Funnily enough, I do not think this is specific to Black culture. After talking to a friend, I found out that this practice is very common in many cultures. Italian, Black, and even Indian cultures.
Yes, Mommas are given the respect that they deserve as the beautiful matriarchs that they are; But I do not think this is a cultural practice specific to Black people.
I haven’t really had an experience where I had to deal with a mother/spouse power struggle. With my current relationship, I’d say that there’s a pretty good balance. Of course I understand that my man loves his mother, I mean come on, it’s his mom. But the love that he has for me and the love that he has for his mom are two different feelings, so it’s not a question of if he put his mom before me. However, I do have friends who have been in relationships with guys who place their mothers above their significant others. For example, one of my girlfriends only met her ex-boyfriend’s mother ONCE before their relationship ended because mom decided that she wasn’t good enough for her son. I told her it was best that their relationship ended because if this is how he acted then, it was bound to happen again.
I wouldn’t go as far as saying that this is a popular phenomenon in black culture, but I do know how valued mothers (and mother figures) are in the black community. They are strong pillars in the community and often the backbone of most successful African Americans. As I mentioned before, the love that is felt for a parent and the love that is felt for a spouse are two different kinds, and I think that women should understand the difference before jumping to conclusions and saying that their significant other is putting their mother above them. Again, while there are cases where mothers exert a high level of influence in their sons lives, we should take a take a step back and remind ourselves of the importance of mothers in our community. If the relationship doesn’t work, then it doesn’t work.
I think that a mother coming first in their son’s life is part cultural and part societal. For black men and in black culture, the mother is a irreplaceable part of the family. Matriarchs, since the times of slavery and before, have been the glue that holds black households together. I think that has been passed down for generations.
Once a spouse enters the family, presumably a woman for their son, she too becomes a part of that foundation but a different part. As a mother of a 3 year old little boy, I don’t think his future spouse and I will even be in the same running as who comes first. We aren’t equals. I am his mother, there to play my role as such. His wife will be there to be his partner; not to take care of him like he is her child.
If any man, black or otherwise, puts his mother before his wife, he is likely weak and looks at you both as competition in his life. He is looking for his wife to take the place of his mother after marriage and, obviously, that will cause an issue.
So, to answer your question; no I don’t find that black men putting their mother’s before their wives more so than an Italian man, an Indian man, a Latin man, or any other man in this world. I think that is a trait specific to weak men.