I’ve been with the same man for 25 years. Yes you read that right. Twenty…Five…Years. We will be married 20 years in November. Sitting here reading that I can’t believe that much time has passed because I love him just as much today as I did the day we met. It was love at first sight for me. I knew from the very first time I saw him I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. We met on a hook up in September of 1994. I was a couple of months from turning 17 and in my senior year of high school. My best friend was determined for us to meet, even though she only talked to him on the phone. And his friend was on the same thing. We both had just got out of a relationship and weren’t looking for another. It’s funny telling this story because after we met, I couldn’t think about anything else.
I won’t paint a perfect picture because it certainly was nothing of the sorts. It was a crazy ride of emotions, up and down. One minute he was feelin’ me hard, the next minute he was on bs. We broke up for awhile and he had other girlfriends and I had “friends”. I say friends because he was always my #1 priority, if he called I dropped everything to be with him. The funny thing is, you couldn’t tell he had a girl cause we still were together all the time. Four years into our relationship I got pregnant with our first child, but this was not his first child. He had others, yes I put an “s” on the end LOL. Once I had our son Joshua, I made the conscious decision to call him out on his mess. I wasn’t accepting anymore of his bs, either he was gone be right or be gone. Welp, needless to say that was 21 years ago. We got married a year later and raised a family of six.
Now in the beginning no one believed we would make it, I think we both were a little skeptical ourselves. I was 22 and his was 26 and we were the only married couple in our crew. It was a mess. We both were still trying to live single lives at one point or another during those first couple of years. We would have knock out drag out arguments about simple shit like who was gonna do the dishes. How stupid is that? But it could go from 0 to 100 real quick because he hated to clean up. We both were being influenced by our single friends. I’m telling you this marriage was doomed from the start. Financially we sucked, neither one of us knew how to manage a household. I stayed at home and he had a job, which paid squat. So we were always broke. This did not help the situation at all.
Now here is where we talk about our other kids. Yes, ours. I have raised those kids since I’ve been in his life and I considered them my own. Of course the situation is much more complicated than what it seems. I did not know about two of his kids until after we were married. Insert mouth drop. I told y’all I’m gonna be as transparent as possible. I don’t want to fake the funk or give y’all a fairy tale relationship. This made for a very interesting first year of marriage. Now hold on wait a minute these kids were older than my son not kids he had while we together. I guess that made it easier for us to work through. And not only that, his baby mamas were always respectful of our relationship and marriage. They may have hated him lol but we got a long for the most part.
Well as the years went on life did not get easier. Baby, I could tell you some stories that would make you wonder if my brain was working or what type of magic he had in his pants. Hell his mother alone was enough to send me over the edge. In the beginning, I loved her so much. That was my friend. We would call each other and talk on the phone for hours. All the while my grandmother was warning me about her intentions. And hell so was he. But I was young and in love. I loved him so much, I tried to love on anything and anyone attached to him. But as time went on I started seeing the real her. We had to live with her for a year or so and I got a real whiff of the truth. But that’s a story for another blog. I have to laugh to myself because me and this man faced obstacle after obstacle after freakin obstacle and we still made it out. The real turning point was when we moved out of Chicago. Our living situation had become too bad. We shared a house with his best friend and his new wife and I hated that bitch. I mean I have never hated anyone but I could not stand her. It was 2008 and right in the height of the recession and none of us had a damn job, and facing foreclosure which made it even more miserable. I found out I was pregnant with our daughter and I was just miserable. One of his neighbors told us about this little town in Tennessee called Paris where we could get housing fast to have a fresh start. I told my husband we should move down there and see what happens. He was all for it and so was my family. They wanted us to go so badly, they gave us the money to move. We took my son and seven bags of our stuff and got on the bus and headed there. All I can stay was this journey changed us. We didn’t have anyone to lean on but each other and God. I grew up and he grew up and we learned to trust each other more. We talked more, listened more, loved more and understood each other more. Even though we didn’t stay there long. (Death in the family) It refreshed us and made our marriage stronger. I don’t think we would have made it if it were not for that experience. I saw my husband in a different light. He no longer made excuses. He showed me he could step up to the plate and be the man, husband and father I knew he was. He used to tell me I had no faith him but the truth was he had no faith in himself. The man I fell in love with was the man that came back to him in Tennessee.
A lot of couples run at the first sign of trouble. We believe in the Hollywood fairy tales of how easy relationships work. HA What a laugh! Real love takes time. I mean you are putting two people together who were raised with different morals, values, integrity and so much more. And we never consider that. We will spend more time planning a wedding than we do planning a marriage. We will shell our thousands of dollars for one perfect day but put not effort or time into planning to be together forever. That’s a long ass time. Do you know how many changes you go through in forever. In 20 years we have been through my brother being murdered, his grandmother having cancer, the death of one of his baby mamas etc. And that’s just to name a few. How do we expect to be the same person through all those things. We are gonna go through some changes which take our marriage through changes. I tell people all the time, Marriage is not for the weak. Let me say that again. MARRIAGE IS NOT FOR THE WEAK!!!! You have to be able to withstand some things. Now I am not talking about chronic cheating, abuse, belittling or any type of disrespect. Respect is one of the number factors to keep a marriage going. People ask us all the time “How did y’all do it? I would laugh and say “prayer and patience”. Not only that but it took respect, time, experience, compromise….A LOT of compromise. Marriage is work just like anything else. It takes just as much time to get it right and if we aren’t willing to put effort into it, we will get back exactly what we put into it. We will grind for years to get degrees, to build companies, to get promotions on jobs, to have fat bank accounts but we don’t have that same grind when it comes to a marriage. We will brag about how we grind to “secure the bag” but won’t put that same effort into marriage.
I am proud of the time and effort my husband and I put into our marriage. We built a solid foundation. Does that mean everything is perfect? Of course not! But now we spend more time loving one another, building each other up instead pointing out everything we did wrong. Now we understand what makes each other tick and how to keep the arguments to a minimum. It is the most important thing to us, so we check ourselves when we aren’t spending time together because other things have gotten in the way. Your marriage is important and shouldn’t be taken lightly or for granted because when it’s nurtured it came be one of the greatest accomplishments of your life.