Train Up A ChildMeet Glenn P. Brooks Jr. , a man who knows a thing or two about building healthy relationships. Having being married very young, at just 20 years old, Glenn found himself going through a divorce years later but was able to bounce back through the lessons learned. Glenn offers key messages through his many books including  How To Raise A Man Not A Momma’s Boy. But don’t let the title fool you, Glenn owns up to all his mistakes and offers guidance so others won’t err the same.

Shenelle Wallace: From a man’s perspective, what is the purpose of marriage?

Glenn P Brooks Jr: It depends on the type of man you are talking about. For most men outside of a spiritual base it’s about the physical first, and then everything else second. It’s a permanent girlfriend. We may not say that, but that’s exactly what we think. If it’s a spiritual person, it’s a bit deeper. It is companionship and someone to raise a family with.

Shenelle Wallace: When you were young, did you see good examples of marriage?

Glenn P. Brooks Jr:  None unfortunately.  Most of the relationships that I saw were a live-in situation, a dating situation, or that of a short marriage.

Shenelle Wallace: So why did you desire to get married?

Glenn P. Brooks Jr: To be honest with you, having grown up in the church, the only thing I kept thinking about was that it was better to marry than to burn. I grew up in a Pentecostal church and almost every Sunday they were preaching about fornication and going to hell. So there was a huge push for young people to get married.

Shenelle Wallace: Would you advise young Christian men and woman to live by the saying “It’s better to marry than to burn?”

Glenn P. Brooks Jr:  Absolutely not. In retrospect, I think when you make that the paramount reason, then the marriage becomes all about the physical part. When that happens, you do people a disservice and set them up for that to be the only thing they’re looking to maintain. And so the minute my wife doesn’t want to have sex anymore, I now have a problem. After all, that’s why we get married,.. right?  So I would never isolate that scripture out of context, to the point where it makes people overwhelmingly convicted. The church should focus on young people becoming whole people, before they ever think about marriage.

Shenelle Wallace: Do you think there’s a certain age to get married? 

Glenn P. Brooks Jr: I don’t think there’s a magic number. You have some people who are just old souls, they know exactly what they want, and it’s evident in their actions not in their words. They live a mature life. It’s more about focusing on who you are, what your core values are, where you are going, are you enroute, have you solidified that route, do you understand the dynamics that are at play here, and  do you complement each other. Not complete, but complement each other. At that point, you may realize at 27 years old, I’m ready.

Shenelle Wallace: What are key things to look for in a potential spouse?

Glenn P. Brooks Jr: What does a person’s action say? You can tell a lot about a person by what they spend their time on, and what they spend their money on. And if you date a person long enough to see both, you can figure out very quickly how mature that person is, and whether or not they have the right mindset to enter into a commitment like marriage.

 Shenelle Wallace: When you were getting married for the first time, did you prepare at all?

Glenn P. Brooks Jr: The only preparation that we did at that time was one counseling session with our pastor. The biggest thing they were concerned about was that we were equally yoked. There were no classes, there were no books being read about finances or having kids. There was no mentoring during that process, as to what happens after we say “I do.” So no, I wasn’t prepared at all.

Shenelle Wallace: Do you believe that once two people are saved, that is enough foundation for marriage, and everything else will fall into place?

Glenn P. Brooks Jr: No. That’s not enough. Two people who are saved are simply brothers and sisters in Christ and that is it. Marriage is so much more complex than just a relationship with Christ. Now, is it a foundation? Absolutely. When you’re taking about a Christian marriage yes both people should be on one accord, equally yoked, all of that. I’m not denying or negating that. Yes you may love God as a couple, it’s a start. But what else is there?

Shenelle Wallace: Before you got married for the first time, was there any inkling that this wasn’t right?

Glenn P. Brooks Jr: Oh absolutely, I just ignored it all. I remember my mother asking me every which way, what is the rush? And I remember not being able to articulate, mom, it’s better to marry than to burn. That was the driving force.

Shenelle Wallace: After your first marriage didn’t work out why did you decide to marry again? A lot of people swear off of marriage after divorce.

Glenn P. Brooks Jr: When I got divorced, I remember being heartbroken because I knew that marriage was right, but I couldn’t make it work. At that time, I was only 20 years old, and I didn’t have the character make up to run that particular race. But I always wanted to get married again. I knew what I needed.

Shenelle Wallace: In your book, “How to Raise A Man Not A Mama’s Boy, tell us what do mama’s boys expect from their wives?

Glenn P. Brooks Jr: Someone who would pretty much let me do me. Minimum responsibility, maximum, benefit, minimum input, and maximum output on the receiving end, and I would do as little work as possible because I was used to a mother who did everything for me. I didn’t necessarily want a mother in a woman, but I wanted a woman who would just give me some room to do me. But if you’re already married to a mama’s boy, there is hope. And the hope lies in your love for this person.

Shenelle Wallace: What is the biggest lesson you have learned about marriage?

Glenn P. Brooks Jr: If I had to name one key that was absolutely paramount to making a marriage last, I would say that you should be very good friends first. It takes a friendship for it to work. Friendship is more important than love. Most people won’t say that out loud because they believe that love conquers all. But I actually believe it’s the friendship in love that conquers all. When you think about it, Jesus said there is no greater love than a man who lays down his life for his friends. That kind of love triumphs the emotional type of love.

Glenn P. Brooks Jr. is a speaker, a coach, and the author of 5 Books including How to Raise A Man Not A Mama’s Boy. You can purchase books by Glenn here.