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The Return of ‘Black Love’ and the Power of Allowing a Man to Lead
by Toni-Ann Craft
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August 13, 2019

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The Return of ‘Black Love’ and the Power of Allowing a Man to Lead

Does a man need to pursue a woman for the relationship to work? Contributor Toni-Ann Craft reflects on the “Black Love” season 3 premiere.  

Credit: @ja_kash

“A man has to love you more than you love him for a relationship to work.” 

That’s an old wives’ tale that one of my best friends lived by when we were in college. 

I didn’t agree with her back then. I thought her perspective was dated and highly flawed. I believed that love, in its essence, should be 50/50, with both parties equally matching and reciprocating one another’s efforts. 

And then I lived a little. 

As much as I still hate admitting it, I think there is a level of truth behind this somewhat primitive frame of thought. 

“A man has to love you more than you love him for a relationship to work.” 

However, I’ve had to redefine it based on what I’ve seen and experienced over the years. Perhaps it’s not so much that the man should love the woman more in the relationship overall, especially since love in any long-term relationship ebbs and flows. But maybe the old wives’ tale should be revised to say, “During the beginning of a relationship, it’s important for the man to like and pursue the woman more than she does him.” 

This adage came to mind as I watched the season premiere of Black Love entitledIn the Beginning.” 

I listened intently as each couple traveled down memory lane and shared how they started dating. One element that seemed to remain constant to me was the level of effort and admiration early on that came predominantly from the men.

“I said, you know what, Toya, I’m really going to pursue you, and when I said that, I knew that, really, what I wanted to say is…Toya, you’re going to be my wife.” That is how we are introduced to Tommicus, as he talks about his feelings of his wife LeToya, when they started dating.

Related: Meet the Couples of ‘Black Love’ Season 3: Tommicus & LeToya

And he wasn’t the only husband who knew, very quickly, that he was going to go after what he wanted and that he would be the one putting in the work.

“The first day of junior year, U.S. History, Mrs. Chapman’s class, I saw her,” Kevin recalled of seeing his wife Melissa for the first time in high school.  “She wasn’t paying me no mind, which is understandable. I can work for it.”

Terry remembered seeing his wife Rebecca for the first time and thinking, “Now that’s a woman.” Rebecca recalled Terry explaining that he had to have her in his life. When she asked how, “He looks at me, and he goes, I want to marry you.” She continued, “And I said, I think you should.” Terry’s reaction. “That’s real.”

Each story, though unique in their own way, highlighted how eager the men were about their wives from the very beginning. It seemed like the more excited the man was about the woman he attempted to pursue, the more likely the relationship was to lead toward marriage. 

It seemed like the more excited the man was about the woman he attempted to pursue, the more likely the relationship was to lead toward marriage.

As each couple told their love stories it reminded me of my own, which, now that I thought about it, seemed to possess the same essential element of many of the relationships in the Black Love season 3 premiere. 

Before meeting my husband, I found myself in relationships where it was clear that I was the one who was putting in far more effort than they were. Although I wanted to be married, it felt like, time after time, I found myself feeling drained and unappreciated. 

Related: One Man’s ‘I’m Not Ready’ is Another Man’s ‘I Knew the Moment I Saw Her’

But things were different when I met my husband. He was different and so was his approach. 

Courtesy of Toni-Ann Craft
Courtesy of Toni-Ann Craft

My husband had a vision and clear intentions of what he wanted from our relationship. Unlike relationships from my past, I didn’t have to jump through hoops or overextend myself to show that I was capable or worthy of becoming a wife. By date three, as we drove around Washington, D.C., he glanced over at me whimsically and in his heavy southern drawl stated, “Girl, I’m gonna marry you. You’ll see.” 

It was supposed to be a joke, but something about those words resonated with me, I knew that deep down he believed it to be true. From that day on, I made it my duty to be receptive and allow him to take the lead in directing us towards where he wanted our relationship to go. 

Related: My Favorite Love Story

From the beginning, my husband has always been open and upfront about his intentions for me. When he met my parents, family, and friends for the first time he wasn’t shy about sharing his intentions openly with them either. His words and his actions made it clear that he planned to be around for the long haul.

When a man knows what he wants, he goes after it.

As the couples in Black Love demonstrated in the premiere episode, and as I have experienced in my own love story, when a man knows what he wants, he goes after it. So yes, perhaps there is some truth behind allowing a man to lead. It seems like magical things happen when a man has a clear-cut vision of what he wants from a relationship and actively pursues it. 

It may not be popular, it may not be politically correct, but perhaps this is a critical element that’s often overlooked in this thing called love. 

Catch season 3 of Black Love Saturdays on OWN, and watch seasons 1 and 2 on Amazon and the Urban Movie Channel

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