Early on a Saturday morning, I came across an almost 10 minute video with black men talking about love, relationships, and marriage. You may have seen it. It’s called “Footnotes for 4:44”, referencing a song on Jay-Z’s recent album where he discusses his struggle in figuring this whole married with children life out. His take? “Nothing is harder than this, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done”.
My disclaimer: this is not for people in abusive relationships or for those who are with serial cheaters. This is for everyday people that love their partner and desire to have a loving life with them… people who are just working on figuring this thing out.
I love hearing married people talk about marriage. One of the biggest things I tell engaged people and newlyweds is you will mess up. You will give your partner a reason to leave you. You ain’t been married until you’ve tried to figure out how to get out of it.
But, when you live through something that wasn’t supposed to happen… when you can push through the deal breaker… the thing that everyone says “I would never deal with that”… the thing that, on paper, no one should ever do? NOW we are talking about a real marriage. A union that gets full on marksmen shooting at it, both from a distance and right in your face… and you stay.
Now that’s marriage.
Ask any married person and they will tell you: you don’t know pain until you feel the threat of losing your marriage. The pain of the entire foundation of your life being shaken and potentially pulled out from under you. You cant teach that. You have to live it. Most people run at the first sign of a threat. They’re so scared of being embarrassed or “looking stupid”. Or they’re too far on the “nope, that should never happen… I’m not putting up with that” spectrum. Those people will always be single.
Marriage is a calculated risk. It’s getting on a pretty boat without really knowing how to sail and figuring out how to keep the whole thing from toppling over while simultaneously learning to use a compass and adjust the sails… and raise kids, and chase your dreams, and be cute, and cook chicken, and keep a house clean, and have a social life. So don’t stand in a glass house and throw stones.
Married people understand 4:44
But hey, I could be wrong…. I’ve always been a bit of an Odd Bird