One of my favorite meals is an 8 ounce filet mignon, at medium temperature, with a signature “Chop Salad” from Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. On the other hand, Jael would rather just swing by P.F. Chang’s and dine on Hot and Sour Soup and Mongolian Beef.
Furthermore, I prefer Coke products and Jael prefers Pepsi products. So, where am I going with this?
I’m simply illustrating that people can get along great and have different preferences – even if those different preferences start out as different opinions on relaxed vs. natural hair.
Let’s face it; some men struggle with their wife’s decision to go natural.
For the female, going natural – by itself – can be very taxing mentally. However, telling your spouse that you’ve decided to go natural can be even more difficult. Especially, when it’s done at the wrong time or simply done incorrectly. That’s when things can really go downhill quickly.
I’ve heard several women mention how they didn’t receive the support that they wanted or deserved when they initially decided to go natural. Maybe their husband or boyfriend didn’t care for natural hair. Maybe it was your mother or another family member who caused you undue stress because you decided to stop getting relaxers.
If you’re planning to go natural soon, currently transitioning from relaxed to natural hair or just recently big chopped, there are some very specific steps that you can take to mitigate the undue stress of loved ones not accepting your decision to go natural.
The real difficulty that many females face, when they decide to go natural, is that it’s hard to deliver the news to a loved one when you’re expecting to receive a negative reaction. If you begin to feel angst about delivering the news because you’re anticipating what they may say, it’s important to follow these steps to mitigate conflict.
Step 1: Make sure you’re comfortable with your decision before you tell someone else who may disagree with your decision. Going natural can be a shock to your family and friends, but mentally it can also be a shock to the individual who has decided to go natural. Make sure you’re comfortable with your decision before you decide to tell anyone else that you’re going natural – especially if they may disagree with your decision. It’s easy to be persuaded into changing your mind if you’re not 100% confident that you really want to move forward with this decision.
Step 2: Anticipate how your spouse will feel about your decision prior to delivering the news and practice what you’re going to say. This step is very important because you’ll need to craft your message specifically for the person that you’re delivering the news to. If you actually follow this step, you will have formulated exactly what you plan to say to your spouse when you share the news. It’s important to note that you may have to respond to your spouse’s cues.
Step 3: Be sure that you choose a location that is private and comfortable to break the news. If you request to speak to your spouse in private, they may initially feel like they’re about to receive some “bad” news. This can actually work in your favor, because typically if people know bad news is coming they will brace themselves for the blow. After they hear that you’re going natural and it’s nothing bad, they may actually be relieved that it wasn’t something much worse. Be sure to choose a place where you have a low likelihood of being interrupted by someone and don’t forget to turn off all electronic devices – like cell phones, radios and televisions.
Step 4: Choose the appropriate time to share the news. Once you’ve made the decision to go natural, you may be really excited about the months to come. However, it’s important to make sure that your spouse is ready to listen and be receptive to your decision. Timing is important and can make a world of difference in how they take the news that you’re going natural. For example, don’t tell your husband that you’ve decided to go natural right as he walks in the door from a long day at work.
Step 5: Focus on clear communication while delivering the news to your spouse. The words that you use and the style of your delivery are critical. Don’t beat around the bush, get right to the point – believe it or not, this generally works best. Look your spouse straight in the eyes and calmly tell them that you’re going natural and explain what it means to you as an individual. As you speak, be sure to respond positively to any negative emotions that you receive from your spouse. Simply explain your point of view, give them time to accept the news and plan for next steps as needed.
If you need assistance on specifically what to say, you can use transition phrases when communicating. An example of that communication style is as follows: “I’ve been dealing with a burning scalp and the sores that come with getting relaxers for many years…and because I’m tired of putting myself through that torture, I’ve decided to go natural and not get relaxers anymore.”
If necessary, continue to explain your decision and as you narrate through the various struggles that you encountered during your years of getting relaxers, be sure to react to any emotions from your spouse in a positive manner – by acknowledging their objection and specifically addressing them.
Here are some final tips:
- Sometimes follow up actions can prevent the situation from getting out of hand. If your spouse needs more time to completely understand your decision, then afford them that time. When the time is right and they’re ready to talk, be prepared to discuss the situation in more detail.
- If your spouse gets mad or makes some unsuspected comment, remain calm. It’s important to listen to your spouse’s comments and legitimize their emotions. Be sure that you don’t get emotional yourself.
- Be clear with your spouse, explain what will happen next and allow them to participate in your natural hair journey with you. If you plan to big chop, ask your spouse if they would like to help you cut your hair. If you allow them to participate, they will feel more connected to you and your decision to go natural.