Today African American men are expected to be providers for women, often whether they are married to the women or not. But if you are not married to a woman and the two of you do not live together, YOU are not under any obligation to pay her bills, get her hair and nails done nor pay her rent. Those are her responsibilities. And though it is nice to do so, if you can afford to, guys be careful not to let your generosity be mistaken for obligation.
If men and women play house, women must overstand that house comes with authority via leadership and living by example, not just the right to pay the bills. This is an area counselors struggle to explain, African American women tend to reject and African American men fail to hold the line on. The leader of the relationship or head of thee household is so much more than an ATM and its past the time for us to make that known.
We who are strong African American male leaders in our homes recognize our varied roles and functions. Our women must recognize this as well or they fail to comprehend who we are. And if you cannot be the head of your home or relationship, leading with fairness, respect, compassion and by example, you do not need to be in that home nor in that relationship. There are too many weak and/or emasculated African American men who are bowing to women and allowing them to run the household. We can consult, listen to and work together with our women but when it comes down to it, there can only be one leader. African American men must therefore lead in the right direction and demand respect as the leaders of our households and communities. In a kingdom, your wife or woman can be and should be your queen, but there is only one King.
We men are much more than ATMs. We are protectors. We are examples. We are final decision makers. We are leaders who bring the family to the table as often as possible so the family can make decisions together. We initiate discussions, require excellence from our family members and demand it of ourselves. We find answers to problems when there seems like there is no solution. We mediate conflict and neutralize it in the household with win-win problem resolution. And if you don’t know how to do all of these things, it neither keeps you from being a man nor voids your right of authority and your responsibility to lead. You simply have to learn and none of us (including your wife or woman) is perfect. So never let anyone belittle you on the basis that you are not where you should be – as long as you are making the sincere effort to get there.
We who are strong African American men have to stop trying to buy women or trying to impress them with money or what we will pay on their behalf. We men are much more than cash, checks and credit cards or vessels of material things. Sending the wrong message has both set and fed a dangerous and false standard and allowed women to mistake our kindness as an obligation. Buying your woman nice things and helping her when you can are admirable traits but you need to know such behavior can easily become an expectation that defines you in her eyes. Then, when you don’t, won’t or can’t, she may very well find someone who will or see you as failing your commitment to her. I speak of course regarding the relationship where you are not married and do not live together.
As a husband and/or a father, the role of the African American male is priceless and cannot be replaced by any other person, entity or structure. We provide balance and stability to the relationship. We provide direction for the family. I say again, nobody else can perform our role or function – not two women in a relationship, not two men together. Now is the time for African American men to rise up and return to being the leaders and examples that our fathers or grandfathers were. If you are a male, be a man. Teach and expect the same from your sons. And if any woman does not like it or cannot accept it, you do not need her. You can make a good woman your queen but there can only be one king. Believe it, act like it, become it, teach it and expect it.
Article written by Marque-Anthony