I watched last night’s episode of Blackish on Hulu and let me tell you, I was a bag of tears by the end of it. After watching Bow and ‘Dre for years on the show, they are this generation’s Clair and Cliff (I know – there’s disdain for Bill, but Cliff is the character and I can separate the art from the man). They exemplified “relationship goals” and showed Black love in such a loving and positive way. To watch them fall into this place of frustration and tolerance is tough and it makes me question exactly how one can overcome this issue in their own real life marriage.
Marriage can be tough; however, marriage can also be fun. If you are a fan of the show, then you know that Dre and Bow have had a lot of fun over the years. The flashbacks in last night’s episode show that they used to know each other in and out. They were so in sync. How then, do they end up in this divide?
Time. Children. Life. Growth. They all have a way of creating little cracks in the marriage. Over time, if you don’t commit to loving your spouse and falling in love with that person daily, time can create staleness within the marriage. Time is said to heal all wounds but within a marriage, time can create them if you don’t hold on to the why – the why you fell in love in the first place. Children have a way of becoming the focus of the marriage. While your children should be at the top of the priority list, a healthy marriage should be the first priority. Everything flows from there. If you and your spouse are secure, then everything else will fall in line. If you two show love, you teach your children to love as well. If they see you moving as a team, they know the family unit is in tact and they follow suit. Conversely, when the parents aren’t happy, the children see that energy and reciprocate it. Thus, you have to keep the marriage spicy and the love at the forefront. You cannot allow your conversations to only revolve around the children. When that happens, the divide is slowly approaching. If you are there, do something about it now.
Life has a way of taking over everything. When you live your lives as separates, life has a way of creating division. Eventually, you find yourselves living parallel lives and moving more as roommates than lovers. If you’re not careful, complacency will set in. In marriage, you live life as individuals yes, but individuals with a common thread – your marriage. Each of you must strive to live lives that put your marriage at the front but still allows each of you to be individuals. Each of you brings your whole self to the marriage. When you are whole as a person but still focus on the marriage, the strength of both individuals fuels the fire within the marriage. Being whole helps you to remember why you fell in love in the first place.
Growth, in my opinion, is the hardest part of marriage. Growth is the challenging waters that we must wade through to make it through. When you get married young and there is much growth to do individually, it can pose difficulties within your marriage. The goal is to grow individually but together at the same time. The goal is to hope that while you grow, you aren’t growing apart from your spouse. You should be growing into a better person and as a better couple. If the foundation of the marriage is built on mutually shared principles and morals, the growth shouldn’t have such an adverse impact on the marriage. I think that when one’s morals or principles change with age, that’s when things start to create the division within the marriage.
Then, sometimes, it’s just the monotony of marriage. This, is where I see Dre and Bow. They have been together for so long that they began to just go through the motions. They no longer took the time to laugh with each other; talk to one another; discuss things other than bills and children; they started to grow apart. Bow became a stay-at-home-mom and with that came a different identity. She went from working outside of the home to being home and only caring for her family that she now has a different mindset than before. Based on the episodes, it doesn’t appear that they discussed her shift and this is likely where the divide began. They stopped noticing the effort the other put into the marriage. They stopped noticing the little things like compromising on the kitchen sink the other wanted or bringing home cup-o-noodles like in the beginning of the marriage as a gesture of “remember when”. When you stop noticing the little things that are done for you and only focus on the things that aren’t being done, you miss the beauty in your partner.
In the latest episode, what I saw at the end was Bow said something she didn’t mean. She said something hoping that Dre would respond differently than he did. When he didn’t, she was left to face the reality of what her mouth said she wanted, but her heart didn’t. The lesson in this is to speak your heart. Tell your spouse what you’re really feeling. Don’t make your spouse play the guessing game. Most importantly, don’t subject them to tests they don’t even realize they’re taking because typically, the fail and you end up hurt.
If this resonates with you and you’re sensing yourself in the divide, take action and bring your marriage back together. Until next time, journey on!