Book Review: Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit
Book Reviewed by Mel Hopkins
WANTED: “Single Women”
In 2050, women internment camps populate the Pacific coastline. This housing once reserved for Japanese Americans during World War II is now occupied by mostly Black women of child bearing age. The camp, which is fenced in and protected by federal armed guards, is reminiscent of Guantanamo bay.
Back in 2016, few fought against the proposed legislation that would outlaw single women in America . The bill sailed through the Republican-controlled congress and the Palin-Limbaugh Administration quickly signed it into law. In doing so, the legislation also outlawed unwed births in the US too.
In a statement issued by the White House, President Palin said, “I saw the difficulties my own daughter faced as an unwed mother. These internment camps will give single women a chance to start anew without having the pressures of men coming in and out of their lives as if through revolving doors. If these women are selected in the marriage lottery, to be held early next year, they may leave the camp and rejoin society. Until then this is the safest place for them ”
Okay, maybe the aforementioned scenario is farfetched and best suited for the Sci-Fi genre but in every piece of fiction there is a kernel of truth. And for those who may have missed the sobering statistical truth, in 2001, the US Census report on African-American population indicated 42% of Black men and women have never been married. To put this information in context, in 1963, 70% of Black households were headed by married couples; by the year 2000, Black households headed by married couples was less than half at 48%.
While the end of marriage as we know it may not land single
Black women and their offspring in internment camps, any author
worth his salt will be compelled to ask “what if?” He then will
proceed to tackle the problem and its aftermath, through
In his soon-to-be released book, Why Men Fear Marriage, R.M. Johnson does just that as he seeks to offer a resolution to this challenge facing the Black community. Johnson, however, forgoes carrying out the task under the cloak of fiction. He instead enters the non-fiction arena by making a statement that is simple to answer; yet the solution he provides, for some, may be difficult to execute.
Still, the first step to solving any problem is to first recognize it exists. Johnson not only exposes the problem, but through his 256-page publication he gives us the tools to breathe life back into the institution that seems to be on life support in the Black community.
Almost a decade later, since the 2001 release, we’ve seen an onslaught of relationship books with its fair share of finger-pointing between the sexes. Some of those books include tips on how to trick a woman into having sex; while others include advice on how to manipulate a man into marriage. Most recently, we’ve seen books such as Steve Harvey’s bestseller that flips the script and teaches women how to beat a player at his game.
Since we didn’t reach this juncture by playing games, it’s not surprising these books aren’t turning the tide for Black women and marriage. In fact, the percentage of Black women who have never married is on the rise. At this critical mass, we have to decide if we want to continue on the path of ’separate but equal’ or return to the marriage altar. If it's the latter, then Why Men Fear Marriage points us in the direction to find our way back to wedded bliss.
As Johnson guides us onto the path towards marriage, he seems to throw caution to the wind as he detours off his own career path as a bestselling novelist. To date he has penned about 9 well-received novels that takes us into drama-filled worlds where the seven cardinal sins dance majestic through his would-be couples. In Why Men Fear Marriage Johnson speaks for himself rather than through his characters and confronts his readers boldly, yet honestly, about the marriage issue.
Ironically, it is Johnson’s actions of making himself vulnerable; by leaving the safety of the fictional worlds he’s created that speaks volumes of his message. When he speaks openly about the sensitive subject, Johnson provides context clues to Why Men Fear Marriage. And the answer is intimacy. Or better yet, the lack of intimacy from a woman towards her man which, may be giving men pause when it comes to making a lifetime commitment.
Johnson offers a 10-step solution to help women build a sense of intimacy with their men in hopes that it could ease fears about marriage. Still it is important to remember that Why Men Fear Marriage isn’t subtitled ’strategy and tactics’. There isn’t a list of rules best suited for the game “Survivor” where couples ’outwit, outplay, outlast’ each other. Instead, Johnson is having a conversation with women, much like a father would have with his daughter or brother with his sister.
Finally, Why Men Fear Marriage is a book on how to engage in a relationship with your heart first, mind second. In this age, where couples are fighting for the right to legally marry, Why Men Fear Marriage is the conversation starter that time has come, and at last.