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|Local LGBT couples offer advice on what works (and what doesn’t)|
|February 01, 2013 00:00|
Marci & Marlysa Brooks-Alt
Together for 13 years (married for 10!)
What is a challenge you have faced as a couple, and how did you overcome it? What we find most challenging is keeping it fresh. We make sure to take at least two very long weekends without our children — keeps the romance and keeps us having time together.
What advice would you give to a couple just starting a relationship? The advice we would give any young couple is make sure you have open lines of communication and be honest with each other. This is so important.
Angela Denise Davis & Mary Anne Adams
Together for 4 years
How do you keep your relationship romantic? We cook for each other often and discuss ideas!
What advice would you give to a couple just starting a relationship? Always say please and thank you.
What advice would give to other couples in long-term relationships? Don't ever take each other for granted. Always remember that each day is a new beginning filled with possibilities and change.
Sheila Merritt and Andria (A.T.) Towne
Together for 15 years
What is something you know now that you wish you knew at the beginning of your relationship? As much as we hate to admit it — we are our parents! Probably because that’s the relationship that was the model for what partnerships are as we were growing up. Now that we know that, we regularly work to learn from their habits that we may be inclined to repeat, and we recognize and try to emulate the positive points. It would have been nice to realize that sooner rather than later – it explains a lot!
What advice would you give to a couple just starting a relationship? Talk to each other honestly, but respectfully, no matter what. Even when it’s hard — especially when it’s hard. If there is something that bothers you early on, address it, because it will not change if you don’t and you don’t want to find yourself annoyed or resentful later. Find a time when you both are calm and do your best not to get emotional. If your partner puts the effort and energy into approaching you in such a manner, respond accordingly. You owe that to them, yourself and your relationship.
What advice would give to other couples in longterm relationships? Don’t forget to laugh! Do not ever take “adventure” for granted: Seek it out, make time for it and enjoy it together.
Sara Look and Elizabeth Anderson
Together for 2.5 years
How do you keep your relationship romantic? We work together at Charis Books, which we enjoy, but we have chosen not to live together so far. Having built in time away from one another means that we miss each other and are always happy to see each other.
What advice would you give to a couple just starting a relationship? Tread carefully with your words and actions. Be kind to each other and take a second before you say things you might regret. Consider prioritizing shared values over shared interests. Your values guide you as a couple as your interests may change through the years.
What advice would give to other couples in long-term relationships? Support each other's passions even if you don't always understand them. Support your partner's friendships. Own when you make a mistake. Trust your partner comes from a place of good intention.
Gary Durden and Jon Oswalt
Together for 10 years
What is something you know now that you wish you knew at the beginning of your relationship? We wish we knew in the beginning how to manage time for each other better. With playing rugby and softball we went years sacrificing our couple time for those pursuits.
What advice would you give to a couple just starting a relationship? Give each other space and do not smother. While acting respectfully in public, you can still let everyone know you are together with out being joined at the hip.
What advice would give to other couples in long-term relationships? We once met a couple that gave this advice: “Once we ran out of china to throw at one another we decided the fights were not worth it." This means, you really need to have a forgiving heart and don't sweat the small stuff. Like that trifling fool looking at Yo Man!!!
David Marshall & Jim Burress
Together for almost 7 years
How do you keep your relationship romantic? We do a lot of small things for each other, and often. David will make dinner. Jim will send flowers. David always listens to Jim's stories (Jim is a reporter for WABE, Atlanta’s NPR station) and tells him what he liked about them.
What advice would you give to a couple just starting a relationship? "Mr. Perfect" is never perfect. Understand that everyone is flawed, and that we often fail to see those flaws when we begin a relationship. But newness quickly fades. Your partner will soon discover your shortcomings, and you will quickly find hers/his. See those flaws for what they are, and understand they aren't going to disappear. If you're OK with that, you're more likely to get through challenges down the road.
What advice would give to other couples in long-term relationships? Travel. Oftentimes you'll discover something in your partner you never knew, or rediscover something you forgot. Sharing a new experience afar brings you closer.
Louis Gary & Rocky Nixon
Together for 30.5 years
What advice would you give to a couple just starting a relationship? Relationships require work. Today your single friends will tell you to have more fun and you should party more. Ask them to walk into any bar and look at those same single folks 15 years from now. They will still be there! That stool is their relationship. (Did you just get a visual?)
What advice would give to other couples in long-term relationships? Share the love you have found in your relationship with your coworkers, friends and family. Allow them to celebrate your commitment to each other. They may not all approve today, but they must respect your honesty.
Oliver C. Allen and Rashad R. Burgess
Together for 10.5 years
What is something you know now that you wish you knew at the beginning of your relationship? The value of appreciating and loving who the other is and not what we wanted them to be.
What is a challenge you have faced as a couple, and how did you overcome it? Communication is always a work in progress and so we have incorporated principles and rules of engagement to ensure that we are communicating in a matter that fully recognizes and honors the other, minimizing mis-communication.
What advice would you give to a couple just starting a relationship? Keep God and prayer at the forefront of the relationship. Don't just love, become love. Never argue more than you affirm each other. Communicate, work put the demons of the past early and take the time to truly get to know each other. Value and embrace each other’s differences, for those differences keep a relationship balanced.
What advice would give to other couples in long-term relationships? Have a vision for your relationship. Have a purpose that goes beyond just two people. Expand your family, your reach, your legacy and your ability to change and help the world through your life together. Establish date nights; maintain a emotional, spiritual and affectional connection. Keep people out of your relationship. The greatest words and actions for a healthy relationship are forgiveness, mutual respect and communication. Never forget why you fell in love in the first place!
Mark Jackson and Tom Schloeder
How do you keep your relationship romantic? We live and work together, drive the same vehicle, and even share the same cell phone. So it's difficult to surprise each other with romantic gestures. The most important thing is to constantly show affection to each other.
What is a challenge you have faced as couple, and how have you overcome it? The biggest challenge is separating our work lives from our personal lives. We really haven't overcome it, but we are aware of it so we don't let it rule our relationship.
What advice would you give to other couples in long-term relationships? Plan your futures together. Always be honest with your partner as you are with yourself. Never forget to say "I love you."
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