The Good Nachos

*Warning* This Blog contains spoiler alerts from NBC's, "This Is Us".

There’s this saying that the old folk live by that goes, “you gotta start out the way you can hold out”. I’ve seen a lot of them use it in the realm of courtship. This is their way of saying “don’t do now, what you’re not willing to continue to do later. In simpler terms, remain consistent in the things you did in the beginning. In millennial terms, “keep that same energy”.
Got it? Good.

While I understand the intent of these sayings I also think we have to take into consideration that people change, scenarios change, and we have to calculate how those subtle (or not so subtle) changes alter who we are as people and partners.

First of all, can we all just take a moment to appreciate the writers of This Is Us. My eyes literally stayed glued to the screen. Partly because the acting was amazing, partly due to the younger characters having nailed the mannerisms of their older counterparts, but mainly because it was just so dang relatable.




Like Beth, I have lost a job while being married. Also like Beth, I have returned to my first love of dance. And I think I speak for a lot of spouses when I say I have sacrificed my own wants for my family. But unlike Beth, when I needed that hotel room (which in my case was our guest room lol), I took that break. When I need to be alone, I communicate it. And when difficult things arise I don’t shy away from them because of how my partner may react.

I’m not judging Beth. They’ve been in this thing for 20 years and I don’t know what 20 years will hold for us. What I do know is the signs were there from the beginning and I don’t think one person is solely responsible for where they are. It is a combination of words left unsaid, tiptoeing to avoid hard feelings and miscommunication. I’m not #TeamRandall or #TeamBeth, I’m #TeamMarriage and I think This Is Us has done a wonderful job of opening up this conversation about give, take, balance, coexisting, fighting fair, and everything in between.

Let’s throw out the idea of a perfect marriage. There is no such thing. Think of your favorite couple in the world. Your parents? Ayesha and Steph? Barack and Michelle? Your neighbors? They got issues lol. Yes, they may be minimal, trivial, or almost appear to be non-existent. But I promise you it is because they did the work at some point in their marriage to turn what was once a mountain into a molehill.

Marriage is not 50/50, it’s not even 100/100. Sometimes it’s 20/80, sometimes it’s 5/95, and sometimes it’s 45/55. There are so many factors that keep us from being our best self, whether it’s our jobs, kids, depression, caring for elderly parents, etc. Sadly, because of this, our mates get what is left. I’m not saying it’s fair, but it’s true. If it is left unchecked, it can turn into a bigger issue. So how do we keep this from happening?

  1. Deal with each thing as it comes up
  2. Mean what you say and say what you mean
  3. Remember that everything is not a personal attack
  4. Do stuff for you
  5. Serve one another
  6. Fight fair
  7. Communicate before you execute
  8. LISTEN
  9. Always bring it back to the basics
  10. Try not to keep score
  11. Seek Godly counsel/ marriage mentors
  12. Get you some married friends
  13. Don’t take advice from single folk

I’ll stop there lol.

Beth {insert your name here}, take that day off. Journal. Vent. Have a girls night. Watch Living Single. Dance. Go to the Spa. But also, share how you feel in that moment so it doesn’t build up. Confront that issue even though his feelings may be hurt for a second. Choose you, too (not to be confused with choose only you or choose only them). RELAX. Take a deep breath. Remember, you were given this task because you can be trusted. Sis, somewhere you lost yourself. I’m not sure if it was in your job, in marriage, or in motherhood but it’s not too late to find her again. And girl if he takes all the good nachos, don’t be afraid to go to the cabinet grab a full, unbroken nacho, slap some cheese on that thang, and eat. Equally, don't be afraid to let him know he's taking all the good nachos. 

Sometimes you have to create your own plate (dance) butttttt sometimes you have to share your nachos too (husband and kids). Now, let’s find that balance where everyone can eat and the same person is not always left with the crumbs.



Randall {insert your name here}, you are so committed, you follow through, you are dependable, loyal, and boyyyyy do you have a way with words. In the same breath, you take things personally and sometimes you are so obsessed with how you want things to be that you forget that you’re not the only person there. When you put your mind to something you give it your all and nothing else matters. There is only one problem with that, other things have to matter. Whatever you’re doing at that moment is your sole focus and you want everyone else to be on board. But you have to realize that people’s lives don’t revolve around what you have going on.

 The poor baby at the dance didn’t want to talk about microorganisms but yet we find you in the library, during a dance, because you were absorbed with your thing. No one can take away from your dedication but you must remember that life is not all or nothing, it’s some here and some there, it’s give and take, push and pull, gas and brakes. But you, my friend, give all gas and when people tell you to tap the brake you take it as if they don’t want to ride.

You are good at talking but your communication needs some work (that’s another blog for another day). Randall, LISTEN! Don’t take it personally, don’t take it as an attack but simply listen.

We see from the beginning that listening wasn’t his thing. 

Beth: Don’t call me again
Randall: I’m going to marry her

Beth: I don’t like *fill in the blank*
Randall: You don’t have to worry about me doing it ever again 

Beth: I don’t want to get married right now
Randall: constant proposals



He was used to getting his way from the beginning and she went from saying no, to maybe, to giving in. Her anger is not 100% with him, it’s also with herself for becoming the person that she said she wouldn’t become. He doesn’t even realize that he does it because this is how he has always been. So now he’s taking it as a personal attack instead of a learning experience. He doesn’t even go for the full chips on purpose, he’s just accustomed to always getting for the best chips, so much so that crumbs are not even as an option. So when he is offered crumbs he is shocked because what are crumbs when you’re used to the real deal? Crumbs? What are those? lol

Whoever you are in your marriage, realize that your partner needs moments to shine. They were a whole person with hopes and dreams before they became your husband/wife or the father/mother of your children. Hopes and dreams don’t die because you change your last name or because you have kids. However, they do change, and more times than not it’s the woman who has to change.

I’m grateful to have a husband who hears me. Sometimes he hears me the first time and sometimes I have to explain. Either way, he seeks to understand and supports.

Me: I wanna dance again 
Him: OK, let me know which days and make sure Alisa has milk

Me: I want to shave my head
Him: OK, let me grab the clippers

Me: I want to finish the tour 
Him: OK, let’s have meetings to scout out the opportune time

Me: I want to stay home with our daughter 
Him: We’re going to make it work 

Me: I need a break
Him: go lay down, go to the concert, take a drive, I got her, go sleep in


We’re not perfect but I promised myself I wouldn’t hold back, suffer in silence, or dim my light no matter how uncomfortable a situation may be. In the same token, I have given the same, sacrificed, encouraged, and picked up the slack. Let's also be clear, being married is not about being a "yes man" to avoid confrontation either.

This is not about keeping tally, it’s about being partners, it’s about being married, it’s about being honest, it’s about us.

This Is Us

Sincerely,

Wife, Mom, Entrepreneur 

Jaleesa


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