25 Years Going Strong!

Twenty-five 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 25 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.

Hubby and I have shared 25 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 25 shares we’ve shared and pray for 25 more.


June 4, 1988


Exchanging wedding bands


Spontaneous trip for our anniversary to Cancun, Mexico (2002 or 2003)


Hubby forgot to tell me that we had an appointment for a family portrait immediately after leaving spending the day at an outdoor park. OMG! Look at those heads! LOL!


NYE late 1990’s (I wasn’t natural then… I wish I were)


NYE, Washington, DC – Late 1990’s – The Beehive look.

My family’s new Thanksgiving tradition

Yesterday’s Thanksgiving dinner was amazing! It wasn’t the dinner and the deserts that made it special. It was the genuine warmth and love shared among 30+ family and friends in our home which made it exceptional.

Dinner included: Oven baked turkey, deep-fried turkey, stuffing, ham, chicken, salmon, seafood pasta salad, spinach salad, plain baked mac & cheese, baked lobster mac & cheese, yams, baked beans, collard greens, kale, cabbage, carrots, green beans, cabbage, corn muffins, and biscuits.

Desserts included: red velvet cake, coconut cake, chocolate cake, pumpkin bread, sweet potato pies, several apple pies, pumpkin pies, lemon meringue pie, coconut macaroons, and a few other items that I can’t remember.

Outrageous right? This is typical for my family and my memories go as far back as early childhood.

Last week, while preparing for festivities of Thanksgiving, I began thinking about how blessed we are (my family). We’ve never experienced wondering if Thanksgiving dinner would take place. With 12 aunts & uncles, and a surplus of cousins, who I’m still getting to know, our blessings are endless.

As I marveled at my blessings, an intense sensation and desire compelled me to seek out an activity that we could do to pause and to give thanks.

So as family and friends arrived, each was given a paper that included a brief statement about Thanksgiving and instructions to respond to the questions below.  All were asked not to sign their name.

What are you thankful for?

Who are you thankful for?

Everyone was instructed to fold the paper and place it in a designated container and were told that the responses would be read later. Since there are usually many of us, for dinner we are scattered throughout the house. The elders sit at the dining room table, the kids at another designated spot, and the rest of us group together and sit wherever. So before dinner we form a huge circle around the kitchen island, hold hands, and say grace.

I decided that right before we blessed the food was an ideal time to read the comments. I started first by making a brief declaration about why I wanted to perform the ritual and asked all to take part. We each took a paper and read the responses to the two questions.

For me, the moment was heartfelt, surprising, and encouraging. I felt gratified to look around the room and see almost everyone reflecting on the comments and the moment.

My day was highlighted by my friend of 37 years who joined us with her two children for dinner. We’ve been friends since we were 9 years old. Those kind of friends are very hard to come by anymore. Soon she’ll be moving out-of-state and I don’t know when we’ll get together again, so it was important to me that we got to spend some time together.

The second highlight was meeting a new family member for the first time. For privacy reasons, I’ll call her Delia. She joined us along with her husband for dinner. Later in the evening, Deli shared her intimate story with me of how she connected with her paternal father, whom she did not know existed.

Delia was a breath of fresh air! She radiated an abundance of CHI that I wanted to feed off. Although Delia could easily have allowed anger and resentment to invade her spirit, she made a conscious decision to embrace the positive and to become acquainted with her new family.

The last person left the house at around 12:30 a.m. Me, hubby, and our daughter finished cleaning up and headed to bed. Although I was exhausted from the long day, I went to sleep smiling as I thought about my awesome Thanksgiving Day.