The lead quote that I just shared? For the record, I hope that most of y'all know that it's shared I jest. Well, kinda. While it definitely should be no one's life goal to find ways to annoy someone else (lawd), the reality is we're all human. And when we sign up to share a living space with another person, long-term, there are going to be things that they do that annoys us just like there are gonna be things that we do that annoys them. Not on purpose. Just because.
Another term for annoy is "pet peeve" and if there's one thing that I find myself dealing with, when it comes to married couples, it's them figuring out how to navigate through their own pet peeves about one another, so that they can have more peace—even fun—so that they're less irritated, bothered…annoyed with one another.
Thankfully, 10 couples that I know were willing to share with me how they get through some of the things about each other that would technically fall into the pet peeve category. My goal in you seeing them is, if you take note of their issues and approach, it can either help you to work through what annoys you in your own marriage or, if you're single, further prepare you for what could definitely be in store someday. Are you ready to figure out how to deactivate daily marital triggers? Let's go.
1. The Taylors. Married 3 Years. Morning Routine.
Husband: "The thing that I wasn't prepared for was the fact that my wife is an early riser. I mean, early. And she wakes up hyper, happy and sometimes horny. I know that sounds awesome to you single folks but when you've got kids and sometimes have only had 4-5 hours of rest, someone humming and opening curtains at 5-6 a.m. isn't fun. I used to snap about it which got us off to a bad start. Now, I ask her to cuddle for 10 minutes or so. It helps me to ease into waking up. And not being jolted makes me more pleasant. Even though I prefer sex at night, it can make morning sex more appealing too."
Wife: "Can you see me rolling my eyes? I know you can. Who turns down morning sex? This guy. This guy right here. What caused me to feel less rejected was realizing that I'm basically my husband around midnight when he'd prefer to get it in. As far as him hating the morning, I used to feel like we should begin the day together. For the past year or so, I usually just leave him alone and take advantage of the quiet time by myself. At least once a week, he's got to get up, though. He knows why."
2. The Johnsons. Married 7 Years. Living Habits.
Husband: "I hate a messy kitchen. My wife hates a messy bathroom. For me, when dishes are left in the sink, I'm pissed. For her, if there are towels on the bathroom floor, I won't hear the end of it. The solution? I clean the kitchen most of the time and she cleans the bathroom. Life gets a lot easier when you accept that your spouse isn't gonna see life the way that you do. Rather than us both arguing over why our partner doesn't see things our way, it's best to just figure out the easiest way to get things done. Remember that and you'll have a lot less drama in your life."
Wife: "My husband's closet looks crazy. I mean, CRAZY. It drives me up the wall, but we don't share one. Ladies, men didn't sign up to marry their mama, auntie or big sister. Walking around, dictating how they should live is the best way to cause them to shut down and shut you out. I rarely have to go in his closet for anything, so that's how I handle it. What I don't see won't hurt me. I just make sure he knows that I don't want what's in his closet to be in our shared living space. It took a minute, but we've found our groove on that."
"Life gets a lot easier when you accept that your spouse isn't gonna see life the way that you do. Rather than us both arguing over why our partner doesn't see things our way, it's best to just figure out the easiest way to get things done."
3. The Richardsons. Married 11 Years. Finances.
Husband: "S—t. This is what no one really gets until they get married. It's really hard to always find your spouse appealing when you're arguing over bills and budgeting. A business partner for a wife is A LOT. Plus, my wife and I don't see the same way about money. At all. She's more of a 'If I got it, why not spend it?' while I'm more of a 'We don't have it if we don't have passive income yet'. I used to get really pissed because she seemed reckless with spending. Eventually, we found a way to set aside a certain amount of money each month that she can go ham on and a certain amount that we save. I can't tell you that I'm thrilled with our arrangement because a lot of what she gets seems like a waste of money to me but hell, marriage is about compromise, right? If you ain't ready to do that, damn near every day, don't get married. Don't. Get. Married."
Wife: "When we were dating? Girl, my husband could romance with the best of 'em. A big spender too. That's why I was thinking that we saw money from the same perspective. We absolutely don't. It was like the minute he put my three-carat ring on my finger, he damn near became a miser. What I had to learn was a man wooing you and providing for you can be very different things—he wooed me to get me and now he's more concerned with providing for my needs. That way of thinking is something that I had to learn to respect and appreciate. Don't get me wrong, a brotha still has to date a sistah. I've just learned that him pulling back the coins is about making sure I'm good."
4. The Talberts. Married 5 Years. Sex.
Husband: "Married sex is better than a lot of my friends said that it was. I think some of them chose the wrong partner but that's on them. My main pet peeve is that sometimes my wife can get lazy when it comes to sex. Like, she's always down to have it but she's sometimes like, 'How can we get this done in under 10 minutes?' when I like to draw it out like we did when we were dating. She says it's because she likes sex but has a ton of other things to do. I've just learned to get in where I fit in and try and create romantic scenarios where she wants to have sex for longer periods of time. It's not perfect but it's ideal."
Wife: "I married a lover and I love that. The sex is so good and, I'm not just saying this because he's in earshot but, my hubby really is the best partner I've ever had. The thing I wasn't prepared for is having to have sex all of the time. Like, all of the time. When I was single, if I wanted to do it every day for a week or only once a month, it was all good. Everything was on my terms. Married sex isn't like that. You have to take your partner's needs into account. Negotiating sex can be annoying. It's definitely not sexy. But if you want to keep your marriage, afloat, you've gotta do it. Marriage is one big negotiation test. It really is."
"When I was single, if I wanted to do it every day for a week or only once a month, it was all good. Everything was on my terms. Married sex isn't like that. You have to take your partner's needs into account. Negotiating sex can be annoying. It's definitely not sexy. But if you want to keep your marriage, afloat, you've gotta do it."
5. The Wilkersons. Married 15 Years. In-Laws.
Husband: "I can't stand my wife's mother. I really can't. She's nosey. She's controlling. And she is way more involved in my marriage than she needs to be. For the first half of our marriage, it was so bad that I wasn't sure we were gonna make it. Singles, when the Bible says to 'leave and cleave', take that to heart. If you can't leave your family to start your own, marriage may not be for you. My wife still lets her mother into our business more than I would want her to, but counseling has helped us a lot. It's helped my wife to see that her mom has never been good with boundaries. It's also helped her to understand that no one should cost you your marriage. I don't care who they are."
Wife: "I've got to admit that I still have some resentment towards my husband because of how he feels about my mom. What I've had to learn is she's not his mother. She's mine. I've also had to get that just because I really like his parents, that doesn't mean that he has to like my mom, even though I wish things were different. My mother? She's not gonna change. I don't even really want her to. But I have had to let her know that my marriage is important to me. I've also had to learn, sometimes the hard way, that she's not my go-to about him. He is. I still hope things will change someday. I'm not holding my breath. I have found a way to keep them both close without expecting them to be the best of friends. I'm not thrilled but it's finally become much more tolerable."
6. The Andersons. Married 13 Years. Child-Rearing.
Husband: "We've got two kids and didn't realize how different our approach was to parenting until after they were born. Our parents reared us very differently when it comes to spirituality and discipline and it has caused all kinds of fights that we didn't have before our children got here. Assuming that things will just 'work themselves out' is ridiculous when it comes to raising kids with another person. Get as clear as you can on the front-end and be open to seeing a therapist about child-rearing in the process. We've done it to learn how to communicate and compromise. I'm not sure our marriage would've made it without it."
Wife: "Having kids is hard. Lord, have mercy! And you don't really think about how different your spouse sees things until they get here. My husband is right. We have had to walk through some really murky waters when it comes to how we chose to raise our children. I think what has spared us is we ultimately want the same goals for our kids, long-term. We want them to have a spiritual center. We want them to be kind and giving. We want them to value education and be financially independent. Our approaches aren't the same most of the time, but the end goal is. We work on ways to meet in the middle to reach those goals. That has saved us."
"Assuming that things will just 'work themselves out' is ridiculous when it comes to raising kids with another person. Get as clear as you can on the front-end and be open to seeing a therapist about child-rearing in the process. We've done it to learn how to communicate and compromise."
7. The Kendricks. Married 5 Years. Hygiene.
Husband: "Lawd. I didn't live with my wife before we got married. I had no sisters and my mom was super private. So, adjusting to periods was something for me; I ain't gonna lie. My wife does something called 'free bleeding'. I don't know if you know what that is but f—k, it's a lot. For a while, she would come at me on some, 'I'm a woman, deal with it' but when I shared that it affects our sex life, we found a way to make it easier. I've tried having sex with her when she's on her period. It's not my fave but it's not as bad as I thought it would be. And she will wear, what's that thing called, a cup during her heavier days. I'll just say that hygiene habits need to come up before marriage. It can be more of a deal-breaker than people think it is."
Wife: "He's over here talking about my period while I'm still trying to figure out how grown men can hit the toilet and not clean up the pee they leave behind. Ugh. When you're dating, everything is sexy because you're both always trying to turn each other on. When you're married, you see it all. I mean, IT ALL. Having a sexual relationship with someone who does things that can seem pretty gross is a fine balance. I would just say, always remember why you chose him, remember that you've probably got some stuff that he doesn't like and always be open to improving. Marriage isn't for folks with a weak stomach. You heard it here."
8. The Gordons. Married 10 Years. Personality Differences.
Husband: "I could go on for days about this. I'll just start and stop with the fact that my wife is an extrovert and I'm absolutely not one. When we were dating, I thought it was cute that she liked to be the life of the party. In marriage, it has definitely been a pet peeve that I've had to manage just because she likes to host things, she wants to be out with her friends a lot and she wishes I wanted to go out more. We spent the first 3-4 years pretty mad at each other because we both were like, 'Why are you like this?' Now, we've learned that we balance each other. Sometimes, going out with her gets me out of my shell and my head and getting her to stay in gets her to slow down and enjoy peace and quiet. You can be 'in love' all you want but if you don't find a way to discover each other's personality needs, you can end up hating each other."
Wife: "My husband can be boring. He's loving. He's affectionate. He's a great listener. He's spiritual. He's fine. And he is BORING. I hate being bored. I really thought that because we love each other so much that, once we got married, we would be the best of friends who would do everything together. Nah. And that's disappointing for me. The good thing is my husband is very confident and not jealous, so he's cool with me hanging out even if he doesn't want to come. I'm still working on that 'balance' thing that he's talking about and I definitely wish he was less of an introvert, but love is about acceptance. I choose to accept how he is."
"We spent the first 3-4 years pretty mad at each other because we both were like, 'Why are you like this?' Now, we've learned that we balance each other. You can be 'in love' all you want but if you don't find a way to discover each other's personality needs, you can end up hating each other."
9. The Moores. Married 8 Months. Space.
Husband: "I can summarize this pretty quickly. Ladies, please stop asking us what we're thinking. If we've got a thought that we want to share, we'll let you know and if you ask that and we say 'nothing', that's what we mean. I really like being married. So far, there are no regrets. But I do think that men and women both have to learn that we are very different people. We shouldn't be out here trying to make our partner think and feel like we do. Just accept the differences and chill TF out. The space to be me is what I've had to fight for the most. We're getting there, though."
Wife: "We're still newlyweds, so I'm sure some more curveballs are coming. What I've had to get used to is just having someone who is always around. You're always sharing a bed. They might always be in the room you're in while you're having a conversation [with someone else]. And even though you love them more than anything, sometimes you really just want to be by yourself; especially if you're in a mood that you can't really explain that you want to just be alone to deal with. My husband isn't clingy, but his top love language is physical touch, so I've had to navigate through not making him feel rejected when I just want some room to breathe and process. He's very different so, just saying what I need usually does the trick. It's when I expect him to know that I want space that things get dicey."
10. The Deckards. Married 7 Years. The Future.
Husband: "It's funny that you would ask me about my marital pet peeve because it's kinda weird. I love just about everything about my wife. But if there's one thing I wish she would do, it's chill TF out more. I'm someone who lives in the moment—you know, I take things as they come. She, on the other hand, wants to have a plan for everything. A plan for tonight. I plan for next weekend. What we're going to do 10 years from now. And don't get me started on all of her damn lists. The first couple of years of our marriage, all of that drove me crazy because I'm calmer than she tends to be. But her focus on looking ahead has helped us to save some money, dodge a few blindsides and get organized in some ways that I've gotta admit probably wouldn't have happened without her. Damn, I never really told her that I appreciate that. I'll get her some flowers or something today, so thanks for asking."
Wife: "He told you that? That's funny because we just got into it last night about making a plan for a summer vacation. Yeah, I'm definitely the planner of the two. I spent a lot of time thinking it was my job to make my husband see things the way I do. That's not what marriage is about. It's about seeing how your strengths and weaknesses can work together to make each person better. If he wasn't with a planner, I'm not sure he'd been financially where he is now. If I wasn't with someone more relaxed, I very well could've stroked out from always being on-10. Recognizing what your spouse does for you gets you through the annoying times. Don't change them. Just see them for what they are."
That last line? It's a keeper. Through pet peeves 'n all.
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (firstname.lastname@example.org) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
How Content Creators Hey Fran Hey And Shameless Maya Embraced The Pivot
This article is in partnership with Meta Elevate.
If you’ve been on the internet at all within the past decade, chances are the names Hey Fran Hey and Shameless Maya (aka Maya Washington) have come across your screen. These content creators have touched every platform on the web, spreading joy to help women everywhere live their best lives. From Fran’s healing natural remedies to Maya’s words of wisdom, both of these content creators have built a loyal following by sharing honest, useful, and vulnerable content. But in search of a life that lends to more creativity, freedom, and space, these digital mavens have moved from their bustling big cities (New York City and Los Angeles respectively) to more remote locations, taking their popular digital brands with them.
Content Creators Hey Fran Hey and Maya Washington Talk "Embracing The Pivot"www.youtube.com
In partnership with Meta Elevate — an online learning platform that provides Black, Hispanic, and Latinx-owned businesses access to 1:1 mentoring, digital skills training, and community — xoNecole teamed up with Franscheska Medina and Maya Washington on IG live recently for a candid conversation about how they’ve embraced the pivot by changing their surroundings to ultimately bring out the best in themselves and their work. Fran, a New York City native, moved from the Big Apple to Portland, Oregon a year ago. Feeling overstimulated by the hustle and bustle of city life, Fran headed to the Pacific Northwest in search of a more easeful life.
Her cross-country move is the backdrop for her new campaign with Meta Elevate— a perfectly-timed commercial that shows how you can level up from wherever you land with the support of free resources like Meta Elevate. Similarly, Maya packed up her life in Los Angeles and moved to Sweden, where she now resides with her husband and adorable daughter. Maya’s life is much more rural and farm-like than it had been in California, but she is thriving in this peaceful new setting while finding her groove as a new mom.
While Maya is steadily building and growing her digital brand as a self-proclaimed “mom coming out of early retirement,” Fran is redefining her own professional grind. “It’s been a year since I moved from New York City to Portland, Oregon,” says Fran. “I think the season I’m in is figuring out how to stay successful while also slowing down.” A slower-paced life has unlocked so many creative possibilities and opportunities for these ladies, and our conversation with them is a well-needed reminder that your success is not tied to your location…especially with the internet at your fingertips. Tapping into a community like Meta Elevate can help Black, Hispanic, and Latinx entrepreneurs and content creators stay connected to like minds and educated on new digital skills and tools that can help scale their businesses.
During a beautiful moment in the conversation, Fran gives Maya her flowers for being an innovator in the digital space. Back when “influencing” was in its infancy and creators were just trying to find their way, Fran says Maya was way ahead of her time. “I give Maya credit for being one of the pioneers in the digital space,” Fran said. “Maya is a one-person machine, and I always tell her she really changed the game on what ads, campaigns, and videos, in general, should look like.”
When asked what advice she’d give content creators, Maya says the key is having faith even when you don’t see the results just yet. “It’s so easy to look at what is, despite you pouring your heart into this thing that may not be giving you the returns that you thought,” she says. “Still operate from a place of love and authenticity. Have faith and do the work. A lot of people are positive thinkers, but that’s the thinking part. You also have to put your faith into work and do the work.”
Fran ultimately encourages content creators and budding entrepreneurs to take full advantage of Meta Elevate’s vast offerings to educate themselves on how to build and grow their businesses online. “It took me ten years to get to the point where I’m making ads at this level,” she says. “I didn’t have those resources in 2010. I love the partnership with Meta Elevate because they’re providing these resources for free. I just think of the people that wouldn’t be able to afford that education and information otherwise. So to amplify a company like this just feels right.”
Watch the full conversation with the link above, and join the Meta Elevate community to connect with fellow businesses and creatives that are #OnTheRiseTogether.
Featured image courtesy of Shameless Maya and Hey Fran Hey
This Couple Got A Second Chance At Love After A Six-Year Break & 10 Months Later, They Got Married
Have you ever wondered if real love is like a romance novel? For Kai, 50, and Hicham, 46, Bouhmad, it is. Kai, who is an adventurer at heart, meets a stranger who believes she would be a great match for his friend, who happens to be Hicham. They connected on Facebook and, after a few exchanges, decided to meet, and while they had a great first date and continued dating shortly after, adventure was calling, and Kai decided to break it off.
However, six years later, another stranger would bring them together, and they reconnected. We can agree that at this point, they were meant to be, and in ten short months, they got married on Valentine’s Day.
Sounds like something out of a novel, right? xoNecole had the opportunity to chat with the lovely couple about their wedding, reconnecting, and having a second chance at love.
Photo courtesy of Kai and Hicham Bouhmad
Kai and Hicham on Meeting for the First Time
Kai and Hicham got married on February 14, 2023, in Honolulu, Hawaii in an intimate ceremony, and plan on having a reception in Morocco, Hicham’s home country, later on. One of their wedding guests was the person responsible for their union, Hicham’s friend Karim. Kai reflected on that day when they met.
“I was at a party, and a guy walked in and was like, what’s going on in here? And I was like, well, this is a salon party for the salon that just opened, and they had free food and stuff, and I was like do you want some food?” Kai shares.
When they began talking, Karim brought up Hicham. “He was like, 'I have a friend that I want to introduce you to if you’re single,' and I said, ‘Yeah, that sounds cool.’ So, he was like, 'Well, I’m gonna send you his Facebook information. If you guys can talk on Facebook and see how you guys like each other.' So, that was six years ago, and we talked, and we got along pretty well, and then we started dating.”
Kai and Hicham Describe Their First Date
Because both of them are into the arts, they decided to go to the movies on their first date. At that time, Loving was in theaters, and according to Kai, she knew when she saw him that she wanted to marry him. “I just had that feeling,” she reveals.
Hicham also recalls their “wonderful” date that extended after the movies at a nearby restaurant. “It was a wonderful moment when we made eye contact,” he says.
Photo courtesy of Kai and Hicham Bouhmad
Their Breakup and Reconnection
While Kai saw Hicham as her husband, she wasn’t ready to settle down, but Hicham was. So, they decided to go their separate ways, and Kai began traveling the world. But little did she know that six years later, she would see him again. This time, Kai was visiting an art gallery that had just opened up and began talking to the art gallery owner.
“She [art gallery owner] said, ‘I’m having an art opening, the studio just opened, and we’re having a party next week, and you should come, and my boyfriend has a lot of friends, maybe I’ll introduce you to some of his friends,’ and I was like ‘Oh, okay,’ Kai recalls.
“And at this time, I had already booked my ticket to go to Morocco to explore by myself, solo travel. So I said, 'Oh yeah, this will be fun.' This was in April, and my trip to Morocco was just in August. So, I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll come to your little party, I’m there.’ I’m talking, and then she said 'Oh, my boyfriend is here, and here’s one of his friends.' One of his friends was Hicham.”
This happened on April 23, 2022, and they have been together ever since.
When Hicham reappeared in her life, Kai knew she was now ready to settle down. “I honestly got tired of doing stuff by myself. I was tired, everything I have to do by myself, and I just got tired of that,” Kai explains. “I just felt like I really wanted a partner who’s really supportive and generous and kind, and I really wanted a partner that was by my side.
One of the ways that Hicham convinced Kai to give him another shot was when he wore a cactus shirt to her house, which showed the journalist how much he paid attention to her. “I love cactuses ‘cause it reminds me of the desert. It’s bohemian, I love desert cactuses. When he showed up with a cactus shirt on, I just could not resist,” she says. “That sounds cheesy and cliche and might sound silly, but it just symbolized that he knows me deeply and what I love and paid attention to stuff I care about even though it was silly. That meant a lot.”
Not long after, Hicham knew it was time to pop the question. “Kai gave me [an] indication that she was ready, and so that’s how that all happened.” He continues, “dropping hints, and she was pretty much ready, and I proposed to her.”
Kai admits that they planned their engagement together, including ring shopping, engagement photos, etc.
Photo courtesy of Kai and Hicham Bouhmad
Advice on Finding Love Again
This is both Kai’s and Hicham’s second marriages, and they gave advice on finding love the second time around. They both share the same sentiment about being open and optimistic. Both come from different cultural backgrounds and while that alone could have held them back from pursuing one another, they were open to love.
“Get out of your comfort zone and don’t limit yourself and don’t fear to fail because from failure you learn to build yourself up,” Hicham says.
And at the end of the day, it’s important to establish a friendship first. “Another [piece of] advice, just make sure you like the person,” Kai says, “and that’s really important because you have to make sure even if you have a disagreement or arguments, at the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, do I like this person? And just make sure you really like them.”
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Feature image courtesy of Kai and Hicham Bouhmad