I have listened to many women and even a few men complain about their relationships:

“He never remembers my birthday or our anniversary.”

“He doesn’t listen to me.  I like cala lilies but he always brings me roses.”

“She complains when I want to hang out with my guy friends once a week.”

“She (or he) controls all the money and has me on an allowance.  I’m not a kid.”

“I get texts but no calls.”

“Sex?  I’m tired from working and cooking and cleaning and kids.”

This has led me to a theory that I believe covers a universal problem in the Black community:  As children or young adults, we are not taught about romance or love or how to have a happy relationship or marriage.  What we know we have learned from what goes on in our household, if we are paying attention, to mom and her relationships or mom and dad and how they interact; the neighbors, especially if they fight a lot; our peers who know as little as we know;  magazines and television which often needs discussion to really be understood; or just by trial and error.  Most often, it is trial and error.

What parents typically say is “Don’t come home pregnant” or “Don’t get a girl pregnant” but how many actually teach about birth control and how to use condoms to avoid babies and STD’s?

So how do we expect to have relationships with real potential when neither of us knows what we are doing and we don’t know that we don’t know? And often are too embarrassed to ask for help.

Recent divorce statistics put the divorce rate at 50% (and climbing with Covid 19), and most marriages end either between the first and second year or between year five and eight.  Why?  Because marriage is hard, and if you are not prepared, you end up getting divorced, sooner or later. But we can’t let that keep us from talking to one another and to our children so that we and they can make better choices in love.

What are some of the things we need to teach our kids?

*How to introduce yourself with sincerity and fun, not corny pick-up lines

*Create a list of topics to talk about, especially if they are not extroverts, and discuss those topics at home so they will have a point of view

*Knowing when to talk and when to shut up and let them talk

*How to listen and remember what they said for future conversations and          gift-giving

*What to do and not do on a date

*How to say no to sex or unwanted advances

*How to drink when you are out

* When you know it’s time for a kiss and how to get it

*How to prepare for sex

*How to negotiate for what you want in a relationship, knowing what you are willing to give and what you will not accept

Here are some suggestions:

*use role-playing with your spouse/significant other, relative, or friend to practice, practice, practice.

*Create cards with relationship questions or topics and use them to start the conversation.

*Find age appropriate books and read together.

Let us all commit to breaking the generational curse by supporting good relationships with real talk.

“Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.”

-Zora Neal Hurston

#teachromanceandlove  #howwelearn  #readromancebooks

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