Why Being Married Doesn't Make You A Relationship Expert

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african american couple woman engaged engagement
Just because you have a wedding ring on your finger doesn't mean you should give unsolicited advice.

These days, it's confusing to know who to take relationship advice from. On one end, you've got thrice-married Steve Harvey selling books in lines so long I'd swear they're giving government cheese with every hard copy sold. Then you have perpetually single men and women who claim to be "relationship" coaches, but might just want to stick to little league softball. And the last, and perhaps most obnoxious group, is one that I belong to: the "I's married so you just need to listen to what I say!" crew.

These days, it's confusing to know who to take relationship advice from. On one end, you've got thrice-married Steve Harvey selling books in lines so long I'd swear they're giving government cheese with every hard copy sold. Then you have perpetually single men and women who claim to be "relationship" coaches, but might just want to stick to little league softball. And the last, and perhaps most obnoxious group, is one that I belong to: the "I's married so you just need to listen to what I say!" crew.

 

Of course, I'm not talking about me. I would never do that.

This is the bunch that will fill your head with glitter and unicorns about how if you keep your hair and nails done, learn to cook, don't be too dumb, don't be too smart, be a freak in the bedroom and Betty Crocker in the kitchen, and the Pine Sol lady in the rest of the house, let your man run the streets and take the lead, even if it's into a ditch.

Just because you have a ring doesn't mean you know any ole thing. Especially if your marriage looks like a six-car pileup on the express way. But conversely, I have the same position towards perpetually single women giving advice to their bff's, which often ends up looking like the Three Blind Mice going to the club on Friday, Saturday and every third Wednesday.

The best advice, in my opinion, is given through example, and achieved through emulation. Admire a married couple who don't hate each other? Ask what works for them, then sit back a watch. Know a single lady who's comfortable in her own skin and doesn't have men running through her place like trains through Grand Central Station? Ask, watch and learn.

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Christelyn D. Karazin is the co-author of Swirling: How to Date, Mate and Relate Mixing Race Culture and Creed (to be released February 2012), and runs a blog, www.beyondblackwhite.com, dedicated to women of color who are interested and or involved in interracial and intercultural relationships. She is also the founder and organizer of "No Wedding, No Womb," an initiative to find solutions to the 72 percent out-of-wedlock rate in the black community.

This article was originally published at Madame Noire. Reprinted with permission.

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