Celebrating Black Marriage: How To Fix the Problems and Get Back To Sweet Love


By the time you read this, my wife and I will have celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary. One of my good friends (who’s with his second wife) believes that Black marriages should be measured in dog years. He even sent me a text: happy 77th anniversary, son! That one elicited a pained chuckle, because his offhand joke illuminated something larger.

Out of six couples married within a year before or after us, only one is still together. Varying factors caused the breakups—infidelity; money issues; one couple lost a child and couldn’t even stand to be in the same room as one another for the memories of their baby. Some of the (former) couples no longer speak. This disturbs me.

We’ve all seen the articles, essays, talk shows and polemic regarding the state of Black marriage. The spectrum ranges from marriage not being for Black folks at all, to polyamory being one of the only viable solutions for strengthening Black relationships, to the lack of God in our lives directly contributing to failed marriages. I’d like to offer something else: it’s just so damn easy to break up.

Many of us live for and in the moment. And for some things, this Buddhist-like engagement with the world is a wonderful and useful thing. But for something like marriage, it’s almost counter to the very idea. When we get married, it’s more than just two people coming together. It is four different families coming together. A quartet of ancestral and historical lines becomes braided when we take our vows. But with migration for vocational and educational opportunities, many of us do not have immediate access to the families who attended our ceremony.

So, like my wife and I, many couples are kind of… just out there. In our case there are no parents on either side, and with no solid familial supports, it’s really difficult. When we went through our troubles, pulling the plug on the marriage was the first thought. There was no talk about the sanctity or longevity of the marriage. It was more akin to touching a hot stove: Ouch! This hurts. Gotta get away from it!

Ending the marriage was a reaction. Saving our marriage was a response.

While I’m usually dead set against making generalizations, I’m going to go against that impulse and make a few. These are the things my wife and I did to save and strengthen our marriage. I truly believe that they can be of value to anyone experiencing what can be one of the most painful things anyone can go through: a disrupted union…

Read the rest of Shawn Taylor’s post on how he saved his marriage on EBONY.com.


1. Where Did Our Love Go? Anthony Hamilton’s Wife Talks Motherhood & Marriage In New Book
2. Married Life: 7 Things You Need To Know Before You Say, “I Do.”
3. A Black Marriage Week Treat From Tray Chaney, Plus Michelle Obama In Vogue and Justin T. On Fallon
4. The Story Of Us: Celebrating 15 Years Of Black Love and Marriage

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.


  1. Congrats to you and your wife!! Marriage is beyond love. It is flat out trust and blind faith. There is a lot of ‘you’ that has to die so that the ‘we’ in marriage can live and flourish. I tell my single friends to get all expectations out there BEFORE the vows. Spirituality, work, money, extended families and so on. What you see before the ring is just a trailer to the real show. So WATCH IT!! Don’t like what you see? Do.not.buy.the.ticket. Things do not change because you say ‘I Do’. In fact all the red flags become amplified. Any honest couple will tell you that. But if you take your time on the front end and not force who you WANT to be in your life vs. what God has for your life, best believe you won’t have to GET YO AND YO SPOUSE’S LYFE!!! To each his own, but for us, God must be in the center, and we have to trust Him more than each other. THAT is no joke. THAT is for grown folk. I celebrate you and yours!! Many more to come!! Great article and wonderful discussion.

  2. Great article. As a married mother of two who celebrated my 8 year wedding anniversary a few months ago, this article truly resonated with me for obvious reasons. I’ve learned that the seven year itch is real. My hubby and I have endured and are still enduring the truth behind our vows, especially “in good times and bad.” I totally agree with, “it’s just so damn easy to break up,” as countless times I opted to contact a lawyer as opposed to digging deep and doing the work required to get our marriage back on the happy track. I also agree that “ending the marriage was a reaction. Saving our marriage was a response.” We chose to respond as opposed to reacting and while some days are tougher than others we’ve got our eyes on sweeter days and better years ahead. God willing…

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