Why do some relationships have that so called staying power? While others seem to crash and burn shortly after take off. Can the average Joe or Jane really achieve longevity in a relationship? Or does a person have to come from the planet Krypton or be a Greek goddess to truly experience the joy of life long love?
As it relates to love, the question “how do you keep the music playing” offers an opportunity to reflect. In doing so we are able to rekindle the fire of our past as we explore what makes for a long lasting relationship?
Will: Speaking from a personal perspective and using our marriage as a reference to address the question that is posed. I would simply suggest that having a strong foundation is the key to having a lasting relationship. If it is built on anything less; i.e. sex, greed, opportunism, infatuation, or lust, it will not last.
Odette: I agree. Like mixing cement, sand, and water to create a firm and lasting foundation for a structure, a relationship should have no less binding elements to ensure a successful outcome. In our case we had a strong friendship, a commitment with a shared common goal and God.
You and I where like Batman and Robin, the Dynamic Duo, Bonnie and Clyde. You didn’t see one without the other. Whether we were out shopping, at the gym, grabbing a bite to eat, or just chillin at home, there were no strings attached to our friendship. We simple enjoyed each other’s company.
Will: That’s so true, and although I know there are those that will disagree with the notion of no strings attached, but that’s the truth. The idea that a person can go from not knowing anything about another person into a relationship with intimate tendency on the near horizon is quite frightful to say the least. The important thing to remember about our friendship was the openness we had in communicating with each other.
Most men, myself included, will not open up and communicate on issues that are close to their heart with someone they are intimate with as they would a close friend with whom they can relate. The friendship was the proving ground for us to determine if we wanted to go beyond being friends. When we became more than friends somehow the equation changed. As friends we never had one argument or fight, but when we became an item our differences then rose to the surface. But I credit our foundation as friends as the key component that held us together.
Odette: As friends we discovered that we shared common goals in life. I wanted to be successful, I wanted share my life with a person that shared the same values and dreams that I had. Having set goals for my life I was focused and committed to improving my quality of life. I was fortunate to find in you someone who shared my vision for life. I knew what I wanted and I knew what it would take to get there. And then, you can around and touched my heart, as Johnny Gill would say.
Will: “Well my, my, my;” I couldn’t agree more. Based on my past and the struggles that I had come through as a young man, I knew that I wanted more out of life that what I had left behind. I also desired to build my future with someone that brought more to the table than drama and negativity. What I found in you was someone that had overcome her own trials and tribulations and yet still had a dream, drive, and the determination to pursuit it.
Odette: The third component was God. That’s right, I said it, God. I remember the night before we got married; we were at the church for the rehearsal. After the rehearsal you walked up to me and said, “I need to talk to you.” I could tell you were very serious. My attentiveness was concrete and my eyes were locked on you. The first words out of your mouth after that were, “I can’t marry you.” OMG! I thought very calmly, why and what happened between the end of rehearsal and that moment. You began to tell me why and I really understood. That evening I did exactly what you asked and I thank God for that very evening every time I think of the foundation of our marriage.
Will: Of course you know my grandmother raised me, and it was her teaching me early on in life to be truly successful at anything, you must make God a part of your life. Even though I had grown up and gotten away from family and God, I still remembered the way I was raised. All be it true, you and I had been living as a married couple for over a year, yet we were not married. I knew in my heart I was disobeying the teaching of my grandmother and God.
I was so convicted that night during rehearsal that I had to make it right. I wasn’t sure how you would respond, but amazingly you felt the same way. My instructions were clear, find a place in the church to be alone with God, ask for his forgiveness of our sins and the life we had been living with each other, and in the same prayer ask God to now bless the union we were about to enter into as husband and wife. I went up to the balcony and knelt down and prayed that prayer, I’m not certain where you went. But, one thing I am certain of, God is still honoring our prayers to this day.
In conclusion we’ll concede that there are different strokes for different folks, and that there is no one size fits all, especially when dealing with matters of the heart. Yet for us, starting as friends, sharing a common goal and making God the centerpiece of our marriage, has made the last twenty years worth every moment together, including the good, the bad, and the ugly. Having this foundation has proven to be the secret to the success of our relationship and how we keep the music playing.