I don’t normally watch Married To Medicine, but I am glad I stumbled up on this season’s reunion. The Bravo reality show documents the lives of a group of doctors and their spouses as they face personal and professional challenges. And like most reality TV shows that focus on the “real” lives of Black people, it is based in unrealistic (and forced) drama, cat fights, backstabbing and girl trips to foster reconciliation. Yeah, same plot lines, different cast.
Much to my surprise however, the Married To Medicine three-part reunion ended with what could possibly be the real-ist and most raw example of Black people fighting for love ever shown on TV. Part 3 was an emotionally charged look at how true friends are supposed to react and spring into action if ever a couple so admired are headed headed for divorce. It was an awesome display of Black friends putting all trivial BS on the back burner to save Black Love.
The way ALL these married black couples sprang into action to help Dr. Simone and Cecil (above) save their 21 year marriage was phenomenal and it came off very organic and sincere. Everyone expressed how much they had come to admire, respect and look up to the example Simone and Cecil had set as a couple. The tears of their friends and the very sensible pleas for them to work through their issues was genuine. And it is not something we see very often on television as it relates to Black love.
Black marriage is often displayed in the media as being full of challenges, lots of infidelity, constant emotional and physical abuse, and damn near extinct. The media constantly perpetuates the lies that Black love is all about dysfunction a stereotype that is dangerous and wholly untrue. As I was writing this blog post, I had a conversation with my Mom. Basically, I thanked her for always exposing me to the most positive examples of black marriage and love. As a kid, all of my parents black friends were married or in positive, long term committed relationships. It was normal.
Married To Medicine — probably the most unlikely of places to point to — showed what we know about the love and marriage in the Black community: that it exists, that it is real, that our marriages matter and that our friends ride for us when they truly know how much we care about our spouses. It was a REAL display of Black Love, Black Friendship, Black Sisterhood and Brotherhood.
Let’s be real. Marriage is work. But it doesn’t have to be hard. Sometimes, we lose interest, not in each other, but in our current state of being. I am guilty of it as is my husband. But to keep your marriage hot, you have to get outside of the box, and yourself. Below are 9 tips to help you keep your marriage fun and fresh so that divorce is NEVER an option.
9 Ways To Keep Your Marriage Fresh
- Show Your Spouse Appreciation — OFTEN. Leave a handwritten note that expresses your appreciation for your spouse. Do something for your significant other without having to be asked.
- Maintain intimacy and passion, inside and outside the bedroom. Intimacy isn’t just sex and passion isn’t just doing it on the washing machine during the spin cycle, ok? The strongest aphrodisiac may be spontaneous dancing in a light rain shower. Remember intimacy comes in several shapes, including cuddling and conversation. Women need to feel loved, not just sexed.
- Say thank you for the little things. If he folded the laundry today, just say “Thank You” and be sincere about it.
- Practice honesty, even when it’s hard. Do Not Lie. Keep in mind that the coverup is oftentimes worse than the actual crime. You and your significant other should be able to trust each other to be honest even when your are ashamed by it.
- Have a sense of humor. Laughter is good medicine, literally. As couples, we so often overlook the fact that a similar sense of humor can be a key factor in determining whether or not a love will endure. Don’t be uptight or overly sensitive, making it impossible for your spouse to playfully tease you if you do something silly. Laugh off a joke and deliver one right back at your spouse to show him that you’re a carefree partner who doesn’t mind kidding around.
- Foster relationships outside your marriage and bond with each other’s friends. Anyone who is my friend, by default is a friend of my husband’s. However, it is important that spouses spend time with their fiends outside of you. I will plan a girls’ trip with my childhood and college besties in the blink of an eye. My husband actually encourages it because I always come back a better wife. Your marriage should be your primary relationship — but it needn’t be the only one.
- Give your spouse alone time with their friends. Maintaining separate social lives and being supportive of one another boosts your marriage. DO NOT make your spouse feel guilty for leaving you at home when they just want time with friends (that you know).
- Fight fairly. Don’t be afraid of conflict. It is an opportunity for growth. Conflict is normal. healthy and sometimes necessary when there is something important at stake for one or both of you. Always attack the issue, not the person.
- Know when JUST to listen — without offering advice. Sometimes, y’all just need to vent and to let the frustrations of the day spill out into the open. Sometimes you just need to be the listener. Let your partner know when you simply just want to be heard and a crisis intervention is not necessary.
Did you see the Married To Medicine reunion? If so, what are your thoughts as it relates to Dr. Simone & Cecil, and the way the cast rallied around them? Do you think Quad and Dr. Gregory can work through their issues to save their marriage? How do you think Black Love & Friendship were displayed on the show? Let’s talk!
I have watched MTM a handful of times… It seems these reality shows are a drain on marriages. It’s great that the others encouraged them to stay together and fight for their marriage because too many couples don’t do that these days. I agree with your list and would add to Communicate your needs and wants and expectations so your spouse doesn’t have to be a mind reader. Marriage is a wonderful thing.
Amen! Marriage is the hardest thing you will ever do, however it will also pay the greatest reward. I love your list and have found it to ring true in my 18 year marriage. Number 5 is over if my favorites, being able to laugh at yourself and one another can make life easier to bear.
I enjoyed the read. I am not married yet but I appreciate Black Love and Healthy Marriages.
Love these tips, Nikki!!! Thanks for the reminder!!!
I watched the reunions and a few of the episodes found it sad about Simone & Cecil as well as Quad & Dr. Gregory. I am coming up on 9 years of marriage and the last 2.5 years have been hell at times. Your tips are spot on and is exactly how I few marriage. I have anger issues especially when frustrated or irritated and shut down when I hear is BS. At 45 yrs of age when I got engaged and being married for the 2nd time did not expect HARD. I have no problem with work, but hard I am not trying to do.
What advice can you give to me with regards to cooking? I know how but don’t like or wish to and the hubby is not particularly happy about
I watched the show and am happy for Simone and Cecil especially because they both stated they didn’t want to get divorced and I didn’t want them to throw away a 20 year marriage. I was so happy that they were all supportive to them and I cried with them during the show. I’m in a 23 year marriage and I know it ain’t always easy, but I recognize sometimes people grow apart and divorce is best. I think this is the case with Quad and Gregory. I don’t think their relationship is healthy and I think they’ll be happier apart and that’s ok. I think they aren’t just on the same path.
Nikki, these are some great points. I receive this especially coming from someone that have a solid, beautiful and fun marriage like you and Russell do. You also must have couple around you that have healthy relationships. So the next time I meet a nice man and he ask me what am I looking for … I will quote to him these 9 statements!
Part 3 of the reunion was perhaps the best reality show I have seen. It truly was the “real” in reality. I too cried. It was just awesome the way the friends showed what real friendship is about. I pray that Quad and Greg will be able to save their marriage. Other than being a caregiver for my elderly parents, trying to live out this marriage is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in life. I love the tips. Most of them I try to incorporate in my marriage. Having a little issue recently with #7 as the friend is his single ex-wife. My husband says he doesn’t understand my request that he notify me if he is dropping by her house especially if it’s to let the grandson see his grandmother. 😳 Anyway I truly enjoyed the show and would love to see more reality shows that expressed real life experiences without all of the cussing and fighting. Thanks Nikki for sharing!
Thanks Nikki for these very gentle reminders on how to keep marriage vital. I have watched MTM since its inception and through the years, the one thing that has remained constant in spite of all the unnecessary drama, is the genuine love and overall sanctity for the institution of marriage that is constantly evoked with many of the couples. That “ride or die”, “in it to win it” mentality, especially at a time in which marriage is viewed more as being easily dispensable, is quite refreshing. On top of that, actually portraying real Black love- love for spouse, family and friends as being paramount is an indication that WE DO, WE WILL, WE MUST continue to fight for the proliferation of OUR families.
Being newly married this article was very helpful. Thanks!
I love my two special people keep doing what you are doing.The both of you are my inspiration.