By Debra Gould, MS
Part One In A Four Part Series
Making sure you have a foundation you can build on.
Falling in love is one of the most glorious experiences in life. It feels like a miracle to find that person who makes you even happier and stronger than you are on your own. That person who inspires you to be your best self.
There is no doubt true love is a force of nature, one to be protected, exalted, and sanctified by commitment.
But before you take the step of making vows, you may also want to consider the many hard lessons learned by couples like Joe and I who have been married for decades. These are lessons that can help you avoid pitfalls that can derail even the deepest love.
In my experience, the number one thing you have to know before you get married: yourself.
You must know who you are, why you are like you are, what you want from life and, just as importantly, what you don’t. Understanding yourself, your priorities, and your motivations – the good and the bad – will help you know whether you and your partner are truly right for each other.
Once you fully understand yourself at this stage in your life, you can move on the next foundation of commitment: shared values.
It doesn’t matter if your partner likes a different kind of music, a different kind of food, or has an old friend you don’t care for. More important is whether your partner sees your life together the way you do. Make sure you have similar attitudes in all the important areas: money, faith, children, and family. You need to know that you’re both envisioning the same future and believe in the same goals -- otherwise you may never reach them.
And finally, the thing that all relationships should be based on: respect.
Speak with respect, listen with respect, treat each other with the patience, generosity, and kindness that show respect. This is what will keep love alive, especially through hard times.
I promise you, if you do all three of these things, you will lay the foundations for a happier, healthier, more supportive marriage.
Debra W. Gould, MS is the president of Debra Gould & Associates, Inc. based in New Orleans and provides management consulting and training services to commercial and government clients. Debra is one of the founders of The Ebony Speakers and co-author of the book, Real Women, Real Issues - Positive Collaborations For Business Success.
Debra can be reached at: (504) 244-6576,
email: firstname.lastname@example.org and
By Joe and Debra Gould
Please join Joe and Debra for an engaging conversation at STTC on www.Zoom.com every Tuesday @ 7:30PM CST for 25 minutes.
Mission: This program is about marriage relationships that works even through the challenge.
Purpose: STTC is really for anyone who wants or have a strong relationship. We talk about what can possibly create a strong and sustainable marriage and relationship that works. In addition, we ask for feedback from others on what works for them. Every week we will invite guests to join the program to share information about their relationships and listen to the engaging conversations.
We will have engaging conversations with our guests to share information on how they are making their love and marriage relationship work even through the challenge. What message can they share with others? What do they do to stay together during the tough times? The good times? We want to invite guests that will tell it like it is and keep it real from young to mature adults.
Building a strong relationship means not simply going through problems but growing through problems…..as your relationship grows you develop your strength through the challenge. Our relationship success comes from doing what other people unsuccessful relationships are not willing to do. We don’t wish it were better. We work on the possibility of a better relationship.
It was absolutely a great time to connect in an engaging conversation with couple friends that we highly respect and have known for many years. We consider them to be some wonderful people, couples to hang out and socialize with at events, friends helping each other, and a support system in our network.
Below are a few questions we talked about during our Tuesday night of September 5, 2017 STTC interview with friends.
2. Do you seek out to surround your marriage with good role models and couples who will keep you honest? (Milton and Sheila Brown)
Milton: Yes, we make it a point to surround our life with like-minded individuals that help us to grow as a couple.
Sheila: I prayed to God for this specific prayer many years ago to bring couples into our lives that are Christian people, kind, friendly and enjoy travelling. I can honestly for sure say we have found those friends and family members in our network and we have FUN together.
3. In your marriage relationship, “How do you agree to preserve peace and harmony in your home? (Ronald and Voris Vigee)
Ronald: Communication is the key. When we disagree as a couple, it is so important to address the concerns head on and talk it out.
Voris: I have learned that “Compromise” is #1 in the household. That’s what makes the peace and harmony that works all the time.
4. Is it easy to thank God for your partner every day? ALL Couples
Clinton: Exceptional easy to say that I thank God for Kelly. While I don’t get on my knees to pray and I pray in bed I’m thinking about how blessed I am to have her in my life. I was married once before and this time around I know it is a right fit for my life. Together we have a beautiful daughter we are so proud of and we are great together.
Kelly: As we are aging we are taking inventory of what we are grateful for in our lives. I’m thankful for Clinton and our family. Life is wonderful with him and yes, I thank God for him.
Milton: One couple pulling in a separate way is not going to make it at all. I can say we are going in the same direction both Milton and Sheila Brown. Thank God for blessing me with a loving wife and partner every day.
Sheila: Honestly and we are being open in this conversation. It is not easy every day. Every day I do it to say "I love you" to Milton Brown because I mean it from the bottom of my heart. My first marriage was very bad and I will leave it at that. There will be no other man after Mr. Milton Brown.
Ronald: I love everything about Voris. She is an incredible woman and I love her and adore our kids.
Voris: Nothing is easy. Everything in a marriage relationship requires work. I love my husband and so happy and proud to have our three kids we have together. Ronald is the love of my life.
Book Debra, Michelle, Nancy or Carole for your next speaking engagement or training event.