This week [March 18-22, 2013] JETmag.com is giving away copies of Where Did Our Love Go: Love and Relationships in the African-American Community. The new anthology contains personal stories from celebrities and major public figures on love, relationships and marriage in the Black community. Click here for a chance to win a free copy and read below for a brief excerpt.
By// Anthony Hamilton
Having confidence and a willingness to want it to work is what’s kept my marriage successful. That and our ultimate passion for each other allow us to focus on the big picture in our lives and relationship. We both understand that we’ve made a commitment to see our relationship work because we sincerely want the best for each other.
As a man, you have to understand that women really, really need quality time like having a conversation or going out. As men we like the quick solution, but often it’s just about being present and listening. For example, she might tell you, “The washing machine and the dryer have both gone out and the lights need to be changed.” OK, all right I hear you, let’s get it done. But she wants to talk about why it needs to get done and what time. She wants to talk about, “Well, the door…” She wants to tell you every detail about what makes it broken. She wants you to hear it.
Sometimes it’s not even about the washing machine and dryer. Sometimes it’s about you, or the relationship, or something that’s bothering her. That’s her way of getting her mood together, to express that. So you have to know when it’s just about the topic at hand or when it’s about something deeper than that. Some days I just want the quick answer. Then some days I’m like, “OK, I know she needs to open up and vent, and get some things off her chest.”
I’ve learned to listen carefully to my wife. This enables me to identify with her emotionally so that I am able to address her needs. Otherwise, I might pick the wrong battle or pick a path and look insensitive to her needs. It’s important to know that a woman needs a sensitive man more than she needs a macho one.
My wife and I are both spiritual, which is a quality that I believe a couple needs to have in common. Faith is one of the main things that keep us going and our ability to move through our relationship together with love helps, along with forgiveness—more on her part than mine.
There’s a temptation that comes with celebrity and sometimes men in particular have that weakness. I’m not going to lie—it has been a weakness in my life more than once. But the key is to keep pressing on and to keep asking God for the strength. Because if you don’t all that looks good becomes available, or you become available to it.
Even though there’s an age difference, my wife is just as mature as any other woman. Life has created in my wife a woman who can stand on her own ground. That matters because just knowing that people desire your man is something that’s a challenge. Until you master feeling secure—until it’s been proven that, OK, he ain’t going anywhere—it’s a challenge.
It’s not always easy to find the ideal partner, but I think getting rid of the idea of the perfect mate or the soul mate is the key. That keeps you blind to what’s really real in a relationship.
It doesn’t help to keep looking for that perfect relationship because once you think you’re in it is when that perfect relationship becomes tested. Yes, you will have some days, months and maybe even some years that are perfect. But if you’re looking for it to be like that all the time then you’re going to always end up in divorce. You’re going to always end up starting over again. You’re going to always end up unhappy, because nothing perfect really exists. As time goes on, we all find things in the personalities of our partners that maybe were OK with in the beginning, but later they aggravate you. However, it’s important to look at the big picture of what you’re trying to create together and determine if your partner’s flaws are worth losing this person and starting over again in another relationship, only to find the same flaws. I now recognize that by embracing the big picture of my relationship that I am commitment to totally mastering the art of evolving as a man and investing in my wife’s growth as well.
Anthony Hamilton is a world-renown, recording, platinum selling R&B artist. Visit his website at www.anthonyhamilton.com