The fate of a 50/50 relationship

Have you ever heard someone say that relationship ships are 50/50? Have you said it? If so, please stop. The notion that relationships like this equate success, is absurd-let me tell you why.

For starters, it is simple math, which unlocks the key to the rest of this post. 50 is half of 100…..ooohhh, did you catch that? Yes, folks, 50 is only half, so how is one giving half of their self and expecting a complete and fulfilled relationship? This is extremely impossible. What is possible, however, is a relationship that will end in failure. We put our ALL into our children, career, and even school, so why are our relationships different? You don’t divide duties in a relationship, no one says “Well, I’ll give you half of my loyalty, and you give half of yours.” That sounds ridiculous saying it, right? Matter of fact, how about this:

1. Get a piece of paper and pencil.

2. Draw a half circle, look at it for a moment.

That represents 50%, leaving the circle looking similar to the letter c. So your half circle, allows space for outside influences to come in and interfere (e.g., family, jealous friend, ex). Now add the other half of the circle, this is what completion looks like. When you give your whole self, 💯, outside influences are non existent!

Remember, relationships, especially marriages, aren’t 50-50. But you know what is- divorce. Divorce rates are every on of two. Control your narrative, give your all, not half, and watch the flower blossom.

What Makes a Marriage Successful?

One in two marriages end in divorce, according to Psychology Today. In addition, of the 50%, two-thirds stated that their marriage could have been repaired. What are the top reasons on for divorce? Finances and communication. As a marriage and family therapist, this subject is very important to me. We often look at older couples, and wonder what the trick is. I often thought this, as well, in my early stages of marriage. After 9 years of marriage and 12 years together, I have complied a list of what it takes for a marriage to be successful. Now before I begin, I want to preface by stating three things: 1. This doesn’t mean that your marriage will be perfect everyday and from time to time, you won’t want to be in each other’s presence 😜. Marriage is work, meaning you try everyday to be the best spouse you can be, just as you try to be the best boss, co worker, or parent, but expect mistakes. 2. There are a couple of things here, I did not do, because I was neither told, nor taught the importance. So it took me some time, arguments and counseling to understand what keeps a marriage successful. Lastly, longevity does not equate success. Just because you have been married 20 years, does not mean it is successful. I know people who have been married over 25 years, and just live together, and have been living separate lives for years. However, read below for my tips.

1. Premarital Counseling<<<
many of you can say that you argue more than you have civil conversations? What about “He doesn’t understand me” or “She complains about everything? ” What if I told you that effective listening is a skill that many of us do not have. Counseling teaches you the language one another, so you can listen and respond in a way that is effective. I’ll speak more on this below. But also premarital counseling gives you the opportunity to learn all of those things that you never thought to ask. These particular counselors gives assessments that covers areas such as: finances, love language, family history, and more. Many people fail to learn the important things about their significant other that can have a significant affect on their relationship and (future) family. For example, what if she has a FICO score of 480, that may make you feel some type of way. What about if his father and grandfather both were bipolar? There is a possibility that he may be bipolar or it can translate down to your children; this is a genetic mental illness. Again, premarital counseling assists you in learning what you never thought to ask. And if you cannot afford it, there is a checklist online of questions/ conversations that should be asked before you walk doesn’t the aisle.

2. Communication<<<
s is the second leading cause of divorce. As stated above, communication is a skill. Just because we hear it, does not mean we know how to receive it. And just because we are delivering it, does not mean, we are delivering it in an effective manner. Women are often more emotional beings, whereas men are more rational. We want them to know, understand and solve our problems, without us having to open our mouths. And yes, there are times, when men know exactly what the problem is and how to fix it. However, many men that I have come across always state that “I don’t know what you don’t tell me.” So understand the others’ style of communication is imperative to growth. Here is another one…….when was the last time you asked your spouse if he/ she is happy with the way things are going? That simple question can save a marriage because we are so great at hiding things, or placing our focus elsewhere (work, kids, friends) that we assume things are great just because we are happy and fulfilled. I believe that checking in with your spouse on their level of happiness, every few months, will do wonders for your relationship.

3. Your Spouse Should be Your Best Friend<<<
, I said it!!! Some of you may not agree, and this okay. I have ladies in my life that I consider my closest friends, more like my sisters, but they will never have more of me than my spouse. Your spouse should be your number one supporter, provider and comforter. Sure, you have those friends that you yearly trips with, talk on the phone with at 7pm every night, and share precious moments with. But when you having a friendship within your marriage, which many people don’t have, conversations and overall happiness is better. It just improves the overall quality of your marriage.

4. Not Losing Yourself<<<
s could easily be number 2 or 3, because it happens at one point in every relationship. When most people go through a divorce or breakup, they wonder ” Who am I?” This is because we dedicate so much time and effort to our relationships with our spouse, children and work, we forget about the most important relationship: the one we have with ourself. We stop reading, painting, shopping with friends, or whatever it is that brought you joy, because we replaced that with making everyone else a priority. Always make time for the things that make you happy. If it is being home alone, tell him to take the kids for a few hours. If it is hitting the gym, or whatever it may be, carve out that time. You too are special, and you should not lose yourself to try and please others. Have your selfish moments, I promise they will be there when you get back.

<<<
ther mentions:

Spirituality/Religion- Keep this at the center of your life and never lose site of it, if this is what your relationship is based on.

Finances: This is the leading cause of divorce. Discuss which financial route works best for your marriage. I know many people who keep separate accounts and it works for their marriage, and vice versa. But have those conversations often, so there are no surprises.

I am interested to learn: have any of these worked for you, or do you have anything to add?

Mental Health in the Black Community-Women

 

We are strong, we are the backbone, we are needed by everyone. These are great traits, but they are often overwhelming and impossible. As black women, we struggle to care for ourselves  because we but everyone else first. It is an innate; we are the oil that keeps the car running, and the energy that keeps the dimness away. Yet, we are dim inside. When our childrens’ fathers are imprisoned, dead, or just plain dead-beat, we strap on our boots, get it done-without much complaint. Until there is that time when you are running bathe water, and start crying. Or even when your kid asks you a simple question, and you snap. You don’t know what you don’t know. Anyone every asked you “what’s wrong” and you don’t know, or simply say “nothing,” but instantly fill our eyes with tears? We have everything scheduled for our kids- from sunrise to sunset. We even know the pattern of their heartbeats, but can’t recognize our own changes. It is hard to recognize or put a name to what you don’t know. Ever experienced the following:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Trouble getting out of bad, or the unwillingness to get out of bed.
  • Loss of joy, or feelings of worthlessness, hopeless, discouraged
  • Withdrawn, fatigue, weight loss/gain

If you have experienced these, there’s a pretty good chance that you have suffered from depression at one point, or currently. Depression is more prevalent in women than men. Depression affects over 15 million people per year, according to aada.org. I would challenge this number, because of those that aren’t documented-like the black community.

 In the black community, we like to use the term “crazy” to describe mental illness. Yet, we are losing people every day to suicide, which is often a result of depression. We have this stigma, and sense of pride, that therapy is for white people, or we can’t tell anyone our business. By not listening to our bodies and our spirit, we are increasing the number of unstable homes and negatively affecting our children, in addition to ourselves. Black women, we can’t do it all. Please don’t try to do it all; you are enough. Take care of yourself so you can be there for your children. Don’t suffer in silence; there are so many resources available. If you are not ready to try therapy, maybe try the following:

  1.  Talk to a friend or family member-you are not alone.
  2. Journaling: this is a great way to express yourself and better understand your moods.
  3. Mindfulness: Practicing mindfulness is a great healing component that helps calm the body and soothing the mind.
  4. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline- if you feel that you are at a place where you don’t know where to turn and/ or none of the above work, call 1-800-273-8255. This is free and confidential, and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.