Last week, we celebrated our five year wedding anniversary! On September 1st, 2012, we became one, we became #ThemBoldens. I remember that day like it was yesterday, and I seriously can’t believe it has been five years already. Ernest and I decided to take a vacation to celebrate this occasion by going to the Bahamas. We decided to go to the Bahamas because this is where we visited on a cruise for our honeymoon 5 years ago. We had an amazing time on our cruise, up until the last day where we lost Ernest’s phone that we took literally ALL of our honeymoon pictures on. It was devastating, so we decided hey, let’s relive the moment and do it again for our 5 year anniversary. This time, I had a professional photographer and I vowed we would never let that happen again.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Nikoan Johnson
As happy as I am right now in my marriage, I must admit, I have learned so much about myself, about my spouse and about marriage along this 5 year ride. So with this hashtag #BLACKLOVE, I want to share the top 5 things I have learned over the past 5 years and what has helped our marriage thrive over the past 5 years.
GROWING TOGETHER, NOT APART
Ernest and I got married at 24, so we were considered “young”. We were in our young twenties and had so much to still learn and develop on our own personally, spiritually, with our careers etc. Although we both grew a lot over the past 5 years, it is important that we grew together. You have to make sure that you keep that in mind when growing in your marriage or relationship. Growing a part should not be the reason that a relationship doesn’t last. When you love each other, you grow together and continue to learn about one another. That is exactly what we have done over the course of the last 9 years and 10 months of our relationship. I am certainly not the same woman I was at 19 when I met Ernest and he definitely isn’t the same young man he was when I met him at 19. We both have matured and grown a lot over time. But it has been fun growing together and learning something about each other. He claims he knows me like the back of his hand, which may be the truth. But I love the fact that we both know each other so well, but still have room to grow, and even change, but always together.
KNOW EACH OTHER'S LOVE LANGUAGES
A year or two ago, I had no idea what “love languages” were. But I soon found out how important it is to understand your partner’s love language and how they best give and receive love and affection.
So what are the love languages?
Words of Affirmation - This language uses words to affirm other people.
Acts of Service - For these people, action speaks louder than words.
Receiving Gifts - For some people, what makes them feel most loved is to receive a gift.
Quality Time - This language is all about giving the other person your undivided attention.
Physical Touch - To this person, nothing speaks more deeply than appropriate touch.
People identify with these love languages because it helps you identify your needs in a relationship and also makes sense of how and why partners misinterpret one another’s intentions. When I first found out about love languages it just clicked for me. I remember getting so mad at Ernest when I would come home from work and he would be on an off day from work, and the kitchen would be dirty. I would get angry to the point to where I would not speak to him for a day because I was upset. But seeing the list of love languages, I now understand, and he understands that one of my love languages is Act of Service. If I had a long day at work, and he is home, then one way to show me love is to take something off of my plate. Whether that is helping prep dinner, or cleaning the kitchen. A simple act of service for me is showing me love and appreciation. Once we both figured out that this was one of my love languages, positive things happened in our marriage. On the other hand, one of Ernest’s love language is quality time. For me, I can get so nose down in my business and assume quality time is us laying on the couch together, with me having my phone still in hand. But for him, he wants to really spend the quality time and be in tune to each other, which I definitely can respect. So I had to learn to turn off my work mode and focus on our time together.
All of this can seem like common sense in a relationship. But honestly having these love languages outlined and understanding what your love languages are, can really help a relationship. I know this is something that I learned that has helped us in our marriage over the past 5 years.
HAVE HOBBIES OUTSIDE OF EACH OTHER
Boy is this HUGE for me! And if you ask Ernest, he would say that he is the driving force behind my success. Haha. I remember when I was pregnant with Aria, and I use to be so clingy on Ernest. I would want to spend every second of the day wrapped up with him. And to most, this could be annoying. I remember him saying to me, you need a hobby; as his hobby was basketball. That is his escape and he enjoys playing. So I decided to start blogging and sharing my love for hair and fashion and here we are!! When you and your partner both have interests outside of the marriage it brings more excitement and other passions and joys instead of relying on each other 24/7 for entertainment and happiness. This is one of the greatest things I learned. Find other passions and joys outside of each other. It gives you both something to talk about and encourage each other on!
MARRIAGE IS HARD, BUT IT'S WORTH IT
I will be honest when I say marriage is hard work. But nothing worth having is easy, right? You have to be willing to make sacrifices and really WORK on the marriage to make it last the test of time. I have developed a mentality of “whatever it takes”. My sister in law gave me this mantra as this is what she practices in her own marriage- whatever it takes. Sometimes people are so willing to give up so easily in their marriage without really giving their ALL to make it work. Whether it is learning each other's love languages, really putting in the time and effort or simply compromising on a disagreement. Whatever it takes to make it work, you have to be willing to put in 110%.
ALWAYS KEEP THE FRIENDSHIP
Ernest and I are the best of friends and I honestly think this friendship and bond has made our marriage last this long. When you are genuinely friends with your partner it makes things easier. What I value and learned most in my 5 years of marriage is to never lose that friendship. Keep your friendship thriving because friendship breeds happiness and it is something you never want to lose in your marriage.
So that's all folks! These are the top things I have learned in the last 5 years with marriage and that has helped us keep our marriage thriving! I pray God continues to bless us with many more years of love and happiness.
Special shout out to Yours Truly owner Felicia for hand delivering this beautiful dress the night before I flew out to the Bahamas!! This dress is everything and I couldn't imagine wearing anything but this dress!!
With Love, Passion & STYLE,