By: Rosemary Dewar
Affection, lust, adoration, and desire — they are not the wholeness found in that of actual love. A healthy commitment to a significant other will try you in every way. The relationship will force you to better yourself. When the work of either party fails to continue working, the relationship fails. Finding a nearly flawless mate is impossible, and after a long duration, neither of you will be any closer to being perfect – even to one another. There are many conditions that can help sustain the experience known as love over the long haul, but the only “unconditional” aspect would be to not leave the healthy “experiment” you both are conducting.
On Jada Pinkett Smith’s Red Table Talk, Jada invited rapper Wale and actor Justin Baldoni to discuss what love meant to them, and how they find it. Wale states that he has had a revelation, “…Maybe it is time to have somebody, [and] have a bond with somebody… I’ve been doing all these things, [and it] would be funner to do with somebody that was with me. There have been times that I was really in love, and it wasn’t me.” Rappers are given the persona as someone beastly, selfish, and addicted to excess. However, they are no different than any other warm-blooded human who is starving for a bond that is not meant to be shared freely with others.
Jada responds, “…I had to find a place to find all the peace, love, and joy in my heart in order to bring it to the table to share.” She further explains that if you don’t go off and find those things where you are, you will bring your trauma, insecurity, and fear to share instead. You can’t fix your partner. Having the demand that “I need you to be this thing for me so I don’t feel a certain way… I am going to put so much pressure on you, and find really sneaky ways to manipulate you so that you will always be the thing that I need you to be so that I am happy, “ will leave you more unhappy and under-nurtured than you where before.
Wale then said that, “I got famous young… how women acted around me shaped how I view women moving forward. All I see is promiscuous behavior….In our industry…everyone moves so fast. We can’t even argue….Any conflict, they’re gone. You can’t even reconcile.”
Actor Justin Baldoni added, “The best description of marriage I ever got was from a good friend who said,’ Marriage is two people that take a lifetime full of s*#@ [that] bring [each other’s] twenty-five bags of s*#@, and then you put it in the front yard, and that is your foundation for your house. It becomes your fertilizer from which your marriage can grow.” If something substantial is going to grow from a situation like that, you have to be will to work it. That work is not like putting out a marketing advertisement in order for your partner to buy from you. You have to work it like a garden: till it, weed it, water it, cover it, etc. The next morning, you have to get up and do it again, again, and again. The relationship depends on it. If what you are growing doesn’t produce fruit, you will starve.
Justin goes on to say that, “It’s a human issue that’s happening right now, and I think the symptom of…instant gratification… After a year of soul searching and patience, she [his wife] had been through the exact same thing… We meet in the business that way. I was not easy. The dating process…was painfully horrific. I was uncomfortable. I jumped in and [showed] all the things that were wrong with me… It became the foundation for our healthy, beautiful marriage.”
Jada’s daughter, Willow, said something insightfully profound: “It’s an emotional desert out here. People think that love equals satiating all of their pain.” Your partner can’t be what solves all problems, and eases all your agony for you. You will end up adoring your partner for your sake, and not theirs. That is ultimately selfish.
Jada explains that, “Relationships [are a] mirror. They show us ourselves. “
Justin adds, “…We have two options when you’re in a relationship. You can look at a lens of fear…or the lens of love.”
Our culture has not cultivated a will to endure. Digital interaction has further isolated physical interaction. Humanity is simply hungry to know, be respected and be cherished; and personal relationships take effective effort. The more emotionally and physically intimate the relationship, the more work, effort, and care is needed to sustain it. It’s time to get to work and love.
By: Rosemary Dewar