This year’s Making It Work series brought weekly inspiration to couples looking to make their marriage stronger. Read our favorite advice of 2012.
Communication and Compromise Are Key
“The hardest part of being a partner in a marriage is the need for communication and compromise on a daily basis,” says celebrity interior designer Robin Wilson who found true love at 40. “And, even though we don’t want to admit it, we are often set in our ways. We make it work because we are committed to each other and share our love in action and words.”
“It’s simple,” says comedian Bill Bellamy, who has been happily married (in Hollywood!) for 11 years. “Do things that keep you connected. I have to make time for my family. They are more important than my career because they give me the things that are invaluable that I could never have without them. I never thought that would happen to me because I always thought my career was everything. I was wrong.”
Always Leave Each Other Happy
“Really enjoy the moments that you have together,” says Olympic gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross on her marriage to NFL star Aaron Ross. “For Ross and I, whenever we spend time together we really never fight because we know we’re not going to have that moment often. Try to really enjoy those moments when you have them. Don’t fight about silly things. Don’t leave each other mad. Whatever issues you have, fix them and make up. Always leave each other happy, no matter what. Think about the experiences you had together.”
Celebrate Who You Are!
“The key is allowing your partner to be who they are and not having expectations that really have nothing to do with the person you married, says Tony award-winning producer and Broadway, TV and film actress Tamara Tunie, who has been married to jazz musician Gregory Generet for 17 years. “We have great respect for each other’s talents and abilities, wherever they may lie. We celebrate who each other is and we’re supportive of each other in our careers.”
Work and Play Together
“We have to make time to stop working and be together,” explains CEO Robin Davis, who co-founded The Original Shrimp Burger and CBS Foods with her husband, chef Shawn Davis. “But we make the effort. We stop and we say, ‘Okay, let’s put down the laptops, leave the work and go do something else.’ We like to go and do things with the kids. With the company, there’s always something to do. The emails never stop coming. The tasks are always there. But, it’s worth it because just to be on this journey with your best friend, and to have these little successes, is amazing. Each time they come, it feels like a win, and it makes it all worth it. To experience that feels amazing and I wish that for every couple.”
Beware of the Company You Keep
“Not all company is good company,” says Andrea Butler, wife of NBA player Caron Butler, of the Los Angeles Clippers. “Some people are so negative. I always say, ‘If you’re not for us, you’re against us.’ So, if you’re not going to be a positive influence in our life and give us good feedback or knowledge to help us continue our marriage, than there is no need for you to be around us.”
Count Your Blessings
“We view our marriage as a blessing,” says Sen. Vincent Hughes who is happily married to actress Sheryl Lee Ralph. “Life could have been very, very different for the both of us. God led us to each other right at the absolute perfect time. Sheryl is a blessing to me. This relationship and this love is a blessing, and I try to treat it that way. We thank God in prayer several times a day, both together and apart in prayer.”
“Spontaneous dating is key,” says David Lamb, who along with his wife Jamillah, co-created popular off-Broadway play Platanos y Collard Greens and wrote Perfect Combination: Seven Key Ingredients to Happily Living & Loving Together. “We’ll go on dates on a whim or in an instant. If we have a meeting together, we might decide to go on a date before we go home. Or, we’ll plan surprise dates for each other.”
Sometimes Loving is Forgiving
“We need to be able to love and forgive our spouses – even in the times that they don't exactly deserve it,” says Ronnie Tyler, who co-founded BlackAndMarriedWithKids.com with her husband Lamar. “It has helped me to see how Lamar extends me grace on a regular basis because he loves me through the days that I am grouchy, frustrated and unreasonable. And, I have also been reminded to be more loving, kind and considerate of him.”
Be Selfless and Honest, Always
“You can’t be selfish,” insists music mogul Vince Herbert, who is married to singer Tamar Braxton, his Tamar and Vince co-star. “I cannot express that more to a man or to a woman. With your mate, you have to want them to feel as good as you feel everyday. That comes when you can sit there and be honest with yourself.”
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