I am a fan of Being Mary Jane on BET. It’s one show that my best friend, Aseelah, and I discuss weekly. On the night the latest episode aired, I got a text, “BMJ was so good! Call me!”
I watched it the next morning and immediately called her and we went all the way in.
The thing that stuck out the most this episode was Mary Jane’s mom, Helen Patterson. She has secretly loved another man, Frank, for 40 years. It was also her husband’s, Paul, ex-best friend. I say secret because, no one seemed to know that she still harbored these feelings but her. And soon after seeing Frank again 40 years later, her husband knew too. Her husband knew that she had a relationship with him years ago, but loved her anyway.
Whoa, talk about heart break!
This scene can start a discussion on a few things:
- Being married to your spouse but not in love with them
- Secretly unhappy
- Settling for someone else
- Everything not being as good as it seems
While all of these deserve their own post, I am going to talk about how “Everything not being as good as it seems.”
I learned recently that through the naked eye, you never know what is going on in someone’s marriage. When I was single, I would see couples and be amazed at how in love they were (or seemed to be). On the flip side, I would look at couples that were married but looked miserable. They would say smart comments to me like, “It’s not all it’s cracked up to be!” I would be shocked they would tell me that and think, “If it’s that bad, then leave!” I would soon find out, it’s not always that easy.
So many married people seem happy:
- in person (all boo’d up, holding hands, kisses, etc.)
- on social media (traveling to fun places, always hugged up on photos)
- at church (walking in like the perfect family)
In reality, you never really know what goes on in a marriage unless you are in it or you are close enough to someone else’s marriage and they give you the real deal. I’ve stopped looking at marriages and saying:
- I want any part of that.
- They are the perfect couple.
- They are so in love.
The longer I’m married, the more I’m seeing marriages end. Marriages I just knew were SOLID. I knew a couple that celebrated it’s 23 year anniversary on FB with all the adoring words you would give each other online. In less than 2 months they were getting divorce. One of the spouses is already engaged to someone else! This was a couple that I thought was solid and in love. I have known them at least 15 years and never seen them argue and always had a smile on their face when we (my husband and I) were around. As time went on, my husband and I both learned things weren’t so “peachy keen”. When I tell you I am still in shock over this! Still in shock!
There are others that tout, “Love of my life” or “Life is good” on social media, but are secretly checking their spouses phone log or email accounts because of trust issues. How is life good, if you always have to “make sure” they aren’t doing anything wrong.
Don’t always believe the hype. So many people are in marriages because of their kids, the money, they don’t want to be alone or they don’t think they can get someone else.
On the flip side there are people who are happy in their marriage and are exactly where they want to be. The issue is you can’t tell on social media, in person or paper. By no means am I saying you should put your personal business “out there”. What I am saying as someone on the outside looking in is, stop comparing your marriage to any other marriage. Make your marriage perfect for you.
Here are 11 ways to Make Your Marriage Perfect for you:
- First step, communicate!
- With words
- With actions
- Maintain intimacy and passion, both inside and outside the bedroom. Intimacy is more than sex a few nights a week. Intimacy is what you make it. It could be a kiss in the door way or you hugged up on the couch watching your favorite movie. Get back into each other like you did when you were dating.
- Be kind. Niceness goes a long way. No one wants to hear every request with a funky attitude or judgement.
- Let it Be. It’s ok to let things go some times. You don’t have to win every argument.
- Watch your words. Words have immense power and you don’t want to say something you can’t take back.
- Be honest, even when you are ashamed or it hurts. If you are and your husband are on a budget and you go over, tell him. You don’t want to keep things or hold things in because that could start a bigger problem. Trust your spouse enough to tell them the truth.
- Stay thank you for the little things. People want to be appreciated. When you show people that you are grateful for the small things, they are more prone to continue to do with things with joy for you.
- Be real friends. Is your spouse your best friend? Can you tell them anything? Do you want to tell them everything? Your spouse should be your #1 friend. Well, it’s okay to have a best girlfriend, but you should be able to always be yourself around your spouse.
- Understand you both need/deserve your alone time. Although we love them, time away makes the heart grow fonder. I know I need me a girls trip once a year! Now, I don’t always get one, but I want one.
- Kiss more. Have you seen my post on the 6 second kiss? Kissing adds an element of intimacy that is missing in many marriages. People get comfortable and don’t kiss like they use to.
- Ask your spouse, “What do you need more of?” This is the best way to find out what your spouse wants. Just ask. You will be surprised at how you thought you knew something but were wrong.
There are many more things we can do as married couples to make our marriage perfect for us. It’s going to take us sitting down with our spouse and talking it out. My own marriage is not perfect. Sometimes it makes me uncomfortable when people say, “I just love yall!” or “Y’all always seem so happy and have it together!” Well, honestly when we are not getting along, the last thing I am thinking about is posting it on Facebook. 14 years in (next month) and we are still working on our Marriage.
One way for your marriage to deteriorate quickly is to get complacent. There is constant work to do after saying, “I do!”
Like I said in the beginning, I love Being Mary Jane. And out of all of things that Mary Jane gets herself into, her parents marriage was the one thing I felt was stable on the show. It was a great foundation for Mary Jane. Now, that foundation has been rocked and a little birdie told me that they (Helen and Paul) will be headed for divorce! Can you imagine divorcing your spouse after 40 years?
It just goes to show not everything is as it seems. So take the good and leave the bad. Learn your lesson and keep moving forward.
Black Love on OWN
One thing I am looking forward to is Black Love on OWN. It shows black celebrity married couples that are willing to share their truth. Couples that look picture perfect on camera, but are willing to show what behind the scenes really look like in their marriage.
Black Love highlights love stories from the black community and seeks to answer the burning question, What is the secret to making a marriage work?
Will you be watching Black Love? Do you watch Being Mary Jane?