Love + Laughter: Benilde and her husband Cliff just celebrated their 22nd wedding anniversary.

Triple B family member Mondella Jones of MJLA Media alerted me of the below essay on weddings and marriage from award-winning writer Benilde Little because she thought it would make a great Marriage Matters post. And she was right. Benilde, a former ESSENCE magazine editor who is the author of best-selling books like Good Hair,  has been married for more than two decades. She had the type of nuptials I’m sure many women dream about — complete with a coveted New York Times Style mention. However her piece on the ups and downs most couples experience post- “I Do is refreshingly honest and for me as a newlywed, it is also comforting. Happy reading!

“What I’ve learned about marriage, as in life, is that everything changes. For hours this morning it poured a chilly rain. My dog was so wet from our ritual morning walk, that when I picked him up to get him to leave the park (for some weird reason he didn’t want to) his hair felt like a used sponge. By noon the sun had come out and now it’s a humid almost 80 degrees.

When we got married, our parents had been married for a combined total of 75 years. Cliff’s best man Darryl had interviewed them and included their words in his amazing toast–okay it was a speech. One of the things he said was that given our familial history, a stable income, a solid American-African ancestry, we had all the ingredients to have a successful marriage. People loved Darryl’s speech. We loved Darryl’s speech, but as I now know, you can have all those ingredients and more and the marriage can still crumble.  Luck and fortitude can tip the odds.

One of the things that made me feel that we could make it was we could always talk to each other and Cliff could always make me laugh. I tend to take things seriously and pretty much nothing is serious to Cliff. Sometimes that works, sometimes we drive each other crazy.

It’s now the height of wedding season and I know people go crazy planning. I say focus on the marriage, not the wedding. The wedding is a party, it’s the easy part. The marriage is everything after. Two other suggestions: focus on your partner’s strengths. What has worked for us and I highly recommend: laugh.”

The couple on their wedding day in 1992.

Read Benilde’s entire blog post here and be sure to leave a comment below with your thoughts on her piece.