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How to Love a King: Lessons from Coretta Scott King


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martin and coretta

Whether you’ve been married for 25 years or you’re jumping back into the dating scene, we can all learn a thing or two (or five) about love. In the Oscar-nominated film, Selma, an impeccably poised, Coretta Scott King, played by Carmen Ejogo, shows us no one knows how to love a king, like a queen.

Here are 5 ways to love selflessly without losing your sense of self. Inspired by the life of Coretta Scott King, respectfully and affectionately referred to below, as “Cory.”

Choose Words Wisely
A wise woman knows when to say what. And Coretta Scott King knows this quite well. Dressed in white lace and pearls, “Cory” (as her husband endearingly calls her) doesn’t rush to respond to an anxious Dr. King, as chatty Cathy’s–you know who you are–sometimes do. Instead, she listens closely, using her words to offer support, not criticism. And she ties a mean tie, to boot. Take notes, ladies. Good love reminds a man just how good he is, all while showing him how irresistible you are.

Hold Down the Home Front
“Cory” is a champion for her children. She understands (instead of underrates) the power she has in holding down the home front. Sure, there are times she longs to be on the front lines marching for the cause. But “Cory” knows her job at home is a critical part of the movement. Remember; sometimes love means positioning yourself where you are needed most. There is power in freeing your partner up to pursue their highest calling.

Get Up, Stand Up
Don’t let the sweet demeanor fool you. Underneath the polished elegance of “Cory” is a fierce woman named Coretta waiting for her moment to fight. She is not afraid to let her husband know, enough is enough. Coretta stands her ground for her children defending their safety while fielding threatening phone calls. As Dr. King waits in jail, she steps in, meeting with mighty men like Malcolm X, brilliantly using her firm, yet gentle speech to gain ground, like only a woman can.

Make Sense of Love
“Cory” shows us, love is in the subtleties. Sensing when your partner is weary, worried, tired or turned on—that’s love. It says, “I know you. I hear you.” In one scene, she plays an X-rated recording that stood to accuse Martin of cheating. In his attempt to deny the charge, “Cory” assures her man, “ I know your voice.” In another scene, Dr. King accuses her of being smitten after meeting with Malcolm X. “You’re tired,” she tells Martin who agrees. It’s not always the grand actions or expressions that say, “I love you.” Sometimes, simply knowing is enough.

It’s Not About You
Love is not about you. Not only did “Cory” know this, she lived it. Her willingness to put her needs and dreams aside for the greater good was enviable. We should all be so lucky to meet someone who makes us say, “you before me.” It’s clear to see why Coretta Scott was the queen to Martin’s king.

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