Updated: Dec 16, 2021
Originally posted October 21, 2018
Let’s face it: we all have been sold many dreams, fairy tales, and fables growing up especially when pertaining to matters of the heart. We are taught very specific life skills and etiquette like how to look both ways when crossing the street, how to floss and brush our teeth, how to excuse ourselves and push in our chairs before exiting the table and how to lower our voices in shared or public spaces but very few of us are taught how to love. Validation is easy, especially in our technologically saturated lifestyles where any decently attractive mammal can garner attention, likes, and comments. We crop, filter, and edit our best selves. Thus our need for affirmation, visibility, and connection is satiated instantly and some of these “bonds” make their way into our inboxes and dms. We attempt this approach at love in our real lives, superficially pleasure seeking and artificially running through and checking off our lists of wants, must haves, and red flags. When followers irk our nerves or no longer serve to meet our needs we are quick to unfollow or block them out of our worlds. Most of these relationships don’t exist far beyond the scope of the computer or phone screen anyway so we shrug them off as “no love lost”. However the by product of such indifference is a culture of individuals who are short tempered, narrow sighted, pseudo independent, entitled, disillusioned, overly reactive, severely detached, emotionally retarded, deficient and unable to deeply love others.
We are inundated with resources that instruct how to be more appealing or how to catch the object of your admiration, but very few to provide guidance on what to do once you’ve “got” her or him. What happens the moments, weeks, or years after Cinderella's climactic marriage to her Prince? What is beyond this person looks good on my arms or cute in “usies” and as a steady plus one? How do you actually grow old with someone? Some of us are so emotionally broken that we have tricked ourselves into believing that there is no value to seeking longevity in love. What would be the point of settling down and into someone long term when there are so many other fish in the sea? It is so easy to toss someone back in the water if they don’t fit our list of qualifications. There are even groups and social clubs designated for people who champion the solo life and vow infinite bachelorhood. Not that I knock anyone’s decision to stay single and figure themselves out first. Love absolutely shouldn’t be rushed and definitely requires a degree of readiness to withstand the test of time. I actually waited several years before even attempting to manifest love. In the interim, I worked on myself. I prayed, cleansed, cleared, bathed, fasted, meditated, and talked to God. I dated and entertained a few prospects but mostly I sat with myself and grew to love the person that I already was. I got real specific about my needs in a mate but moreover I evaluated my self worth and assessed how these qualities would one day be useful to my partner. I came in knowing not only what I needed but also what I had to offer the man that would answer my heart’s calling. I knew that my next love would be one that I would be required to serve, cover, and be open and available to wholeheartedly. When we met, I was not desperate, lonely, or empty, I was already full of love. So much that I could water him with my excess and spill over, to share with him because although I needed him I wasn’t needy.
"It is choosing to love every morning and every evening, it is a belief in a forever and always regardless if in the here and now things don’t look exactly as we imagine at any given moment. Marriage is truly one of the greatest testaments of God’s love for us. We were created to love each other."
My husband, by far, has been the easiest soul I have ever been called to love. We recently celebrated the first anniversary of our wedlock and the past year has been full of so many twists, turns, surprises, and accomplishments. We have also had some difficult conversations, quiet moments, timeouts, and are learning to exist happily with each other through many trials and some errors. It feels really good, warm, and so much fun. We laugh a lot, and minimize conflict sometimes by talking and other times but not saying anything. It is a imperfectly perfect love that we exchange with each other. It is a negotiating, compromising, retreating, fighting for, revisiting, being patient, being active, being present, forging ahead, forgiving kind of love. It is choosing to love every morning and every evening, it is a belief in a forever and always regardless if in the here and now things doesn’t look exactly as we imagine at any given moment. Marriage is truly one of the greatest testaments of the Creator’s love for us. Our union has been very good thus far. However, in order to continually receive and achieve that golden sweet agape love, that unconditional love that is promised to us once we submit and say “yes, I do, Lord I accept this assignment" God has to be rooted firmly in the center of it. Investing and building something solid requires diligence, fortitude, longitudinal vision, faith, and prayer. No one said it would be easy or without challenges; but what of real worth doesn’t expect much in exchange.
How do you nurture long term love? Share your stories with us.
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