“You See Me As Whatever It Is You Need Me To Fulfill In That Moment” John And Aventer Gray Speak About Their Marriage In Quarantine On Red Table Talk
On the most recent episode of “Red Table Talk,” Jada, Gammy, and Willow spoke about how couples can strengthen their relationships while they are quarantined with one another instead of working each others’ nerves to the detriment of their union.
In the midst of the conversation, they were joined by real world couples, including John and Aventer Gray.
See what went down below.
Jada: What have you learned? I feel like I don’t know Will at all.
Gammy: You really feel like that?
Jada: I feel like there’s a layer that you get to. Life gets busy and you create these stories in your head and you hold on to these stories. That is your idea of your partner. But that’s not who your partner is. So going through the process of having to dissolve all the stories and all of the ideas of Will I’ve built around those stories. The thing that Will and I are learning to do is be friends. You get into the ideas of what intimate relationships are supposed to look like what marriages are supposed to be.
So Will and I are in the process of him taking the time to learn to love himself. Me taking the time to learn to love myself and us building a friendship along the way. That’s been something to be married to somebody for 20-something odd years and realize, ‘I don’t know you. And you don’t know me.’ But also realizing too that there’s an aspect of yourself you don’t know.
John Gray: Aventer, she’s had a consistent role in the marriage while I’ve been trying to figure out what my role is. And that’s not just in the marriage. I’m talking about as a man. I have been forced into intimacy over the last four weeks. I think truth is being presented. And we’re finally revealing and being revealed for who we actually are. So there’s a distance between who we thought we were and who we actually were and that’s where the tension is.
I can be honest and say I didn’t understand the value of all the gifts my wife carried. I could sympathize with her, I had not empathized. I had never stopped to say what does it mean to be a wife, mother, an executive, all those things. And for me, I don’t know how to stay. I would travel a quarter of a million miles a year. I knew how to leave, not stay.
Aventer: Trying to understand Aventer the wife, the mother, but you neglected to say just the woman first. You see me as the wife as the mom. You see me as whatever it is you need me to fulfill in that moment. And I think the hardship that comes in marriage is tension comes in because you have not reconciled that we singularly have so much value without all of the other titles that we wear.
Jada: This is intimacy being able to get to who our loved ones are beyond that which we have perceived.
Later, John Gray had a question for the expert at the table this day, Michaela Boehm.
John: What do you do when you are me and you don’t really want to present the totality of yourself because there are areas that have still be unattended to.
Gray spoke about the wounds of having an absentee father and how it’s contributed to his need to be validated from outside sources.
John: I would leave because I never saw a man provide. So I thought I was doing good by providing for my household. My wife said, ‘It’s not the stuff. I want you.’ But I never saw myself as valuable. And so I wouldn’t give her what she wanted, which was me because I didn’t think I was worthy of her. And before I can be what she needs, I need to figure out who the heck I am.
- Make an inventory about what is good about you.
- What is good about the other
- Exchange lists
- Praise your partner for the things on their list
- See how that lands
It will open your heart to each other and open your heart to each other yourself.
Ultimately Michaela emphasized the fact that your partner cannot read your mind and in order to coexist peacefully, you have to be able to communicate your wants and needs.
You can watch the full episode of Red Table Talk in the video below.