He Said💁🏾‍♂️:

The word ‘Sacrifice’ has many meanings, but I’ll tell you what it means to me as it pertains to love, specifically mine. Sacrifice to me is giving parts of you to someone you love that you’ve never given to anyone else. It means allowing someone to get to know you so well, they open parts of you, some even YOU never knew existed! Sacrifice is going without, in order for your loved one to have exactly what it is they need! Being a husband in prison I can only imagine the magnitude of what my wife sacrifices on account of me. Even though we’ve had in depth conversations about it before we got to this point, it still pains me to be hindered in my ability to reciprocate these sacrifices, so I overcompensate where I can, while putting plans in place to show and prove once the time arrives.

Being stripped down to bare necessities, there aren’t too many material things for me to sacrifice, but there are some things I’ve made SURE to concern myself with, so that the sacrifices my wife make aren’t in vain. One being her peace of mind first and foremost. No person wants to put their life on hold for someone and be uncertain as to whether this person is not only truly about them, but cares enough to make sure he/she knows that you aren’t with the bullshit! Bullshit being visits from other women, phone calls, extra charges for doing goofy shit- anything that interferes with the balance of our relationship. When Hadiyya came back into my life she wasn’t yet my wife(of course), nor my woman… just a friend. A true friend I might add, but I respected her as a person, and wherever our reunion lead us, I wouldn’t treat her like just another female. I knew and finally understood the worth of the woman sitting across from me, and I didn’t wanna let her get away again. Again you ask? Well, my Queen and I initially met some 16 years ago and I knew her worth then, but I was too young and dumb to appreciate it, and selfishly I broke her heart in the worst way. So, you can imagine my surprise all these years later, all this life lived, and lessons learned and here she comes walking back into my life on her own accord. This was my shot!….It IS my shot, continuously to sacrifice my pride and ego (and sometimes my sanity lol) in order to constantly win her heart. Allah doesn’t give a person like me a second shot with a woman like this, so I took this as a special blessing.

Now I know some of you think “damn, that easy?” No, it took alot of introspection and bravery to be able to give her all my truths without sugar coating or romanticizing anything. Putting myself in a position to be accepted or rejected based solely on who I am as a man. Not holding anything back, and giving her every single part of me, allowed her to decide confidently as to whether or not I was worth the sacrifices she’d have to make …. without fear, or second guessing herself, or my intentions, she chose me. As such, I am compelled to love this woman passionately, unyielding, and on purpose every single day, not solely because its the right thing to do, but because she deserves it without a shadow of doubt! Despite a painful past, we are now intertwined in a way no amount of effort could reverse. And if Allah wills it, we will continue making beautiful memories with, and meaningful sacrifices for each other, for however long we have air in our lungs…Ameen.

She said💁🏾‍♀️:

I’d have to agree with the man’s definition of what it means to sacrifice. Over the past 2+ years I’ve become very familiar with sacrifices of all kinds. And while I do appreciate the extra effort my husband puts into making me smile, and making me feel secure, the truth of the matter is despite how fast our love and relationship evolved, we planned this “peace” we have. WE made sure my confidence in choosing him would always be at an all time high. This is why it’s imperative to KNOW WHO YOU’RE WAITING FOR! The last thing you want to do is hold out for someone who doesn’t know your worth and refuses to acknowledge your dedication to them.

Sometimes I jokingly suggest one of the good Muslim brothers inside when I hear females complain, or speak on being single, but the truth of the matter is I’d never seriously take on the task of recruiting someone into this life. The main reason being that I can’t vouch for the character of any man in prison except the one I married. Plain and simple. For those who’ve been around for a while, you know how it goes. But for those who are “new” or are considering getting serious with that pen pal you met or an old flame, my best advice is to get familiar with sacrifices, because there are MANY that await you. Being involved with a prisoner, is one of those situations where the term “love ain’t enough” definitely applies, because it isn’t, it takes tremendous strength on your part and even more effort on theirs. You will need WAY MORE than butterflies in your stomach and a warm fuzzy feeling on your skin to push through, whether you’re waiting 20 months, 20 years or 20 to life. From something as simple as having to carry grocery bags in the house alone, to something as complicated as deciding how to explain your toddler that daddy is on a “grown up time out,” the void left by having an incarcerated spouse, will be felt in every area of your life.

In conversations, I get the feeling that some ladies try to shelter their men from the burden of their sacrifices, or downplay them as a way of not “adding stress” to their man’s already stressful situation. And while I understand the logic behind it – and even find myself tryna decide if I should share certain things with my husband or not, 10 times out of 10 I’ll tell him. And I do so because the same way I made the decision to take on him and all that comes with this type of relationship, he also made a decision to do the same. To be a partner, a confidant, friend, cheerleader, psychologist, …..a husband, so even if it will “stress” him to know certain things, I let him do the job he signed up for; when it’s good and when it’s bad.

My purpose is not to scare anyone away from following what their heart is telling them to do, just don’t be ignorant about it. Realistically there are things you will miss, miss out on or go without altogether; Sacrifices. So just think it through before you put yourself in such a trying position for someone you’re not sure about. Have those difficult conversations (early and often) with whoever you’re waiting for and if you’re not 110% sure of their sincerity, walk away. Your time and your life is much too precious to set aside for anything, let alone a lukewarm love, or a “kinda sorta” certainty about the future with someone. If you do decide to go forward, take your brain with you and make sure the magnitude of the love you’re holding out for, comes as close as possible to the magnitude of the sacrifices you’re about to make.❤

To make this more realistic, I’ve enlisted the help of my #DUWOPz sisters to share some of the things they’ve sacrificed for their relationships, as well as some things they’ve gained(because it’s not ALL bad).

THING I’VE SACRIFICED:

Time, money, sex, physical contact, help with bills, companionship, back rubs, intimacy, free weekends, bonding, shared family responsibilities, attention, consistency, a whole lot, family vacations, everything, traveling 1000 miles round trip to visit once a month, snuggles, having babies right now, having my family at my wedding, a honeymoon, holidays/birthdays/anniversaries, relationships with friends/family that don’t agree with my decision …….

THINGS I’VE GAINED/LEARNED:

Patience, weight, confidence, self-esteem, love, happiness, someone to trust, understanding of this crooked [justice]system, self love, the practice of closing doors, the art of communication, how to be alone, how to do law research, how to fall in love without sex, a headache(lol), understanding, knowledge, appreciation of my man/relationship, how to roll with the punches, knowledge about the prison system, compassion, thick skin, learned to speak up, learned that I’m not as perfect as I think I am, strengthen faith, sisterhood, inspiration ……..

xo Mr. & Mrs. Strib🖤