On New Year's Day, Mr. Nash and I were at home doing absolutely nothing and it was glorious. We happened upon this show Married at First Sight, which was marathoning on FYI. The show, clearly, is about couples who get married upon first meeting. Experts in psychology, spirituality, sexuality, etc. pair singles who are looking for love and basically arranges their marriages. They meet at the altar, say "I do," go on a honeymoon, move in together, and decide six weeks later if they want to stay married or get divorced. We sat there and watched the whole first season that day.
Once season 2 came back this Spring, we were all over it. Unfortunately, season 2 was a bust.
But that's not why we're here.
While watching season 2 of #MAFS, they started promoting a new show called Seven Year Switch. On this show, you start off with couples who are married but have gotten tired of each other. One couple on the show has been married only eight short months and the longest married couple is at seven years.
Basically, these experts take the couples and switch partners. So they are living and sleeping with somebody else's wife/husband for two weeks to see if the "grass is greener" in hopes of saving their marriages.
HOW this premise is supposed to work at saving a marriage, I couldn't tell you. But I'm two episodes in. And I've already thrown the remote across the room three times.
There's one woman on the show, Aleshia, who I just want to hold in my (less-endowed-but-still-sufficient) bosom like Iyanla did Karrueche. Aleshia is married to Houston, who is an engineer by day and is a DJ by night, so he's never home. Aleshia is a stay at home wife / grad student and her biggest beef seems to be that she wants Houston to spend more time with her at home.
Because when Houston *is* home, he's in his man cave... that Aleshia is not allowed inside. Like it's a club in Chicago and she's a black dude wearing gymshoes. O_o
At one point, the experts came to do a tour of their home and when they got to the man cave, everybody walked in except for Aleshia who stayed in the hallway because she's not "allowed" to enter this room IN THE HOUSE THAT SHE SHARES WITH HER HUSBAND WHERE THEY BOTH LIVE AND PAY BILLS (AND EVEN IF SHE DOESN'T PAY A DIME TOWARDS THE BILLS IT DOESN'T MATTER BECAUSE SHE'S THE WIFE AND THIS IS HER HOME TOO).
I could go on, but this intro has gotten long enough. There were so many things I think Aleshia should know. And maybe she does know, but she's not practicing it. But I don't know her. So here I go, in blog post form, sharing three tidbits I think she (and other women) should know before entering a marriage. And, frankly, during a marriage.
(Disclaimer: I'm no expert and nobody asked me, but neither is Tyrese and y'all bought his book, so...)
1. KNOW THYSELF
Girl, who are you? What are your values? What do you like to do? What are your hobbies? What are you passionate about? What kind of mark do you want to leave on the world? Get to know yourself so you can be confident in who you are. Know that God (or the universe or whatever you call it) is within you. Believe in yourself. Affirm yourself. You are here for a reason. And make sure he recognizes that. This is not to say you have to be super-aggressive about it if you are naturally more reserved. I think we've already established that I'm the quiet type. But there is a way to stand in who you are and set the expectation that you want to be treated a certain way. ALESHIA, DO YOU HEAR ME? Don't Imani Izzi yourself.
"What kind of music do you like?"
"Whatever kind of music you like."
Girl. Just, no.
2. KNOW WHAT YOU WANT IN A MATE
What do you expect from your partner? Be clear on what you want beyond the basic height/ weight/ income requirements. What kind of PERSON should he be (or strive to be)? What do YOU need from HIM? What kind of father would he be? Does he have good morals? Is is optimistic? Is he a leader? Is he creative? Is he trustworthy? Is he patient? Can you laugh with him? How does he treat you? How does he treat others? Think about what you need from a life partner. Be flexible enough to be open, but firm enough to know where to draw the line. Maybe you don't mind talking to / cooking for / looking at / texting with / spending time with somebody who's going to be negative, harsh and critical everyday. I am CERTAINLY NOT ABOUT THAT LIFE, so that's a deal-breaker for me. #goodvibesonly
Really consider what you need and evaluate accordingly. I beg of you, don't roll up to the altar in your white dress and jump the broom with somebody you can't stand to be around. Marriage alone will not fix your problems. I repeat: MARRIAGE IS NOT IYANLA. IT WILL NOT FIX YOUR LIFE. SUCCESS NOT INCLUDED. HAPPINESS SOLD SEPARATELY.
3. PICK YOUR BATTLES, BUT STAND YOUR GROUND
Let me tell you something: I wish Mr. Nash would come up in this apartment tombout there's a room that's now his man cave that I'm not "allowed" to enter.
Obviously there are constant compromises in marriage. You'll get annoyed that he squeezes the toothpaste from the middle and he'll be annoyed that you constantly leave hair in the shower. You are two individuals with your own separate habits, routines and expectations. They may cause some speed-bumps, but they're usually minor. Don't sweat the small stuff.
But when it comes to something major like disrespect or feelings of neglect or resentment, call it out. Stand your ground. Otherwise it just festers and gets worse. This factor is super important before you get married. It may even save you from getting too far in with the wrong one. Or, on the other hand, once you let it out and get over the issue it brings you guys closer together. Cliche I know, but it's true. He won't know how you feel/what you want unless you tell him!
And that's my $0.02 on unsolicited relationship advice. Part 2 is to come, because these dudes out here need relationship advice, too and nobody seems to be writing books for them. (WHERE YOU AT, STEVE HARVEY?)
I'm going to keep on watching this show and hope that Aleshia finds her voice and stops resting on her pretty. In the wise words of my BFF in my head, Tracee Ellis Ross, "We need to change our gaze from how we are seen to how we are seeing."