This post was originally written for Black and Married with Kids.
The month of September is like one big celebration every year: two out of three babies born this month and the union that brought those babies together is celebrated. It’s always amazing to reflect and see how much we’ve grown over the last year both as a couple and as individuals. And when we look at the number of couples who got married within the last nine years like we did, but didn’t make it, we’re very grateful for our union.
Marriage requires getting to know your spouse, what drives him/her and what ignites their inner fire. It’s about really getting to know them over and over again. But in order to do that, there is one question you should ask your spouse regularly. And that question is: Are we okay?
This one sentence, these simple three words could mean the difference between spending your 20th anniversary still happily in love or spending it happily divorced. I know it’s been mentioned on this site several times before, but the problem with a lot of couples who grow apart or fall out of love, is that they got too comfortable. They assumed everything was okay because their spouse never said otherwise. Only, they didn’t know their spouse was waiting for them to say something. So the cycle continues until they look at each other without realizing how they got to twenty years and no longer want to be married. We’ve both known and read about couples like this, and we vow to each other not to fall into the same category.
When you ask your spouse, “Are we okay?” be open. Be open to wherever the conversation leads (and understand that you may have to lead it). Be open to bringing up past hurts that were never properly addressed, so that you can address them and release the grudges once and for all. Be open to knowing that your spouse may very well not feel that everything is okay. But the good thing is that you’re talking about it so that you can take care of what is not okay and make it great.
We’ve had so many friends both in our personal and professional lives that just didn’t make it, even those we just knew would be “okay” until the end. But what wasn’t okay, was that the communication wasn’t there. The transparency, and feeling secure enough to be transparent wasn’t there. It’s heartbreaking to see people you love end their marriages. But every time we see or hear it happening, it opens up a new line of communication for us. It forces us to open up about where we are in that moment, and how we’re feeling in our marriage. It forces us to ask the question: Are we okay? And then allowing open and honest communication around what we can do to continue to build a strong, loving and lasting marriage that we’ll still love twenty, thirty and forty plus years from now.
Nine years married and fifteen years together, and we’re blessed to still be in love, and still feel that we will always be okay.
Do you have regular check-in conversations with your spouse to make sure you’re on the same page?