"There is marriage and there is everything else. Everything else doesn't count."
Once upon a time I used to spend a lot of time talking about 'dating' in the context of black men and women. I guarantee you that there are few things that generate so much hot air and energy on this planet as that debate. Just avoiding the necessity to engage in it is a good reason to be married.
Jimi has patience for it, as I suppose must everyone who hasn't done the proper deed. Check out this exerpt:
..My ex was shady but our chemistry was off the chain.
>So let me get this straight: he was shady—a quality that many suggest occurs in heart and mind of folks—yet, you all had great chemistry? I don't follow. By shady, do you mean he was a street nigga with street ways? That he was a street hustler?<
Nah, man he was legit I'm a lawyer, I can't hang out with someone who was a street hustler, He had street ways. I didn't really understand how shady he was until much later in the relationship. So we tried to make it work through 2002 until 2005 when I discovered that he stole from me. I had tons of CDs and when I was packing them up I realized that I was missing a bunch of them, what hurt is when I asked him about it, he lied and then admitted it but then said they were just CDs and that I should get over it because our relationship was worth more than CDs and that if I was a real Christian I would forgive him. The way he tried to disregard my feelings of betrayal and distrust by saying it is just a bunch of CDs. The whole situation told me that this was a man who would always disregard my feelings and do what he wanted to me in the name of our love. I couldn't stick around for another shoe to drop.
I'm going to tell you something harsh. If it takes you three years in 'a relationship' to tell if somebody is worth your hand in marriage, I think you're a very poor judge of character, or just straight out shallow.
But in this case, I think there is a very strong exception, but it's still dysfunctional. I speak of this because I was on the same track, which was the track to find a New World African mate of globetrotting potential. In otherwords, a black trophy wife. Somebody like...hmm... this woman.
You see, when you buy into this game, of finding somebody who will make you flip in bed, that will make you look good at society functions, makes their own Nordstrom shopping money, and has a brain the size of Massachusetts, your blackified social world shrinks to the size of Pee Wee Herman's gonads, in winter, ice-fishing, naked, with a fan on. Consequently, you cannot afford to be relatively ho-fied, nor relatively exclusive. It's a no-win situation. Why? 'Because the good ones are already taken'. And so you're forced to make excuses to keep looking and keep looking for somebody black who doesn't disappoint you, and they're looking at you with the same colored eyeglasses on. The war of expectations is crushing as is the weight of the baggage.
For the third time in the past couple months, I found myself out chowing and drinking with single friends. The topic of conversation drifted to The Chase, and once again I found myself driving home at somewhere past midnight thanking God that I don't have to deal with that world. In the latest particular installment, the friends didn't happen to be black, but the subtext was the same. I don't trust any woman well enough to marry her.
The trick is simple. You don't trust the woman, and you don't trust the man, you trust the marriage. It is only the mutual willingness to trust the institution of marriage that is going to get you out of this trap of trusting some other mortal human with your love, respect and money. But the problem is, as these friends know, there's all kinds of legal and emotional finagling that can be done. The men want to do the legal finagling to keep their money, and the women want to do the emotional finagling to keep their sanity. And so the conversation turned to prenups. I tried to be helpful, but I was kind of discounted. I'm the guy with the successful marriage, the one with the good kids. But it's very hard to explain to people that I love my woman less than I respect my marriage. It means I will sacrifice my personal happiness on the alter of Marriage. It's something you know subconsciously from watching married couples talk smack about each other in public, but you never want to admit. Single people say, I never want us to be like that. Well then you won't be, you'll be divorced and looking for somebody new to make you happy.
And that's the thing. You don't need to be married to make you happy. Marriage won't make you romantically happy most of the time. Marriage makes you fulfilled by fulfilling the requirements of marriage, and marriage is not about romatic happiness. You can have that without the rings. But you have to have the leap of faith and the committment to principles in order to work that.
I have been surprised by the number of different variations on marriage vows and ceremonies that are blessed by the various faiths. I don't know how to explain how this variety evolved, but I would guess that they are in response to the demands of romantic love, the advent of birth control and the laws of community property. In each way, there's some way to cheat, to make the cliff of marriage a little less steep, and therefore the consumability of it more approachable. You can have a marriage like you have a mortgage, or a car, or a job. Permanent, but disposable for a price. And so long as you can hedge a marriage, you can hedge a relationship headed towards marriage.
I used to ask The Questions.
- Are you exlusive with me?
- Do you love me?
- Do you want to live with me?
- Do you want to marry me?
- Do you want to have kids with me?
If all of the answers weren't yes, then I could just enjoy the 'relationship', which meant I could pursue my own version of happiness and not really worry so much about hers. But after a time, I got to the point that I didn't want to be in the position of constantly being the heartbreaker. I would go into bars and clubs and say to myself, I'm not even going to talk to a woman I couldn't see marrying. Because I knew how it was going to go. After you become a master at seduction, once you're in the game, you know how it goes. It always comes down to The Questions.
If the answers were all yes, then I'd have to choose. Which meant I had to have all my crap together. And that was tough to face, but when I turned 29, that had to be the plan. It turned out that I married the woman whose breakup forced me to come up with the plan. Because for her, the answers were yes, and I didn't have my game together - not internally to my own mind. I wasn't quite the man I thought I needed to be to be able to say after all those yeses, "Then I'm your man."
Timing, they say, is everything. And I tend to agree. Like going for a masters degree, or deciding to put on 12 pounds of muscle, there are certain committments that only make sense to pursue while they still capture your imagination. If you hang around with people who have done it too long, their gritty reality and disappointment can sour you forever. I think you ought to pay serious attention to your biological clock. I think that if seeing a happy married couple pushing their baby around in a stroller makes you envious, then you need to get while the getting is good. You only have one chance to have your first child.
I could go on and on but I won't. It's a personal subject and Cobb is not all about me, only partially about me. But I'd be happy to get into this discussion about you.