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‘When You Know, You Just Know’ & Other Love Lies


TianaNaveen

“I always imagined this magical moment where the world stops, jazz music plays in the background, and I lock eyes with a beautiful stranger whom, somehow, I’ve known my whole life”

I always imagined this magical moment where the world stops, jazz music plays in the background, and I lock  eyes with a beautiful stranger whom, somehow, I’ve known my whole life. Neither of us needs to exchange any real words. We already mutually understand–instinctively of course–that this is the last relationship we will ever have. He asks for my number and 3 months later we’re married with 2.5 kids. There aren’t any arguments on marriage timelines or how we want to raise our kids. There aren’t any doubts and questionable habits that make you wonder if God seriously intends for a person to mate with just one other human being for life. And there certainly aren’t any intermediary break-ups where both people questioned their rightness for one another. Because, as they say, “when you know, you just know”.

But the day I met Mr. Right-For-Now looked absolutely nothing like what “they say”.

Princess-And-The-Frog-movie-705124 So I kept waiting for the magic “aha” moment when I would suddenly “just know”. It didn’t happen when he first professed his Love for me in a poem.It didn’t happen when I found myself crying gleefully in the shower, overwhelmed by my Love for him. It didn’t happen when he began to break down his emotional barriers just to be with me. It didn’t happen when I chose to put more trust and faith in him than I’ve put in anyone besides myself. It’s been exactly 2 years, 9 months, and 12 hours. And that moment has NEVER happened. I’ve never been completely-absolutely-without-a- shadow-of-a-doubt certain that Mr. Right-For-Now is the only soul on earth for me. So naturally, I began to think my uncertainty means he’s not the one. You know, like that awkward moment when you kiss the frog expecting a prince and he turns into a frog too?  I never got to the fairy-tale “when you know, you just know” moment like they said I would.

Then. Everything changed.

Recently, I had lunch with a married mentor of mine and he gave me the most practical bit of insider information. He said, and I’m paraphrasing, certainty is simply an emotion. Therefore, it changes with the wind. When something happens that we’re happy about, we’re sure that a person is for us. When things don’t go the way we thought they would go, then we start to doubt. He assured me that I would never be completely certain because knowing is just a feeling. Today, I may feel like Mr. Right-For-Now is the best decision I ever made. Other days, I might feel like I made a mistake. And that’s normal. But none of it truly matters because marriage requires you to Love another person in spite of how you may feel on a day-to-day basis.

TianaI sat there, mouth agape staring into the distance. At first, I just sat there blankly. Then something snapped inside and I became ANGRY–bloodthirsty almost. Who the fuck came up with that bullshit “when you know, you just know” then, I wondered. I’d waited my whole romantic life for a certainty that would never come!!! I felt bamboozled like a little kid waiting up for Santa only to discover mommy and daddy putting toys under the tree, drinking the milk, and eating the goddamned cookies. I mean next you’ll be telling me a couple can’t really have 2.5 kids!!! This was BY FAR the biggest Love lie of them all since happily ever after. And suddenly I hated every Disney movie and romantic comedy I’d ever seen (except Crazy, Stupid, Love. Completely unhateable movie). Especially the ones where the girl or guy leaves their current girl or guy to be with some other girl or guy that they JUST KNEW they were supposed to be with instead (think Maid in Manhattan or The Princess and the Frog). LIES! LIES! LIES!

When the anger dissipated, I realized how blessed I was to come into this piece of wisdom. My mentor pointed out a most convenient Frogandfrogtiananaveentruth to me. That as humans, we’re too fickle to really know anything. Even our facts are debatable and up to interpretation. Life, by definition, is too unpredictable to know. Mike Tyson once stated, “everyone has a plan ’til they get hit”. And suddenly all of my uncertainty made sense. I only felt unsure whenever he and I faced an issue that seemed unlikely to yield my desired outcome. Him and I, we aren’t perfect. We go THROUGH things. Yet Hollywood likes to paint this picture that Love is easy with the right person (another LIE). So why all this pressure on two romantic partners to know without a doubt that they’re meant to be together?

I decided after that lunch to take the unrealistic pressure off my boo and I. We don’t have to know. But  if you cannot know for certain, then what’s left? You can believe! And I believe, and have believed for a long time, that I am made for Mr. Right-For-Now. He believes he’s made for me. And that’s enough. In the end, I did have one of those Disney moments where I learned I already had what I’d been waiting for all along. Faith in Love is enough.

THE END.

Too Adorable Not to Share


black_childrenWe’ve all heard tales of the divine yet candid wisdom of children. A child’s mind knows enough about the world to have an opinion on it and remains pure enough that we can assume the absolute best of their intentions. So naturally, I laughed aloud when I stumbled on Chris Hughes’ “How Do You Decide Who to Marry”, from the mouths of babes. But it simultaneously provoked thought and held insight. Their truth is contagious. So without further adieu, enjoy!

HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHO TO MARRY? (written by kids)

by Chris Hughes 

A group of young kids were asked how to decide who to marry and here are the results which are pretty amusing.

(1) You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming.
– Alan, age 10

(2) No person really decides before they grow up who they’re going to marry. God decides it all way before, and you get to find out later who you’re stuck with.
– Kristen, age 10

WHAT IS THE RIGHT AGE TO GET MARRIED?

(1) Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then.
– Camille, age 10

(2) No age is good to get married at. You got to be a fool to get married.
– Freddie, age 6 (very wise for his age)
Kids-Say-the-Darndest-Things-Cosby-Bill-9780553581263HOW CAN A STRANGER TELL IF TWO PEOPLE ARE MARRIED?

(1) You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids.
– Derrick, age 8

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR MOM AND DAD HAVE IN COMMON?

(1) Both don’t want any more kids.
– Lori, age 8

WHAT DO MOST PEOPLE DO ON A DATE?

(1) Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough.
– Lynnette, age 8 (isn’t she a treasure)

(2) On the first date, they just tell each other lies and that Usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date.
– Martin, age 10
WHAT WOULD YOU DO ON A FIRST DATE THAT WAS TURNING SOUR?

(1) I’d run home and play dead. The next day I would call all the newspapers and make sure they wrote about me in all the dead Brothers Arm in Armcolumns.
-Craig, age 9
WHEN IS IT OKAY TO KISS SOMEONE?

(1) When they’re rich.
– Pam, age 7

(2) The law says you have to be eighteen, so I wouldn’t want to mess with that.
– Curt, age 7

(3) The rule goes like this: If you kiss someone, then you should marry them and have kids with them. It’s the right thing to do.
– Howard, age 8
little-black-childIS IT BETTER TO BE SINGLE OR MARRIED?

(1) I don’t know which is better, but I’ll tell you one thing. I’m never going to have sex with my wife. I don’t want to be all grossed out.
– Theodore, age 8

(2) It’s better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them.
– Anita, age 9 (bless you child)
HOW WOULD THE WORLD BE DIFFERENT IF PEOPLE DIDN’T GET MARRIED?

(1) There sure would be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn’t there?
– Kelvin, age 8

And the #1 Favorite is……..
HOW WOULD YOU MAKE A MARRIAGE WORK?

(1) Tell your wife that she looks pretty, even if she looks like a truck.
– Ricky, age 10

“31 Ways To Know You’re In The Right Relationship”


Whether it’s a couple walking down the street hand in hand or a story of 25-year-old marriage triumph, I always like to see relationship positivity. And that’s mostly what blogger Karen Civil accomplishes in the post “31 Ways To Know You’re In The Right Relationship“. She writes the post out of frustration with the negative and dismal relationship pieces that we’re all a bit too familiar with. Though I agreed with my sister-blogger’s motives, I had a problem  with the fact that the first 15 ways on her list all have to do with things you don’t do if you’re in the right relationship. Take a look for yourself:

Don’t get me wrong, I get the point she tries to make with all of these. These aren’t healthy behaviors to have in your relationship. But I don’t think it’s a good idea to define a “right” relationship by what it’s not or what doesn’t go on inside of it. It implies that if these things do happen then you’re not in the “right” relationship. I disagree with that wholeheartedly. I, for one, have done several of the things on this “you don’t” list. I have feared, I have hid things, I have snooped, I have thought I was superior, I have stewed, I have lost myself at times…If I keep going there simply won’t be any amount of correct punctuation to list all the things I’ve done and avoid a run-on sentence. But I’ve learned from each and every one of those relationship mishaps and became a better partner because of it! Just because I snooped through Mr. Right-For-Now’s phone before, doesn’t make him and I any less “right”. It just means that in that moment, I succumbed to my distrustful emotions. Even a healthy person puffs on one of life’s cigarettes every once in a while. We are human and we make mistakes in our relationships.

At the end of the day, I know it’s right because of what we are, not because of what we aren’t. What do you guys think?

I Laughed, I Cried, I Had My Faith Restored


Have you guys seen Still Standing? It is a documentary on the things that have kept [black] people married for years and years. It follows about 5 couples–each with their own struggle. Money. Infidelity. Blending families. Sickness. Naysayers. Although it is skewed towards the black american christian community (meaning there will be plenty of mention of God and Jesus as the keys to getting through troubles), I found it helpful and encouraging. It is about learning from the people who came before you. “You do not have to reinvent the wheel,” as the woman says in the trailer. Check it out. And keep fighting the good relationship fight. Happy Father’s Day!

1st Love: The Ugly Truth No One Ever Told Me (Pt. 1)

1st Love: The Ugly Truth No One Ever Told Me (Pt. 1)

It’s funny how you can date and cry over somebody for three whole years and never truly see them for who they are. I know that’s why they say Love is blind. But what they mean to say is First Love is blind. Because you look in your First Love’s eyes and see a hologram projection of what you think Love is–a projection born from your early childhood experiences and messages, the media, and the people around you. You see almost everything BUT the person in front of you. How could you possibly see them? You are navigating a new sea of emotions, feelings, and chemical imbalances, a new relationship dynamic featuring a strange dependency, and a new awareness of self. Where exactly does the actual person you’re dealing with fit into that myriad of mess? I’m here today to tell you what no one told me. First Love isn’t meant to last because First Love is all about you.

I understand that I may have already lost many of you. Because life has taught us that First Love is this wonderfully great thing. Love  in and of itself is enough to carry a relationship through anything. And that oftentimes, you’re first Love is your only true Love. Many of us, despite moving on and dealing with new people, stay stuck in First Love one way or another. Sometimes, we physically go back to the person. Sometimes, we never really give up hoping that our first Love comes back into our lives so we don’t give new prospects a solid chance. Sometimes, we fall in Love again but we keep tabs on that First one. And many more of us haven’t even left our First Love yet despite that nabbing feeling that it’s over. I’ve been in all four of these predicaments. This post was born out of my personal grapple with First Love. And when I realized Mr. Right-For-Now had a similar debacle, I figured we can’t be the only two that have experienced this. So I wanted to make an argument that First Love is a very necessary experience because you learn so much about yourself. But there’s more to Love than First Love.

Before we go any further, let’s define the undefinable. What is First Love? It is not to be mistaken with Puppy Love or childhood Love, first longterm relationship, or the first sexual encounter. Although all of these states of being can produce similar mind-numbing effects, First Love, for our purposes, is decidedly a bit more adult and independent. It has more to do with who you are when you feel it than what you actually feel. First Love is the first time you really get serious about another person and are mature enough to know what that means. Parents aren’t really involved. You go out on dates. You may have even lived together or seriously contemplated marriage. It is the first time you say “I love you” and have an actual concept for Love in your head. I’d like to argue that many of us experience this Love within the ages of 17 to 25. And that the mindset of someone in First Love is that Love is all you need. People in First Love put up with a lot from their partner. But always end up back together. It is a resilient Love, a committed Love (lasting 12 months or longer), and a passionate Love. It is an intimate Love–I remember feeling like my First Love knew me better than anyone on the planet. He knew me in ways I didn’t yet know myself. We all know the expression “fall in Love”. I think that when it comes to First Love, that is precisely what happens to most of us. You are walking down the street, taking an unfamiliar route, when suddenly your tire slips into a deep pothole. You are jolted and startled–no prior knowledge of this pothole or what to do when you hit one. I mean sure you’d heard of potholes, even seen them before, might’ve known a few people–your parents for instance–who’d fallen into them while you were in the car. But this is your first time being in the driver’s seat and running into one. You get to make all the decisions about this situation for yourself. It isn’t driven by sex. It isn’t driven by rebellion and teenage hormones. It isn’t even driven by a mutual agreement to parent a child together. First Love runs on pure Love power. I do not want to put First Love in a box. I know women who haven’t experienced First Love until after they’ve already been married once. But I do want to present cases in which I’ve seen it frequently arise. It’s euphoric. It’s exciting. But it’s selfish.

First Love is selfish. It is all about me, myself, and I. This Love is not about the actual person that we fall in Love with. It’s more so about what that person does for us and how they make us feel. Why does First Love have to be selfish? Because it usually finds us in a very selfish stage of our development. As I mentioned before, it comes in the time frame where we have to start making decisions about our futures on our own. Am I going to go to college? Am I going to get a job? Am I going to continue living with my parents? Should I buy a car? There is a newfound independence that we experience as we age and wean ourselves from the support of our caretakers. We have just developed a new power to think and do for ourselves. And we try to exercise this power within the confines of a relationship as well. The relationship itself exists to ensure fulfillment of our personal needs–the need for consistent sex, companionship, and adventure. And our problems all have to do with how the other person isn’t meeting those needs. He doesn’t take me out enough. She’s always mad at me. He’s all up in my face, can he go home! She doesn’t do it how I like it. First Love is also selfish because oftentimes, it’s born out of selfish motives. I remember I was seeing several guys on and off Temple’s campus flaunting my ability to be with whomever I pleased whenever I pleased, when I realized that I cared for Mr. Lies-About-Everything more than I thought. We’d been hanging out and talking as friends. He’d made it clear he wanted more than a friendship. But it wasn’t until I realized he’d been talking to another girl I knew that I figured I should have him all to myself. I didn’t decide to be his girlfriend because I wanted to take things to the next level and commit myself to someone I cared about. I decided to be his girlfriend because I wanted to have the right to be upset about who he dealt with. I needed to validate my own feelings toward him. Finally, First Love is selfish because more than it teaching us about the other person, it teaches us about ourselves. You begin to learn what turns you on, what turns you off, what traits complement you, what traits you can’t stand. That first person usually becomes the template for your future mate. They teach you all about your likes and dislikes. First Love also reveals your true identity. Before First Love, you didn’t know that you were the slitting tires kind of person. Before First Love, you didn’t notice that you really have a problem being emotional and vulnerable. It took me three years to really see Mr. Lies-About-Everything for who he was because I was so busy projecting onto him who I thought he was–who I wanted him to be. Oh I knew things about him. A lot. I’d stood close by his side for many a day and night. So I noticed when he lied to me and acted unfaithfully. But I didn’t intervene. Because my interpretation of Love was that even when the two people in Love do unLoving things to one another, the Love itself would get them through. I didn’t put my foot down. I didn’t make any demands on him. Because I figured things would work themselves out. That’s what I thought I’d always seen. My Love for him simply reflected what I thought I knew about Love. I never accepted him and I never accepted us for what we really were. My eyes were wide shut as they say. And I wouldn’t have known who I was in a relationship if we hadn’t ever fell in Love.

No one ever told me that First Love wasn’t meant to last. And that Second Love could be so much better…

Have Gender Roles Really Changed?


The REAL Fix for Black Marriage


I’m tired of what I’ve been reading. Articles like An Interracial Fix for Black Marriage make my blood boil. So I decided to solve the damn problem myself.

Oftentimes, when a certain group of scientists, psychologists, or curious individuals do a statistical study and analysis, the results get misinterpreted and hyperbolized by the public and the media. A group of journalists, usually unfamiliar with scientific jargon and procedures, translate and make conclusions not backed by the data. Or they make it vague and “objective” so that you’ll draw the conclusion yourself. Love and marriage are NOT numbers games as the plethora of articles about the something-or-other-percent-of-the-day of unmarried Black women would suggest. Yes, there are plenty of uneducated brothers and an abundance of sisters with degrees. Yes, there is a disturbing and alarming amount of black men in jail. Yes, it’s more than likely that there are more unmarried women in our community than in others. But does any of this mean anything for you and your potential to get married as a Black woman? No. Does this data mean anything for you and your desirability as a Black woman? NO! This empirical evidence supports the idea that as Black Americans, we still have a long way to go. The data portrays the many ways that this country continuously fails our community and how we fail ourselves. But there is no evidence that says as Black women we are less probable to get married. Why? Because marriage isn’t a random occurrence left to chance.

Let’s all stop pretending Love, sex, and babies are accidents. You don’t just so happen to fall in Love with a guy just like you don’t just so happen to sleep with a guy and get pregnant. You made choices and decisions to land you there. You spent a lot of time with him. You went out on dates. And you forgot to put on the rubber. That’s life. African-American men and women who aren’t married made choices and decisions that lead them there. It works just like getting promoted at work, doing well in school, or getting into great shape for a competition. I heard someone say once, “the two most important decisions we ever make in our lives are the two decisions we least prepare for. And that is the decision to get married and the decision to have children.” This shouldn’t frighten you, this should excite you! That means that Love and marriage can be right around the corner for us if we start making informed and intentional decisions to Love and be Loved. Have you ever heard of someone falling into shape? No. They GET into shape. Just like you can GET into Love and marriage. Our REAL problem is that black women aren’t prepared for marriage and relationships. Black men aren’t prepared for marriage and relationships. And our lack of preparation is killing the Black family.

SO…

What can you do to get ready?

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