Black Love Series: The Only Person You Can Change Is You

Most relationships that encounter problems seem to focus on the “who is to blame” element. Having a “blame” mindset is not only destructive but is also an action that usually leads to more problems than solutions.

In many cases, relationships fail not because of a lack of love but because of the lack of maturity of one or both of the people involved. 

Being the “bigger” person within the equation would allow the individual to take on the responsibility of acknowledging some change is needed and that the change should ideally start with the individual itself. Being prepared to accept that some of the faults lie at the individual’s “feet” is a set in the right direction.

Taking the time and effort to explore the various reasons and actions that had a part in contributing to the current negativity of the relationship will help the individual realize that there is no benefit in placing the blame on everyone and anyone else.

Successful recovery from a damaged relationship will be off to a good start when each person involved is willing to change for the better. This should be the main focus of the exercise, as changing for the better will always be a more beneficial exercise that will eventually become so normal that the individual will no longer consider such an exercise as something forced or unfair.

The positive changes will also help the individual become a better person, thus making the overall situation more pleasant and easy to improve. It is also almost always easier to change oneself rather than trying to change the other party in the relationship. Changing oneself does not require the constant maneuvering of another person’s physical and mental control.

Concentrating on being a better person and a more loving and caring partner will also encourage the other party to respond equally positively, thus successfully allowing the relationship to improve.

Where To Go For Help

Marriage is hard work, and anyone who says otherwise is not committed to making it for the long haul. Along with the hard work, there are also times of great joy and fulfillment, but when this is not forthcoming for quite a while, it is time to seek some outside help. This help ideally should come in the form of marriage counseling.

What is sad is that Black people still dont look to counseling as an avenue for help in their relationships and marriages. Part of it is cultural conditioning against counseling and therapy. Many Blacks believe therapy is only for wealthy white people, while others think they should not seek help outside their families or ill-informed social settings.

Black marriages in America are the lowest of all ethnic groups at thirty percent. Only 7.7 percent of Black Married couples seek marriage counseling. However, 42.2 percent of Black marriages end in divorce (the highest of all ethnic groups) within an average of nine years of marriage. Black women file eighty percent of all divorces in Black marriages. 

Is there a coalition between the high rate of divorces among Black marriages and the extremely low rate of Black couples seeking therapy? I believe so. When you find a therapist that works well with you, therapy can be a place to gain support and find more satisfying ways to live life. It is where you only have to be concerned about yourself and your needs. It might be the only place where you are not required to have all the answers.

Therapy will give you an objective perspective from someone whos trained. It is an excellent way to receive feedback based on what they see now rather than how you used to be. It is good to have family and friends in your corner; in many cases, they can’t be as objective and have the same cultural baggage as you do in relationships; they usually cannot be objective like an outsider. A therapist has no underlining motives; their only motive is to help you make the changes you want to complete in your life.

The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists reports an overall success rate of 98 PERCENT. The success of couples therapy and other factors contributes to a decreasing divorce rate in the United States, but Black marriages are at an all-time high.

Seeking counseling from your Pastor is another option for those more religiously inclined. This is helpful only if both parties are open and willing to explore options closely linked to the religious angle or take on things. This is also a beneficial option if both parties are known to the Pastor taking on the counseling session, as it would give all concerned a better and clearer take on the whole situation.

Reading as much as possible on the subject would be helpful. When problems are published that are similar to the ones the individual is going through, the general experience and outcome could be applied or tried. Sometimes it would be helpful to know that others have gone through the same situation and that it is possible to overcome it.

As Black people, its imperative to preserve Black Love; we must seek help when needed. Seeking good counseling can be one of the best things you’ll ever do for yourself and your marriage. You’ll most likely experience less stress and feel more satisfied and content with your life and marriage after participating in counseling. If you find your marriage is struggling, remind yourself that therapy can help.