“Still in Love with You

Guest Writer: W.D. Foster-Graham   

What we give is what we receive.

As those of you who check out my column know, I am all about Black Love, and my favorite recreational reading is romance novels. It thrilled my heart when I came across love stories written by LGBT/SGL authors such as E. Lynn Harris, James Earl Hardy, Kevin E. Taylor, and Frederick Smith, to name but a few. After a steady diet of literary gloom and doom for Black male couples, I was beyond ready for that happily-ever-after! As for myself, my Christopher Family Novel series has taken its journey into “Romancelandia” with The Right to Be and my upcoming novels To Thine Own Self, Dare to Dream, and Playa No More.

At this stage of my life, I think of the words of wisdom spoken in the following quote: “The things you said and did to get a man are the things you have to keep right on saying and doing to keep him.” Such is the ongoing discovery of life with a husband/partner.

On our wedding day, I remember well these words spoken by our officiant: “Marriage is not just having the right partner. It’s being the right partner.” When we give love, we receive love. When we give joy, we receive joy. When we give friendship, we receive it. When our actions and words spell “keeper,” that is what we will receive. How many of us, in making our laundry lists of what we want in a man, took the time out to examine what qualities in ourselves we bring to the table? How many of us internalized the belief that “gay relationships don’t last,” and then lament when it keeps happening to us? How many of us have spoken the words, “I want a relationship,” and then run for the hills at the first sign of a problem in that relationship?

For me, keeping my husband meant putting God first in our lives. Yes, there are all kinds of social media and dating apps out there these days, but I met my future husband the old-fashioned way—in church. Over the past 11 years, we have been tested on different levels (as in any long-term marriage/relationship). We’re still in love, and God is still in charge.

Indeed, as LGBT/SGL men, we’ve dealt with unique challenges that our straight brethren haven’t, but that doesn’t mean that we have to allow the baggage that came with those challenges to sabotage us when it comes to finding—and keeping–Mr. Right For You. Happiness is an inside job, and how we feel about ourselves is a major component of what shows up in our love life.

Since I, like my contemporaries, didn’t have YouTube growing up, it’s beautiful to witness Black male couples jumping the broom, and I look forward to seeing mature Black male couples (those who have been together 20, 30, 40+ years) sharing their stories, in print or video. Speaking of long-term, for those you who are younger:

Can you visualize your man with gray (or white) hair, beard, mustache?

Can you visualize 20 or 30 pounds on him, and love handles?

Can you add bifocals to his face?

Can you add laugh lines?

Indeed, looks fade. Looks change. However, it’s the intangible qualities about the two of you and the history you share, the memories you create, the work the two of you put into your marriage/relationship, that counts at the end of the day.

In my marriage, I also recognize that God has a sense of humor. It was pointed out to me, by a few of my cousins, that as a couple, we were the gay version of my parents. Yes, laughter and not taking ourselves too seriously go a long way in a marriage, and I certainly love my husband’s laugh and his humor.

That being said, for those of you who are in a relationship/marriage, I encourage you to take a little time to reflect upon all the things you love about your husband or boyfriend and how far you’ve come, whether you’ve been together 1 year or 50 years. The two of you deserve to be appreciated. Cherished. Loved.

W.D. Foster-Graham is an independent novelist from Minneapolis, Minnesota.  He received a B.A. in psychology from Luther College, and he was an original member of the multi-Grammy Award-winning ensemble, Sounds of Blackness.  He has also been recognized by the International Society of Poets as one of its “Best Poets of 2003.”

His tastes in writing run to family sagas and M/M romance, seasoned with his own brand of African American flavor—at the end of the day, it’s all about the love. He shamelessly admits to a love of romance novels, whodunits, and classic movies of old Hollywood. He was also inspired by the late novelists E. Lynn Harris and Toni Morrison, who believed that an author should write the books he/she/they want to read.

W.D. is a book review editor for Insight News, a Black community newspaper in the Twin Cities. His column is titled, “Sharing Our Stories.”

His Christopher Family Novel series can be found on the shelves of 13 public library system collections in Minnesota, the Des Moines Public Library System in Iowa, and the Quatrefoil (LGBT) Library. Current works in development are a continuation of his series: four M/M romance novels, “To Thine Own Self”(a 30-plus couple), “Dare To Dream” (single dad), “Playa No More” (age gap), “Built to Last” (friends to lovers), and “The Rise of Sherry Payson,” a story seasoned with humor, romance, mystery, and a story within.

You may visit W. D. at his online home, wfostergrahamauthor.com; on Twitter, @WDFosterGraham1; and Facebook. And email W. D. at wfostergraham@wfostergrahamauthor.com.