On Easter Sunday, actor Mekhi Phifer got married for the second time to his girlfriend Rachelet Barnes. It must have been a bittersweet day for his first wife Malinda Williams and his ex-fiancee/baby mama, Oni Souratha, as both of them had the chance for a “forever love” with Phifer but one marriage didn’t last and the other didn’t happen. Casting aside for a moment whether or not these ladies actually dodged a bullet and are better off, what’s interesting is that in these scenarios, our first question is always what the women did wrong. Although Phifer appears thus far unable to sustain a committed relationship (hopefully this is the one) Williams has also been married twice – to Phifer with whom she has a son – and to rapper/deejay Derrick “D-Nice” Jones who she was married to less than a year. That was after their wedding was prominently featured on Essence.com, where at least it looked like a well-thought out, grown folks’ relationship. Yet a year later, Jones and Williams were divorced and Jones had a child with someone else.
Why do we bemoan the lack of successful commitment in our communities and spend endless blog posts and speculation about what’s wrong with Black love?
It’s because we realize that a successful relationship is at the core of a successful community. If we can achieve harmony in our homes, especially if we have children, we can better achieve healthy, happy kids who become positive, productive adults. So if relationships are so important, how do we keep them healthy and stable? Religion is certainly an answer, but let’s face it – in the modern world, it’s not the answer for every couple. And even religious folks have their issues as thrice-married gospel singer Yolanda Adams can attest to. Maybe we need to look at marriage and relationships from a whole ‘nother perspective.
Here are 5 reasons why you didn’t get or didn’t stay married:
1. You were incompatible from the beginning.
Some people have no idea what it is that they truly need in a committed relationship. As outlined in books like “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, everyone doesn’t give or receive love the same way. Or maybe lust was the impetus that got you into the relationship, but when the smoke cleared you realized that sexual chemistry was all you had in common. Or at the end of the day, while you both had attractive qualities, you just didn’t value what the other offered. A good guide for relationships: Chemistry is overrated and compatibility is underrated. You need both to make a great relationship work. And, duh, you have to like the person, not just want something from them like a ring, a home, pretty kids or VIP access to that big booty.
2. You couldn’t make your relationship and rearing your children work together.
Some people are meant to bring children in the world together, but they are not meant to raise them together. Take Usher and Tameka Raymond. Aside from the obvious issues of celebrity romance and both of their own personal issues, one of the things Usher has said about the relationship is that they couldn’t agree on child-rearing. When the strains of raising kids are impacting the relationship adversely it may be that you are that couple. Women with multiple kids by a man wonder why he’ll move on to the next chick that has no kids or even has kids by someone else. It could because raising kids together, which his HARD WORK, made existing issues in the relationship more apparent. It funny how sometimes, when a couple separate they are much better able to agree on raising their kids.