Last year, I had the pleasure of spending the day with iconic Black actress Ruby Dee. (An epic moment in my career thus far!) She was about to turn 90, and I was honored to have received an invitation to her home to sit down with her and discuss love, marriage and life for an ESSENCE magazine feature story. In between hair and makeup touch ups and the photo shoots, Ruby and I chatted intimately about so many things – her career, her marriage, and her beautiful family.
Love Never Dies
Ruby had such a wealth of knowledge and wisdom to offer me that day, and as a shivered with excitement and took a seat, I did my very best to be sponge it all up while my recorder handled the rest. Ruby and her husband, the late, great actor Ossie Davis, were married for 57 years. Although he’s gone on to heaven now, today she clearly loves him as much as if not more than she ever has. “At 90, I’ve had time to realize there’s really no such thing as death,” she told me. “When I’m reincarnated, I hope Ossie and I continue the journey together.”
You Will Have the Bad With the Good
I told Ruby that I was only two years into my marriage, yet I was already recognizing that marriage is even tougher than others warn you about. I asked if she would share her secrets of longevity with me, because although getting through two years was easy, I knew making 55 more would be much harder to do. There were two very profound thoughts she passed on to me that have stuck with me the most. Honestly, they’ve become more like my everyday marriage mantras. Ruby said, “When you’re married, people assume every day and every moment should be perfect, so they quit when they have a rough period. But, in marriage, you don’t just have bad weeks or months – you can have a rough year. But, you can have an amazing year right behind it. You just have to stick together.” Wow! Let’s just take a moment to let that one sink in. How many times have you felt your marriage was headed for trouble because a “rough patch” lasted a few days, weeks or months longer than you expected it too only to find that you recovered because you hung in there? Did you want to quit back when the bad days seemed to outweigh the good? Did you contemplate divorce? Did you separate? Better yet, in those moments did you ever stop to think that since life is give and take, you couldn’t have all those amazing years without having a bad one too? I hadn’t. But, I do now, and I bet you will too. It really puts things in perspective, doesn’t it? No one said this road would be easy, right? But, those who have succeeded at marriage are all in agreement about one thing: The journey is well worth it!
The other gem I took from Ruby’s heartfelt candidness was this doozey: “When we fought about things, we understood that neither of was going to leave. The wedding is an event. The marriage is a lifetime.” Brilliantly put! When disagreements between my husband and I become heated, we have always had the ability to bounce back quickly and never forget why we chose each other in the first place. But, I never knew exactly why or how we did it until now. (Thank you, Ruby!) It’s not just because we’re amazing partners – it’s because we never (ever!) have to doubt each other’s devotion. We’re not leaving. We’re not quitting. We’re not accepting failure. Even when we’re sure of nothing else, those three facts remain. I hadn’t recognized the power in that trust until now. Again, Ruby, we thank you.
Did any of Ruby’s words resonate with you? Why? Let’s chat below!
Happy Monday, my loves!