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7 Honest Truths About Love & Relationships

Happily ever after or happily never after?

Marriage

Some of us are guilty of holding onto love with someone we don't see it with just to have proof that it's there. Some of us are guilty of avoiding a perfectly good love because the timing isn't right and other worldly distractions that come along and interfere. And most of us have absolutely no idea what we're doing when it comes to love so we stay away, stay too long, ask the wrong questions, ask nothing at all, in hopes that an attempt it as promising as actual work. But nothing replaces actual work, my dear.

Let's face it, fear holds a lot of us back. And when it comes to our love lives, it's no different. Fear is the reason a relationship lasts well past its expiration date, fear is the reason you don't put yourself out there, fear is the reason why you don't give that nice boy from the coffee shop a chance to take you out.

Fear is urgent like a mothaf-----. But only because it begs, screams, and demand that you feed into its negativity versus setting yourself free to be open to love.

One truth that puts everything in perspective is that, in love, there are only two options of how a story will end. You will either get your happily ever after with this man, a ring, a house, 2.5 kids, and a family dog. Or, you will find that he is a dog, get your happily never after, send that man on his walking papers, and learn to love yourself alone, until your other love story comes along to show you your happily ever after. Either way, you eventually get that fairytale ending. You just have to be open, honest, and unafraid.

Along with this truth, this article seeks to focus around seven others that will hopefully help you navigate the sometimes murky and turbulent waters of love, dating, and marriage:

You can't date the potential you see in someone, then get mad when they don't live up to the person you thought they should be.

I used to be committed to people who were committed to remaining the same, but I still thought they would change for me. Although people can change and grow into their potential, it's not based on our timelines. We can't force them to change. People will only live up to the potential you see in them if they, too, believe that's who they are supposed to be. So, you can accept them as they are and love them unconditionally, continue waiting to see if they will change, or be honest about who they are and discontinue the fantasy version of the relationship.

Stop playing the role of a sidepiece, while praying you get the role as a wife or a husband.

Like they say, prepare for the position you want. For example, if I was auditioning for the role of the lead character, I wouldn't show up dressed like and ready to audition for the supporting character. There are a lot of people praying to be a wife (or a husband), but they're acting like sidepieces. They want a good relationship but sow bad seeds. As with anything – relationships, careers, dreams, etc. – make sure your actions are aligned with your prayers, morals, and values. In other words, can you see God in your #RelationshipGoals? If your relationship goals include someone else's spouse or lover, then it's time to re-evaluate them.

Never invest more into the wedding than you would for the actual marriage.

Some of us invest in the wedding – time, money, and resources - but we neglect to invest that much more into the actual marriage. The wedding only lasts for a day, but the marriage is supposed to last a lifetime. If you're not ready to put in the work, then you're not ready to put a ring on it. If you're not ready to walk through and weather the storms, you're not ready to walk down the aisle.

You can invest thousands and thousands of dollars into the wedding, but if you're not fully committed to the marriage, then don't expect a positive return on your investment.

No, our parents and grandparents may not have read certain marriage books, utilized marriage counseling, or attended marriage workshops/conferences, but today's a different day and every marriage is different. Some people have to work a little bit harder to overcome certain obstacles or to figure out this whole marriage thing. Besides, what's the harm in doing things to help make sure your love can withstand almost anything?

Just because they showed up for the wedding doesn't mean that they'll show up for your marriage.

Be cautious of the people you allow in and around your marriage. Everybody isn't cheering for you, so they may not be there for you when you need them. Unfortunately, some people are waiting to see everything fail. That's why it's important to surround yourself around positive and reliable people who: 1) are committed to supporting you and seeing your marriage work, 2) won't offer up “Girl, just leave him," as the first option when trouble comes your way, and 3) won't tell all of your business and spread gossip about you in the streets.

Everyone brings a set of individual issues to a relationship.

I recently heard this at a relationship conference that, “You don't have marital issues; you have unresolved single issues. In order to have marital wealth, you need emotional health." Marriage has a way of revealing personal issues you didn't realize were there. That's why it's important to constantly engage in helpful and healing activities that will help you grow spiritually, physically, and mentally, especially when it comes to mental health. We are constantly growing, but the day you start thinking your relationship or marriage is perfect, is the day you tell God you don't need Him.

"In order to have marital wealth, you need emotional health. "

Don't talk to social media about your issues instead of talking to your spouse.

Because everybody doesn't need to know everything. Even though you may think you're being discreet by posting subliminal messages, it doesn't take a genius to know if and when you're having marital problems. Often times, it's those types of posts that will cause you to crack open the door and make it easy for temptation, or mess, creep into your situation; all because someone on the outside looking in thinks they can fulfill a need they assume isn't being met. Besides, there is enough negativity in the world, so the last thing people want to hear about every single day is how fed up you are with your relationship.

Don't let anyone cheer louder for your spouse than you.

Married or not, I refuse to let someone else encourage or cheer for my man more than me. Nope! That's my job, and I take it seriously. I go hard for my man and he goes hard for me. Trust, the thirst is real, and there's always someone ready and willing to step in and take your place. For some women, it's the compliments, hearing “I'm proud of you," or “I appreciate you". For men, it's in the respect we show them, or the things we say and do to stroke their ego, because trust me – men need to have their egos stroked, some more than others. Considering the everyday hurdles of life, it's always nice to know the person you love the most is the person cheering the loudest.

Did you know that xoNecole has a podcast? Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify to join us for weekly convos over cocktails (without the early morning hangover.)

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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