Updated: Nov 27, 2018
After watching that clip of Pastor John Gray praising his wife for spending the last eight years of their marriage painfully birthing and raising and sacrificing for him -- whew chile, I'm exhausted just from typing this -- and being his covering (not a lid! there's a difference), I felt compelled to share my opinion on this topic for a couple of reasons:
Some of these pastors be getting a little too carried away with these over-the-top analogies and relationship nuggets, and somebody needs to stop them. Just waiting on you, Jesus.
There are numerous girls and women out here (including the two co-hosts in the video) using these stale relationship nuggets as confirmation to stick it out with some trash dude who doesn't treat her right because maybe he just has to "grow into her" like John Gray did with his wife. Maybe she just has to keep loving and covering him until he has enough strength to carry his own weight in the relationship. Maybe her "due date" for him hasn't arrived yet. Sigh. No, sis. Just no.
I'm so tired of folk feeding into this false narrative that love is supposed to be some excruciating uphill battle you have to fight and suffer through in order to win in the end. Yes, love requires a great deal of growth, sacrifice and selflessness (which I believe is what Pastor Gray was getting at), but on BOTH parts -- not just the woman's. While I was able to read between the melodramatic lines of Gray's statement, there are many women who interpreted what was said as permission to keep loving on an emotionally incompetent/dependent/abusive man who may or may not ever be "delivered" from his ways. All they see is a public figure giving reverence to his wife for enduring the pain of "birthing" and mothering him into manhood. There are too many women out here thinking that this is the way love works: love him until he can finally see the error of his ways and love me back. And I'm here to tell you that's not how love works, sis. Women weren't created to "birth" or mother their husbands (if that were the case, God would've created us first). We were created to provide balance. We were created to give love AND be loved. A woman's ability to love as well as her right to be loved shouldn't be measured by the amount of pain she endures in a relationship. So let's stop promoting emotional turmoil as some sort of badge of honor. Let's stop painting this picture that women are ATM machines that willingly dispense love but don't take deposits. Love is not a one-way transaction. It is not dysfunctional. It is not trying to fix a man. Nor is it overcompensating for love unrequited. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 breaks it down perfectly:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
THIS is what genuine love looks like. While I'm sure Pastor Gray has covered his wife and made plenty of sacrifices in their marriage as well, I wish he hadn't left that part out. I wish he focused more on how they managed to get through the tough times TOGETHER instead focusing on his wife's tolerance level for the eight years of "labor pain" she endured in their relationship. Because there are numerous women out here who need to know that even though love is a process, you don't need to go through pain in order to have it.