The Idris Elba Syndrome: Can the Right Woman Change a Man’s Mind About Marriage?

BY: - 12 Feb '18 | Relationships

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If you were on a first date and the successful, swagalicious man you met on Soul Swipe said,  “Am I ever gonna get remarried? I don’t think so. Yeah, I don’t think so. Marriage is an institution of sorts and I’ve done it. It’s not for everybody. It’s not my life’s calling,” what would you do?

Tell the truth and shame the devil, ladies.

Would you run for the hills so he doesn’t waste your time? Or would you stick around, hoping he’d change his mind once he saw you were the right woman?

Well, the above quote came straight out of Idris Elba’s mouth and was printed in the August 2017 issue of Essence magazine. Yet, on February 9th, 2018, Idris proposed to his girlfriend, Sabrina Dhowre at a screening of his own movie. Never say never, I guess?

I’m happy for the new Black Power Couple-to-be, but as a dating and relationship expert, I’ve got a few questions. Admittedly, we don’t know much about their whirlwind romance, but I’m searching for lessons that single sisters can apply to their own lives if they ever encounter a man who has a case of the Idris Elba Syndrome, a term I’m coining to describe a man who says he has no intention of settling down, yet changes his mind when he meets the right woman.

I married a man who told me he wasn’t looking for a serious relationship when we first met, so I know that it’s possible. And I also know that as a woman, you have to navigate the early stages of the relationship with a man who has the Idris Elba Syndrome with a strong commitment to your own relationship goals, otherwise you can get stuck in a situation for years, hoping he’ll get on the same page as you. With that in mind, let’s look at how Idris may have changed his perspective on marriage during his relationship with Sabrina.

He went public with the relationship

Mr. Elba said he fell in love with Sabrina while filming a movie about falling in love, and shortly thereafter, he brought her on the red carpet as his date. Sources close to him said he liked to keep his relationships private, so the fact that he was happy to have her on his arm for the world to see, was a big step and a sign he was getting serious about her.

He put a title on it

In a Refinery29 article, Idris told the world he had a girlfriend (and many women crossed him off their #MCM lists; they were so heartbroken). Here’s the lesson: A man who is reluctant to put a title on it will most likely NEVER put a ring on it. If you’re dating a man who feels unsure about marriage, watch to see if he’s willing to commit to defining the relationship or not. That will reveal if he’s playing games or if he’s evolving on his position toward marriage.

He put a ring on it

Idris surprised Sabrina when he got on one knee and proposed in front of friends during the screening of his film, Yardie. I’m curious if they had talked about marriage prior to that or if his decision to propose was completely a surprise to Sabrina. Either way, Idris Elba broke his vow to never marry again so that he can exchange marriage vows with his lady love.

The bottom line is there’s nothing a woman can do to change a man’s mind about marriage (and it’s not your job to do so either). It’s up to him to grow through his fears and inhibitions. The only reason you should stick around with a man who tells you upfront he’s never going to marry is if you see his actions beginning to align with the characteristics of a marriage-minded man. Talk is cheap, even when it’s something you don’t want to hear. Actions always speak louder than words!

BMWK, what do you think of Idris Elba’s change of heart? Post your opinions below.

About the author

Aesha Adams Roberts wrote 173 articles on this blog.

Dr. Aesha is a matchmaker, dating coach, speaker and author of the book, Can I Help A Sister Out: How To Meet & Marry The Man of Your Dreams. After years of making painful dating mistakes, she met & married her husband in 11 short months and has made it her mission to help women and men find and keep the love of their lives.


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5 Important Reasons You Need a Vision for Your Marriage

BY: - 16 Feb '18 | Marriage

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I’m going to keep it real right now. I am naturally a “fly by the seat of your pants” kind of a woman. I enjoy spontaneity, surprises, and going with the flow. What will be, will be. There are days I just LOVE that about myself. And then, there are other days. You know, the ones where the bill you forgot about comes in and the seat of your pants spent the money on spa day! The stress that spa day relieved has returned full force because “how in the heck am I going to explain this to my military veteran, by-the-book husband?”

When you’re single, robbing Peter to pay Paul can be a thing. But when you’re married, and desire to remain happily so, that kind of thing needs to be a thing of the past. That was a challenging pill to swallow until I realized it didn’t mean my carefree spirit had to take a back seat. The issue, be it financial or otherwise, had now become a part of group-think. Marriage does that. It removes the “me first” mentality into the “us against the world” frame of thought. And now, the two people who have become one get to decide what life moving forward will look like.

In your marriage, conversations about your future are beyond important, they are necessary. In order for your relationship to bring you the joy you hope for, here are some areas that require moving beyond the cavalier mindset and into vision territory.

Vision to Grow

We all change. When we do, it can catch our significant other off guard. But going from a long, flowing mane to a short natural look won’t cause irreparable relationship damage. However, it’s important to have a plan to deal with changes that result from life’s challenges. There are questions you should ask each other that will be a springboard for conversation should any of these issues arise.

  • How will we deal with the loss of a child?
  • When we are tempted by someone else, how do we handle it?
  • If we give in to temptation, what does that mean for us?
  • What happens if either of us loses our jobs?
  • What if we desire to make a drastic career change?

While not an exhaustive list, these are the kinds of questions that help you through growing pains in a relationship. By broaching the conversation early on, you give yourself a head start should any of those issues ever develop.

Vision to Love

Love languages were all the rage not too long ago. Do you know your spouse’s? In order for the love in your relationship to be rich, you need to know what it should look like. Often times, it’s just a matter of doing the things you did at first to win your spouse over. While life can sometimes make that difficult, we live in a time when life gives you a way out.

You’ve heard the phrase, “there’s an app for that.” Because it’s imperative you create a vision for love in your marriage, find something that helps you do that well. Whether it’s an app, or a book, or a buddy, get something in your corner to help you make loving your spouse a priority.

Vision to Last

Usually, the idea behind marriage is “until death do us part.” However, 50 percent of couples are finding other reasons to call it quits. If you are in this relationship for the long haul, how will you keep it going? What are your deal breakers and how can you avoid them? In order to make your marriage last, you must embrace lasting behaviors such as:

  • Effective communication
  • Bedrock financial goals
  • Unified parenting if children are involved
  • Spiritual understanding
  • Intimacy needs

Add to this list the things needed in your relationship to take it all the way. Don’t take it for granted that it will last without a plan.

Vision to Protect

What are you doing to protect your relationship from outside influences? This one should be the easiest since marriage, by nature, means you leave all others behind and create your own family with its own rules and expectations. But, too many couples are bringing outsiders in. Protect your marriage by leaving your mom, your sister, your cousin, your boss, your homegirl, and anyone else, out of it.

Click Here to Join our FREE 5-Day Spiritual Intimacy Challenge

Vision to Teach

Though it’s only been 16 years since my hubby and I tied the knot, I have found it so rewarding when other couples come to us for advice about how to handle relationship challenges. Are you building something that you, your children, and others can be proud of and want to learn from? If you take the time to truly envision a rock solid relationship and implement the things that make it so, it’s not just your marriage that will benefit but all those blessed to be in its presence.

But teaching by example is one thing. Making a conscious decision to put your life experiences on blast through counseling, coaching, Youtubing, Facebooking or otherwise can be rewarding. Sometimes, the best way you can help our community is by looking at the blessing right in front of you.

You can fly by the seat of your pants or you can prepare to make your relationship last for life. Even though I’m the first type, I have learned to embrace the second. So can you.

BMWK, do you have a vision for your marriage?

About the author

Joann Fisher wrote 149 articles on this blog.

Joann Fisher has been a writer and editor for both print and online newpapers and magazines for the last 10 years. She now serves as a Writer/Editor at BMWK and lead Editor for The Joy Network.


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