My Outlook on Marriage | Tina Hamilton & Richard Ashman
Tina Hamilton and Richard Ashman met in college in 1999. According to Hamilton, he was in her first class in college. "There were three of us (Jamaicans) in the class, and we hung out almost daily for the entire semester." Ashman remembers it differently. "As usual, I looked around for the prettiest girl in class and sat next to her," he said. "I loved her personality. She was my opposite outgoing and spontaneous and a people person. I don't believe there was any one moment of realisation. It's just a continuous evolution of learning and growing together." Hamilton added: "Being 'the one' to me means that you would rather be with that person more than anyone else you can think of real or imagined. It took me a while to get there (goodbye, Brad Pitt!). But, once you have that feeling, it's very liberating to sink yourself completely into the other person."
In photo: Tina Hamilton and Richard Ashman met on the first day of college. -Contributed.
The two are this year celebrating their 12th wedding anniversary. With over a decade under their belt, they tell Outlook that the most important thing about a marriage is remembering that it's a partnership. "Many people know this, yet they still try to be in full control. You have to be able to trust the person enough to believe in their opinions, and to make decisions that affect you and the family as a whole," said Hamilton. "It's easy to say, hard to do, especially if you have a very strong personality like I do. But it is possible. Once we figured out our strengths in the marriage, the partnership became easy."
While both agree that it takes work, Ashman added: "If the person means something to you - don't quit. We got married young so we had to grow and adjust our mindset. I would say try not to focus on the negatives. Take a look at yourself first, and see if there are any changes that need to be made. Acknowledge your own faults and make the necessary adjustments."
What worked for us
1 Always be respectful. It affects how you argue, how you communicate, how you live together, and how you parent.
2 Faith is important. Regardless of your religion, it is important to believe in a higher power, or have an understanding that there is something larger that guides you. We are not the ones holding the strings. Essentially, learn to let go and let God.
3 It helps a lot if you are friends first, and genuinely enjoy each other's company. Hamilton said: "He is hilarious and makes me seriously belly laugh every day. But when I get mad at him as a husband, I can always talk to him as a friend about my husband. If we have an issue, we try to deal with it together and never talk behind each other behind each other's backs."
4 Understand each other's love language. Not everybody shows love in the same way, so figure out how your spouse shows love and try to show them love in that way (and vice versa). Otherwise, they may feel unappreciated or become mad for 'no reason'.
5 Understand the difference between want and need. Be yourself. Don't subscribe to what society thinks you should be. Our wants can drive unrealistic expectations, so when you learn what your needs are, they usually turn out to be something simple and straightforward and most important - attainable.
Tina Hamilton and Richard Ashman met in 1999. Over the years they have grown together, and this year celebrates their 12th wedding anniversary.
It is also said that a child makes working on a marriage 'harder'. Crucial for Hamilton and Ashman, was how and when a child was brought into the mix and how they were still able to be a couple while being parents.
"I think it helped that we had our first child after many years of marriage. We had explored so much in each other, toured the world, had extreme adventures and did a lot of growing together. So, for us, maturity was key. Now we fully enjoy being a family our daughter, Elizabeth, is such an important part of who we are as people. If you bring a child into the mix and you are not settled into who you are as a couple, it can make it complicated and uncomfortable. Besides, time together doesn't have to be that long. It can be an unexpected text in the day or a stolen kiss in the hallway or a whisper of something sweet on your way out the door. Other than that, if we feel the need to grab a drink or run away for a day, for us, it helps that grandma and grandpa live very nearby."