So…back a few months ago when I decided to start loving better I started to realize that I wasn’t properly preparing myself for everything I wanted later on in my life. The main thing was my desire to be a wife. One day something clicked and I realized that I was preparing for everything else, but I guess I just figured that I would sort of fall into this role…? I don’t know why I thought that because everything else I desired required a process, but I guess that’s just the way my mind was set up. I started to think about all of the other things I desired and actively prepare for:
- I wan’t to be a nurse: I have volunteered in hospitals, looked into my specialty, researched the career, shadowed nurses and asked questions, and now i’m in nursing school. Preparation.
- I want to be a better baker: I try different recipes, perfect the ones that work, flip through cookbooks, ask other bakers questions and bake when I don’t need to. lol. Preparation.
- I want to be a better example of love: I started giving more of me, extending myself more, asking those that love me how I can love better, evaluating how I was loving, and practicing loving like God. Preparation.
- I want to be the best version of myself: I am starting to dig deeper into who I am, I am pouring love into me, I am re-evaluating my self-care practices, and I am setting goals and appreciating where I am in the now. Constant preparation.
As I look at this list of things I see a common factor: they were taught/demonstrated. In some way, shape or fashion, I have been taught how to get an education, cook, and love. But the more I think about it, I was never taught how to properly date/properly love a man/be a wife. There were two things that were always stated in my household 1) no dating until…ever (there was no specific time that we could date, I just kinda fell into it) 2) No sex until marriage. I mean, we (my sisters and I) also received what not to do/accept, but not really what we needed to do/give.
The relationship that I experienced directly (my parents) was toxic and quite frankly, it shaped my vision of marriage and my total lack of interest in it for a great majority of my life. My father shaped my idea of a husband and he made me never want one and I watched my mother evolve into that strong black woman narrative (in a positive way). She became the sole provider, protector, nurturer, breadwinner and head of household. I don’t fault her for any of the circumstances that were thrown our way (ultimately because she didn’t create them), but teaching us how to date and be a wife were not on the forefront of her mind. Making sure that we loved God and got an education so that we could be equipped for life was her main goal. In that, she reached great success because she raised 3 girls that moved past having just a bachelors degree, but also fell into bad relationships along the way.
Now, it doesn’t matter what you were exposed to or what your familial structure is, almost all people endure a bad/toxic relationship in their lifetime. I just feel like our exposure and the hand we were dealt gave us more of a chance of having one. You can’t help the hand you were dealt, you can only negatively accept it or change it for the positive.
I always thought that I was changing my situation for the positive, but I ended up going into relationships subconsciously searching for something that I would/could NEVER receive from anyone other than God. Some type of love and affirmations that I should’ve received from my own father that I have yet to receive, but it’s okay because God provides whatever we lack. It wasn’t until April of this year that I figured that I was going about this relationship thing all wrong so I decided that it was finally time for me to prepare the correct way.
I started by observing and hanging with women that are/were married and possess the wifely qualities that I see written in Proverbs 31: my mother, ladies from the church, my sister-friends, etc. I cling to more than one person because different people hold different strengths. Personally, my learning happens to be best when I sit back and watch the correct action being done so I had to develop a more personal relationship some of them to adequately receive. In addition to that, I started asking more questions, watching a Proverbs 31 series (issa link, feel free to click) and other sermons on YouTube, and using the Bible as a resource. While gaining all of this insight is when I found that I wasn’t properly loving myself, I needed to strengthen my relationship with God, and that I had some broken areas to focus on before I even thought about being in a relationship again.
It is still all a process, as is everything, but i’m actually enjoying learning more about what foundational attributes men and women should be able to bring to the table to have a successful relationship. It’s never too late to learn how to be great and how to build from your mistakes!
*disclaimer: my parents aren’t perfect, I never expect them to be so I don’t fault them; it’s just that the deck that we were dealt from was laced with hardships that later built some crazy strength.*
Always remember to trust the process!