I needed a provocative title in order to pique your interest. In a moment you’ll understand why I chose it. This post may be my most personal Final Fridays with Cousin Mars post to date. In fact, it may actually break a few of the privacy rules I set when I first agreed to contribute to The Ultimate Online Destination for Black Brides. I have received such positive reviews, via emails and post comments, over the past sixteen months. At the risk of sounding extremely corny, I feel as though the Black Bridal Bliss audience deserves a more open Cousin Mars.

The hand that I was dealt caused me to grow-up pretty quickly. This isn’t a complaint, but rather just the way the cards fell. My introductory post shared some information about my upbringing and some of my accomplishments. As Kanye once said, EVERYTHING I’M NOT MADE ME EVERYTHING I AM.

Since getting engaged, my fiancée has asked some of my closest friends if they are shocked that I’m getting married. I truly believe she was just curious. She only asked the few people that she knows I “let in.” I quickly realized that she didn’t ask any associates. Only those with a minimum of a decade of friendship were questioned. It was interesting hearing some of the answers. The guy code was often honored. You know what I mean, right? Several friends either gave me that quick look – almost as if asking permission to be candid. Other friends immediately felt comfortable enough sharing their honest opinions.

Although she never asked me, I thought I’d share my answer with all of you. I grew up believing that marriage wasn’t necessary. I recognized some of the potential benefits, but for the majority of my life I felt the possible cons of marriage outweighed the pros. Growing up, I subscribed to the belief that marriage just meant signing a piece of paper and guaranteeing a huge fight in the event of a break-up. I understood commitment and figured nothing was wrong with shacking up. Besides, shacking up was par for the course where I grew up.

So, she actually hasn’t made me a better man. I honestly don’t think she, or anyone for that matter, is capable of doing that. However, the responsibility I feel to properly care for my wife, my mother, mother-in-law, and any children that may come from this union has caused me to become a better man. In fact, the progression is still in the early stages. Being married has, albeit for only a short time, inspired me to view the present and future differently than I had in the past.

I anticipate even more growth as a married man and look forward to sharing that growth with you here on Triple B in 2014. Happy Holidays to you all; see ya in January! Oh and by the way, remember you can follow my musings in between Final Fridays on Instagram

[Editor’s Note: Please share your feedback on this post in the comments below, as well as, revisit some of the other popular posts penned by Mars in 2013 like No Tigers in My Bathroom and Just a Friend.]