Marriage, By Any Other Name?

When I was younger, I dreamed of having a “perfect” marriages. A white dresses (which would have been the only time I wore a dress), black tuxedos, a bridesmaid line as long as the eye could see. As much of a tomboy that I was, this was going to possibly be the most feminine moment of my life (and to date, I would say it still is, lol).

Growing up, I only knew of one type of marriage; and that was one between a man and a woman, living together, raising kids, loving one another unconditionally. Now, admittedly, I did not see that ideal scenario throughout my entire childhood; however, there are moments that I do remember that I would wish would be similar to how I would live with my spouse.

What I have grown to realize and accept is that there are so many other forms of marriage or I would call them “partnerships”, other than what one would consider “traditional.” I’d also argue that the traditional style of marriage is possibly one of the least popular.

Love is not a deal breaker in marriages, despite many of our childhood beliefs. I used to think that love was the one and only thing you needed in order to know that you wanted to marry someone. Being in a relationship for 11 years, 6 and a half married, I have now come to the conclusion that it takes more than seeing sunshine days and butterflies in my stomach to make for a committed union. Nowadays, many people may marry for different reasons that go far beyond just love. People marry someone whom they see they can build a prosperous future with, some marry but do not hold their spouse to a more traditional form of fidelity; others marry and choose not to share a residence.

So, the questions comes to mind: Is this wrong? Are people sullying the sanctity of marriage by having so many unorthodox rules and no boundaries? Who’s to say what is the right answer to a question like this? I know for sure, I am not.

Personally, I won’t go on record stating that any way that a person chooses to live their life with their partner is wrong or right. I do not feel I am the authority on someone’s else’s life and their lifestyle. I say all this to say that in 2019, the world is a lot less judgmental and holding to standards of the past. It is interesting and very intriguing to see the evolution of specific relationships, as it pertains to how men and women choose to join with one another in a union. I find it doesn’t bother me at all; and if anything, it brings about the urge for more intense dialogue on that person’s perspective, to gain knowledge and understanding.

I have never been someone to judge anyone else’s union and how they choose to live. To me, what one may see as “wrong”, another may seem as a perfect lifestyle for themselves; and as an impartial and imperfect human being, I would never hold my standards or expectations on someone else and the way they choose to live their life.

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How to Stay Young When Your Relationship is Feeling Old

Being married for 5 years thus far has taught me a lot about myself, my spouse and the idea of marriage as a whole.  The one thing I have learned is that there are times when you can feel quite old in your relationship sometimes, and it is not the best feeling by any means.  Along with the growing pains of marriage, we all have gotten to a point in our marriage, where we can sometimes feel a lot older than we are.  There are a lot of contributing factors to this; jobs, kids, chores and other daily responsibilities in the house, bills, you name it!  When you’re thinking about all of these things, it is difficult to remember to keep your relationship young and fresh all the time.

Since I’m sure some of us have been in this predicament before, I also know that you would want to know how to fix it.  Well, I have thought of a few things that will make you feel young again, when your relationship is getting older and older by the minute.

Make time for one another: A lot of times, we mistake the time we are around our partners as “quality time” when in all reality, we are just existing around them while we continue to move on with everyday life.  It is worth taking actual time out to spend time connecting with your partner, and it will make all the difference.  Making time for your partner, that does not involve dealing with the children, washing the dishes together or focused on other obligations or activities is a good starting point for reviving the newness of your relationship.

Spontaneity: Have you ever wanted to surprise your partner with a random lunch date, a day trip to your favorite place close by, or even a kid-free, responsibility-free weekend out of the blue?  If so, then being spontaneous is for you.  Doing random things at the spur of the moment can bring life back into you and your relationship, because you are learning to let go and go with the flow with someone you truly know you can have a good time with.

Intimacy: Intimacy on all levels is a great way to rekindle the spark in your marriage.  Whether it is physical, emotional or even spiritual; having a level of intimacy in your relationship really helps improve your connection with one another.

Dating: And no, I don’t mean dating other people while in your relationship, LOL.  I believe that “dating” your significant other or spouse gets lost in the daily routine of married life.  With all the responsibilities and priorities, going on a romantic date may always seem to fall to the bottom of the list; and even if you try, there may be something that always comes up.  Scheduling and planning time to actually date again can really turn things around in your relationship.  It allows you to learn new things about your partner (maybe things that you did not even know or things that have newly developed over the years), and it can be fun “getting to know” your partner all over again.

All of these steps and many more are guaranteed to make you have a differnt outlook on your relationship, if you feel like the newness is starting to wear off, and you both are getting comfortable.  Trying out new things is almost like dating all over again; before the commitments, babies, jobs, bills, etc.  If you truly find excitement in making your relationship feel young and new again, focus on these four items to really enhance your relaltionship and take you both on significant and meaningful journey towards a happy, healthy relationship.

Self Love is Always Your True First Love

A lot of times, there are lessons that I feel cannot or will not apply to me, even being five years into my marriage; however, 2017 put me in a place where I was struggling with loving myself more than I ever was before.  In turn, that put a big strain on parts of my own marriage.  I am not ashamed of it; in fact, I think all emotions, whether good or bad are natural and human.  No one goes through life feeling perfectly happy all the time.  No one can go through life knowing exactly how to navigate their emotions all the time, no matter what stage of life they are in.  And just as I say that, I can say that even with a man that loves me endlessly, I still struggled at times with receiving that love, because there were things about me that I could not stand.
There were several points in my life last year that I had to definitely lean on the quotes I referenced above, and learn to dig deep down and find the things that I loved and enjoyed about myself, focused solely on those things in order to pull myself out of the depression that I was feeling about not truly loving myself.
Self-love is also something that is not just mental or emotional, it is also physical and tangible.  Sometimes it takes more than just praying, meditating or speaking positive thoughts to yourself.  Sometimes you have to dress yourself up, take yourself out on dates, treat yourself to a gift that’s long been overdue, do something that is completely “selfish” in society’s eyes.  Some people may think this is a self-centered concept; however, what it really is, is showing how much you value yourself, even when no one else does.  When the right person sees your appreciating your worth, they will make sure they put forth the effort to make sure they show their appreciation for you as well.
I believe that we take for granted the one person that we all should be falling in love with first, because we are so busy putting our efforts into someone else, when really, that person should be ourselves.  Once we realize that the truth to finding real love is rooted in falling in love with who we are, the possibilities will be endless.

That Question We All Love to Hate

Now that our daughter is three years old, it is not very often that time goes by when someone is asking my husband and I this one aching question:
“When are y’all going to have another baby???
Jokingly, we always tell them a number of different answers:
  • “I don’t know”
  • “Soon”
  • “When you start helping pay for 2 children”
The third one always gets laughter out of most; however, that is possibly the most serious out of the three answers.  While I appreciate everyone’s desire for us to have another bundle of joy, it is definitely a big decision to make right now, especially with a child not quite in school. There are also so many other things to consider, that it is definitely in the conversation, but I’m a person of timing and planning; and despite people telling me in my past you can’t prepare and plan for a child, I believe after the first baby, you can plan on how and when you want to have your second, third, etc.
Having a child has to be the most beautiful blessing I’ve had in my life by far.  Watching my child grow up everyday is truly is amazing.  On the other side of that, I do notice times when she longs for a sibling.  She does have her cousin with her, who is 8 days younger than her; however, she is also getting to the age where she is also asking her mommy and daddy for a baby brother and sister, and also claiming friends as her own siblings.  I haven’t read up on it, but I’m sure somewhere, that may be a sign of a child wanting a sibling, lol.
I know I’m not alone in this; I know several married couples who get a similar question, but simply put, most people who are watching you live your life, become successful and prosperous want to see that next milestone, and to them that means children in their eyes. I know several people who hate having the question asked of them, and others who don’t quite mind it as much.
There are some circumstances in which I don’t mind the question; when it comes from my family because I know they are comfortable with our overall decision to plan this out strategically for our family; however, that doesn’t stop them from getting that grandma-auntie-cousin itch for a new bundle of joy in the family.  It’s understandable, but all things will happen in God’s timing.
I do believe in either situation, there are things that people should definitely consider when pressuring a married couple to have children.  We all are aware that that is the next step in life; however, everyone’s circumstance is different.  I beg of you to proceed with this question with caution and consideration for that couple’s situation.  I don’t personally ask anyone when they are having a baby because of several things:
  1. The woman may not be able to conceive or may be having fertility issues
  2. They may simply not want children of their own, and some find it offensive
  3. They may not be in a comfortable place financially or professionally to expand their family (no matter what we say, I still believe that some level of financial and career stability is needed prior to having children)
  4. Some couples would rather spend as much time doing what they want to do, before having a child; because we all know children add a layer of complexity to our social lives and free time.
I can assure that the greater majority of the population would love to have children; however, there are a lot of factors that come into preparing your life for a baby, no matter what society may tell you, even before the actual conception.  Allow your married friends time to ensure they are ready to start their family, and don’t pressure them to do it on your time. 😃

So, I’m 30; Now What??

Now that I’m officially “in my 30’s” I have felt a very blatant and noticeable shift in my perspective and energy. I feel the strong desire to make some hard decisions about my life and where it’s going. I’m not sure if it’s just the aura of the new age; however, I am feeling my “get ish done” mode being turned up to overdrive in a matter of days.

There have been so many things on a personal level that crossed my mind as I reflected on turning 30. Things I either need to sit and talk about with my husband, or just things that I feel need to change within myself.

As the days continue to pass and I embark on this new chapter, one thing I hope to see in my life is a manifestation and growth of new and exciting opportunities, life changes not only for myself, but for my family, expansion, business ventures, maybe even a change of scenery. Who knows; but what I do know is I’m ready and waiting for what great things will come my way!

A Look Beyond the Titles

Mother.  Wife.  Supervisor.  Employee.  Provider.  There are so many times when women who fall into these categories are defined by these words.  We are characterized, classified and described with these words and at times, our identity and worth is sometimes only valued based on these things.  For five years, I have had the pleausre of being a wife; three of those years I have been on the journey of motherhood; and that same amount of time I have held a managerial role at my job as a supervisor.  I identify these roles because a lot of times these roles either have positive or even negative connotations to them.  You can either be praised for the strength and determination it takes to hold these titles; while in some eyes, your abilities and talents are narrowed to only these roles.

I am More Than What my Titles Define

As a woman who holds these titles, I don’t want to be ashamed when I say, I want to be known for the things I do outside of these things.   I am thoroughly proud to be a mother and take pride in being a wife, but I also have interests, thoughts and opinions that define my individuality outside of those things.  Sometimes, I don’t want to have non-stop conversation about parenting or marriage, because there’s so much more that goes on in my life outside of these things.  I feel as if I don’t want to always complain or discuss my job or my work.  Aspects of these things are nice; or how they may relate to real-life issues can be fine, but my conversations and my lifestyle does not have to center around 24-7 “mommy” type things, or “married/wife” things.  I am an individual Black woman.  I have friends who come from all walks of life who have so many different things going for themselves.  I am a writer and published author, I read the news, I follow social media for the simple fact that I like to stay connected to things going on in the world and within my age range and demographic.

I have done this very often, and I tend to challenge myself to tell people things that are not so  obvious  about myself.  Two things that someone will always know about me within 30 minutes of speaking with me is that I am a wife and I am a mother, because those are the things that I tend to assume people will always only want to know about me.  I believe that women are designed to tell people those basic facts about themselves, because they are the most important things, and not highlight any of the other things that are important to them in their lives.

A Lesson Learned

What do you take from the experiences life brings you? Do you take them as what they are and move on, or do you search for the lesson in those experiences?

Life is full of countless lessons; some come from good experiences and some come from bad. I’d like to believe that a lot of my best lessons, came from my worst mistakes and experiences in life. I will be the first to admit that as simple as my life may seem, I’ve done some pretty crazy things (lol). Throughout those many experiences; whether it was throughout my childhood or my adult life, I’ve learned valuable lessons about life, love, happiness, family, etc. that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

For me, it’s also important to note whom I owe the pleasure of learning these valuable lessons from. I have to credit my support system for teaching me so many things in my life, and still teaching me things as I journey through marriage, motherhood, and life in general, because there is always something happening or mistakes being made that cause me to learn something new to take with me on this journey. Between my mother teaching me about life, my husband teaching me how to love, and even my daughter teaching me nurturing and compassion, there’s never a moment in my life where meaningful lessons are not being taught.

Sometimes, life’s greatest and worst experiences may bring out some of the most trying struggles and difficulties of life; but the lessons that come out of those experiences is what makes you better and stronger than you ever had been before ❤️.

“Life perfect ain’t perfect,

If you don’t know what the struggle’s for.

Falling down ain’t falling down,

If you don’t cry whenyou hit the floor.

I’m getting past,

And I ain’t nothing like I was before,

You ought to se me now.

Yes Iwas burned, but I called it a lesson learned.”

-Alicia Keys, Lesson Learned