It really is amazing how legends tend to go in threes...
To think of losing Dr. Maya Angelou and Ruby Dee, just weeks apart from one another is...a lot to comprehend. And yet, because Ruby Dee and her late husband Ossie Davis did marriage so honestly (if you've never read the book they wrote, there are some "Gasp! Really?!?" moments in there) and graciously, I felt that upon receiving the news of her passing that it would only be fitting to share some of her and her husband's insights on marriage.
Here are some marriage tips from Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis who had a 56-year marriage of mutual respect and dignity with one another.
Run away for secret weekends. "We're always talking about going away for a four-day weekend. We do this occasionally. We check into a hotel in down town New York and pretend we're tourists. And, nobody knows who we are. We have a nice little suite and we indulge ourselves. We go to the theater and eat out, go to all of the places we don't get a chance to go to."
Ossie Davis says it is the little things that help you stay in love through the years - like "stopping to touch each other on the shoulder."
Ossie: "One of the things I appreciate more was how important struggle was as the instrument that helped to keep us knit together."
Ruby and Ossie also state that although there are no pat answers on how to still like and love one another after 50 years, they would put a sense of humor and good communication skills high on a list. Ruby said, "Learn how to have a good argument and make it productive. Also share the household duties."
Ruby: "How to ride the rough waves in a relation long enough for the waters to get calm? When does it sink in that overcoming difficult times gets easier with practice? How do you drag some of the good feelings, good times vibrations into the stormy places? To love someone long and deep is a "consummation devoutly to be wished"!... It is day by day, one step at a time. It may not mean two bathrooms, but just some space, some privacy, some area to be alone. ...Unlike the wedding event, that takes place in a day, marriage is a long process that goes on at some level every day for the rest of your life....We have to learn how to live together... I thought I loved you, Ossie, when we got married, but as I see now, I was only in the kindergarten of the proposition. To arrive at love is like working on a double doctorate in the subject of Life."
Ruby: “It takes a long time to really be married. One marries many times at many levels within that marriage. If you have more marriages than you have divorces within the marriage, you’re lucky and you stick it out.”
Ruby: "A trustworthy marriage has weathered temptation and anger and jealousy, resentment, self-righteousness and a little bit of selfishness. When you get over and get through that, then maybe you can see the light to love."
I tell people often, if you wanna know about marriage, go to Cracker Barrel and interview the older couples there. All of their stories are not rosy, many of them have survived *even affairs* and yet because divorce was not an option, because they believed in the sacredness of their vows and their union, they made it through. Cracker Barrel has a myriad of testimonies. Treat yourself to breakfast or lunch there sometime.
Thanks for raising the bar, Ossie and Ruby Dee.
I couldn't be more literal when I say "Rest in peace".