I was at the nail salon last month talking to other clients. You know how women do? We meet another client in a beauty salon or nail bar and it’s like we’re old friends. That’s what happened. We started laughing and talking about dating, marriage, relationships and children. One of the women that I met asked me after hearing that I was divorced “Did you like being married?” and “Would you ever do it again?”
I paused. I’ve heard this question asked before. It’s usually beautiful and younger women who’ve yet to meet the man of their dreams wanting to hear some romantic notion of princes and white horses. I smiled and said “Yes, I liked being married and Yes, I would do it again.” She smiled. You could tell that’s what she needed to hear as she navigated the dating jungle.
I laughed. I said, “But, before you say yes I need to tell you some things.” I began to tell her what I wished someone had told me in my 20’s. I began to tell her things that I felt that every woman should know and do before they say yes.
Here’s what I shared:
- Know and love yourself first. You must really know who you are as woman. What you like and what you don’t like. Who you are and what you value. Those should never change. Relationships change. People change, but your perception of who you are and what you want shouldn’t change. Otherwise, you will become The Walking Dead making your partner feel unsure of who you are and what you want. He will be confused by your needs and this will create problems. He won’t know if he’s pleasing you or some other version of you. Hold on to who you are and love her with all your might.
- Take time for self. It is so easy to get married and forget the world. Forget your friends and forget that you had a life prior to being a Mrs. But, you can’t forget the self-care required to maintain a healthy relationship. If you forget to take care of you and are so busy running around like a chicken with your head cut off it will put a strain on your relationship. Go for lunch with your girlfriends. Go get your nails done. Go out to dinner with your sorority sisters. These things are designed to keep you focused. Plus, it is a great way for you to appreciate the wonderful man you have at home waiting for you.
- Know when to communicate. I know as women that sometimes we want to jump in and tell our spouse all about our day. Everything that happened from beginning to end. Jane is so jealous of me. She hates me. I can’t believe I got passed up for that promotion, etc. Give him time to unwind. Allow him the opportunity to come into the door, get a drink, put his bag down, put his feet up and watch ESPN for an hour. Letting him have that unwind time will give him the opportunity to listen to you and be focused on your needs because you’ve just met his needs.
- Let go of your past. We like to hold on to men from past relationships that we know still want us even though we are married. We may not call him or talk to him regularly or consistently, but we know we would drop it like it’s hot should our relationship start to go south and our husband cheats on us. Trust me sis, let it go. Let go of your past and don’t allow people in your present that aren’t there to respect your union at all times. Even in the worst times. Temptation is a b*tch and trust me when I say you don’t need that distraction.
- Stay connected. It’s easier said than done, but trust me when I tell you that you will go through life changes. You may lose your job. Your spouse may get sick. You may have children. You may get extremely busy at work. Any of these things may happen, but you need to remember to stay connected to your spouse. This can be accomplished through your five senses: sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch. Examples:
- Sight – See your spouse and compliment them immediately. Brighten their day by saying “Hey sexy. How did I get so lucky?”
- Smell – Learn their favorite fragrance and make sure that they never run out. They don’t wear cologne? What about their favorite soap or body wash? Whatever the scent, make sure you know it.
- Hear – When they tell you things that they need. Listen for their needs and don’t be quick to respond because you know your point is more important. Hear what they need/want and try to meet those needs.
- Taste – Spend time in the kitchen together. You don’t like to cook? Neither do I but we can do fun things like chopping up fruit/veggies and having a date night blindfolded to make sure that we are in tune with each other. It’s something pretty hot about tasting pineapples and chocolate while blindfolded.
- Touch – Often. That’s it. People need touch. Loving touches. Quick pinches on the butt. Rub their head. Embrace them from behind. Hold their hands. Give him a quick foot massage. Touch him. Let him know that you are present in the moment.
Now, I had a lot more advice to share, but I didn’t want to overload the sister. I’m a work in progress and I learned more after my divorce than before. Great relationships take two people working selflessly to make their partner happy. Are you up for the challenge?