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Black producers share recipe for good marriage

CYRIL JOSH BARKER Amsterdam News Staff | 3/23/2012, 4:16 p.m.
Black producers share recipe for good marriage

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Black producers share recipe for good marriage

Hue-Man to host authors, panel discussion

March 24 is National Black Marriage Day, and while this Sunday might be a day to celebrate tying the knot, numbers show that marriage rates among Blacks are lower than they used to be.

According to the U.S. Census, Black marriage rates are falling in the nation, with fewer African-Americans jumping the broom every year.

Numbers indicate that 42 percent of Black adults have never been married, compared to 26 percent of all Americans. Half of Black adults in their early 30s have never been married.

When it comes to family structure, Black women age 35 to 44 are the only group of American women of child-bearing age with lower rates of marriage than men of the same race or ethnicity.

To add to that, 31 percent of Black women have never been married by their early 40s, compared to 9 percent of white women.

Experts attribute several factors to why Black Americans aren't getting hitched, ranging from the downfall of the economy to the far-fetched excuse that Black women are more educated than Black men.

Another factor is coming to an understanding in order to make it work. One Black couple, though, says they have the recipe for sweet married bliss.

Jamilah and David Lamb are best known as the producers of the famed play "Platanos and Collard Greens." The theater duo has recently written a book, "Perfect Combination: Seven Key Ingredients to Happily Living and Loving Together," about how they make their now 10-year marriage work.

The relationship guidebook is "part love manual and part diary," exploring important and intimate topics such as exciting ways to be friends and lovers, too; easy everyday romantic gestures to keep the sizzle in your relationship; creative ways to help each other reach your dreams; how to stop repeating the same old mistakes that doomed past relationships; and all of the ingredients in between for a successful recipe to love and happiness.

"Our motto is: Love like kids, act like adults," said Jamilah Lamb during a recent interview with the AmNews. "In writing this book, we stepped back and really thought about what we have learned over these years."

The couple met at work during a retreat and fell in love. Today, they live in Brooklyn and have a daughter.

"Writing this book has convinced me that love is the greatest force," David said. "When you are married, it's almost like you are in business together. You have to work together to make decisions on everything, from where you are going on vacation to what movie you want to see."

Some of the seven ingredients that the Lambs discuss in the book include letting your past be your past, paying attention to each other and being grateful.

Jamilah said, "You have to be willing to compromise as a wife and not be afraid to make yourself vulnerable. It's also important to be willing to recognize the value of what your husband is bringing to the marriage."

David added that the book gives readers the perspective of both husband and wife on making a marriage work. The chapters are cleverly named after love songs to emphasize their meaning, like "Just the Two of Us," "The Way You Make Me Feel" and "Unbreakable."

"If you are operating on your own desires, that's not going to last," David said. "But if you have aspirations, that's going to make you into a good husband. Being grateful is so important--you are your partner's biggest cheerleader."

The Lambs are hosting a discussion in honor of National Black Marriage Day at Hue-Man Bookstore in Harlem on Thursday, March 22 at 6 p.m., where they will also sign books.

Also at Hue-Man on Monday, March 26, novelist Sadeqa Johnson will host a panel of African-American relationship, love and sex authors, bloggers and journalists to discuss the state of Black marriage.