Friday, February 12, 2010

My Favorite Fairy Tale

It's hard to write an intro to a love story. The serial dating, crazy bitch in me doesn't want to be a traitor and say mushy things. But in reading about my favorite almost married people, I was inspired to keep my heart open (if only a crack), and what kind of friend would I be if I didn't share it with you, my beloved readers? My favorite fairy tale is a true story of my friends Julia and Chiedu. They're the type of couple that's so cute it makes you completely believe in love and romance and renews your faith in men. Hard task you say? Read it and weep. Literally, it's that sweet you may have a tear or two.

From our first conversation, I knew I was going to fall in love with Chiedu, and this scared me. Never in my life had I had so much in common with one person. Our first conversation lasted for hours and it was like talking to the male version of myself. I knew I was in love when I was unwilling to walk away from our relationship at the first sign of trouble. I had a low tolerance for nonsense, but for the first time I did not want to run away. I wanted to stay and work through problems. I desired to continue learning and growing with him. For once, I was able to step outside of the bubble I was living in and grow to understand that relationships are not easy and take a lot of work. That is when I knew I was in love.

Over the years our relationship transitioned from us being “in love” to the timeless love that most wish for. It wasn’t an easy journey. We have and still face several obstacles but he has exhibited over the years that come what may, he will weather the storm with me and vice versa. I knew there was never a day that I did not want to learn and grow with him. Moving from “in love” to wanting “forever” is like the difference between a love song sang by Rhianna and one sung by Sade or Mary J. Blige. One makes you a little giddy inside and puts a smile on your face. The other touches your soul so deeply that tears of joy starts streaming down your face. I don’t have to tell you which one creates that kind of feeling.

People often talk about being a power couple and when most people speak of this they are referring to couples who are successful financially regardless of the state of their relationship. While attaining wealth and providing a comfortable lifestyle for our family is very important to us, we view the idea of power couple in a different light. I believe that a true power couple can only exist with a unwavering, solid foundation of support for each other. Once that is in place, then you focus on taking the world by storm. There are a lot of couples that are successful financially and have thriving careers but are missing that support from each other. That is an imminent threat to their status as power couple. I look at President Obama and the First Lady. Their power and reach goes beyond the current titles they possess. When you look at them you see the unchallenged love, support, and admiration they have for each other. You see their willingness to endure whatever is needed in support of the other. There is no jealousy or ego involved. Even if they weren’t in the positions they are currently in, they would still be considered a power couple because of their drive and willingness to go at anything together, regardless of the circumstance that life brings. The success and notoriety only adds to it. As a couple, this is what we strive for daily.

Loving Chiedu has taught me so much about myself. However, one of the greatest lessons I have learned during our years of dating is the true essence of strength. I have learned the difference between being submissive and being controlled. I have always prided myself on being an independent, strong Black woman as so many of us have (and should). Therefore it was hard for me to let go and truly let him be the man. I fought this relentlessly. I was so used to being the sole person calling the shots in my life that I would equate submission to control. Once I finally let go of this notion and allowed him to take his rightful place, things improved in our relationship. I realized that real men aren’t looking to navigate the destination, rather they are looking forward to taking the journey with you. I understood the strength of a woman was not in her being “super woman,” rather it’s realizing that while she is strong enough by herself and can do whatever her male counterpart does, she trusts him enough to allow him to play his part. I now understand that the presence of his strength does not compromise the presence of mine, it only enhances it.

While there is a different degree of love that you share with your companion and your friends, I do believe that most couples would have more prosperous relationships if they focused on the friendship aspect of their relationship as much as they do the romantic side. There have been times in my relationship where I had to suspend my role as girlfriend/fiancĂ© and jump into purely best friend mode. As women we share such a bond with our girlfriends that if we developed this same commitment with our significant other, it would take the relationship to new heights. The same ride or die attitude we have for our girls, why can’t we apply this to our men? We forgive our friends and over look their flaws, yet we have problems doing this in a relationship. We relax around our friends and allow them to see the essence of who we are, yet some of us sell dreams to the man in our lives and never allow them to see the same. I don’t believe a relationship can survive without that true friendship.

1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 states “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud... It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” This scripture sums up how love has changed me. Through my relationship I have dropped things that made me impatient, unkind, envious, prideful, holding grudges, etc. Like Zora Neale Hurston said, “Love makes your soul crawl out from it’s hiding place.” I no longer hide from myself, or the world, or love. As corny as it may sound, it’s like God saw all the things that needed to be changed about me and sent Chiedu to be the catalyst of this change. I didn't change for a man, but my change was inspired by someone. It is for all these reasons, that I am eagerly anticipating June 4th. This is the day that we stand before family, friends and most importantly God and confirm our eternal bond. Although I thank God daily for his many blessings (especially the blessing of love), our wedding day is the big THANK YOU. I’m thanking God for seeing me worthy enough to be blessed with the opportunity to marry my best friend: the one I laugh with, learn from, grow and dream with.

Yeppp, I'm back to watching Exhale again. God, where is MY prince charming? Can he be tall and chocolate? If not, can I have a martini with the same characteristics?

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