The room was dimly lit.
There were no cameras; the sea of iPhones swayed left and right as one man stood before a small crowd, with 2020 buzzed on the side of his tight-fade haircut. He wore a desert tan, bulletproof vest with the word “security” written across the front. We were all in for something very different!
From shoes to clothing to 21 Grammy Awards, Kanye West is no slouch when it comes to creativity! He’s helped to design top-ranked hotels, has a deal with Louis Vuitton, and now, a ten-year deal with The Gap.
From God to bashing the Democratic Party with a few words that are not in the Bible, and controversial statements about Harriet Tubman that others have already tackled, Kanye’s rally was definitely a burst of emotion and personal conviction.
It was at this moment, although armored, he let down his guard, and shared how he had almost aborted his daughter. With tears in his eyes, he said, “I almost killed my daughter. I almost killed Nori.”
I was moved with compassion as I realized this is a man who wears his heart on his sleeve. This was both the most powerful, heart-wrenching moment … and possibly the most harmful to his marriage.
This was Kanye being Kanye.
The motive was noble, and the message was pure of spirit, but the method could have been detrimental to Kanye’s relationships. As I watched Kanye share how he could have killed his baby girl, I caught myself thinking, How many times has “Kanye being Kanye” affected his wife, Kim Kardashian, being herself?
Two different worlds
First of all, Kanye and Kim are both innovators, and their constant profile in the public places is an incredible extra pressure that only they can understand. Their backgrounds are unique, and few, if any, can truly grasp their lives. Where much is given, there is much required. Having said that, they are in an incredible place to work through these pressures and impact a generation.
Kim released a great statement reaffirming her unconditional love for Kanye this week. Coming from two different worlds, being in the spotlight, Kim understood where Kanye came from, an inner-city environment without a father figure growing up, dealing with mental illness, and losing his mother in 2007. He’s discovering his identity in Christ, recovering from his own mistakes, and opening his heart to us all.
On the other hand, Kanye needs to understand this principle from my new book, Nasty Gets Us Nowhere: Women and Men Succeeding Together:
Any negative words of humiliation, shame, or public embarrassment are devastating to a woman because they seriously subtract from the approval she desires to have from her husband and family. She will see it as rejection and surmise that she is unloved. Her deepest devotion is to her family; to feel she has failed at securing their love is almost unbearable. If this happens, out of survival, she may harden her heart and turn toward other people or her career for the affirmation and love she seeks. Even worse, she may call it quits on her husband.
Kanye, make a decision that your wife will never want for love or encouragement from you. She will reciprocate with more than you give. Her heart will respond to your words, you will wash away the daily difficulties, and you will become the best of friends.
We've all been there
Disagreements and hurtful words are no rarity for any married couple. It’s just part of the territory of working with someone who has differing opinions trying to succeed together in the same household. Add to the mix a few children, a dog, bills (or $53 million in debt), and life’s pressures, like running for president, and you have a volatile mix.
As a highly creative individual, I can relate. A passionate person, a mother of five, and a businesswoman with my husband for 38 years, I also know what it’s like to face the decision of an abortion.
I was a staunch feminist, indoctrinated into abortion and man-hating by a public education system with an agenda. We’ve all been victimized by the culture. Before you judge Kanye being Kanye, recognize that Kanye almost never was. His father wanted him aborted but his mother, Donda, fought for his life. Kanye’s new album, which releases July 24, is named after her.
Even though I know it was embarrassing for Kim to have Kanye make these statements publicly, it’s to her credit that North is alive today. And although Kanye may not have articulated it to Kim before, I believe he was trying to honor Kim for her decision to save North’s life. Because he didn’t bring her in on his passion and mission before going public, he did what many of us do in marriage: he failed to communicate.
Healing after heartbreak
Many have experienced the hurt that can’t be dismissed by simply saying, “Move on.” Often, we talk about forgiveness like it’s this perfectly wrapped present that we can hand to our offender and then walk away. However, in many situations, forgiveness feels more like a 30,000-pound anchor that we’re trying to pull up by hand from the bottom of the ocean.
I have found that our issues with the opposite sex often stem from deep-seated wounds, memories, and mindsets — things that have become so much a part of who we are that we no longer realize we are still dragging them around. We might wonder why we got so angry when our spouse left toothpaste on the sink, or forgot to take the trash out, or innocently said something we interpreted as a slight, but the answer often lies in our past — that 30,000-pound anchor that has kept our ship grounded for way too long.
I learned the hard way that the only person who stands to lose something when you hold on to bitterness and unforgiveness is you. When you plant your feet into unforgiveness, your life comes to a screeching halt. You begin to circle that situation, and never move forward, experience lasting joy, or live in true freedom.
I want to encourage you — God’s grace is sufficient. It’s not always easy to let go of those seeds of unforgiveness, but it is possible, and it’s so worth it! Jesus willingly gave His life for a world that hated Him, doubted Him, misjudged Him, tortured Him, lied about Him, and crucified Him. Love in its purest form looks a lot like forgiveness.
My message to Kim and Kanye and all married couples is: “Don’t quit. Don’t give up!” There will be times that you disagree and have deep wounds that hurt. Forgive and move forward, keeping your eyes on the bigger picture, knowing that your children are watching and learning from you.
Drenda Keesee has encouraged families and marriages for over 25 years. In her new book, “Nasty Gets Us Nowhere: Women and Men Succeeding Together,” Drenda tackles what men and women need from each other.