Black Love: Season 3, Episode 6 “Beneath The Surface” – Recap, Review (with Spoilers)

Title Card - Black Love Season 3, Episode 6 “Beneath The Surface”
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Boundaries and precedents, which can affect a person’s marriage, are discussed as three new couples add their story into the mix.


Network
OWN
Director(s) Codie Elaine Oliver
Writer(s) N/A
Air Date 11/15
Introduced This Episode
Himself Mykelti Williamson
Herself Sondra Spriggs
Herself Karli Harvey
Himself Ben Raymond
Herself Brandi Sellerz-Jackson
Himself Jon Sellerz-Jackson

Recap

Don’t Keep Things On A Need To Know Basis: Mykelti, Sondra

Mykelti Williamson and Sondra Spriggs talking.
Mykelti Williamson and Sondra Spriggs

While some say a air of mystery helps things, maybe to not give every little bit of yourself away, after 20 some odd years, any and all secrets more so eat away at a marriage than help it flourish. Which isn’t to say Mykelti kept from his wife of 22 years he was molested that long, but likely for longer than he should.

Why? Well, because the way he handled it was in ways that could have sowed insecurity or mistrust. By Mykelti’s word, if triggered, he’d go for multi-hour drives to get into the right headspace and wouldn’t tell Sondra. In fact, to make things worse, usually he’d go to the store when it happened, and we’ve all heard that story of, “I’m going for a pack of cigarettes” and the man never returning home.

So, the lesson here is: If you have trauma which could negatively affect your relationship, your marriage, speak on it, get therapy, don’t let something which happened in the past dictate the success of your future.

Setting Boundaries and Expectations: Jon, Brandi, Kevin, Melissa

Brandi Sellerz-Jackson and Jon Sellerz-Jackson having a conversation.
Brandi Sellerz-Jackson and Jon Sellerz-Jackson

Most of the people on this show are either entertainers or in fields which require them to network and socialize. The problem with that is, it means setting certain boundaries. As Melissa has noted before, one of the past issues in her relationship with Kevin is making sure something is still left for her. But in the past, before iPhones took over the prestige BlackBerry phones had, Kevin had a slip.

Now, let’s note this slip wasn’t cheating, in the physical sense, but perhaps emotional. At least it was appearing that way to Melissa who, after giving birth and her parents’ divorce, was in the headspace of thinking anything could and would happen. Making her husband text a woman from high school, who had the audacity to text about not getting a “Good Morning” text, a serious red flag.

Yet, it isn’t just Kevin who formerly had a boundary or issue of expectations. Jon and Brandi had a problem, many years back, before Jon made it big in music, of sometimes hanging with women Brandi didn’t know and even, one time, being out all night without a phone call. Now, while Brandi wasn’t going through what Melissa was, she is still a woman, so there questions that were popping into her head. Then, add on she is a Black woman married to a Black man, and you can understand her fear that something happened without her knowing.

The combination of these stories really pushes you to think that, while your partner can romantically be your everything, it isn’t realistic for them to be your everything in regards to friendship as well. So while you should have friends, be aware of the person you committed yourself to while communicating or spending time with said friends.

The Parental Precedent: Karli, Ben, Salli, Dondré, Tommi, LeToya, Kevin, Melissa

Karli Harvey and Ben Raymond talking about their marriage.
Karli Harvey and Ben Raymond

It really can’t be understated how much your parents do around you, or their absence can influence your future relationships. For Dondré, taking note of his father’s actions helped him understand the difference between love and lust. Ben growing up in the foster system pushed him to want stability, and Karli’s dad on the road, doing comedy, also pushed ideas of how things should be in her head.

However, the two major ones are LeToya and Melissa. When it comes to LeToya, she explains when her parents divorced when she was around 10, she was clued into it far more than most children. She was aware her father cheated, and that didn’t make her cautious in relationships but did make it so she didn’t grow up with some fairy tale idea of love. But, also, as an adult, when she asked her dad why he cheated, it seemed to have led to her allowing him some sense of humanity. Now, I won’t say that extended to dudes who have a history of cheating who weren’t her father, but the conversation did give her perspective.

Switching to Melissa, with parents who were saved and very involved with the church, their divorce, later in Melissa’s life, was a sledgehammer to her foundation. For, like many kids, you get so invested in your parents’ life just because of years spent together, it makes their pain something you take on. If not, the pain of losing a constant in your life.

This is why the divorce, in the beginning, sent Melissa into a spiral. One that, paired with giving birth and Kevin’s job, didn’t necessarily lead to threats of divorce but did call for hard conversations. The kind that would require counseling and confronting the fact that Melissa’s future isn’t dictated by her parents’ decisions. At least, in terms of her being fated to repeat their trajectory.

Thus leading to her, as LeToya did with her dad, confront the question of, “What happened and why?” To which Melissa’s mom replied that she let a lot of things go by to the point where they just became a standard. And after being tired of hoping Melissa’s father would make an effort, ask her on a date, or do something else she wanted, she decided enough was enough. So, Melissa learned to speak up for herself because, otherwise, Kevin could think all is well and good and then if, years, or decades later, Melissa says something, it’ll be that much harder to constructively deal with the issue rather than present it as an attack or ultimatum.

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

You can love one and lust after many.
— Dondré

Most people change partners because they don’t want to change themselves.
— Dondré

Review

Highlights

Dondré and Salli

At this point, if you want to talk about consistent gem dropping, look no further than this couple. For nearly every topic this season, they were the ones with the best segment and would have you taking notes. This isn’t to say they seem perfect, but a lot of their agreements on marriage and parenting make sense and seem to be both open and well thought out.

Understanding Precedent & Generational Curses

When you know better you do better is a very true saying, and when it comes to relationships, as shown by these couples, what you do is either repeat what your parents did or try to avoid it. Yet, avoiding something isn’t dealing with it, and as much as you may run from those who seem like cheaters, folks bad with money, what have you, unfinished business always comes back to haunt you.

So people owning how the precedents set messed them up in different ways, from Melissa to Jon, who formerly played down how his parents may have affected his marriage, helps you understand how a marriage might be between two people, but it is influenced by dozens or more. Making it so you have to understand the influences, tackle them, and learn to work with the ones which can’t be talked out.

 

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