Hey there! Hope all is well. For today’s hang out, we are going to conclude our marriage series. If you’re just now tuning in, be sure to go back and catch the posts from beginning to the end by clicking on the links below.
- Shelly’s interview
- Toni’s interview
- Things You Should Ask Yourself Before Getting Married – by Toni
- Why you should consider delaying your wedding – by Shelly
- Ten important things you should discuss with your partner before getting married – by Toni
- How kids will affect your relationship – by Shelly
- Why you should consider couples therapy to STAY happy in your marriage – by Toni
- 5 Questions to Ask Before Having Kids – by Shelly
The party has long been over, the flutes’ dust bunny neighbors have settled in, and the pyrex dishes show signs of massive baking. All of the guests have returned to their usual routine. The counseling has come to a halt, and those well-wishes are distant memories. The excitement and celebrations leading up to the day you said “I Do” have passed. What now?
It’s like the couples on the reality TV show, Married at First Sight. The camera operators and crew members are gone. The marriage experts that matched them and guided them through the first couple of months have moved on to prepare for their next show. The couples are now left on their own to survive off nothing more than several weeks of marital advice, not to mention they just met each other. Most of us usually have more time to get to know one another before we marry. However, there’s still the lingering question of how we will continue to build a successful marriage without any assistance or guidance?
How do we survive and thrive in this world with just the two of us? We no longer have our “Bride Squad” and “Hype Team” to help get us through. What are we going to do now when we have to figure out things for ourselves?
In my opinion, you can always use some additional help or advice. Have discretion when you’re choosing where your aid comes from. Don’t take advice from just anyone, but make sure they are educated, experienced, or a little of both in the areas where you’re seeking counsel.
This is the final post of the 7-part marriage series from Shelly and me. We hope that you have enjoyed it and learned something you can use to continue to flourish in your marriage.
To close out the series, we decided to end the way we began. We interviewed each other, and below, you will read about the takeaways and lessons that we received from this collaboration.
- Which of Shelly’s topics was your favorite? To begin, I absolutely love Shelly’s spirit. She has been one of the sweetest people I’ve met in the blogging world, and I’m so grateful we crossed each other’s paths. My favorite topic that Shelly wrote about was “5 Questions to Ask Before Having Kids.” I appreciated this post so much. I believe it’s a critical conversation that’s needed even more so because I had kids very early. Therefore, there was no time for a discussion between my husband and me about how we would handle bringing kids into our relationship.
- What do you feel like you learned from your favorite post? Shelly shared a point about how involved do you want your families to be. I love this idea of discussing how much say or not your families will have in how you raise your children. As I’ve talked about many times before, I had my children very early, so these types of conversations never happened in my relationship. Now that my sons are all just about grown, this is a topic I will be sure to share with them. I want them to have much better success in life, love, and their pursuit of happiness.
- Was there a post where Shelly’s point of view made you sway in the way you think? Surprisingly, her post, “Why you should consider delaying your wedding,” had a thought in there that made me stop in my tracks. When she posed the question, “Are you willing to prioritize your partner’s needs above yourself?” I don’t believe I’ve ever thought about marriage in that way. I know this sounds crazy, after 19 years of marriage, but seriously, I had to take a step back on this topic. I vowed for better or worse, through sickness and health, etc., but honestly never thought about the fact that I should come into the marriage thinking of my partner’s needs above my own. I believe I do a decent job of this to date. However, after reading this post, I have become more aware and intentional about ensuring that I am doing so.
- If you were just now preparing to get married, which topic do you feel is the most critical to address? If I’d known so much of what I know now back then, my goodness, I’d be a much different wife. However, I would have to say the discussion about having kids is the most essential. I believe this conversation should take place ASAP! Kids in a relationship bring a whole other level of stress, time, weight, requirements, etc. I ultimately believe it is vital to building a strong foundation in the marriage before bringing on the extra responsibilities of having children. Although my husband and I have not only survived but learned to flourish in our relationship, having our kids early and before marriage has definitely posed its threats over the years. By the grace of God and our willingness to keep working together, we have made it through. Our last son is sixteen years old, so we are preparing to enter into emptynesterhood! (Yeah, I made that up, but it sounds so liberating and refreshing. LOL!)
- What is the number one takeaway you want people to get from this series? I know you shouldn’t live with regrets, but I’ll be honest and tell you I have many. I try not to allow them to become paralyzing to the point that I don’t continue on my path, but I’m not going to lie and say they don’t pop up from time to time. With that being said, I believe the most important takeaway from this series would be to take heed to everything we have mentioned. From an African to an American perspective about marriage and kids, one marriage being fairly new and the other having been around for a while, we think relatively the same. There is so much that goes into making a marriage work, and I believe we have shared an informative blueprint with this series. Maybe you’re just getting started or been in the game for a while. Either way, I recommend these posts as an excellent reference for a successful relationship.
- Which of Toni’s topics was your favorite? Firstly, how cool is Lady B? My favourite topic she covered was about couples therapy because looking at how amazing and fun her marriage is, I was surprised to see that Toni and Ejuan actually went through rough patches that required professional help. The fact that she was able to share such an intimate detail of her marriage to inspire others really touched me.
- What do you feel like you learned from your favorite post? The main takeaway from this post was that it is not a bad thing to need to see a therapist. Based on how beautifully her marriage emerged, I would say that it is a good thing to want to see a therapist because it shows that both parties have recognised that they can’t keep fighting or trying to prove the other wrong and are willing to restore the peace. My husband and I are definitely not perfect, but we have both agreed to go to therapy if arguments do drag on, and we aren’t able to see eye to eye. Being Christians, I can see why Toni fights for her marriage with every tooth and nail – that’s what I want for me too.
- Was there a post where Toni’s point of view made you sway in the way you think? It’s a weird one… In Things You Should Ask Yourself Before Getting Married, Toni mentioned that you need to be willing to forgive your partner if they are unfaithful, but I did disagree immensely with this mostly because I’ve been there, done that, and it didn’t end well. Having been married for close to 3 years now, I can’t really see myself with anyone else, and I absolutely love this thing my husband and I have created… but would it stand the test of infidelity? I hope to never find out, but I am leaning towards ‘yes’ because that man is my soulmate .. everyone is capable of everything… I’ve cheated in previous relationships, but that doesn’t make me a bad human being, I hope!
- If you were just now preparing to get married, which topic do you feel is the most critical to address? That’s an easy one – read Toni’s guide on what questions to ask your partner before you post Things You Should Ask Yourself Before Getting Married. I didn’t have any doubts when marrying my prince, but I could’ve answered most of those questions with a yes.
- What is the number one takeaway you want people to get from this series? It’s bittersweet to have reached the end of this series but also quite exciting to know that I have gained a friend and a godly woman I can look up to. I hope that everyone else who reads the series also takes away that marriages can still be exciting and romantic after decades, it just takes work from both sides. Don’t believe me? Look at Toni and Ejuan! What happens when the music stops? That’s a question we asked in the first interview, but it’s not one we can answer for you. The reality is that every marriage is different and will only be what you make of it.
Until next time, I’ll leave you with this. Remember that no two marriages are alike. What works for my husband and I may be totally different from Shelly and her husband. You and your spouse have to find your jam, your groove, and continue to build on that. However, as I stated earlier in my response, I believe that anyone can take from our perspectives and learn a thing or two. Most of us hop on Pinterest for recipe and decor ideas or flip through magazines to get inspiration for our home interior design. We can take that same energy and look at how other couples fare. You are looking at the couples’ dynamics to be inspired with ideas for how you two can manage. You’re not trying to mimic everything about them. Do you feel like relationships can blossom and grow by learning from other couples? If so, get out there and find your #CouplesGoals. If you disagree, share why you don’t agree in the comments below.