Guys, I need to unpack the past two months of celebrity relationship news because they are really causing me to do some hard thinking.
This is the year of “anything can happen.”
Austin Null of The Nive Nulls (my favourite YouTube family) recently discussed how he cheated on his wife Brittney.
Tina Campbell of Mary Mary has basically been going around on talk shows talking about how she forgave her husband Teddy for cheating on her and how she has been able to make her own lemonade out of the situation.
Israel Houghton is not only 1) divorced but 2) is dating Adrienne Bailon.
Jay Z cheated on Beyoncé with “Becky with good hair” and maybe some other side pieces.
Like what? Who cheats on Beyoncé?
My friends keep telling me to get over it. When I mention it to them in conversation, they’re like, “I can’t believe you’re still on that, or that you’re shocked.”
If Israel and Meleasa Houghton can get divorced and if Beyoncé can get cheated on, anything can happen.
Can no one keep it together nowadays?
You have to understand why both events affect me as much as they do. Let me explain.
Firstly, for years now, Israel and Meleasa’s marriage was #relationshipgoals. I had a picture of them on my vision board. Now, I’ve gone to my fair share of Israel and New Breed concerts (or some variation thereof featuring Israel, like the Kings Men concert), and at each one, at some point during the concert Israel would lovingly retell the story of how he met his wife, and sometimes he’d break out into song: “Isn’t she lovely? Isn’t she wonderful…” And I’d be all up in that convention centre or church sanctuary melting and swooning, asking the Lord to let me have a husband who adores me like Israel adores Meleasa. I’ve even read somewhere before that how a couple retells the story of how they first met – whether they tell it with joyous nostalgia or deep-seated resentment and indifference — can be a predictor of the happiness and longevity of their marriage. Israel has always spoken of her with such respect and admiration. When you read the liner notes to his albums, he waxes poetic on his love for her. And remember when he just couldn’t take it anymore and just bowed down and worshipped in “Alpha and Omega” and Meleasa made her way through the crowd to the stage to join him? #goals y’all. #goals.
But then I found out that Israel cheated on his wife and that they had been separated for some time and that they were getting a divorce. Let’s deal with the first fact though: Israel was unfaithful to his wife. That means that Bible-believing, Grammy-award winning, wife-adoring, Friend-of-God, guitar-strumming, Lakewood praise-team-leading, sometimes-preaching, great-Gospel-music-making people can still cheat on their spouses. I wasn’t born yesterday, so this shouldn’t be news. This shouldn’t shock me like it did. But it did and it does. It shocks me because I had always looked at Israel as a man of impeccable character (and he very well may still be). But even he still fell. And that’s scary to me. Because if Israel can fall, then when I do meet my adoring husband, he can fall too. Really any of us can. I am reminded of 1 Cor. 10:12: “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”
And then there’s Bey.
At the beginning of “Apathy” Beyoncé says:
“So what are you gonna say at my funeral now that you’ve killed me? Here lies the body of the love of my life whose heart I broke without a gun to my head. Here lies the mother of my children both living and dead. Rest in peace my true love, who I took for granted. Most bomb pussy, who because of me sleep evaded. Her shroud is loneliness, her god was listening. Her heaven will be a love without betrayal. Ashes to ashes, dust to side chicks.”
Beyoncé is one of the most successful entertainers of our generation. She has money, power, and fame. And she looks good. You know how many people would want to be with Beyoncé?
“Most bomb pussy, who because of me sleep evaded.” So hold up – she’s pretty, she’s rich, and she was sexually available…and he still cheated on her?
To be fair, I don’t know Beyoncé, or what it is like to live with her or be married to her. But honestly, my first thought was if Beyoncé can get cheated on, what hope is there for the rest of us?
Money, power, sexiness and sexual appeal, being the mother of a man’s child – you can be all those things but it’s still not enough to make a man stay. Or be faithful. Or sleep with you and only you. And y’all, for real though, that’s disheartening.
Not that those should be the only things that make a man stay. But they are often very real determining factors. And, by themselves, they’re not enough.
A lot of us single folks are pining after relationships like Israel’s, not knowing what’s going on behind the scenes. A lot of us silently think that if we looked like Beyoncé we’d snag a man easy-peasy, but even Beyoncé got played. That’s food for thought. That gives me pause.
It goes to show that we honestly don’t know the people that we idolize or what is really, truly going on. And, as admirable as the relationships of others seem, we cannot always look to them as examples.
And it tells me that marriage is a great thing to happen, but it shouldn’t be the goal. Most times it’s great. More often than not it will leave you disappointed. So why count on and make it your sole focus something that has a very good chance of leaving you disappointed?
The other day while watching a TV show, my sister told me that Mom said, in passing, “I don’t even know why these people really want to get married.” When my sis relayed this story to me, we were like “What? What is Mom talking about. Easy for her to say since she’s married.” While I am pretty sure mom was not was not hinting at her own marriage with our father, I think she was alluding to the fact that marriage is good when it’s good but it’s hard when it’s hard and it’s puzzling why people want to get married so badly. And now I think I finally get what she’s saying. It makes little to no sense to be endlessly pining after something – marriage – that, nowadays, is turning out more and more like what we see above. We have to come to terms with the fact that, though we start with the best and purest of intentions, it may not be as fulfilling or happy as we wanted it to be, often through no fault of our own.
More and more I have begun to appreciate the advice of the divorced and the separated. And, unlike the giddy newlyweds who look at you in pity, you know what they say? Focus on you. You have time. Get your education. Get your law license. Get a profession. Have your own so you can hold your own.
Let’s face it — It’s 2016, and a woman’s got to have her own. Imagine if I was Beyonce and I wanted to leave Jay Z but couldn’t because I had no money? Now, this is purely speculation, but Beyoncé is staying with Jay more out of choice than money, because she has her own. And I want to have that kind of power too.
Call me jaded (‘cause maybe I am — been listening to too many Dear Sugar podcasts and Steve Harvey episodes), but it sucks (no pun intended) that some of us will end up sipping our own lemonade. Some of us will have to make glass after glass after glass. But maybe Beyoncé can — dare I say it — be an example. Life gave Beyoncé side chicks and she made some serious lemonade, to show us that some sweetness can be squeezed out of what was originally sour, and what was once tangy, tart and made wounds smart could yield something saccharine. In truth, perhaps marriage is its own lemonade – a strange concoction of sour and sweet. We should pray that our marriages are more of the latter.
Photo Credit: FTW! Culture