Pastor John Gray is the talk of the town once again. This time, it’s not another meeting with President Trump, it’s one of his more common offenses, speaking about relationships. The last time, we discussed John Gray was when he told LeToya Luckett and then women from the pulpit, that they needed to move in the spirit of wife and not the spirit of girlfriend.
We talked about the problem with that type of theology, here.
Today, John Gray is creeping up and down the Twitter timeline after spouting some more “insight” about Christian relationships, particularly about the one he shares with his wife, Aventer Gray.
He was speaking with the women of the “Sister Circle” when he said this:
“I married a woman two sizes too big. I have to grow into Aventer. She’s a coat. I still can’t fit her. She’s bigger than me and she’s had to cover me while I grow up. I gotta grow into her. She’s a covering, not a lid. Because if a man marries a lid she’ll stop your dream. But if you marrying a covering, she’ll push you to your destiny. Let me tell you something, my wife has endured more pain birthing me than both of our children. She has sacrificed these last eight years, uncovering the painful areas of my manhood and covering the areas that could have exposed me.”
On the surface, all of these relationship testimonies sound lovely. Who doesn’t want a spouse who’s going to cover them?
But what is problematic about these type of relationships— especially when we discuss them in the context of church and Christian values– is the fact that, once again, a woman is being applauded and celebrated for the sacrifices she makes for a man. While the man reaps all of the benefits. I listen to these types of speeches from Black, churched men like John Gray and I wonder what types of coverage do husbands provide their wives in the context of Christian marriage? And I mean real covering. Not provision, shelter, contributing sperm for children he may only half-way raise. I mean aside from money and material things, what type of emotional covering do Christian men provide their wives? What measures do men take to cover up a woman’s inadequacies or deficiencies? I know there are men who are doing it. But why when men in positions of power and influence talk about relationships, they never have any wisdom of what it takes to be a good husband to a woman?
I’ve been in church all my life and I’ve never heard a sermon about the type of emotional and spiritual support men should lend to women. And I know if I, as a woman who goes to church and pays attention, has never heard this, Black men likely haven’t heard it either.
Perhaps that’s the reason Aventer is too big for her husband. Maybe that’s the reason she’s had to endure pain in raising him, a grown man, in addition to their two children. She’s been trained and conditioned to be of support, while Gray and other Black men who’ve come through the church have not. There’s a lack of information. So while he gets to grow and fulfill his dreams, she’s expending quite a bit of her energy parenting him.
Personally, I don’t want to get married to have to raise another grown person. I understand we should help each other grow and mature, but what Gray describes sounds like Wife= Mother 2.0. And molding children is hard enough. I need a man to come into the relationship as a whole adult so we can both work to achieve our dreams.
But instead of changing the narrative, sharing in the responsibility of nurturing a marriage, taking some of the pressure off of women to be saints, churches and the men leading them continue to regurgitate the same messaging. “Be there for your man. Sacrifice for your man. Raise your man. Cover your man. Endure pain for your man.”
And what do you get in return? Well, girl, you get the privilege of telling the world you have a man, duh!
What makes John Gray’s relationship insights so problematic is that he is quick to identify what women need to be doing. He knows what type of woman makes a good wife. A woman who’s a covering, not a lid. He talks about having wife energy. But in all the time women spend in bettering themselves, leveling up, preparing for a husband, men are just out here coasting through life. They put forth little to no effort in self-development and interpersonal interactions and show up to relationships any ole kinda way, expecting to be completed by a woman.
And Oprah told us a long time ago, you can’t be looking to another person to complete you.
I’ll end this, asking the same questions I had for Gray when he talked about the spirit of girlfriend versus the spirit of wife— where is the sermon about the spirit of husband? We need it. Because the women are tired.