We’ve been talking about what going all in looks like this month, from the decision to go all in, the scariness of it and the courage to push past the fear, and of course the processes of it. Today we’re going to talk about what it looks like through the context of relationships, specifically marriage. I’m sharing what Kimberly (Kim) and Maurice (Rico) Demosthene, of Philadelphia, PA have found it takes to go all in in their marriage. I’ve had the joy of knowing Kim, a nurse, and Rico, a private realtor, for about 10 years now. I got to coordinate their wedding almost six years ago and think they are amazing individuals, a great couple that has really had one of the healthiest and most admirable relationships I’ve witnessed, and they are pretty sweet, loving, funny and creative parents to Mathieu (3yrs) and Roman (5 mos.).
TSLL: How long have you two known each other?
Kim & Rico: We’ve known each other four 14 years and in July we will have been married for six years.
TSLL: When you think of when you dated compared to being married what has changed?
Kim & Rico: When dating, there’s less responsibility and at the same time more freedom to spend time with one another as you would like. You’re trying to figure out if this is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. But also, you have a one dimensional view of the person- mostly the good. In marriage there’s a lot of responsibility and most moments you share together you have to work for. You know without a doubt that this is the person you want to spend your life with. However, the challenge comes with actually putting in the work to build that life together. You come to see and understand this person’s flaws but you realize the “good & bad” makes them who they are and you love them more for it.
TSLL: What does commitment to your marriage look like for you as a wife? As a husband?
Kim: For me, commitment to my marriage means never considering any other options and recognizing that I don’t need to because I made the best choice. It also means trying to give my husband the best version of me everyday instead of tired me, frustrated me, the me that’s left over when life has beat up on me all day. That’s not very fair to him and doesn’t show that I’m committed.
Rico: Commitment means appreciating what and who I have, not taking them for granted, and not making her feel less than. It’s showing her that I’m not interested in anything else because I’m truthfully not. She’s the one I chose to be with- she’s “it”. It’s also wanting to provide the best for her
TSLL: Have there been times in your relationship (while married or before) where you knew you weren’t giving it your all? How did you know and how did that change?
Kim: There have been times while married I knew I wasn’t giving it my all because everything that I would complain about him not doing (whether to him directly or inwardly) I recognized I wasn’t doing it neither. Sometimes I realized I was even worse. It changed by me learning that oh yeah…sometimes you have to give what you want to a relationship to get it out of a relationship.
Rico: Before marriage, yes there were times I wasn’t giving it my all. I knew I wasn’t because it’s while you’re still trying to figure out if the relationship is something you want. Once I realized that she was who I wanted to be with, I had to give it 100% and I haven’t stopped since.
TSLL: What three things do you think are absolutely necessary if a woman is going to go all in and be a wife? A guy going all in to be a wife?
Kim: For a wife to go all in she absolutely needs to be fully invested in her husband, to open her heart to him fully, and to be an encourager/supporter of him.
Rico: For a husband to go all in he absolutely needs an undeniable love for his wife, a selfless mentality (putting his wife’s needs first), and a vision for the relationship so he has a point of reference to constantly work towards.
TSLL: When you are running low on what you feel you have to offer your partner, what do you do?
Kim & Rico: When running low, honesty is the best policy. Just be upfront with your partner to let them know how you feel. Take a moment to yourself to identify what’s going on.
TSLL: How does your partner help you recharge?
Kim & Rico: While marriage is definitely a partnership sometimes one partner is running low for whatever reason. When that happens, the other partner taking the lead in our relationship when really helps.
TSLL: How has your spouse helped you go all in in some other aspect of your life?
Kim & Rico: Providing encouragement, listening, and reminding each other of our strengths.
TSLL: Can marriage be fulfilling or healthy if one partner is all in and the other is not? Why or why not?
Kim & Rico: No. Marriage is work requiring both partners to show up and participate. There will definitely be moments when one person has to help carry the other’s load, but that should alternate. If only one person is all in, they will get burned out. Both people are equally responsible for the outcome of the union.
TSLL: What words of wisdom would you offer to couples who feel like they have gone all in, things aren’t working, and they are thinking about getting all out?
Kim & Rico: Seek counsel. And remember the big picture- This is someone you love and there’s a reason why you married them.