[COLUMN] Do Better, Be Better:<br />
Can a Good Woman Make a Man Marriage Material?

You can 'think like him', but you can't make him be what you need. 

A few weeks ago I had the chance to see a special preview of Think Like a Man​, the new film based on Steve Harvey’s best-selling book, “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man”. I like Harvey. I loved the book. And the movie is hilarious. There’s just one thing: I’m not convinced that a good Black woman (GBW) is enough to make our men marriage material.

There are five stages of change: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance. And while it can be externally sparked, the true motivation must come from within. Do I think Black women need to date for marriage? Yes. As a community we must move past the trauma of not having men in our households and look to ways to improve how we relate to the opposite sex and the low expectations many of us have regarding their ability to serve and protect. But that will never be enough to secure marriage. Men must want it, too.

There was a time when being a husband was an honor. A man’s decision to provide security — both emotional and physical — was viewed as a sign of maturity. Back then, married men set the standard for community accountability, leading by example. But oh, have times have changed.

A significant portion of our men no longer feel they are worthy of being leaders, so they dodge that responsibility. Of course, they will never say they are insecure about ‘how to be men’, but their actions scream ‘less than’, ‘scared’ and ‘uncertain’, which is understandable since they receive so many conflicting messages. Our brothers are supposed to fearless, but often taught that they have no real power.  They are supposed to lead, but are often silenced as boys. They are supposed to be successful, but are too frequently robbed of exposure to avenues to thrive. Worst of all, they are expected to be husbands, but are often most championed for being d-slinging, swagged up playboys. Then the world tells them there are a bunch of lonely, fly GBW looking for husbands. Shoot, seems like only a fool wouldn’t sling and move — but that option (for a prolonged period of time) is still foolish.

Marriage is the foundation of any community. Most important, the support of a consistent partner who you can grow with has been statistically proven to increase the quality of men’s lives. But if the lure of a GBW isn’t enough, think of this: Each man must choose what side he’s on — plain and simple. Do you want to build a team and create a lifestyle that will support you taking your rightful place in society? Or do you want  to continue to live solely on your terms — and deal with the consequences alone?

In the end, no woman can will a man into being a husband. It’s up to him to Think Like a Man.