Black men have played a significant role in my life right from the start.
I’m a certified, card carrying daddy’s girl, I only have 2 brothers – no sisters. I grew up in a predominantly black Jamaican church and had a front row seat to the moves of the powerful black men in charge. And I have black uncles and cousins who surrounded me and helped shape who I’ve become.
Simply put, I’ve spent my life in “training” to love a black man BUT it was not until I exchanged vows and pledged to spend the rest of my life to my black husband that I began to really understand what it takes to love a black man.
Finally catching our breaths after dancing all night at our wedding reception
Now my marriage has only just begun. I’m weeks away from celebrating my 2 year anniversary but I have experienced a revelation that has grown and matured the way I love my black man. So here’s what I’ve learned thus far…
Every day he steps out of our apartment and into the world, he has to be on guard and ready for a potential attack. And it’s not just the threat of physical violence that I’m referring to. The mental and emotional battles he sometimes faces are the worst. On the days when he is met with this, I can see it in the redness of his eyes and the worry lines on his forehead that slowly become more permanent.
So he needs a place where he can lay down his guard and his weapons. To recharge, relax and heal from the battles and wars he experiences outside of our home. And so, I strive each day to keep our house a sanctuary.
I’m not always successful though, because there are days that I want to lose my cool because he didn’t clean up the coffee grounds he spilled that morning. However, in the grand scheme of things, it really takes nothing out of me to take care of it, especially if it prevents an unnecessary argument.
I’m not there with him to fight his battles so covering him in prayer daily is a NON-NEGOTIOABLE, ABSOLUTE MUST. Not just as a line of defense but to also run offense and interference. So I call on the One who is with him wherever he goes and is equipped to fight his battles and even block them before they can start.
A higher level of understanding and support has unlocked in me.
In a world that couldn’t care less about you and how you feel, I’ve always deeply understood the need for a safe space to verbally unload. But now I’ve reached new levels of patience, empathy, support and understanding.
You see, to be respected and not be seen as weak, my husband has to hold his tongue… a lot. Day after day, he has to bottle up the subtle and not so subtle acts of disrespect and shadiness that come at him. But if it doesn’t get released at some point, it can become physically damaging. Manifesting itself in illness, breakouts and sheer exhaustion. So it’s not only in his best interests but selfishly in mine as well that he is as strong mentally and physically as he can be. So, I listen, and listen, and listen again. I give counsel and act as a sounding board when necessary but mostly I try to create the safe and supportive atmosphere that he needs.
Experiencing the power of Black Love and creating a legacy that comes out of it, has made me love my heritage and the skin I’m in even more. I am all for interracial marriages, but I can only speak for my own and I know that there is a magic when two black people find each other and decide to unite as one.
Perhaps it’s because in times like this the world makes it seem impossible, the stories told say that Black men don’t want us, that we won’t ever get married and we are left feeling unloved, unwanted and hopeless. But let me say, that’s the devil and he is a liar. And I think he knows the power of this type of connection and he is working hard as hell to keep us apart.
I’ve learned to appreciate the struggle, resilience and brilliance of the African American people even more. I am the first of my family to be born in the United States, I am child of Jamaican immigrants but my husbands’ people worked hard here to help build this country that I’ve been able to call home. His story, heritage and perspective, I haven’t always felt was my own and at times felt foreign to me. But now seeing the world through his eyes and hearing the stories of his parents and grandparents, not just of the struggles but the triumphs and the foundation and legacy they built is awe-inspiring and now that we are one, his story IS my story and I am proud to know that our children will have the power of two different rich heritages running through their veins.
Loving harder, growing in understanding, seeing the world from a new perspective, has grown me and grown us in return.