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4.16.2015

"Ain't nobody got time for no fundamental shifts..."



Ouch... In a shot heard round the world, Mary Jane Patterson spoke these words to new beau, Sheldon.  As you probably already know, on the Season 2 finale that aired on Tuesday, April 14th, Mary Jane had "the conversation" with her "boyfriend" Sheldon, and listened as he tried to encourage her to take the road less traveled to coupledom.  While Sheldon tried to convince Mary Jane that a monogamous relationship does not necessarily equal cohabitation, Mary Jane tried to convince herself that she was not crazy and delusional for thinking that this relationship could have been something.  But as Mary Jane fought back (with the applause of women across the world no doubt resonating in her ear) I wondered.  What is wrong with marriage without cohabitation?  Is it necessary for married couples to actually live together?  Is it time for women, especially Black women to consider a "fundamental shift"?

Traditionally, married people are expected to live together right?  "First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage" yada, yada, yada.  But what if women are limiting their options in a partner by refusing to make a "fundamental shift"?  If we are to believe the statistics that state that only 42-45% of Black women in America are married, a "fundamental shift" in the way we view relationships, marriage, monogamy, and cohabitation is imperative.  Disclosure:  I married when I was 35 years old.  Me and my spouse are both educated, hold graduate/postgraduate degrees, and are professionals in our careers.  We were fiercely in love when we got married and knew that we could not live another day without the other.  But the day after the wedding, we went to our respective homes and stayed separate for over a year after that. We live together now, but living together was NEVER the plan for us.  And if I was to tell the truth, living apart in the early part of our marriage was blissful.  We still behaved like children holding the phone to our ears, listening to the other snore, creating a rhythm that still defines our sleep today.  We had "date" nights, on which I would "spend the night" as if it was our first date and leave early in the morning lest I be seen participating in a walk of shame.  We cherished the time we had together, and seemingly, cherished each other a little bit more then.

On the last episode of "Being Mary Jane" Sheldon rationalized to Mary Jane " I'm over 50 years old and I like things the way I like them", but she was not receptive at all.  But as a professional woman, nearing 40 years old, with her own home, and an ever-consuming career, she also likes things the way she likes them, right?  As women are waiting longer and longer to settle down and get married, the flexibility that made us so willing to compromise in our twenties has been replaced by wisdom, experience, heartbreak and living.  We know how we like our coffee, we know our preference in wine, we have grown-up clothes in our closets, and we have one dish that has become our specialty. So, you fall in love and have to compromise what has worked for so long?  Why?  Although women have made "fundamental shifts" in the method they choose to conceive a child, the age they decide to become mothers, and the choice to delay marriage and motherhood to chase a career, yet we still maintain the same ideology about marriage and cohabitation?  A "fundamental shift" is not needed.  A reality check is, though.

Your thoughts? Please leave them below.

2 comments:

  1. Wow. This is a conversation that's been on my mind on and off. I'm behind on my Mary Jane watching (plan to binge watch this weekend!) so now I'm really looking forward to it. I often wonder if I can adjust to living with someone again. My last relationship ended a number of years ago and although I miss many things about it, I often find total peace in my singular space. I'm much older than Ms. Mary Jane but it is a show that resonates with me on many levels. Good post! (and I missed you much, hope all is well.)

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    Replies
    1. Hey Juliette! I'm well. Just been living ;-)

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