What Ruby Dee Taught Me About Love and Marriage

Share the Love

ruby dee actress essence magazineLast 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!

ruby-dee-photo-shoot-essence-magazine-347Know That Leaving Is Not An Option

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!

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20 Responses to What Ruby Dee Taught Me About Love and Marriage

  1. Ashanti Moody says:

    I LOVE this and I could not agree more with the advice that was given. “Leaving is not an option” is something that my husband and I live by. No matter how big of a disagreement we have, we know that we will get through it. When we were engaged we decided that divorce was never an option for us. We vowed to make our marriage last for a lifetime!

  2. nylse says:

    Love it; you know why it resonates? because she has credibility; she's been down the road. There's so much foolish advice out there nowadays that have young marrieds believing its all good, and if its not good something is wrong with you, and here's the solution. Often times, there's no one size fits all solution; no quick fix – you have to take the time to learn your spouse, and figure out your marriage. And yes you will have rough patches, but the reassuring thing is that we're not going anywhere. So learn, enjoy, accept. Experience is a beautiful thing.

    My recent post The List

  3. Chasing Joy says:

    Great life love lessons!

  4. Jonalisa says:

    Beautiful! Im single but I’ll file this wisdom away for later. p.s. I’m so glad you’re back!

  5. ladyt says:

    I thought she and ozzie had an open marriage?

  6. Thia ia such a great post. I love this thing Ruby told you: “When we fought about things, we understood that neither of was going to leave. The wedding is an event. The marriage is a lifetime". Marriage is really a lifetime, that is what many couples do not get seriously, even when they say Yes in front of God. They assume that when it gets hard, you can just walk away. If you want to be able to sustain a healthy marriage, both partners must understand that Leaving is not an option, no wayyy….
    Thanks for this, it was inspirational….
    My recent post Dispute Resolution in Swindon Barclay DeVere

  7. I LOVE this and I could not agree more with the advice that was given. "Leaving is not an option" is something that my husband and I live by. No matter how big of a disagreement we have, we know that we will get through it. When we were engaged we decided that divorce was never an option for us. We vowed to make our marriage last for a lifetime!

  8. A.T. Clavon says:

    Hello Cuz, enjoyed the article on Ruby Dee. As people that have always worked for our people I have appreciated both she and Ossie. My take on marriage is I believe in arranged marriage. God arrianged my second marriage after I was divorced from my first unloving relationship. God arrianged a relationship that I have come to understand my wife is a gift from Him and I cherish her such that I always speak kindly to her. We have been married now for 31 years without an arguement. We delight in each others company and pray and worship together. We think it is God’s Spirit in our lives that gives us a successful marriage. Bless Your Forever A.T.

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