Ladies night was amazing! After eating tons of tacos, wings, sipping on wine, dancing to Destiny’s Child “Say my Name”, and playing several rounds of Taboo the night took a different turn. We decided to create a game of questions we thought would initiate some exciting conversation. One question in particular sparked a lot of conversation, but struck a very deep chord in me.
The question read:
What qualities do you desire in a partner?
So we all went around in a circle and talked about some of the most important qualities we desired to have in our potential partners. Some qualities were just preferences and other qualities were necessities. One response from the night really caught my attention. “As long as he has arms and legs I am fine.” “At 29 I cannot be too picky when it comes to being in a relationship”.
I was horrified. My face probably looked something like this :/
When I made this face it was because I was really caught off guard. I couldn’t believe that this black woman who was beautiful, intelligent, funny, and focused was so ready and willing to give up her right to have expectations for the sake of the ‘beloved relationship status’. It was then that it dawned on me that we as women do this on a daily basis. The only question is at what age do we surrender our power to have expectations for the men who supposedly want to pursue us? Is it at 25? 29? 30? 35? 40? Is it after our heart has been broken for the second time?Is it after being alone for more then five years? Is it after watching all of your friends get married, while you remain the go-to made of honor? When will you settle? At what point in your life will you settle? At what age will you settle?
I think the most amazing thing about being a woman is that we can offer so many things. We offer support, compassion, love, sacrifice, forgiveness, patience, intimacy, friendship, and humor….AND… Let’s not forget we can cook, clean, raise children, sew clothes, maintain orderliness, and maintain balance. OH…we can also juggle 4 stools, while riding a zebra, and applying lipstick. Well, maybe not that last line. But, lets be honest… Women can pretty much do it all! But, the very minute you begin to think that what you offer can be met by a man whose qualities only include arms and legs is the moment you will receive a man with only that going for him.
So, my point is this… STOP giving away all of you just to be in a relationship with a man who can barely offer you a secure foundation. Getting older is scary. You reflect more. You observe more. You fear more. You look at what you dont have and you can’t quite figure out why you haven’t met your man. So, while wallowing in that state of mind you think about all of the possible ways you can meet your man and experience the wholeness that you think you are missing. Those thoughts are real. I think if marriage is something you desire and something God has for you then it makes since to desire it and want it in the here and now. But, when you begin to allow your desire for a man and a relationship to overpower your better judgement is when you make the decision to settle.
Love you better than any man ever can. Then when that man finally comes into your life you will know it because he brings out the best in you! He accentuates you! He makes you strive for more and work harder! He sacrifices for you! He brings just as much to the table if not more than you do! He provides a secure foundation and he wants to build a life with you! At whatever age that man comes who can do and provide all those things will be an experience that is worth waiting for!
Say this with me..
I LOVE ME MORE THAN I LOVE ANYONE ELSE. I AM AMAZING. I AM SPECIAL. I HAVE EXPECTATIONS THAT I DON’T HAVE TO LOWER FOR ANYONE. I AM A GOOD THING. I LOVE ME.
If we begin to change our perspective on what is happening to us we can enjoy our lives and be active participants in experiencing the best us possible. So, you can either sit on the couch and wish for a relationship with a man who does not meet your expectations or you can go out and be the change agent in your life. Don’t settle for what you dont deserve.
Don’t make settling YOUR way of life.
Shanay Russell is a Marriage and Family Therapist living in Pasadena, Maryland. She previously attained her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Rutgers University and her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from Syracuse University in 2012 and 2014, respectively. Shanay completed a yearlong internship at St. Joseph’s Behavioral Health Center, providing therapy to a wide range of clients using empirically supported therapies.
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