This post is part of Loving in the Grown Zone Blog Tour which I am delighted to be a part of along with many other inspiring bloggers across the globe. To learn more and to join us as we change the conversation about healthy love, CLICK HERE!
You know sometimes I sit and think about where we started and where we are now. All, I can say is the Lord has definitely been a strong active member in this marriage.
We have faced so many ups and downs, that when I think about it I always wonder “how did we STAY TOGETHER?” The odds were so against us from the start. I mean: two people from totally different backgrounds and upbringing; blending a family; twenty + year olds that are headstrong. I mean who would have thought we would even make it a year? I know in reality, I didn’t think we would stay together, either. Hey, I was a girl with two babies out of wedlock and my husband was a divorced man with kids. There was no way we could make it, right? That’s what everyone said.
Marriage brings with it its on set of challenges but when you add what we brought to it: kids, strong personalities, and total independence, our marriage was complicated from the start. So of course, the first thing you think to do when challenges arise is to run and hide. But we decided not to allow that thinking to enter our marriage. We decided early on that DIVORCE wasn’t an option.
There is a verse in a song by Jaheim and Ledisi, “Stay Together” that just resonates in my body when I hear it:
I know (I know) whatever comes our way
You know, (You know) you and me, we gonna stay… together, (together)
Baby we’ve been through so much (so much)
Our love is so strong, you know, (you know I know)
ohhh you and me, (we gonna stay) We gonna stay, (together) together, oh yeah
This verse speaks loudly about the commitment we made to each other, our kids, and to God.
It was important to us that we work as a team in all things that affects our family as a whole. This bond wasn’t an easy one to develop. Remember I told you we both were independent head strong people so we bumped head an awful lot in the beginning.
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We had to put some boundaries in place to help us Stay Together:
1. Keep God first in our lives and marriage: We understand and appreciate how important a relationship with God is and that we must keep him first in our marriage to keep it strong and together.
2. Be of service to each other: Once we put each other needs above our own, we were able to eliminate the feeling of needs not being met.
3. Communicate about EVERYTHING: This was an easy one for us. Our relationship started off with deep conversations. So we vowed to keep this going even after marriage. If you are able to talk about anything when problems arise you will address it QUICKLY.
4. Date often: This is so important and it keeps boredom at bay.
5. Keep outsiders OUT: Our mothers…oh what can I say about our mothers. They are loving women but definitely have the “take charge” attitudes even with their grown children. We had to nib the interference from outsiders in the bud quickly in our marriage. We recognized the problem it was having in our marriage. It is more important to us to make each other happy than our mothers or anyone on the outside of the marriage.
Staying together in the face of challenges isn’t an easy decision to make but it was the best decision for us. 16 years later, we are the last couple of 4 sets of couples that got married in 1998 who are still married. Yes, we decided to stay together for us but most importantly to give our kids an example of a loving lasting marriage. We didn’t have that example but we was damned if we marred our kids view of marriage and healthy relationships plus we have many more years of growing and loving to go together.
It’s your choice! We choose to STAY TOGETHER!
Zara D. Green and Alfred Edmond Jr. are co-principals of A2Z Personal Growth Enterprises, producer of The Grown Zone discussion series and related media properties. The couple leads sessions on personal growth, self-love and resiliency, healthy relationships and “Grown” decision-making via online and live events across the country. They know this book is changing the conversation about healthy love. You can grab your copy HERE.