BlogAn Important Distinction in Many Successful Relationships

July 26, 2010by Frank Love16

Dialogue from Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown

Louis Gara (Robert DeNiro): You trust Melonie around your business?
Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson): She’s trying to play you against me, huh?
Louis: Yeah.
Ordell: See, I knew it. You ain’t have to say nothing, I know that [woman].
Louis: I don’t understand why you keep someone around your business and you can’t even trust them.
Ordell: I ain’t gotta trust her.  I know her.
Louis: I don’t know what that means, man.
Ordell: Well. You can’t trust Melonie.  But you can always trust Melonie to be Melonie.


We cannot expect or demand another person to be any different than what and how we “know” them to be.  Once we have an idea of someone else’s nature, or core personality, which we can get through honest observation of behavior, we know what he or she is likely to do.  Who we know a person to be is not always who we might wish a person to be, and the trick is not to allow love blindness to cloud our vision.

This makes life simple, but it requires a high degree of personal integrity and accountability.  It limits our ability to play victim because someone did something that he or she said she wouldn’t do or that he or she agreed not to do.  The practice of accepting people for who and where they are also increases the need for us to deal with reality, with what is rather than what we want it to be.

In the example above, Ordell wasn’t surprised.  He didn’t attempt to pretend that Melonie could do or be something different than what he knew her to be capable of doing and being.  And so, while he knew he could not trust her with his business, his secure knowledge of her enabled him to take her actions in stride.  She acted in a way that was consistent with his view of her character, exactly as he knew she would.

The foundation of what I am talking about is really personal responsibility, not expectations.  Expect nothing more from people than what you “know” them to be capable of doing as you have observed.

My friend “H” challenged this idea with a scenario of abuse:

Say you are in a relationship with someone you know to be abusive, do you simply expect and accept abuse for the slightest thing, such as leaving the toothpaste uncapped?

This is great example.  The issue is not the toothpaste, it is the history, and what the person being hit “knows” of the person hitting.  If you asked the victim whether the abuser would have reacted violently to leaving the cap off the toothpaste a day before it happened, and the answer is “yes,” then the victim has and had a duty to him or herself to make some adjustment.  Whether the victim realizes it or not, he or she has the power to do what it takes to make that adjustment and cease being victimized, if they have a sincere interest in doing so.  A solution may simply be to leave the relationship.

Do not mistake what I am saying about personal responsibility as justification for abuse, lying, cheating, conniving or other harmful actions.  Was Melonie wrong for plotting to steal Ordell’s money in Jackie Brown?  A case can certainly be made that she was.  But Ordell avoided the victim role altogether when he accepted her as he knew her to be, and he was honest enough with himself to realize that in spite of her flaws, he preferred to have her in his life anyway.

The bottom line is: Be honest enough with yourself to determine whether a person is worth having in your life, in spite of what you already know about them.  Accept the future that you are aware of, in your heart, as though it were the past.  From that perspective, you can determine whether or not you desire any other person to stay in your space.  If the answer is “no,” you have the power to adjust the spacing today.

Keep Rising,

Frank Love

…and please do not multi-task when driving.

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  • Nikki Clark

    July 27, 2010 at 11:23 PM

    True love accepts the person for who they are. It means accepting reality. When you love and accept reality at the same time, you are forced to move on. When you deal with reality and move on without love, you take bitterness with you. When you love without dealing with reality, you hurt yourself. Love the other person, accept reality and pray God for the wisdom and strength you’ll need to do that continuously until it ceases to become a problem. Love conquers all!!!



  • Sonia

    July 28, 2010 at 1:14 AM

    Great entry! What I get is acceptance of who and what a person is rather than denial, and fully trusting what you know from a gut level. It takes a level of maturity to choose to deal clearly with what is and accept it for what it is, rather than deny what you know only to be blindsided (and “victimized”) later. Refusal to deal with what is denies taking responsibility for you want and instead puts the onus on the other person to satisfy your needs. Love the column. Great insight.


  • Melissa

    July 29, 2010 at 7:49 AM

    Boy oh boy… whats a guy or girl to do with ALL those relationship expectations we carry around LOL????!!! Life/love would certainly be lighter if this adjustment can be made in marriages, relationships and friendships. The closest I think that I come to this now in my life is that I pick and choose my battles more wisely which I believe has created a new level of acceptance in many areas.

    This was a good one Frank Love!


    • FrankLove

      July 29, 2010 at 11:52 PM

      I am glad you liked it.


  • Briana

    July 31, 2010 at 4:11 AM

    Frank this was deep. So many relationships continue way past the point where they should’ve ended. I read a post on Urban Belle Magazine, an online magazine for women of color, about how women should stop trying to change the men they’re with (http://www.urbanbellemag.com/2010/07/bad-boys-for-life-men-who-are-set-in.html). You can’t force a successful relationship, but you CAN work towards it. Great post!


  • Spirit

    August 4, 2010 at 12:08 AM

    Hmmmmm……Franky, I must say, this post was somewhat challenging for me at first. I kept thinking “accept” vs “expect”, thin line between creating what you want and settling for what is. My immediate thoughts around holding high expectations and reality creation came into play clashing with accepting what is.

    As I read on I clearly got the context of what you were saying about personal responsibility. The only person one can change is oneself in any relationship.

    Once I got that distinction, I thought about experiencing acceptance as a step prior to setting expectations. Lets take the example of the abuser. You get to accept that the abuser is an abuser on your way to expecting to live a life full of love, joy, and whatever else you desire for yourself.

    Accept the reality of what is as you create expectations for whats next….


    • FrankLove

      August 4, 2010 at 1:25 AM

      : )


  • Massander

    August 4, 2010 at 2:18 PM

    I love this post, bro. You hit the nail on the head. I’ve seen much better results in my life from dealing with reality rather than fantasy. I never realized how much fantasy I operated with until I started to take the time to make this very distinction. Reality can be a painful wake-up call if you aren’t willing to look at it for what it is.


  • Forex News

    August 8, 2010 at 6:15 PM

    I truly don’t understand why anyone would disagree with that. I think that sounds like it is something to look a lot more closely at. I feel sometimes alot of individuals can be fairly narrow minded when it arrives that. Well thats all for now, appear forward to a lot more post and information.. Talk to you men later. “As in life, Chill for greatest results”


  • You Cannot Trust Your Man | Frank Love

    September 5, 2010 at 6:22 PM

    […] “How Can You Trust Your Man,” my colleague Mrs. Stevens asks.  You can’t.   You and your mate have history. You already know too much for “trust.” You can, however, commit to getting to know him and developing a certain set of beliefs about him.  It is a natural progression that follows interaction and history.  And based on this knowledge, your understanding of him may lead you to be correct about his intent and or behavior and even predict his actions. If you’re lucky, knowledge may lead to an affinity, or it may inspire disdain or something else, all of which may change over time. You may not be able to trust him, but you can trust him to be himself. […]


  • t-

    October 28, 2010 at 9:52 AM

    Great post. Do you guys know Joyce Meyers? She is a woman evangelist who was sexually abused by her father and other men. She had a very bad first marriage and she divorced and remarried to Dave. Boy did you have a testimony and know great ministry to help a lot of people to be healed from being a victim and a victimizer. Lord, after being abused sexually by her father from 12-18 years old, she said that God placed on her heart to take care of her family after you have become comfortably established. Rewind back to meeting Dave, in all of this transformation Joyce Meyers went through, she speaks about how she gave Dave hell through manipulation, anger, hate and verbal abuse. She said that Dave remained hopeful and positive through it all. In his meekness and ascertainity, he lived a life strong for Joyce to become the person she is today. It is amazing. It just shows how God uses people, of course, not everyone will even touch the life that Joyce had but she is a living proof of healing through the abuse. It just takes one person to be strong and committed in a relationship. If you show love, in God’s appointed time, you will receive it. Never become faint at the efforts of living righteously, you will receive the desires of your heart. Proverbs 20:4 says Proverbs 20:

    4 A sluggard does not plow in season;
    so at harvest time he looks but finds nothing. As the biblical passage states, you get nothing for the efforts of nothing you put in. God promised us the desires of our heart as a result of our obedience to him. We got to stop trusting our man and trusting the God that gave life to our man. In do season, it will all be worth it. This is a time in my life that I am examining who I am, my worth, the definition of true love and what my expectations are. It is ok, because if you haven’t been taught these things, you can’t be held accountable, but when you learn, you no longer can live as a victim, you must focus on doing what is right for you to become empowered and you do not have to wait until the victimizer grows weary but as soon as you get the strength to say no more that you will become the deliverer of your own struggles. Life becomes easy when you realize all your answers are right before you at arms reach.


  • Kit Schoenberg

    November 18, 2010 at 4:53 PM

    I will quite simply state you come up with a few excellent ideas and I will submit a variety of thoughts to add to soon.


  • Chong Minnehan

    March 1, 2011 at 10:17 AM

    I just wanted to comment and say that I really enjoyed reading your blog post here. It was very informative and I also digg the way you write! Keep it up and I’ll be back to read more in the future


  • […] wanted to stand up and applaud. Admittedly, I have covered this topic in the past (see “An Important Distinction in Many Successful Relationships“), but Katie’s answer was so inspirational that I feel this issue is worth […]


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