Five Tips for a Healthy Marriage at Year Five
From a Man Who Has It All
By Keith Masterson
Looking back over the past year, at the approaching one year anniversary to marriage equality, brings us a sense of pride. Not only for the area we live in but for the USA as a whole when thinking and talking about Marriage Equality. We never thought we would see, in our life time, equal marriage rights for same sex couples, passed federally. Then we sit and reflect on the past 5 years for us and we are overjoyed as to how far society has come with marriage equality issues.
Let us introduce ourselves to you. We are Gabriel & Keith Masterson. We live in south Central Virginia, a very conservative area to be an openly interracial gay couple, let alone married. As we approach our 5th anniversary we have many reflections both good and bad and yet we continue to move forward. Life has not always been a bed of roses for us. We have felt rejection from our families and a handful of friends. We have watched our children grow up and move out to become the young adults they are. But one thing we can say is that we are just as much in love today as we were when we met 5 years ago on Facebook.
If we look through our daily married lives, we are often asked by friends or other gay couples and even single people both gay and lesbian about what keeps us on an even keel in today’s society. The best advice we can give is to keep the lines of communication open and talk about anything and everything. If you can think it, you should be able to discuss it between the two of you. You may not like what the other has to say and you will have disagreements, but keep those lines open. It will benefit and strengthen your marriage.
Secondly, as a couple and as individuals, be able to adapt to change, whatever those changes may be. Always look at the bigger picture within the forthcoming change and see where you can and will fit.
Honesty is one important key to a happy and healthy marriage, but first and foremost you have to be honest with yourself about who you are, what you want and where you see yourself within the marriage. Don’t lose sight of your individuality for the sake of settling. You deserve better than that for yourself and for your spouse.
While trying to be modest when it comes to intimacy, we find each other smiling and trying to think of new and exciting ways to add spice to our marriage. We have even discussed opening our marriage, but sooner rather than later decided that was not what our marriage needed or what we needed. Find ways to stimulate yourselves and go with the flow, trusting yourself with your spouse. Once you have agreed to try new and different things, be aware you may find a new side to yourself and finding things out about what you really enjoy and what your spouse enjoys.
Lastly, NEVER let a day go by without saying “I love you” to one another and show your love to each other in the little things you do. We both love shopping and this brings us closer to one another, especially if we are “thrift shopping”. Being together makes us smile, opens our eyes, hearts, minds and inner souls to one another.
Through all of our ups and downs since our wedding day and even before, we have always stuck together and made the best of any situation.
We spoke our marriage vows to one another on October 19, 2011 in DC and today more than ever we stick by those vows because we are an inspiration to each other and want to be an inspiration to those couples looking to make a life together through marriage.
I have personally had the honor and privilege to bring a handful of same-sex couples together in marriage as a civil celebrant. Having had this opportunity to touch their lives through commonalities and different social events while writing their ceremony and we hope to touch so more with hopes of encouraging healthy and strong marriages.
"Don't sabotage your own wedding. You have hired professionals to handle the details. Allow them. On rehearsal night - take a deep breath, relax and stop planning. Focus on "now". Don't miss the most important moment in your life. Be in the present and enjoy your family and friends who have come to be part of your "Now". Even if you feel some element of the day has to be changed, no one will notice except you. You are hyper-sensitive to everything right now."
- Jeff Christenson