Maybe bitter, hopeless single women don’t exist. The big takeaway from “Kia Speaks’ Women and Marriage” survey was that women aren’t phased by the media’s perceptions or predictions on marriage. When I sent out requests for ladies to complete the survey, I wasn’t sure what to expect because the media tells a sad and disillusioned story when it comes to marriage. According to studies, only half of American adults are married, and 44% feel marriage is becoming obsolete. On top of that, 40-50% of marriages end in the divorce, and Black women are struggling to even find “eligible” marriage partners. While the marriage struggle is real, women are still hopefully and optimistic. Yes, even Black women!

Despite the dismal numbers that the media parades in front of us, only 3.2% of our survey participants had a negative perception of marriage. Eighty percent want to marry with 30.8% saying they can’t live with the idea of not getting married.

The positive outlook on marriage actually surprised me. I expected more women to cite the media as a influence on their perception of marriage, and I expected that media influence to negatively affect their perception of marriage. But only 25.3% cited the media as an influential factor. The most influential factors on marriage perceptions were family (87.4%), religion/spirituality (65.3%) and culture (42.1%).

I was also slightly disturbed by the 30.8% of women who say they can’t live with the idea of not getting married. My being disturbed comes solely from my personal experience. I was once a woman who couldn’t live with the idea of not getting married. During this time in my life I was both insecure and desperate. As I’ve become more secure with who I am, I’ve moved away from having to get married to be happy. Yes, I still want marriage. But I no longer stress the idea, and I don’t need marriage to validate who I am as a woman. I wonder if these women who say they can’t live with the idea of not marrying are in a healthier place than I was when I shared that mindset.

I definitely look forward to exploring this conversation deeper. Thirty women, both married and unmarried, have agreed to participate in more detailed marriage interviews. I’m sure they will be even more insightful, and I can’t wait to see what comes!

Other highlights from the survey are as follow:

  • Participants were women ages 18 and up, half falling between the age of 30 and 39.
  • Participants were very educated. Fifty-four percent continued their studies after receiving  undergraduate degrees with 8% receiving a doctorate or professional degree, 5% completing doctorate or professional degree coursework, 33% receiving master’s degrees and 8% completing coursework toward a master’s degree.
  • Eighty percent of participants identified themselves as African Americans.
  • Ninety percent identified as Christians, 1% as spiritual and 9% as not religious at all.
  • Despite being vastly single (only 32.6% are married), most women still desire to marry. Thirty percent state they can’t live with the idea of not marrying while 49% would love to marry but aren’t stressing it.
  • Only 3.2% of participants have a negative perception of marriage with 70.5% describing their perception as positive and 25.3% describing their perception as mixed.
  • Family (87.4%) is the number one influence on marriage; religion/spirituality (65.3%) was second and culture (42.1%) third. Media (25.3%) and friends (26.3%) were the least influential factors on marriage. Seven percent also named their previous experience as influential.