“How you speak to people says something, so be kind.” – Tamra
Despite what social media shows you, #relationshipgoals take more than a really dope picture. Behind that picture can be a lot of hurt, pain, struggle, introspection and growth. The perfection in that fleeting capture never tells the story of the hurdles crossed to get there. Last week on Black Love the documentary focused on the fairytale beginnings of love and even allowed me to daydream about my own. This week the series started to dig deeper and had the couples talking about the not so sweet side of love. The moments that, in some cases nearly broke them, and how they managed to pull through.
One couple in particular that stood out to me were Tamra and Akadius. Not just because they are fellow Bison (#BisonLove), but because their communication issues hit very close to home. See, my other half is Akadius all day long. He grew up in a home where saying what you want, how you want and speaking in harsh tones was the norm. Meanwhile, I don’t think I’ve ever heard my father raise his voice to anyone, let alone a woman. I have never seen or heard (Not to say this may not have occurred behind closed doors.) any man in my family speak harshly to the women in their lives. Even during the times where my mother might have deserved a blunt word or two, my father never stooped that low. So for me, to have someone be so blunt or harsh, with no real consideration for my feelings on the other side of those words, was difficult to say the least. For him, dealing with someone who was so easily offended by his bluntness, wasn’t comfortable saying any and everything they want or would shut down at the first sign of a raised voice was frustrating as hell.
To say the communication battles were hard would be an understatement. Something as simple as how we spoke to each other about how to clean out the fridge could lead to silence and frustration for hours. And shoutout to that one friend who called for one thing, got caught up in one of those storms and had to pretty much Iyanla our lives to help us get it back together. It was that bad. What we had to learn, and continue to learn, is that in order to communicate with each other we had to stop communicating solely from our point of view. His bluntness was not going to get through to me, and my passiveness was not going to get through to him. He would have to learn to speak to me (not necessarily everyone because he’s still blunt with his friends and family) through my filters and learn to be a bit more gentle, but still honest, in his approach. For me, I would have to learn to not only speak up more, but also try to understand that his harshness is not personal towards me and to push past that to communicate rather than shut down and solve nothing.
Do we still have those moments of miscommunication? Hell yes. And thankfully, his direct approach doesn’t allow us to wallow in those moments. We take those moments as opportunities to not only talk through the issue, but evaluate where and how we broke down so that we (admittedly more so me #realtalk) can get it right the next time. What I appreciate about those moments though is the fact that we’re able to come through on the other side. The moment never becomes bigger that the bigger picture and after a few icy stares and silent wars, we’re able to laugh about it all over wings and Texas sized drinks, because those are the moments that matter the most.
Note: The couple pictured above are models, not the couple discussed in this piece.