Over the past few weeks I’ve talked a lot about me and some of the things I’ve been through. My world at times has been convoluted with crazy events or pain, even disappointments that I’ve experienced. The most prevalent thing that I can talk about in all of my experience is my depression. It lasted for almost 2 years, and it was the most serious space I’ve ever been in. I also realize that through going through that much turmoil within myself that there had to be some type of effect on those around me. I’ve already spoken about the days where my daughter wonders if I’m coming back home or if I’ll be gone for a while. That’s surely painful, but what I didn’t and haven’t really spoken about are the fears of the things I almost and could have lost had I not gotten the help I needed, and come out of that place.
For those that know me, my year started out with a new Hashtag, a new theme for my world. #FAMILYMATTERS. It’s a theme that I prayed about and spiritually believe in. God allowed me to see myself through the lens of my family in ways I didn’t know possible. In that dark place in my mind, I convinced myself that my children didn’t need me. Or that they’d be better off without me. I thought that their grandparents and mother would do a better job of influencing their life than I ever could. I didn’t think I was needed. To be completely 110 about it, that’s where I truly almost failed. I failed in thinking that there was anyone that could replace me in my own life. Well, Jason, when you say it like that, it sounds silly…Yeah, I know. As men, as parents, as fathers, we have to understand that God has entrusted the lives of our children to us. They are just on loan. And it is our job to instill in them the values, and goodness that were given to us. Behaviors are taught, no inherited. In other words, when someone is good to someone, they were taught to be good, even more so what is good. The values that I have for my children in treating others the right way, cannot be taught the way I teach them. The way my son and daughter do things will come from me and their mother. No one else can give them that, and I do myself a disservice to believe anything otherwise.
I mention all of that because when I lost sight of that, I was in danger of someone else doing for them what only I am supposed to do. I’ll keep it real. The thought of another man, person, or otherwise raising the children that I helped to birth sickens me. Not because another man isn’t capable of doing well in certain areas, but BECAUSE I AM STILL ABLE…I still have my life, my faculties, and my values that were given to me. Things that no one person can ever take away. And to think that I was about to give up my place (cause someone can’t take that away, trust me) is a real cause for concern.
That last two lines of the previous section are a big theme for this subject. The moment I pictured another man with my wife, I cried, and cried, and cried. I saw someone else making her smile and it almost killed the very heart of me. But when I thought about it, I realized that it was my doing. Something I will always be hard on myself about. My wife has been everything to me for the past 17 years of my life. I have known and loved her for almost half of my life. And to believe that it was time for me to give up on the woman I call the ‘LOVE OF MY LIFE’ just…well…it just…I don’t know…I don’t know how to describe how that feels. I guess I could equate it to having a hole in my chest. Or missing a vital organ. My issues caused me to think that it was okay to walk away, and that was a deafening feeling. But a decision that didn’t just hurt her, it hurt me too. I just couldn’t believe we weren’t gonna make it. That’s what I kept telling myself. And rather than tell her, that it’s not what I really wanted, I just sat there, in my stupor. I sat there and wallowed in my own mess. Some of are out there being so comfortable in chaos, that we don’t or can’t even appreciate how good we have it. I honestly thought that was the right thing to do. As if that was acceptable. I thought for some reason someone else could be better for her, when truth of the matter was she had who she believed was best. When I finally saw what I had done, it was this long hard gaze into a mirror. It was the ugliest thing I had ever seen. There was someone there, but there was almost no SOUL to the person that did what I did. I didn’t think about what I was doing, I simply ran. And that’s honestly tough to confess today. Even though we’re in a much better place, I still have trouble thinking about it all. Simply because it could have gone another way. I still feel the doubt in her voice at times. It’s something I will have to deal with for as long as it takes. And I will, because I understand now. I see that I CAN’T LOSE her again. I can’t give UP All that WE Have, and have established together.
IN a matter of 4 seconds, I was contemplating giving up something another thing that didn’t necessarily belong to me. My LIFE. And I know for me it wasn’t even serious in the grand scheme of things, but I am a very internal person, and those 4 seconds felt like an eternity. This in no way shape or form is HUGE on the grand scale of suicide attempts of others or actual successful suicides (CAN WE really CALL SUICIDE Success??). It was however, a turning point for me. It was what I needed to know I had to get some type of help. Some type of counseling. I felt my voice leaving me. I was in the Sunken place as the movie Get Out suggests. I could see it all happening, but it was as if I couldn’t speak up for myself. I was truly Broken at the time. I wanted to be better, but so much was happening around me that I didn’t think I could be. At least I had convinced myself of that. All in all, I knew that if I didn’t get help, I would never be well again. I would never hear my voice again, I’d never be me again. It’s a victory, Yes. But it doesn’t mean I’ll never have to fight again.
I say all this to basically say, that if you haven’t taken inventory, because for some reason you don’t think it’s important. You really need to. You need to count the blessings that you have. And when you do you’ll see that you have more than you actually think you do. More to love, more to live for and more to Lose. There’s probably so much more to lose than you’ll ever know. Also think how it would truly affect other people if you weren’t here. Our spouses, our children. Those are the areas of loved ones that we affect the most. We don’t take a second to think that we have an impact that isn’t always spoken about. We are also appreciated much more than we could ever know. We just have to find ways to see it. We have to be cognoscente of the things that got us here. The experiences that we have shared with others, and that make us who we are. It’s just a life lesson that I’m talking about today. I’m talking about understanding that you haven’t lost everything just yet. But if you give up, and bow down to the forces meant to break you, you absolutely Will. And losing everything doesn’t just HURT you. It doesn’t just cost for YOU. It cost EVERYBODY you know…It’s COST EVERYTHING…
More to come…
18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” 19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature,that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam[f] no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs[g] and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib[h] he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
23 The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.”
24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
I remember it like it was yesterday. March 10,2001. It was a day I won’t soon forget. It was the first time I told her I loved her as a couple. She was my girlfriend, but contrary to what I knew then, she’d be much, much more. I remember the start of our relationship, and the times even before that. So many experiences, I’d say too numerous to mention. I do remember her saying, “I prayed for you”. She said she had been very specific to what she wanted in a husband, and out of life in general. When I first met her, I didn’t really see it as such, but I know now that prayers as a child, or young adult, have the ability to take you very far in life. Not only that, but the insight she had to know what so many couldn’t see.
Skip forward 15 years later. Married with two children. Two dogs, a house, and a great life. I reflect on all it took for us to get here. And while to some it may not seem like a long time. Even to me, it honestly felt like moments ago. My faith has allowed me to see a lot of battles. A lot of tears, and a whole lot of heartache. A lot of people have come and gone. The one thing I can say that has remained constant throughout is her. She remains the one thing in my life that given me grounding and consistency the whole way. I can remember having a really tough time when I first came to California, and if it hadn’t been for her, I wouldn’t have made it. Through the year my mother was diagnosed with cancer. To the deaths, of my Aunts Betty, and Shirley. She was right there. That’s not for me to say that everything has been peachy-keen. It’s not to say that we’ve always agreed, or even liked one another. In fact, there are times when it seems as there have been more tough times than easy. But God…has seen us through. They say that sometimes the way to make it isn’t by going out or around, but by going through. Believe me when I tell you, we’ve done just that.
I’ve taken two lessons for marriage that my parents have spoken of. First at my sister’s wedding, my father gave them the advice of “TALK, just TALK…make sure you always TALK…” It’s like I remember so vividly and can speak volumes on the importance of communication. We’ve done it all. Fussed, fought, yelled and screamed. We’ve gone days without speaking but a few words to each other, and even had moments of ‘how will we fix this/us?’ What got us past it? Talking. Communicating. When all else failed, we were able to talk things through. It doesn’t mean we left the conversations on the same page, but we still talk it out.
The other lesson I learned came from my mother at my own wedding, when she said…”Whatever you do, Keep God first…” Man, why didn’t anybody say that when it came to be married beforehand. What I’m about to say may apply to believers or non-believers alike. Having something to focus the attention of your marriage is important. For people like myself, it’s God because I believe that without Him, I don’t have a thing. Some focus on the first lesson, but this one has allowed me personally to sleep on the nights where I wasn’t sure if I’d get stabbed in my sleep from the arguments we had. God kept me warm on the nights when we were too mad at each other to cuddle. He also protected both of us in the moments when we were to stubborn, so we could come back to each other. I won’t even lie, it took quite a while for us to get on same page, but when we did, it made everything that God spoke about marriage make sense. She is a helper. She is a lover. She has my back, and she is submissive (not a slave). It’s all true, I promise.
Those are memories that will never leave. Memories, I don’t have watch a video for, or look at a picture to incite my memory. I will always know, because those are the two things that have kept this marriage working. Others probably see us, and maybe they don’t believe the hype. The thing is: They don’t have to. As long we know, what we have and what that means: We’re good to go!!
I write all this because, just in a random thought, I know it can all be taken away. It sounds a little sentimental, given the fact that Valentines Day just passed, or my birthday is coming up soon. Truth be told, this all just came to me, in just an instant. It’s also a really easy one to write. It’s because all I can do is think of her, and be truly thankful for all God has done in my life. I give him all the praise for what I have and even the things I don’t. She is definitely the one of the few things in my life, I know I got right. I guess what it all comes down to is, when you get married, if you get married, stick it out if you can. It’s gonna be tough. Nerve-wrecking, and even annoying at times. But 15 years later…that’s all I have to say…15 years later…and counting!
In the 513 days I’ve been a parent, a father, I realized a lot about who I am. I discovered so many things about myself, and some of those things I’m proud of, and others I believe I can surely do better. In in that time I’ve made so many mistakes. I’ve accidentally, burned her little tongue with a bottle that was too warm. I’ve shown her how to climb the steps and let her go too soon, causing her to fall. I’ve even let her out of my sight long enough for her to slip and hit her head on the hardwood floor (don’t worry, she’s alright, and tough). But in that time, I’ve learned that she is MY daughter (Daddy’s little Girl), and she only has one father. One protector, one person who will give his life to shield her from all harm. [Every time I write about her, I get so emotional]
And through this past year and a half, I’ve come to several other conclusions as well. There will most likely be many other failings I will have concerning her. I will make decisions I think are best, and they won’t be the best. At times I will be average at teaching her things. I’m going to miss some lessons as well. It’s just that I’m human, trying to be superhuman for her, and I’ve finally come to an understanding of why men go crazy when it comes to their children. Why they want to hurt a person when a woman brings them around his kids (not to say that it’s right, but let’s be real). With all that said, there’s one thing I just can’t do for her…I CAN’T and WILL NEVER stop loving her. I will not stop, being overprotective. I will not stop wondering what’s on her mind, or how she’s doing. I’ll never stop worrying about where she is, even when she’s right in front of me, or in the next room over. That’s what real father’s do. That’s what real parents do.
Through my own personal trials I’ve come to question so many things. Especially how there are men out there, that could leave their kids without any contact, or without any type of support for them. There are tens of thousands of orphans in this world whose parents weren’t strong enough to be there, and I would ask them if I could: When did parenthood become about you? When did God tell you that you were no longer responsible for the person/people that He placed in your care? That’s really what it’s all about. It would be hard for me, almost impossible on me psychologically to spend an extended amount of time without Samaya Sky.
Overall, I’m just saying that I truly believe in my heart that I would go through a building on fire for her and her mother. It’s not really about getting attention, or being some sort of hero, it’s just the manifestation of the love I truly have for them. I hug her, and never wanna let her go. That’s just who I am today, and everyday for her. And It’s all about learning the new things of today what I’ve already learned. I’ve learned that every time she hurts, I hurt. When she’s in trouble, I’m gonna break my back to help her out of it. There is no law, when it comes to her. My beautiful, beautiful Sky! There goes my baby!! Daddy Loves You baby!!
Now granted, she might not exactly agree that I’m putting this out here, I’m just gonna do it anyway. After all, what’s that they say: “It’s better to ask for forgiveness, than to ask for permission.” At least that’s the story I’m sticking to…
With this day and age, marriage is something that appears to be a dime a dozen. It seems like everybody’s getting married. The Kardashians’, the Jones’, the Smith’s, the West’s, everybody. And with the fact that everybody is doing it, I can honestly say that marriage just doesn’t seem as special as it once did. Even people being married for 40 years, just seems like more of something they did out of convenience than actual love. With that said, I can say for those of you who don’t know, or desire to, I’ll use this as something to go by. When it comes to marriage: Believe none of what you hear, and only half of what you see.
With my marriage, I can actually say this, and speak some truth about it. It’s hard. It’s tough to get two people who have spent almost 30 years figuring out how to be about self, to turn around and be about the “We” in a situation. It’s tough. That’s marriage though. That is why it’s supposed to last for life, because it literally takes that long to figure it out. And even then there will still be things to deal with. I can say that every stage we’ve been through as a married couple has had some bumps. For us, I won’t even lie. We disagree. Often…and we don’t always make up before the sun goes down either. I know, that’s not always good, but it’s real. And we do have a real marriage. As I stated before, I won’t lie about, because I believe more marriages should be honest and be real to say that they’re not always vibin’. There are times when you just don’t want to talk to the other person for real, for real. I think the couples that aren’t real with each other are the one’s that get divorced quickly. They are the people who possibly got married because that’s what they’d been waiting to do, or because they just loved the idea of marriage. And after getting into it, didn’t love the idea as much as they thought.
I will say this though…As much as I can get on her nerves, or disagree, or upset her and vice versa, or butt heads or whatnot…I still go hard for her. I still get up everyday, looking for a new and better day with her and thinking how I can be a better husband. I still get out there and work for her and my daughter, because they are the two most important people in my life. I still forsake all others out there for her, because I’m that man that just won’t give up on her and what we have or have the potential to have. Or our life that we’re working so hard to build together. That’s just what it is. I will do anything to be and stay married to this woman (pictured above). There isn’t a place I wouldn’t move to for her, and a place that I would live without her. I think more couples need to think about that. They need to think about the long term instead of the little issues that they are dealing with or have been dealing with for just a month. A month is really a short period of time, and some of the issues people deal with aren’t enough to call for a divorce. It’s just not the way that I believe God intended it. I believe that marriage is the same as life in that, we will all struggle and have good times as well…But in the end, the love, and the way we treat each other is what matters most. Especially the Love. Relationships can be worked on, but Love is what should be eternal. It’s the part that will sustain you, on those nights where you wanna pack your bags. To all the men out there that are thinking of leaving your wife, because of a spat you had, or because you don’t have your act together. Remember…it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. I’ll leave it at this…the commandment that was given concerning marriages in the Bible.
Ephesians 5:21-28 (The Message Bible)
21 Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another.
22-24 Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.
25-28 Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage.
More to come…
Whoever said that marriage was hard, was probably in his/her day considered a genius. And for those of us who are married, one might think the saying is a complete understatement (I know I’d like to think so). Such that, the market seems to be flooded with an extreme amount of self-help books and “inspirational” messages on how to keep a good marriage. I can’t think of a day where I didn’t see an article in a magazine or on the internet giving lessons or tips on “How to keep your Marriage Going”, or “Take your Marriage from lukewarm to HOT LIKE FIRE!!!”. Some people it helps and others it does not. Well fear not because I’m here to give everyone the basis of what makes a perfect marriage. That’s right I said it. I HAVE THE FORMULA to make your marriage so great, that one could call it perfect. With that said, from here on out, you can just acknowledge me as the official “Marriage Aficionado”. Are you ready, here it comes:
- Give up on the thinking that there is such a thing as a perfect marriage – To say that marriage is something that can be perfect would be like cheating yourself. That’s why Jesus never got married. It would’ve ended up with a Perfect “Being” with someone who wasn’t perfect. Just as with us, you have two imperfect people trying to do the best they can to co-exist, and not get on each other’s nerves. I mean for real. They say marriage is what you make of it, and most times we don’t try as hard as we should to make it. It’s best to understand that there is no perfect marriage, but if the two of you work hard at it, you will be able to deal with your bumps as they come. And they will come.
- Sex, Sex, Sex, Sex, Sex, and more Sex – So I don’t know if you understood where I was going with this so I’ll just say it. YOU SHOULD BE HAVING SEX WITH YOUR SPOUSE. For those who believe in the Bible, it’s in there. It says that you should not withhold from your better half (1 Corinthians 7 for those who wanna do the research). Ladies, and some men (still can’t believe those men exist), if you don’t think sex is important in marriage, try going without. I promise your spouse won’t wait for you to get your act together. Sex is a form of physical communication between the parties, and without it, there will be times where you don’t feel as though you’re on the same page. Without it, you may exhibit symptoms such as crankiness, arguing, aggravation, and just plain anger to name a few. I can’t say this one enough. Have SEX. Did I mention you should be having Sex!?? What you won’t do, another WILL!! Please believe!!…
- Your Spouse comes before your kids – I may come under fire for this one, but it’s the truth. When you have kids, it should be an “US vs. THEM” type of situation. Again, if you believe in what the bible says, even if you don’t, you must take care of home before venturing out into the world. People with children often would do anything for their kids, and rightfully so. But truth be told, children aren’t a reason to stay with someone. And that is probably the number one reason for couples that have been together 15+ years. “I stayed for the kids”. If that’s your reasoning, you can go ahead and leave. Kids are more resilient than we give them credit. Don’t get me wrong, children do in fact need multiple parents, because it is hard to raise kids on your own, or with someone for that matter. My reasoning for this is that, if you do in fact love your spouse, you will realize, once the kids are gone off to college, or work, or wherever: The person that will remain, IS YOUR SPOUSE. So remember him/her when your kids, act like they don’t wanna call after moving away from home.
- Talk Even If it hurts – This may be one the simplest of all things to know, yet seems to be the hardest to do. When I say this, you might be thinking “do we have to?” Yes it’s mandatory. I remember when my sister Leah, got married, and my father gets up and gives them the best advice that you can ultimately give newlyweds. “TALK” That’s all he said, when all else fails, “TALK”. So simple, yet so profound. There have been many a couple who have not stood the test of time, simply because they couldn’t talk to one another. Communication is key for a situation that you plan on being in for the next 30+ years. If you’ve ever seen the movie Life. Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence went through a period of 30 years without talking to each other, over a disagreement. It was funny in the movie, but I promise it’s not as funny when you’re the one not being spoken to. I don’t want that to be your marriage. Arguing is okay, and it’s healthy to get out your frustrations, especially when they have to do with the party lying next to you every night. I’d say don’t go to bed mad, but hey, it happens…TALK IT OUT In the Morning. Sometimes you’re gonna have to sleep on it.
- She’s not the only one that’s crazy – Trust me, this rule is probably for me especially. Whenever I fight with my wife, the first thing that crosses my mind is, “She is crazy, and I don’t know what she’s talking about!” But the truth of the matter is, I’m probably the one that’s driving her crazy. Look, everyone comes with their own set of baggage, which will cause disagreements between the two of you. The thing about that is, learning to consolidate your baggage into one bag, instead of two. Learning to solve problems as a couple, rather than on your own. This one especially goes for matters of a financial nature. Too many times, have men tried to solve all their problems with money on their own, only to cause more debt. Trust me, she didn’t create that crazy. You did!
- Divorce is not an option – People argue, and fight all the time, even when they’re not married. A fight does not spell the end for your marriage – no one particular issue should mean the end of your marriage. In today’s world, people breakup for the smallest things. Marriage is about love. I’ll say that again. Marriage IS ABOUT LOVE. You met and got married because you believed in your heart that there was no one else that complimented you the way he/she does. Besides, no one gets married to get divorced (unless you’re in Hollywood). And divorce should only be the last resort when you have exhausted all possibilities. I’m not saying divorce won’t happen, but when a couple still has love for one another, I’d say that there’s something worth saving there. And last but not least…
- Have a little faith – I didn’t say keep God first because that should be a given. Doing so actually helps to put things in perspective. Marriage takes an unlimited amount of faith for it to work. You have to actually trust and rely on someone else to be strong even when you can’t be. No one wants to be with someone who doesn’t believe strongly that things will work out even in the tough times. I know I wouldn’t. My faith has helped me get through things, but just because I believe doesn’t mean that I can believe for you. You have to take it upon yourselves to believe that you took or made those vows for a reason. And that “for better or worse” vow truly has to mean something to you. Or else you may not have what it takes to make it. If you want me to spell it out I will, YOU SHOULD PUT GOD first!!
Truth be told: Nobody can tell you how to make your individual marriage better. The Rules mentioned above, are merely a foundation. There’s so much more that goes into each marriage. That’s something you have to figure out for yourselves. But like I said, marriage is a true test of faith, no matter what you believe. It takes a lot to keep it going, and to keep it prospering. Treat it like your car in the sense that every 10 to 20,000 miles, you may require a tune up. A trip out-of-town, away from the kids. Renewing of your vows, or something as simple as watching your wedding video every year on your anniversary to remind you what you have. It’s not about that 5 to 10 year thing to make it successful. It’s about it, being a forever thing. A from death do us part thing!!
More to come…