There have been an array of reactions to Part 1 of Reality Behind the Relationship Goals: from wondering what we did to push through and asking for details of the darker times to individuals asking for guidance regarding their personal circumstances. The reception I'm seeing and the dialogue sparked is exciting, to say the least. However, I'm not a professional therapist, and I'm certainly no relationship expert. Aside from suggesting prayer and affirming that even when chaos is rampant, things are still in perfect order - I don't speak from an advisory perspective.
To be frank, I wrote Reality Behind The Relationship Goals (RBTRG) because I needed to read it. I needed to see a representation of (black) love that left ample room for growth, made mention of personal flaws without amounting to collective failure, and referenced marriage as a ministry representative of God's unyielding love. I also needed to relieve myself of the shame I felt whenever someone referenced our union as something to idolize without insight on what hardships we had to experience in midst of becoming what we're still growing into. My relationship is not beyond having its shit exposed and being subjected to difficulty. Period. I'm not interested in being a false beacon of hope for someone, especially if that someone is in a stagnant, toxic relationship.
To be clear, we aren't here to over expose our truths. We're still a family that has to have something for ourselves at the end of the day. Some things have to be sacred, but the trials throughout the process are not. They're generic and experienced by all of us in some capacity. So, why not put a light to it and engage in conversation? What has us thinking it is better to suffer silently and in private? Short Answer: The Matrix. Speaking from my Black experience, I know the principle of keeping quiet or "not airing your dirty laundry" has an undertone of not showing our susceptibility to pain. We're over comers. It's supposed to be some super trait that we internalize as reason to be ashamed of our hurt. Our community suffers from numerous treatable conditions under the guise of things being "all good."
My writing RBTRG was a small step toward rejecting that premise and maybe even uprooting it. As we are unlearning certain behaviors, I only wish to help others come face to face with their truths in a way that doesn't breed weariness but acceptance and a sense of community. For every person relating to the hardships is a person dancing in the victory of their relationship. I wanted to present both perspectives and create a space where we could discuss them.
So, you want to know how Chris and I got over? I'll tell you.
We spit venom, temporarily. We wagged fingers, temporarily. We cried (a lot), temporarily. We called it quits, temporarily. We sought vengeance, temporarily.
Then we recalled the permanence of what we agreed to (before ever making it down the aisle), and we stood in our choices. We accepted that our bad choices were as temporary as the emotions that prompted them and not a reflection of who we are. If anything, those choices just represent how reckless we can be when we're crazy enough to forget the abundance we've been blessed with. As Shakespeare put it," I had to leave that hoe alone and get my mind right." Just kidding. I couldn't help myself. Anyway, the point is this.
We chose our family. We chose each other - on purpose. And then we committed to getting out of our own way, so that the light could reemerge. We called a spade a spade and recognized we were flawed and susceptible to the generational curses of our ancestors. We worked on (*are still working on) changing our internal dialogue. We cut ties with anyone who didn't uphold the sanctity of what we were building. We had the conversations that we'd been avoiding - the ones that hurt temporarily but served a greater long term purpose. We chose trust and believed each other and the things expressed during that conversation. We sought guidance in the form of ministers and close friends, all the while praying like we were drowning.
Not so coincidentally, it was during our darkest hour that I was assured Chris was supposed to become my husband. I've been hurt before. I've felt betrayal and disgust and anger toward my partner. What I've never had in midst of those emotions was a man with a prayer and the wisdom to lean on God. That's what kicked my butt down the aisle like, "Girl, you better keep him!" So, we're here now. On the other side of the broom. In therapy and whatever other forum helps us see ourselves and build this kingdom up. Steadily reminding each other that we're on the same team and continuously apologizing like we mean it. Because we finally do.
If you're seeing this and you've also made it over, please do me (*us) a favor. Use the comment portion below to tell everyone else reading this how you did it. There's a community of people who could benefit from knowing, and my story isn't the only one worth being told.