WOW! Who would have thought two silly kids from different worlds would date in high school, break up a hundred times only to get back together days/weeks/months later and end up married on the same day as their first date 11 years later. Then you throw in 3 beautiful kids and 7 years on this crazy ride we call marriage, and you get my current world.
To all my single ladies, getting married may seem like the hard part right now, but staying married is what’s most difficult. Today is our anniversary… 7 years married, 18 years together. I can’t begin to tell you how hard the first couple of years were for us. We fought consistently, judged each other, did not communicate properly, made multiple stupid mistakes and headed down a path that would have eventually caused us to get divorced.
Ironic as it may sound, I am so grateful that we went through those hard times because it made me stronger as a woman and as a wife. The pain we encountered helped mold our marriage into the bliss we experience today. It also showed us what we can and cannot tolerate of each other.
As you can see, I am not the person that will sit and tell you “marriage is perfect and will be so easy as long as you love your spouse.” That’s what my family and friends that were married all told me when I walked into it. I wish someone had kept it real and said “HONEY IT’S WORK... you want it to be perfect… you need to work hard for it.” So I’m going to be that person for you!
Love is amazing, but love alone cannot sustain your marriage. We put work into our relationship; we dedicate time, effort, love, and patience every day to make it last. You need to trust your partner and know that he/she has your best interest at heart.
1. Forgive Mistakes — No one is perfect, we all make mistakes and need forgiveness. Your partner will always annoy you with certain issues, but the best thing you can do for anyone you love is forgive. When Bini makes me mad, I try to think of it like this: If God can forgive us and sent his only son to free us from our sins, then who am I to hold grudges and build hate for the man I love (I know… I went all Bible on you guys, but stick with me here).
2. Communicate — You need to talk to each other. Your partner cannot read your mind; he will not know what you feel unless you talk about it. The flip to this is to Listen. Actually, listen to one another. Ask questions, be involved in each other’s daily lives, call just to say “hello… I miss you”. A little attention can go a long way.
3. Spend time together without the kids — Remember your spouse came before the children did and he will be there after the children leave the house. Date nights are key for us. I love getting dressed up and going out with Bini. It makes me feel sexy and reminds us how much fun we have together. We recently just went to Antigua together without the kids and had a blast. This keeps your marriage alive and healthy.
4. Acceptance — This was the hardest one for me… accepting that certain flaws are just part of who Bini is. I kept trying to change him which always backfired on me. When I finally realized I was going about it the wrong way, I decided to change my approach and just accept him for who he was and things were so much easier from then on. Acceptance is understanding that your partner has flaws and still appreciating him for the things he does well, instead of nagging about the things he doesn’t.
5. Never go to bed upset — Arguments are bound to happen in any relationship, but by going to bed upset, you are allowing your pride and stubbornness to get the best of you. This also creates a wall barrier overnight between you and your partner that divides you as a couple and only increases as the silence grows. One of you will eventually speak up and discuss the issue, so why not do it the day it happens and go to sleep peacefully.
6. Intimacy — Kissing, holding hands, making love - Human touch is a need more than a want for all of us. It makes us feel secure and loved. It tightens the bond between you and your partner and ensures you both, that whatever is going on, you will overcome it together. These are the unspoken words that speak for themselves- loud and proud. Intimacy is also about making love- breathtaking experience, fun, romantic and just sends positive vibes all around. Always helps build up your relationship.
7. Take Care of Yourself — Don’t lose the person you were before marriage. Hold on to her. Be healthy, empowered, and vibrant. Know your flaws, no matter what they are and work on them. Taking care of your mind, body and soul makes you a better partner, because without caring for yourself, how can you care for him.
Finally, just enjoy it! Enjoy every minute of each other, of your children, of your life- regardless of where you are in life. Our time is limited so why not make the most out of what we have.
As always, I’d love to hear how you make your marriage work.