Communication is Key: The Story of Two Lovers Who Make It Work with Words
The conversations between myself and my husband are much different than any conversations I have had with a spouse in the past… or any between other couples I have met. Some of the Halmark movies I’ve seen have conversations that come close, but I never see anything that is exactly the same.
Let’s give some background with the story of us getting together:
*Since this is a true story…Some names have been changed or not presented.
In 2015, I was having a rough year. My heart was having issues, my mother was a homeless addict, and I just got out of a three-year relationship with a man who cheated on me constantly (with his wife! but that’s a story for another day). I was having a hard time of it, to say the least.
At this time, I was living with my best friend of 20 years, Taylor Michael and her two children in a one-bedroom apartment. On a weekend in December, while my two boys were out with their fathers, I went to visit my mother while Taylor stayed with her boyfriend, at his home. My mother, not homeless at this time, was living with her boyfriend's mother (we’ll call her A*) and younger sister.
We were sitting in the living room, talking about nothing, two men entered through the front door into the living room. The brown haired one talked funny, and it made me smile as he asked A* for something to drink. As I look back after rolling my eyes at my mother for sticking her tongue out at me, I notice the blonde talking discretely with A*.
This man looked about 5 years older than I was with blonde curly hair, muscular build and smelled amazing. (… don’t ask) As I watched them whisper, I examined his clothing. Boots (probably steal toes), dark baggy jeans and a red hooded sweatshirt with a logo (Mattress Firm) in the right-hand corner with the sleeves rolled up. On his left forearm there was this large Spiderman spider tattooed on his arm. It was a nice piece of artwork.
My trance was broken by A* talking louder.
A* —(Looking at me) “Kayla, this is my son, Derrek.” she looked over at Derrek and said, “Kayla is M*’s daughter.”
Pleasantries were said and all that jazz.
We talked about his tattoo, and his job. Then, they left.
No numbers exchanged, no magical moment in silence glancing into each other’s eyes. Just five people, having a conversation about nothing for about 15 minutes.
After a few hours, I got a notification on my cell phone, “Derrek has sent you a friend request.” was on my screen.
I accepted the request, and we chatted as friends do with simple things… “It was nice to meet ya,” “Thanks for the add,” ETC. After a few days of not chatting, I get a message. It was from Derrek, it was a link to some pool game app. Basically some silly app you could get on Facebook that you can play with friends. I downloaded the game and would play a game or two with him periodically.
We talked about hating adulthood, building forts with blankets and how much we hated our jobs. No cute little heart posts or comments on looks. He, after all, had a girlfriend. I was in no position to think we were more than friends and he never gave me any reason to think he liked me, like that.
Well, his lady friend at the time didn’t like the idea of being friends and made a point to tell me so… on Christmas Eve, at 7 in the morning.
Yeah, I wasn’t interested in being pulled into drama. So, I kindly messaged Derrek to let him know we could not be friends and that I wasn’t interested in having issues with some chick I didn’t know. Derrek didn’t like the idea of that one bit.
Later that day, I messaged my mother and A* to let them know I would not be attending their Christmas get-together because I was aware Derrek and his spouse would be there. I wasn’t interested in ruining someone’s holiday with drama. Moments after I hit send, my phone rang.
It was my mother asking me to come visit her and talk to her about the issue in person. I agreed but told her it would have to be after a shopping trip I had planned with a friend of mine. Around 4 PM, I called my mom back to let her know I was on my way.
As I pulled up to the house, I was instantly irritated at my mom. Out front of the house, leaning on his car… was Derrek. No doubt, waiting for me to arrive.
Let’s FastForward through me agreeing to befriend him as long as the drama stops, him calling me to let me know him and his spouse broke up, and our first date to a house party…. and arrive at…
Derrek and I have been together for, going on, 8 years. We had past relationships, past history and children with other individuals. Needless to say, we had a lot of information behind us before meeting at age 24. (We’re 7 months apart in age.) Rather than going through the standard favorite color, birthday and family conversation. D and I started a bit differently. We began our relationship by learning about the soul of one another and our goals.
We expressed our wants and needs physically and spiritually. We talked about how we wished to run our households and raise our children. And then, we started coming up with ways to compromise those things to work for us to maintain a loving and healthy relationship.
After we had created a future plan, we started to learn about the past of one another. We talked about our past relationships, hurdles, medical issues, mental problems and substance abuse.
Then we learned about each other’s children. Their favorite foods, colors and cartoon, how the birth of the babies went, and all about the relationship with the other parents of those children.
We introduced each other to the friends we had, our extended family and the world on social media.
Slowly, we began to become a unit rather than two separate people.
We were together for 7 months when we got married. As you can see from the photo, I was pregnant with our now 6-year-old daughter Lillian at the time.
It took 3 months for us to realize we had found the person we wanted to spend the rest of our lives with. Most people would say that is way too soon, and for some, you may be right. After all, before we met — D and I would have said the same.
However, when you know… you know, as they say.
We had a very small wedding with friends and family. We did not go on a honeymoon… in fact, Derrek passed out as soon as we got home from the ceremony and woke up to go to work the very next day.
But it didn’t matter. We were connected and wanted the world to know.
We did not spend thousands of dollars on our wedding. To be honest, in total, our wedding was a cost of $250 to us. (Including the dress)
What mattered to us was the connection we had. Our ability to talk to one another and interact through everything. This is something neither of us had ever had before and never wanted to go away.
It was a magical day.
Over the past 7 years, we have gone through the loss of a child, marriage, moved a handful of times, changed jobs here and there and watched our young children grow into (almost) teenagers.
We have learned that communication does not stop after learning about one another and our past.
We must continue to compromise, communicate and interact. We run into new struggles here and there as time passes and we deal with those struggles by being open and honest about our thoughts and feelings.
We agreed early on that one person should not have to be miserable for the other to be happy — so we do everything we can to ensure that isn’t a possibility within our marriage.
We’re not perfect, just like every other couple, we have had our share of issues. The difference is that we have been able to communicate through those issues and find resolutions that work for both of us and we push forward.
If you are in a relationship and want to ensure that it stands the test of time…
Talk to one another.
Remember that the relationship is not always going to be 50/50. Sometimes you need to take on more to help your spouse.
Don’t just say things, do things. Communication is great, but it only works if both individuals are willing to follow through with what has been talked about.
Show love. Yes, you’ve got them… they’re yours… but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to remind them that you care. Remind your spouse that you love them as much as you can.
Forgive. You are two different people. You are going to think differently and run into hurdles. Forgive yourself for actions you’re not proud of and forgive your spouse if they have an action that you’re not happy with. We’re all human.
Relationships are a lot of work. It sounds easy when you watch it on television… but that is scripted and the people you’re watching may hate each other in real life.
Take a note from me and Derrek.
If you have a problem, don’t sweep it under the rug. Don’t talk about it and then do the same thing tomorrow. Work on resolutions, tell your spouse openly about how you are feeling and listen when they do the same.
You can’t go wrong if you talk it out.
Good luck to you and your loved one.
🧡Shine Bright, Kayla
Originally posted on Medium.com May 2023