Y’all ever see the movie Waiting to Exhale? You know the part where Angela Basset takes all her cheatin’ husband’s clothes out to the front yard and torches them with a toss of her cigarette? Yeah, she’s mad. Real mad. I think about that … how love can get you to that kind of anger. But like Michael Jackson used to sing, “I’m a lover, not a fighter.” And if you ARE a fighter, try fighting FOR your love instead of against it. Because your mindset about exactly what it is you’re fighting for makes all the difference in the world.
True Confession Time: The one thing no one ever told me before I met my husband of 18 months, Al, was that love, when it’s right, is EASY. Well, okay, in all fairness, Lionel Richie did try to tell me back in 1977 in his song, umm, “EASY.” But what did I know about love back then? I was just a baby ????. And none of my relationships between then and 2016 were easy. So I just assumed you had to break up to make up, like all the other “love songs” seem to proclaim is necessary when you’re in a relationship.
But I’m here to tell you, sisters, it ain’t so! I besiege you to consider that if you are on the Struggle Bus with your man and riding it like the wheels are going to fall off, then perhaps he isn’t the man for YOU. Sometimes, it’s harder to wrap our brains around that teeny tiny concept than it is to recognize that love surely should be “easy like a Sunday morning, yeah.”
If you are constantly frustrated, secretly checking his credit card receipts, or trying to place his index finger on his phone while he’s sleeping to find out who he’s been calling, you’re not having an Easy kind of love. And that should be your goal.
Now, that’s not to say that even Easy lovers don’t disagree with each other. Conflict is a natural course of every relationship, but how you handle the conflict is the difference between lighting your man’s clothes on fire for all the neighbors to see versus extinguishing any hot tempers before they flair up.
A lot of it has to do with simply talking things out as this article from Psychology Today suggests. But mostly it has to do with deciding at the onset that you love your man enough to love him even when, or in spite of the fact, he is making your head feel like it’s frying from frustration. Even if it’s something little—like Al has never met a trash can he loves to adorn with a trash bag after he’s emptied it. It literally drives me crazy every time I go to toss something in the can, only to discover the can naked.
But you know what? This is the same man who jetted across the Pacific Ocean in a little Mexican water taxi while we were vacationing recently in Puerta Vallarta, without a life vest. He wasn’t comfortable dashing across the ocean with zero chance of ever touching solid land again if the boat flipped over. Yet he encountered that death-defying ocean ride, not once, but—count them—FOUR TIMES for ME! You think it’s easy for me to forget about that every time I’m faced with a naked trash can? Yep, you better believe it is! LOL! (What? You thought I was gonna say I would never forget these moments of love whenever I’m staring down a barren trash bin? Girl, who is thinking about the nice stuff your man does on vacation when you’re faced with every-day trivialities on the home front?) I’m human! So my first go-to thought ISN’T a lovely dovey “Aww, he left the trash bin bagless again, but he sure was there for me in Mexico!”
I have to consciously remind myself of all the wonderful things Al does for me when I run up on these minor trash can infractions. It’s a CHOICE I make each and every time. Every day I choose to love him, ALL of him. It keeps our love in perspective.
So the next time your man does something that makes you want to sell his favorite golf clubs for $1 to the first person who answers your Craigslist ad, stop and ask yourself three questions:
- Is this love overall EASY?
- Does my reaction fit his crime?
- Will this infraction still be pissing me off three weeks, months, years from now?
If your love is otherwise easy, and you’re overreacting and won’t remember what the argument was about three weeks from today – let it go! Love your imperfect man AS IS.
If the love overall isn’t easy; you aren’t overreacting; and yes, you’ll be perfectly willing to face your children or a judge and say, “I left him because he [fill in your blank],” then you might want to consider getting counseling or getting out versus just getting mad.
But before you open your mouth, begin with the end in mind. Hopefully you’ll choose to love him and all of his imperfections.