Recently, I asked a bunch of married folks ‘what they wish they would have known before getting married‘ for my Yahoo Shine love column. My editor decided to go with all female voices and I will share some of those here in the future. It is a wonderful advice piece by women for women and you can read it here.
However, my friend Jason Hayes inspires me when he speaks about love and marriage because he counters every stereotype you can imagine.
He’s an attractive African American husband and father married to a gorgeous African American wife (my sorority sister) and he brags (often) about the fact that he will forever be 100% faithful to his wife.
How much do we love Jay? His story is especially poignant considering all of the negative “single black women will die alone because black men suck” press.
After the jump he shares his wisdom on marriage…
A Happily Married Man Shares…
“As I approach my 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY (in February of 2013) as a Married Man, I can not believe that it’s been that long, ALREADY!!
I don’t know where to begin in terms of what I didn’t know about being married before I jumped the broom. If I were to be completely honest, I’m willing to say that I knew absolutely nothing about this tricky institution. Most certainly, I didn’t expect and/or realize that instantaneously, my “Love Relationship” also became a “Business and Social Arrangement” of duty and expectation. No longer was there just “ME” or “I” in anything that I did. For better or worse we were “joined at the hip” in all things “married.”
It has been an adventure into the unknown of self discovery and re-invention.
I re-evaluated things that I never thought that I would, and I have given up things that I never… EVER would have considered as a single person. If one really cares about the survival of the union (and I do) you do whatever it takes to make it work.
I remember telling some of my “Yet to Be Married” friends around year 3 or 4 into my marriage that the MOST that anyone can ever hope for or reasonably expect in a potential spouse is someone who’s WILLING to deal with ALL of YOUR “STUFF” and you DON’T MIND dealing with ALL of THEIRS. It’s the only way. Believe me when I tell you, WE ALL HAVE “STUFF.”
Marriage is hard. Even when you LOVE each other with every fiber of your being. It’s just not an easy thing to do. And I don’t believe that it EVER will be.
Marriage takes two WHOLE (often times very different) individuals and thrusts them into a shared life of sacrifice and constant compromise. That’s hard on anybody, no matter how malleable people may be but WORTH it.
This is what I know for sure… Marriage is not for the selfish. Even if married to a completely selfless person. At some point, even a person who doesn’t expect and/or need a great deal from the other spouse will run out of “resources” and deplete their personal “reserves,” emotionally or fiscally. It has to be a partnership in every way.
As much as you share elation when life is great and things are easy, you must, also, share the burdens of disappointments, setbacks and shoulder some pain. Marriage, like life, is not a “One Way Street”.
Then again, what do I really know? I can say this though, my father and I have some very different conversations these days.”
Thank you, Jason!
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