Relationships take serious work, and sometimes our worst fears come true. This happened to me when I discovered my husband, Ben, was unfaithful. I was angry and disappointed, but honestly, looking back, I can now say that his betrayal made us stronger. It may sound cliche, but it’s true. We had to rebuild a foundation that I thought was solid, but there were some cracks we needed to mend, and we are still rebuilding every day.
Watching the first two seasons of Black Love really helped me through this process. Like many couples on the docu-series, one of our “secrets” to longevity is practicing perpetual forgiveness. We enjoy the “for better” and navigate the “for worse.” I’m so excited for season 3 — which premieres this Saturday, August 10th at 9/8c on OWN — because the first two seasons of the show really helped prompt some crucial conversations between me and my husband.
Here are a few things we learned and started to navigate through after watching the series:
No one can predict the “For Better or For Worse”
Newlyweds and novices soon learn: There is no way to know where this euphoric roller coaster will take you. There will be highs, lows, detours, surprises and so much more. Marriage is ebb and flow, things can go from sugar to sh*t in six seconds. Unimaginable things happen and your reaction isn’t what you thought it would be. You feel the highest highs and the lowest lows. It’s something about feeling the dichotomy of your heart bursting from joy, and later, seizing as it’s broken. I’ve learned to accept this journey and navigate through it all with my husband.
Admit Your Sh*t
My marriage has forced me to own some ugly truths about myself. I can be selfish. I can be mean. I am controlling. I am spoiled. I am perfectly imperfect. The episode on picking your battles really struck a chord with me, as the couples acknowledged their missteps, showing incredible strength through their vulnerability.
Read more on this episode here: How to Pick Your Battles
Be Lovers & Friends
One of my favorite couples from the #BlackLove movement is Khadeen and Devale Ellis. They are vibrant, funny, and you can tell they enjoy being lovers who are also friends. Sometimes I jokingly call my hubby my “annoying older brother” when he irks me, but I do adore how he still makes me laugh. We banter and challenge each other to stretch beyond our self-imposed limits. And my stomach still flutters when I hear his voice, or he pulls me close.
Marriage Makes You Mature
Last season, I wrote about the stroke my hubby suffered five years ago. “In sickness and in health” became more than a banal vow. It was one of the moments during my marriage when I had to suck it up and sacrifice. It was God’s plan to turn our test into our testimony. Last season, Don spoke about taking accountability for his part in his wife, Tanya’s, infidelity. Feelings of resentment stirred inside of me because I didn’t accept my husband’s cheating as my fault, but Don’s maturity about his situation gave me and Ben a new perspective.
Healing is Possible
Watching the couples discuss how they got through infidelity, the death of their child(ren), financial hardships, and life-altering illnesses is awe-inspiring. In another standout moment about accountability from season 2, Alicia said it took her 10 years to heal from a betrayal in her marriage to Todd. I’m not sure how long my healing will take, but her words reaffirmed my need to be patient with myself, as I do it in my time. The stories on “Black Love” empower me to be intentional. I am now seeking healing in my marriage by inspiring others with my transparency.
The new season of Black Love returns to OWN with more couples sharing their honest and emotional stories. If you and your bae have different tastes in entertainment, this show will satisfy both of you. Ben digs it because “it goes in-depth about the topics, teaching people and showing them the way. It’s poignant stuff that couples need to hear.” For me, “Black Love” reflects our beautiful struggle — the joys, pains, and in-betweens of marriage.
Black Love returns August 10 at 9/8c on OWN. Make sure to tune in!