My husband and I attended a conference and ministered together. It was a beautiful weekend, and we made a ton of connections with other ministers, congregants, and friends. There was another couple there that was around our age in ministry as well. I noticed that most of her conversation was directed at my husband, and passively at me. I took note, but didn’t give it too much credence until the day after we got home she sent him a friend request. I didn’t think anything else of it, until I didn’t get one. (LMBO)………I started thinking something of it, but shrugged it off, until the comments on his posts started and I still hadn’t received a friend request. So I said: “Maybe she needs a little help.” So I sent her a friend request, complete with my face, and last name clearly stated as “BRANNAN”….just like my husband. It took her an entire week before she hit the “DENY’ button. (LOL…….I’m so serious)
I never made an issue of it. I told my husband about it, and we laughed. I said: “So, you know this means that you have to delete her right?” I was joking, but somewhat miffed. I felt petty for a minute, like I needed to reply to one of her comments with a “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA”……or a “GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN!!!!!”…….but I couldn’t bring myself to be 13 years old again just because she was being 6. To this day I’m trying to temper the proclivity to pass judgment. I have enough experience with people and women, being one myself, to know that there are only a few reasons for such a thing. She's JEALOUS, INSECURE, She has an illegal crush on my husband. She doesn’t like me. I said something to offend her…She heard me going off about not liking Sketchers, and she’d just broke a fresh pair our of the box that day…THIS is the most likely scenario of them all. She’s blind…naive’…etc.…. etc.…. Take your pick. The reasons don’t matter. Honestly, she didn't matter. She’s common. THIS is common…unfortunately…on both sides. My husband has gotten it too. There is the occasional male that is drawn to me, and wants no parts of him. We are public people. We are pastors. We shake hands and hug the necks of several strangers every week. Favoritism, regardless of the reason, is a commonality in church and ministry. It should not be so, but is. My husband does a wonderful job of presenting me as his equal. But this is not always an issue of being viewed as an equal. This is also not an issue of me being an insecure wife. (C'mon on......no way.) This is an issue of intention, etiquette, and a persons understanding.
It’s something that I understand, but then again DO NOT. I have counseled enough people to understand the source. I even feel great sympathy for an individual with this issue knowing the internal war that is the source of their dysfunction. Yet and still, right or wrong, I think it’s tacky and speaks volumes. Once upon a time I was single. It feels like ions ago. But not long enough for me to not remember certain things. You see: I was sort of cute. And it posed a problem at times. I was a background singer who was constantly around musicians, singers, road hands…MEN all of the time, some single, with girlfriends, wives and families. It was common for me to be met with stares and uneasy dispositions, as some women felt uncomfortable with the thought of me being around their significant others on a regular basis. Some women in my position would take the stance: “Well that’s their problem if they’re insecure! I don’t want their man!” But you see…I’ve always been different. I’ve always been respectful of other women....even the women that didn't respect me. Their discomfort mattered to me. If there was a problem in their relationship, I was dead set on making sure that it was not I. I put forth every effort to connect with them, even if on a small, passive, cordial level. I put forth the effort. I looked them in their eyes when I spoke. I asked them questions about themselves. I showed a kindness and affection towards them. I was genuine. And for that reason, I had their respect, and peace. I did not leave the weight of their opinion of me on their own incomplete perceptions. I helped to give clarity and truth concerning who I was by giving them truth to work with. It didn’t cost me much. And it was worth it. To this day, I have the respect of many of these women AND their husbands. I honored the unspoken, unwritten code:
“If you are HIS friend, you are HERS. If you are HER friend, you are HIS.”
I hear you smacking your lips. But give me time to explain.
I know what it’s like to have a male friend and all is well. We have the best repo ire’, conversations, no intentions other than to just be homies. Then he gets a girlfriend or a wife, and she and I don’t quite click the same. Or dare I say it…ME DON’T LIKEY HER. Like…I legit am like: “So what is it that you like about her again?” But it never deterred me. It never stopped what I believe is right. Effort is everything. If he and I are friends…WE ARE FRIENDS, or at least I’m trying to be! And this went for passive relationships as well. If I clicked with you, I wanted to click with your wife or girlfriend. I have never made a differentiation or exclusion. I’ve never played the role of being dismissive, or directing conversation to him only. I have never friend requested him, and ignored her. (LOL) This goes for hopefuls, girlfriends, wives, and ex-wives. I will never be the problem…NEVER. If they have an issue, it won’t be me. This has been my practice as a single woman and a married woman. It’s become my expectation. I’m not unrealistic. I know that there will ALWAYS be those that click with my husband better, prefer him, or simply have more in common with him, and vice versa. This is normal. This is life. This is humanity. BUT… It’s possible to gravitate to one, yet be purposeful in not ignoring their counterpart. It’s possible to connect with one more, but never leave the impression that you can do without the other. This is possible. This is courteous. This is only done by the genuine. This is an issue of self-respect, regardless of the destination of this respect. When you respect internally, you respect externally. Your relationships, and how you relate to others reveals this. People with ill intentions, the divisive, immature, and a “hussie” won’t get it.
I’m old fashioned. If you like my husband, you like me. If you like me, you like my husband. I will sever a friendship of 3 billion years if it is shown that they do not have OUR best interest at heart, making distinctions between my husband and I. External relationships have the right to do so….but not a friend. No sir….not someone that you call “friend”. A friend loves you both. They may not like your spouse. But because they love you, they love them. They respect your union. They respect your choice. They never work to divide. They work to connect, to understand, to make sense of their differences. This is what a friend does. This is what LOVE does. I believe that a little leaven is all it takes. Marriage is precious. Relationships that are meant to be are precious. Anything or anyone that does not respect what’s dear to your heart eventually will show that they do not respect you. 3 billion years will come to an end swiftly. This is how much I don’t play.
We are one and the same. Together we make the best Kool-Aid. Taste and see that WE are good. This is the only way to enjoy one of us…by enjoying us both. This is how I roll. This is how I believe God rolls.