Words by Joekenneth Museau
I believe a man reaches a peak in his maturity when he's brave enough to love one woman. I say that, being fully aware of the physical nature of the male species. Men are enamored with the anatomical make-up of women, their personalities, how they make them feel and their companionship in times of loneliness and distress. But conflict arises when a man doesn't take the necessary steps to maintain his initial attraction towards a woman who at one point captured his intrigue. It's as if attention deficit is heightened by the variety of eligible bachelorettes walking upon the earth. So much so that the girl you were feeling last week isn't as beautiful, engaging nor intelligent than ms. present, right now, walking pass me. And even if she is, the thought of her is non-existent because of the theory of "out of sight, out of mind."
I'm no different. I wrote an entire book about my trespasses in previous relationships before pledging to give all my love to my fiancé, Sara. Interestingly enough, there's a poem in my book, Tales of a Troubled Romantic, entitled "July" that chronicles our relationship up until early 2013. I ended the piece saying, "no one knows the future of forever." The line highlighted my ambivalence at the time; as I simultaneously loved Sara and someone else. It seemed like I was in a labyrinth of the heart so to speak. At the tender age of 24 years old, I can't say that I'm qualified to give relationship advice but I know how I was able to reach my conclusion to practice the verb "love."
I met Sara in 2010, at some random restaurant in Manhattan having dinner with mutual friends. We didn't exchange numbers that night but later formed a friendship. 'Till this day, I'm thankful that we started off as friends first. We had a heap of similarities! We're of the same faith, cultural background and we both entertained interests in poetry and music. And I can't forget to mention that we were born in the same year and month. Only two days apart. Weird right?
Sara and I, had a stint of a relationship but I wasn't focused on dating anyone when I was interested in other women---plural---at the time. I didn't understand how invaluable she would become to me until my mother passed away in 2012.
Although we had in break in communication for a few months, Sara still remained a friend of mine and my family. My mother swore up and down, that Sara was the one for me. After my mother's death, I didn't want to rush into a relationship out of desperation and grief. And yet, I still desired that attention from the opposite sex. I later realized that my behavior was selfish in nature. Men rarely understand the magnitude of their actions when it comes to their dealings with women; who generally develop an emotional attachment more quickly than they do. I was hurting my exes and Sara when I continually made petty excuses like, "I'm not ready," "There's better guys out there other than me," "I still have to get myself together." Man, love doesn't grow from cowardice and 40 year-old bachelors aren't as happy as they pretend to be.
When Sara and I officially began dating, I had to challenge myself to be a boyfriend. To honor exclusivity and be self-sacrificing. There was a break-up. I made mistakes. And I wondered about life and what keeps married people together. Aside from a personal resolve, there has to be an appreciation for the One responsible for couples, families and overall togetherness. When I focused more on my relationship with God, my own imperfections and Sara's positive qualities, I began to feel and understand the sense of duty that's embedded in love's DNA. It's not always romantic. It must also be principled and respectful. I had to develop respect for myself by treating women like my sisters and the daughters of mothers.
My friend and author, Jaime-Lee Lewis, once wrote about remembering the "service of love." The statement struck me then and continues to be relevant to me now. Lewis' words call to mind a proverb of Jesus Christ; wherein he said that "there's more happiness in giving than there is in receiving." Jesus wasn't speaking solely about giving in a material way. I believe he was referring to any service performed for one's fellowman, whether it be a stranger or a neighbor. How much more should we, as individuals, as men, as lovers in a relationship be cognizant of opportunities to give our time, energy and thoughts toward our significant other. I've made a spiritual investment in promising to marry Sara. One that encompasses my entire being. Just like a businessman making a monetary investment, it is my desire to see my "love stock" grow for years to come. Although we will encounter ups and downs along the way, it is my pledge to never sell my share. She is a priceless love to be maintained at great cost.
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