Devoted Couple's Commitment Declaration

Yolanda Whittington, one of the co-founders of United Lesbians of African Heritage (ULOAH), recently facilitated a workshop at SISTAHfest entitled: "Sweet Honey in the Rock: A Devoted Couple's Committed Declaration." The purpose of this workshop was to break through the walls and barriers that Black women use to protect themselves from emotional despair but also prevent them from having mutual healthy, loving relationships. Workshop participants took a novel approach to discussing relationships; they decided to focus on individual behavior in relationships. They focused on "I" or "me". How do "I" deal with conflict? What can "I" do to have a quality, loving, respectful relationship?

From this discussion came the Devoted Couple's Commitment Declaration:

  1. I will accept where I am on my journey as a Black Lesbian and I will honor where you are on yours.
  2. I will listen without expectations or preconceived notions and ask for clarification by acknowledging my love for you.
  3. I will commit myself to developing a wholesome relationship with our families.
  4. I will honor you in the presence of my family and loved ones.
  5. I will respect your need for time and space and be okay with it.
  6. I will honor and respect you by listening with a nurturing ear and an open heart.
  7. I will own my "own" thoughts and feelngs.
  8. I will be open to all forms of self-expression and open to change and growth.
  9. I will challenge my community on homophobic behavior.
  10. I will be strong and expressively true with my feelings without keeping secrets.
  11. I accept that money is an important component in our relationship and I will honestly address any financial concerns.
  12. I will be sensitive to your needs for having outside friendships and I will understand that it will not take anything away from our commitment to each other.
  13. I will honor my spiritual journey and yours.
  14. I will acknowledge my vulnerability and fear of being hurt but I will take the emotional risk to trust you.
  15. I understand that our past life experiences have made us who we are today and contributes to our mutual growth.
  16. Will you love me as I work to achieve these commitments?

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