Last night, I found myself watching Couples Rehab on Vh1. It’s a new show where dysfunctional couples go to a retreat, of sorts, to give their relationship another (or a last) shot. I’d seen a commercial for it on Monday and spotted habitually troubled rapper Earl “DMX” Simmons and his estranged wife Tashera, and my first thought was … (cringe) “oh, just no!”
Let me be clear: I’m all for love and I believe in marriage. As a life coach, I mostly keep to a hard and fast rule about not suggesting to married couples that they divorce. I believe if you take those “for better or worse” vows, then you should stick by during “worse” unless there’s a case of abuse (at which point you should run for the hills as quick as your feet will carry you, and bring your children). And if both partners are willing to work on their marriage and reconcile their differences, they should.
Case in point: When I saw the exclusive pictures of Adrian Wilson and his wife renewing their vows in Hawaii for their 10th anniversary, I first thought, “Odd,” but ultimately arrived at “Good for them.” Just weeks ago, Wilson was on Khloe & Lamar booed up with Khloe’s bestie Malika Haqq in what appeared to be a serious relationship. As it played out on the show, the couple split because Adrian was still married and Malika felt guilty. So I guess Adrian had second thoughts and decided to do the hard work to make things work with his wife. Like I said, “Good for them.”
But I just can’t find it in me to extend that same level of understanding to women like Tashera Simmons, who seems to continuously sign up for mistreatment. Watching Couples Rehab last night, I just felt bad for her. It was clear that she wanted to reunite with her husband, from whom she’s been estranged since 2005. After all these years, she’s deeply in love. “I will never love anyone else like I love DMX,” she said. “We are soul mates.”
As such, it broke my heart to hear a counselor recount that X had fathered six children outside of his marriage. (Thus far, the show has been kind enough not to mention his multiple arrests, prison stints or his drug problems.) And it only ached further to hear him speak to Tashera greasy, cursing at her and yelling. I reached my “Oh, hell no” point when he cruelly told her, “I didn’t want to get married.” Through his outburst Tashera, the mother of four of X’s ten children, sat calmly, seemingly unaffected as other housemates looked on in wide-eyed shock. That let me know Tashera had been down this road many times before. Wow.
Sometimes, ladies, we have to know when to hold on and when to let go. Too many of us confuse putting up with bad treatment as a sign of undying loyalty and love, and what it’s really a sign of is us not loving ourselves enough to know we deserve better.