If I applied every rule I heard and piece of advice I received about relationships throughout the course of my life, I would not be a happily married woman. One thing I learned a long time ago is that all advice isn’t good advice and not all good advice applies to my life. Although I am open-minded and wise enough to listen to others perspectives and opinions, I trust myself to make the best decisions for myself and my life based on my own preferences and experiences. When people offer advice, it’s coming from what they’ve seen and experienced in their own lives. As each persons journey is different and things change over time, what works for one may not work for someone else and vice versa. What each person needs and requires from their significant other to be happy also varies. When it comes to relationships, there is no black and white, absolute wrong or right way to be successful at it. It all depends on the people involved and the understanding they have with one another.
During the 5 years that my husband and I dated before we got engaged and the additional 5 years we were engaged before we got married, I got plenty of questions from family, friends, and co-workers about our wedding date. I’m sure that some people probably thought the day would never come. When I tell people that we were together 10 years before we got married, I get asked why it took so long or how I handled the side-eyes and pressure. Looking back, I think that I was always destined to be an Empowerment Coach because I have always had the mindset to live my life at my own pace and do what’s best for me regardless of what other people think. I enjoy empowering other women to do the same.
I met my husband when I was 17 years old, the summer before we started college. We were still children when we started dating. Raised by strict parents, who did not allow me to date until after high school, my husband was my first real boyfriend. At 17 and 18 years old, we were both still very immature and didn’t know how to communicate well. Although we were in love, we disagreed about a lot of things and argued a lot. We made plenty of mistakes between the two of us and experienced years of growing pains. There were things that we did to each other in our youth that people would say we should have broken up over and sometimes we did. However, despite the pain we caused each other while we were growing, maturing, finding ourselves, and figuring life out, the love between us always remained. Deep down, we always knew that we would end up together. It took us 10 years to get married because simply put, we weren’t ready. Neither of us were willing to play with that kind of commitment and we weren’t going to do it just for appearances. We needed to be right with God and good with each other. He had to be sure before he proposed and I had to be sure before I said “I do”.
Marriage is work. However, our past prepared us to do the work. After all that we’ve been through and overcome together, it is clear to both of us that we are in this forever. I wouldn’t change anything about our past because we learned so much from it and our bond is so much stronger now because of it. Because I watched my husband grow from boy to man and grew with him, I married my best friend. Our journey may not have been the perfect love story for many, but I am confident that it was exactly what it was supposed to be. Some people get married within 6 months of meeting each other and stay married until the end of their lives. In our case, it took 10 years to make that commitment. For others, it will be more or less. The point is that you have to know who you are and who you are in a relationship with. You have to create your own standards and stay true to your own values. You have to respect the rules you and your significant other agree upon and not try to change them every time someone else has an opinion. Everyone always has an opinion from the outside looking in, but no one knows the intimate and real details about your relationship except you and the person you’re in a relationship with. The only advice I have for you is, pray over your relationship, do what you know deep down is best for you and, unless there is abuse, keep people out of your business. Me and my husband are going on 4 years of marriage.