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Gospel Rapper Bobby Bishop on Marriage

He shares that marriage is hard work


Bobby Bishop with his wife and daughter

Bobby Bishop with his wife and daughter

Bobby Bishop

Priorities and Putting Others First

Bobby described Jess as someone we should all strive to be like. "Her priorities are simple, and I wish I could view the world like Jessica does. She cares about God, family, and her community. Her own feelings are way down her list. Others’ opinions are unimportant unless they are from well-wishers. Working hard and providing a nurturing environment are her values. Unconditionally love your “people” and drop everything when they are in need. When my dad died, Jess (then my fiancé) was on a plane from LaGuardia within the hour.

The day the otolaryngologist informed me that one of my vocal chords was paralyzed I panicked. No surgery would fix the problem, he had stated, as it had likely been that way my entire life. I had just signed my first national recording contract, thus, I needed my vocal chords to function. Jess refused to allow the disability to inhibit me, and she ensured I made my speech therapy appointments over the next year and learned how to strengthen my other chord. 'Man up,' she said, 'you’ve got two, don’t’ you?'

She’s a prayer warrior, too. I’m not, but I’m working on that. When the finances are tight, she’s praying. When we’ve run out of effective parenting techniques, she’s praying."

Very Much in Love

Bobby Bishop knows that he has a true partner and the love of his life. He solidified that when he said, "I hope I’ve made it evident I’m in love with my wife. I really am. My co-workers rash me about my Irish luck due to our disproportionate beauty. She’s a bombshell, plain and simple. Compatibility and mutual attraction, however, do not compensate for our imperfection as humans, and this results in inevitable conflict in marriage."

Two People Sharing One Life

"Before marriage, I acted on my own will without the need to consult another individual. Once married, your opinion has to be placed on the table with your spouse’s opinion, and a mutual opinion needs to be formulated," Bobby explained. "Sometimes, that just sucks. Ideally, we could live where we are for the rest of our lives and I’d be cool with it. My sisters rent the upstairs apartment from us, and we have a compound of sorts. If they need stuff, they see if we have it, and vice versa. We often eat meals and spend evenings together. Our daughter loves having her “titi’s” upstairs. As materialistic I am, the thought of a single family home with a yard intimidates me due to my weekend travel. I like our compound, and so does Jess. When neighborhood kids stop in our driveway to play with our daughter, I get a charge. I’m thrilled that the concept of “race” has not yet occurred to her, due to her exposure to the world’s diversity represented in our city. As much as we’ve both enjoyed this season, seasons shift, and we know a new one, involving a block with less crime and possibly a single-family home, will eventually arrive.

These are the discussions that define marriage. What are we doing next, and are we both on board with that plan? I’d love to paint a picture of selfless decision-making on my part, but our present situation has everything to do with my own personal aspirations, convictions and self-fulfillment. Sure, I’ve made sacrifices. I’m not that artist living off his wife’s wages, insistent that my “time” is about to arrive as an artist. I spent several years on the road before going to back a day job. My family needed me to. Most of our present situation is my doing, however, and Jessica has trusted me all along."

No Such Thing As Perfect

As good as things are however, no marriage is a totally smooth road with no bumps. Bobby said, "Trust aside, we have frequent disagreements as in any marriage. We’re both stubborn individuals. I take her for granted, too. How could I possibly extend such grace towards complete strangers each day, but gripe about the cat litter and a cluttered refrigerator as soon as my foot steps in the door? Thing is, I know how it is with the three-year-old in the house; she won’t let us do chores. She won’t even let us talk to each other. If we do attempt to have a spousal conversation, our daughter starts throwing stuff at the cat.

Then there is being on the road. I’m not that artist who gets propositioned on a regular basis, despite my frequent travel away from my loved ones. Well, I did get propositioned by a prostitute in front of my house on one occasion, but that was because she mistook me for a wandering John. Jess witnessed the whole incident from our front window. I digress. I set an immediate tone at my concert venues. I discuss my family life openly, pulling out the i-phone pictures of my wife and kid. Opportunities to stray, however, do present themselves from time to time, and I wouldn’t be a man if I didn’t admit that there’s a certain amount of flattery that has to be immediately extinguished. One of my musical heroes recently lost his ministry to an affair, and my first response was “that could have been me. If that man of God cheated, who’s to say I’m immune.” That’s because I’m not immune. I’m a man. Women are beautiful. What we have to be is decisive. I don’t sleep in hotels by myself if I can help it. If I have no choice in the matter, several of my friends are on standby for prayer or to simply distract me from myself. If our walls of protection are low and flimsy, we open ourselves up to vulnerability and that’s when we fail. On the other hand, if we act Pharisaic and become impressed with our holiness, the enemy will inevitably attack. I hate giving Satan credit, but I also know not to throw him an alley-oop.

Seasons change. At the end of our lives, it is our family legacy that is going to be most important to us. To keep that legacy intact needs to be what we fight for the hardest."

Marriage is Hard Work

In closing, Bobby said, "Our marriages are divine. They require flexibility and they require submission. My wife is remarkably forgiving. I knew that first night she agreed to go to Denny’s with me."

The Everyday Man Interviews

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