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#3 Gift yourself You must consciously choose to regard your spouse as your very own, much desired gift! Therefore, do not allow yourself to regard your spouse (or their needs) as a burden, a chore, or an annoyance. Control your thoughts, & thereby, your attitude because those who know you best can tell the difference. When we fall in love, we cannot get enough of the other person. The brain actually produces chemicals causing an addiction-like reaction! The chemistry is not figurative, it’s literal. If we want to sustain the “high”, we have to give ourselves the privilege of enjoying our gift, even in the midst of the chaos of life.

Married men live longer than bachelors; and, while the exact cause is not a singular thing, surely this fact alone is reason enough to see a wife as a gift. Reciprocally, we hear the phrase “she needs to get some”. The phrase is used toward women regarded as having a negative/miserable/bitchy disposition. A wife, therefore, should regard her {piece on the shelf/} husband as a gift. Both parties have access to a resource more precious than jewels. It is all about perspective. Choose to put on the “glasses” that prosper forward the love.

#4 Develop multiple personalities One of the biggest obstacles to keeping the flames burning which even newlyweds face is the birth of a child. What a joy! What a killjoy! All at once… Women are not properly advised in advance that it really is difficult to be both G-rated AND R-rated (although men have no problem with this one). The sex life, sexuality, & true intimacy can die when the baby monitor is next to the marital bed. It doesn’t get better when the toddler sleeps with Mommy, or when the kids barge into the bedroom freely.

Creating a family means we aspire to become loving parents, but if you are not cultivating the art of multiple personalities as you go, then you are effectively creating a broken family. We all knew as teenagers how to be one person in front of our parents, yet quite a different person with our peer circle. So, in this case, the wisdom is in youth. Like Maya Angelou’s poem “Phenomenal Woman”, the Divine you encompasses multidimensional aspects (all of which are genuinely YOU). Remember to give yourself permission to make time for & express the many dimensions of you. Learn to transform yourself effortlessly as your life expands & become your spouse’s very own Superhero.

#5 Be vulnerable I could expand chapters on this one! Oppressed people have endured so much to survive, that we are never given credit for or permission to be vulnerable. Yet, Iyanla Vanzant says, “It is good to be vulnerable because when you are vulnerable, you are innocent. Innocence is our gift from God.” It is not a marriage if it is not intimate (at the deepest levels of human capacity). You may have grown up in a household without this expression, and thus entered marriage without ever truly witnessing it or experiencing it with another.

But, your marriage is contingent upon its cultivation. Put down your guards & exterior shells, and reveal your true self, with its flaws/ deficiencies/ and weaknesses to your mate. If this takes you outside of your “comfort zone”, then seek counseling. If you are not truly SAFE within your own marriage, you have already taken steps in character towards hypocrisy and have limited your own God-given potential to grow.

#6 Create & design your image It matters! A naïve person may find this superficial, but psychologists know that just as each individual has a self-image which dictates both how the person feels internally as well as how they portray themselves externally; image is equally important to any identifiable group. Think of any and every couple demonstrating endurance & sustainability of the relationship (Will & Jada, Barack & Michelle, Ossie Davis & Ruby Dee), & you will find that you can describe that couple’s “image”.

It is the mirror reflection of not only what the world sees, but more importantly, that which reflects back to you the substance of your relationship. It is also the Teflon against the mate becoming bored, fidgety, or distracted with others. The “newness” we naturally seek in life can be incorporated into revising, updating, and expanding the “couple image”. The more you ROCK THIS, the more you will find fulfillment, pride, and protectiveness of your marriage “of steel”.

#7 Tend your relationship like you tend a garden I never forgot these words, spoken by Suzanne dePasse! You must plant seeds routinely. Pull out the weeds. Cultivate the flowers. Neglect directly results in withering (not after months, but DAYS). Evaluate the ratio between what you bring to the relationship versus what you take from it. Monitor for plateaus, and address them promptly. The planting of seeds in your marriage should progress towards a harvest season, and then the process begins again. For the marital flames to burn brightly & fiercely, you must be dutiful and consistent.

#8 It’s your thang, do what you wanna do Supposedly, marriage is the final frontier (when it comes to intimate partnering). So, why in the hell would you hold back? You should be free at last in your sexual expression and gratification. Take the opportunity to be your mate’s best lover ever. Again, here, upbringing & how we have seen affection expressed throughout our childhoods will affect how we approach this. What is natural is that your “do’s”, “don’ts”, & “favorites” should be evolving over time.

So, if you are “boxed in” to a routine, it IS boring and you should seek counseling before you find a third party in your bedroom. Aging, menopause, illness, & impotence are simply reasons to use the power of your creativity to continue to connect intimately and sexually. Healthy marriages can engage in watching porn together, sexting one another by phone, Kama Sutra & other innovative techniques, shopping at sex stores together, having a private/highly erotic photo session (especially for couples that travel), masturbation, and writing one another sexually explicit love notes about what you want to do & how you want to do it.

Arouse one another until you die. This aspect of marriage is a cornerstone. Your single friends should NOT be “getting it in” more so than you! While your sex life should remain sacred (do not discuss it with friends, family or any non professionals… for your own sake; this often backfires), you will be bombarded with the stories of others. Make sure your story is always better.


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Get Well Wednesday: Dr. Afriye Anderson Wants To Save Your Marriage  was originally published on blackamericaweb.com

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