Editor’s Note: Tarsha Hamilton is a woman who wears many hats. She is a singer/songwriter who has traveled the world sharing her gift. Married to R&B superstar Anthony Hamilton, Tarsha shares her experience as a wife and mother in the new anthology Where Did Our Love Go: Love and Relationships in the African American Community, edited by bestselling author Gil Robertson.
THE POWER OF ADAPTING
By TARSHA HAMILTON
I want women to be encouraged when they are in relationships. Don’t sabotage your own happiness. I think a lot of women – especially when they’ve been single for a long time – don’t even know they’re sabotaging their situation. They’re already coming in expecting too much from their man. And men run from that. They do.
So you’re like, “How did this chick over here, who doesn’t have anything going for herself, how’d she end up with a man like that? I have a college degree, my own house, and I’m doing this and that, but I can’t get a man?” It’s because you’re too power hungry. You’re used to running things yourself. You’ve got to back all that down so he can be the man. Men need to feel like they can be the man.
We shouldn’t settle, but don’t expect the moon and the stars because you’re not going to get it.
I think a lot of times we expect men to complete us, a marriage to complete us, and that’s exactly the total opposite of reality. When you sign on that dotted line and you say,” I do,” you’re committing to a job. It’s work. And you’re only rewarded from the work that you put in.
And then, people don’t get this: The ego has to go. It’s impossible for people to stay married with egos. I think that’s why we see a lot of what we do—in Hollywood, especially. Because you have these two power people and eventually those egos are going to clash and consume what they thought was going to be magical and last forever. There is only so long that you can suppress those egos.
I’m sure there are women who look at me and think that I have the perfect life. But they don’t see the tears. They don’t see all the praying and they don’t see the stuff that goes into making it work.
Marriage alone requires so much work, and if you don’t have a solid relationship, the kids can throw a nice wrench in it. We were married for five years when the twins came—five, almost six years, so we’ll be married seven years in August 2012—and that was a long time to be together. It’s actually going on a nine-year relationship. I think that had we had our kids sooner, I’m not sure how our relationship would have turned out.
What has got us through was trust and knowing that even though it’s not perfect, we aren’t going to leave each other. Because it gets to a place where a woman goes through some fear and insecurity, especially when she’s pregnant, and nobody can prepare you for that. Nobody really talks about how insecure you feel about your body during and after pregnancy, when your body has been stretched out and looks different. You don’t have this young, beautiful body anymore. Add to that being married to a celebrity who has women constantly throwing themselves, of course makes things even more challenging.
Since the twins were born, the time that we gave to each other was forwarded to them. So we ended up doing the thing we said we wouldn’t do, and kind of ended up neglecting each other. Sometimes because you’re giving so much to the kids, you find yourself too tired even to put in the effort. He’s a very hands-on dad. So it was taxing on us. He wanted to do things his way, and I wanted to take care of them my way, so we found ourselves arguing more than agreeing.
Raising the kids is just something else for you to have to agree on with your partner. Down to what they wear, to the toys we buy. Every single thing is a decision. But as they get older, we’ve learned to choose our battles. We find ourselves parenting them more together now instead of parenting them separately. I think I give in a lot more. I allow Anthony to do things how he wants to. I think I used to put up a fight more, wanting to control a little bit more of what goes on with the twins.
My marriage could have easily taken a fall if I continued to struggle with being an artist and not being able to do what I want to do, and if I continued to resent my husband because I felt I was stuck home with the children. With that attitude, I’m going to lose in the end because I’m not stepping up to the plate by staying home. I have to consider what makes sense here. He’s already celebrity status and he’s the breadwinner at this point. Why would he sacrifice for me to build when he’s already successful?
What I’ve come to realize is that I am a part of his success, because my presence allows him to go out and tour with peace of mind, knowing his family is taken care of, that the children are being loved by their mother. The house becomes home and it’s beautiful and peaceful, and he can come home to a meal or to whatever. I’m a part of this machine, I’m a part of this working and that’s the big picture.
You can read the rest of Tarsha’s essay, plus the thoughts of 40 other prominent African Americans from the world of the arts, medicine, religion and academia in the anthology Where Did Our Love Go: Love and Relationships in the African American Community, available online and wherever books are sold. For more information on the book, visit www.wheredidrlovego.com or check out the author, Gil Robertson, on Facebook and Twitter.
Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.