Marriage is not a task for the weak-hearted or the selfish. I recently saw an interview where Eartha Kitt laughed at the concept of compromise when it came to the love of a man. It is true that you should never compromise in regards to your dreams and vision for you future, but to create a bond that lasts, you must be become familiar with sacrifice, just ask Denzel Washington.
He's been the Equalizer, the American Gangster, and the Manchurian Candidate on the big screen, but in his real life, he plays a different role: The Husband.
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The multi-talented actor recently sat down with People to reveal how he and his wife, Pauletta, have kept their marriage alive for 35 years and counting. It goes without saying that his first tip on maintaining longevity in a relationship should be etched into every man's eyelids across the globe:
"I do what I'm told. I keep my mouth shut."
Because of this gem, their consistent faith in God, and a long list of sacrifices on both ends, Denzel and Pauletta have one of the longest lasting relationships in Black Hollywood. The two were married in 1983 and have since raised four kids, survived vicious tabloid rumors, and are still going strong. In 2014, Denzel said:
"I don't know if it's show business that has a monopoly on divorce, it's just that you hear about it. I just think that you have to work at it. Not give up on each other. It's a commitment. It's not all the honeymoon, it doesn't last forever, so you work at it. And hopefully you're good friends first, that might help!"
Pauletta said that although her being married to a man who was a worldwide sex symbol was a challenge initially, but love always prevails. Denzel gives all the credit to Pauletta for setting a foundation for their family, and uses every chance he gets to dote on her. In an interview with TD Jakes, he said that he gives her all the credit for his beautiful family.
"She has done the heavy lifting. She has been the consistent one. She has given the daily religious instruction. She was the one taking them to school, while I was out providing."
When People recently asked him what he appreciated most about his wife, he said:
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"There's too many things! What pops into my head: security, food, a beautiful home."
The Five Heartbeats taught me that a heart is a house full of love. But I've learned that it don't take much to break. A house and a home are two completely different things, and Denzel made sure to explain the difference to People:
"The difference between a house and a home, it's a big difference. You can buy a house, but that doesn't make it a home – and not to say a man can't make a home a home, but my wife has made our house a home, and raised these beautiful kids [John David, 33, Katia, 30, twins Olivia and Malcolm, 27] and protected them and sacrificed for them, she did the heavy-lifting."
Their 35-year marriage was built on a foundation of faith and sacrifice. Although things haven't always been easy, they have pushed through to create a life and love that they could be proud of.
I am still searching for my own Denzel, preferably one that resembles his character from Training Day. So, if you see him, let him know I'm willing to sacrifice it all.
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