Because It Hurts You

I was in marriage counseling almost 25 years ago and the counselor told my spouse he needed to stop a behavior that was scary and painful for me because I was the person he had promised to love, honor, and respect.

I was his partner.

That’s what you do.

And so, whether or not he thought the behavior was an issue was NOT the issue, it was out of his caring for me and my pain– he would stop. I had another friend in marriage counseling and her husband said there were no issues- and if his wife was unhappy- then that was all his wife’s issue.

The counselor said, if your wife is unhappily married then that is your issue. Because you’re married. You’re partners in this life.

And this is how I feel about all of us. We are all in this together. In some way, we are all partners here.

All human. All beautiful. All a mess.

So, I know that flag doesn’t mean racist to many good people. It means rebel. It means “hell yea!” For some, it truly means “y’all come back” and “extra gravy please.”

When you hear people say it’s part of their culture, I truly understand that they mean it.


Mrs. Clemenda Pinckney and her daughters.

Out of love, honor, and respect for others who say it is painful and scary–and because others who fly that flag do so out of hate– it is time to let it go.


My friend told me about being followed by a caravan of police cars to a well-lit parking lot because she refused to pull over in a rural area for the one who saw her broken tail light.

I laughed.

Because I simply had no idea. And as many situations as I have been in, I will never know what it is to be non-white in our society.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t listen. That doesn’t mean I can’t listen. And listen again.

And the same is true for marriage for adults who love the same gender. I just had no idea. It never occurred to me they wanted to get married.

It wasn’t hateful.

It was ignorant.

And when I saw friends and family weep with the very idea (just the idea of it) that their love would be treated the same as mine in the eyes of the law, well, I was ignorant no longer.

Did I have to think some things through? Is it a shift from how I was raised? Yes.

As a woman, I have a constant presence of how to be safe in isolated situations. Park near a light, carry your keys pointed out, pull down your skirt…and if I ask a male friend to walk me to my car, he does not have to understand or even believe my fear.

Out of understanding that my experience is mine and respect for that experience, he walks me to my car.

As a friend, it is enough for him that I am afraid and would like his support.

I have a heart that loves, honors, and respects what my friends and family are saying about their lived experience. What makes them afraid. What causes them pain.

I don’t have to know it. I don’t have to live it. I don’t even have to see it.

Our fellow human beings are telling us.

And out of love and respect, I will listen.