At the recent, ATT The Bridge Studio Live event hosted in Houston, Texas, I had the opportunity to meet J.R. (Julio) Ramirez, Rotimi (Dre), and Joseph (Tommy Egan) Sikora of the Starz hit show, Power. It was a wonderful time and a great experience to momentarily step into their world. I left with a keen awareness of how one could easily get caught up in the glitz and glamor and forget that there is a difference between reality and fiction. Nonetheless, embracing that much of what is shown on television is fake, is something that not all people are willing to do. After last night’s episode of Power, I noticed comments and memes stating that estranged couple, Ghost (Omari Hardwick) and Tasha (Naturi Naughton) are “relationship goals.” Tasha is seen as a shining example of today’s “ride-or-die chick,” and there are women who look at this fake couple’s life as something to emulate. “Get you a Tasha,” as one of the posts read, is a real-life example of what’s wrong with today’s relationships.
While Power is designed for entertainment, there are real people who believe that a woman should stick with a man no matter the costs. These persons expect women to risk life, limb, and sanity to show that they can “hold down their men.” After all, relationships are “hard,” and men “have it rough.” Unfortunately, there is a disproportionate onus put on women. She has to play the role of her husband’s savior in order to make the relationship work.
This attitude is not only evident in the relationship between the Tasha and Ghost television characters, it is widely taught in many real religious and social communities. Not only does this put an unfair burden on women, it creates an unrealistic expectation of the responsibilities of men in relationships. As a Black, female Christian, I used to feel trapped by my culture and religion when it came to behavior in a relationship. From an early age, it was pounded into my psyche that “Black women are strong, so we take it-” whatever “it”may be. As a Christian, the words “love” and “forgiveness” are frequently used to put a person into bondage instead of setting her free. These major causes of my false views of what “relationship goals” really mean, were why I silently stayed with abusers. As I grew older in self-awareness and moved to a more spiritual than religious relationship with God, I not only began to see the complete error in this rhetoric, I witnessed the danger that it continues to be to women in my community and some institutional churches.
As a person who advocates for women, my sisters come to me often with stories of feeling like captives. Some have even mentioned not wanting to live. It’s in these moments that I am completely blunt in my opinions about women in abusive (spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically, or financially) partnerships. As fellow Christ-follower Michael Chriswell pointed out in his video, “Why God Allows Many Marriages to Fail,” the institution of marriage will never be higher to God than His personal relationship with you. He loves you more than he does your marriage, and not all unions were even formed by Him. He gives us free will to make bad decisions.
It is not “goals” to constantly endure abuse, betrayal, and any other type of inhumane treatment. As a matter of fact, if you are a believer in Christ, the Book that you follow explicitly denounces this. Instead of having “relationship goals,” we should campaign for “I love myself goals” or “I am worthy goals.” If you are in a Tasha and Ghost situation, the best thing you can do for yourself is to not normalize it and not encourage others to do the same.
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