Make It Last Forever: Q And Sharlinda Parker
You two have been married for 13 years. After doing laundry and changing diapers, it’s easy for the passion to fade. What have you learned to do to keep the fire going?
Sharlinda: I can say that the passion did fade in our marriage. We had to sit down and have an honest conversation with each other. Like I said, things got very ugly before it got to this point. We had to make a decision and a choice. We chose to want to work on our marriage and we’re at a better place than we’ve ever, ever been in this marriage.
Q: Making a conscious effort. You have to put a marriage on the ground and actually work on it. To think you’re going to say “I do” and then everything else is smooth sailing from then on, you’re sadly mistaken and you’re in for a rude awakening. Every day, you have to get up and say, “Today, I’m going to make the best of my marriage. As a man, I’ll be everything God purposed me to be in this house, as a father, protector, and overseer of this house.” And as a wife, you have to say, “I’ll make an effort today to do everything I have to do as a supporter, nurturer and the glue to this family.”
We decided that Monday would be our day. Nothing comes in front of us having time on Monday. Also, when each day is done, we have 30-45 minutes of pillow talk before we go to bed. “How was your day?” “What did I do today that you liked?” “What did I do today that you didn’t like?” You’re storing this information and actually putting it to use. That way, we can forever be knowing and learning. If there is something to be noted, you take it and you log it. The ultimate goal is to know your spouse inside and out. The goal is to have consecutive days of harmony, but you can’t achieve that if you’re not having conversations.
When you see people who have been married 20 or 30 years and it seems like their relationship is smooth sailing and they don’t argue no more, it’s because they now know everything that their spouse loves, doesn’t like, will deal with, will go along with. We strive to get to that place. Our marriage is in constant cruise control and constant peace.
How did you get beyond the hurdle of keeping score?
Sharlinda: I think that every couple goes through this, but we began to realize that everything we did for our family was golden to the whole big pot. It’s not about who did what. We both pitch in and share responsibilities.
Q: Whatever works for your house. I wash dishes; Sharlinda washes dishes. I wash clothes; she washes clothes. She cooks; I cook. I don’t let her take out the trash or do yard work—I just think that’s a man’s responsibility, but if I’m out there, she’ll come help. We’re in this together; we’re just a team.
What are your rules for fighting fair?
Sharlinda: Pray for me! I was a young, single parent. Nothing was just handed to me, so everything I had to work for. When I got into the relationship and the marriage, I learned that it’s okay to soften up. I used to always say, “There’s no such thing as a fair fight. When you fight, you go for the jugular.” But I had to learn. I have learned so much over the years. Sometimes when things happen in your marriage that’s devastating and hurtful and you can’t believe it happened, you will say some ugly things. I will say just leave it at that moment because we do say hurtful things—especially if the cut is deep. I’ll be honest, I work at that every day because this is the person who loves me and we’re in a marriage, we have a family. This is who really cares about me. So when you start going at that person, cutting and hitting below the belt, it’s not fair. But he fights very fair!
Q: My philosophy is “Once words leave your mouth, you can never take them back.” If this is a person I care about, I never want to say anything that can linger on. The challenge for me is to remind myself that even in the heat of the moment, this is still the woman that I love. My job is to be able to articulate myself in a way that she’ll get it and know that I mean what I say. But I’m not going to necessarily say something that’s going to hit below the belt because once we make up, those words are still in the atmosphere and those words were still relayed to the person I care about. Afterward, we still have to be a team. I’m not going to say anything that can linger on after we’ve made up. If you say, “I hate you,” after we make up, I can still replay the fact that you said you hate me. I never want my wife to walk away from a discussion with words that stick to her that may be a cut or below the belt.
With God, and us praying together, we’ve overcome a lot of our obstacles, and we’re in the best place we’ve ever been. I appreciate you guys giving us this platform to even talk about marriage, and I commend you for even standing for marriage. There are few things in our society that promote monogamy, fidelity and making marriage cool. I applaud you guys. We want to use our experience to help the next couple or a newlywed couple by reading this article. It’s so in line with what Sharlinda and I are creating—even today.We’re creating a marriage/couples movement.
Sharlinda: Q has Brothers United and I have Sisters United. With Sisters United, we get together to support each other and discuss things like single motherhood, marriage, being a business owner, and overcoming obstacles. It’s a safe environment because sometimes you want to talk to your girlfriend, but you don’t know who she’s going to run and tell. You have to sign an agreement not to take the conversation out of the room.
The other day, I shared with a young lady that I suffer from Premature Ovary Failure, and she began to cry. She’s 50 now and has never been able to have kids, but she has never been able to talk to anyone about that. The group is just for women to be there to support each other. Brothers United has been going for about six months now. Sisters United launches in January.
Q: Our social networks are BrothersUnitedATL on all platforms. Our email is BrothersUnitedATL@gmail.com. We also have Couples 412, and it’s bringing the guys and the girls together—married couples, engaged couples, and seriously dating couples. We’re just developing this marriage community and promoting the good things about being married.
In addition to their marriage movement, the husband-and-wife duo each have other projects they’re working on. Q is in the process of recording an inspirational album while Sharinda is hard at work rebranding TuLa 2, her all natural nail salon in Buckhead.
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