What is the real purpose of being in a relationship? Well, according to Iyanla Vanzant it’s not for fun. On a recent appearance of “It’s Not You, It’s Men,” with Tyrese and Rev Run, Vanzant talked about not only her past relationships, the reason for them and why she will never get married again. But unlike Oprah and Shonda Rhimes, it’s a bit different. Iyanla has been married before. Twice to the same man, in fact. So, while these ladies know what they don’t want for their lives based on what they feel marriage would be like, Iyanla has done it and knows she doesn’t want to go back to the life.
First, she explained that the reason she married her first husband was because she was seeking her father’s approval. But she also said something that seemed to catch Rev Run completely off guard.
Here’s the thing, relationships are not where we go to have fun. Relationships are where we go to heal and where we go to learn. And who you’re going to attract is the person that’s going to bring to the forefront the thing you need to learn or heal or the thing that’s going to help you grow the most.
Later in the segment, Iyanla further explained, “Anytime you go into a relationship to stop being by yourself, the relationship is doomed.” Then later, in the context of a marriage, she said, “Two people come together to demonstrate the presence of God’s love and to a vision.”
So with all those positive things to say about relationships, their functions and even their benefit to other people, why doesn’t Iyanla want to be married again?
I would be a great wife. You know what? I would not be a great wife based on the definitions and the standards of today. I’m a great partner because I see my partner as my equal. One of things that happens in our relationships is we either pick up somebody who needs our help or pick up somebody that can help us. Love and pure relationship and commitment can only exist among equals. Cause if I see you as less than, I can’t commit. If I see you as more than I can’t commit. So today, I’m looking for an equal. And I don’t want to be a wife. I want to be a partner. Because wives have to do stuff that I’m not doing.
All of this made me think, there really is something to be said about older women, who don’t necessarily adhere to traditional gender roles and religious doctrine about submission being able to be in successful relationships and marriages?
For successful women over 45 years old, it must be difficult to find a man, especially a Black man, especially a Black, Christian man, who won’t want his woman to submit, who won’t want to be the breadwinner or exercise some level of control and dominance over his wife. And being famous and, let’s be real, rich, she would have to find a man who was a.) so wholly and completely comfortable with his contributions to the relationship that he truly doesn’t mind her making more than him or b.) someone who did make as much as or more than her so that he actually feel comfortable in the relationship.
Even amongst the younger generation, you might find yourself hard pressed to find a man who genuinely wants to be his girlfriend or his wife’s equal. For the relationship advice I hear, it’s mostly about men and women adhering to often antiquated gender roles. Relationship experts will tell women that a man needs to be the one to provide but then call women gold diggers if they express the desire for a man who can do that.
Even though women have been in the workforce for decades now, and centuries if you’re talking about Black women, there is still this expectancy that though you might be contributing equally or more financially, as a man I must be dominant.
And women like Shonda, Oprah and Iyanla who are dominating and seem to be enjoying that life, I can’t see them agreeing to play a subservient role once they go home. For as much as people have to say about relationships, it’s very interesting that we don’t hear about equal partnerships all that much.
Do you believe that there has to be a dominant party in relationships? Would you want to be in an equal partnership?
Check out the full episode in the video below.