This. Right. Here. Whenever I even think about tackling this kind of topic, the first thing that I think about are all of the porn addicts I've encountered. What does porn have to do with weddings or marriage? Well, contrary to popular assumption, porn isn't just sexual. Porn is about being caught up in anything to the point where you basically obsess over it. And chile, I have definitely met my fair share of wedding and I-want-a-husband-although-I-don't-have-a-clue-why marriage porn addicts.
Just as with any kind of excessive desire, if you're more interested in preparing for one day (a wedding) than your entire life (a marriage), after the festivities are over and your big white dress is put away, you could wake up one day and wonder what the heck you signed up for (I'm not exaggerating either; I know some married couples who wanted to call it quits right after their honeymoon).
How can you know if this is the path that you're on? If you are totally into having a wedding, but you haven't given actually being married much thought? Read on.
A Wedding Planner Is in the Budget. A Marriage Counselor Is Not.
It's no secret that I'm a marriage life coach. To tell you the truth, a part of the reason why I'm still single is because of that. It's not that working with troubled couples has jaded me; what it has done is made me so much more realistic about what a marital union requires.
You know what else being a marriage life coach has done? Made me very firm in the fact that if two people want to have a leg up on a successful marriage, they need to get into some serious—meaning more than three one-hour sessions—premarital counseling. Don't just take my word for it. There are countless studies to support that couples who went to premarital counseling had a 30 percent higher success rate than those who didn't.
I can't tell you how many married couples I've dealt with who somehow found the money for a top-notch wedding planner but claimed they didn't have the resources or the time for premarital counseling. Take heed, y'all. If you're more interested in one day of your life going off without a hitch than getting the tools that you need so that your marriage won't crash and burn, your priorities are out of order. Totally so.
You’ve Read More Fairy Tales than Relationship Books
Living for the fairy tale. There aren't too many phrases that irk me more. By definition, fairy tales are stories told to children. They are also tales that are totally misleading (look the definition up sometime).
Why should any grown woman be living for a childish lie?
A whole lot of ladies are PISSED in their marriage because they spent more time fantasizing that they were Cinderella and their husband was going to be Prince Charming. One problem with that is the story is make-believe. Another is you have absolutely no idea what happened after "…and they lived happily ever after."
You'd do your marriage a far better service if you kept your head out of fairy tales (and rom-coms) and got into some relationship books instead. Off the top of my head, His Needs, Her Needs (Willard F. Harley, Jr.), Sacred Sex: A Spiritual Celebration of Oneness in Marriage (Tim Alan Gardner), Boundaries in Marriage (Cloud/Townsend), The Ten Conversations You Must Have Before You Get Married(Dr. Guy Grenier), Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Got Married (Dr. Gary Chapman) and Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy? (Gary Thomas) are some good reality check ones.
Your Dream Wedding Plans Have NOTHING to Do with the Groom
Even if you don't want to admit it to your friends, I'm pretty sure you've seen at least one episode of WE tv's Bridezillas before. If there's a signature liner that comes from almost every bride-to-be on theirs mouth is "It's MY day!" Unfortunately, there's an epidemic of women who feel like even though a wedding ceremony is about two people joining their lives together, the wedding décor and festivities should only get their vote. That's simply not true.
Here's the exception to what I just said—If you happen to end up with a man who says out of his own mouth that he couldn't care less about the color scheme, food and music, then do you, girl. But if when you think about your dream wedding, the only role that the groom plays is "insert man here", that's not only a flag that you're probably more into your wedding than you're marriage, but you have a high propensity for thinking he shouldn't have much of a voice following your nuptials too.
This brings me to my next point.
You Know What Makes You a Great Bride, Not What Makes You a Good Wife
If someone were to ask me about one of the biggest mistakes that I see women make in their marriage, it's not accepting the fact that they are a bride for a day. After that, they are a wife. Ask any wife who takes her marriage seriously and she'll tell you that being a good wife (just like being a good husband) requires a lot of dedication, faith and consistency. In fact, one of my running statements is "Marriage requires so much that women deserve an entire day-long party!"
If when you think about getting married, all that really comes to mind is how beautiful you want to be on your wedding day, how everyone should be at your beck and call and nothing more…yeah, do some pondering about that. A bride and a virgin have a lot in common in the sense that it only takes a few moments for that "status" to change over into something else.
After a day of being a bride…then what?
You’re More Interested in Having a Perfect Day Than a Healthy Relationship
I like wedding videos just as much as the next gal (one of my favorites continues to be the young man who planned his wife's entire wedding without her knowledge; watch it here). At the same time, while checking out a clip of Steve Harvey interviewing some married couples recently, there are two things that stood out to me.
One husband said, "A lot of people say, 'I do' but what they really mean is 'I'll try'." (Indeed. Just think of how many people would not get married if getting a divorce was against the law. So many say "I do" with an escape clause in mind.) Another husband said, "The truth of the matter is, everyone you're attracted to, you're not compatible with. You might be attracted to the way that they look, but that doesn't mean you can live with them." Right again. Far too many people don't give their spouse too much thought beyond who would be a great sex partner and will look awesome in their wedding photos. Not good. Not good at all.
This Entire Article Totally Offended You
Have you ever visited a church for the first time, heard a sermon and then got offended because you felt like the pastor was totally calling you out, even though he didn't even know you? Along those same lines, if you read all of this and you're low key pissed, remember that I can't see who's on the other side of my computer screen. So, if it bothered you, maybe there's some merit to it.
At the end of the day, I'm not saying that there's anything wrong about dreaming about having a perfect wedding. All I'm saying is there's a ton of folks who had a beautiful wedding day but, because they didn't give life after their honeymoon much thought, they are now divorced.
It would be a shame to have a flawless wedding followed by a doomed marriage, so please make it a point to invest in both. I'd say about 70/30 split (in favor of your marriage) would be wise.
If you're tempted to give me push back on this, read the article all over again, please.
Featured image by Getty Images
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
What would you do if you just got laid off from your corporate job and you had a serendipitous encounter with someone who gave you the opportunity of a lifetime? Tamara Taylor was faced with that decision in 2013 after she was let go from her sales profit and operations coach job in the restaurant industry and met a then-up-and-coming stylist, Law Roach, on a flight to L.A. She and Roach struck up a conversation, and he shared how he was looking for someone to run his business and was impressed by her skills. While she took his business card, she was unsure if it would lead to anything. But, boy, was she wrong. Two weeks later, after packing up her home to move back to her hometown of Chicago, she called Roach; he asked if they could meet the following day, and the rest is herstory.
Taylor founded Mastermind MGMT, an agency that represents some of Hollywood’s best “image architects” like Roach, Kellon Deryck, and Kollin Carter, who are responsible for creating unforgettable style and beauty moments for celebrities like Zendaya, Megan Thee Stallion, Taraji P. Henson, and more. Taylor and her company possess an array of functions, but her biggest role is to be her client’s advocate. We hear endless stories about how creatives aren’t paid or underpaid in the entertainment industry, but Taylor ensures that her clients get their piece of the pie. The entrepreneur opened up about her company and her non-profit, Mastermind Matters, in an exclusive interview with xoNecole.
“I always say that I'm an artist advocate first, deal closer second. So my primary focus is to just make sure that the artist is getting everything that they deserve, whether it's compensation or, you know, certain accommodations, but just making sure that they have everything that they need to be able to show up and provide the best service that they're hired for,” she explained.
“So you know, in the beginning, it was hard because I didn't have any experience, and the artists who I was working with at the time–we were learning together, meaning neither of us had assisted anyone. We didn't have mentors in our specific fields. So every deal was like a new learning experience for us from the styling side and also from the business side, and so it took, you know, doing some research, using some very creative tactics, to find out information in the industry and just starting to request accommodations that I knew other artists were granted, who maybe didn't look like my artists.”
Photo by Christopher Marrs
Ten years later, there’s still not many people who are doing what Taylor is doing. However, things have gotten easier thanks to the research and connections she made in the beginning. During Mastermind MGMT’s ten-year anniversary celebration, she announced her non-profit, Mastermind Matters, which is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that focuses on helping young entrepreneurs through a 12-week program. The program is divided into “two routes.” The first route is for aspiring creative artists who want to start a business from their talent and all the things they need to learn about business, such as taxes, life insurance, etc. The second route is for practicing creative artists who are already in the industry but need resources such as how to plan for retirement or how to sustain themselves if they can’t work for a short amount of time, i.e., the pandemic.
“I just feel that I'm able to have a business and be successful because of their art as well. And so there are things that I know, I tried to teach it to them but understanding that I can only do so much because I'm not a subject matter expert in those fields,” she said. “So I at least want to be able to provide the resources, and then if they make their grown decision not to do it, then that's on them. But you know, I could be guilt-free and taking advantage of the resources that I'm also providing to them.”
Taylor continues to be an innovator in her industry by always pushing the boundaries of creativity and thinking one step ahead of everyone else. The Chicago-bred businesswoman is moving into the tech space thanks to a new invention created with her clients in mind, and she is looking forward to bigger collaborations in the future. Follow Mastermind MGMT on Instagram @mastermind_mgmt for more information.
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Feature image by Christopher Marrs