Albert, Celie’s husband, never married Shug Avery, because his own father would not allow him to do so. Albert has loved Shug for a long time, but when he was a young man, his father forbade him from marrying Shug, saying that she was “dirty.” Shug’s profession as a singer and performer marked her, for Albert’s father, as a kind of “loose woman,” one who does not have strong morals or good character. Further, Shug’s reputation as an independent and sexually liberated woman makes Albert’s father believe that she has contracted sexually transmitted diseases; this is why he thinks that she is “dirty” and that she is not good enough for his son. Because a woman’s sexual status is so often tied to her value in society, Albert’s father believes that she is a woman of no value.
Albert, also, did not have the backbone to stand up to his father and marry the woman he loved. This makes him appear weak, as bullies so often are. Albert was belittled and berated by his father for wanting to marry Shug, and Albert may have grown up to be a violent man, physically and emotionally, because of his own lack of strength and desire to prove that he is really a “man.”