Deprogramming the “Marriage” expectation

I lived in the East Village of NYC with my Sister and a roommate for almost two years. What an amazing gift it was. We worked, played, partied (cause we lived next door to a club that let us in for free, you know . . . noise) and loved life! It was a dream come true cause every kid growing up in the boroughs of NYC wants to live in “The City”.

Thanks to my sister, I did. I’m 7 years older than my sister which means my crowd at that time was younger. The crowd I’d been hanging with before had all moved on to a different life.

Deprogramming The Marriage Expectation | Sedruola Maruska

So, in the late Winter / early Spring of 2001 I made two life-altering decisions.

I’ve heard that worry is a product of not making a decision. Once you make a decision, no more worry. It works, I do it all the time. . . but I digress. . . because I’m opening up and I don’t know you yet.

It’s like on a first date where you can’t tell all. . . then you drink a bit and all comes out. . . I have that story too, but not for now. . .

Anyway, the first decision was to buy my first apartment, the story of which will be in another post one day I’m sure. The second decision was to date anyone that had nerve enough to asked me out.

Let me clarify something. I’m a New Yorker for life. I’ve moved a lot in my time, but New York City is home. That means, I’ve grown up with diverse people around me all my life. But when it came to dating someone to potentially marry, in my mind he was always black.

Now, let’s go back to living in NYC with my sister and why I made my decisions.

I was tired. Tired of dating, tired of hoping and mostly tired of feeling like I was waiting for something, anything to happen so my life could start.

Ladies, PLEASE stop making your girls feel like they have to find someone to be somebody or do something.

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I was 32 years old.

All. . . yes, ALL my friends were married. I was making new younger friends And in constant dialogue with myself to counter messages I’d been getting since my 20’s.


– When are you going to get married?
– You’re not married yet?
– Why aren’t you married yet?
– Why aren’t you giving those boys a chance?

On and on and on and on. . . .

Heaven help little girls that keep getting the message that being married is an accomplishment and if it doesn’t happen something’s wrong. It’s a beautiful thing, but too many girls feel it’s the “holy grail” and when they find realities on the other side, well, 50% divorce rate right. . . ?!

Answers (to others):

– When I find the right guy
– No, I haven’t found the right person yet
– Well, I just haven’t found the right guy
– *smile politely* I do, just hasn’t been the right one yet

I was tired of making excuses for useless, inane questions that should never have been hurled at me in the first place. Why are women expected to get married and men expected to get jobs? We’re expected to work UNTIL we’re married then we stay home and raise kids.

Please don’t misunderstand I’m a wife & mother. I fought hard to stay home with my babies when they were  young. It’s a REALLY hard job I get it. I also get that it’s not for everyone. To thrust that expectation on everyone is insensitive. To make it the “holy grail” of a girls life is cruel.

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Answers (to myself)

– I’m going to get married when I find a man that I’m truly excited to say I’m going to marry. . . not before.
– I’m not married yet and that’s okay, there’s nothing wrong with that or with me. I will not marry just any guy that smiles at me
– I’m not married yet because I want to marry for life, not so I can say I was married, but so I can say I AM married and that’s where I want to be
– If they can’t treat me the way I know I should be treated, they don’t deserve to be with me. Jumping through hoops for the rest of my life is not an option

I had that dialogue with myself more than I care to recall. Over and over again I had to deprogram my thinking, my feelings and counter the insensitive questions that came my way.

So I made two decisions in the early Spring/ late Winter of 2001.

The first was to buy my own place because I’m a grown woman with a job and waiting or a man to provide me with a mortgage was stupid. I started looking, found a place I fell in love with in Brooklyn and my sister and I bought it. . . not that quickly (another story) but we did that year.

The second was to date anyone that asked me out. Why did that have to be a decision? Because up till then, marriage potential men were always black in my mind.

So, out loud I said: “I’d rather be in love than alone. So, I will date, with an open mind and heart, anyone who ventures to ask me out.” An intelligent black woman is intimidating to some. I was her. So if a man asked me out, he was at least worth a drink.

I must have done a good job of deprogramming because about two weeks later I went on a pseudo-date (that’s what I called it) with a 6’3 white guy that I’d worked with for a year. We had a great time and we now have a house, two babies and a minivan.

Deprogramming is a bitch. There are so many messages we get along the way that we have to question over an over again so we can get to the person we are truly meant to be.

When I talk to my kids I don’t put expectations on them of what they’ll do in life. I simply expect them to be great humans. Message delivery is so important when shaping young minds. . . so love your girls, allow them to be exactly who they are going to be without the expectation that they need to have a man to be anything.

What’s your deprogramming story? I’m here to listen. . . comment below. 🙂

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