African American women face unique challenges when it comes to relationships. A 2006 U.S. Census Bureau survey revealed that 45 percent of Black women are single as opposed to 23 percent of White women. Black women also outnumber their male counterparts. In 2000, there were 1.8 million more Black women than Black men. A documentary was made about the circumstances surrounding Christian African Americans called Soul Mate . The film’s director Andrea Wiley shares what Black women can do to help their relationships before and after they start.
Who Is the Head of the Household?
I'm finding that there's a lot of tension in marriage among Type A women. There are so many Black women who are highly educated and have achieved a lot. They're the boss all day at their particular jobs. When they come home, it's sometimes difficult to turn that off. It can create an uncomfortable situation, because men are wired to lead and to be respected.
I'm talking about myself first, because years ago I struggled. I sensed God telling me this even before I made Soul Mate. He said to me, ‘Get your house in order.’ At the time I thought He meant clean it up a little bit, but He really meant that I needed to get my spiritual house in order. I needed to regard my husband. I needed to allow him to lead.
After I did Soul Mate, I was out traveling and promoting the movie. I remember one time I was on the road and he called me because I was gone a lot. He said, “You're gone a lot. I fully support what you're doing with Soul Mate, but don't forget that we are your ministry as well,” meaning him and my son. He said, “We only have these boys for a few short years and then they're gone.”
When I was still writing for television and very much a career woman, one of the things that my mentor shared with me earlier in my marriage was the notion of submission. Of course I didn't want to hear that. The hairs on the back of our necks stand up when we hear that word. It really is a frame of mind. We have to realize that we all submit to someone. If we have a job, we submit to a boss. If we don't agree with the boss, we state what we believe, but the boss still says, "This is the way to go." We go along with it with gratitude if we want to keep the job. Why can't we show that same kind of reverence in our home?
We really need to just take another look at how we treat our men. There's a reason why the statistics show the more education and the more money that a Black woman earns, the more likely she is to never be married or have children. It's a mindset change that has to happen. You can still have your career, run your company and have your business, but there should be a shift in the dynamic at home. Men are wired to lead and to be respected, and we're wired to be loved.
The Myth of Superwoman
We have a lot of women feeling like they can do everything to the best of their abilities; you have the Superwoman label. Women were burning out, and they were getting very frustrated and very discouraged because it's just not physically possible. Life is about seasons. If you're a mother, you can have a career, but the focus is making sure you raise healthy, well-balanced children. That is our core calling. Multiplying disciples out into the world, and that, that's a full time job in and of itself. You cannot have it all at the same time. Something suffers. Something has to give. You will drive yourself crazy trying to be the best wife, the best mother, and trying to be at the top of your career. You can't do it. It's impossible.
What can Women Do?
We can certainly support our Black men and let them know that we support them. Let them feel that genuine support. I remember my brother once said to me, “You career women have it all wrong. You think you know your husbands are here to help you when you were designed to be a helper to them. That's why God created you, to help him.”
My number one advice: make time to spend time with your Creator, the Creator of the universe. I know it's hard to believe, but He wants to spend time with you. Your intimacy with Him is His highest priority for your life, the quality and the time spent privately with God directly determines the public impact your life will have.
Learn more about Andrea's documentary Soul Mate