No, life is not the same, and yes, life is more complicated now, and there are way more variables that are in play now, but let's talk about the foundations that were not negotiable, when our parents dated, the ones they hoped to pass onto us, and how they held their marriages together, in spite of...
None of these lessons start when you're grown. These values are put into motion early. If we want change, if we want the divorce rate to decrease, and the marriage rate to increase among African-Americans, we have to be the change agents!
The Foundation - They Took Us To Church
All of us knew that Sunday morning was reserved for church. For that matter, a few more days of the week as well. Even if we didn't want to be there, we went, participated, and the seed was being planted and rooted, but somehow along the way, we began giving our children a choice, as we attended service on Sunday, as they stayed home and slept. Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
The Parents Were Involved
You couldn't just pick up a young lady, by blowing the horn, and before you started leaving the house together, there definitely had to be several supervised dates at the house. They did things together with the family, so that everyone could get to know the character of this young man. If he didn't seem to have her best interest at heart, it wouldn't be long before he was no longer allowed to come around, and even if the daughter was hurt, she respected her parents, because she knew there were consequences.
The Father Made It Crystal Clear of What was NOT Going to Happen, While Someone Dated His Daughter
When a young lady brought home a young man for her parents to meet, the father and the brothers made sure he saw them, and let their presence be known, and the unconditional love they had for her. Just in case he wanted to disrespect her, by calling her names, put his hands on her or step out-of-pocket for any reason, he knew he would have someone to answer to. We have to be unapologetic in teaching equal respect to not only our daughters, but also our sons. It will be reluctantly acknowledged, mimicked and appreciated later.
They Taught Us About Love, Through Action
We may have seen them fight, but we also saw them work through it, and honor their vows. When things got a bit thick, that's when the foundation helped, because that's when you saw/heard Mama praying. They loved us enough to discipline us, when we were wrong. The main component to their love, was that they didn't fight for power, they shared. Sometimes, just the basics may be not be enough, but God has always been enough, and that is where the love begins. You have to put the work in, because our children really do imitate our actions. It means something to attend church with your parents, It means something to see functional relationships as a child, it means something to know that love begins at home and it definitely means a whole hell of a lot, when you can use these same tools to keep that foundation together.
Helping Grown Folk Write Their Next Chapter of Love