Last night I tweeted that my wife wanted to eat in McDonalds and I disagreed. Today she asked again and I, not in any mood to test my luck at refusing her again, relented. While sitting there, I heard Beyonce and R. Kelly’s remake of Beyonce’s If I Were a Boy.
I never liked that song. I think it’s because I can hear myself responding in my head the whole time, “Yeah, but you aren’t. So sing about something else.” Also, there’s just something wrong with pretending we can walk in the other person’s shoes and say what we would do if we were them.
I mean, what if a guy wrote a song and said, “If I were a girl, I wouldn’t use PMS as an excuse for all kinds of terrible behavior.” That would just be poor song writing. It would also be cruel and ignorant. The hypothetical guy has no idea what it’s like to go through that every month so it’s just arrogant to presume he know what he’s saying. He can make suggestions, but do so without pretending to know everything about the other person.
Beyonce starts by making a list of things she wishes her man was. And how he doesn’t do any of those things. She then says that if she was the guy she’d do a better job. Then R. Kelly starts with his whole list of things he wishes his woman was. And how she doesn’t do any of those things. The song ends with the relationship right at the brink of falling apart.
Well, hearing the duet again today finally made clear what it was I didn’t like about it. And here it is:
For a relationship to work, both parties must serve each other’s needs. Not take for themselves.
Both parties keep talking about what the other should be doing. But neither of them are LISTENING. No one is acknowledging what the other is saying. No one even admits to the other party’s hurts. It’s an escalation of accusation.
She says he’s bad at this. He says she’s bad at that. And on and on it goes. Zero giving, zero listening, zero forgiveness – it’s amazing they stayed together long enough to finish the song.
Of course, you could also say, “Relax, Joe. It’s just a song.” And you would be right.
I mean, no one really uses movies, music, or hit songs to determine their perspective on love and relationships, right?
That would just be dumb.
Tomorrow I’ll give practical examples of how this mindset plays out and how we can respond if we’re looking to give, and not to take.
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