By Java Scott
I was asked to put pen to paper and give my sisters a list of six do's and don'ts for their 2018 love lives; what not to do when it comes to your man, how to deal with his exes, what to get him for his birthday when he's not officially yours, how to carry yourself when you meet that mama's boy's mama, how not to catch the clap.
You know, anything that would be deemed vital as we enter a new year, and potentially new relationship.
As I sat here scribbling my list, "Blond" (by the master of feelings, Frank Ocean) graced my stereo on repeat.
So many emotions were triggered as I began to reflect on my OWN love life over the past year. So many tears. So many rough, seemingly unbearable moments. So many smiles. So many laughs. So many memories. So much growth. The more I reflected, the more I realized that love is a growing experience, something that requires constant evolving and change. So here are a few of the things that I have found brewing in my spirit to share.
6 Things Women Should--and Should NOT--Do in 2018
WE WILL LEARN OUR LOVE LANGUAGE.
The first song that graced my stereo was "Seigfried." The song ends with the repetitive line, "I'd do anything for you" and that resonated with me.
We're often willing to do anything for our partners, but our partners don't always need JUST anything. They need specific time, specific touch. But what does that mean?
There is a book written by Gary Chapman entitled "The Five Love Languages" and essentially, the book is about the 5 ways people like to receive love: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, physical touch, and quality time.
In 2018, ladies, PLEASE learn your love language, and your partner's. Simply getting in tune with the way someone wants to feel your love. It sounds relatively mild, but it's one of THE best things you can do to spice things up. It is literally vital to the flow of the relationship. How can you say you love someone if you don't even know the way they like... no, scratch that... NEED to be loved?
Some people prefer quality time, some physical touch, some, like me, need to hear that I'm the shiznyee and you only have eyes for me. Now listen, I'm not suggesting you go spend money on a book just to throw it in your man's face that you like quality time and he bought you a waffle maker and that's why you left him for his brother. No ma'am. I'm telling you to learn the way you like to be loved, learn the way your partner likes to be loved, and find ways to cater to both needs, if not the same.
Do you like to be caressed and rubbed? Do you prefer to just bask in their presence? Do they prefer for you to hang a picture for them for once? What is it? Not knowing doesn't necessarily mean that things will fall apart. But knowing certainly changes things. For nearly a year, I was loving a man the way I liked to be loved, and he was doing the same. Needless to say, it didn't work out, because neither one of us were serious enough about loving someone else in that capacity. Do yourself, and your partner, a favor by taking the test (www.5lovelanguages.com). Ladies, we're taking on this new Rosetta Stone this year. We're embracing our love languages!
WE WILL NOT PLAY HOUSE WITH ANYONE LESS THAN A SPOUSE.
Girl, I'm telling you that we are NOT playing house with anything less than a spouse. Yeah, you. I'm talking to you. Hell, I'm talking to me too. We've all done it. We learn the way that man likes to be loved and we do THE EXTRANEOUS. Oh, he likes his back rubbed every night? Let me rub his back every night, and while I'm at it, let me cook three square meals a day, and let me exhaust some of my funds, and call and check on his mama everyday, and go shopping with his sisters, and breathe his air all day, jump through hoops whenever summoned.
I know some of you read that and immediately thought to yourself, "Oh no! She did all that? She must be crazy!"... oh, but indeed, you are too, beloved. Think about it. How many times have you done "little" things for your man that added up? Things that you look back in retrospect and say, "Man, I was doing a lot for a man that barely loved me"...? Gave him a little too much money. Cooked one too many a meal when he only feeds you on special occasion? Found yourself more involved in his family drama than he was? Right. Next year, ladies, we are saving SOMETHING for marriage. It's fine to love and love hard, but have boundaries. Be careful with the amount of nights you allow him to sleep over, or the amount of nights you "accidentally" fall asleep. Be cautious not to be so quick to extract funds on his behalf. Cook one meal a week. We are not performing wifely duties for anything less than a husband. Okay, well let me delve deeper... I'm definitely NOT saying to treat him like he means nothing and just make him chase you. Absolutely not. BUT, I am saying to leave a mystery. Don't give him too much. Give him something to look forward to. Don't run yourself dry for something that you aren't even sure is permanent. 2018, ladies, we are NOT #TeamTooMuch, but rather #TeamDoingJustEnoughConsideringMyTaxesStillSaySingle.
WE WILL TAKE CARE OF OUR MENTAL HEALTH.
So now that we know that we are NOT doing too much in the kitchen, the bedroom, or the financial department, let's discuss the most important no-no on my list: ignoring mental health.
Ladies, especially Black women, I need you to lean in and listen REAL good, okay?
*whispers* Mental health is just as important as physical health, it
must be treated with gentleness, and it IS (contrary to popular, uneducated, uncultured swine ass opinion) perfectly acceptable and healthy for a man to be emotional. We get so caught up in trying to be "wifey," cooking and cleaning, folding clothes with J. Cole, that we forget that our "husbands" are taught to be a man, which sadly means donning the identity of being the strong one, to never break down, to be the glue, to never waver or get weary.
We are not doing that this year, ladies. We are giving that man room to breathe, to cry, to feel, to process, to heal. Even Hulk needs to be Bruce Banner at times. Going back to "Seigfried," Frank Ocean says,
"I couldn't gauge your fears
I can't relate to my peers
I'd rather live outside
I'd rather chip my pride than lose my mind."
That should beat you internally until your heart turns black and blue to the point that you vow to never allow another human to feel that.
But, let's not get it twisted, your mental health is equally as important.
WE WILL HEAL, GROW AND COMMUNICATE
You matter first, before anyone, anything else. Being more open to him to releasing those tears or that anger is not to be confused with allowing him to project negativity onto you.
Allowing him to talk to you about his internal, or how you made him feel, is not an excuse for him to demean you or to take on him not forgiving as a personal fault. We're not ignoring his mental, our mental, his spiritual, our spiritual, anybody's overall soul in 2018 ladies.
We're praying more, meditating more, both separately and together. We're having weekly talks. We're crying. We're breathing. We're lighting candles. We're talking to God. We're NOT going to bed without releasing.
We're healing together in a safe way.
We're not projecting or harboring projections. We're not harboring any bad energy as to add pressure to the mental, spiritual being of ourselves or significant others.
WE WILL DATE MORE AND BE MORE ADVENTUROUS
Releasing doesn't necessarily have to be all incense and green tea and yoga.
We can follow in the footsteps of Auntie Badu and turn it into Newports and Colt 45 on the occasional tip (although I do not recommend the former, the latter, however, has led me to quite a few fun ass hood rat outings with my man).
What I'm saying here is WE GETTING LITTY TITTY NEXT YEAR WIT OUR MEN. Yes ma'am! Let's spice it up.
We're going on more dates, drinking more, going on more adventures, just overall enjoying each other's company. The art of dating is so lost. We get so used to Netflixin’ and chillin’ or we've come to a point where we're so comfortable, we're stagnant. We're breaking out of that this year, ladies. How about taking him on a date or two, or at least telling him where you want to eat, hell. Take charge, my babies. If you know you want to go skydiving, DO JUST THAT. And he better come! What I'm saying is HAVE FUN.
We're making them step their cookies up this year, ladies! (But we're also gonna have a lil Oreo or two for him every now and again).
Write some date night ideas on a popsicle stick, draw them every Saturday night, or whenever the coin permits you to do so. We're enjoying dates this season my lovelies.
WE WILL NOT HOLD BACK.
And we're NOT holding back. That's right, I said it. I once wrote a post about how somewhere down the line, we stopped chasing that teenage love affair type love. Everything became about finding someone to support you financially or to grow with.
We forgot the basic principles of just loving. Much like what we thought we were doing as teens.
So, what you're a grown woman? Love without limits. Be loved without limits. (Okay, don't start saying that I just told y'all to not play house to someone less than a spouse. I still mean that. You get what I'm saying here lol). I'm saying to be vulnerable. Allow yourself to feel.
If it doesn't work out, this is not the end of the world. I promise you. Life is about loving and letting go. It can either be a blessing or a lesson. Turn to your neighbor and say, "Neighbor! I pray for the blessing, but I won't fear the lesson!"
*cues praise break*
Frank Ocean wrote a LYRIC in "White Ferrari":
"I care for you still and will forever
That was my part of the deal
We got so familiar
Spending each day of the year
I can literally feel that as I type.
You never know what you may be missing out on by being closed. Experiment. Find your likes and dislikes. Grow. Take that risk in love.
Remember, to always start with YOU first, love YOU first, allow yourself to be loved, enjoy your year, your new love, your marriage, bask.
Revel in whatever it is this year brings.
"Wishing you Godspeed and glory,"