For the final installment of stories about my journey back to the middle and back to focusing on what I want in life–a healthy relationship with a single black man–I’m going to tell you what I learned from my friend Henry. At this point I’ve known Henry for most of my life and, as long as I’ve known him, he has always been the marrying type. Even when we were teenagers, he didn’t play the games that other guys played with girls and he was a true friend. He’s never been the type of guy who makes women swoon on sight, but he’s not harsh on the eyes and can charm almost any unsuspecting woman into falling for him. This is probably why Henry is a newlywed. I know…not single, right? This is true, but I want to talk about Henry’s path to the alter, and it’s my blog, so…
Before Henry met his wife (hereafter known as Wifey), he had this long, drawn out, on again, off again, luke warm, tug and pull relationship with a girl who had his nose wide open. She, like many strong, professional, black women, couldn’t allow Henry to take the lead in their relationship. While she enjoyed having Henry woo her with showers of expensive gifts and affection, she never allowed him to truly run the show. When she finally realized, during one of those off-again-but-still-connected periods in their relationship, that Henry was considering being serious about a new woman (Wifey to be), she made a huge, public play for his heart. She lost. She was left crying and Henry, though sure about his desire to pursue Wifey, felt like an asshole.
Henry jumped in head first pursuing a relationship with Wifey and they ended up engaged. When I spoke to him after the thrill of the engagement had died down (for those of us on the outside) and a few months before the wedding, he was excited about marriage. In the midst of joking about how expensive it is to plan a wedding and how hard Wifey had him working to make sure all of the details were covered, he told me, “I can honestly say I haven’t regretted it for a minute.” Knowing Henry, though, I wasn’t surprised by this and I told him that. In this same conversation, Henry and I talked about the children he would eventually (probably sooner than later) help bring into the world. He shared his dreams of what their personalities will be like and hopes for who they will become.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned from watching Henry approach relationships over the years is about the kind of men who women seldom talk about–the marrying type. There are some men out there who truly just want to be married. They want to have a committed relationship with one woman and bring children into the world who they can love on and brag about. I’m not saying these men are a dime a dozen, but I do have a few in my friend circle and I know that they are not extinct. Endangered, maybe…but definitely not extinct. The knowledge that these men do actually exist is what keeps me hopeful and open to the possibility that the next man who comes into my life might be the one instead of just another one who will eventually leave my life.