The idea of a strong black woman is very common in society today. Many young ladies grow up believing that being a strong black woman means independence, self-reliance and overworking themselves in the service of others. But did you know that carrying the baggage of “strong black woman” is something that makes it difficult for you to let go and have intimacy in your marriage?
Okay, maybe you don’t fully understand the implications. First off, here are a few questions for you.
- Do you feel pressured by others depending on you to always have the right answers which make you feel exhausted or anxious at times?
- Are you sensing that something needs to change but you avoid the thought by distracting yourself with hours of social media, working nonstop, eating or shopping?
- Is it difficult for you to rely on other people to get things done and feel if you want it don’t right you’d rather do it yourself than ask someone else to help you?
- Have these actions gotten in the way of you having some intimacy with your spouse?
Saying yes to any or all of these questions means you are likely dealing with the pressures of being the strong black woman, especially if you are starting to feel that being a mother or a wife has become such a burden. But you are not alone.
Women have always shouldered many burdens in the home, so much that many have disciplined themselves to continuously replay the scenes of all the things that have to occur for the home to function properly. Sadly, that constant focus tends to get in the way of having a more balanced married life resulting in a lack of intimacy.
Let’s take a look at 7 tips to let go and find intimacy in your marriage.
Resist your inner critic
In your bid to make sure everything in the home is “in its place” you might find yourself observing your spouse through a critical lens. Do you know what this means? Allowing your inner critic to take over means zeroing in on and magnifying your partner’s every mistake and subconsciously compiling their flaws even though they probably already had those qualities even when you first met.
Thinking this way will only lead to bitterness and affect intimacy in your marriage.
Instead of criticizing his every action, treat your spouse with kindness as it is the key to keeping the intimacy alive. Doing this softens your spouse even in the most heated of moments. If you can treat your spouse generously and lovingly, not only does it keep the love alive, it creates a deeper level of intimacy.
Learn to let your guard down
Are you always appearing angry or defensive? Do you punish your spouse when he doesn’t finish a task the way you feel it should be done? Or do you try to control every aspect of both your lives?
These are examples of what it means to not let your guard down and it only serves to push your partner away.
Learn to be vulnerable
This is what comes after letting your guard down and it is probably the most difficult to achieve as a strong black woman. Many parents raise their children to be able to take care of themselves, married or not. Others raise their kids in an environment where they had to be strong to survive and this mentality carries with the child into adulthood and marriage.
When you are constantly in survival mode, you are in a constant state of stress, being under the pressure to take care of yourself first or run away from anything that might threaten that safe space – such as conflicts about sex, finances or even parenting choices. Learning to be vulnerable means letting your guard down enough for there to be an intimate connection with your spouse.
Don’t be harsh on yourself
Cut yourself some slack, becoming a strong independent woman didn’t happen overnight, therefore learning to be vulnerable isn’t automatic either. There is nothing wrong with seeking help and support, even from your spouse.
Maybe you went through a tough past where you had to be strong to survive or to protect yourself which makes it even more difficult. But there is no need to be harsh on yourself. Communicating your feelings, especially to your spouse is a sound way to foster intimacy between you because it helps him to understand the courage it takes for you to trust him to support you.
Allow your spouse to love you
This might sound obvious but sometimes being a strong woman gets in the way of being loved. Being intimate in marriage means being able to ask for what you need. and when you do ask, allow your spouse to fulfill that need and show your appreciation whether he gets it right or not. It is after that, that you share what it was you truly desired without crushing his ego.
If he got it right or even went beyond, reciprocate by appreciating him in his love language. Develop a cycle of vulnerability and giving and allow yourself to lean into your spouse’s support and love for you.
Properly define any issues
Strong black women tend to cover themselves in a protective shell because they believe they can only rely on themselves. Instead, spend some time looking at your marriage as a whole and figure out the parts that work and those that don’t. How would you be able to interact with your partner if you don’t try to understand him in the first place?
Break down issues you have into bits and tackle them one by one – with your spouse.
Letting go of some of the rules that you’ve lived with as a strong black woman can be hard but learning how to appreciate and balance where you are is a gift not only to your spouse but to you as well.