Gill and I will be celebrating 35 years of marriage on the 13th April this year. On that date in 1985 we made a lifelong commitment to each other through our marriage vows, before God and those gathered. We made that commitment as a mixed couple, Gill being English and myself being West Indian, with the love and support of our two families. We have never regretted it. It doesn’t mean that it has always been easy, we have had to overcome various issues over the years, but never once has it resulted in the idea of dissolving the marriage. The vow we made as a couple and as committed Christians means that we do not even entertain that thought and give it room to grow. The solution is not to break up but rather to work out how we are going to solve the particular issue we find ourselves in.
- When on our dates together racism reared its head and Gill had to acclimatise to it, we resolved it together.
- We agreed in our finances that everything would be joint account, we were now one entity through marriage and total trust in each other was the only way to make it work
- We decided right at the beginning about children and how many and God blessed us with three beautiful girls whose lives were not dominated by the fact that they were mixed race but by the fact that they were loved.
- When the two women I loved most in my life initially clashed, Gill and my mum, it took a number of uncomfortable years to arrive at harmony. At times we literally had to agree the same number of hours we would spend at each of our parents’ homes for visits so that neither of us felt grieved or favoured. Yes, marriage was about the two of us but it was also about two families, the issue was never race but it was more family culture. It could have split us, but we never entertained that thought as we were one, therefore we had to work it out and we did!
- When we argued and disagreed again it was never about splitting up but about talking it through or letting time heal the wounds. Forgiveness plays a vital key at those times and we have had to forgive on countless occasions to keep our marriage well oiled.
- Intimacy is important but there are times when it is not possible or advisable and should not lead to a marriage breakdown or another relationship outside of the marriage bond. Gill contracted breast cancer and went through vigorous treatment and chemotherapy and intimacy through that period was limited. For better for worse was the promise we made, in sickness and in health. Thank God she came through and has passed her 5 year all clear!
A perfect marriage is not about never arguing, never disagreeing, never making mistakes, never hurting or disappointing one another. A perfect marriage is about the capacity to love one another through all those things and come out on top. With God’s help we are still working on it. Thank goodness he gave me Gill!