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Couples Q&A: The Walkers On Second Marriages

Rouvaun Walker and Toi Troutman-Walker open up on loving each other through her battle with Lupus.

By Toi Troutman-Walker  How excited were you to go on your honeymoon -- Toi, considering it was your first, and Rouvaun knowing that? What was your favorite part of the honeymoon?

Rouvaun Walker: I was excited to spend two weeks with Toi with no work distractions and enjoy ourselves and relax. Since it was Toi's first honeymoon, I wanted it to be perfect and a memorable experience. What was my favorite part of the honeymoon? We had so many great moments it’s hard to find just one as a favorite as we had such a good time over the two weeks.

Toi Troutman-Walker: I had always dreamed of a tropical honeymoon with the man of my dreams, but that's exactly what I thought it was. . .a dream. Coupled with the fact that we had already been married for several months, I was more than ready to get to it. Also the private villa where we were staying (Cap Cana Oasis) is breathtaking. I was over the moon.

I guess if I had to choose a favorite part, it would be (besides the obvious) our visit to Hardrock Cafe in Punta Cana. Rouvaun and I were able to let loose and have some fun at the casino. Honestly, there was not one second of that trip that was not flat out amazing. Toi, is Rouvaun still helping you live in the moment more? Rouvaun, how do you help Toi let go?

RW: I make sure she takes time out to relax; however, it’s hard because her mind keeps churning and she finds things to do. The key with us is to take away all electronics which provides so many distractions.

TTW: I think Rouvaun is good for slowing down the pace. He works hard, but he is very good at decompressing. Sometimes he just has to force me to sit on the sofa with him and relax. Honestly, there are times that Rouvaun's ability to "shut down" makes me jealous. I think the iPads and phones are huge issues for both of us. As long as it’s in my hand, I am NOT relaxing. I rarely use my iPad for all the fun stuff it can do.  Tell us about going through so much, like Toi’s potential blindness, as a new couple. Do you think it makes your bond stronger and how did it impact your relationship?

RW: There was a period of about six months Toi would deal with a high sensitivity of light when we were dating. She described it as sharp needles stabbing at her eyes from the inside and she could not take sun or iPad light. It was crazy because some days it was bearable and other days she was in agony; especially with the morning sunrise. 

I would come a see Toi every seven to 10 days and stay for four days in L.A. to take care of her.  Through it all, believe it or not we still had the best dates. . .at night time, of course. During the day, I would take her to the doctor's, make sure we ate well, and generally looked out for her until I had to go back home, usually a Sunday evening. It brought us closer as I knew I truly loved her even in that state. She required love and patience. Moreover, I did not want her to be alone and in the moments when she was not in pain, humor was great medicine as we always have fun together.  One day, after six months the pain was gone from her eyes. Thank God!  During this period my love never wavered and it only got stronger. Our bond was already complete.

TTW: Lupus is a designer disease; meaning there are no two cases identical. Having been diagnosed for so long, I am no longer surprised when wacky things flare up. However, the time I had Lupus Iritis was particularly scary. Our relationship was very new and even though I was sort of embarrassed, I had to tell him and even rely on him to a point. In fact, his mother lived in town and came to take me to the eye doctor the first day it happened. I was afraid, and both Rouvaun and his mother were there for me and helped me get through the initial period.

 Because I truly love him, I gave him the option to leave. ”

Toi Troutman-Walker

It had a huge impact on our relationship even to the point of interrupting fun activities. Rouvaun attempted to take me to an amazing brunch and had arranged a table facing the water. Due to the reflection from the sun onto the water, I was unable to even stay in the seat he had chosen. The light felt like knives slicing through my eyes. Typical of my wonderful husband, he was understanding and patient, and never wavered with his support. Because I truly love him, I gave him the option to leave. He refused. I knew I had found a real partner and I would never want to live without him again.

Why Did Toi Tell Rouvaun to Leave Her? As a couple who have both been married before, did you learn anything and apply it to your new marriage? Do you have any advice for other newlyweds who have also been married before?

RW: When I met Toi for the second time, for some reason I was completely open and trusted her at a time when most would not have trusted anyone. That's how powerful true love is. I learned to be a better communicator. The one great thing Toi does when we have a disagreement is empathize from my point of view, and truly understand it. I never got that in my first marriage. Better still, Toi never takes me for granted and has a true appreciation and respect for the man I am.

The times we do get upset, when it’s over its over; no baggage. It’s not that we don't get upset at each other because we do. The question is how long does it take you to recover? For us, it’s relatively fast. We are not breaking up, so why stay mad at each other for long periods. What we realize is that we are on the same team, and mean well for each other at all times. Even when we disagree. 

Advice? Always be completely honest with your spouse (complete transparency). This is important for trust. If you have to keep something away from your spouse, he/she is not your true life partner. The one thing you cannot get back once it's broken is trust, which is a one of the main ingredients for love. Have a vision of who you want to be as a spouse and be that person, all the time. Work on perfecting that person. If you want to be a good husband, father, son, etc. be him.

TTW: I learned so much about what it truly means to compromise. Having been single longer than I was married, I didn't have to do much compromising about anything. It was my rules, my way all the time. I made a conscious decision to always put myself in the other person's position. I don't know if that lesson came from being married inasmuch as it comes from simply maturing. During my marriage I didn't understand the power in compromise and keeping things harmonious. Now I do.

My advice for second-time newlyweds would be to focus on your partner's words as opposed to his/her delivery. Often times we put more emphasis on how things are said, and allow that to be the new problem. This is a classic example of avoidance and without getting this in check, being newlyweds can be even harder. There is an art to living with another person. . .particularly if you spent a good amount of time between marriages being single.

Expect an adjustment period, but throughout it all demand that you and your spouse remain RESPECTFUL of one another. Rouvaun and I have already declared that divorce is NOT an option; so no matter how mad we get and how ugly or loud the argument becomes, the end result is the same: WE'RE MARRIED! During (or before) every argument, ask yourself "is this a deal breaker/marriage ender??" If not, GET OVER IT. Life's too short and love is hard to come by.

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