fbpx
Removing Relationships From My Life Was the Best Thing I Could Do for My Marriage
by Kenniqua Howell
SHARE ARTICLE
LEFT TO READ

minutes

PUBLISHED ON

November 6, 2020

ARTICLE LENGTH

9 Minute Read

SHARE ARTICLE
CONTRIBUTOR

Removing Relationships From My Life Was the Best Thing I Could Do for My Marriage

Kenniqua Howell and her husband (Photo courtesy of Kenniqua Howell)
Kenniqua Howell and her husband (Photo courtesy of Kenniqua Howell)

April 4th, 2018 is a day I will never forget. I received a phone call from one of my family members with news ruining what would have been one of the best days of my life –– my engagement. They told me that in a few days, my (then) boyfriend planned to propose. Fast forward to a few months later. The day of my baby shower. Everything was perfect! Until later, when I spent my night crying my eyes out because, yet again, another family member ruined my day.

I will never forget my husband walking into the room, seeing me cry, and asking me: “Did you expect anything different?” 

See, my husband was a witness to the toxic dynamics in my family relationships. I grew up in an unstable environment fueled by drugs, alcoholism, and the physical and emotional abandonment that can happen in that space.  

I will never forget my husband walking into the room, seeing me cry, and asking me: “Did you expect anything different?” 

When it came to my family, I have always been the rock. I was always the person that everyone went to. I never held grudges, I just told myself, it’s just them, it’s what they do. I kept the peace. 

When it came to my family, I have always been the rock…I kept the peace.  

But it was not reciprocated, nobody did for me. I would be ignored, then called on to fight battles, scapegoated, and, at times, just disrespected.   

The day I got engaged, the family member who spoiled the surprise didn’t care about the surprise, they just cared about their feelings, getting their point across. If my fiancé proposing came up in the middle of it, oh well. 

 

When it came to my family, I have always been the rock… I kept the peace.  

Kenniqua Howell and her family (Photo courtesy of Kenniqua Howell)
Kenniqua Howell and her family (Photo courtesy of Kenniqua Howell)

With the baby shower, this family member was making it all about them — arriving late, trying to leave, having an attitude, isolating themselves. I cared about them, and wanted them to be comfortable, but it just seemed that they wanted to punish me for the fact that they were even there in the first place. And — as the people pleaser, the peacekeeper, the rock — I let their energy and attitude steal my attention and ruin my day.   

I was shamed even when expecting an apology, because the attitude was: “You’re getting a husband, a baby — everything everyone’s always wanted. That should be enough. Just be grateful about that.”  In other words… shut up.  

My husband was a witness to me allowing my loved ones to get over on me on several occasions. But this time, hearing him ask the question: “Did you expect anything different?” It made me realize — this could affect my marriage. I could tell he was upset and hurt for me. I started to analyze certain things about myself, and how I held on to a lot of people for way too long. I truly believe it had a lot to do with my childhood experiences.

Hearing him ask that question made me realize — this could affect my marriage.

Growing up I never had a relationship with either of my parents. I’ve also never witnessed a successful marriage in my immediate family. So, when I got pregnant, engaged, and married soon after, I had an emotional breakdown. I didn’t know the first thing about being a wife, or a mother. And even more than that, I was aware of the energy that my family brought, the jumping in and out of my life, the anger, frustration. I did not want to expose my child to that. But the pressure of making a decision like that, to keep a baby away from there kin? Is that right? And eventually, if I did keep her away, we would have to have that conversation. It was all too much.

But at the end of the day, I knew that I wanted my baby to be healthy — physically, and mentally. I knew then that there were some things that I had to change and some people that I needed to remove from my life.

BlackLove Related Articles:
Building Emotional Intimacy Helped Us Navigate Life’s Ups and Downs
Our Marriage is Proof the Grass is Greener Where You Water It
Can You Build a Happy Marriage if You’ve Never Seen One

Letting go of any relationship is never easy, whether it’s intimate, family, or a friend. But when you know it’s time to show up for you, you have to do what you have to do. This was my time.

My husband and I have been married for two years now. Since removing certain people, I feel stronger, happier, and healthier. I’ve learned that I’m not responsible for the way others have treated me but for the way I treat people.

Kenniqua Howell (Photo courtesy of Kenniqua Howell)
Kenniqua Howell (Photo courtesy of Kenniqua Howell)

Through my experience of letting go and letting God, there were some things I had to do for myself. I share my journey, in case it can help yours.

3 Steps I Took to Remove Relationships From My Life

  •  I Rebuilt My Relationship With God and Prayer 

I knew He was the only one with the answers. Every day (and still to this day) I ask God to remove the people from my life who don’t belong and to keep those who do close.

  • I Committed to Therapy

For the first time in my life, I committed to therapy. My therapist taught me how to communicate things to my husband, and, most importantly, to others. I’ve never been good at communication because I’ve always put others’ feelings over my own. I never liked saying how I felt because I didn’t enjoy hurting other people. After attending a few therapy sessions, I found out I was actually just hurting myself. I decided to set boundaries with every relationship in my life. Speaking up and saying how I feel, feels GREAT.

I didn’t enjoy hurting other people. After attending a few therapy sessions, I found out I was actually just hurting myself. 

  • I Found Role Models

Going back to not witnessing successful marriages, I had to learn how to be a wife and put my marriage and family first. Since this was something I didn’t see growing up, I used to view marriage completely different. So, in addition to building my relationship with God, I started listening to stories of other black married couples. People who’ve been through some things, figured out what worked for them, and how they got to where they are in their marriage. It was important to see that black marriage happens, and it works.

When I said “I do”, I was choosing God first and my husband immediately after. It used to be so easy to take on everyone else’s problems, however, marrying my husband and having my daughter allowed me to learn how to love myself too. Whether it’s family, or a friend, if it’s causing me pain, it’s simply not for me.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION