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10 Things Marriages Need On A Daily Basis

"Being in a long marriage is a little bit like that nice cup of coffee every morning—I might have it every day, but I still enjoy it."—Stephen Gaines

Marriage

Showering. Brushing your teeth. Eating meals. Drinking water. Sleeping. If there is one thing that all of this has in common, it's the fact that they are a part of our daily routine. We do them in order to stay healthy and also in order to (hopefully) prevent any issues up the road. Well, this list that I'm about to provide you has a similar agenda. It's all about 10 things married couples should do, each and every day, so that their relationship can remain strong and so that, they too, can avoid problems up the road.

Yeah, it's 10 things and, at first, that can seem like a lot. But once you read them all, you'll see that all you need to do is a bit of tweaking to what you're (probably) already doing. And, with a little effort and time under your belt, you might just realize that these tips could be the very things that your marriage was looking for in order to truly thrive.

1. A Morning Ritual

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Inc. once published an article about the five most important times of the day. The second one that made the list was early morning. The author said that the reason why mornings were so vital is because the first 30 moments of our day pretty much sets the tone for how the rest of the day is going to go. Whether it's morning sex (in the shower or out), cuddling together, taking out a little time to meditate and/or pray together, or even saying why you are grateful for each other or giving each other a word of encouragement, before jumping into the hustle and bustle of the day, wake up, pause, and share some quality time with your partner. Being able to mentally and emotionally connect with them, each and every morning, can empower you and strengthen your relationship.

2. Mutual Respect

Almost every time that I'm in a premarital counseling session, I advise that the couple get the book Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. The premise of it is that women need love and, in order for a man to feel love, what he needs is respect (it's biblical; check out Ephesians 5:33; especially, the Classic Amplified Version of it). Now, it's another message for another time, how men's need for respect translates a bit differently than how we need it (the book delves into that too), but there is a certain amount of mutual respect, on a consistent basis, that all marriages need as well.

When two committed people truly respect each other, they trust each other; they can rely on each other; they honor the boundaries of their union; they don't try and change one another (check out "The Right Relationship IMPROVES Not CHANGES You"); they support one another's purpose and goals; they listen and speak the way they want to be listened to and spoken to; they make each other a top priority, and they honor the position that their spouse holds in their life. A lack of respect is one of the greatest causes for the breakdown in a marital relationship.

I promise you, if you and yours make it a point and purpose to respect one another in these ways, you'll be planting good seed into your marriage for years to come.

3. Each Person’s Love Language Being Spoken

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I'm pretty sure that most people know what love languages are at this point. But just for clarity's sake, the categories are words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time, acts of service and gifts. Since one of the leading causes of divorce is poor communication, and love languages are all about "speaking love" in a way that your partner is able to understand it, it is extremely important that you and your spouse 1) know what each other's top two love languages are and 2) that you speak them on a daily basis. If you need a little inspiration in this area, feel free to check out "I Discovered My Husband's Love Language ...And It Changed Everything" and "15 Date Ideas Based On Your Love Language".

4. Woo

It's funny because, at first, the word that I had here was "flirt". However, when I looked up the actual definition of the word, I was like "nah". To flirt means "to behave or act amorously without emotional commitment; toy or play with another's affections", and that's definitely not something that I would recommend that you do with your spouse. On the other hand, to woo is "to seek the affection or love of someone". In fact, wooing is probably a big part of what caused you to marry your spouse in the first place (because it also means "to seek the favor, affection, or love of, especially with a view to marriage"). Whether it's a passionate kiss before you head out of the door, a note in the lunch that they are taking with them, a "random" text or email during the day, a toast that the two of you make every night—be intentional about doing something to remind your partner that you appreciate and enjoy the affection that they give you. Make a mutual decision that you will find little ways to not take each other's love for granted by engaging in some wooing.

5. Honesty

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I recently checked out a movie that came on BET entitled Open (Essence Atkins, Keith Robinson). It's about a married couple who tried to have an open relationship and…all that comes along with doing that. Anyway, in one scene, another married couple were having a discussion about why the husband doesn't tell his wife everything. There was a line said that hit me in a way that made me write it down—"Since men can't be honest in their marriage, they spend half the time being quiet."

I do enough counseling that I totally get this. A lot of wives claim that their man can come to them about anything yet, when their man does, he is berated and/or chastised and/or dismissed and/or nagged and/or treated in a way that makes them be like, "Yeah, I won't be talking to you about that anymore." It doesn't have to be about anything related to other women either. It can be about finances, their job, their innermost fears, their sexual fantasies, their issues within the relationship—you name it.

Unfortunately, when a lot of people say, "You can tell me anything", the part that they leave out is, "So long as it's something I want to hear." However, a healthy marriage consists of two people who give each other the floor to be totally open, raw and real. The married couples I know who are the tightest are the ones who are the very closest of friends. And, a big part of what makes them friends is being able to be very honest with one another, all without the fear of what could come from doing so.

6. Forgiveness

I say this as often as I can because, trust me, one of the reasons why a lot of people divorce is because someone should've said this to them before they jumped the broom. People who are grudge-holders and poor forgivers are people who need to remain single. To forgive is "to grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.)" and "to cease to feel resentment against".

You're human; that means you are flawed. Your spouse is human; he is flawed as well. So, if you're out here thinking that both of you aren't going to offend each other or do something that would trigger resentment in each other from time to time, I don't know what kind of fantasy world you live in. In fact, I think that one of the main purposes of marriage is to teach us how to be better forgivers—how to extend the same kind of mercy and grace to our partner that we would like them to bestow upon us.

It might be that he didn't unload the dishwasher when he said that he would, that he forgot to pay the cable bill on time or that he told your mama something that you didn't want her to know, but believe you me, something is probably gonna happen today that you are going to need to forgive your husband for. For the sake of your personal growth and development, along with the health and well-being of your union, do it.

7. Some Type of Intimacy

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The married clients that I have, they know that I am all for them reading and then applying "Married Couples, What You May Need Is Sex. Every Day. For A Month. Straight". If you check out another article that I wrote for the site entitled, "10 Wonderful Reasons Why Consistent Sex In Marriage Is So Important", you'll see that it's because I find sex in a marital union to be about so much more than physical pleasure or even a stress release. There are very few things that we can do with someone else that cultivates a spirit and state of true oneness. And so, it is my very firm belief that, the more sex a married couple has, the stronger their bond can become. But if, for whatever the reason, you're not able to get in a sex session on a daily basis—are you sure that you can't pull off a quickie or a little bit of oral?—at least make the time to physically and emotionally connect on some level. Cuddle while the two of you are on the couch. Spoon in the bed. Play footsie while having dinner. Hold hands while taking a walk after dinner. Do something that makes you both feel loved, wanted and present. In a marriage, this shouldn't be seen as a luxury. Cultivating intimacy is an absolute necessity.

8. A Spiritual “Boost”

Author Brené Brown once said, "We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection." Indeed. I'm a Bible follower, so I personally believe that God is a part of marital relationships ("What God has joined together, let not man separate."—Matthew 19:6—NKJV) That's why, to me, a spiritual boost would be about doing something that would make you feel more connected to your husband and the Lord (like maybe doing a devotional together or even spending time in nature together). But even if you've got a different set of ideologies, it can do wonders for your marriage to honor the fact that you and yours are spiritual beings; that, as Brené so eloquently said, doing something together that solidifies trust, respect, kindness and/or affection is what can nurture each other's spirit in a very special and significant way. It can be telling each other something that you've been holding in. Or doing something thoughtful for absolutely no reason other than you love your partner.

The married couples I know who have the healthiest marriages, they definitely are intentional about feeding their spiritual sides. Out of all that I mentioned, this could've easily gone on the very top of the list.

9. A Selfless Act

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It is absolutely mind-boggling, just how many people who are, not only selfish in their marriage, but don't realize that they are. To be selfish is to be self-consumed. An author by the name of Mia Asher explains it in a great way—"The thing about being selfish is that you don't care if someone is at your feet begging you to stay with him, offering you the world, his heart and soul. It doesn't matter. You'll do whatever you want to do. What you need to do for yourself. Nothing matters but what you want. What you think you need." It escapes me right now, the movie or television show that I saw it on, but I remember that when a committed couple got into a heated discussion, one of them said something along the lines of, "When you decided to be in this relationship, you gave up 'me' for 'us'." So true, so true. And yet, why do so many people leave their marriage? Hmph. Just listen to all of the "I, I, I" that is in their answer.

Just like people who suck at forgiveness have absolutely no business getting married, neither do selfish individuals—people who only care about their own wants and needs and how they can get others to meet them. One way that you and your spouse can avoid being that kind of person is by doing something, daily, for your spouse that doesn't really benefit anyone but them. Picking up dry cleaning. Getting a favorite food at the grocery store. Cueing up a favorite program. Doing a house chore that the other hates. Running an errand that would take less stress off of them. A lot of people are miserable in marriages because they are selfish, they are with someone who is selfish or both. A lot of marriages could be saved if people chose to be more selfless instead.

10. Saying “I Love You”

Is it necessary to say "I love you" on a daily basis? Eh. On many levels, probably not. But to verbally express the sentiment is a way of showing that 1) you are choosing, this day, to remain committed to your partner; 2) that you want them to know that they can feel safe and secure in your feelings for them and 3) that you have a profound attachment, affection and desire towards them. Hmph. So, maybe it is necessary to say it every day, huh?

Now, here's an interesting point to consider once one of you has said it. The author of "Why You Should Never Say 'I Love You, Too'" shared that this is why he doesn't do it:

"There is nothing inspiring or original about too. Too is not an action but a reaction. It follows another's ideas and saps power from their concept. Too is the equivalent of saying ditto. Why would we ever add 'too' to 'I love you' then?"

"I love you should be a statement of power. It is something to say to another because it is meant from within the depths of our heart. When we tell someone we love them, it should be organic, brought about because we experience these emotions on a visceral level. Love is a manifestation of feelings we speak because we have lost all other words to describe the intensity we feel in a relationship. A good I love you, spoken at the right moments, compresses all the intimacies of caring for another into a few words that can be said to sum up the deepest feelings of the heart. I love you is often considered the end all phrases for affection. Why cheapen this powerful statement by making it an also?"

Do I think that what he said should be taken super literally? Maybe not. But I do like that it's a reminder to always value those three words. It can be a special sentiment—or even a grand gesture—to not just flippantly yell out "I love you too" as you run out of the door every morning but to instead, pause, take each other by the hand, look each other in the eyes and say, "I love you." It only takes a couple of more seconds, but it conveys that you are making the time to make sure that your spouse knows that. It's a way to honor love, your partner and your relationship with them. And that's something that both of you deserve, each and every day. Amen? Amen.

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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When Ngozi Opara Sea started Heatfree Hair almost a decade ago, curly and kinky extensions weren't the norm on the market as they seem to be today, especially if you wanted those textures in quality human hair. Beauty supply stores mainly sold synthetic curly hair, and there was a surge of renewal for women who were just beginning to embrace natural styles, taking to YouTube to experiment with new techniques and styles.

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No one is excited about paying taxes, but for the most part, they're unavoidable for the working woman. Yet, not everyone has to pay quarterly taxes. You may have to get acquainted with quarterly taxes depending on how you earn money and who signs your paychecks. Not only is it essential to know if you should pay quarterly tax payments, but you need to know what your tax liability is and the deadline to submit your taxes — unless you want the IRS visiting.

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This article is in partnership with Staples.

As a Black woman slaying in business, you're more than likely focused on the bottom line: Serving your customers and making sure the bag doesn't stop coming in. Well, there's obviously more to running a business than just making boss moves, but as the CEO or founder, you might not have the time, energy, or resources to fill in the blanks.

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In xoNecole's Our First Year series, we take an in-depth look at love and relationships between couples with an emphasis on what their first year of marriage was like.

It was a cold winter night in Chicago, more than a year ago. Your girl was scrolling through the fifty-eleven million options on Netflix to find something interesting to watch. I spotted this new show, The Circle, and have not looked away since. Produced by Studio Lambert and Motion Content Group, it premiered in January 2020 and has become my new favorite type of game show. Hosted by Michelle Buteau, The Circle is about contestants who are isolated in their own apartments and can only communicate with others via an online social media platform.

On season 2 of The Circle, the world fell in love with DeLeesa, the contestant who would eventually be crowned winner of the cash prize. She won the game by playing as a single dad named Trevor, who is actually her husband. As a true fan of the series, I figured it was only right to sit down with DeLeesa and Trevor to get the deets on how marriage has been for them IRL. So, let me take y'all back into time real quick, to the beginning of their love story.

It was 2007, and DeLeesa was starting her first day of school as a college freshman. She was getting adjusted to her new dorm and was introduced to her new resident assistant, *drum roll please* Trevor St. Agathe. They quickly became friends and Trevor helped DeLeesa find different activities around campus. After a year, they decided to take things to the next level.

Now, 14 years and two beautiful children later, the married couple have been focusing on doing whatever it takes to create the best life for their children. Since college, the power of commitment and open communication is what has kept DeLeesa and Trevor by each other's side.

One thing that we can all learn from The Circle and social media in general is that everything is not what it seems. When I connected with the couple, DeLeesa wanted to get the story straight about her and Trevor's love story. "I feel like people look at couples on social media and they think that things are perfect when that's not true. We went through stuff, too. We just figured out how to overcome it and move together as a unit."

In this installment of xoNecole's Our First Year, Deleesa and Trevor share how marriage is about work, navigating through the ups and downs, and prioritizing family. Here's their story:

How We Met

DeLeesa: I got to school early because I was starting [college] a semester late. I met him, we became friends, and I developed a little crush on him. One day, we were hanging out in his room and he just didn't want me to leave (laughs). So we were messing around for about a year. Exactly one year later, I told Trevor that I am not going to keep doing this unless he becomes my man. If he didn't make me his girl, then we were done. (Laughs)

Trevor: I tried to ride it out as long as I could (laughs). At the time, I was thinking, since I'm still in college, I shouldn't be tied down. But I knew that if I didn't make it official, she was going to leave. So, she was right, and we took it to the next level.

First Impressions

Trevor: I thought she was absolutely beautiful. She was pretty and the new girl on campus. So I knew she was going to get lots of attention. But I didn't want to be on that with her, so I continued to just be a stand-up guy. At first, it was the normal student-and-RA relationship. She would ask me what activities she could do on campus and I gave her a few suggestions. For a few days, we continued to hang out and I started to realize the chemistry we had between us.

DeLeesa: When I first met Trevor, I wasn't even thinking about going that [relationship] route with him. I was new to the school and I just wanted to be his friend. But because we shared bathrooms in the dorm, this man would just walk around in his towel sometimes. I couldn't help but notice him more after that. I just thought 'He is fine!' (Laughs) He was so nice and he never pressured me into anything, but, he knew what he was doing.

Favorite Things

DeLeesa: I love that he has unconditional love for me. I feel like that no matter what I do or no matter how mad he gets, he is still always going to be by my side for anything that I need. We have been together for a long time. Even though we had breaks in between, he has always been there for me.

Trevor: It's not just one thing for me, but I can sum it up: DeLeesa is everything that I wish I was. She is very much not afraid of what other people think and she is very determined to go after what she wants. She has that go-getter mentality and it is so attractive to me.

"DeLeesa is everything that I wish I was. She is very much not afraid of what other people think and she is very determined to go after what she wants. She has that go-getter mentality and it is so attractive to me."

Wedding Day

Trevor: On our wedding day, I was crying like a baby when I finally saw her. That is my fondest memory of that day: seeing my wife-to-be from a distance and instant water works. (Laughs)

DeLeesa: I really enjoyed our first dance. Our wedding was pretty big, and I planned the whole thing. I was very hands-on and it was hard for me to just have a moment and be present. But when we had our first dance, that was our time to just be with each other and not worry about anything else. It really hit me that we were married at that point.

The One

DeLeesa: Well, the thing with Trevor and I is that we broke up a lot. We reached nine years of being on and off. By that time, we said to each other that this would be the last time we were going to break up. We were going to try our best to do everything that we could to stay together. And if we didn't work out, we were going to go our separate ways. For me, I really wanted us to work because I did see him as my future husband and my children's father. So it was the conversation we had to not break up that was my "you are the one for me" moment.

Trevor: It was something that I always knew. Young Trevor would say, "If I had to get married, this is who I want to marry." When I knew it was time to take things more seriously with her, it was after we had that conversation. Another confirmation that DeLeesa was the one was when we had to move to Canada from New York. I thought to myself that this woman must really love me to pack up and move to another country for me. This woman trusts me so much and she is my forever.

"The thing with Trevor and I is that we broke up a lot. We reached 9 years of being on and off. By that time, we said to each other that this would be the last time we were going to break up. We were going to try our best to do everything that we could to stay together."

Biggest Fears

Trevor: The questions that popped into my head were, "Can I do it?"; "Can I be a good husband to her?"; or "Was I truly husband material?" You can't take a test for that or study to get those answers. You have to just do it, apply your morals and values, and do the best you can. What has helped me with this is continuing to reaffirm how we feel about one another—affirmations that let me know that she is happy and I am doing a good job. Marriage isn't that much different from what we have already been doing this entire time. We just wear rings.

DeLeesa: My biggest fear [is related to the fact that] I am a very independent person, [so] if I do not like something, I can be out, quick! So with me, I questioned if I could stay put and fight through the bad times within a marriage. I would question if it is worth sticking it out since this is a lifelong commitment. What has helped me get through that is reminding myself that I can still be independent within my own marriage. I can still do things on my own and still share my life with someone I really care about.

Early Challenges

DeLeesa: I feel like I have been really good at keeping my relationship with my friends balanced with my partnership with Trevor. So when we first got married, my personal challenge was me trying to juggle between being a good wife and still making time for my girls. I really didn't want to lose sight of who I was in the process of marriage.

Trevor: My work at the time forced me to travel a lot. So when you are in that honeymoon phase, it's important to have quality time together. It was hard with my job to enjoy life together as a married couple in the beginning. Yes, we have been together for a long time. But this was different. Not being around my wife as much as I wanted to was really hard for me and the both of us. Our communication started slacking and we definitely struggled during that time.

Love Lessons

Trevor: There's two lessons that I have. One lesson is that I am a husband first. I have spent a lot of time not being a husband so it can be easy for me or anyone to continue to behave that way. But my wife always has to come first, no matter what is going on in life. When you're married, you have to reinforce that. My second lesson that has helped in our marriage is making sure I do things in order to make her life easier. It can be the simplest thing, but for me, it is a huge priority.

DeLeesa: My biggest lesson is being able to learn from each other. For example, if he is doing simple things to make life easier for me, I am learning from him how to show up for him to make him happy. It can be easy to just receive everything he is putting forth, but it has to be give and take for us.

"I am a husband first. I have spent a lot of time not being a husband so it can be easy for me or anyone to continue to behave that way. But my wife always has to come first, no matter what is going on in life. When you're married, you have to reinforce that."

Common Goal

Trevor: To do everything in our power to ensure that our girls have the best possible life. Everything that we do at this point is for them. Before children, I may have moved slower working toward certain things, but there is definitely an added fire on how we approach things because of them.

DeLeesa: I agree. The number one goal is to be the best parents we can be. We want to set up generational wealth and we want them to be culturally aware. We want them to grow up and be proud of everything we have done for them.

Best Advice

DeLeesa: My advice would be don't go looking for advice, honestly. A lot of people are going to have an opinion about your life and sometimes that may not be the best for you. People can have different intentions and may give you the wrong advice. So I feel that if you need to vent, then yes, have someone to confide in. But don't take their word as facts. Try to figure out your marriage for yourself. Stick to your intuition and what you want to do, no matter if you are being judged for it.

Trevor: The things that matter are to be patient, listen close, choose to be happy, and love hard. I also think when people come to terms with the fact that marriage is work, then it is more possible for people. There are honestly more things to be happy about with the person that you marry. You have to keep all the things that you love about that person at the forefront to get you through. Once you do that, you will be fine.

Follow Deleesa and Trevor on Instagram @leesaunique and @trev_saint and their family page @itsthesaints.

Featured image via Instagram/Leesaunique

Since 2000, Black buying power has increased a whopping 114 percent. According to Business of Fashion, we brandish $1.3 trillion in annual spending power. It's also no secret that Black women move culture like no other, making us one of the largest assets to the U.S. economy. However, for some odd but obvious reason, society tends to question Black women when they level up and revel in luxury.

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