I honestly cannot affirm that if some scientific study indicated that the key problems that we deal with as a people could be controlled and reduced to more tolerable levels IF the forces that influence the Black Cultural Norms were to promote and enforce the standard of MARRIAGE - that this would be promoted as the key focus by those who now spend most of their time looking in the past and externally as the reasons for their present condition.
There is clearly a different skill set required to move a people forward and looking toward where they will stand in the future.
But for many black women locally and nationally, the dream of marriage remains only that.
Forty-two percent of black women have never been married, compared to 21 percent of white women, according to national statistics.
But Bridges believes the data don't have to be an indicator of the outcome of black relationships.
"I believe that if you have a desire to be married, it's about timing and knowing who you are first," she said. "Don't worry about what you don't have. Worry about what you do have and before you know it, your mate will come."
Local church ministers follow Bridges' train of thought more than those of the national statistics.
Although they believe that data collected is accurate nationally, pastors and staff at local black churches point out that they are marrying more young couples than they have in years, indicating a change may be in the works.
"The first relationships where there's an upsurge is in the relationships with God, and the relationship with God gets them ready to love somebody," said Brother George W. Thigpen III of Deliverance Temple Church. "Down the line, that creates marriages and better marriages."
But within the last two generations, marriage rates for African-Americans have dropped significantly. Between 1970 and 2001, the black marriage rate dropped by 34 percent, compared to 17 percent in the general population.
Information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human services and from the U.S. Census indicate that African-American women are the least likely group to get married in the United States. And if they wed an African-American man, those couples have the highest divorce rate in the United States.