Our Marriage is Proof the Grass is Greener Where You Water It
by Shanice Cook



August 20, 2020


7 Minute Read


Our Marriage is Proof the Grass is Greener Where You Water It

Shanice and Steve Cook (Photo courtesy of Annabelle Dando Photograph)

I always dreamed of being married. Quite honestly, it was never something I questioned if it would happen for me. However, I did not expect to meet my man at just 18-years-old. In the Fall of 2003, I stepped on the campus of Morgan State University as a freshman, ready to take on this new exciting chapter of my life. 

To my surprise, later that semester, my path crossed with my [now] husband of six years. Also, the love of my life for a total of 16. Yes, we took our time getting married and thank God because marriage requires real maturity! This year we are celebrating seven years of marriage and welcoming our second child to the crew. Trust me; it hasn’t been easy. 

Who wants to commit to a lifetime of boredom? When you put in the work, everything runs a lot smoother. 

Courtesy of Annabelle Dando Photograph

It’s been challenging but also rewarding. While seven years isn’t a long time in the bucket of forever, these days in modern society, every year as a happily married couple willing to stay committed is both a blessing and an achievement. If you’ve ever heard anyone talk about married life, you’ve heard the famous phrase “marriage is work,” but have you also heard them follow-up with the “fruit is sweet?” Meaning, anything worth having doesn’t come easy. 

So why do many believe they can do the work leading up to marriage (regular dates, surprises, vacations) to then get married and BOOM it all stops. It’s over. We just sit around and be married. FALSE. If you want to bear witness to the fruit, you have to put in the necessary work to produce it. You wouldn’t invest in a new car and ride around in it forever with no maintenance.

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So, what makes us believe marriage is any different? Once you decide to get married, you are making a life-long investment. You are signing up to do life with this person, and it’s one of the most important decisions you will make as an adult. The thing is the “work” doesn’t have to be hard or tedious. I look forward to working on our marriage because it’s worthwhile! 

What woman doesn’t want to be courted by a man she truly likes? Remember, it all started with enjoyment, so that shouldn’t stop once married. Besides, who wants to commit to a lifetime of boredom? When you put in the work, everything runs a lot smoother. I can definitely tell when it’s time for a “tune-up” or scheduled maintenance in our marriage. The key is to take action when you notice its time, not just let life continue as usual. 

Water and tend to your grass, and you’ll be so busy enjoying your results, you won’t be able to admire your neighbors. 

Courtesy of Oddesey Lopez Photography

We’re passionate about not just surviving but enjoying a thriving marriage. Neither of us had this example growing-up. So, our desires stemmed from both of us witnessing early on from childhood a few marriages that we didn’t want to mirror. Although this was the case, we also understood no two people are alike, which means no relationships will EVER be the same. 

Figuring out our groove and what works for us has been the staple to securing our foundation as a solid unit. I’ve learned neglecting the source of your “what” and “why” in any marriage can be detrimental. In part because I don’t believe divorce just happens. It’s the result of knowing something(s) is off and doing absolutely nothing about it until it’s too late. 

Admittedly, a crossroad in our relationship was both of us fully realizing that now at the ages of 34 and 35-years-old, neither of us are the same people we were at 18 and 19-years-old. Why try to please the teenage versions of ourselves? The regular check-ins and consistent temperature-taking of our relationship have had a tremendous impact on helping us identify what works best and is required for both of us in this season of life. It took some time to grasp this concept, but you have to put in the effort and want to know the new version of your life partner. Going through the motions of day to day life isn’t going to cut it. 

We also do this work by regularly attending enrichment activities such as marriage ministry at church, conferences, and hosting an annual retreat. But one detail to sustaining a healthy marriage that people often miss is minding the company you keep. If you’re attempting to build a good marriage, I would suggest not spending all of your time with singles, unhappily married couples, or divorce enthusiasts because these environments provide the opportunity for real, insightful conversations, if you know what I mean. 

In the end, our “what” has transpired to a love-filled home, family life, and legacy for our entire crew. We want to give our children and ourselves something we weren’t afforded growing up. And our reasoning of “why” we’re in this union together for the long haul is because we love each other and believe we’re worthy of a good thing that we want to experience together! If you put in what you want to get out of your marriage, you won’t be disappointed. Water and tend to your grass, and you’ll be so busy enjoying your results, you won’t be able to admire your neighbors.