Over the years we have seen black love such as Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, Beyonce and Jay-Z and Michelle and President Obama thrive. But we have also seen black love fail. And fail miserably in some instances. So, what’s the secret? Why do some couples flourish while others fall by the wayside? What are some determining factors that keep love steadfast?
While things such as sex, mutual interest and religious ties are all essential it is important to note what I like to call the love laws. These are the three staples that every relationship needs in order to remain healthy and continue to succeed.
There are two parts to having healthy and effective communication in your relationship. The first, being able to clearly state your thoughts and emotions.
A relationship includes two completely different people, which therefore means two completely different ways of thinking. Don’t assume that your partner interprets and assesses situations as you do. The only person who can automatically know when an issue arises within you is you. If you have a problem with something, be clear and concise about the issue, “I don’t like it when you leave the light on after you’ve walked out of a room.” Having an attitude about a matter that was never vocalized to your partner solves nothing and throwing hints about what you have an issue with only frustration for both you and your partner.
The second part to establishing a satisfying level of communication and perhaps the more important of the two is listening.
In order to maintain a strong relationship we must be willing to understand and reflect on our partner’s thoughts and emotions. This means being fully attentive when your partner is trying to convey emotions that are sometimes hard to articulate; being respectful of how they feel and most importantly reflecting on and understanding their words prior to responding.
So for instance, if your partner says to you, “It really makes me feel like you don’t care when I tell you something and you shrug it off and change the subject.” Now though this may not have been your intention, respect and acknowledge your partners feelings about the situation, apologize about how it made them feel and then go on explain your intent.
Perhaps the single most important step toward a healthy relationship is objectivity.
This means being impartial or unbiased toward a certain subject or situation. This will allow a person to think more rationally whether it be seeing things from a different point of view or understanding/seeing things for what they really are as oppose to assumptions based on emotions and or personal views.
This is the culprit for miscommunication; as many people do the exact opposite.
I will give you an example from my relationship for better clarity.
One day my boyfriend and I were on our back from the movie theater when I told him that I was hungry. I wasn’t in the mood for anything specifically which in turn made me extremely indecisive. I finally settled on pizza but couldn’t figure out the number to the place we typically order from. He ended up finding the number for me. I placed the order but before we went to go pick it up he wanted to stop at a different food location to pick something up for his younger brother. Now, because the two places were on two completely opposite sides, and I felt like my being indecisive earlier had annoyed him I stated, you know what I think I’m going to cancel my order and just eat something when I get home.”
This began an argument.
He felt as though I was being unappreciative of the fact that he was trying to go above and beyond to get me the food that I wanted to eat. While it is understandable how he would come to that conclusion that wasn’t the case. Because I felt as though he was already annoyed with me because I couldn’t make up my mind, in an attempt to be considerate and not have him drive to two different cities, I decided to cancel my order. I tried to explain this but because he was focused on his own beliefs about the situation my explanation fell on deaf ears.
In this circumstance I can say that we were both wrong. Me, because I did not acknowledge how he felt about the issue prior to me explaining my intent and him because even after I tried to clarify things he chose to take the situation as he saw it and not as I meant it. Objectivity and proper communication go hand and hand.
Respect, respect, respect. Mutual respect is essential to a viable relationship; it’s one of those unwritten rules to relationship 101. It’s the foundation to building a strong, long lasting and loving bond with another person. Having respect for one another can fall into different categories such as:
- Honoring Boundaries
If you know that your partner enjoys a few moments of alone time in their office daily, respect that. Give them that space that they need for themselves, regardless of how it makes you feel.
- Being gentle with your words
Anger is the quickest way to disregard your partners feelings. Try thinking before you speak. If you know you are anger and there is the danger of saying something hurtful, try walking away and calming down first, then revisiting the matter.
Let’s face it, no matter how perfect a relationship can be you will not always see eye to eye on everything. Respect your partner enough to reach a mutual agreement where both of you may have to bend a bit.
Relationships, no matter how gratifying are hard work. It takes two people who want to be together and are willing to do the work that it takes to stay connected. If you understand this and are open to constantly applying these 3 secrets then that is a step in the right direction.
What are some things you believe will maintain a healthy black love and relationship?