With Valentine’s Day around the corner, we decided to find out what factors are keeping marriages together in the Jamaican community at home and around the United States. Society would have us think that marriages are not surviving but these couples that have been together for a combination of over 230 years have volunteered to share the secrets to their successful marriages. We hope you will be inspired by the love they share as you continue on your journey towards a healthy love life.
- Kaion and Diantha Smith, Los Angeles, CA: “Constant communication and collaboration in all things relative to our family. This is what has kept us going through 13 of marriage, and 13 years in the military with several deployments and several moves across the United States.”
- Patrick and Sharee Roberts, Wake Forest, NC: “After being together for 12 years, we would say that our marriage has survived because of our differences in temperament. Sharee is very calm-natured and Patrick is much more excitable. We have had fewer than 10 true arguments since we have been together.”
- A couple from Little Rock Arkansas attributes their 15 years of marriage to “1) our Christian principles/belief; 2) love; 3) dedication and; 4) our children.”
- Glendon and Tynette Mae Wiggan, St. James, Jamaica: “Our 36 years of marriage is built on friendship.” Tynette states, “My husband, Glendon Wiggan, has been my friend over 36 years. We make concerted efforts to tackle problems by compromise, forgiveness, and putting God in the mix. We also use a polite and appropriate formula to express ourselves.”
- A couple from Maumelle, Arkansas married 33 years: Husband’s response :- “We work together and not against each other. We both are good at doing different things and that helps us to balance duties and chores. We do things together often and have always tried to do a mini vacation or getaway at least every three months. We try to find a good compromise when we have difference of opinion. When there is a major disagreement, I provide space by going to another part of the house to allow cool down time. I try not to talk when we both are upset, but wait to allow cooling down period. We go to church together and study the Bible and pray together.” Wife’s response :- ” We share some common core beliefs about religion, finance, and family. We have fun together and we play and laugh. I am very detailed, but my husband is more spontaneous and that provides a good balance. We both like to nurture, but in different ways. We are transparent about our finances. We talk openly about everything. I remind my husband that he is needed and often thank him for being a great husband.”
- A couple from Atlanta, GA who has been together for 33 years provides several keys to a healthy marriage: To remain happy, keep your spouse happy and treat his/her family with respect. As a woman take pride in staying neat, clean and sharp. Be proud of each other. Pamper each other from time to time. Write letters to each other often so that you can go back and read them after many years. Take trips together and do things as a couple without others. Don’t pick at little things. We love sitting together and we still hold hands. Pray aloud for your spouse and don’t bad-mouth each other to others. Know your spouse and know what he/she loves. Speak to your man as if he is the president of the United States and vice versa. Call each other during the day, and hang out in the bathroom during baths. After all these years, our marriage still feels like it was just yesterday.
- Mr & Mrs. Scott in Queens, NY: We attribute our 17 years of marriage to our faith and belief in God and in being friends for while before becoming lovers and then husband and wife.
- Mr. and Mrs. Abrahams, Brooklyn, New York have been together for 25 years and married for 15 years. “We love doing things together and we enjoy each other’s company. Don’t forget lots of spontaneous lovemaking! Finally, communication is also another key ingredient.”
- Tony and Lorna, Little Rock, AR: “We attribute our 35 years of marriage to Godly love and respect for each other and a genuine and sincere commitment to our marriage vows at all times.”
- Xavier and Karen, Hollywood, FL: As they look forward to celebrating their twentieth year of marriage, Karen and Xavier state that their long-lasting marriage is based on two key factors. “First, God is the center of the marriage and the foundation. There is a triangle and God is at the top of it with each of us on the other side. He keeps us grounded and guides the relationship. Second, we were close friends before we ever were in a relationship. That built a strong communication foundation. There was no auditioning for the role. We knew each other’s likes and dislikes. We knew habits etc. In fact, we used to screen each other’s dates. That friendship with free communication continues to be the key to our successful relationship.
These nuggets of wisdom are the reasons why these couples have defied the odds and stayed together over the years. Take their advice and remember, love is patient, love is kind, and love endureth all things. -Kerri-Ann M. Smith
*Special thanks to all of the couples who volunteered their time and advice for this article. We wish you many, many more years of continued love and devotion to each other.