While I often write about relationships, I specifically enjoy writing about my past journey as a single woman, my dating experiences, and now my marriage. Although my proficiency in my experiences makes me qualified to write about them, I do not consider myself an overall relationship expert.
Years ago, I read Steve Harvey’s New York Times bestseller Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man (which became the basis for the movie Think Like a Man and its sequel). Although there were a few items in the book in which I disagreed, one being his old-fashioned views on a woman taking her husband’s last name, I actually found the book somewhat informative. Of course, everything in there wasn’t all completely new information, but I did find that it would have been more helpful in my formative years; reading it back then would have provided more insight into my dating situations.
Upon hearing many of my friends’ criticisms of his book (please note that none of them have read it), I would find myself defending his thoughts as I simply saw them as a guy friend’s advice mixed with a conservative perspective. But as I heard their critiques, I realized that many of the criticisms of Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man stem from Harvey’s failed past marriages.
It is ironic that I am quick to support Mr. Harvey in the relationship advice arena, but quick to dismiss other celebrity men, who have joined him in this quest of offering relationship counsel.
Keith Sweat published a book years ago titled Make It Last Forever: The Dos and Don’ts. In his interview with Black America Web, he stated that the audience for his then-syndicated radio show would call in and vent about their relationships. Sweat said, “Since I’ve written all these [love] songs, they seek me out as an expert on the situation.” And while Sweat has a large repertoire of love songs, he is divorced and had to combat allegations of domestic abuse against his ex-wife.
Not only have Tyrese and Rev Run teamed up to write the New York Times bestseller Manology: Secrets of Your Man’s Mind Revealed, but they also co-hosted a talk show on the Oprah Winfrey Network titled It’s Not You, It’s Men. Both Tyrese and Rev Run have been previously divorced. I have not read either of the latter two books, but have seen a few episodes of It’s Not You, It’s Men. While I did enjoy the show’s premise, I did get turned off by some of the opinions of the hosts that I felt didn’t hold any merit. (That may be why it wasn’t renewed for a second season on OWN.)
But regardless of the past of these men, or my opinion on their advice, don’t they have the right to voice their opinion or at least share their journey? Thus, does a divorcée have the right to hold the esteemed title of relationship expert?
My definition of an expert is someone who has extensive knowledge and/or experience in a specific topic, and according to that definition, I would think that they have some clout in the arena considering that they were once married and could possibly offer insight into anything they’ve learned. Anything meaning being completely transparent about their experiences and offering their lessons.
One could argue that relationship advice should come from someone who has been married for an extended period of time or is currently married. But just because someone is married doesn’t mean advice should be taken from him or her either, whether they have made and/or are making several mistakes in their marriage or are in no position (for several reasons) to give any advice at all.
When writing my articles on relationships, I usually find credible sources to support my arguments. Self-trained relationship coach Paul C. Brunson and clinical psychologist Dr. Wendy Walsh are a few people who I think are qualified to provide advice on relationships. With their research and studies, they have extensive knowledge about people and their behaviors in when it comes to love.
You can argue that some celebrities (even the ones mentioned in this article) have simply written relationship books or have created a show to expand their brand and to capitalize on the many women seeking relationship counsel to find love. I would think that is the case and could not knock their hustle. After all, they never made people buy their books.
Whether you’re a fan or you’re really seeking relationship advice, I implore you to do research on the person you’re obtaining it from to see if their ideology is something that will line up with what you are looking for. And as always, know what advice to take heed to, and what advice to take with a grain of salt. But considering that most of us often seek advice from people we know aren’t relationship experts, what makes listening to the words of these individuals any different?
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