Hollywood couple Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker have been married over 14 years, after meeting on the set of Soul Food. Although the two have demanding schedules, and have to balance parenting, marriage and hectic careers, their bond seems to be stronger than ever.
We had a chance to sit down with the lovable and funny couple recently, who served Martin and Gina realness as they dropped gems on how to keep your relationship intact.
Here's a few key lessons we learned from the duo. Prepare to take notes!
1) Always Keep It Right & Tight
I.E. Don't Fall Off Just Because You Are No Longer On The Market
Nicole: When you first get together as boyfriend and girlfriend, your sexiness is brought out by the other person. You see him, he sees you. You're drawn to the other person, you want to kiss, you want to hold hands. You want to look your best. [Then] when you get married and you have children, you're trying to recreate that thing you had before. But I think needs to happens when you grow up, and your relationship grows, you have to go within yourself and find your own sexy again.
I have to lose weight or gain weight or be healthy for myself. And then when I feel sexy as a grown woman, then I can give that to him. I don't need him to pull it out of me anymore. And when I stop depending on him for those things, because I am depending on him to be a good father, a good partner, all these other things, I bring my sexy to the room.
So it's a dynamic that has to dawn on you. Because I'm still trying to recreate those 'Soul Food' [TV Show] moments sometimes. But also you have to make space for the other person to fall off or go through something!
[Tweet "You have to go within yourself and find your own sexy."]
Boris: I think it's part of growing, it's part of maturing. And it's also dedication. We made a commitment to be the best versions for each other, physically and spiritually. Like, I want to be with her. I don't need to be with her. And she doesn't need to be with me. But we want to be together and that is a foundation of a very strong commitment and the willingness to put forth effort and work everyday to sustain that relationship. And men are very good at that- if they want to be there.
2) Avoid Becoming Roommates
Boris: She's already super sexy. I think it's taking each other in [that keeps the relationship alive.] Being present in each other's lives, listen to each other. Do the little things. Send texts throughout the day. Send flowers. Going on date nights.
Our life revolves around our kids. It's our priority. Family life is very important and sometimes we forget that we were here first. And sometimes I have to remind her- "Look, um, I need some time with you alone. We need to go away.' Even if it is just for an afternoon, that's very important. And people can regret that. Because you don't want to turn into roommates. You don't want to go into 'roommate zone," That's always dangerous.
Nicole: But it happens just like that *snaps fingers* We [can] become complacent and become roommates. But then I realize- oh, it's on me. I need to do my cardio. I need to eat my [healthy] foods to make me feel good. And then, I can be better for him!
3) For Women -- Learn To Be Your Own Source Of Happiness
Nicole: A woman has to have her own source of happiness, you gotta have your own thing. Not necessarily like, 'I got my own thing, I don't need you, I don't want you.' But more like, your own source of happiness, your own thing that makes you happy so that when you come to the dinner table, when you come home, you have something to add to the conversation. You know? 'Like I have something to share with you!' So I'm not depending on him for my happiness.
[Tweet "A woman has to have her own source of happiness -@nicolearip"]
4) For Men -- Be Willing To Listen
Boris: You listen. You're present. Those things men have to learn sometimes. I had to learn how to listen. Because usually when she'd vented, I used to want to save her and solve the issue when all she really wanted was me to listen to her.
5) If a man tells you he is not ready, believe him
Boris: A man will tell you the truth. He will tell you if he's ready or not. And you should believe him. You should not think that you can change him or that he can mature quicker or grow quicker. If a man tells you he 'doesn't know,' then it usually means he's not ready.
[Tweet "A man will tell you if he's ready or not. Don't think you can change him"]
6) For Men -- Keep The Criticism Cute: 'Never Say You Don't Like It'
Boris: You don't everrrr say you don't like anything about your woman. That's rule number one! Whether it's a sweater, lipstick or hair. You don't ever.
And they will ask you! And you will never say you don't like it. Never. You just "formulate" it differently. So when she does wear the hair that I love, I will make sure that she understands that I love that hair. And when she asks me should she cut it, I be like, 'Noooo, don't cut the hair, please [although] you do look amazing with short hair... And shaved on one side, and long on the other but I really love the way you look right now. Don't change it."
So you gotta make it known but with a positive spin. Because I have hair envy (takes off hat). I don't have any. So at least my woman can have some hair so I can play with it.
What do you think about their tips?