Union, How You Feel It: Navigating Spiritual Revelations In Modern Relationships
By Revs. Alisha Lola Jones and Calvin Taylor Skinner As celebrity bombshells upend traditional notions of marriage, married theologians Revs. Alisha Lola Jones and Calvin Taylor Skinner challenge us to embrace complexity. To be completely honest, marriage has never been one-size-fits-all for anyone. As spiritual advisors, we are often presented with the intricate task… The post Union, How You Feel It: Navigating Spiritual Revelations In Modern Relationships appeared first on The Oklahoma Eagle.
As celebrity bombshells upend traditional notions of marriage, married theologians Revs. Alisha Lola Jones and Calvin Taylor Skinner challenge us to embrace complexity.
To be completely honest, marriage has never been one-size-fits-all for anyone. As spiritual advisors, we are often presented with the intricate task of counseling individuals and are bound by confidentiality not to disclose the specifics of their negotiations. These negotiations are not new. What is new is the public’s comfortability with learning the various scenarios of non-conformity in life partnership.
Even the premise of marriage (or any other expression of covenant) is not always about love; some are not concerned with finding their one true love. Marriage can be about partnership (business or otherwise), protection of assets, ticking clocks concerned with having children, the hybrid of stability and flexibility of an open relationship, a preference for gender roles in maintaining a household regardless of one’s sexual orientation, exercising discretion about one’s identity, or any form of arranged marriage in one’s culture. As many well-known couples increasingly allow the public to glimpse the secrets behind the veil covering their relationships — including Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, Beyoncé and Jay-Z, and, most recently, Meryl Streep and her husband of 45 years, sculptor Don Gummer — it is worth remembering that love, intimacy, and marriage are nuanced and sometimes separate propositions.
As two individuals who have observed our parents navigating their roles in marriage, we came into our relationship already bearing our own perceptions and experiences. Add to that other elders and peers whom we have walked alongside, our various community and cultural values (both real and unrealistic), and there was and still is much we are navigating in our marriage. However, what we do care about are three tools our marriage counselor and spiritual big brother, Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, pastor of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ, guided us through. These are the ethics we suggest young couples consider for their path.
Personality compatibility matters — and high character is the glue. Personality compatibility speaks to how well you and your partner’s communication style, temperament and emotional intelligence align. Although personality compatibility, among other traits, is important, possessing character encompasses values, integrity and ethics at the core of an individual. And since none of us are perfect, character helps with navigating challenges and committing to a relationship that is safe and integrity-centered.
Be conscious of how you deal with celebration and struggle. Popular culture emphasizes the euphoria that comes from love and being loved. But the true test of a relationship is how one responds to another person when their back is against the wall. Do you know how to manage your emotions while being considerate of another person’s needs?
Love — over everything. Placing love at the center of one’s plans and decision-making changes the quality of how we move through the world. Adding another person’s well-being to how you move inevitably means there will be sacrifices, growth, and change. Can you embrace them — even when they may also include the agreements in one’s marriage as well?
Actress Jada Pinkett Smith’s revelations in her memoir “Worthy” illustrate modern complexity in partnerships, underscoring the need for spiritual guidance that transcends orthodox tenets and embraces more fluid, authentic forms of connection. Though the unfolding story has been fatiguing for many of us to witness, she does bare the soul of her decades-long union with Will Smith, not just as a wife but as an individual continuing to seek her truth while they share a life together.
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The post Union, How You Feel It: Navigating Spiritual Revelations In Modern Relationships appeared first on The Oklahoma Eagle.