Hello my name is Jayne Dirt, and I’m a divorcee. I suppose this is somewhat of a feat considering many of my sistren’, for better or for worse, have not crossed that threshold just yet. Having only survived four years of matrimonydom though, I do not profess to be an expert on wedded bliss. But one of the most heart wrenching lessons that I have learned that I wish to impart, is that love alone, does not make a marriage. Key ingredients in the stew, yes, but some other fixings have to be thrown in the mix for it to be sustained. Perhaps Disney movies, and other grandiose fairytales that crafted our little girl fantasies, have shaped some of our incredibly unrealistic notions about marriage, but as Mary J sings, “It ain’t all roses, flowers, and posin’….” When you get grown, I mean really grown and not postulating to be a grown woman just because you have coochie curls and a debit card, it’s time to dead these fantasies and be R E A L I S T I C!

At a certain juncture in our lives, women need to have a personal constitution. Within this constitution it is a good idea to have a realistic appraisal of your worth, what you bring to the table, what you seek in a partner (and that bucket list should include some significant attributes beyond him having good hair, a monster penis, and a 7 series BMW). Some questions to consider are: Is he loyal? Does he come from a good family background? Can he conjugate a verb? Can he balance a checkbook? Does he have any kids you don’t know about, or an ex-wife that he is still paying alimony and child support to, leaving you with crumbs? Does he even want to have kids? Is he father material? Can he keep a steady job? Does he have long term employable skills? Does he have a felony you are not privy to? What’s his relationship like with his mama? What is his FICO score? Does he squander a great portion of his time playing video games? Do his life plans coincide with yours?

While these series of questions may be laughable, they are important questions to ask yourself nonetheless, lest L O V E have your A1 credit jacked up loving a man with his 3 grown kids living in your house, or the feds busting in from an old warrant you didn’t know about. Or perhaps–and not so extreme–you discover his ideas about male female gender dynamics do not bode well with your career ambitions or he is a good man, just not the good man for Y O U!

Through trial and error, marrying at 22 and divorcing by 26, I have learned some of my non-negotiables when it comes to my new potential husband. If a suitor lacks a passport and a mean hustle spirit, it’s an absolute no go for me. Traveling is a fundamental part of my lifestyle, and for a man to be able to roll and compliment me in my endless travel endeavors, he must have a valid passport and the ingenuity to make money from anywhere on the planet, BOTTOM LINE! I don’t want to cook every day, and have a penchant to want to have my own space. I am sometimes impetuous in my decision making, am known to be passive aggressive, have a mean silent treatment, and the proclivity to overspend on occasion. I try to be honest in my assessment of myself. This may drive some men up the wall and one or more of my quirks can be an absolute deal breaker. I get that! This is why knowing what you bring to the table and can and cannot deal with is so important.

When asking some of my married and have-been-married girlfriends their thoughts on whether love alone was enough to tie the knot, the resounding answer was NO! How essential communication is was a reoccurring theme in their responses. It is stating the obvious that men and women communicate entirely different — women tend to be more verbose and men are non-verbal communicators. Figuring out how to make your communications styles mesh is critical.

Rasha Reyn, Executive of Sales for Emily Cho Handbags NYC had this to say about marriage, “it’s work — a lot of work — people feel we love each other so let’s get married, but from what I have learned, communication is the key to a great marriage.” Kenya Johnson a wife and working mother of three  shared, “Anyone can love someone but that doesn’t mean the relationship is good/healthy for both parties. There are other factors like, compatibility, communication, and trust.” While one of my best girlfriends whose name I will not disclose, kept it all the way real and quipped, “I would not have married when I did, if I did not need health insurance. I know this is not the ideal reason to get married, but my now husband and I already knew we were going to marry one day, but my need for medical coverage sped things up.”

Love is such a nebulous concept so putting on your big girl panties and being smart about whom and for what reasons you marry is vital. The decision you make can have prodigious consequences down the line.

Before you say “I do” what are some of the other reasons that would behoove you to jump the broom with your man?

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