Understanding how to make your marriage work and last takes constant effort. Sometimes you need to call in the experts. Authors of “What Brothers Think, What Sistah’s Know” Denene Millner and Nick Chiles impart some of what they’ve learned from their own 12-year-marriage.
SHE SAID…By Denene Millner
The falling in love part–that’s easy. The staying there? Well, there’s the challenge. Because after the honeymoon and the newlywed bliss and the tenderness and all that good, new loving comes the quirks you didn’t see before and the bills you didn’t anticipate and the arguments you swore you’d never have. Throw some kids in the mix and then things really heat up. The mental, emotional, and physical gymnastics of it all… simply, utterly exhausting. But that’s love. Fluid. Ever changing. Hanging in–holding on. For better, for worse, for richer and for poorer, through sickness and in health–when he leaves his wet towel on the bathroom floor and walks past that sink full of dirty dishes 20 times without washing them; when she cuddles the baby more than you and slings the attitude like a sword–’til death do us part.
Remembering this one simple truth–that love changes–makes the staying in love part less a mystery. More a possibility. When the newness wears off and you settle into this life together, love will morph and shift and reveal itself in all its many different manifestations. When the babies come, love will play its familial role. When your financial situation changes–for the better or for the worse–you and the one person with whom you share the checking account will take on that do-or-die/in-this-together thing. When your babies aren’t babies anymore, love gets mature and new again. But they’re all still love, though. Hold tight to it–it’s full of the strength, respect, trust and faith every relationship needs to soldier on.
HE SAID…By Nick Chiles
Humility. That’s been the most important quality I have learned over the years, whether applied to my marriage or all the other close relationships in my world. In every encounter with my significant other, I now know I must be able to accept the fact that I frequently will be wrong. That’s something I had a hard time accepting when I was younger. For most men, embracing humility means tackling that large, ferocious tiger that is the male ego. When I was younger, my ego would drag me into some nasty encounters–ones in which I couldn’t admit I was wrong, even when I knew that I was. It was like my ego had a stranglehold on my tongue. But the benefit of age has allowed me to accept that there inevitably will be times when I don’t know what I’m talking about, when my advice will be misguided, my opinion off base, my thoughts wrongheaded. What it comes down to is this: I’m not perfect. Understand, this doesn’t mean that my spouse will always be right–but if a little voice in my head is telling me that she may be right, I will be more willing to leave some room for negotiation, to allow some space for compromise, to extend a hand for unity.
Writers Denene Millner and Nick Chiles have written 18 books between them, including the best-selling relationship series, “What Brothers Think, What Sistah’s Know.” They have been married for 12 years. Read more about their parenting and marriage journey at www.mybrownbaby.blogspot.com.
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