If you have been living anywhere in the United States and beyond, you heard about the “entanglement” of one Jada Pinkett Smith when a paramour spilled the beans unexpectedly and very publicly after 4 1/2 years of not speaking about it — at least according to Jada.
As you can imagine, there were opinions and thoughts flying all over the place and the memes ran amok — mostly at the expense of Will, who is being taken to task for not being a “man” and staying with a woman who “punked” him in the worst possible way.
As a direct result, Jada and her husband Will Smith decided to have a conversation at her Red Table Talk show in an effort to quell some of the rumors that were spreading. Jada, to her credit, looked extremely uncomfortable, but she sat there and tried to gracefully describe what happened. Aside from the fact that this was an episode her husband knew about and that they were separated and heading straight to divorce court at the time, a much larger issue, at least in my mind, was that she had this relationship with one of her son’s friends. The young man in question is now 27 years old. How they handled that scenario is anyone’s guess, but I want us to pay attention to something larger.
While the Smiths are public figures, they managed to handle what must have been a fissure in the family as privately as they possibly could. At the “Red Table,” Will made it clear through his language, that he chose after much angst, stress, and discussions, to stay with his wife. To quote them both, “ Bad marriage for life.”
Opinions flew like the feathers from a frightened chicken.
“Why was she sleeping with someone young enough to be her son?” ”Why does her husband continue to bother with her?“
“They must have an open relationship!”
What we all saw on full display was how intricate relationships can be and the decisions and choices that can either implode them or allow them to grow into a better place. Because make no mistake, any relationship worth hanging onto is a ton of work. If you do not believe me, sit and ask any couple who have been together for over three decades. It takes grit to maintain a relationship for that length of time.
I have often wondered if we fully grasp what it means to have a long-term relationship with anyone. It could be romantic, business, or platonic in nature, but they all require work in order to sustain them fully.
I look around me and see relationships fall apart for many reasons, but it all came back to not maintaining the health and viability of your soul along with your partner as you shift, change, and grow with each passing day.
Someone asked me a question recently about the Smiths that led to my wanting to delve into the romantic aspects of a relationship.
When we first meet and begin the process of getting to know a person, we should check the temperature of those feelings regularly by asking ourselves things like:
–What are my motives?
–Do I genuinely like this person or is it something to do that deflects or detracts from loneliness?
– What shared values do we have beyond the initial attraction?
– Will we openly communicate in ways that works through any issues that will arise?
– Am I in this relationship to rebound from a failed one?
You get the gist, right?
The way we enter a relationship sets the tone for how it flows, and it still requires work and checking in with each other regularly because life can — and will — get in the way.
Unhappiness breeds all kinds of malcontent when not addressed in a timely fashion. When we add marriage to the mix, that flame goes way up because you are now dealing with blended families and Lord knows, everyone has an opinion whether you asked for it or not.
“Leave and cleave” is not a cute catch phrase — it really means something.
If you have to run back to momma every time you have a question, for example, how do you develop a strong relationship with your spouse?
If you allow your children to dictate your lives through whatever means they choose to employ, that can also cause a serious rift.
If you gush about another person without fully acknowledging and routinely appreciating the one that lives with you, it will cause a situation.
Do not invite the opinion of others into the seriousness that is your life. Learn about your mate enough to know when to draw the line and pull back with compromise and love.
We say that we know relationships won’t be a bed of roses, but, the first time we get pricked with the thorn of life and see blood, we run for cover and end what could be a long term partnership.
The flip side of that, is hanging around and grasping at someone who consistently shows you with their actions that you are not valued.
A relationship that begins on “shady” ground will feel like a trick from hell. One that is nurtured becomes a treat that keeps on giving. You decide through your choices.
Know thyself. Love thyself.
Disclaimer: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, The Philadelphia Sunday SUN, the author’s organization, committee or other group or individual.