lemonade and unconditional love

A few weeks ago, Beyonce notified the entire universe that she had a surprise presentation prepared for us all entitled ‘Lemonade’ and it would be displayed on HBO. As a big Beyonce fan, and an even bigger fan of all things ‘girl power’ I was completely excited by this surprise announcement. I came home late Saturday night and immediately grabbed some snacks and watched my recording of Lemonade. It was a candid and risky-honest visual production about Beyonces journey to self-realization through her marital woes. In Lemonade, Beyonce insinuates that her husband Jay-Z cheated on her and that they were contemplating getting a divorce. In the end, Beyonce and Jay-Z reconcile and commit to healing together and being better for one another. Jay-Z even makes a cameo appearance at the end of Lemonade during the ‘reconciliation’ scene.

Infidelity happens often, especially within the relationships of couples in the limelight. I used to negatively judge women who did not leave their husbands that cheated on them. I remember speaking with my hair dresser a few months ago while getting my hair done, about how I hated that women are always expected to ‘take him back’, compromise, play the supporting role and tolerate the brokeness of men in relationships. We ‘date down’ and choose personality over looks and give up our careers to support our partners even if ours is more lucrative. I know that in part, my judgement came from the fact that in the past I stayed in a relationship where there was a moment of infidelity and I deeply regretted that decision for a while. I felt ashamed of it.

Since experiencing infidelity within a romantic relationship I began to believe that bad behavior in a relationship should always be rewarded with neglect, rejection or a break-up. I thought by doing so I was re-righting my wrong from the past.

I never was.

Marriage, I’m sure, is such a complex relationship to maintain; because of societies expectations of it, social norms, gender roles and the war wounds that all of us humans acquire in life. With this marital union both parties are publicly declaring that “no matter how ugly your truth gets, I am committed to loving you and supporting you as you figure out how to heal yourself.”

Relationships require you to master boundary setting while unconditionally loving. Which is really hard! If the other party isn’t looking to grow and to change, then setting boundaries helps you to not be abused and also give the other person space to grow. Sometimes you have to wait in that boundary for a long time until the person is ready to practically apply the critique but ultimately you have to be committed to loving them, which I personally find completely challenging. I think to myself ‘why do I have to deal with this?!’ I want to run, server the relationship and move on, but that’s not how life is.

In those moments of waiting in your boundary while still being committed to loving, supporting and seeing the potential and value in another you get to experience a part of life that is not merely self serving. You get to be self-less, learn patience and you also get to find your own joy and fulfillment from within yourself that is not dependent on your friends family or significant other behaving in a certain way.

unconditional love will ultimately lead you to you yourself; because humans are all so imperfect.

I no longer negatively judge women like Vanessa Bryant, now Beyonce and even myself, who have stayed/stay in relationships after experiencing infidelity. Although I find it provocative, they are dispensing unconditional love.

-Amber B

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