“You cannot protect yourself from sadness …”

“Babe, it's three years that we married enuh!”

“Ugh! All of three years?!”  He uses an imaginary knife to slit his throat.

“Well you do realize that you are married to Popcorn, the same Popcorn from UWI (University of the West Indies) campus, who lived on Taylor Hall, Block F?” That reminder always gets him.

For those of you who don’t know, my husband and I knew each other from college, but we were NOT a couple then. Though this story may differ depends on who tells it. In my husband’s delusional mind, I always wanted him and it was only a matter of time (almost five years later) before I’d chase him down. In my rational mind, not only did I not chase him, I would not have been caught dead being his wife.

“No! Don't say that!”  He continues to feign his death.

“So how long you think we'll stay married?”  My husband asks as we both erupt into laughter.

“Dunno. Let's give it five years... or who knows, you may just be stuck with me forever.”

He makes a face. “Forever though?!”

Our laughter continues...

Let’s be honest, whenever we see photos of a happy couple flooding our timeline, the skeptic in us kicks in, and as much as we hate to admit it, we can't help but ask ourselves: how long will they last?

Well, my husband and I are very practical, perhaps too practical. We never avoid discussions on the possibility that we may not last forever. We don’t harp on it, but we acknowledge it. After all, statistics show that nearly half of every marriage ends in divorce. And even though I'm easy to get along with most of the times, I can be  bat-shit crazy.

We are also practical enough to know that a successful marriage is not necessarily defined by the number of years a couple stays together. A lengthy marriage can be as gravely unsuccessful as a short-lived marriage. In fact, many successful marriages come to an end when they have run their life span, or what I call their love cycle.

But not to worry, we aren’t about to get divorce anytime soon. As I often remind my husband, singing in the voice of Bob Marley, "You a go tyad fi see mi face!"

Now, at the three-year mark, I can’t help but ask: what really makes a marriage strong or successful?

I can hear all the Christians shouting in unison: GOD!

But that isn’t so, is it? Having God does help, but even men of God get divorced. The truth is, there is no secret. No one has the answer. We can all share our ideas or practical suggestions of how to remain happily married, but none of these will guarantee that a marriage will last. Because human emotions are largely unpredictable, and falling in love doesn't come with instructions (despite what your preacher may say).

We smile, congratulate and applaud those who boast 10, 15, 20 years of marriage and marvel at the incredible over achievers who have racked up 30, 40 and 45 years of marriage. At every wedding that I have ever been to (including my own) these lengthy marriages are showcased as the example, the ideal to which the newly wedded couple should strive.

But are they really?

Let me be the first to admit that living with another person, even for a year, is an impressive feat in and of itself. But the contention that the success of a marriage should be equated with its length is to me a lot like the lazy employee who thinks he should be promoted simply because of the number of years he has spent at a job, irrespective of how poorly he has performed.

The better evaluation of a successful marriage is an exploration of whether these couples still deeply love and enjoy each other. How do they relate to each other even after the wild infatuation has worn off and the magic spell is gone?

You see, there are many miserable lengthy marriages. There are many couples who detest each other or have fallen out of love, but simply co-exist because it's more economical to do so. I meet too many people who tell me they would have left their marriages ages ago, if only they could afford to.

I say this without hesitation: I would prefer to have three years of "blissful" marriage than a lifetime of simply existing! And if we do get to that point, the point of simply existing, I hope both my husband and I are smart enough to let each other go.

And this brings me to my next point. I am always asked, why are you guys so public? What if your marriage doesn't work out? Aren't you afraid of people laughing at you?

My response is always, so what if it doesn't work out? Jonathan Foer says it best, “You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.”

Why should we restrain ourselves from showcasing the love and happiness that we now experience because of the fear that it may not last forever?

Every time I receive a phone call from a friend, a family member or an acquaintance asking for guidance on getting a divorce, I wait for the inevitable exclamation, “I just wasted the last (insert number of years of relationship) of my life!”

This one sentence resonates with me.  My marriage should never be described as a waste. No matter the outcome, I should be able to look back and know we made each other better persons for having met and shared our lives. If my marriage ends today, it should have changed me, shaped me, strengthened me and I should have absolutely no regrets.

Three years later, and I’ve come to realise that the way to truly enjoy being married is to first accept that marriage isn't a state of eternal bliss (now you see why I have it in quotations above). I don't have to sell you on our happiness, we celebrate this on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter... you get the drift. The reality though is that no one exists in a constant state of happiness. If they do, they are likely committed (like a patient at a psychiatric ward). Sadness, anger, jealousy, pride, anxiety and fear are all human conditions, and you will not escape them by being married. If anything, they will be compounded.

Alas, the secret to happily-ever-after escapes me, but I do know now, more than ever, that marriage is about learning how to love someone when they are at their most human, unattractive state. It’s learning to love someone even when you have hit a glitch and then learning how to push past those glitches. It’s accepting that your significant other will perhaps never learn to make a bed, pick up his socks or put the toilet seat down (yes hon, this is directed right at you), but choosing to love him anyway. It's learning how to be compromising and then learning to be even more compromising. It's learning to be willing to lose an argument even when you know you are right. It's learning to accept that looking for perfection in anyone is a sure way to set yourself up for failure.

So forgive me, for not presenting you with an idyllic and-they-lived-happily-ever-after celebratory anniversary post, but then again that wouldn’t be me.

The fact is whether we are together for another year, 5 years, 20 years or a lifetime, it doesn’t matter because we'll make every moment count.

“You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.”

Happy anniversary my darling! I hope to make each day being married to me worth it!

Us. Three years later!

Us. Three years later!

43 Responses

  1. Rude girl, when did you get so wise? Your blog is funny, refreshing and I’m happy to say it resonates with me deeply. A lot of what I think but don’t say. Nuff respect xoxo

    • Lecia-Gaye Taylor

      Welcome over here, Manju! lol! I’m really happy you love it! please subscribe so you don’t miss an update.

  2. Keane (Vulcha) Campbell

    I really enjoy reading your columns, especially for someone who is not an avid reader. I agree with your views as I am going into my second year of marriage. I like your writing style, it is real.

  3. Trishana

    I love love this post….

  4. Reblogged this on nickyann's Blog and commented:
    THIS right here! MUST READ #truth #honesty #real

  5. Reblogged this on carmen.

  6. Reblogged this on Poésie and commented:
    So I just had to share this post from JustHitchedNowWhat talk about telling it like it is! Guys you need to read this for every couple whether dating, engaged or married..hell even if you are single because this post could be what you need to get out there and try again!

  7. Omg! I love your post! wait..correction WE” love your post! as an engaged couple about to make the big step soon we truly found ur post useful and practical thanks again! and all the very best to your marriage! and we wish you two years and years of great memories!

    • Thank you so much for sharing. I’m so happy you find our practical approach useful. Congratulations to you both on your engagement and I wish for a magical wedding and a happy marriage! Hugs!

  8. Sushana

    I always enjoy ur blog,u put your heart in to what you write and not just write for blogging sake.However, time does go by fast it’s all of 3 yrs for me too and we keep remind each other tht it is 3 years in disbelief, I think we at tht stage where we going stop count lol… but he says it’s a nightmare what did he do lol…. that’s just his love. But we always hear about the long years of marriage, whenever I meet those ppl I ask what kept u two join so long. Also hubby cannot figure out y so much ppl who married for years n paint perfect picture to the world as do married couples when they r mad with each other and go out all smiles… he always ponder why ppl he know married for over 20yrs get divorce and then think about us. My words to him look at the ones that survive and are still happy and feel the magic… too often the media paints tht negative stigma on marriages and we all grow to expect failure the same way… love u and Garfield and see you both going for over 50yrs married lol.. toilet seat annoys me too but we sign up for it.

    • Haha! Sushana you are so right. Wishing you and hubby a lifetime of happiness! Thanks for stopping by and please share!

  9. Saschana Graham

    This was an excellent read. Solid Truth!

  10. This made me smile. It’s was like reading my own thoughts but from someone else. This was a perfect article.

  11. simone miller

    Just awesome. Happy anniversary u too

  12. Grace Hewitt

    Great article.

  13. Ruth-Ann

    I read this ‘REAL’ article…..re read it…..loved it…..and then shared it with my mother (a minister and counsellor). Her response? “I LOVE IT! That was excellent, well written, practical and real. Save it, send it to every one you know…send it to Joe (oh no she didn’t!). Now that’s a healthy relationship, their sense of humour and realism has the making of a lasting marriage….. a happy marriage. That’s what marriage is all about and I wish them both all the best…..1 day at a time!”

    Happy Anniversary!…….belated

    • Thanks Ruth – Ann. Please share and thank your mother for me!!

  14. Tameica Bradber

    I truly enjoyed reading this. I especially like the part about ‘ compromising and then compromising some more’. Essentially, that’s what it boils down to. Two persons coming from two different backgrounds and expecting to live together has to understand that the other will not do/be exactly as you desire and so will need to make allowances in order for the marriage to be successful. Each day comes with new challenges and a decision has to be made to be the best partner one can be. Whilst not always successful due to the human emotions involved every opportunity to make it better should be grasped. Been going at it for 18years married for 10 and looking forward to many more successful years together. Happy 3rd anniversary to you and yours.

  15. Clavia

    This is my first time reading one of your blogs. I won’t promise I will be hitched to reading them, but I sincerely believe you should not divorce the writing. There is a pragmatic and realistic allure and an openness that inspires me not to want what you have but to not be afraid of what I have; not be afraid to love and lose. So often you read about people and their relationships and it’s so mythical you get uncomfortable in your own skin. (I just roll my eyes. Perpetual happiness is not real.) However, in this I see an existence I can relate to; a version of love and relationships that makes more sense. I hope that makes sense. KEEP WRITING AND KEEP THE LOVE REAL.

  16. Martina Richards

    Love your blog!!? Keep it up…..

  17. Tara

    Well written….well said!!! I’m looking forward to your first book!

  18. Nadine

    My friend in my head! Love your posts! Don’t stop writing

  19. Awesome !!! Perfectly explained and profound !!!

  20. tamara fray

    well said…marriage should be celebrated and not living in fear of divorce but enjoy the moments you are together. …your blogs are always a good read

  21. Sharon Gayle

    This is profound. Keep doing what you doing.

  22. Tannece Green

    I love this hun…it is just this week I said to myself you need to enjoy your relationship and be open about it without fear. VERY GOOD READ!! as always 🙂

  23. You are so awesome! I love your posts even though I do not always comment!!

  24. Denyse

    This is a blog every couple should read. It could not have been said any better. Think this your best post (award worthy). Yes i predicted it

  25. Reblogged this on ANIMATE THE DREAM and commented:
    A great read from justhitchednowwhat…. As my hubby and I approach three years of marriage as well I could not help but share this article on the practicality of marriage. I believe the greatest contribution you can bring to your marriage is self-love. When you love and accept yourself, it makes you confident and courageous…. and you have no fear for the future…
    #selflove #marriage #actionlove #courage #confidence #joy

  26. Great post! Happy Anniversary

  27. Kaye

    I went hiatus in reading your blogs hun, my sparks of laughter every now and then. However I am truly glad I had the chance to today(sitting at work melting in this heat). The last paragraph on loving despite it all is honestly something I have been stating since this week started and I loved that though this was about marriage, the loving despite the quirks applies for any type of relationship. (There I go ranting again)..I guess what I am really trying to say is it is truly awesome to get another’s take on the matter..there is no perfect being besides God, yet we can choose to live peaceably and just love each other.. Big ups pan di tree (yes tree)years bucka and lecia lol

    • Thank you Kaye we “tree” years strong yes. Don’t forget to share!

  28. Jackie

    Every “married” couple should know read this…this is sooooo real! Well said in a nutshell

  29. Nicky

    VERY well written (no surprise there) 🙂 #practical #real I could not have written better myself! Totally agree with you.