This month would make it 8 years knowing Leroy with 2 of those years being married. By now, you should know how we met (if not, check out my previous blog post "You Met on Twitter? Whatt?!: A Millennial Love Story"). As a couple, we've been very open with our relationship (at least some of it) and a lot of persons come to us for advice, especially as it relates to marriage. As a result of this, I've decided to answer some of the more frequent questions we get.
Disclaimer: We are not professionals in any way, nor marriage or relationships experts. This is what happened or worked for us in our relationship/marriage and in no way means it will work for you or yours.
How did Leroy propose?
So apparently Leroy was planning our proposal for over a year! However, about a month before our 5th anniversary as a couple, he contacted my utmost favorite photographer - Kyle Archibald - and planned the proposal. I always wanted to do a photoshoot with Kyle but never got the opportunity. As the anniversary date approached, Leroy told me not to plan anything (I'm the planner in our relationship). I thought "Hmm... weird. Oh well" *shrugs*. A couple days before the date, Leroy told me I should get my hair and makeup done for the day because we'll be doing something special - he even helped me choose what to wear because I literally had no idea what he had planned. I was excited and nervous but completely oblivious. On the day, he met me looking handsome as ever! I was like "Papurrrr!" - at that point, I figured we were probably going somewhere fancy. I was fully dressed with my makeup done, he took me to get my hair done and we went for breakfast at this cute cafe. Afterward, we went for a drive which lead to Kyle's (you know, my favourite photographer) home to meet him for the shoot! I actually screamed (no like seriously. I'm sure all his neighbours heard me) - I was so happy and excited! We drove straight to the Bamboo Cathedral and started shooting. We started with some 'couple' pics, then Kyle told us he wanted some single shots as well. We moved as instructed. He shot Leroy first, then told him to move aside for my shots. I was so pumped, I didn't realize that Leroy was kneeling behind me with a ring in his hand. Kyle eventually got me to turn around just enough to see Leroy and when I did... Well... I was a mess! "What the f... Leroy! Baaaaaabe! What are you doing?!" were the first words out my mouth. I don't know how but I ended up kneeling in front of him as well. His eyes filled up with water causing mine to do the same. In my mind I was screaming "Holy shit this is truly happening!" Meanwhile, Kyle was shooting away from the sidelines. Eventually Leroy told me to stand back up so he could propose properly and when I did, that magical 4-worded question left his lips "Will you marry me?"... "YES!" was my immediate response... and we were engaged! BEST ANNIVERSARY EVERRRR!
How do you deal with disagreements/conflict?
Thankfully, Leroy and I are big on communication - not just that but clear communication. As a result of this, we rarely argue. I know, weird right? Lol! From the few times we've had disagreements, we've noticed that the only reason it would turn into an argument is when we don't understand (or try to understand) the other person's point of view. This is why it's important to clearly communicate - that way, everything is put on the table and you both try to figure out the best way to navigate through it. If we really don't agree on something at all, we simply (and respectfully) agree to disagree and move on. There is never any raising of our voices or cursing; we've never been disrespectful to each other. From the jump, we've agreed to never do that.
Of course, it also helps to know your partner and their values. Leroy and I were fortunate to have been raised with similar values, therefore, we are very similar in the way we think and act. Before I even speak to Leroy about something, I already know how he would respond or react to it and vice versa.
How do you deal with personal space while married?
You wouldn't believe how many persons have asked me about this. So since Leroy was from Marabella which is south and I am from St. Augustine which is north-east, the majority of our courtship was what we considered “long-distance”. Initially, we utilized Skype a lot and would see each other in person once a week or even once every 2 weeks. That changed a bit when Leroy started working in the same area that I did. Then we would have lunch dates every day, but even that was still tough because lunch was only 1 hour which included the time it took us to actually meet and get back to work. As a result of this, now that we are married, we absolutely love spending time with each other! The majority of the time, we're in each other's space cuddling or helping each other with work. In those times when we do need our personal space though - like for example, when I'm working on a personal project or when he's making music - we respect that and give it because we know that when we're done, we're back to loving up on each other.
Has your relationship changed significantly since your daughter was born?
Having a child is a life-changing experience, so yes our relationship has changed a bit. We've had to be super intentional when it came to spending alone time with each other. It helps that we have support from my parents nearby who absolutely love spending time with their grandchild.
I prefer to think that our relationship evolved when we had our daughter though. Cliché as it sounds, I think our relationship got stronger. I'm a very independent person so it was initially very tough for me to be vulnerable, especially during postpartum. However, when I was at 25%, Leroy gave 100% and more. Having a baby made my appreciation for him grow so much, especially since I got to see him evolve into his new role as a father. He took that role and made it his - he truly is an amazing father to our daughter.
What's the hardest thing about being married?
Well... as stated before, we're both big on communication. However, there are times when you don't want to talk or you just want time to process whatever you're going through. I'm not gonna lie, initially it was difficult for me to understand that when it came to Leroy. Like... I want him to let me know what's going on NOW - even when he doesn't feel to talk about it - because I want to fix it. It was only when I actually felt like not talking and had to tell him "I don't want to talk about it right now" that I understood and respected his boundaries. Of course, we eventually spoke about whatever was bothering us but initially in the moment, it sucks not knowing what your partner is going through because they don't want to discuss it at the moment.
What's the best thing about being married?
Besides the logical/financial benefits (loans/insurance/taxes) and health benefits (apparently there are studies that report that happily married women are less likely to get heart disease, they live healthier lifestyles and have fewer emotional problems), I think the best thing about being married is the fact that I get to have my best friend with me everyday. This person is there for you through everything - positive, negative and everything in between. I am his biggest fan and supporter and he is mine. This person chooses to be committed to me and only me every single day... Plus we get to have bomb sex! Heh! Lol!
If you are thinking about marriage, discuss it at length with your partner. Leroy and I attended Catholics Engaged Encounter (premarital counselling) and although we thought we knew each other at length, it helped us to understand each other and the commitment of marriage on a deeper level. As a result of this, I always recommend that couples participate in premarital counselling or any other similar activity before taking the leap. It ensures that you're both on the same page in your relationship and are ready for the very important step you're about to take.
If you have any other questions, let me know in the comments!