5 Things Every Man Needs to Learn Before He Gets Married

BY: - 25 Jul '14 | Home

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5 Things Every Man Needs to Learn Before He Gets Married

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I’ve been married for almost two years, but I still feel compelled at times to share bits of wisdom I’ve collected over the years with singles that have intentions of being married some day. I think it’s especially important for married men to share with single men because so much of what we have all been taught about being a man is counterproductive to having a good marriage. I hope current husbands will also find this list useful because sometimes we don’t realize we’ve brought some unhealthy beliefs into our relationship until after we’re married. That said, here’s a simple list of five things every man should know before tying the knot.

 1. Women are people, not objects

Seems obvious, right? Unfortunately too many men have grown up believing women are objects to be collected or challenges to be conquered. This is a global problem, but this first lesson is especially important for the millions of black men who grew up hearing men that look like them casually refer to women as “bitches” and “hoes” in their music, in movies, and on TV shows. Understanding this fact will impact every interaction you have with a woman, whether as a single man on the dating scene or a married man at work. Most men will give lip service to how precious women are when they are talking about their own mother, aunts, grandmother, or daughters. Sadly, some of the same men who talk about their love for mom will leave their mother’s house and harass the first woman they see on the street. Your future wife will have her own thoughts, desires, ambitions, and feelings, but it will be hard for you to receive them and value them if you don’t see her as your equal. Always remember, “objects are collected, people are respected”.

2. Being a good husband requires more than having a degree and a job.

I know a number of black women who have dated in big cities that have described what I would characterize as a sense of entitlement among many of the black men they have encountered. Given the effects of substandard schools, mass incarceration, and unemployment, I could understand how some men with a degree and a job could have an over-inflated sense of their value on the dating market. While impressive on paper, advanced degrees and ambitious career aspirations say nothing of your ability or desire to resolve conflict, practice forgiveness, or encourage your future wife in her professional endeavors. Make no mistake, I certainly believe that part of my duty as a husband is to provide for my family. But, meeting material needs is only one aspect of provision. My wife also has social, emotional, and spiritual needs that a paycheck or letters behind my name won’t help me meet. I’ve learned the hard way that becoming a good husband requires moving beyond the basics.

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Delano Squires wrote 25 articles on this blog.

Delano Squires is a blogger and public policy strategist in Washington, D.C. His primary interests are contemporary African American culture, fatherhood, and families. He is also a contributor to The Root.

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Can I Get Some R-E-S-P-E-C-T from my Elders?

BY: - 11 Aug '14 | Home

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At a recent convention, my sister and I were interacting with attendees—young and old—as we were selling our new book on personal transformation and self healing. At one point, two older ladies, probably in their mid-to-late 60’s, came by our booth to talk to us. As they were asking us questions about the book, one of them very directly asked,

“Well how old are you two? If I’m going to buy a book like this, I have to wonder if you’ve had enough life experience to give me any advice.”

Like, whoa…really? Since I’ve been raised to respect my elders, I didn’t say what was really on my mind, or mention the fact that I felt her comment was disrespectful. Instead, I bit my tongue and responded,

“I believe that everyone has a story to tell and being able to share experiences that you’ve learned from can always help someone else.” But inside, I felt like saying, “Just because I’m younger than you, it doesn’t mean that I don’t have something important to contribute to the world.”

TNMWomanNaturalHairI’ve seen this scenario play out all too often in every day situations where our elders refuse to see us as adults with valuable contributions to make to society. It sometimes feels like many in the Civil Rights generation are still living in that era, and anyone who didn’t experience what they did couldn’t possibly have enough life experience to wisely navigate today’s complicated world—or advise anyone else on how to.

On the flip side, there are also many in my generation who discount the wealth and depth of knowledge and history that our elders have to offer us. To some of us, we assume that they’re usefulness expired with the advent of cell phones and wi-fi. What can they really teach us if they still can’t figure out how to send a text message?

And this is where I feel there is a serious disconnect between generations. Although I chose not to respond just as rudely to the lady’s comment about my assumed age and life experience (how could she comment on something she hadn’t yet read?), I did take it as a sign that if we’re to leave a lasting legacy for our children to build upon, we need to learn to respect what we each bring to the table—regardless of age.

I’ve come to recognize that each and every person I come in contact with has something to teach me—including my own 10-year-old daughter who I’ve learned so much from. (Lord knows she’s taught me how to use my phone!)

No matter what age you are, I challenge you to look at those around you as potential teachers without passing judgment on what they do or don’t know because of their assumed age. You never know who God will use next to teach you a lifelong lesson. As India.Arie sang in her song Better People:

“I can help you with the brand new technology.

You can help me with the age-old philosophy. Together there’s so much we could do.

If young people would talk to old people, it would make us a better people…all around.

And if old people would talk to young people, it would make us a better people…all around.”

BMWK – How have you navigated the generational communication gap that seems to exist between the young and the old?

About the author

Julian B. Kiganda wrote 32 articles on this blog.

Julian B. Kiganda is a dynamic speaker, writer and creative consultant who helps transform and build million-dollar brands for purpose-driven women. She is also co-author of "Whose Shoes Are You Wearing? 12 Steps to Uncovering the Woman You Really Want to Be." You can connect with her on her Bold & Fearless online magazine at www.boldandfearless.me

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