by Tiya Cunningham-Sumter
Who would you trust? In this journey we all have a calling on our life. In most of our churches we are required to use that calling to be a blessing to others. Since I have been attending my church for the past 5 years, I always felt confident in my desire to serve in the couple’s ministry. However, my Pastor had different ideas of where I could be the biggest blessing. And it was not in the couples’ area. When he would discuss couples and who would be the best to minister to other couples, he never mentioned my husband and me. To my surprise he suggested the couple, who we all felt had struggled the most in their marriage. My Pastor felt that they would be best because their marriage had survived and is continuing to survive so many challenges. As I reflected on his recommendation, it started to make some sense to me, although I still question it from time to time. It is understandable that a couple who had gone through difficulties would much rather hear from a couple who can totally relate. Someone who is experiencing infidelity wants to know how another couple survived it. One that has separated probably wants to talk to two that have rebuilt after a separation. What could someone offer who has absolutely no idea what that feels like? Actually, they could offer a lot.
In helping professions, most of the time the professional has not walked in the client’s shoes, but they are still qualified to help. For me, hearing from a successful couple who has been able to avoid most of the challenges that marriages fall victim to, is more beneficial. Of course we must take into account that we never truly know all that a couple may go through. But this speaks more for those who seem to consistently have a handle on what makes a marriage work. I would be curious to know what made their relationship so strong. Why were they unable to break? What tools, skills and exercises do they use to keep it all together? That is the lesson that is most important to me. Not what you did when the trouble came, but how you avoided the trouble altogether. Those are the makings of a couple we could all learn from. How were they able to steer away from temptations and angry emotions to keep peace in their marriage? Their sacrifice took more work than anything else. Having to deny their own selfish desires to consider their spouse and their marriage and always work toward that common goal is true commitment. In my opinion sacrifice is much harder to do. That is the couple I want to learn from.
BMWK, if needed, which couple would you rather hear from, the troubled couple or the successful couple and why?
Tiya Cunningham-Sumter is a Certified Life & Relationship Coach, Founder of Life Editing and creator of The Black Wives’ Club. Tiya was featured in Ebony Magazine in the October 2008 and November 2010 issues. She resides in Chicago with her husband and two children.