With Valentine’s Day around the corner, many of us find ourselves romanticizing love and relationships. It is perfectly normal and healthy to admire others, but Sis, you can be your own bae goals! This year my husband and I will celebrate 31 years of marriage. Throughout our three decades together, each of our vows has been greatly tested. We’ve experienced amazing highs and tumultuous lows. Through it all, we are still each other’s bae goals—not because we are perfect, but because we have learned ways to work on our marriage consistently. Here are a few of those ways…
Prioritize your relationship with yourself—it starts with you!
During my time as a stay-at-home mom, I fell into the pattern that many of us do, putting ourselves at the bottom of our priority list. Every day, I made sure everyone else had what they needed—the children were taken care of, my husband was made to feel like the king that he is. I thought I was doing right by putting everyone’s needs before my own. But did you know that the quality of our relationships with our spouses or significant others is a direct reflection of our relationship with ourselves?
We subconsciously teach others how to treat us based on the way we treat ourselves. I learned this lesson the hard way after years of working through feelings of resentment. I had to learn that putting myself first was the best possible thing I could do for my family. When I started putting me first, my husband looked at me differently. I could feel the change in our relationship. I was more playful and patient with my children. I was no longer operating from a place of burn out because I took time to pour into me. I was able to give my family the best of me instead of just giving them the rest of me.
Your relationship with yourself is the one you will be in the longest; cultivate it and tend to it. Give yourself the same grace you give to others. Knowing and applying this to your relationship will be a game changer for you and bae.
Lean into difficult conversations.
I remember when my husband had to live separately from me and the children for a job assignment. That was a trying time in our marriage and communication felt strained at times. I often dealt with this by keeping my feelings to myself because I did not have the tools to communicate with him about issues that we needed to address in our marriage. I eventually learned that not having the difficult conversations was the worst possible thing I could do.
By failing to communicate with my husband, I was bottling up all my feelings and not giving him an opportunity to meet my needs. Sis, do not avoid the difficult conversations because you are afraid or feel that it’s best not to say anything. Speaking up is crucial to the success of your relationship. Speak your truth, even if your voice shakes.
Dealing with unpleasant issues in relationships can bring varied emotions. As uncomfortable as it may be, conflict is a crucial component of a healthy, fruitful, and long-lasting connection. It’s an opportunity for both individuals to grow. While growth is not always comfortable, it is necessary to reach our highest potential, both individually and as a couple. Facing conflict head on in a relationship deepens and enhances the connection by providing an opportunity for you and bae to problem solve together. In hearing each other’s concerns and working through difficult situations, you learn about yourself and your partner.
When I learned to go to my husband with things that were bothering me, hearing his perspective on things changed the way that I viewed the situation. And each time I spoke up for myself, it was a healthy exercise in communication and conflict resolution for the both of us. The next time you need to have a difficult conversation, don’t shy away—lean in!
Always lead with love.
This is often easier said than done. Our emotions can get the best of us when we are angry, especially with the one we love the most. Saying something that you will regret later is never worth it, so I have learned to walk away. Stepping away to calm down when things get heated is one way to lead with love. It’s saying, “I choose love over words that may hurt you in this moment.”
Striving to lead with love in our daily interactions is one of the most beautiful and transformative gifts that we can give ourselves and our partner. In making this a habit, you will develop a level of self-awareness that will inspire you to treat your partner the way you wish to be treated. Remember, your relationship with yourself directly reflects the quality of your relationship with others. Leading with love will help you embody the characteristics of your ideal partner, which will cause bae to embody these characteristics as well.
You are a queen. You are powerful. You are capable. Most importantly, you are worthy of the love that your heart and soul long for. And you know what, Sis? You have the power to cultivate your dream relationship. There is no need to look at another couple and feel discouraged because you can do it too! I hope that you feel inspired to be the change you wish to see in your relationship. Believe in yourself and put in the work because you deserve it!
Have you already implemented some of these tips? Do you have helpful tips of your own that have positively impacted your relationship?Leave a Comment
Sharon Lawson says
Dr. Cheryl says
Doretha Lynn M Lismore says
Love is truly patient,
Love is often kind,
Love is long-suffering,
Giving peace of mind;
Love takes the hatefulness,
That jolts from the start,
It can make you upset,
Especially in your heart;
Love makes you take things,
Even when others are wrong,
Love can make you sacrifice,
And help you to become strong;
Because we know love is so
It accepts the good and bad,
It grants you the “will” to
Even when you know you
God gives us this unique gift,
A divine attribute given from
It’s His greatest attribute that
His Son, Jesus, exemplified,
Animals may show it in their
But it’s us Humans, who are made,
In His image, and extraordinarily,
Granted His beautiful gift of Love…
Remember 1Corinthians 13:4-8
(C) 2023 Doretha Lynn M Lismore
Dr. Cheryl says
Alaina Pinkney says
Love me some Williamson’s! This is so beautiful!
Dr. Cheryl says
I love you.
Thank you so much
Beautiful. Thank you for letting us know that even when relationships become challenging there is still away to being it back to the intended place of peace and love. Communication is essential for us all to create the life of love, peace, and happiness that we all deserve and seek.❤️
Siobhan Davenport says
Thank you, Dr. Cheryl, for the reminder that our longest and best relationship is with ourselves. Only then, can we show up and give to our “bae,” children, family and friends what is needed for healthy relationships. Self-love is the best Valentine’s Day gift we can give to ourselves and others.
Brenda Jubilee says
Congratulations on your 31 years of marriage, you are a beautiful couple. Communication is so important and your suggestions are excellent. You make it work as a couple and thank you for sharing your story.
This is a great read. As Valentine’s Day quickly approaches, this made me think about my husband that passed last year. This year I have chosen not be to sad, but I will still celebrate as we would, but also love on myself.
Cynthia Daniels-Banks says
Dr. Cheryl, thank you for such wise words of encouragement!
The viable and valuable nuggets and strategies you have shared truly work and can lead to success, both in relationships and in marriage.
You speak truth, dear sister.
These nuggets will work if we work them.
I know whereof I speak and can attest to this.
Having just entered into 50 years of friendship and 45 consecutive-but-almost-wasn’t (! 😙) years of marriage to my Boo –
I am convinced that your strategies, coupled with God’s grace, really work.
Thank you for your labor OF love in helping us sisters labor IN love and showing us how-to work smarter, not harder.
I appreciate you and the inspiration you keep on tap.🌹
Michelle B says
Yes love this article. Me and my husband our going on 25 years and we are learning new ways of communicating. Also came up with our marriage life scripture. This was an enlightening challenge for us. Romans 12:10 my husband came up with this and I immediately knew it was it.
Thank you for sharing and giving by example. Your words of wisdom are lessons for us all.
What a beautiful couple! It is important for the world to see healthy vibrant Black Love. What is even more important is for people to learn how to attain it, accept it, and maintain it. Thank you for sharing your insight and experience and reminding us that love will not be a fairytale everyday. But with work and the right tools it can be beautiful and sustained.
Dr. Connie Bell says
Dr. Polite-Williamson, Thank you for your transparency. I definitely understand having the right tools to communicate. In my first marriage, I had to overcome the urge to keep things to myself. It wasn’t until after that marriage was dissolved that I realize we could have benefited from learning how to communicate. As I read your letter, I was reminded that as I enter my upcoming marriage I’m June the importance of communication to the success of marriage or any relationship. Thank you!
Danette Brown says
Very encouraging to me as a single person. As always great words of wisdom!
Kim S. says
Florence Brown says
Great read! Full of inspiration and good practice we been married for 6 years so thank you for sharing the keys to a healthy relationship with longevity!
Marilyn Green says
Thanks for this great article. I use to wait in all my relationships (work, friends, etc) until I could not deal with an issue(s) anymore. After learning about positive conflict resolution, I am so much better in dealing with the hard conversations.
That was beautiful and truthful.
Lesleigh Mausi says
This was full of wisdom that I’ve found to be true within my own marriage of 24 years. Wonderfully written. Blessings to you and your husband.
Denise Edmond says
Thank you for this inspirational message on loving self and marriage. Helpful tools for life.
Frednitta Gunning says
Leading with love is so profound ! Being an example of that makes your partner pause . It says you understand your limits and you are teaching boundaries . If you always fire off and can’t keep yourself grounded everything around you becomes chaotic . Love is calm even in a storm . I’m learning to love beyond walls and respect my own truth and letting bae be in his truth without judgement !!! As this month we will celebrate 30 years of dating and being each others best friend ! Our first date was Valentine’s Day that was when I had no one to love and didn’t think it could happen to me ! Being with someone this long is challenging but having God is the rock.
Tiffany Mayfield says
This article is very inspiring and filled with wisdom and tools! What a beautiful example of love and marriage. Thank you!
Dr. Cheryl says
Thanks for commenting. I love you.
Very inspiring story. Love the dynamic of their coming together as a couple.
Thanks for reading my story and commenting
Stephanie Goodson says
You hit the nail on the head when you wrote, “Facing conflict head on in a relationship deepens and enhances the connection by providing an opportunity for you and bae to problem solve together.”
Post by: Stephanie G.
No email, no website.
Dr. Cheryl says
Thanks so much for reading and commenting
Dr. Cheryl says
Clarissa Abernathy says
I always have to write my husband a letter to get him to listen . He always cuts me off . I have been married for 35 years .
Dr. Cheryl says
Peace and blessings!
Thank you for sharing because I feel like that is my life. This year- I am pledging to put myself first.
Dr. Cheryl says
It’s time. Make you the priority.
Stevie Swain says
Yet another heartfelt message filled with lessons. Cheryl you nailed this one. I prayer people (men & women alike) will read and learn how to work on their relationships. Tony and I absolutely communicate in love to be heard vs. frustration which shuts the other down. I love you guys. Pray all women get to experience love the way we have. 😘♥️
Your story resonates with me so much! As a former military wife, I put everyone and everything before me. The resentment that I felt during my husband’s deployments were kept bottled up inside. I am printing your article and rereading as needed. Thanks so much for sharing!
Theora Harmon says
Thanks for touching on this subject, I myself am guilty of this one concept putting everyone else’s needs before myself. But as I am growing in my relationship with God, I find myself dealing with my relationships with others differently. I am learning that it is ok to let go of relatonships that drain me. I know what i will and will not tolerate in my life. Hopefully I will soon have a relationship I can talk about to others.