Raven's Divine Love

NEW YORK - Getting older and being single is a big no, no for black women. Cultural expectations dictate that women settle down and reproduce.

This ideal is reinforced from a young age. I remember my aunt sharing that because I was a plain and dark skinned I would have no problem finding a husband. However, she was worried about my younger sister who was pretty and light skinned; qualities that she felt would make her picky resulting in her being single. I recall my paternal grandmother squeezing my teenage breast and remarking to my parents that I no longer needed to go to school, as I was ready for marriage.

Marriage is something a woman thinks about as she ages and less ‘marketable’. Suddenly nudges are made for her to work out, dress more fashionably, go to church, and the infamous ‘stop being picky’. Former schoolmates add to the mix by notoriously asking the standard “are you married?”

I have heard theories suggesting that there is a disproportional greater number of black women compared to men. This alleged shortage has led to some men being "generous" enough to offer their love to several women simultaneously so that no woman is left wanting of love. I actually went to private school with a young man whom by all indicators is progressive and freethinking and yet landed two wives. He shared that he first met resistance from his legal first wife but it subsided when she was faced with the prospect of being single and raising a family alone.

There are women who happily date married men. As long as the man takes care of all their “needs” they are all too happy playing second fiddle. However, in the midst of all this “sharing” there is a group of sisters with a sense of self-preservation who are gracefully aging without being yoked to another. They are single and aging because they refuse to settle. My dear friend Raven is one of these women. Raven is a beautiful God-fearing woman, well educated - with a master’s degree, fully employed, debt-free, a philanthropist, and has no children. Yet Raven has been single for several years.

I find it ironic that in general my friends with children find it easier to partner off. I know one woman in particular who has four children, with three different baby daddies, and yet is never left wanting for dates. Another friend alluded that maybe some women with children have lower standards than my childless friends. For a single childless woman getting older is a double whammy: your biological clock is ticking and people also view your barren womb as proof that something MUST be wrong with you.

I asked Raven why she is single and her top three reasons were: obedience to God, unwillingness to settle for anything, and that her time has not come yet. 1 Corinthians chapter 7 encourages all to remain single and says that this enables one to focus on being holy and devoted to God and spares one from the troubles of the world. The chapter goes on to state that because temptation is great “each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband”.

Raven’s unwillingness to: play house, to be with a man who is not ready to settle down, or does not subscribe to her ideals is received unfavorably. On the flip side men are encouraged to explore and take their time before they settle down. Some of this may be due to cultural expectations for a man to be a breadwinner, have money to pay the bride price, and hence a man needs to establish himself prior to marriage. In addition, men do not have the added pressure of menopause lurking on the horizon.

I inquired about the biggest hurdle for Raven to find a spouse and she shared that meeting new people was difficult. Her fast-paced career allots little mingling. Meeting someone online is not an option for her as she views this as unnatural. I asked another single friend why she is single and she shared that she is yet to meet anyone suitable for her since many men find her to be too independent; this she attributed to their insecurities. She also shared that there is a group of men who latch onto her because they are looking for a free meal ticket. A third friend shared that it is hard for her to meet new people and that people assume that she only dates other races based on her interests and the way she carries herself.

While we mock the sisters who patiently wait for divine love to come, we also mock those who find love in the wrong places. This mocking adds pressure to those who are in bad unions to keep up appearances. The unnecessary pressures and judgments that we impose cultivate a society where being prudent, reflective, and decisive is laughed at. We do all this in the name of culture and keeping up traditions, even though we live in a different society than the one which those rules we relish were designed for.

Raven is a phenomenal woman and I know without a shadow of doubt that the man who will win her heart is going to be a man who is intuitive enough to see all her wonderfulness. I also know that her union will last because it will be cemented in values of true devotion. Raven and I will continue to work out, eat, laugh, pray, and shop while we wait for her to find divine love. After that we will be all giggles as we plan her divine wedding of a lifetime.

*Pamela is a Zimbabwean fashion journalist and fashion accessory designer based in the United Kingdom. She can be contacted on pamsamasuwo@live.co.uk

    Comments (2)

    Nice article! I know your friend Raven will eventually find her divine counterpart without having to lower her expectations. I love the fact that there are still women like her who maintains their integrity despite "cultural norms" and the ticking of the imaginary clock. Also, I must add that I personally have an issue with women who "happily date married men"....yuck! Where's the class?

    Darnell - 26 February 2015

    Great article. Raven has it right, I hope she meets her kindred spirit. I too do not believe in settling, or playing second fiddle. I would rather live a full and productive life alone. I meet too many women in unworthy relationships, their misery is obvious. Most of them state that "at least they are with someone"...that is really sad. I get asked all the time why I am not married. The reason is that I have not met the right person. I do not believe in being in a relationship just for the sake of it...I have been told, "As long as he is a good person." Just because someone is a good person, doesn't make them the right person. I have been "accused" of being picky by family and friends. I believe when the right one comes along I will know, and yes we could both have walking canes by then! Better that than sharing a husband...

    Ellie - 27 February 2015

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