How I Plan to Keep My Marriage Flame From Fizzling

BY: - 17 Dec '12 | Marriage

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Photo Credit: Nevit


Photo Credit: Nevit

I will be celebrating 15 years of marriage next August. And while I am grateful and looking forward to the celebration, I want to make sure I keep in mind what it took for us to get here. A lot of our challenges surfaced in the beginning when we both had more growing to do. My bad habits and selfishness along with his struggle to communicate the way I wanted/needed him to were an interesting combination to say the least. Once I got over myself and he started opening up a little bit more, things improved. Now that we are in a good place, I don’t ever want our flame to fizzle. Here’s my plan:

I will energize myself in order to energize my marriage. Taking care of children and home all drain me at times. There are actual things I can do including taking vitamins, getting the proper rest and asking for help when I feel worn out. Trying to be a superwoman is going to cost me special intimate time with my superman. My children are at just the right ages to have more responsibility so I don’t feel so overwhelmed. When I feel rejuvenated and rested, everyone in the home benefits, including the relationship.

I am determined to stay focused on my goal of peace and joy. With this, I know I have to humble myself, choose my words carefully, be in tune with my intentions and practice love in everything I do. My love for my husband should always be evident in how I treat and speak to him. My responsibility as his wife is to never do anything purposely to hurt him.

I will not bury the greatest parts of me, even when I am upset with my husband and feel he doesn’t deserve to experience the best of me. I will always work at looking and feeling my best. Bringing out the spirited side of me and not allowing the stress and pressures of the world alter who I truly am, especially in my marriage.

Another part of my plan is to simply put forth a greater effort. Knowing that I am only responsible for my own actions and reactions helps to relinquish any needs I may have to control my spouse. I will express myself honestly and lovingly and allow him to do the same. Anger, chaos and confusion are not welcome in my marriage. I pledge not to be too sensitive, nor take everything personally and I will be solution focused. I promise not to play the shut down game and keep the lines of communication open.

Yes, marriage is challenging. Some days are easier than others. It’s easier to go through the motions than to put forth a greater effort in keeping our marriages thriving. I am personally not willing to allow my marriage flame to fizzle. I am going to do my part and effectively manage my half of the relationship. It is my hope that other couples will join me in the fight to keep our marriages alive and well.

BMWK, what are you doing to keep the marriage flaming burning?

About the author

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter wrote 635 articles on this blog.

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter is a Certified Life & Relationship Coach, founder of Life Editing and Author of A Conversation Piece: 32 Bold Relationship Lessons for Discussing Marriage, Sex and Conflict Available on Amazon . She helps couples and individuals rewrite their life to reflect their dreams. Tiya has been featured in Essence and Ebony Magazines, and named one of the top blogs to read now by Refinery29. She resides in Chicago with her husband and two daughters. To find out more about Tiya, and her coaching, visit and


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17 WordPress comments on “How I Plan to Keep My Marriage Flame From Fizzling

      1. Ayanna

        Great advice as always Tiya! It’s amazing to see you and Kenny float through marriage and make it look so easy. You know you are doing a great job when your husband starts quoting epic Brown Sugar lines on your post! Lol Keep the love flowing and inspiring others!!!

      2. Kendra

        Tiya this article is so encouraging. It is very hard to keep the fire fizzling when you can always think of things that are wrong. I really like what you said about taking care of yourself. As women we don’t always take the time to rejuvinate ourselves as we should. I also appreciate what you said about growth being needed in both individuals, very often when things go wrong in a relationship we are quick to blame the men; when many times it is both individuals who need to grow. Thanks so much for the insight. I love these articles.

  1. Steve

    I am trying to communicate to my wife about the personal business and where we stand at this moment with our most important debts. i am trying to just tell what i have done. She wants me to say what I trying to say but interupts before i can finish, but wants me to finish what I have to say even though she interupts. This makes no sense, this is a waste of time , especially she is wasting her own time. I am only trying keep her up to date with our immediate situation. After 19 years of marriage this is not productive to get anything accomplished. My main focus is to get cuaght up and stay focused with our finances to build a future for our kids.

    1. Cheryl

      Maybe you can print out the figures and what it is you want to tell her, and say that you are available to talk about it when she is ready. Maybe talking finances is stressful for her, and that is why she interrupts you.

  2. Cheryl

    Great article of encouragement! I have been married for 11 years, and it is work to keep the flame burning sometimes. The only thing I would add to your list for myself is to assume love. I am naturally argumentative, and I have spent alot of time making up arguments in my head for why he has done whatever it was I disliked. Now I try to stop and say “I know he loves me, and will not intentionally hurt me, so what can be an alternative reason for …” Once I stop ascribing a likely false and hurtful reason for his actions, I noticed that I am ticked off alot less, which translates into a more peaceful home.

  3. bridgette

    wow! well said. some of those bullet points are issues I’ve been struggling with for a few months. just married in august however, we’ve been together for 9 years. the shut down game, as you call it, has been my game of choice after an arguement. after talking to my husband about how that made him FEEL (months ago), I’ve vowed to reveal my heart, hurt, fears and vulnerability to him. your points are so obvious, but can be hard to impliment if you don’t make the commitment to abide by them. thank you for the post. keep it coming.

  4. Zay

    OMG it’s as if you were literally in my head thinking everything I wanted to know or need to know. Thanks for the confirmation. Marriage doesn’t come w/ a hand book and I’m so glad to have this forum. Their aren’t a lot of healthy relationship couples are there. It’s good to hear people facing or dealing w/ the same thing, especially in a positive uplifting way!!

  5. Jennifer P.

    All of these are great suggestions and things that I’ve considered and vowed to do myself. One additional thing I have vowed to do in 2013 is to spend time each day in solitude with God. Hopefully this helps me with some of the suggestions above. Another thing I’m trying to do is to spend time each week with my husband, whether its a date night outside the house, enjoying a late dinner and movie after the kids go to bed or a coffee chat at a nearby Starbucks. These things really do help.

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But Sometimes, You Have to Know When to Fold Them

BY: - 18 Dec '12 | Marriage

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We receive a lot of emails from people, asking for relationship advice.  And common questions that we get asked are: “Should I leave?”  or “How do you know when enough is enough.”

And those are questions that I just can’t answer for a person. (But, of course if there is abuse…I would say to leave and get to a safe place.)  I don’t know how to answer that question for another person, especially when I’ve only read a paragraph or a few sentences about their situation.  For the most part, that’s an answer that each person has to come up with on their own.

Even a counselor is not going to out right tell you to leave.  I went to “couples” counseling a few times when I was in a relationship ( we were not married.)  The guy I was dating was not good to me and I was extremely unhappy.  And that counselor never once said: “that fool is dragging you down…cut that zero.”   But she did help me to focus on what I needed in order to be happy.  And she helped think things through so that I could come to my own conclusion and so that I could see how to do things differently.

Once I asked our friend and relationship expert, Aiyze Ma’at, from, how long would you stay in a bad relationship.  Would you stick around and tough it out for  20, 30, or 40 years with a person?  And what he said stuck with me.  He said:

“Sometimes, you have to know when to fold them.”

That answer is so simple…but deep. To me, the two most important words in that answer are YOU and KNOW.

So this is what I tell people (which is my opinion because I am no counselor.)  You have to make sure that you have done all that you can do before leaving your marriage….and when you’ve done that..then do some more.  Because, next to your relationship with God, your marriage is the most important relationship that you will have on this earth.

I personally know couples that were going through tough times in their relationships…and the only thing they could think about was separating..and getting a divorce.  But when I asked them if they went to counseling or if they sought help…they said: “no.”   It was like they were stuck…stuck in the misery and could not see their way out.  They could not fathom being in a happy and loving relationship with their spouse.  They could only see one option…that was to get out.  Sadly, I’ve seen people get out…only to want to get back in after it was too late.

I’ve been reading a great book by Dr. Gary Chapman called Desperate Marriages – Moving Toward Hope and Healing in your relationship And on page 23, Dr. Chapman says the following about divorce:

“Through the years I have counseled enough divorced persons to know that while divorce removes some pressures, it creates a host of others.  I am not naive enough to suggest that divorce can be eliminated from the human landscape. I am saying, however, that divorce should be the last possible alternative.  It should be preceded by every effort at reconciling differences, dealing with issues, and solving problems.”

Dr. Chapman asks people to reject certain myths that they believe about marriage and to take positive actions towards change in their relationships.  In the book, Dr. Chapman will help you to realize that:  people can change, that staying and being miserable OR getting a divorce are not the only two options that you have in your marriage, and that your situation is not hopeless. Yes, even if your are dealing with an irresponsible spouse, a spouse that is a workaholic, an unfaithful spouse, or a depressed spouse, you can find solutions that can save your marriage.

I’ve seen it myself with the couples that appear in our latest movie, Still Standing.  Those couples were able to overcome dire financial issues, communication difficulties, and yes….even infidelity.  But it took work…and some times that work starts with you taking positive actions towards changing your situation.

BMWK – Do you think that couples are throwing in the towel and getting divorces before exhausting all of their options? Do you believe that couples can survive and be happy…even after going through major adversities?

About the author

Ronnie Tyler wrote 527 articles on this blog.

Ronnie Tyler is the co-creator of and co-producer of the films Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage, You Saved Me, Men Ain't Boys and Still Standing. The proud mom of 4 has been selected by Parenting Magazine as a Must-Read Mom and is one of Babble's Top 100 Mom Bloggers.


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