Actress Jada Pinkett Smith has been consistently dropping gems on us, and now more than ever with Red Table Talk. She took to her Instagram to share another life lesson that she has gained through her own experience, which is that romantic love, though a major component in relationships, is not enough to sustain a healthy marriage.
The idea that a long-standing and healthy union takes a lot of effort from both husband and wife is no secret and is not unique to Will and Jada's marriage of over twenty years. However, the reality is, that at moments, the person you vowed to spend the rest of your life with may make you cringe at the sight of them for one reason or another. This is a hard pill to swallow when society depicts a thriving marriage as two people who are head over heels in love with each other each and every day. Jada shared:
"I had an epiphany the other day. I had to call Will and say, 'You know what? I have to thank you for enduring my rage.' It made me realize how durable love must be because we don't have all the answers at the beginning, we go through life and we get the answers as we go, and we can break things as we are finding the answers."
For this couple, love has proven not only to be durable through the changes of life but adaptable to all of the ups and downs that life throws at us. Luckily for both Will and Jada, they have the type of relationship that allows them both to grow as individuals and come back with newfound perspectives that contribute to a healthy marriage. One of those newfound perspectives is that the theology that romantic love is enough to sustain a relationship is false. Jada shared how she became disillusioned:
"I used to believe that romantic love was the highest form of love until I realized how unmet standards of romantic love often justified it to turn into a cold heart that many times can fuel hateful and brutal actions of revenge and manipulation towards someone you 'say' or 'said' you loved. It actually may be the only form of love you can fall OUT of. At one point ... MY romantic standard of love was all that mattered and if it wasn't met ... there was more than hell to pay. My romantic standards were feeding my ego whether they were met or unmet."
When it comes to love of any kind, especially romantic, Jada emphasizes how important it is that we put effort into being our best selves, so that we can ultimately show up as our best selves in relationships. Furthermore, it is important to put ourselves in relationships with people who push us to be our best. Jada explained:
"I experienced some very hard lessons (and continue to do so) that formed the decision that my ego and my heart could not share the same space."
"It was also the deciding factor to transform my union to @willsmith from a marriage (contaminated with all the above) to a life partnership led by and steeped in 'devotional friendship'. The only thing to do in life is to find the form of love where we can give the best of ourselves AND ... it's not always going to look like you thought. Love, love and love some more ❤️"
In this day and age, where love is showcased on social media and, we only have access to a couple's highest moment but we still coin them as our #relationshipgoals (I am very guilty of this), it is important to aspire for the ingredients of healthy love, instead of idolizing what we perceive as the final product. That is because a healthy relationship is a work in progress, just as self-love is.
For any passion that we have, whether it be adopting a healthier lifestyle, a pursuit of an education, or just on the pursuit of happiness, anyone who is making strides towards those goals will tell you there are days they don't feel like doing the work. The workouts, the assignments, the self-care that needs to be done to achieve those goals is not always achieved through the feeling of motivation, but through the commitment of people who choose not to give up on their dreams.
I'd imagine that marriage is no different. As a single, young woman, I have yet to read the secret formula to marriage, but I'd imagine it entails a great deal of love, compassion, and the willingness to do the work necessary to keep a healthy relationship with each other.
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Featured image by Film Magic