Building a Stronger Relationship... with R. Kelly...
In honor of Valentine's Day, I wanted to share with you all one of my favorite pieces of relationship advice I can ever give out. My husband and I have been together twelve and a half years now; we started dating when I was seventeen. How did we manage to survive and maintain a relationship going through some of the most tumultuous years of our lives? I won't lie, it was a lot of work. We had to learn so much about each other and ourselves; we had to grow and change and evolve together. What it really comes down to in the end?
You've heard it a million times, but it's true. Almost all relationship problems can be traced back to some sort of communication issue. Don't trust your partner? Aren't getting your needs met? You aren't communicating effectively with your partner.
Something I tell people (particularly women) when they ask how we've navigated these treacherous waters: Don't let stuff fester. If something is bothering you, you need to tell your partner right away, even if it's not something about THEM that is bothering you. If you let it stew, it will eventually blow up into an argument about NOTHING; you're yelling at your partner over something stupid (like not doing the dishes) when really you're just upset that they came home late last night without calling, and you were worried about them. However, there is a fine line to be walked between communicating your problems and turning into a Complainypants McNaggington. It's also absolutely vital that you learn not to take things that aren't too serious too seriously and to embrace a mutual (and possibly twisted) sense of humor. Enter- R. Kelly.
The first time I watched this video, I kept having to pause it to catch my breath from laughing so hard. I'm certain that it was not R. Kelly's intention to inspire a relationship revolution; if anything, he wanted to bitch about how crazy his ex-girlfriends can be (which he clearly states at the beginning of the video). In the days that followed my first viewing, my husband and I would randomly burst into song with a "Bitch I wish you woooooooould burn my muthaf**kin clooooooooothes." I was struck by something: it's impossible not to laugh at the most angry statements as long as you sing them.
So R. Kelly became the tool by which my husband and I could complain about the "little things" that bug us without it turning into an argument. I would qualify these as the things that irritate me, but that should never become the subject of a fight or any real relationship drama. For example:
My husband has this habit of leaving half drunk glasses of water all over the house (yes, just like the little girl in Signs). There are probably at least 3 next to his side of the bed right now. This is not tap water; this is bottled spring water. He doesn't finish it. He dumps it. "It's contaminated." My response? "Bitch I wish you wooooooould finish a f**kin' glass of waterrrrrrr why do you need foooooour glasses next to the beeeeeed?" and inevitably we both laugh. See how that works? I can lodge a complaint about something that is actually bothering me, but since we are both laughing, nobody feels the need to get defensive. The other party can even counter with song and it's still funny. "Woman get off my nuuuuuuuts, it's your turn to load the dishwasher anywaaaaaaaaay."
So there you have it. Real Talk. Thanks, R. Kelly.