I am a great fan of Barry White and one of his less known songs titled “whatever we had we had” dedicated to his second wife Glodean is one of my many favourites.
He was said to have sang two songs in her honour. The first being the popular “Just the way you are’’ and “Whatever we had, we had.”
Both songs are a tribute to their love and its remarkable that he sang the latter after they had parted ways. In it he acknowledged that although they had loved each other greatly, planned to be together forever, went through pain, joy and sadness and did all they could to save their marriage, they still parted ways. He however was glad that in spite of it all they remained friends.
I love the latter song because it mirrors my feelings about how parties should act towards one another when a relationship or marriage has gone sour especially where there are children involved. Also it shows a certain sense of maturity to acknowledge the death of an intimate relationship and still celebrate the good in it.
It is my sincere belief that parties should be cordial if not because of the past, at least because of the future which is the children’s . The truth we often want to forget is that our children are a mix of both parents and that when we have children we will always be in one another’s life whether or not we want to.
I speak from personal experience. My parents separated when I was seven years old and it was a very acrimonious separation. My father died 8 years ago and till his death, I was always on the edge whenever my parents were in the same room because of the tension that emanated from both of them and the unpredictable behavior that could emanate from ordinary actions that either party misinterpreted. I never did pray that they got back together because I couldn’t imagine living with both of them under the same roof with the way they went at each other. When asked why I didn’t make any effort to reconcile them, my answer was always- they first found themselves without me and they could re -ignite that love without my contribution.
My parent’s relationship after their separation is the norm and I dare say that some of us even have that level of acrimony whule living under the same roof. But it need not be that way. I have seen cases where parties have resolved to be at least cordial if not friendly towards one another because of the respect they had for their relationship and the children of the marriage.
I know some family friends that separated like my parents and I always marveled at how they behaved with civility towards one another. I don’t know why they separated but it was not out of place to find the man giving his ex-wife a lift if they met at parties.
The truth is that relationships are a mix of the good and bad, the beautiful and ugly, the peaceful and volatile and we must learn to take the good together with the bad. We must learn to look at the totality of our relationships and accept that there was some good about it and weigh the bad in the light of the good and vice versa.
I know that some relationships cannot be redeemed because of the personalities involved and I am not saying people should be in toxic relationships because of their children; sometimes it’s better for the children that parties go their separate ways. I am also not advocating that people should maintain relationships with a person who has shown little or no respect for their person or who would not hesitate to cause them harm bodily or emotionally.
What I am advocating for is a sheathing of our swords when the relationship is over and not to carry over the emotions, pressure and hate of the relationship that has ended even though we are apart. We need to understand that although the relationship as we knew it has ended, it doesn’t foreclose the continuation of our friendship. Things happen, but we have a choice to allow the death of our relationships help us appreciate what we had or allow our bitterness dictate what our future relationships will look like.
I practice family law and I can tell you for free that most times, what breaks relationships are our ego, misinterpretation of each other’s actions, refusal to empathize, our hardness of heart. The truth is that it takes two to tango. No matter how little, by commission or omission, every party had a part to play in the collapse of the relationship and we should remember that without our actions or inactions things may not have turned out the way they did.
This will not work for some of us because of the personalities involved, the circumstances of the parting and the strength of the ties that bind but it’s worth pursuing and exploring.
I therefore implore you; the child in me who stood bewildered, wondering how come her parents, said to have been lovebirds during courtship, could no l9nger stand the presence of one another, now speak on behalf of the children of such relationships, I plead for a cessation of all hostilities.
Thank you in advance.