My mom and dad weren’t married. It’s never been a family secret. I love and respect my mom for always being honest about that. When I was really young, I thought they were married. My dad was around so that just made sense. Once I was old enough to start asking questions, my mother gave me honest answers. I know it wasn’t easy for her to share, but she did.
One of seven children, my mom grew up with three sisters and three brothers. All of her brothers married, but only one of her sisters did. And sadly, that sister’s husband was unfaithful and her marriage ended. My grandmother and great-grandmother never married either. I guess it just wasn’t in the cards for them. So for years, the women in my family raised their children without knowing what it was like to live in a strong, healthy family unit.
As a child, I just knew marriage would be apart of my future.
Of course I had no idea what that would entail, so my initial fascination was all about the magic of a big wedding. As I got older, though, my desire to get married became deeper than that. I wanted a life partner. I wanted to spend my days with someone I could grow and share my dreams with. I also wanted my children to bond with their father in a way that I never bonded with mine. Indeed, getting married was part of my life plan.
I Broke the Cycle
Plans don’t always work out the way we want, but by the grace of God I got married a week before my thirtieth birthday and children soon followed. I married a man I developed a strong friendship with, and although what we have is not perfect, we are perfect for each other. With a good dose of humor and a lot of prayer, we face life’s challenges head on, knowing that God’s will always prevails, and for our marriage to work well, we have to work hard.
I think we can often get caught up in our family history, believing patterns the that came before us will persist. They don’t have to, though. It doesn’t matter what has happened in our family, we always have the right to choose and work for something different.
Of course it can be hard creating a healthy partnership when you never saw one growing up—but it’s possible.
When you turn to your faith, counseling, and resources (like blackandmarriedwithkids.com), you can develop the skills your need to make your marriage last.
I can’t say for sure why the women in my family never experienced happy, healthy marriages. I am sure the reasons are plenty and it’s probably nothing short of complicated. I do know, however, that at an early age my mom made it clear that she wanted different for me and I heard her message loud and clear. She wasn’t able to share the ins and outs of married life with me, but she surely shared the value of it based on what she believed in her heart to be true. I thank her immensely for that.
Family patterns and unhealthy cycles can be broken. You can create a life you want for yourself and your family regardless of what has happened in the past. I believe that the struggles of our ancestors can teach us valuable lessons, allowing us to create the lives that they actually deserved to have too. Learn from what’s happened, embrace the opportunities that lie before you, and know that you are responsible for creating the life you want. Cycles can always be broken.
BMWK family, can you share how you have been able to create a healthy partnership even you never saw one growing up?