From my heart to yours

Archive for February 2012

I have a confession to make…I have about 5 posts that I’ve started and never finished. My bad. But let me explain what happens. I get super inspired, come up with the entire post in my head, usually when I’m at work and have no way to write it down. Then I get home and try to write it and it never sounds as good as it did in my head because I’ve lost the inspiration so I don’t finish it. Please forgive me.

Anywho, I’m feeling a bit inspired today and with my broken toe I’m sitting at home with my thoughts and computer and decided to write. The topic of the day: the words “obey” and “respect”. Let’s start with some definitions.

ObeyTransitive Verb: 1. To follow the commands or guidance of. 2. To conform to or comply with.

Respect-Noun: 1. an act of giving particular attention. 2. high or special regard

“Obey” has been coming up a lot in my recent conversations. First was with one of my coworkers, who actually kind of likes me, but that’s a whole other conversation. I think he was trying to feel me out to see how I felt about relationships; I don’t think he got the answer he wanted. Anyway the guy, we’ll call him John, told me that a woman should obey her husband. When I asked for clarification he gave me the example of if the wife wants to go out and the husband tells her no, she obeys him by not going. When I told my cousin about this conversation she responded by saying that she agrees that a wife should obey her husband. But it got tricky when she tried to clarify with an example. She could only reference our grandparents.

And then it hit me: Perhaps she means that a wife should RESPECT her husband! Which is the exact word that I used when I responded to John’s example. If the husband doesn’t want his wife to go out then he can voice that concern and depending on the reasons and his approach the wife may choose to respect his wish and stay home. But I think it is important to note that it is a mutual respect as he respects her enough to give her the choice and she returns it by deciding to stay or by compromising on how long she will be out, where she is going, etc.

I’ve talked about my grandparent’s 62 year marriage before here and I’ve never thought their marriage was based on a command-obey relationship. They are traditional in that my nana cooks for granddaddy everyday, fixes his plate for him, does the laundry and most of the cleaning. He takes care of the cars and any work that needs to be done in and around the house and takes out the trash. They both worked, they both have their own money aside from what they share, the both had equal parts in the raising of the children and they are both actively involved in their church. They travel together but also have their own activities through their church which sometimes separates them. And from what I understand, in their younger days they would even go out without each other on occasion. I’ve never once heard him command her to do something, except when he’s being cute and decides to tell “Beluah” to bring him is dinner. Which always gets the “I-don’t-know-who-your-granddaddy-thinks-he-is-but-Beluah-left-the-building-a-long-time-ago” response from nana, drawing a good laugh from all of us.

Call me crazy, but being expected to obey someone other than my mom is a bit puzzling to me. I mean, slaves were forced to obey their masters so why should I have to obey a man who is supposed to be my partner? Maybe I’m naive or perhaps it is because I was raised by an independent mother or maybe because I grew up in a slightly abusive household where I couldn’t even laugh out loud for fear of disturbing my uncle and unleashing his full wrath but I just don’t see myself “obeying” my future husband. I think in a society where so many women are being subjected to physical, sexual and mental abuse, we should be careful of the expectations we give to our youth of how we cooperate in relationships. And with idiots giving out ludicrous advice like good ole Too Short, we really do have to do better. I truly believe that mutual respect has to be taught. Women, we have to learn to stop emasculating our men and start letting ourselves be vulnerable sometimes. It’s easy to always be the “independent woman” who can do it all at all times. It’s hard to let a man take control and do those things that used to be a “man’s job”. But I’m willing to bet that if we start respecting them, they’ll start respecting us back. Men, stop constantly referring to women as bitches and hoes and when you’re trying to talk to us things like “hey lil mama” or “ayo big girl” are probably not going to get a respectable lady’s attention. Oh and another thing to think about: if your s/o feels respected they might be more likely to go out of their way to do special things for you. If you’re constantly trying to force them to do things, don’t expect any extra good loving.

And yes I’m gonna give an example from the Color Purple because it is one of my favorite stories: Harpo and Sophia. He tried to beat her, she beat him back and left. He respected her as the independent woman she was (and she stopped talking to him like he was crazy all the damn time)  and they had a lasting love and respect for each other even after the Squeaky girl showed up. Just a thought…just a thought.

I had to 🙂

Thoughts?

A little talk about…Respect