Vida Brown

Vida Brown

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Time, Our Most Precious Commodity

 

Most of us wake up every morning next to our spouse.  In today’s busy world, we jump out of bed and proceed with our daily routine.  If at all possible, we squeeze in time with our spouse.  Maybe we make time for coffee or breakfast together, send a few texts or make a few calls throughout the day, or snuggle together before bed.  We go to sleep and the next morning we do it all over again.  This is the norm for married couples. Nothing unique, right?

So many wives and husbands wake up every morning without their spouse.  So many go days, weeks even months without seeing, smelling, touching, or feeling their spouse.  So many would do anything to have what we take for granted -- a daily opportunity to be with their spouse.

This reality hit me over the head a few days ago.  I was having a pedicure and I initiated a discussion with the technician.  She’s from Vietnam and has been in the US for about a year.  She noticed my ring and shared that she too was married, but her husband is still in Vietnam.  She said she hasn’t seen him in person in well over a year and really misses him.  She often cries herself to sleep at night, wishing he was here.

I had to fight to hold back my tears.  I see my husband every day.  I can’t imagine going days without seeing him, let alone a year.  Just the thought made me shudder.  The more I sat and listened to her story, I realized how much I take “time” for granted.  I expect that my husband will always be here.  If I forget to tell him I love him in the morning, or forget to tell him how much I appreciate him or something he did, I don’t sweat it because I know I’m going to see him that night.  I take for granted that I have all the time in the world with my husband.  What we don’t get to today, we’ll get to tomorrow.

On the heels of that conversation, I heard on the local news that a plane crashed into a home, killing a stay-at-home wife/mother and 2 small children.  The husband was at work.  I imagined that he got up that morning, and like most of us, proceeded with his daily routine.  I imagined that, like most of us, he expected to see his wife and kids that evening.  But he didn’t and won’t ever again.

For a variety of reasons, every day, thousands of men and women wake up alone, without the one they frankly can’t imagine living without.  For those of us who are fortunate enough to see our spouse daily, embrace the opportunity to spend a quality moment with him or her.  Endeavor to let your spouse know how much you love, respect and appreciate them.  None of us know when the “time” we take for granted with our spouse will run out.

When The Unexpected Takes Your Breath Away

By: Davida Brown  

We all have those moments with our spouse that we wish would never end.  Maybe it’s a romantic getaway.  Maybe it’s simply a night at home together without the kids.  Memories of those times warm us from head-to-toe. But don’t you find that it’s those unexpected moments that grab you the most, those moments that remind you why you married your spouse?  This morning, I had one of those moments.

It was 6 a.m. I had another 30 minutes before I had to get up and start my busy morning routine.  I was exhausted.  My husband, a law enforcement officer, had been working nonstop for the last two weeks because of all the protests in DC surrounding the Ferguson and NY decisions.  That meant I had to do everything at the house, drop off and pick up the kids, work my fulltime job, feed and bathe the kids, etc.  Another 30 minutes, Thank God!

I heard my husband enter the house.  Shortly thereafter, he got into bed.  I knew he was beyond tired. He’d just finished a double shift.  As I snuggled next to him, I heard a noise in the bathroom.  Simone, I surmised.  She decided to use my bathroom.  Seconds later, my nostrils were accosted by the smell of poop.  Simone is known for having monstrous poops and this obviously was one of those.  I couldn’t begin to imagine what would follow. 

“Mommy, mommy,” my 4-year old said as she approached my bed. “My underwear is wet. It’s dirty, really dirty,” she wailed.

“What happened? I asked, confused.  She was just in the bathroom. She couldn’t have had an accident.  She hadn’t had one in over a year.  I tried to focus on her.  My glasses were on the nightstand and the room was dimly lit.  I squinted.  She had her panties in one hand and her pajama pants in the other.

“Mommy,” she whimpered.

“Is that boo boo?” I asked. Her panties were soiled, almost beyond recognition.

Simone nodded, whimpering.

I looked behind her.  There was a trail of poop from the bathroom to the bed.  “What in the….”

I felt my husband’s hand reach over and caress my leg. “Let daddy help you”, he said, as he got out of the bed.  He took her by the hand (God only knows what was on those hands) and took her back to the bathroom.  As he started giving her bath, I laid back in the bed, absorbing what just happened.  I knew my husband was tired.  I knew that sleep was the only thing on his mind.  Yet and still he got up and handled this situation.  I didn’t for a second think he would or expect him to. Minutes later, he put Simone in our bed and went to her room to tackle what I’m sure was a HOT MESS.

 I got up and got dressed.  I headed to her room.  My husband was sitting on her bed, his head in his hands.

“Babe, you don’t understand,” he said. “It was like a crime scene. It (the poop) was every where. Every where.”

I hugged him as I stared at all the soiled rags and sheets. “Thank you, babe. I know that was a lot.”

My love and appreciation for him in that moment…there are no words to describe it.  So I’ll simply say, this morning, he took my breath away.

Sometimes, Silence is Golden

 

No matter how great you are as a communicator, there will be a point in time when your feedback is not solicited, or welcome – even from your spouse.

This may be hard for you and understandably so.  You want to be able to share everything with your spouse, and you want to be able to offer your commentary on everything your spouse shares (or doesn’t share), even if the subject matter doesn’t involve you.  That’s what marriage is, right?  The fact that your spouse may or may not like what you have to say is not the point, right?  Um, not exactly.  Sometimes, your spouse doesn’t want your opinion or critique.  Sometimes, the best thing you can do for your spouse is to be quiet.

My husband and I deal with this issue ALL the time.  I'm a talker and talking with my husband is my preferred way of sorting through an issue.  When I share things with him that rattle me or give me pause, I want to do one of more of the following: figure out the nuts and bolts of the issue, figure out why I care, figure out whether I need to take some sort of action, vent and get it off my chest, or get his advice.  My husband on the other hand is not a talker; he’s a fixer.  He doesn’t typically see value in talking about an issue unless the desired result is figuring out a solution.  Often, when I start my “sharing,” he is quick to offer a solution without even considering if I’ve solicited his advice or input. Talk about some awkward moments.  He’s interrupting me left and right, offering this solution or that, when all I wanted was for him to listen.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to scream “SHUT UUUUP.”  Okay, let me keep it real. I may have said shut up or be quiet a time or two.

If you too struggle with zipping your lips at times, there are two key things you can do to manage this area of conflict.

  • Study your spouse.  Take a step back and think about how your spouse communicates with you.  Do you see any cues or patterns, particularly when your spouse is seeking input versus when he or she is looking for an ear?  Are there any consistent reactions from you during conversations that are particularly frustrating to your spouse?  If so, figure out why.  Once you do, you’ll be able to determine when it’s best to comment or stay silent.  In my case, for example, I tend to give a lot of cues -- both physical and verbal -- when I communicate.  If I’m talking a mile a minute, or express lots of emotion in the tone of my voice, I’m pretty much saying, I want you to listen and not say a peep.  Mastering this will take work, but it's worth the effort.  My husband and I continue to work on this area of communication in our marriage, but I can happily say we are progressing.

 

  • Be direct and say what you need.  You may not have the time or patience to give cues.  If that’s you, cut to the chase and tell your spouse exactly what you need.  I personally am getting much better at this.  If I know I don’t want my husband’s input, I now more often than not say upfront, “Babe, I need to vent for a minute, do you have time to listen? This has helped tremendously.  To his credit, if he can’t figure out whether I want his input, he’ll just ask me. What my husband and I have finally recognized and accepted is, we have very different communication styles and needs.  Continuing to communicate and respond to each other without factoring in those differences wasn’t working. Now that we understand this, we’re increasingly able to shift our focus to what we each desire and require as the “communicator” or “receiver” during a conversation. 

 

What about you?  Have any tips or strategies you’d like to share.  I’d love to hear from you.

Your Thanksgiving May Save My Marriage

 

It’s that time of year.  Thanksgiving! We can’t wait to see our family, friends, loved ones and, of course, eat Turkey, with all the trimmings.   But for me, the Thanksgiving holiday is so much more.  Unlike the other holidays, Thanksgiving is something every single person alive can celebrate. We all have things we are thankful for.  We all have a special someone or “someones” who have touched our hearts or impacted our lives in a phenomenal way. Thanksgiving truly represents the one day when each of us can stop and actually focus on all the things and people for which we are thankful.

My marriage is at the top of the list of things for which I’m thankful.  If you too have a thriving marriage, you know firsthand the incredible gift marriage is.  The unconditional love, support and encouragement embodied in this vital institution is unparalleled here on earth.  Thank you God for my marriage! Yes, marriage has its ups and downs, but there’s just something about knowing you’re in it together.  There’s just something about knowing that there’s a person who has your back always and is willing to do what it takes to figure things out, together.  Frankly, there really are no words to capture just how incredible and profound this is.  Talk about being thankful.  I’m overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude just writing these words. 

Sadly, there are married couples that can’t say this.  There are married couples who have lost their way and don’t know how to get back on track.  There are married couples that need help. If your marriage is struggling, take heart.  You can see a brighter day.  Every marriage has storms.  EVERY SINGLE ONE.  But it’s a choice to overcome them and couples are choosing to do so every day. I’m not suggesting it’s easy, but I know for a fact that if you and your spouse want your marriage, you can have it and it can thrive.

Sometimes, having a daily support system is what you need to help jump start the process.  Marriage Rocks is an online vehicle that allows couples from around the world to share their proven tips for marital success, and support and encourage each other.  Over the past week, so many couples shared on the Marriage Rocks Facebook and Twitter pages the things that have enabled their marriages to overcome obstacles; the things in their marriage that they are so thankful and grateful for.  In the rest of this post, I want to share just a few of my favorite quotes with those of you experiencing a valley in your marriage. May these words bless and encourage you.  May they show you that you can make it through your storm.  May they embolden you and your spouse to take a step forward in your marriage.

Even though it's not all sunshine, I'm glad I have someone special to share my umbrella through the storm. I'm thankful that even on the worst of days he can always find a way to make me laugh. I'm thankful because I never thought I'd find a love like this before, a love in which we love each other flaws & all! It's so beautiful & I cherish every moment! ~ Stephanie L

I am thankful for my wife for always being there for me and not giving up on us when we had our down fall…~ Michael R

I’m thankful for my husband being an amazing husband, my best friend, an awesome father to our two children. But, I’m tremendously thankful for his unconditional love he shows us each and every day.” ~ Dalila B

The covenant between God, Tommie & I is what my marriage means. In this last year, we have had our ups and downs but we honored our vows & commitment along with prayer! It brought us through. Thank you Tommie for being so supportive in all that I do & for working so hard for our family. I love you and am blessed to be your wife. ~ Tara M

I love how my wife covers me and prays over me and my life and also how she has been there for me even when I fall and make mistakes. Love you Destini. ~ Brandon O

I’d choose my amazing husband Jake if I had to do it all over again because he showed me that unconditional love exists other than just from God or from the love we give our children. ~ Athena M

I am thankful that my husband is a forgiving person. ~ Tina C

I am thankful for my husband’s ability to pick me up when I am down. I have personally had a rough time this year and he is my rock and my soft place. I adore him more every day. ~ Jennifer M

I’m thankful that he loves me the way I need to be loved and not just the way he was taught to love. ~ Laura M

Wayne, you still amaze me with your intelligence and challenge me with your wit…You are my best friend, my soul mate, the yin to my yang, my missing piece…I love you more today than yesterday and I will love your more tomorrow. I choose you, my love, every day and every day I am blown away that you choose me. ~ Allison D

He loves me at my worst. Even when I don’t. Hery I loves you! ~ Rosa S

I’m thankful that my husband has such a sweet, understanding heart…He never judges another person and has a way of seeing the ‘human’ instead of the situation. When I see him doing things to help others I feel so proud of him. He’s opened my eyes in so many ways. He’s changed my heart in ways I didn’t even know needed changing. Thank you for everything you do baby. I love you so much. ~ Ashley H.

I am eternally thankful that my husband Teon is beyond supportive of all my dreams. ~ Dacia W

I am thankful today and everyday for my husband Rodney. Our kids (4) and I are so lucky to have such a hard working and caring man in our life…We’ve been through so much good and bad. We’ve climbed hurdles and recently a mountain!!! But as long as we’re climbing together we will over come anything. J…~ Eleanor M

If you haven’t, take a minute to let your spouse know just how thankful you are that he or she is in your life.  Thank your spouse for all he or she does for you and your family. Even if you're going through a rough patch, there are so many things to be thankful for.  Peace and blessings to you all.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Your Marriage Matters, and Not just to You

By: Davida Brown  

From now and hence forth, it’s just me and you. Nothing else matters….We all feel that way after we get married.  Everyone and everything becomes a distant second.  We revel in the love and friendship we share.  Then, time marches on.  Yes, we still love our spouse, but life happens and we discover marriage is no crystal stair.  It’s full of ups and downs and those downs…well, some of them are whoopers.  However, because our marriage matters to us, we buckle down and do whatever it takes to make sure those “ups” far outweigh the “downs.” 

In so doing, we often fail to understand or appreciate that our marriage matters, not only to us, but to others –family, friends, colleagues, and yes the skeptics.  In fact, the way we honor, respect and show commitment to our marriage actually influences the way others think of marriage generally and their marriage specifically.  Food for thought, right?

I was struck with this reality a week or so ago.  I was attending a conference and I sat next to a young woman who was seemingly only days away from having a baby.  We chatted a little bit about our kids and then out of the blue, she asked me if my husband attended church with me.  I responded that he does when he’s not working.  She then went on and on about how lucky I was because her husband NEVER attends church with her and she feels duped because he used to before they married.  She didn’t stop there.  She went on to say that because she’s so sick of him not accompanying her, she asked him for a divorce. 

Whoa, was all I could think.  That was a mouthful.  After a second or two, I regrouped and responded.

I completely understand.  We have these expectations of our spouse and when they don’t live up to them, especially in areas that mean the most to us, we feel bamboozled.  We all have a story.  My husband, in the beginning, used to spend lots of quality time with me.  After we married, everything else seemed to come first, especially work.  Whenever an opportunity for overtime arose, my husband would take it, whether we had plans or not.  It would really piss me off because he never sought my input. We weren’t hurting for money, so I didn’t get it.  Quality time is my primary love language, so when he’d choose work over me, it was like a punch in the gut.  We’d argue and argue about it.  I wanted the man I married.  He spent all his free time with me.  Where was he?

The woman was glued to her seat, listening.  I continued.

I finally realized that I couldn’t force my husband to change on this issue.  So I changed my mindset and redirected my energy.  I made a choice to enjoy the quality time we did spend together instead of focusing on the quality time I “lost.”  Instead of arguing about his choices, I made an effort to let him know how much I enjoyed our time together and how happy it made me when he considered me when making decisions regarding his time.  The mindset change not only ended the arguments, but it allowed me to continue to be the wonderful, vivacious wife that he married.  That made him want to be around me more.  And even though he still doesn’t spend as much quality time with me as he did before marriage, I’ve seen an improvement.  I appreciate him and the fact that he’s making an effort to meet me half way.  At the end of the day, you can’t focus your energy on things you can’t change.  Just be the best wife you can be, honor and respect your spouse, and be patient. Trust and believe that change can happen and in time it will.

When I finished, I could see the look of hope in her eyes, and it hit me.  Sometimes, we need another married person to give us a different perspective.  Sometimes, we need to see, hear, or bear witness to another marriage that made it through a “big something,” because it teaches us that our marriage can make it through a “big something” too.

We’ve all heard that saying, “raising a child takes a village.”  It’s the same for marriage.  While the key focus of your marriage is the two of you, make no mistake, your marriage matters more than just to you.  A window into your marriage, particularly your triumphs and mistakes, may be just what another couple needs to get, or stay, on track to have a successful marriage. 

Davida Brown

I am on FIRE for the institution of marriage.  My passion is equipping couples with the necessary tools to have a marriage that thrives. 

In today's world, we are bombarded with negative images surrounding the institution of marriage.  We constantly hear that half of marriages fail, that it's okay to leave your marriage when things get a little rough, that divorce isn't a big deal, that those in long-term marriages aren't really happy.  I don't accept these proclamations as truths.  I know firsthand that you can have a happy and thriving marriage.  The choice is up to you.

Are you considering marriage? Do you have a so-so marriage and want more?  Are you and your spouse experiencing a specific issue in your marriage, such as infidelity, and need assistance resolving it?  My gift is helping you, as a couple, identify what's important to you and your marriage, develop a tailored plan for success in every key area of your marriage, and implement that plan with proven tips and strategies for marital success.

As a certified marriage coach, I have coached couples around the world, helping them maximize the potential in their marriage. I would love the opportunity to help you.

  


 

 

Official Bio

Davida Brown is a marriage enthusiast.  Disgruntled with the negative portrayal of marriage in the media, Davida co-founded Marriage Rocks, LLC., a company dedicated to changing negative societal views on the institution of marriage. 

An ambassador for marriage, Davida launched, www.yesmarriagerocks.com, an online platform that showcases happily married couples from around the world, and gives couples practical, proven tips and strategies for a marriage that will work, thrive and last a lifetime.  A practicing attorney, writer, author, and certified marriage coach, Davida uses her skills to help couples identify issues or areas of concern in their marriage, implement a plan of action to address those issues, and measure the success of that plan through accountability metrics.

Davida is particularly passionate about helping couples dealing with infidelity.  A survivor of infidelity, Davida and her husband developed a signature process to help couples that want to save their marriage after infidelity.  In her book, The Trust Is Gone. Help!, Davida coaches couples on how to rebuild the trust, and gives the specific exercises to complete individually and as couple to move beyond the infidelity.

A speaker on marriage-related issues, Davida has been featured on various radio and television program stations, including WPGC, Urban Family Talk Radio, and Channel 8 News.  She's also been featured on numerous blogs, including Superwoman Lifestyle, and in magazines, including Our Health Matters.

 

 

 

 

Do Life, Together

By: Davida Brown  

Have you ever been hit with a piece of advice that stops you dead in your tracks?  Words that make you scream, "YAAAAASSSSSSSS" inside? I recently had one of those moments. I was attending a marriage-related seminar, during which the speaker said, "Marriage means, Do Life, Together."  My heart stopped for a second.  Those three little words capture everything I've been saying about marriage over the past few years, and if you've read my other blog posts, you know I've said a lot.  Do Life, Together.  Folks, this phrase says it all.

Do:  "Do" means be proactive, engaged, present in your marriage.  It's not enough to woo your love interest and marry him or her. "Do" requires an ongoing commitment to take action.  It requires a mindset of moving forward.  Marriage is a journey.  And to have one that works and will last a lifetime, you must "Do."

Life: "Life" means everything that matters.  It's the day-to-day activities, the "wow" moments, the not-so-good moments, the gut-wrenching, heart-breaking moments.  And that's what life is all about, right?  The ups and downs, the twists and turns, all the experiences that make you, you.

Together:  "Together" links the "Do" and "Life" into an unbreakable bond that's meant to last forever and a day.  Once married, every action you take should be based on "we" or certainly in alignment with "we."  "Together" is enjoying the journey of "life" as a unit, a team.  "Together" is being with each other through thick and thin, the peaks and valleys, the good, the bad and the ugly.

So, to all my couples out there, can you emphatically say that you "Do Life, Together" with your spouse?  If your answer is anything other than a resounding yes, the good news is it is never too late to do just that. How? Well, here are some key tips to get and keep you on track.

  • Evaluate your mindset and if necessary change it. What the mind believes, the body can achieve.  Believe that you can be a great spouse.  Believe that you can have a marriage that will last a lifetime. Mentally commit to be the best spouse you can be. This mindset will virtually divorce-proof your marriage, because during difficult periods, the only option you'll consider is "figure it out together."
  • Connect with your spouse daily.  Every day endeavor to connect with your spouse.  There is always time to do so.  There are 1440 minutes in every day.  You can make 5, 10 or 15 minutes for your spouse.  Understand that the deeper the connection, the deeper the physical, emotional and spiritual intimacy.  At the end of the day, the more connected you are with your spouse, the more you will want to move forward and overcome any obstacle in your marriage.
  • Practice Communication. Communicating with your spouse is key and essential to move your marriage forward.  Never assume. Take the time and make the effort to learn how to effectively convey your thoughts AND understand those of your spouse.  This does not happen overnight.  It takes study of each other and practice practice practice.  But once learned, you and your spouse will be virtually unstoppable.
  • Get on the same page. Implement a plan for success in EVERY area of your marriage.  Talk about what you want for your marriage and then implement practical steps to get you there.  This isn't always easy, and you'll disagree on some things.  This is perfectly okay.  So long as you are working on the gaps and communicating communicating and yes communicating, you will move forward together.

Do Life, Together.  I couldn't have said it better.

Are You Falling Asleep In Your Marriage?

 

Have you been yawning a lot lately in your marriage?  What about coasting along? Is "If it's not broke, don't fix it" your mantra?  If you answered yes to any of the questions, you may be falling asleep in your marriage.  WAKE UP!!!!

Ongoing proactivity is the name of the game for a happy marriage. We've all heard that marriage takes work. Sometimes, hearing that word--WORK--is a real turn off.  I mean who wants to have to work at something forever?  But why does "work" have to be a bad thing.  In so many contexts, that word is a good thing, a GREAT thing.  When we set a goal to achieve a dream if you will, guess what, we work at it.  Working at it means we make a conscious choice to put in effort to move one step closer to achieving that dream or goal.  If you want a promotion, for example, you may get to work extra early or take on additional projects to demonstrate leadership, fortitude or creativity.  Yes this is WORK, but it's work you happily do because you know the end result is worth it.  In fact, the very possibility of that end result fuels you.  You want it more than anything, and as you see progress towards that goal, you want to do even more, i.e. work more.

Does you marriage deserve anything less?  Don't you want a marriage that ROCKS in every way.  By that, I mean your communication is a 10. The emotional and spiritual intimacy is a 10. The sex is off the charts, a 20!!! You're hitting every financial milestone you've set on schedule. check Check CHECK!!!!  It doesn't get any better than that, right? RIGHT. It doesn't.  And you can attain this.  But not if you're just coasting along.  Not if you're doing only the bare minimum.  Not if you're only addressing issues when they come up, meaning you are reactive, not proactive. 

You have the capacity to maximize the potential in your marriage.  So, what are you waiting for?  WAKE UP!!! It's time to get to work!