How to Pick Your Battles
by Raquelle Harris



October 8, 2018


6 Minute Read


How to Pick Your Battles

Hi, my name is Raquelle, but when I’m in an immature mood, I am known as Petty LaBelle. My alternate persona oftentimes rears her ugly head when my husband, Ben, and I argue. There’s no use in fronting — I can be a bitch if I’m not getting my way. When she’s in full diva mode, Petty won’t let me give in, so I may bring up old stuff that doesn’t have a damn thing to do with our disagreement. If we’re on the phone, I’ll deliver a curt “bye” and hang up just to show him I’ve got the upper hand. Or I’ll do passive-aggressive stuff like eat the last of some yummy leftovers or leave his clothes in the washing machine. Yes, I know, scandalous — I’ve earned my moniker.

On this week’s episode of Black Love, the couples share their experiences with picking their battles. Like previous episodes, this show spoke to the beauty and beast within my soul. It is a deft illustration of the dichotomy between heaven and hell — undeniable proof that marriage ain’t for wimps.

One of my fave couples is Devale and Khadeen. Their banter is enchanting as they interact with adoring smiles and laughter, sexual innuendo, and sometimes feigned annoyance.

When Devale spoke about the fight they had right before the cameras arrived, I had to smile and shake my head. Countless times, my hubby and I have been fussing one minute and flashing smiles the next. I know he resists the urge to choke me at times, and the feeling is mutual. But as Devale surmises, we “suppress all of that for the sake of marriage, that right there is the epitome of marriage!” Echoing her hubby, Khadeen shared a lesson I’m learning about my own marriage. “Perseverance, that’s Black Love.”

My homie-lover-friend and I have been married for 16 years. Keeping peace in my marriage when the devil is dishing out dissension is an art I continue to perfect. I try to check myself and exercise maturity. Some days I succeed, others, I have to dust my pride off and try again. I have become well versed at saying, “Let’s agree to disagree.” Or better yet, I shut my mouth and let him win a round of Mars vs. Venus.

Keeping your petty in check –– lesson number 1: Small issues can blow up into big issues when you major in minors.

Similar to Richard and Tina, my husband is an alpha male and I’m an alpha female. While we were dating, Ben would joke and say, “I’ve met the female me!” After a while, it was no longer a joke because our relationship was evolving as we defined our respective roles. We know we work better as a team, but many times, we don’t agree on how to achieve the win. As Tina explained, “… it’s easier when one person will bow down …” And as a confident, headstrong woman, I often think, like Tina, “This ain’t happening here.”  Thus are the times when hubby and I clash because Petty Labelle is visiting.  

Yet, my husband manages to send Petty Labelle packing when he models humility by loving me when I’m acting unlovable. He’s taught me about sacrifice. He’s taught me about patience, and he’s shown me kindness despite anger. Through my growing pains, I’ve learned to be purposeful about nurturing my marriage. I try to deposit more positivity than negativity because I know he’s my soulmate. He’s the yin to my yang.

I waved my hand at the screen as the couples in Black Love spoke about what helps them through their disputes. Khadeen referencing the importance of transparency via honest communication is key. When you’re, as Grant Hill said, coexisting” and seeing someone every day, it’s hard to sustain the silent treatment. I’m grateful that my hubby and I are friends because that always leads us back to some form of interaction that reminds me of the indomitable love we share.

Like Devale, I agree that another elixir to soothing tension is sex. I had sex with my husband two weeks after we met. I knew if I was going to spend any significant time with him, we had to be sexually compatible. True story. Nineteen years later, he still makes me go “Oooooh!” And depending on how bad he works my nerves, I’ll still give him some because, like Drake, he’s the best I ever had.

Rev. Run reveals the crux of this episode,

“Do you want the relationship more, or you do you want to be right more? … The key is, just letting things go.”

When picking battles in my marriage, I have to remember: we’ll win the war if we fight the threats to our relationship, not each other. With no question, I want my black love to thrive, so Petty LaBelle has to work on a new attitude