Celebrating 30 Years of Pure Love!

Friendship. Dating. Relationships. Marriage. Their depth and meaning seem unrelated to when I met my husband 36 years ago.

Cell phones, smartphones, social media, dating websites, and the internet–they did not exist nor did they complicate or interfere in relationships.  Lives were more private.  Sharing too much (or any) personal information was taboo.   You only knew what others told you.  It was up to you to believe the story.

Weddings were less constructive but still intimate.  Today the process, even leading up to the big day is a professional production that costs thousands of dollars. The average cost of a wedding has skyrocketed.

To be honest with you, I often wonder who is the production for?  Is it for bragging rights and to galvanize wedding guests? Is the goal to outdo other couples?

The more important question I ask is, are the bride and groom willing to commit to the grit and tenacity needed to sustain a long-term relationship? Further discussions for the bride and groom are:

  1. What do you know about your partner/bride/groom’s family history? Have you met their family?  Do family values align? Do you like your partner’s family?
  2. What are your values? You must know know values before you can question his/hers.
  3. Do you want children?  Does your mate want children? If so, how many?
  4. Do you agree on the choice to have or not to have children and if not, are you willing to accept it?  Can you both accept opposing views on children? Note: You can’t change him/her!
  5. If you chose to have children, will they attend private school, public school, boarding school, or will the child(ren) be homeschooled?
  6. How will the children be disciplined?
  7. What do you believe about religion?
  8. Is your partner an atheist or agnostic? Do they believe in God, Allah, Buddha, or another higher power? How will the kids be raised?
  9. Where will you live? Close to family or away? City or suburbs?
  10. Will both of you work?  Who earns more money? Does it matter who’s salary is greater?
  11. Is one person’s career more important than the other?
  12. Is anyone bring debt to the relationship?  Who and how much?
  13. . Do you know your credit score? How about your son-to-be’s score?
  14. Do they have a child or children from a previous relationship?
  15. Child support?  Alimony? How much?
  16. What do you know about their health? Are there family health issues that you should know about?
  17. What are their personal and professional goals?
  18. What motivates them? What motives you?
  19. Did previous relationships/marriage fail? Why? Cheating? Adultery?
  20. What do you know about yourself and your personality type? Are you an introvert or extrovert? What about your partner?
  21. What does forgiveness mean to you?
  22. What do sex and intimacy mean to you? What does sex mean to your partner?  Do you like it? Does your partner like it? What are their sexual expectations? Do they align with yours? As my cousin says, “All sex ain’t good sex!”
  23. What are your attitudes toward money?
  24. Who will cook, clean, grocery shop, and handle finances?
  25. Will you have separate or joint bank accounts?

I have known many marriages to end over some of the above issues.

My husband and I met at ages 17 & 19.  We talked about many topics on the list but not everything and struggled with other issues.

Thanks to God, luck, maturity, and a handful smart folks around us, today we celebrate 30 years of marriage. The years were good. On a few occasions, I felt like we were drifting apart; however, before we stayed too far, we got back on track. When your mate is oblivious to trouble in paradise, you gotta let them know and visa verse.

Situations that sent me into a tirade years ago I now laugh at. No longer do I sweat the dumb shit. I’ve learned to say fuck it and move on and without the attitude.  I see my husband for whom he is not whom I want him to be.  I’ve accepted the good, bad, ugly, and the wonderful and the same for him.

Due to a health scare, nearly two weeks ago, I thought I was going to lose him forever. Our relationship passed before my eyes. Loss of our friendship and the thought of not making love to him one last time freaked me out. I had to remind myself to breathe and to think.

If have been married for any length of time, you know that marriage is a full-time job. Please feel free to comment and fill in the cracks where I missed.

If you are a newbie to the game, you might want to save this post and reread it and again and assess where you are in your marriage. If you are in a relationship and are pondering marriage, print out the list of questions and begin your work.

I can endlessly talk and write about marriage and relationships. My chatter about marriage is not to boast, because some marriages survive 30 years but demise before or after 40. You’re never safe in the marriage game. My ramblings are to help others.

Marriages are rarely given the chance. Couples give up on their marriages too soon and in some cases they give up because they never really knew the other. The fakeness of the honeymoon stage have couples trippin’ over stuff that ain’t real. In other cases, the signs are present in the person, but the partner either sees the behavior as cute or something they think they can change. Nope! The marriage takes place and ish begins to jump off.

We celebrate our 30 years by relaxing on the beach. We both enjoy the beach and never bought into what you’re “supposed” to do on specific anniversary date. We think of today and our four-day getaway as wellness days for our marriage.

Today I also give thanks to God for bringing us through teen-hood to full-fledge adulthood. Our friendship spans 36-years and for that I am grateful.

Happy Anniversary to us! 🙂

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Happily Hitched For 27 Years!

Twenty-seven years ago, the statistics were stacked against our marital endeavors.  In fact, according to a 1988 report, the year we married,

43% of marriages [will] end in divorce.

Well guess what baby? We. Are. Still. Married.   Barring any dumb ass mid-life crises on either of our parts and God’s will and grace, we are on track to celebrate the BIG 30! I guess we blew the statisticians’ numbers out the window. :0) Heeeeey!

I feel like someone held down the fast forward button in our life as the years have passed seemingly quickly.

Although both of our parents had “successful” marriages that lived up to the vow of “..till death do us part; however, my parents’ marriage was far from what any marriage counselor would identify as functional.  I have no doubts they loved each other dearly, but damn it, they had a funky way of showing it. Oh, the memories! Lol!

After five years of good friendship, we married. In total we’ve been buddies for 32 years and still do mostly everything together.

At 23 years old, I tenderly recited traditional wedding vows, excluding the “obey” part, but I had no idea of what it meant.

Tanya, will you have this man to be your lawful wedded husband, to live together after God s ordinance in the Holy Estate of Matrimony? Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others keep you only unto him as long as you both shall live?
I Tanya take thee, James to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish forever, according to God s Holy Ordinance, and thereto I give thee my pledge.

Two kids later, the death of parents, several careers for me, selling and buying homes, few lows and many highs, I understand the full scope of our vows.

If you’re lucky, with age comes wisdom and I’ve learned many lessons. The last two anniversaries, I shared 25 & 26 lessons I learned from marriage. They’re well worth the read, check them out below:

Celebrating 26 Years of Marital Lessons


25 Years Going Strong

Like any relationship, marriage has its ups and downs. Thank God we’ve shared more ups than downs.

Does he get on my damn nerves sometimes? Yup! Do I get oh his nerves sometimes? Heck yeah!

When you get down to the nitty-gritty, it is the basic principles that make a marriage work.

We fight (though rarely) clean… NEVER do we engage in name calling… always in private… never in front of anyone, including our children.  Respect is at the top of the list… we give it so we can receive it.

Would I marry Big Daddy again?  Absolutely!!! Lol! :0)  Here are 27 reasons why I’d marry hubby again:

  1. He loves me for who I am
  2. He is kind
  3. He gets along well with my mom (better than me)
  4. He doesn’t anger easily
  5. His sense of humor
  6. He dances with me, even when he doesn’t feel like it :0)
  7. He dances with me but HATES dancing
  8. He smiles a lot (like me)
  9. He is a great father
  10. He spoils our kids
  11. He spoils me
  12. He LOVES his career
  13. Makes a good bed
  14. He cleans a house well
  15. He supported me through school
  16. He encourages me
  17. He respects me
  18. He respects women
  19. He is ALWAYS there for me
  20. I can ALWAYS count on him
  21. He is consistent
  22. He treated his mother VERY well
  23. He was a good son (to both parents)
  24. He provides WELL for his family
  25. He is selfless
  26. He embraced my crazy (handful) of friends
  27. He is forgiving

Happy 27th Anniversary Sweets!! 

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Celebrating 26 Years of Marital Lessons

This is a revised post from last year.  A follower suggested that I expand on each lesson, so throughout the month of June, I will elaborate.

Twenty-six years ago, June 4, 1988, 3:10 p.m. I walked down the aisle of Second Baptist Church In Atlantic City, New Jersey to exchange wedding vows with hubby.

Not one clue did I have about the amount of patience, love, sacrifice, commitment, and dedication needed to sustain 25 years of marriage and 30 years of friendship.

The one thing I knew for sure was that I deeply loved him and wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. How that would occur was a mystery that I would later sort through.

My father-in-law performed the ceremony, which made the day even more special. Although Reverend Cain died in 2003, the blessings he bestowed upon our marriage is still present today.

We were young and naïve but very committed to respecting and loving the other. I the extrovert; a crazy out going and out spoken hot-head. The contrast was my laid back introverted husband who internalized and mulled over everything before speaking. Talk about a contrast! I have wondered, “How on earth did it work?” Maturity, time, prayer, maturity, time, and more prayer helped immensely. I learned to speak less; he learned to speak more. Somehow we found a solid balance.

While I cannot speak for hubby, the past 25 years has been an enlightening journey for me. A personal journey that included bumps , bruises, detours, and exciting discoveries. Childhood relationships with my parents and between my mom and dad affected my relationship with my husband with great surprise. I saw glimpses of characteristics that I liked and that I disliked. The realization that I, and only I was empowered to make changes about myself that needed to be made was a relief. Cycles… some are meant to be broken. The fact is that we don’t have to repeat what has been done before us. Some family traditions should end.

Sadly, I closely witnessed the shattering of too many marriages. I have never judged other marriages or thought that my marriage was better than another. I did, however, extract the lessons that I could from the failed marriages around me. So often spouses point the finger of blame, but don’t ask what did they bring to the table. In turn, my reality check is to stare in the mirror and ask, how am I doing? Do I need to make adjustments? Have I fallen off course?

Sometimes there are issues that exist within me, which require me to adjust and make changes. Other times, the pulse of our marriage needs adjusting– I think of it (the pulse) as a heart rate– Neither too fast or too slow is not good. I strongly believe that at least one person in every relationship, should have their finger on the pulse of the relationship at all times. The pulse being, the pace and mode of the relationship. Is it steady? Is it regular? How’s the vibe? Is it positive? Do things feel out of sync? They are just questions that have worked for me.

My point is that marriage is not easy. Point blank, it is hard work and by no means do I claim to be an expert. We’ve been blessed for 25 years and I hope and pray that we are blessed we a good 25 more years. While reflecting on the years, I came up with many lessons that I have personally learned. While this list could be longer, I dedicated one lesson for each year of our happy marriage.

Lessons I learned from 26 years of marriage:

  1. I learned that speaking my raw opinion, without considering hubby’s feelings was inconsiderate and to think before I speak.
  2. I learned that no matter how “I preferred” he do things, hubby is entitled and will do things the way he chooses to.
  3. I learned that I can only change and improve myself and that’s what I ought to work on.
  4. I learned that when you marry your spouse, you also marry your in-laws.
  5. I learned that just because you create babies together, doesn’t mean you will share beliefs on how to raise them. Your ideas on child rearing will differ. Compromise.
  6. I learned that your spouse will do things behind your back and you will do things behind his back.
  7. I learned that, if you allow it, children can take the sex right out a marriage.
  8. I learned that one of the two will always appreciate romance more than the other.
  9. I learned that saying, “I told you so” is unnecessary.
  10. I learned that somebody ought to know how to cook a decent meal.
  11. I learned that you will like some of your spouses friends and you will despise some of your spouses friends. You opinion won’t change his relationship with his friends.
  12. I learned that married family and friends will divorce. Try to stay neutral. Your harsh words may return and bite you in the butt.
  13. I learned not to compare my marriage to another marriage. You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors and you cannot predict the future (of yours).
  14. I learned that solid marriages are built on friendships. Maintain a friendship with your spouse.
  15. I learned to establish and maintain my identity and independence.
  16. I learned to become educated, even if you wish to be a stay-at-home.
  17. I learned to expect the unexpected.
  18. I learned to plan for the future, but live everyday in the present.
  19. I learned why older couples like my parents slept in separate beds. Thankfully, we haven’t gotten to that point.
  20. I learned that the affirmation, “A women’s work is never done” is true.
  21. I learned that husbands and wives should have separate clothing closets and bathroom sinks.
  22. I learned that spirituality is important to a marriage.
  23. I learned that spouses who work hard as a team can accomplish amazing feats and can overcome incredible obstacles.
  24. I learned that spouses who hang out together are genuinely happier couples.
  25. I learned that your spouse is not a mind reader. Don’t assume that your spouse knows what you want. Tell your spouse what you want.
  26. Although another year has passed since writing this list, I learned that if you have an open mind and an open heart, there are still things to learn from your spouse.
  27. Hubby and I have shared 26 solid good years. Were the years always perfect? No, but we’ve always managed to work through our differences in the most respectful ways and treat the other the way we wish to be treated. I am thankful for the 26 shares we’ve shared and pray for 26 more.

Have a fabulous day!!

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June 4, 1988

 

We were babies exchanging wedding bands.

We were babies exchanging wedding bands.

Spontaneous trip to Cancun--celebrating an anniversary

Spontaneous trip to Cancun–celebrating an anniversary

Hubby forgot to tell me about a scheduled family photo appointment! This was after spending the day at a family picnic.    Lol!

Hubby forgot to tell me about a scheduled family photo appointment! This was after spending the day at an outdoor park. Lol!  Look at those heads!

 

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NYE Late 90’s. I was permed back then… wish I knew better.