Are single black women too independent? Too sure of themselves, too eager to express their opinion (and dis yours), too unwilling to listen and be submissive? Are today's black women even capable of 'following' a strong black man? For all my single brothers out there who have asked me these questions many times - this article is for you.
First, let's deal with the first question - Are single black women too independent? My answer to this might surprise you - I think, in many ways, black women are too independent, but with good reason. To understand this dichotomy, you have to understand something about most single black women. Most single black women have a history of supporting themselves, holding down a job (or two), possibly raising children, attending school, taking care of household bills (probably with a house of their own) and helping out with other family responsibilities involving parents, grandparents and siblings. In many cases they have handled these responsibilities without a strong or consistent male influence in their lives. Through miscommunication, death, neglect or abuse, many father-daughter, sister-brother, boyfriend-girlfriend relationships have gone astray, oftentimes leaving women to form a support network among themselves in order to get things done, bring order to their lives and accomplish those tasks that were once upon a time more evenly split between the two genders.
This has caused an epidemic of sorts in the single black community. Black women learned that in order to get things done, they had to rely upon themselves and began to do so with increasing success. As a result of this, black women learned that they didn't really 'need' black men the way they thought they did - for companionship, for leadership or for money and support. They learned to work and earn money for themselves, raise their children single-handedly, pay their bills, and get their own education, but these lessons came at a cost. And that cost was the sacrifice of a healthy relationship with their future spouses, boyfriends or lovers. So, yes, black women are sometimes too independent, but only because they had to be. In order to survive, in order for their children to survive and in order to make their lives work.
Are single black women then too sure of themselves, too eager to express their opinions, unwilling to listen or be submissive? Again the answer is - sometimes yes, sometimes no. Sometimes yes because single black women are usually pretty confident, pretty self-assured and pretty sure of who they are - especially once they've reached a certain age. And sometimes yes because I have seen a sister 'go off' on a brother for pretty much no reason at all, just to establish her dominance or control. And I have known many a good man who was being 'dogged' by his woman because he wouldn't stand up to her. But, sometimes no because most single black women are just waiting to meet a man strong enough to deal with them in the entirety of their character. A man who can admire her strength while adding his own. A man who is not intimidated by a woman who has just as valid an opinion as his. And this single black woman can and will willingly listen to this man because he values and listens to her.
But it has to be a relationship of equals. Equal respect, equal power and equal say. Because black women are often so strong, it can often hinder the development and growth of a good relationship. Just as no man wants someone to tell him how to live his life, neither do most women. Strength plus strength should be a potent combination, but all too often the strength in women and the strength in men becomes a power struggle and then a wedge that drives them apart.
And, finally, are single black women even capable of 'following' a good man? Of course - as long as their definitions of 'following' are the same. 'Following' does not mean 'blindly obeying in the absence of all common sense.' 'Following' means following your husband as the church 'follows' Christ (Note I say 'husband' and not 'boyfriends' - these same rights do not apply to boyfriend-girlfriend relationships). True marriage between a man and and woman should reflect the love that Christ has for the church. In the bible, a woman is asked to respect and submit to her husband, but a husband is asked to lay down his life for his wife. Most men and women, husbands and wives, do not have that kind of relationship. Most relationships are a reflection of 'what's in it for me?' and when that runs dry, the relationship runs dry as well. A successful relationship can occur between a single black man and a single black woman when true respect and love are founded in a committed relationship leading to marriage.
So, are single black women too independent? Sometimes yes and sometimes no - but relationships between men and black women can still work. With a little compromise on both sides, a clear understanding of what a Godly, bible-based relationship is, and with a love that lasts longer than who gets the last word, independence can become interdependence (being independent but dependent on one another and God) and the too-independent black woman will be no more!
Sonya C. Triggs is a contributing author to Urban Christianz Ministries, which can be found at http://www.urbanchristianz.com.
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