Cover Stories, Love.Relationship

State of The Black Union

0 Comments 24 March 2010

State of The Black Union
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The union of marriage: can it be saved by alternative lifestyles?

Cover Story: March 2010
Written By: Redd

In 2005 there was 2,230,000 Marriages are down from 2,279,000 the previous year. Today, 2007 the divorce rate is the lowest it has ever been since the 1970’s. That decline is not because less people are divorcing; it is because there are an increasing number of couples living together without marrying. That increasing number has grown tenfold since 1960 leaving the marriage rate down by 30 percent in the past 25 years.

In those numbers, only half of African-American Women are likely to tie the knot by age 30. These numbers are deplorable in coincidence with other groups.

…half of African-American Women are likely to tie the knot by age 30.

Poor communication, financial problems, infidelity and unmet needs are just a few of the underlying causes of these numbers.  With the state of the economy, it has become a grueling task to concentrate on family and marriage rather than it remaining something enjoyable and relaxing to do.

African Americans are not the only ones suffering from the rising divorce rate. These are not just problems in the black community; these are America’s problems. However, our unwillingness to take on the unorthodox could be jeopardizing our relationships and families as a whole.

There are some families now who are practicing alternate ways of living to accommodate their busy work schedules and less than relaxing nights.

One of those alternatives is called polyamory. Polyamory is the desire, practice, or acceptance of having more than one loving, intimate relationship at a time with the full knowledge and consent of everyone involved.

Polyamory is often times mistaken or confused with polygamy. Nonetheless, they are very different. Polygamy, which is illegal in the US, can be defined as any form of marriage in which a person [has] more than one spouse. The most common form is polygyny, where a man can have many wives. Less common, but found in some societies such as Tibet, is polyandry, where a woman can have many husbands.

Polyamory is gaining more popularity throughout the American people. Polyamory is not something new but is practiced more often and has been getting the attention of various media outlets.

As an historic tradition dating back thousands of years and still practiced in 80% of our worlds cultures is what we have come to call polyamory. Then, the purpose of polyamory was to maintain large, strong tribal families that can fend for themselves and defend a common enemy.

Today polyamory is known as the desire, practice or acceptance of having more than one loving, intimate relationship at a time with the full knowledge and consent of everyone involved. Polyamory is, as described by most of it’s participants as more than just a relationship status but more as a lifestyle choice.

People who identify as polyamorous typically reject the view that sexual and relational exclusivity are necessary for long-term, happy, functional relationships. Some have even called for the abolition of marriage. Although this is a far cry from becoming a reality in our modern American society, polygamy and polyamory becoming just as popular as conventional marriage are not.

Although it could have its drawbacks there are plenty of reasons that polyamory could aid in saving marriages as well as keeping relationships strong.

Aside from their amazing acting abilities actor Will Smith and his wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith they are known for their seemingly perfect marriage. They can be seen red carpet to celeb events always smiling and never in tabloids for anything negative surrounding their marriage.

It’s difficult enough to spend years and years with the same person, but add a few kids and a thriving acting career in the mix and try to maintain as good as a relationship as these two.

Smith recently told European Reveal magazine that the reason for their joyful relationship is an open relationship that has been in place from day one of their now 11 year marriage.

”Divorce cannot be an option… I honestly believe there is no woman for me but Jada. No one can handle me the way she does… Once you feel someone locked in on you, it’s no contest.

“In our marriage vows, we didn’t say ‘forsaking all others’. We said ‘you will never hear I did something

“This is it. I can’t imagine what anyone else would offer.” Will expresses about his marriage. If more people operated as the Smiths do in their relationships and marriages would there be an increase in marriages and a drop in divorce?

In the African American community, there is already an almost extreme difference in the amount of black men versus the amount of black women. Some of those reasons begin death, jail, HIV, and homosexuality. Since the difference of men and women is so vast it wouldn’t be very hard for a man to find more than one woman.

Love and intimacy do not have to be shared solely between two people. In a lifetime, we can have countless partners and carry with us memories and thoughts of those other individuals even after we are married.

Homosexuality and Bi-sexuality are slowly but surely becoming more accepted throughout our society, and although there are many more that disapprove of it, than those who approve of it could it be that alternative lifestyles such as polyamory could be an approved alternate to marriage.

Playing the devil’s advocate, we speak so feverishly about black men not being there for their children that might be spread across different households. If a man were to engage, in a polyamourous lifestyle that placed him in a house with all of his woman or partners then he would be available to all his children.

Another plus would be that when it comes down to it marriage should function as a business. Just like a business, you have to be a good team for a family to work well. Adding someone else to the team who has something to bring to the table will do nothing but aid in the growth and prosperity of the business [marriage].

It is easy to say that it would be hard for one man to take care of such a large family on his own; but with multiple partners come multiple incomes as well as multiple caretakers it would be much easier for everyone. Children will always be taken care of; there would be several incomes to make sure the household is taken care of. These are aspects that most of us look for in relationships; everyone is satisfied – so what is the problem?

Polyamory & polygamy goes against one of many African Americans strongest beliefs, The Bible says marriage represents the love and special bond within a relationship between two people. The opening chapters of the bible introduce the divine purpose and plan for marriage, showing Christians that marriage is indeed important. There are five topics emphasized specifically including monogamy, and a life long union. The others being heterosexuality, a legally acknowledged union, and a uniting consummated in sexual union.  It is considered a sin to have sex outside of marriage. There are certain morals and beliefs that have been engrained in us from slavery. Philosophies and principals in the African American community cannot shake.

Today’s African American woman would most likely flee from this idea as if it were the plague because most are very strong-minded and are lucky to even find one man in a nation where 60% of men are not available due to their sexuality, jail sentences, and a disproportionate population. On the other hand, many men would say that Monogamy is not only unnatural but restrictive and inhibiting as well.

Is it possible for woman in our society who, go to school, own businesses, and raise families on their own to submit to a man and create a sister-like bond with her husbands other wives or partners? Many woman _ at even the thought of “sharing” their man or feel that delving “deeper” with any other man aside from their husband or partner is disrespectful and greedy.

Is this an invention by those who look to rid of the institute of marriage for greed and perversion? Alternatively, might this be a better way to lower divorce rate and increase couples happiness. Nonetheless, the stigma associated with polygamy and polyamory in American society is likely to diminish with more and more people participating in this growing trend. Will our brothers and sister jump on the bandwagon and is it possible that polygamy/polyamory will have a legal future in the U.S?

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