‘Why I Love a Black Woman’
Patience, Dedication and Faith
By Courtney B. Vance
By Courtney B. Vance
How do I say, “I Love you?” Let me list the ways: Honey, when I think about the man I was before God brought us together, and the man I am today, I am in awe of the distance traveled! When I talk to other husbands and husbands-to-be in the course of my travels, I understand the fear and uncertainty as the conversation invariably turns toward relationships because there is a certain amount of faith involved in the journey.
I want to thank you, Angela, for loving me when I was not yet the man you needed me to be. I want to thank you for having faith that I would wake up and begin focusing on you instead of waiting for you to focus on me. I have always seen myself as a “good man” in the back of my mind, but somehow I could never quite get my actions to match up to my words. I just wanted to be trusted and to be trustworthy.
The first thing you helped me to see is a divine order to things: God, first; wife, second; children, third; work, fourth; and I am fifth. More specifically, you taught me it is not just about me anymore.
You were patient with me as I learned the value and power of becoming the “servant-leader.” I began to see that God gave only one directive to husbands regarding their wives-”love them.” You helped me to see that if I wanted to be the “head of the house,” then I should lead by being first to “apologize” and “ask for forgiveness.”
By being who you are, you gave me insight into what being the “a mature man” is all about. The mature man can let his wife “get the glory.” A mature man is secure in his wife’s love for him even when she is basking in the spotlight while he stands behind the scenes.
And it takes time for a woman to “pray her man into maturity.” Because the mature man begins to gradually acquire the understanding that oftentimes one has to “give and give and give and give…in order to get.” The mature man understands that respect is “earned,” and not “given.” And he is not undaunted by this “refining process” during those first five years of marriage. The mature man remembers that he got down on one knee and “asked" his then girlfriend to be his wife…
It is a very difficult process for a man and a woman to get this ‘understanding’ about their roles and begin to look for ways to “do“ for the other person. When does that moment happen? When the husband and wife cease competing with each other and begin looking for ways to put and keep smiles on each other’s faces? Angela, you have taught me to slow down and “change my attitude.” You have indeed “helped me meet God,” and for that I will forever be indebted to you.
And finally I want to thank you, Angela, for preparing me for fatherhood. Your sister, Lynn, and her husband sat us down and let us know that it is not about the children. “When you get married and have children,” they said, “never forget that the children would never be there if not for you and Courtney.” They let us know that we must stay focused on our marriage! The primary relationship in life is not parent/child, but husband/wife. Now that the children are here, that lesson becomes all the more powerful.
There is no such thing as a “perfect marriage.” Men are men and women are women all over the world. Just because we have been blessed to be able to make a living “playing” does not exempt us from having to do the same work every other husband and wife have to do. I just want to thank you for making the decision to work with me. What more can a man ask?