Like at least half of the free world, I've always had a bit of a thing for Idris Elba. Only, my reason is probably a little different. In many ways, he really does remind me of my first love (I'd post a pic but my exes endure me using them as content enough without my giving up visuals too). It took me FOR-E-VER to really get past the man I fell for back when I was a freshman in college. But, back in 2015, when I went on my customized get-your-heart-pieces-back tour, he and I made peace. We expressed that we would always love each other; we just…will never work, in that way—again.
Here's the thing, though. When there is peace between two people, you truly want what's best for him. My ex? I want him to find his, what I call, "now one". And, although a sistah has had her fair share of fantasies about Sir Elba, I am thrilled that he has as well.
I have a pretty good memory and I remember when Idris insisted that he was never getting married ever again. Remarkably, it wasn't all that long ago (two summers ago, to be exact). Yet here he is, a married man, with him and his beloved Sabrina Dhowre gracing the July issue of British Vogue's bridal edition, showing everyone that Black love is still alive and doing very well (thank you very much).
When I watched some video footage of them at the last Met Gala (on People's site), it was dope how, although he is the celebrity, she is clearly his star. I liked that they both spoke freely and equally in interviews and also how comfortable they were in one another's space. Their energy conveyed that they were in love yes, yet they really are in like too. Dope.
I think something that Idris said in his British Vogue interview about his relationship with his wife is probably why everything seems so…healthy:
"Sabrina has deepened friendships with people I've known longer than [her], nurturing the best side of me to make me connect to my friends more."
Nurture. Sabrina nurtures him. I personally find that word to be a relationship superpower and something everyone should look for in their own "now one". If you give me a sec, I'll break down why I say that.
To Be Nurtured Is to Be “Fed”
A few weeks ago, I was schooling one of my 29-year-old friends on A Different World. That show will forever be in my top five of favorites. There's one episode that features Whitley realizing that her boyfriend Julian was not going to support her in her desire to become an art buyer. When she vented all of that to Dwayne, he said (among other things), "You need someone who is going to feed you, Whitley."
Five-star dinners would be nice, but I'm pretty sure that Dwayne was coming from the "supply with nourishment" (which is basically what nurture means). One of the best synonyms for nourish is "cultivate". To be cultivated is to receive the special kind of attention that helps you to thrive, both personally as well as professionally.
The late-yet-still-great Dr. Myles Munroe used to talk about the power of a man cultivating a woman. He defines cultivate as "to bring out the best in everything around you". There's absolutely no way you can't thrive if your partner is committed to the cultivating process. Cultivate is such a beautiful word.
To Be Nurtured Is to Be “Supported and Encouraged”
I have a married male friend who is very accomplished. Something that he used to say often was, "It's very hard to go home to a woman who complains all of the time. I'd rather stay out in the world where I am respected and celebrated." What's interesting about that statement is, I was just talking to another married male friend who is currently going through a divorce. Something he said he told his soon-to-be ex is, "You are supposed to be my source of strength, not the very thing that weakens me."
Whenever I hear stuff like this, I visualize a game with cheerleaders on the sideline. The gender of the players and cheerleaders are completely interchangeable. The point is that we all need folks who are going to cheer for us, honor us, have our backs, get us through the tough times—make us feel like if no one else can be relied upon for encouragement and support, they can be. Consistently so too.
Many relationships have crashed and burned because one or both individuals refused to endure the challenging times (which is what support means) and/or inspire their partner to soar to new heights (which is what encouragement does). Don't sleep on how much your partner needs both of these things. It's critical to your relationship's health and longevity.
To Be Nurtured Is to Be “Strengthened”
A clear indication that you're in the kind of relationship you should get out of (or at least get counseling for) is if your connection with someone is making you weaker instead of stronger. When a relationship is truly strengthening you, it will, by the mere definition of strong, help to make you "mentally powerful or vigorous" and "especially able, competent, or powerful". It will even be a source "of great moral power, firmness, or courage".
If what you're currently in has you on a non-stop emotional roller coaster ride, it causes you to question your worth or value or (catch this one) it puts your own morals and value system into influx just so you can make it "work", your relationship is doing the very opposite of what it should be doing—both to and for you.
To Be Nurtured Is to Be “Cherished”
If you've been to more than three weddings before, you've probably heard the word "cherish" come up in the marriage vows. It's also in the Bible; in the New King James Version, only twice. It's in reference to Christ (peep it) nourishing and cherishing his church (Ephesians 5:29) and a nursing mother cherishing her children (I Thessalonians 2:7).
Cherish is clearly a very special and sacred word. It means that, not only are you being cared for, but you're receiving the TLC kind of treatment. It means that the object of your affection has a deep love for you. It means that they see and treat you like a real treasure. It also means that they embrace you and are attached to you (in the non-stalker or codependent type of way, of course).
This brings me back to something else that Idris said about his relationship that I really liked. He said that he and Sabrina have been "literally inseparable since we met." Nothing about them appears to be that way because they need to be; I'm pretty sure it's like that because they want to be.
Does your partner cherish you? Do you cherish your partner?
To Be Nurtured Is to Be “Supplied with What Is Necessary for Life, Health and Growth”
Wholeness. Something that I strive to be and encourage the singles that I talk to be as well is whole before ever getting with someone else.
I'd much rather choose someone who helps my already-full-cup to overflow than someone who will fill deep bottomless voids.
So yeah, when Idris said, "You know, I'm 47 this year, been married and lived a full life before I even met Sabrina. It wasn't something that I wanted to do, get married again. But …", as someone who's never been married before and will be turning 45 in a couple of weeks, I felt that all up in my soul and spirit.
Idris has lived a full life. FULL LIFE. He loved being single. Now he loves being married. Sabrina is not "giving him a life" so much as she's going to be a source of what takes him to another level in it. Y'all this—all of this—is what nurturing does. So yes, Sir Idris Elba. I don't know if when you said that Sabrina nurtured you that you realized that you preached the sermon for the week, but I'll pass the offering plate around for you one time because you certainly blessed me.
Until I can define my relationship with a man as being "nurturing", I'll keep living a full life as a single woman. Thanks for leading by example on that tip. I appreciate you and yours.
Featured image by Idris Elba/Instagram