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What I Learned From Niecy Nash About Dating for Marriage
by Arynetta Floyzelle
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June 6, 2019

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What I Learned From Niecy Nash About Dating for Marriage

Niecy Nash was at the 2018 Black Love Summit dropping jewels of knowledge about how she dated for marriage, and so can you.

Niecy Nash at "Clips and Conversation"
Niecy Nash holds court at “Clips and Conversation”

“[Proverbs 18:22] He who finds a wife finds a good thing.’  This would suggest that she was a wife when he found her…She was ready to fill that role.”  -Niecy Nash

But don’t let the gospel fool you.  As much as Niecy Nash’s Black Love Summit panel was spiced with faith and fellowship, the meat of it all was hearty “flat-footed” truth on dating for marriage.

Mrs. Nash, who currently stars in the TNT television show Claws (season 2 returns Sunday, June 10 8/9c), appeared at the Black Love Summit’s finale event – the Clips and Conversation panel shared with her husband Jay Tucker, BLACK LOVE series creators Codie and Tommy Oliver, and highlights from the series.  Niecy and Jay’s love story was featured on BLACK LOVE after the couple was referred to Codie by Queen Oprah herself, and this panel was set-up to discuss the stories behind some of their clips from the show.

What the panel turned into, however, was a no-holds-barred session on preparing oneself for committed romantic love and how to keep and enjoy that love once it walks into your life.

With her “big-sister-who-is-going-to-tell-you-exactly-like-it-is” (lovingly and sometimes, aggressively so) charm, Niecy was candid about how she prepared herself for marriage and anybody in attendance could, too.  The tips below are my top five takeaways from Niecy’s “big sis” advice.

Tip Number One:   “When you’re dating like-minded people, it’s easier to get further along.”  

Niecy Nash and Jay Tucker laughing it up at "Clips and Conversation"
Niecy Nash & husband Jay Tucker laughing it up at the Black Love Summit

Niecy and Jay met at a party, and she did not originally like him.  “Immediately he asked all the difficult questions: ‘Have you ever been married?’, ‘Do you want to get married again?’, ‘Do you have kids?’, ‘How old is the youngest?’”  When the friend who introduced them asked how it went, Niecy said, “I hate him!” She thought he was “linear” and “boring.” To his credit, Jay didn’t argue that assessment.  But he said, “I was looking to get married.” So, to him, it was important to make sure that the woman he was talking to was on the same page with the basics right out the gate. Niecy chimed in that “when you’re dating like-minded people, it’s easier to get further along.”  

She explained that “if the people you are dating don’t want kids and you do, or aren’t looking for commitments and you are, it’s very difficult to change them to your way of doing things and vice-versa, and it just causes a lot of starts-and-stops and wasted time.”  In this situation, Niecy was looking to get married, too. She said that she always knew she was “meant to be a wife.” And when her friend commented that Niecy’s future husband looked like he was having a-whole-bunch of fun with another woman and Niecy looked back and saw that Jay was laughing it up with someone else, suddenly, she knew that she didn’t want him having fun like that with anybody but her.  “I gave him my number when he was on the dance floor with another woman,” Niecy said. And because he had asked those “difficult” questions from the jump, they both knew they were on the same page, when they chose to move forward. One year later they were engaged, one year after that, they were married.

Tip Number Two:  “The version of you that you are is what you will attract.”

Though it is nice to look good, smell nice, and have fun, Niecy explains that at the end of the day, who you are [inside], is who you are attracting. 

Attendees enjoying "Clips and Conversations"
Attendees enjoying “Clips and Conversation” at the Black Love Summit

If you are a woman who has trust issues or puts negative energy about men out into the environment, that is who you will attract.  “You can’t be sitting around talking about ‘there are no good men in the world’ and then hope to meet one,” Niecy stressed. “You have to sit in expectation of the good that is coming your way, and expect the best from God.”  

Niecy said that she is so serious about this that one time she was throwing a singles party and a girlfriend called her complaining about how “horrible men are” and how she was “sick and tired of them.”   At the end of the girlfriend’s rant, Niecy dis-invited her from the party. 


“I’m not allowing all that negative energy at my party!” Niecy explained.  When it comes to attraction, you get what you give. And with that in mind, let’s move to priceless tip number three.

Tip Number Three:  “You want to be prepared.”

Niecy always knew that she was meant to be a wife.  She was meant to love on and take care of a husband.  Even when her first marriage ended, Niecy looked at that marriage as the lessons she needed to learn for when she became a wife to the man she was meant to be with forever.  And when it finally came down to Jay, she says this of herself: “I was a wife when I was found.”

Niecy quoted Proverbs 18:22 to further illustrate her point:  “He who finds a wife finds a good thing.’  This would suggest that she was a wife when he found her.  She was ready to fill that role.”

Niecy Nash at The Black Love Summit's "Clips and Conversation"
Niecy Nash telling it like it is at the Black Love Summit

To become a “wife,” Niecy took care of her own emotional health by getting into therapy to heal the wounds of her past, which included growing up in an impoverished and violent neighborhood where both her mother and only brother were shot.  Her brother would die from his wounds. She worked on communicating and keeping in integrity with herself, something she said was sorely lacking in her first marriage. By the time she met Jay, she’d already prepared herself by dealing with these issues.  

In addition, she knew how to take care of a home.  Now, in today’s society, “traditional marriage duties” no longer necessarily align with “traditional gender roles” –– i.e., the wife isn’t always doing the cooking and the cleaning –– however, Niecy appreciated, and thrived in, that traditional setting of wife and mother, and she knew how to keep a house and feed a family when she met Jay.  She was intentional about being the most prepared version of herself when she met him.  Niecy offered two steps to help the attendees with this tip:  One, do the work. If you know you need help with something, get it.  And two, Niecy advised, “Pray for God to put you into a ‘prepared place’… God will always prepare you for what he has for you, that is the place you want to rest in, especially when it comes to love.”

Tip Number Four: Recognize when you need to check your behavior.

"Clips and Conversation" moderator Shawn Finnie
“Clips and Conversation” moderator Shawn Finnie

Panel moderator Shawn Finnie, of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, asked Niecy, “How do you bring up your past in your relationship, like when you have to let someone know about a childhood [such as Niecy’s own] where you experienced trauma?”  Niecy said that wasn’t hard; that was just about doing her own work with her therapist ahead of time. When it came time to let Jay know about her past, it was easy to tell him, because she had done the work to move past it.  

But what was difficult was moving past being a single woman and running everything in her life. “That was hard!” Niecy exclaimed.

She was so used to doing everything her way –– keeping the house in order, keeping her kids in line –– that she found herself wrangling Jay in the same tone, and with the same energy, she used for her children.  

Jay did not confront Niecy in front of the kids.  But, when they were alone, he told her what he saw and how he felt.  She knew he was right. “Damnit, I wanted another chance!” Niecy hollered remembering that moment.  The crowd roared with laughter. She continued on seriously, saying

she recognized that she wasn’t treating him with respect and that she was willing to change.  She knew she wanted to be “mindful about how she spoke to her love.” It was hard to change, but she knew it was a necessity.     

Tip Number Five:  “Stand in your truth.”

“The biggest lesson I learned in my first marriage,” Niecy said, “is the importance of time.  I spent a lot of time living a lie, and it was time I couldn’t get back. So standing in my truth –– flat-footed in that thing –– no matter what it cost me, has been a gift I have taken into my new marriage.”  

Niecy Nash and Jack Tucker cuddle up during "Clips and Conversation"
Niecy Nash & Jay Tucker cuddle up during “Clips and Conversation”

Niecey was talking about applying lessons from her first marriage to her new marriage with Jay, but this is a great lesson for anyone, whether they check the married or single box on their taxes. I have recognized that as my twenties became thirties, I was not always honest with myself about my new desires at my new stage of life –– and often this led to me placing myself in situations where I was not satisfied, happy, or productive.  You can read more about this journey in my column How to Date Yourself, but for now I will just say, I wasted a bunch of energy and time languishing away before getting honest with myself about what I currently desire.  

To stand in your truth is really to ‘live as your authentic self, no matter what.’  This is what will truly lead to the life you desire.  

And I have found the opposite statement to be true –– if you don’t stand in your truth, you will live in a lie.  Niecy’s first marriage ended up with her living a lie for 16 years. The second time around, she knew things would be different.  She would enjoy her life; she would enjoy her marriage. To do this, she had to be honest with herself about how she felt, and she had to communicate this effectively to her partner.

If you don’t have a partner to communicate your feelings to, you can start practicing living in integrity with yourself by being honest with yourself about your current needs from your life and the qualities you desire in the significant other that you are preparing yourself for.  I’ve learned that this is not a conversation or debate to have with girlfriends but one to have with yourself, in your own time.

 

BlackLove.com Columnist, Arynetta Floyzelle
BlackLove.com Senior Editor, Arynetta Floyzelle

As for myself, I am thrilled to immediately put these tips into practice.

Because at the end of the day, whether single or married,  success in life depends on the relationship one has with oneself.  

To be honest with ourselves about what we want, to stand in that truth no matter what, to work on being the energy we desire to attract, to recognize when we need a bit more work, and to prepare for our best life with full trust that it is on its way –– that is a recipe for winning at life, now and forever, no matter who joins you along the way.

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