Why marry? Author dishes on success, marriage and community

WASHINGTON — “I don’t need a man to raise kids or take care of me.” Have you ever heard anyone make that proclamation in a discussion about marriage and family?

One author writes it’s just fine to not need a man and it’s awesome that single, career-minded, upwardly-mobile women have the means to care for themselves and others if need be. But author Carmen Hope-Thomas shares her reasons to get hitched in her book “Why Marry a Man You Don’t Need? A Candid Conversation About Marriage, Money, Success and the Black Woman.”

While the book is specifically written from a Christian perspective and addresses some topics of concern within the African-American community, Hope-Thomas says this discussion can transcend various communities.

She pulls no punches with the views she expresses in her book — even the ones that might make eyebrows rise and faces scrunch. But she also says the book isn’t meant to provide all the answers to the book’s main question.

“Everyone needs to define their ‘why,’ whether they’re getting married or they’re deciding not to get married.”

But Hope-Thomas is all for the institution.

“Marriage is a character building opportunity,” she says. For any career-driven woman who has had ramshackle relationship success, Hope-Thomas says finding the love of a lifetime could mean rethinking and even expanding a personal list of qualities to consider in a potential spouse.

She was 36 when she tied the knot.

“That’s old, in some minds,” she said. “But I also know some that waited longer and they’re happy. I firmly believe, and this is just my theory — I haven’t tested it, that if you are over 35, you probably know who your husband is, you just don’t want to marry him,” she laughed.

“When I got married, I owned two homes — my primary residence and then I had a rental property. When I met my husband I had two cars. I was a six-figure income earner when [we] started dating, and that was a question for me, because I far outweighed my husband [with income] when we were dating. Where the character building came in for me was being willing to open myself up to the fact that he was an amazing man,” she said of her husband whom she’s known since their college years. He was one of the first people she met on their campus.

Hope-Thomas says within four years of their marriage, her husband ended up exceeding her yearly income. Some years and two sons later, he was also an advocate and emotional bulwark when they grappled with one of life’s curve balls — medical challenges including a brain tumor that temporarily blinded Hope-Thomas.

She says if she had allowed her concern about his income to overshadow his other qualities when they were dating, she would have missed out on a great marriage and his staunch patient advocacy during her health challenges.

“Why Marry A Man You Don’t Need,” Hope-Thomas says, was written to start a discussion about some possible answers to that question — such as the importance of community building and leaving a legacy for future generations. Hope-Thomas will continue that conversation at a casual D.C. meet and greet Sunday.

Here are the details:

When: Sunday, Oct. 29 from 5-10 p.m.

Where: Ben’s Upstairs: 1001 H St. NE, D.C. 20002

Cost: Free, to get in, but an RSVP through the author’s website is necessary.

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