Dating & Relationship Tips from a Black Mom

My parents will be celebrating forty-eight years of marriage in December. I began to think about what really makes a relationship work. So I talked to my mother, along with other friends in long-term happy relationships. Here's what they said...

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I'm going to take it back to the Bible, where they don't call it the Golden Rule for nothing! Treat your man with respect and consideration, and he should reciprocate. It's the way the universe works. But if he doesn't, cut him.

Communicate. Learn to effectively discuss your feelings with your man and to listen to his feelings. This does not mean when he asks if something is wrong, to say, "I'm fine," when you are not. This does not mean to nag him. This means to talk to him. A healthier, happier relationship should result.

Think before you speak - especially in the heat. You cannot take back words. If you call him "an ugly, fat mofo who's horrible in bed" during an argument, he will remember later.

Try not to sleep on an angry heart. Hash out that argument before bedtime. If you go to sleep mad and allow the anger to dissipate without talking through it, it gets easier to remain in a passive angry place. Anger is not only demonstrative and extroverted. It can also be very introverted and hidden as a person bottles up their bitterness and ill thoughts, until one day, it just explodes.

Honesty really is the best policy. It is not just for dreamers. If you can get to a place of complete honesty with someone, be completely naked with them, the intimacy will be deeper than you could ever imagine. Good relationships are the fate of those who dare to go deep.

If there is no trust, there is no relationship. No point in trying to make a relationship work if you are constantly checking his emails and voicemails. You must also learn to trust your instincts. You will be happier with yourself, than with the insecure person you are sure to become otherwise. The bottom line - no relationship can work without trust.

Fling out the old things. Cut back relationships with exes if it makes your current man uncomfortable. Some could feel threatened if you maintain an active relationship with someone you dated fairly recently (not including junior high school boyfriends). Remember that your current relationship is your priority, not your ex.

Compromise. Relationships are a give and take. People, especially the older you get, are set in their ways. But someone has to give sometimes. And it should not always be the same person.

By Elyce Strong for


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