First Corinthians & Thirteen Flavors

I don’t know much, but I am 100% sure that most of my romantic partnerships have been the stuff of movies or Marsha Ambrosius song lyrics. I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried.

I have moved across the country. Wayyyy across the country.

I have been married. That’s it, just married.

I have had love professed to me in the streets, over speakers. “You make me wanna…”

Had men drive in winter ice storms across states to see me.

I even had a man give me his social security card with his phone number on it… I can’t call this one.

And every man I’ve dated says… you are the one who got away. Naw bruh I didn’t get away, I probably just left, but whatever makes you sleep better at night.

Ladies, you too can have a yard full of boys…

Okay, that is clearly not the point here. And I’m currently looking out the window… there is just one boy out there tending to the yard. But he too deserves that same energy that made those other guys want to order from the menu.

Patience

Now anyone that knows me WELL is side eyeing at this point. I’m not generally known for my patient disposition. Most of us consider patience this ability to wait on, deal with, or tolerate something we don’t want or didn’t expect without becoming upset, complaining, or reacting with haste. That isn’t who I am. When we accept behavior disrespectful to our time, mental health, emotions, or body, that isn’t patience, that is sacrifice. If it results in you being tired, feeling used, losing yourself, being unsure… it’s not patience, it’s a burden.

I was very disappointed, but remained patient while Michael put our relationship on hold.

But patience that seeks to better the overall relationship or the people in it and that has an end goal, is a compromise.

My son doesn’t like math, so I remained patient as I helped him work through fractions.

“Love is patient.” -1 Corinthians 13:4

It is unselfish, and doesn’t just seek what is self-serving but what is good for everyone. It isn’t self-sacrifice, or putting up with things you detest or don’t deserve for the happiness of another. It isn’t indifference to the offenses of another, because ignoring someone’s misdeeds doesn’t help them grow or become better. Instead, it is the love of God, “slow to anger” and “faithful”. When you truly love someone, the things that could frustrate, disappoint, or injure you must be met with a loving response, every time. In turn, that loving response will be met with a compromise from your partner to change as well. Otherwise, that partner is simply not worthy of your partnership.

My Grandparents were married over 60 years. My Grandfather lived in a house full of real talkative and real opinionated Black women, my Grandmother especially. She could be verbally harsh and critical. She wanted to be the center of attention, and would steal it if necessary. She wore a sequined beret and a mink like it was a uniform. Yet he was fairly quiet. He observed. He kept things running smooth in the house, changed light bulbs, built stuff, drove when we went out as a family, and when too many lips were moving, he retreated to his jazz room and listed to Charlie Parker, real loud. I think he went deaf trying to drown out the voices. She could be difficult to get along with, but for all of her unnecessary ranting, she cooked him great meals and generally left him alone to his hobbies. He wasn’t quite a social butterfly, but he was a provider, and he defended her when the rest of us were ready to explode. To outsiders it could have seemed an odd arrangement, but they compromised in their own way for the sake of the union.

I followed the lead of my female relatives, and spoke my mind, often. In doing so, I learned to make sure I verbalized my needs over my wants and ensured my partners needs were simultaneously heard. I sincerely wanted what was best for the partnership. I allowed them time and the space, once I figured out that space was necessary to correct and get better, realizing I too needed time and space at times. Having seen it, I knew what it looked like. Again, in my house the generous allotment of space and time to replenish oneself was practiced not only in partnerships but along all family relationships.

Few men receive such patience in most areas of their lives after their teen years. Suddenly, they are expected to work, long and hard, and take care of, provide for, protect, commit to you, make room and space for family and friends, keep the screws tight, the lawn mowed, the snow blowed, and you smiling, and then use whatever is left to do all the growing and maturing, demanded and necessary to navigate the world. They are often fed incomplete notions of what being a MAN is, and then enter relationships with those unrealistic expectations on top of our expectations. We expect for them to be emotionally open, communicative, and tender… the antithesis of what many of them are told and definitely what they see growing up. Most men need the peace to be able to process needed changes, without words of frustration and disappointment being thrown at them. That’s not conducive to growth or change.

Love begets patient, and patience begets peace!

Not to be mistaken with “be his peace”… what I’m talking about is other level peace, not just some hashtag shit on Twitter. Peace is quiet and nurturing. In the midst of peace you grow off the charts, you mature into wisdom, and you learn truly how to bestow love unto others. So if you demand something of him, give him time to self correct and bring you what you need. If you want more time with him, let him know, and allow him to figure that out… it might get worse as he figures it out, before it gets better. If he has wronged you, stand up for yourself for the better of the union while acknowledging your personal feelings. If he is pushing you away, let him know your boundaries, and if he respects them, stand by his side so he feels your presence… if it’s meant to be he won’t ever go far.

You don’t have to wait, tolerate, or deal with. If he is as interested as you are in the health and success of the relationship, he will meet your growth and change while actively participating. All you have to do is relax and reap the benefits of his compromise… or use that time to do work on yourself as well. That level of patience demonstrates faithful trust in someone. A man knowing he is trusted by you brings a sense of peace. A man having to deal with your distrust is the stuff of chaos.

So, call him on his bullshit in a loving way and give him time to self correct… and be open to the same. Apologize when you are wrong, self correct, and demand the same. Then get to loving. “It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” and brings all the boys to the yard! Be careful though, they always come back to the yard too. Milkshakes are addictive.

This was free, next time “I’ll have to charge!”

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