Marriage IS Work; Nurture it or It Dies!

How To Nurture A Marriage

  • by Leahcim Semaj


Recently, I was asked to provide the services of the Master of Ceremonies at the wedding of the son of my first cousin. This I considered an honor and a challenge. Most weddings that I attend I feel that the MC is often ignorant to the importance of this critical cultural universal ritual that signifies an important personal and collective transition. I often find the obligatory jokes pointless and/or tasteless. They usually offer the newlyweds nothing of benefit beyond a few laughs and possibly moments of embarrassment.

I began my preparation by taking to the internet. I started with the category of  “Wedding Jokes”, just to see if it was my skewed sampling that resulted in me being exposed to so many pointless and tasteless jokes. There I was able to download and review hundreds of jokes, all of similar type and content. Not my style.


I decided to take another route and explore what the world of proverbs and quotes had to offer for use at a wedding ceremony. Proverbs are also a cultural universal in that they exist in every society and often times with very similar language. Quotes also become ‘proverbs’, as they stand the test of time and in so doing create verifiable shortcuts to ‘packets of wisdom’. These we can draw on for our benefit or ignore to our peril.

The scientist in me now kicked in. It would not be enough to just trust my own choices in such a critical undertaking. I shared the various lists my wife, asking that she critically evaluate them for usefulness based on her experience. We conducted our reviews independently and then created at a list of ten quotes the value of which we had consensus. We then decided to open and close the process with two most appropriate Jamaican proverbs. The ultimate list now follows:



  1. “Before yu married open yu  two eye, after yu married, shut one.” Jamaican Proverb
  2. “Time decides who you meet in life, your heart decides who you want in your life, and your behavior decides who stays in your life.”  – Author Unknown
  3. “Love is a feeling, Marriage is a Contract, and a Relationship is Work.” Lori Gordon
  4. “The middle years of marriage are the most crucial. In the early years, spouses want each other and in late years, they need each other”. – Rebecca Tilly
  5. “A great marriage is not when the ‘perfect couple’ comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences.” Dave Meurer
  6. “You don’t marry one person; you marry three: the person you think they are, the person they are, and the person they are going to become as a result of being married to you.” Richard Needham
  7. “The best love is the one that makes you a better person, without changing you into someone other than yourself.”Unknown
  8. “A good marriage is one which allows for change and growth in the individuals and in the way they express their love.”Pearl Buck
  9. “The more things we can laugh about, the more alive we become: The more things we can laugh about together, the more connected we become.”Frank Pittman
  10. “Love is like a friendship caught on fire.  In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering.  As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love become as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable.”Joseph Addison
  11. “The goal in marriage is not to think alike, but to think together”.-Robert C. Dodds
  12. “Married hab teet”. – Jamaican Proverb


We believe that these twelve pieces of wisdom, if used with a willing spirit, can save and strengthen a marriage. They could also force a level of introspection to help couples to understand when their situation is fatally flawed. The couple now all other options including  ‘constructive disengagement’.

Do you have a quote that has worked well for you? Please share it with us using the comments.

Leahcim Semaj

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One Response to Marriage IS Work; Nurture it or It Dies!

  1. This reception was different, It was a pleasant and reflective experience. Thank you Dr.Semaj

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