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The “Secret” That Got My Wife & Me Through 12 Years Of Marriage

The “Secret” That Got My Wife & Me Through 12 Years Of Marriage
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Tomorrow on July 21st, my wife and I will celebrate 12 years of marriage!!! (That’s us on our wedding day on the left.) It’s amazing for me to think about how long we’ve been together because it honestly feels like it was just yesterday when we jumped the broom.

Our 12-year journey has been the greatest teacher in my life. The lessons have come in moments of pain and pleasure. Through “ups,” such as the birth of our son Kingston nearly two years ago, to ebbing events, like the loss of family and friends.

As I reflect upon the journey, there are 11 lessons that most standout. I believe these lessons can be helpful if you’re recently entering a relationship or have been boo’d up for awhile.

 

1) Develop A Mantra

About seven years ago, when my wife and I were going through a tough time in our marriage, she said one statement that has become our marriage mantra “it’s got to be all or nothing.” The phrase instantly connected with our values and speaks to the shared vision we have for our relationship. Whenever I start to get out of line, she drops those seven words on me and I straighten up like a pole.

 

2) Your Friends Are Not Relationship Experts!

Don’t involve anyone in your relationship, unless they are an expert.

 

 3) Have A Long Distance Plan

At two times in our relationship, I had to live away from my wife. After just a few days away I realized, if we stayed apart, the relationship would fall apart. If you want a long distance relationship to last you must have a plan to end the distance.

 

4) A Fire Doesn’t Stay Lit Without Tending To The Coals

You have to put work in to keep your marriage hot. This means periodically doing novel things together. Boredom is like weeds to your relationship — if you don’t eliminate, they’ll kill it.

 

5) Be Assertive

Despite how well intentioned you and your partner are, if both of you are not assertive, someone is going to be bullied.

 

6) No Such Thing as Being Independent in Successful Relationship

The key to success (at anything) is interdependence, not independence.

 

7) It Gets Sweeter Over Time

It has become common thought that as a relationship matures, we become less happy with it. This is one of the most damaging marriage myths. According to research, namely by leading anthropologist Helen Fisher, couples that stay together exhibit stronger attachment and desire for attraction.

 

8) You’ll Never Complete Them But You Should Complement Them

Searching for completion from anyone but you is futile. You are responsible for your own happiness.

 

9) Healthy Sex Life Is Critical

Keep in mind “healthy” is subjective. This is why communication is key. The elements both partners deem important in sex (frequency, positions, etc.) must be discussed.

 

10) Be a Better Listener and You’ll Be a Better Lover

When I learned to stop talking so much and really listen to my wife, our relationship leaped to another level.

 

11) Fight Fair

Disagreements will happen. Here’s some of my favorite fighting fair advice from Dr. Phil: “The question is, do you go into it with a spirit of looking for resolution or do you go into it with a spirit of getting even, vengeance, control? You’ll never win if you do that. If you make your relationship a competition that means your spouse has to lose in order for you to win. It’s not a competition, it’s a partnership.”

 

Comments Question: What is the most important relationship “secret” you have learned from your own experiences? 

 

 

Posted on: Jul 20, 2012

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49 comments
Linda Murphy
Linda Murphy

I don't have to read it to know, and it is not a secret in my book. What God puts together no man can put asunder. You two know what love really means.

Raymond Johnson
Raymond Johnson

Congrats on your marriage!! Been married 24 yrs in March but been with my wife 32yrs never Shacked up just dated But we had a understanding to let each other grow friends before lovers & She had to marry God First before she could marry me! But its been Wonderful because I learn something new Everyday about her Isnt God Amazing to give you a SoulMate

Nahgeetah Israel Arit NZinga
Nahgeetah Israel Arit NZinga

Good morning brother Paul. So sweet to share your energies. I AM a member of a group with brilliant youths. When I learn how to cut and paste off my phone. I will share your positive vibrations with them. They deserve it.

Regina Huff
Regina Huff

Wowww'' That is Rice Nicee'' i Love it... You Two Guy's'' Just Keep On Keeping On... And Just Stay Strong'' (y) :)

Wisdom Brownie
Wisdom Brownie

Such an Inspiration to others..U guys are a Beautiful Couple, Many Blessings to come!!

Renita Lake
Renita Lake

RESPECT. I bet that's the number one tip. Now let me read. :p

Amber RThomas
Amber RThomas

I am not married. Not even dating but I agree with what I read. Apparently you know what you are talking about and it has worked for you because you will be coming up on year 14 this summer. Congrats!

Brunette Coleman
Brunette Coleman

Is that you? Its good you got experience and not guesstamating

Bc Chronicles
Bc Chronicles

So well-said Paul! Thank you for sharing. The world needs more of this. #marriage #awesome

Elexis P Wells
Elexis P Wells

Im not married, but nothings wrong with learning... all points were very, very important, yet, I believe that the one point that is most missed is #8. Number 8 is powerful!!!

Mrswatts
Mrswatts

What exactly did your wife mean by "it's going to be all or nothing"

jojo
jojo

I have been through 25 years and 14 of it has been pure hell on earth. people change. My husband and I have grown in opposite direction. I am tired of trying i deserve something better than this,

Gregory
Gregory

Learning how to pick your battles has been a great lesson to me to learn. There will be many opportunities for conflict in your marriage. However, a sign of maturity and love toward your spouse is to not argue over everything that you perceive is a shortcoming. There are no perfect people in the world, so you remind yourself that you have married someone who is wonderfully flawed and you will receive acceptance in return for your flaws. Although, married couples will never see eye to eye on everything, I am convinced that the only fight worth having is the fight to save your marriage.

Dr. B
Dr. B

Love it! Soooo true! Congrats on your anniversary. I am married for 13 years to my bff. ( together for 19 years)... mantras are powerful! Dr. Rita Beckford

Ella Rucker
Ella Rucker

I don't know the solution to this, but I've found that if one argument keeps seeping into ALL of your arguments THAT is the one you need to solve. It is usually one argument that breaks a marriage or relationship apart. Everything else pretty much fuels that one fire (do NOT tend these coals ... working with Paul's analogy).

Janine
Janine

Great advice and very true. After 21 years of marriage, I also have found that keeping "laughter" in the marriage is also crucial to a healthy and happy union. At least, that works for us.

nsquared72
nsquared72

Piece of advice someone gave me, do not seek advice from single people if you're in a marriage.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Last year I broke up with my girlfriend due to many misunderstandings and I remember very well how hard I had been fighting to get her back. She changed her number, changed her job so that I don’t visit her office and none of her friends would give me any information about her. The only thing I could do was to go find help from anywhere, so i looked for a way to get her back then a friend recommended me to contact dr.marnish@yahoo.com that he will help me and as my friend said, dr.marnish helped me to bring back my girlfriend just in 3 days, I now have her back and this is the biggest joy of my life Gerri Detweiler

Yeedabee
Yeedabee

After just having my 5th wedding Anniversary and 15 years of relationship ups and downs with my husband, I needed to read this...some points taken. But one thing that I have learned over the years is that "anything worth having is worth fighting for". Therefore, just when I feel that I'm at the end of everything I thought I could do in my marriage...I reevaluate realizing that there's a little more fight left in me. Thanks :)

Rynick
Rynick

Yes I totally agree with your 11 lessons. You are such a good example for men.. i know not perfect but... what makes you come off that way is your sincerity and not being fearful of going deep inside,looking and being honest with yourself. Thats a precious gem you you own and not many men or women have that these days. In terms of relationsships... ( i am not a counselor or coach, just a lay person) but the advice i always give to friends and strangers when the subject comes up is... Every thought, feeling and action you have or take in the relationship... ask yourself... is it hurting the relationship or supporting and adding to it? Is it fostering openess, trust and closeness or fostering non communication, resentment and feelings that this person is not even your friend. I believe frienship is the cornerstone of any relationship. The desire and true willingness to want the relationship and partnership even through its storms. while you are fellowshiping at your church please stand in agreement with me for prayer to find my God appointed mate... thx.

Camille
Camille

Bingo! Nothing's new to me in your list, but I thank you for putting them altogether in one spot because now I can print, bookmark, and refer to it later on... and share with others... as I am about to do ...

Carmelia Ray
Carmelia Ray

After reading your views & tips on making a marriage work, it really feels like you hit the nail on the head!! As dating experts, we are not immune to relationship challenges. Underneath the fame and titles we are all "humans" who experience real life challenges. I could not agree with your wife more, about the "all or nothing" philosophy. What a fantastic "mission statement" for one's marriage or any sort of relationship we can apply this motto to. One counselor I worked with in a personal time of crisis asked me a question about resolving conflict. "Do you want to WIN, or be happy?" Clearly I wanted the second choice. I see you're planning on being in TORONTO for a book tour when I'm in LA that weekend.....sigh. Can't wait to read your book and share those concepts with people who need solid and practical advice. Amazing advice Paul..keep it coming :)

david
david

Prior to her being a jump off she failed 3times with her anchor babies. You are about to have this same female host you event? I wonder why? is she giving you head or something? she gave head to all her other gigs. I know one for a fact. There are so many other talented well deserving and professional females that have Oparah status type of persona but if you choose this trick it is not going to rub females the wrong way. Every man she has worked with she has fucked notice why they never staY? do you want your wife thinking that you are fucking this hoe? the only show or event she will host for me is for a sex party even then she will be in the bottom of the barrel. I have followed you for years and I love you work I would hate to see that it has been tainted by this slut. she is such a slut just look at what people are saying about her. now let's be realistic you have to admit that there must be some truth to these comments that is why she disabled the comments for her video bashing and blaming men about not being equipped. She had 3 anchor babies she is trying to say that single motherhood was something that was not her fault. She knew both the men she had kids with were involved with someone and did that stop her from popping those babies? NO! instead she went and filed for child support and welfare and neglected her mentally challanged kids at home by themselves. Police came and took her kids from her. Is this the kind of person that you want your son or daughter looking up to? And don't give me no Bull Shit about her being a changed person when she was trying to be a home wrecker. now she is sucking the balls of @ghanasands. Poor guy he can do so much better than her little does he know and Anchor baby is coming his way soon. I am not coming to this event and so is the rest of my book club. I will and wont ever support Taren Guy she is way too slutty for me and if I support her what would that say about me? look at all that there now way she will go with anything that moves. Response to Are single mothers damaged goods. Although you did not want to have commentaries respond to your video because you disabled it you simply told us that what people are saying it true and you don’t want people to know about you. why don’t you do the business anymore? why are you lying and saying the guy who considered you a jumpoff is your ex? He was never your ex and you can ask anybody including him which I am sure he has told you many times when he left you in front of the meeting waiting for him to drop you home lol that day was priceless. he said I am not your man find your way home the way you came.Taren isn’t mentioning that she was a jumpoff of one of the guys in the business she used to be in. this was as recent as 2years ago. the guy repeatedly told her they were not together and that he was not her man yet she keeps claiming he was. She was calling, texting, e-mailing him until he changed his number and every thing. Taren that is your problem right there you have to know the difference between just being a fuck and being a girlfriend. You should never have made any comments about this topic no wonder you disabled the comment box yet you say that when people make truthful comments about you it does not bother you, yeh right.Taren if you were to have kept your legs closed you would not have 3kids for 3 different fathers and I do agree that is a major red flag. the nerve of you to say that men are not equipped to handle a single mother, I beg the differ. Men can handle a hard working, and true single mom but they just can’t handle a whore like you and that’s the truth. If a man loves you regardless of what baggage you are carrying he will be willing to make it work NO excuses, but if you are always so easy and have no class selling yourself all the time no man is going to wife you. On top of that you had had you boys taken away from you and was givin custody to their fathers family all because you were running the streets is very sad. You weren’t even married when you had your 3rd child like come on when are you going to get the big picture? Then you want to blame the men and say that they are not equipped? Bitch go sit the fuck down and close your fucking legs. NO wonder you don’t do the business anymore which is not a surprise because everybody knew that you’s a whore. The guy in the business that used Taren for what she is said that she was still attempting to reach out to him saying that someone broke into her house so he changed his number again a second time. I don’t know if She is still contacting him because he doesn’t mention it when I see him at the meetings, but that just goes to show how Low Taren Guy is willing to go. The guy has moved on back with his wife and she is still trying to get with him. Taren was also contacting other men in the business that also used her as a jumpoff but she is not going to mention that in her videos.http://instagr.am/p/Kp2PToSJGR/ FYI this guy that she is referring to is not even working in her area. also when a you get a ticket on you car on the summons has the name of the person who wrote the ticket along with their number.I too was a single mom and I joined this business to help myself and make a better future for my kid. I have kept my standard very high along with birth control and I don’t have 3 kids with 3 different fathers. I have been married for 4years now and I am now considering having my second child. Everyone has their own story but you have control as a person to make a better ending if you didn’t get a good start. I have learned from my past mistakes and I moved forward for the better but damn there are just people out there to live up to the statistics of our disgraceful society.As for this topic I stand corrected when I say NO not all single moms are damaged goods. There are single moms out there that actually live up to the title as a mother and that is not just because they have brought kids into this world, but because they love and care for their kids like I care for mines. We are not tramps or whores nor jumpoffs or home-wreckers or attempted home-werckers Like Taren Guy. We are the minority of what true single moms are but the majority people like Taren Guy here is what gives us true single moms a bad name. Ho sit the fuck down clean up your act, stop trying to be someone you are not for God sakes you have 3kids now why don’t you try to break the cycle? I feel sorry for her kids they are the ones that are going to suffer the most and it’s so sad because they did not ask to be here with a mother like Taren. It’s probably better for the kids to be with their father’s family, they might have a chance after all http://bossip.com/557516/are-single-mothers-damaged-goods-mother-with-three-baby-daddys-says-some-men-arent-equipped-to-handle-an-already-made-family-video69691/REPLYStacyJUNE 17, 2012 @ 11:39 PM 3 1 Rate ThisTaren guy you ratchet bitch! not surprised 3kids not married different daddies what the fuck you are RACHET! I wonder who your next target is going to be. you are just a loose pussy hoe maybe that guy that you work with. You are such a fucking hoodrat. Who is that guy anyway and why are you so starving for him? Take a hint hoe you have 3kids 3 different daddies and you pussy is loose as shit so men obviously don’t stay with you. If men don’t want you let them be don’t fucking stalk them. you are so fucking starving. Buy a dildo of something. shit! time is now 10pm do you now where your 3 baby daddies are? lamo

Bree
Bree

": “The question is, do you go into it with a spirit of looking for resolution or do you go into it with a spirit of getting even, vengeance, control? You’ll never win if you do that. If you make your relationship a competition that means your spouse has to lose in order for you to win. It’s not a competition, it’s a partnership.” This right here is very compelling. I've said many times people Do Not get married for the Right Reasons to begin with. Not only that they don't have the maturity level to be a really good husband/wife. When folks marry the right person for the right reasons and become mature in how they handle things then it all works out.

Ann Marie
Ann Marie

Stand by your convictions and never be moved by your emotions. -Ann-Marie Moulton

Brandi
Brandi

That saying "I'm sorry" isn't a sign of weakness, but maturity.

Louvly
Louvly

most important: NEVER compare yourselves to other couples. appreciated this article though.

Emma Devine
Emma Devine

I think mutual respect is critical. Respect for each other as human beings sets the stage for other elements such as honor, trust and - yes, even love.

sushery
sushery

i always love your articles. i gain so much insight. i have been married 7 years and counting. keep the advice going. we are listening. i married my best friend and friendship helps also to get thru the rough spots. thanks again.

lonelylove
lonelylove

I wish there were more men like you out there, I just feel like the ratio of grown, mature stable relationship ready men is so small in comparison to women like me who want something real...but at least you're setting a good example, you give me hope :-/

Andrea Butler
Andrea Butler

Greetings Nsquared72: I don't agree with you when you say don't get advice from single people when your in a marriage. That simply not true because single people have experience with good/ bad relationships as well as married people. Also I do believe that marriage people where single a some point in their life before they got marry. Another thing it depends on the maturity of the person giving the advice. I'm sure no one wants to get advice from someone who is immature and don't relate to life experiences. I think what we all want is that the people in our life is concern about our best interest and wants what best for us.

crmycoco43
crmycoco43

@Anonymous What did you do?  Kidnap her and hide her in your closet?  A girl that hard to find doesn't want to be found?  Please tell me you didn't kill her and keep the body in your backyard!

monica
monica

This person is not lying. Taren needs to be exposed. She doesn't have custody of neither of her three kids...and doesn't care. She only wants to be famous.

Andrea Butler
Andrea Butler

Dear David: I sense you are in a bad mood and had some serious bad relationships because you are giving Ms. Taren serious fever. I don't understand why you have to call her these bad names over the internet and I'm sure you have ill feelings regarding her advice and actions, but you need to be mindful of the language you use some of what you are saying about her is un-called for and please get you some serious rest because the energy you put into your response message about Ms. Taren tell me you're tired as hell. Please reframe from name calling and start having healthy conversation without the foul language.

Abra Frickin Cadabra
Abra Frickin Cadabra

I don't know who this Taren person is, but You sure did devote a great chunk of your day to perform a full bodied character assassination. I suggest finding a hobby.

SheMeHer
SheMeHer

The fact that you took the time to write a book about Taren Guy clear shows that this is personal. Did she mess with your man? like why are you doing the most. While all the things you stated may be very well true there is no need to air out this woman's dirty laundry. You said it yourself we all have a past and its up to you to make your future better (something like that) point is Taren promotes positivity and love .... what are you doing? Your bitter and you need to pray and find peace with whatever it is that you feel she has done to you.

quinne
quinne

but keeping it real, you are what you attract. At some point you have to self-evaluate and begin to wonder why all the men that you come across are "no good/terrible" And this isnt to pick on you but speak to everyone who is having trouble meeting that special person.

AES24
AES24

@crmycoco43 who cares that she lost custody of her kids??? Was that a real question?