Let me tell you what no one ever tells you about marriage. You don’t always love your spouse, you sometimes want to kill them, you often wonder what life would be like without them and you wonder who you would have been with somebody else.
I’ve been married for nearly 12 years and while there have been some amazing moments, there have also been instances where I wanted to walk away.
I met my husband when I was 23. I was standing in the check-out line of an Atlanta food store about to be served when I spotted him standing behind me with two loaves of bread in his hands. I had a trolley full of groceries and knew that it would take a while. So, I asked him if he wanted to jump ahead of me. He was grateful. He overheard me talking to my friend and asked me where I was from. I said Nassau. He smiled and told me that he and his family had visited The Bahamas years ago and at the time he had a dream that he would marry a woman from The Bahamas. I thought he was straight up lying. A cousin of his subsequently confirmed this premonition.
We dated for four years and then his dream came true.
The ceremony was small. It was just me, him and the judge. It was a beautiful, cool Sunday afternoon in Marietta, Georgia. Even though it was late July, for some reason, it felt like the fall. My husband wore a blue shirt with a tie, and I, the bride, wore black. My husband and I lived together for four years, so I felt I was hardly in any position to wear white with a straight face.
Days before we took our vows, I read an article that said that most marriages that start in the courthouse, end in the courthouse. That scared the crap out of me. I remember praying that, that would not be me. But, deep down I always knew it was a possibility.
I have never been one of those women who pretends that my marriage is perfect. I don’t even know how to fake it, mostly because I come from a long line of “keep it real women.”
When my husband and I are angry at each other, you will know it. Not because he shows it, but because I cannot and will not hide my emotions. You will know.
I remember us driving to Texas and getting into a big fight. My husband has a knack for keeping calm and playing things off. Unfortunately, I have not mastered that skill. The whole trip was a bust, but I kept it civil. And by civil, I meant I gave one-worded responses.
The day we were leaving, I headed to the car and sat in the back seat. My husband’s uncle, perplexed at my actions, approached the car and said, “Rogan, is this a Bahamian custom, for the women to sit in the back seat?” I said, “No. I’m mad at your nephew and don’t want to look at his face.” He smiled and retreated. During that long ass drive back to Atlanta I came to my senses and returned to the front passenger seat and we made up.
I think too often we are concerned with the wedding day and not the marriage. Maybe the reason for that is because marriage is tough. Sometimes your spouse stops making the effort to impress you. People grow weary of performative emotions to prove their love for you, and sadly sometimes, people just fall out of love. I’m happy to report that it’s not the latter.
Years ago, I was in a jewelry store when a flirtatious man approached me. He asked if we could go out sometime and I told him no because I was married. Clearly not one to give in, he then asked if I was happily married. I replied, “sometimes.” He couldn’t stop laughing.
The truth is you’re not always happy. There are moments when you feel lonely and depressed. You may even feel disrespected, unloved or unwanted. There are moments when you want to walk away.
What has kept my relationship going is that during our darkest moments at least one of us was willing to fight.
I have also learned that I don’t need my spouse to check all of the boxes. If he’s checking the majority of the boxes for the important stuff, does it really matter that his texts are structured improperly or that he ignores me during the final game? It’s the final game, for Christ’s sake. I’ve learned to shut the hell up and come back after the game is over. Trust me, he appreciates that.
I’ve also learned that if my marriage is really worth fighting for, no one and nothing is going to stop me from trying to make it work.
But, please know this: both people have to want to make the marriage work. One hand alone can’t clap.