Relationships Between Black Men & Black Women

This is a chain email that I recieved from my daughter India at work. I am not sure who wrote it. Some of it I agree with, some of it don’t. I think we have a lot of the same issues. This article could have easily been written about a black woman. Before anyone calls me a racist, I am a black woman. So I can what I want to say about my people freely. I love my black brothers and I want to build up women in stregnth, courage, and wisdom. Each one teach one.

I love the African Proverb: If I appear tall to you it is because I am standing on the shoulders of my brothers.

One of the most obvious areas in our community that need healing is in the relationships between Black men and Black women. Currently there is a basic distrust of brothers by Black women, and too many brothers approach dealing with Black women with a “pimp or die” mentality. Without further vilifying black men or victimizing

black women I want to attempt to shed some light on the inner workings of men as they deal with women and how ultimately the interactions between the two are more about a mans discovery with himself than about the relationship with the woman.

In the movie The Brothers, Jennifer Lewis (Morris Chestnut’s mother) makes the statement that a man doesn’t even know himself until he knows what kind of woman he wants. As I continue to grow, I understand that statement more and more. Men have a tendency to define themselves through externals rather than by their inner qualities.

Ask a man to tell you about himself and he will most likely begin by telling you what he does, his occupation or his possessions. Of all of the externals in a man’s world, the thing that communicates the most about him is his choice of a woman. That is not to say that the woman he chooses will be just like him, but by looking at the woman he chooses to complement himself with, you can understand a lot about what he values, has to offer and even what he feels that he lacks.      

Often times when a man is discovering himself he will find himself dealing with a variety of women simultaneously. Each of these women will be distinctively different from the next, but will represent a different part of the man himself. Most will have one woman with whom they simply have a good time with, she is almost like one of the boys and he has little interest in developing a romantic relationship with her. He probably will tell her the details of his dealings with other women to get a “female’s point of view”.         

Then there is the one who to him is a “good girl” and represents what he deems to be morally good and right. He will often go to her with his problems and shortcomings because he knows that she will tell him the truth about himself and his actions in an attempt to challenge him to grow mentally and spiritually. Lastly there will be his “freak girl”. She is his proverbial booty call and blows his mind in the bedroom. He has absolutely zero interest in ever wanting anything deeper with her than sex (And in

the most convenient cases neither does she). As he deals with these women and gets loser to some and further from others, he is learning what he as a man values and wants to keep permanent in his life.

So while in his conscious mind he may believe that he is trying to find the right one’ he is actually trying to find himself. As men travel between what I call the searching stage to the commitment stage, there are women who are bound to be left as casualties along the way. Sometimes it is because there is lack of honesty and integrity from the man, but many times it is due to a lack of understanding whether or not the man that she is investing in is in the searching stage or settling into the commitment stage.

An understanding of this by both the man, and women would help the process quite a bit. Men must be responsible in communicating where he is in his development, and women must not disparage the man because he encountered her while he was in the searching stage rather than the committing stage. The best barometer to determine which stage a man is in is his career.

If a man is not settled in his career, chances are he is not settled overall and is not at the stage to commit to marriage. Moreover I would also suggest that because of the responsibility that the Bible places the man to be the provider, a man who is not settled in a career is also not fit for marriage.

Unfortunately there are an increasing number of men who are being content allowing their women to be the ones who provide and attain while they reap the benefits. A real man however would never feel comfortable shacking up in his woman’s home, relying on his woman’s vehicle as his means of transportation, or being supported by her financially. He would rather struggle to work while finishing school or starting his business and achieving and attaining something for himself then present himself to her.

Women who have become desperate for companionship have lowered their standards to think that supporting their man financially is acceptable as long as he loves her in return. However although most won’t admit it, when a woman is supporting a man, if affects her ability to respect him and to feel secure with him. A real man would not be comfortable attempting to commit to a relationship if he cannot offer the woman a sense of stability. If he does then the relationship will be destined for failure because her lack of respect for him will cause her to take more of a motherly role than that of a companion.         

A large part of a man’s definition of his manhood is centered around being able to maintain a consistent job and support himself and his family financially. Some men go through great lengths to accomplish these goals spending long hours at work or working on his start-up business; oftentimes to the detriment of the relationships in the home that he is trying desperately to support. Many women do not understand this and often nag their man for spending too much time at work.

But to compete with a man’s job, is to compete with part of the essence of him, his definition of himself will cause him to emotionally withdraw from her and eventually the relationship.  Until a man who is building his self-identity is able to duplicate that mental image of a man is his own life, he is not comfortable with his self-image. This insecurity makes will hinder his ability to effectively and Affectionately love the woman that he desires to be with. There are too many women asking men to commit to a relationship with them before they are able to do so. She would do well to allow the  man to establish himself until he is comfortable with his self-image before asking him to give himself to her before he feels worthy to do so.

Actually she should require it. As men it is our responsibility to be uncompromisingly open and honest with the women in our lives. We must be honest about the type of man that we truly are, where we are in our development in life and what we can and cannot offer her at that time. This begins by being honest with ourselves.            

We cannot live beneath our expectations of manhood and we must position ourselves to provide for ourselves and our families. That means being able to provide financially, emotionally and spiritually. That is God’s charge to us as men and nothing short of that is acceptable.

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