Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Love Don't Love Nobody: Love, Respect, Marriage, and Tiger Woods

It takes a fool to learn
Yes sir
That love don’t love nobody
-- Love Don’t Love Nobody, The Spinners

Typically men are logical creatures and women are emotional. Love is an emotional word whereas respect deals with logic. -- @Luvologist

When the news of Tiger Woods’s automobile accident first broke, I thought that perhaps I would be writing about it soon. As bits and pieces of the story emerged, things just didn’t add up, and I began to have serious doubts about the official version of events. However, I held back writing my piece simply because I really disdain dealing in rumors. So, in writing this piece, though it seems our man Tiger may be in the wrong, I still reserve judgment until the complete truth emerges.

And, furthermore, I really don’t like to make essentialist claims like women do and think this way or men do and think this way; however, in discussing this issue with my wife and her very opinionated sisters as well as other women, I find that women and men differ in how they view this incident; for the most part, women seem genuinely shocked and outraged by his actions while men don’t find it all that shocking at all. And I think the difference can be explained by how men and women view relationships; it is a question of what is thought to be most important and valued—love or respect.

Allow me to attempt to explain by positing this analogy. There is a scene from one of Eddie Murphy’s old movies, Boomerang, in which the character played by Murphy arrives home early in the morning after spending the night with an old lover. He tries desperately to explain himself to his present live-in lover, who is played by Halle Berry, but she, of course, is livid and is hearing nothing he has to say.

Finally in desperation, Murphy’s character pitifully looks her in the eye and says, “But baby I love you.” And Berry’s character responds, “Then love should have brought you home last night.” *Cue Toni Braxton singing “Love Soulda Brought You Home”*

Usually at this point in the film, I skip around trying to find the scenes with Strangé; she makes my blood boil. But this is what I am trying to get across: I don’t think Berry’s character is completely wrong in her assessment. Yes, love should have brought him home, but love alone is not enough. Love means nothing if one party does not respect the other.

If I may, I will use my own experience as an example. Perhaps, I am wrong about this whole thing because my own experience stands in the way. But at this point, I have been married to my wife for almost eighteen years. And I dearly love my wife. In fact, I am absolutely crazy about her. Not a day goes by that I don’t have to stop and ask myself, what manner of root has this woman done put on me?

And in that almost eighteen years, I have not once been unfaithful to my wife. But that is not to say that I have not had the opportunity to engage in an extramarital affair or even been tempted because many times I have. Many times I have had to make the decision to either stay or go home, and the one factor driving my decision was never love, but respect.

I respect the person my wife is, and I respect her accomplishments so much so that I would never put her in a position to be ridiculed. I would never want to be the reason people are laughing and talking behind her back. I would never want to do anything to erode the respect others have for her.

Not only that, what about my self-respect? My grandfather said at one time that each time a man lies down with a woman, and vice versa, each gives up something in the exchange. And I believe that my wife and I have a mutual respect for one another. And furthermore and perhaps most importantly, I believe I enjoy the unquestioned respect of my children. What would happen to that respect if it were to be revealed that I had engaged in any number of sordid affairs which were documented by explicit text messages and voicemails? I don’t have the millions at stake like Tiger Woods; all I have is respect, and because I am a poor man, that respect is even that much more valuable.

So, if Tiger is guilty of what it is purported that he is guilty of, he probably only now realizes the depth of his folly. Perhaps, only now does he realize that not only does he stand to lose millions of dollars and his family, but he also stands to lose the respect he has worked so hard to cultivate. And perhaps over time, he will build his earning capacity back up. Perhaps, over time his wife and family will return. After all, everything seemed to work out for Kobe Bryant. But it will be a much longer stretch of time before he is able to win back the world’s respect.

Do you thing men and women view love and relationships differently? What do you believe is most important to a relationship—love or respect?


Kim said...

Max, maybe it's my 41 year old eyes, but the font you're' using is a little hard to read.

First off not trying to analyze the situation because I don't know either parties and men and women view everything differently, but in a relationship love and respect should be synonymous. I always say people cheat because they are lacking in character and integrity. To me that is the core of all types of cheating period. When you cheat you are not just having sex with another person, your lying, deceiving and manipulating. And men need to stop making it acceptable among men, by giving it the old "boys will be boys" stamp of approval and if the shoe doesn't fit, don't worry about trying to wear it. I use to say I feel sorry for these high profile athletes because the temptation has got to be something to deal with , but temptation will come to us all and you show what you’re made of whether you flee or not.
Tiger done fessed up with his transgressions apology,which he owed to no one, but that affair went on for 31 months according to the woman with all the proof, and we heard the voice message Tiger left her 2 days before the crash, and he is the liar and the cheat so I'm inclined to beleive everything the girl says. I feel for his wife and kids. Forsaking all others.. I guess people forget that part…

Max Reddick said...

Sorry about the font, but I have been using a new computer the last day or two.

But I do not believe love and respect are synonomous because you can love someone but not respect them. In fact, I would go so far as to say that cheaters may be in love with their partners but they have little respect for their partners. And not all men condone cheating. But I do agree with you about the other ills that go along with cheating. Cheating is most of the time a symptom of some other character flaw.

Kim said...

I said in a Relationship they love and respect are synonymous..

Max Reddick said...

Even in a relationship, someone can love someone and not respect them. In fact, any relationship built solely on love is doomed to fail. Unless both parties have a mutual and healthy respect for one another, that relationship is on shaky ground. said...

Hi Max,

Well... I suppose I don't fit into the box of what women are SUPPOSED to think about Tiger's alleged infidelity. I didn't feel outrage. I didn't scoff. That man's marriage is HIS business and I don't understand any women (or men) who waste their own emotional energy on someone else's marriage...a total stranger, I might add.

I don't believe that love is a requisite for me to marry. I am not married yet though. When I mentioned this to a televangelist last year, his eyes became as wide as saucers. He said that he didn't expect to hear a black woman say THAT.

I shrugged and told him that black women are not a monolithic group...we actually have vastly different family backgrounds, class conditioning, cultural backgrounds, spiritual foundations, etc., etc.... imagine that! *LOL*

I would rather have the respect of my husband first and foremost. If he doesn't love me on my wedding day, I can surely live with THAT because the love from God that I receive just doesn't have any comparison. I know he would grow to love me over time.

I can not marry a man who does not respect me. Maybe other women feel differently.

When I was in college, I dated a frat boy who used to tell his frat brothers that he'd never cheat because I'd kill him! They teased him all the time about his fidelity. Even though I was only a teenager, I told my father that it was a shame that his decision to be faithful rested on his FEAR of reprisal. My father was very proud of my analysis. He knew that Mr. Frat Boy would not be the one he'd face at the altar on the day he'd give me away.

Kim said...

okay in my post I said love and respect SHOULD be synonymous. They should go hand in hand.

Anna Renee said...

Thanks Soulbrother for your view about this issue! It brought a bit of insight into a man's mind. A man's integrity and his self control probably both are at play in his decision to cheat. A man who loves and respects his wife, but is weak in the self control area may still cheat! There are probably many reasons why a man chooses not to cheat--fear, self respect, satisfaction with his own wife, etc. It's interesting, though, how certain men choose to cheat even though we'd expect that they wouldn't! I wonder if being idolized has an effect on how one sees him or herself in the scheme of things. I think maybe it does.
And maybe this woman was giving Tiger something he felt he needed. We certainly don't know. Thanks again, Soulbrother!

RiPPa said...

Trust me: Tiger isn't losing anything financially or otherwise as a result of his actions. He might have to sit down when he pees around the house from here on out. But that's about it. He's only 1/4 Black, remember?

md20737 said...

You are exactly right its about respect. You will always see another individual that attracts you. Myself and my boyfriend dont want to kill or injure each other so practice monogamy and safe sex. Most importantly we respect each other. Respect is how we remain monogamous. I dont think people are naturally monogamous I think it is something you have to work at. I am not judging Tiger or his wife they are people just people with money so they have the same issues as the rest of us. But you hit the nail on the head with the respect comment.

Reggie said...

Me shocked, by a married man cheating on his wife?!? Nope, nothing shocking about that.

It is what it is.

By the way, maybe it's my 44 year old eyes, but the font you're using is a little hard to read to me as well.

Da_Kween said...

I had been asked what I preferred once, love or respect...and I chose love. I say that because IMO, I believe TRUE love, that which embodies all love should indeed respect. When you unconditionally love (or at least as much as humanly able) you place importance on that person that is indeed equal to respect. I love my mother respect her. I do believe that you can respect someone and NOT love them...but that true meaning of love...that ability to remember how important it is not to lose that person...not to hurt them... is respect.

Love shoulda brought his ass home last night...not because love is all it takes to keep a relationship together, but because when weighing up if you should screw the next shouldn't matter what anyone else thinks...only how it would "feel" to lose the one person that is supposed to mean the most.

(yet, I absolutely get your take on the respect factor for family and reputation loss)

Denisha said...

I agree with BWBTT & Da_Kween. I do think love should involve respect or else it won't last. If you say love isn't enough than I don't think love was ever there. Respect is some way is a fear. Fear of the damage you'd do to her if you cheated and the damage you'd do to yourself by your actions. A healthy dose of fear is always good :) but I do say love is supposed to involve respect.

I think it's kinda funny Tiger cheated because he picked the worst women to cheat with. If you gon' do something do it well...picking someone who'd give their 1st born for 15 mins of fame is not wise at all. Not wise!

Max Reddick said...

@BWBT, DA KWEEN, & Denisha

I'm really resisting the urge to say that Sophia love Harpo, but look how that ended up turning out. However, to conflate love and fear is wrong too. When I was growing up, I really feared my father because I knew that he would slap the taste out of my mouth at the drop of a dime. So I obeyed him. But because of the other foolishness I knew about him, I had no respect for him at all.

However, now that I am older and he and I can better relate to one another, I finally respect him. So, when I use the term respect, I fear is not involved. Fear is a not healthy.

Da_Kween said...

I say that fear as respect is mostly acceptable when dealing with children whom don't understand the concept of danger and their own welfare. It's not, in my opinion acceptable as an adult to fear someone else and call it love. I don't think that's what Denisha was saying anyway...nonetheless...the whole Sophia/Harpo thing is stupid funny! LOL

Love brings about so many actions as well as emotions. For'd protect someone you order to protect them you've gotta respect them/their life. . I think that people use the term love so loosely that the meaning gets lost in translation...but, everyone is indeed entitled to opinion. *saying "uncle"*

Kim said...

I guess some folks have a hard time defining love.

Max Reddick said...

I will concede the fact that love is used too often and too loosely these days. Perhaps, it is used so often that it has lost its true meaning.

Kristen {RAGE against the MINIVAN} said...

Great question - had me thinking a bit this evening. I think I agree with Kim. I'm wondering if a person's faithfulness really has to do with their feelings of love or respect for their spouse, or if it boils down to their integrity? I'd like to think that I'm married to my husband out of love and respect, but I don't cheat because I want to be a person of character. My marriage will have it's ups and downs but I will be faithful because I'm a faithful person, not because of how I'm feeling about my spouse at any given moment . . . if that makes sense.

Denisha said...

I agree with the Sophia comment and now I understand what you mean. Yeah, my idea of fear was along the lines of us and God or kids and parents, etc. Not straight up fear as in a scary movie. Love has lost its meaning and every one attempts to define it. said...

Hi again,

This is a great conversation.

My brother said to me, "when a woman is loved by a man, she assumes that she has his respect."

He went on to say that he loved his dog but that didn't mean that he admired his dog or that he assigned a certain set of characteristics to his dog that his love was based on.

He was not equating women with dogs, OF COURSE, but his point was that so many women often make assumptions when they detect love from another person.

They make assumptions that love encompasses the SAMEthings for everyone that is does for themselves. So he told me some great relationship advice, "never assume that love encompasses for a man what it encompasses for you. Take time and learn what it encompasses for him, and asking him doesn't mean that what he is saying about love is what he is going to be practicing in his life."

As I think about my two dads... who are phenomenal...and my brother who is just an amazing black man...I realize that my love for them has always been based on my immense respect for them.

My high expectations for black men were fostered by the phenomenal examples of black manhood that I encountered in my formative years...uncles, cousins', my dad's running buddies.

When I was a teen, I told my older brother, "maybe one day I'll marry a man like you because you are truly extraordinary". He said, "I hope you feel that way ten or twenty or thirty years from now."

I can honestly say that I still do feel that way and he still IS extraordinary.

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

River Glorious said...

Wowsers... Love and respect... I cannot separate the two. I use love in the old-fashioned sense, not as in, "I love potato chips" or "I love my dog", as someone mentioned. :)

I think I would like to add one word to this soup of thoughts: Commitment.

I love my husband, and I respect him for what he is, a man, a father, my husband. And I am committed to him, it was a promise I made to our Heavenly Father and to him on our wedding day. :)

That said, I am reminded of Paul Newman's words, something close to the effect of, "Why eat hamburgers when I have steak at home?" And some French woman (forgot her name) that said that a successful marriage entails falling in love many times, always with the same person.


Anonymous said...

Max Reddick said...

@ Kristen

Integrity. That is a good assertion. And I have to conceded on that point. Often our true integrity only comes to bear when faced with an issue that might challenge that integrity.


I like that line: "Falling in love with the same person."

candis Gillett said...

Love this conversation. Max' and BWBTTrumpet's take on respect and love are completely congruent with my experiences and observations. Really, when you respect the person, how can you NOT love them? Someone whose values, ideas, and stalwartness impress and inspire?? I should think one would forsake all kinds of sh** just to be a part of that team.

Max Reddick said...

@Candis Gillet

But can you love them without respecting them?

Anonymous said...

I've "always" felt/said--since a child--I'll accept/require someone's respect and that I am not interested in a another person's lacking, usually sentimental, self-centered, often (willfully) "unconscious" idea of "love". Character comes first,as a good character is loving. I am a woman, if that matters.

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