Your browser (Internet Explorer 7 or lower) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.


Messed Up a Perfectly Good Bachelor Life

“It’s funny that when a man hasn’t anything in the world to worry about, he goes off and gets married.”  — Robert Frost

What the hell was I thinking?!  I was 31, single, making good money, & living in Atlanta, a city that’s been described as “happy hunting” for a single guy.  I was living the life my grandfather told me, as a small child, to live: “Why get married and try to make one woman happy … when you can stay single and make them all happy?”  Granddad would have been proud.

Lately though, I’ve been trying to make one woman happy.  One woman.  Since 2010, I’ve woken up to, eaten my meals with, vacationed with, had sex with, done everything with … the same ONE woman.

My 4-year wedding anniversary was March 1st.   I’ve been ruminating about my relationship and wondering how we’ve made it this far.  Of course, four years of marriage isn’t a long time, yet some don’t even make it to this point, including many of my close friends.  And, I’ll admit to my own moments of self-doubt about how I’d handle commitment right after the glorious height of my singledom.  We haven’t had any catastrophic issues come up in our marriage , but we have dealt with living in separate cities, career changes, the birth of our daughter, relocation, as well as some other marital challenges that are par for the course.

Thing is, not only is my marriage still intact, it’s actually working pretty well, and that made me uncomfortable.  You see, I didn’t fully understand why my marriage was flourishing, and I feared that if I didn’t understand what we were doing right, how would we know what to keep doing?

Well, I think I’ve figured it out, and my eureka moment came just this week as I was putting together a business email.  I asked my wife to review it, and she thought the tone of the email was too aggressive, confrontational, & negative.  She was right.  Her input stopped me from making the mistake of hitting ‘send.’  That innocuous example is emblematic of our entire relationship:  In all I do, I have a partner looking out for me, advising me, keeping me on track, and stopping me from making a mistake, no matter how great or small.

Also, I’m still the same guy at my core, but look at what has changed in my life since I got married:  my family and I are closer, my individual net worth has gone up every year since we met, I’ve learned a second language, I’m healthier, I use the n-word less, I listen to Sunday church service more, I’m a better friend, I’m more forgiving than I used to be, I’m more involved in charitable work.

In every way, I’m better off because I’m married.  So, for me, a successful marriage has revolved around this principle: I like who I am with her.

As my pastor always reminds me: you should get around people who make you say to yourself, “I gotta do better.”  I married the person who makes me say that to myself everyday.  I want her to be proud of me.  Her presence is constant motivation.  I don’t always succeed, but I’m always at least trying to do the right thing or improve, and in doing so, I’ve become a better son, friend, journalist, citizen, and husband.

I, like many other men, thought that I wanted to reach a certain level of success before marriage.  You know, make the right amount of money, get the right job, the right car, the right crib, etc, and perhaps “sow your royal oats.”  Now, I firmly believe the success we seek can come a lot quicker with a partner there helping you along the way.  Believe me, my ego is as big as anyone’s, but recognizing my own deficiencies, admitting to myself that I need help, and accepting that help have all been critical to our success.  We’re only on year #4, but I shudder to think of the kind of man I might be if I wasn’t married these past 4 years.

To put it another way,  she upgraded me.  It’s not just a matter of “switching my neckties to purple labels,” but Beyonce may have been exactly right that “you’re dynasty ain’t complete without a chief like” Marilee.



Well said. In a way, I feel as if I can say a lot of the same things about my husband. I wish you both the best. God bless.

B. Withers

Great blog entry. Congratulations to you both and best wishes for a 1,000 more good years.

S. Lenoir

Great piece as usual TJ. Congrats to a very beautiful couple. Thanks for the inspiration.

Aunt Jucci

Dear TJ & Marilee,
You both have taken “Perfectly Good” and made each “PERFECTLY BETTER”
Words of advice-
Never leave each other angry…
Build your foundation…
Use your spouse as an excuse…
and Show others how to LOVE!
The Future looks very Bright


love this! You are both inspiring!

Lester Thomas

Dear TJ, I am writing this because I was watching the show today and did not realize you were married I have always said TJ is a brother that I would love to have lunch with or play a round of golf but then I read this article and I was blown away by the words you had for the women that changed your life, you have helped me find the words for the most amazing, intelligent, caring, beautiful women I have had the blessing of knowing but the love of my life has turned out to be my childhood neighbor and friend of 54 years ago we found each other on social media exchanged numbers and our first phone call lasted 13 hours and I was hooked and I know that I want her in my life till the end only one problem she lives in our home state of Iowa and I live in Arizona due to health reasons. We have committed to each other and pledge to wait until travel is safe for her to retire next year and then move to Arizona so when you spoke of being separated and living in different cities you describe my current life. I believe like yourself that I found the one perfect women for me. So thank you for your honesty and your strength as a Blackman you inspire me to do better and to have a positive relationship with a beautiful black woman which I know in the long run is best for our race. If you ever come to Arizona in the Phoenix and you have time let’s hang and have a beer or a burger. But seriously thank you for the words to describe how I feel about my JoAnn.
Take care, Les Thomas

Leave a comment


email (not published)