The Love Series: To Serve and Protect? (Well...Maybe)

"To serve and protect" is the motto used by most in Law Enforcement and it made me wonder, “isn’t this what we want when it comes to our intimate relationships”? As a woman, it is my heart’s desire that the man I love will serve and protect me.  Now before you get hung up on the serve” part allow me to explain.

When we choose to become a twosome instead of just riding solo, we agree to serve our partners. Romantic relationships in many ways are like ministries of service. Just ask any happily married couple. In good, healthy relationships and marriages,  each partner understands that service comes with the title. Healthy relationships grow, survive and thrive when each partner knows the other partner's needs and “serves” them in that capacity. Think about it, we rely on our local law enforcement to serve us by keeping our neighborhoods, communities, and our children safe from harm and outside influences, right? Why don’t we rely on our partners to do the same with our hearts, minds, and bodies?

I want the man in my life to serve me with love, compassion, romance, kindness, gentleness, and honesty.  I want him to serve me with an immense amount of integrity, quiet strength and a healthy dose of the intimacy that my heart, mind, and body crave.  In turn, I also want to serve my man with the same things. I want to serve him with a nurturing, generous heart and my loyalty. I want to serve him with a gentle disposition, a joyful spirit, and peaceful mind. So, give this some thought, “is service part of your requirement when entering a potential relationship”? What and How much are we willing to give?”

A few years ago, my neighbor was robbed in front of my house as I was coming home from a late night date. I saw two guys walking down the block, and I chose to wait until they passed my house before I got out of my car and went inside. My neighbor (a guy) pulled up at the same time and immediately got out of his vehicle and headed for his home. It was then he was hit with a gun and robbed.  I was right there, but luckily for me, I was still in my car, and they never saw me.  The men ran off, I got out of my car, and as my neighbor ran up to me with fear in his eyes, I knew exactly what to do. I immediately called the police. We are aware from the time we are very young to call the cops when you are in harm’s way. Why? Because police are supposed to be there to protect you from these events and to come to your aid when these types of events occur. The same holds true when in relationships. I want my potential significant other to protect me. I want him to protect my heart from harm.  Can I call you when I’m in need?  Will you be there when I need comfort when I need someone to talk to about job or parenting stress, when I need to laugh or when I need to cry or on the days when I don’t need anything but you and a glass of wine?  Will you respond right away or will you be missing in action?  As he protects me, I want to protect him and his heart. I want to protect his dreams and his vision for our family and our future. I want to protect his mind and his spirit and remind him of how great he is no matter how the world looks at him. I want to protect his home and his children by making our home a place of peace and refuge. I want to protect his ego by letting him know he is admired, desired and appreciated.  It’s all about reciprocity honestly. 

In the case of my neighbor, I called the police and stayed with my neighbor until the police arrived.  I thought they would be interested in hearing my account since I was the only witness.   They pulled up and casually walked to my neighbor who is still bleeding from the blow to the head.  He was weak and couldn’t speak clearly. I tried to tell the officer’s what happened but they told me to “shut up” so they could get his side of the story.  Their tone was abrasive and cold.  I stood quietly, visibly irritated by their tone but patiently waiting for the chance to speak but they never asked me. They said they would contact me if they had additional questions.  An ambulance arrived and took my neighbor away, and I went in the house, completely annoyed by my interaction with the police.  They seemed cold and unconcerned.    It left me feeling like what was the point of calling them? The entire idea of the police protecting us has fallen by the wayside especially in our communities because of one very simple thing…a lack of trust. We don’t trust the cops. We don’t think they have the best of intentions and we consistently give them the “side eye” because we have seen and in some cases experienced things that have caused us to question their intentions.  Are they doing a job to serve the community or are they just serving themselves?   How do you bridge that gap?  How do you eliminate the “distrust”?  One way to heal the divide between communities and the police who serve them is for us to get to know one another.  You can’t serve a community that you don’t know or understand.  You will always be quick to make assumptions and believe stereotypes because you don’t see our individuality.    Just because we share the same zip code or street name doesn’t mean we are all the same.   There is much work to be done in healing the divide between law enforcement and communities, but we can start to bridge those gaps with transparency and honest communication on both sides.

The same holds true in relationships. We do not trust one another.  We’ve experienced the hurt and pain ofa love that does not protect, and we become guarded and close our hearts out of fear.   We have not taken the time to get to know one another. Dating is so different now.  People go on one date and start relationships if they even date at all!  People are dating via messenger and DM’s.  People are choosing who they date based on social media profiles, photos, likes, and clicks.   When did we stop getting to know one another?   When did dating become so superficial?  (That’s another post)  Trust takes time, patience and communication.   Some people approach new dating experiences wearing masks of who they want you to see instead of showing you the reality of who they are.  We then find ourselves in relationships with strangers.  The sheep you met will eventually shed the mask and reveal themselves for the “wolf” they are.  By then, feelings and emotions become involved, and it becomes a never-ending cycle of hidden agendas, manipulation and plenty of broken hearts to go around.  That’s not how this was supposed to work. Dating was intended to be fun and enjoyable, 

It is imperative that I trust you with my heart before you can protect it. I must give it to you freely, and that requires trust, time and patience, especially nowadays, when people are craftier and more manipulative.   “Guard your heart while keeping it soft.”  This is one of my mother’s “relationship gems.”   It’s a reminder to allow my heart to be open (soft) but to use my head in relationships (guard).   Sometimes we can sabotage something good when we allow our past baggage to get in the way of something new. I’ve often talked about “taking the lessons…and leaving the baggage” but how do you let the old stuff go? As an adult, I’ve made some dating mistakes, and I’ve found myself in relationships that were beneath me and were contrary to what I know I want and deserve.  Those are mistakes I remember and never want to repeat, so I hold those memories in my head as a reminder not to do the same thing again.  That can be a double-edged sword.  The weight of bad choices and previous dating mistakes can be a heavy burden to carry.   That emotional baggage can weigh you down, and you can find yourself “grounded.”  You can’t fly and soar the “relationship friendly skies” with all that emotional baggage. The fact of the matter is you have to learn how to forgive yourself, let it go and learn to trust yourself and your decisions again. Quite honestly, that is the hardest part of getting rid of emotional baggage.   ( I spoke about removing emotional baggage during my healing series here)  On my dating journey I am learning to be patient, take my time and remain open to the possibilities that love may bring.  However, there are times when the fear creeps back up and I find a reason to take a step back and once again put up a wall around my heart. You don’t forget heartbreak, but you don’t forget what real love feels like either. 

Love…it’s worth the risk? Right?

Am I ready to serve and protect? Maybe…. I just gotta get past the fear first.

Until next time,

Take care of yourself and one another

D. Sanders