“Love U 4 Life” is one of my all-time favorite love songs. While the song does not boast the lyrical complexity of Maxwell or the proper diction of John Legend, this ballad brings me to a place that can only be described as “home”. The blend of K-Ci’s gritty baritone against Jo-Jo’s ultra sweet tenor conveying the emotions of a simple man who is committing his life to his woman stirs my soul. The delivery of the ballad is everything! I don’t know if the Hailey brothers were in love at the time when they stepped into the booth to record but I believe every word that comes through my headphones. The song makes me believe in love . It makes me believe in the promise of having someone there through the bad times as well as the good. Yes, times will get rough. There will be times where my faith may not be where it should be. There may be times where my lady and I have to eat Ramen Noodles instead of Red Lobster. However, we will get through those times and experience the sunshine.
In the world today, there are few songs that talk about enduring those troubled times of a relationship. This past weekend, I went through my music library in hopes of finding songs that talked about overcoming hardships. Unfortunately, there weren’t too many songs in my collection that talked about the subject matter that weren’t gospel. As I was looking, I came across Babyface’s “Tender Lover” CD. As I started reminiscing about the songs I sang from this project, my face began to frown as my eyes ran across the song that is responsible for the continental divide between men and women today. Yep, you guessed it. “Soon As I Get Home From Work”. I detested that song back in high school and I detest it now. Now don’t get me wrong, Babyface is a talented songwriter and singer. However, this song set the foundation for unrealistic expectations for men. “I’ll buy your clothes, I’ll cook your dinner too, soon as I get home from work” is the line that most girls would sing in a glorious unison while the guys did their best to ignore. Babyface goes on to say that he would also pay the woman’s rent. Pay her rent? Really? After being forced to listen to the song, I was always left wondering what is the woman doing? Is the kitty that good? I’m sorry Babyface, I just can’t. I still can’t.
Fast forward to last Friday. I found myself at a local church for a “candid” conversation between the married couples and the single folks. Now when I arrived, I didn’t think much about the event. Honestly, I came to start trouble because I don’t believe church folks can be honest when it comes to dating and relationships. And I understand . . . . honestly I do. Church folk don’t want everyone in their business, especially in a small town. At this juncture, even if the married parishioners were truthful about their beliefs regarding dating and building fruitful relationships, most would not receive it because the single folks (and by folks I mean females) have been conditioned to think in fairy tales. As much as I appreciate what Tyler Perry has done for the Black community, he has created this storybook fantasy that have most Black church going females believing in that “perfect” man that will swoop them up and take care of all of their issues. You’ve seen the plays where there is the attractive, half-naked man who saves the older, more womanly R&B singer from the abusive life with her ex-boyfriend/husband. Now, I’m not hating . . . . just simply stating facts.
Now I must say, I was surprised that the singles were able to ask some questions. My initial thought was that all I would hear would be scriptures. But it wasn’t like that. Even though there were a handful of married couples in attendance, I appreciate the knowledge that they were willing to share with the single folks. They reaffirmed my faith in love. And just as I was getting ready to leave, I engaged in a small conversation with one of the deacons. “People are not getting married anymore”, he said. I shook my head in agreement. We discussed the decline of the Church and it being linked to the decline of the family. He stated that the decline of family in the church went back to people no longer being committed to God. People look at marriage and church as commitment and have turned away from it. I didn’t agree with people no longer being committed to God. In my stance, I discussed the issue in which the younger women of the church now have unrealistic expectations. You have females who believe in the scripture according to Babyface and Tyler Perry. They believe that the man is supposed to be strong yet say nothing. Pay all the bills, cook the food, and buy her clothes while she does nothing. Then you have some females that believe that they should have dominance over a man because she makes more than he does. I conveyed that the females that I have dated this year honestly scare me because there is no sense of working in harmony. The deacon shook his head again and simply said “Glad I’m married”.
This leads me to my question for today. What do you believe are the unrealistic expectations that keep men and women from coming together in matrimony? How can the church help with overcoming these unrealistic expectations?
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