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For centuries there has been a unique, close-knit relationship between black people (particularly black women) and the black church. Below is a list of things your pastor won’t tell you in regards to dating and relationships:
1. You should date, daily.
Dating daily is important to acquire a better understanding of yourself and people from various backgrounds. Your pastor probably wouldn’t advocate this, as it may be misconstrued into promoting casual sex- which is what many believe dating has transpired into. Don’t conform to the actions of the masses by having casual sex. Stick to the basics of spending quality time with people of interest. Your perfect attendance at Bible study, choir practice and youth ministry may be compromised, but you’ll thank yourself later.
2. You actually do need a man/woman.
No matter your religious beliefs or your sexual orientation, we can probably unanimously agree that each gender has a distinct role on this planet. Your pastor probably wouldn’t advocate you needing a man/woman, instead, they’d enforce your need for God thus encouraging you to stay active in the church and wait for God to send you your king or queen. Grow to understand and respect that each gender is needed for specific things.
3. Protect your assets.
With the drastic increase of out-of-wedlock childbirth, STD and HIV/AIDs infections within the black community, abstinence prior to marriage is no longer a viable “cure” to deter people from engaging in risky sexual behavior. Your pastor may touch the surface of this topic but probably won’t have a supply of condoms and sexual education classes available for those who’d like to partake in protecting themselves and/or learning more about the possible outcomes from sex. You should always protect yourself against unwanted pregnancies and diseases.
4. Ladies, lose some weight and stay fit.
Let’s face it, we live in a society that encourages big appetites for money, material things and food. The average woman in America wears a size 14 pant. The black culture is an advocate of “thick” women, so your pastor probably won’t encourage you to lose weight. Instead he’ll tell you that God made you the way you are and because of that you’re beautiful. Weight gain typically creates a myriad of health problems. You should always be cognitive of the affects of weight gain on your health.
5. Money will make or break your relationship.
Oftentimes the black church attempts to dilute money’s influence- stating it is the “root of all evil” and encouraging church members to not put money at the forefront of their relationship. Truthfully, money plays a huge role in a relationship. In fact, money and adultery are oftentimes interchanged as the #1 cause of divorce in the USA. It is crucial that you understand your significant other’s money management strategies- if they have any at all. If there is no common ground between the two of you regarding money management, the relationship will not last.
6. Don’t allow religion to get in between you and a potential spouse.
When two people attempt to defy the natural order of their attraction for one another because of social norms, they are rarely able to find true love and happiness outside the individual they “can’t” be with. Your pastor would never encourage you to date someone of a different religion. After all, they would prefer that both of you tithe to the church. As long as you and your significant other are able to understand and respect each other’s practices, there shouldn’t be any major issues between the two of you regarding religion.
7. Ladies, keep it authentic.
There has been a surge in artificial beauty products for women in the 21st century. There are weave/hair extensions, silicone breasts and buttocks, eyelashes and now even eyebrows. A woman’s entire look can transpire from artificial products. Your pastor will probably avoid discussing this topic as most of the congregation is female and they don’t want to bite the hand that feeds them. You’d be surprised at how attractive your natural beauty is. Remember, black don’t crack– we age gracefully.
8. It’s ok to date outside of your race.
For years, the black community has struggled with accepting interracial dating- especially when a black man chooses to date outside of the race. Research has shown there’s a recent growth in interracial dating; however, your pastor probably wouldn’t advocate it in fear of being asked to discontinue sermons that encourage growth and prosperity solely within the black community. Don’t rob yourself of an opportunity to expand your options for love. Interracial dating is fine as long as you and your significant other are able to respect the differences in culture.
9. Ladies, my words should not supersede your husband’s words.
Black husbands sometimes find themselves competing against a pastor for their wife’s time and respect. You won’t hear your pastor tell you not to place more value on your spouse’s ideologies than their own. Instead, they’ll probably encourage you and your husband to follow their lead. Use your discernment to determine what you should and should not bring into your marriage as defined by your pastor.
10. Single parents, your kid(s) needs two parents.
Because more than 70% of black children are born out-of-wedlock, it is obvious that the discussion of having two parents in the household has become a taboo subject. Somewhere along the lines of communication, the black church conveyed the wrong message about independence. Your pastor probably won’t encourage single parents to find another parent for their child(ren), as it may come off condescending and offend most of their majority female congregation. Statistically speaking, children have a greater chance at success when raised in a (stable) two-parent home. Although dating is extremely difficult for single parents, don’t completely rob your kid(s) of an opportunity to live in a supportive two-parent home.
The list is not placed in any particular order. Leave a comment in the box organizing the list with #1 being the least thing your pastor will encourage you to do. Also, add some things you didn’t see on the list that you believe are missing.
Ree “The REE-lationship Guide” is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University. She is a contributing writer for YourBlackWorld.net and BlackLikeMoi.com.