful, and compassionate Creator that the process of spiritual separation has initiated. Make the statement: “it’s time to move on into the fog of eternity which has shapeless doorways” with your body language, behavior patterns, thought processes, and emotional connectivity. The everlasting choosy lover saga continues.
Divorce shouldn’t be so horrendous and death-reeking. It’s the Omega/Alpha transition. It’s a small pie portion of the cipher of life. It’s a door opening and a door closing. It is the intermission in the everlasting film titled “I am Love”. We are love, in our own ways, of course. Our purpose is not to find love outside of ourselves, but to be the greatest, largest, most profound statement of love in the midst of others. We should seek to express this so loud, that it triggers an infectious wave of inspiration in others.
The first law of love is….love thyself….first and always; for you cannot give what you do not have. If you don’t have yourself, you cannot share yourself, which is the truth; but you will share a lie.
What about soul mates, John?
I don’t believe in the soul mate concept; well, not in the way that everyone else believes. I used to believe that there was only one, but I believed because someone else inferred that belief, and I accepted it. It made sense. Well, truthfully….. I didn’t think about it….. ah, the spoils of conformity. What I do believe is that there are certain people that I’m supposed to experience my life with. I believe I can choose my mate based on who I am and what serves who I am. I believe the same applies towards my choice of friends. These people can augment my experience, serving doorways to infinite possibilities. There are so many ways to be myself with these people, and to find newer and grander ways to be the self that I have yet to become. I’m on a mission to romanticize my life. I believe that in penetrating the illusions of the world, I can discover the love in everything; this will call for an explosive, unshakeable law, discovered from years of experimentation, that love is all there really is.
As I said in the beginning, my view of romance is nontraditional and unconventional.
My view of marriage…is not the union between man and woman. It’s the declaration of love; a testament. It’s the declaration (choice) of union with a once distant part of your soul. It’s the symbiosis of life. And this union can happen with anyone (you can even marry yourself) because love knows no age, no names, no race, no sex, no shape, no size, nor does it know a creed….it has no conditions in which it bonds and flows.
Divorce is the osmosis that grants us the opportunity to do it all over again.
Call it what you will…..agree to disagree….my God tells me “if it works for you my son, then so shall it be until it no longer works”….what’s your stance on marriage and romance? Is it traditional/conservative? Is it radical/liberal? Is it other than whats mentioned?