We Can’t Improve Our Marriages If We Don’t Talk About Them

MY HUSBAND AND I SHARED HOW WE FOUGHT TO STRENGTHEN OUR MARRIAGE AND THE RESPONSE HAS BEEN OVERWHELMING.

It’s safe to say that I know a thing or two about love.

For the last thirteen years, my work as a journalist has been primarily focused on writing about dating, marriage and the pursuit of healthy relationships for women. I absolutely love what I do. I get to politely pry into couples’ relationships in order to seek out and highlight their most-noteworthy achievements and epiphanies. I take great care in writing about these moments—big or small, heartwarming or heartbreaking—that shape and define a love story. When I write about love, I do it through the lens of lessons learned and takeaways for everyone.

I haven’t been counting, but if I had to guess, I’d say I’ve interviewed and written about more than 400 couples, most of whom are married, about their unique relationship journeys. Until recently, no one had ever interviewed me about my own marriage or asked my husband and I the kinds of tough questions that rarely have quick or easy answers. Then I met NYTimes freelance writer Alix Strauss who pens the publication’s wildly popular It’s No Secret column, and we got to talking about the trials and tribulations of love. We discussed how I met my husband, what he and I had been through since tying the knot in 2010 and why we’d chosen to renew our vows in August 2019. She asked if we’d share our story for her column and we agreed. If I could coax countless other couples into trusting me with their truths, I thought, then why shouldn’t I do the same? So we went for it, and we didn’t hold back on the raw honesty.

In January, when the column ran, for the first time, our friends and family and a world full of complete strangers reading the Sunday Times learned that my husband and I are fighters who despite some bumps along the road, are still very much in love and stronger together because of what we’ve overcome.

When you exchange vows on your wedding day, of course you mean those words, but at that moment in time you have no idea how you will have to apply them and when and how they will be tested. We couldn’t have known that my husband losing his brother and best friend four months apart would take him to his lowest point and that he would have trouble finding his way back from there. I hadn’t a clue that I would have to shine the light toward the way for us to go forward because the light in his eyes had temporarily gone out. I spoke about the power of fighting for your partner when they can no longer fight for themselves. I shared that patience and empathy for my partner got me through the moments I thought we couldn’t ever get back to our best.

Before our interviews, although we were hesitant to fully open up, we agreed to move forward with our entire truth, no edits. After reading the heartfelt responses we’ve received (and are still receiving) from so many strangers, I’m confident it was the right decision. We helped people who have found themselves on an unwanted romantic detour who need faith that there was a new and better course. I’ve received the most beautiful thank you letters from women who’ve been where I have—who’ve prayed for their partner’s more than they prayed for themselves and chosen joy even when it seemed like the least possible option. “I was considering divorce but now I realize it’s just a rough spot, it’s not the end,” wrote one woman from across the country. “You two are living proof that love can still be pure and beautiful, even after something awful,” said another. The letters and messages just keep coming. I cry and smile as I take in the sentiments from each of them. I’m so grateful that being real about our love could affect other’s realities in a meaningful way. After reading the article, woman who realized she frequents the place where my husband works, came there just to meet him in person and congratulate us on our success. She waited almost an hour to see him. Wow. We’re so thankful.

Good love vibes are contagious, I believe. When we share our truths and lessons learned, they can catch fire in others and possibly even get them over their own hurdles and humps. Even in a world of perfect filters and captions, there must still be room for our real lives and experiences and how they shape who we become together and apart.

The next time someone asks you how things are going in your relationship. Don’t sugar coat your answers—that’s not helping you or them. Open up and watch what happens.

One thought on “We Can’t Improve Our Marriages If We Don’t Talk About Them

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