Niecy Nash has unwittingly become my first married celebrity girlfriend in my head. Let me explain. I tune out 99% of the people who kick relationship “knowledge” because, to me, most of it comes off as preachy, disconnected, uninformed, stupid and holier-than-thou—and I am not here for any of the above. I’ve never been one who sought out any kind of advice much, because I prefer to let intuition, life experience and common sense guide me. However—as evidenced by the blowhards writing books, getting TV shows and lecturing all around the country—there are a lot more people who will listen to anyone with a mic pretending they actually know what they’re talking about.
There are exceptions to every rule—back to Niecy Nash.
She is the latest JET magazine cover girl (issue on stands June 10), and a lot of who she is these days has to do with the fact that she’s in her second marriage. The actual interview covers other aspects of her life and career, of course, but her perspective of relationships—while I don’t agree with all of it—is one I like because it seems informed and approachable.
Nash, at 43, has lived, but it seems that she has also learned enough to apply it and become a wise funny woman who knows how to be blunt without being obnoxious. That’s why I like to listen when she speaks. I imagine cackling over mimosas at brunch with her as I type this right now… but I digress.
Nash, who has actually written a love advice book, dropped a few gems in her interview with JET, but one thing she said really resonated with me.
“After my first marriage I learned the importance of being completely transparent in terms of what you want,” she said. “When you’re younger, you make a lot of exceptions, but when you own that you can have what you want and don’t have to settle, you end up with something that is full, and people want to emulate it.”
Mr. Rocque and I have been going to therapy together, not because we’re having problems, but because we’re both stressed out and want to learn how we can help each other, especially since I’ve battled with depression. We went into therapy thinking our communication was pretty good, which it is, but we discovered that there’s still room for improvement. While we know how to talk a lot of things out, sometimes we don’t.
The therapist pointed out that when you know someone really well, you start to make assumptions about what they’re thinking or what actions they might take, but no one can read minds. It’s important that everything is laid out on the table so that festered resentment or silly arguments can be avoided.
Sounds like common sense enough, but it’s really easy to get comfortable enough to fall into that trap. Plus, I don’t really know anything about my therapist, so while she gave good advice, there wasn’t much depth or a connection. Yet I know some background info about Niecy Nash and relate to her much more, and therein lies my “aha moment.” She unwittingly drove the point home.
The main takeaway is, since I want to be married once and stay married, part of my mission is to make sure I verbalize everything on the spot as concisely and respectfully as possible.
All communication is key, even when it’s as small as who should wash the dishes. Duly noted.
Mr. and Mrs. Rocque are the couple formerly known as Anslem Samuel and Starrene Rhett, journalists who found love in between bylines. Follow the newlyweds’ musings of a marriage in progress here, on Twitter and via their joint blog.