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If being married for nearly two decades can teach you anything, it’s that relationships take work... and Dr. Jackie Walters has lived that experience firsthand in her relationship with former pro basketball player Curtis Berry. The Married to Medicine OBGYN and author, who has been open about the highs and lows in her relationship with Curtis, is quick to note that love isn’t always perfect, but working through those imperfections can make for a strong union.
She recently spoke with The Daily Dish about the lessons she’s learned from her marriage — and what others can take away from it.
What kind of love advice do you have for other couples out there?
Dr. Jackie Walters: Make sure it’s real love and that you have the ability to communicate with a partner. I think a lot of love is lost in the fact that you hold things in and you don’t really share, but part of it is knowing how to communicate with your partner. Learn those love languages where you can say, you know, he responds to gifts, so maybe I’ll give him a gift first and then give him the sandwich technique: The bad news, the good news, the bad news, or the good news, bad news, good news. Just learn your partner. Know who you’re in a relationship with. Be able to talk things through calmly, no screaming, no yelling. Sometimes, writing it down on paper helps.
What advice do you have for single people?
JW: Well, I’ll let them know that marriage is work. And so, right now you’re in the fun part where you can investigate and explore and decide if you want to be in a relationship or not — but do know that marriage is like a plant. It continues to grow, it needs watering, it needs good soil. Marriage takes work.
How did things change when you and Curtis went from dating to marriage? What changed when you got married?
JW: Living in the house with Curtis all the time. Seeing him when he wakes up and being with him when he goes to bed — and watching him throw clothes on the floor and not be as organized. You want to know like, “Where’s the man I was dating?” You date the representative. I’m going to tell everybody who’s single: You’re dating a person who doesn’t really show up until after the wedding. And then you go, “Who is this person? I want my boyfriend back.” And so, try to find that person again and be that person, but marriage is a lot of work — but fun! We definitely have gotten to a place right now, where we can communicate about the hard stuff and it’s not taken offensively. So, you date the representative, you marry the real person.
What do you love most about Curtis?
JW: Curtis is a protector. He keeps me safe. He’s a big guy, so I automatically feel safe. But, just knowing somebody is there when I need them. Curtis is not super romantic and all the fun stuff, but he’s always there and he’s a protector.
What do you think Curtis would say he loves most about you?
JW: That I keep everything together and that I’m calm and collected. He knows if it’s going wrong, I’m not going to lose my control.
What was your best Valentine’s Day ever?
JW: My best, best Valentine’s Day was a picnic in the house. It’s just a picnic blanket and food on the floor in the house. And then, you have no limits in the house. You can do whatever you want that you can’t do in the park. So, it started out with just crackers and wine and cheese — wine for Curtis, I don’t drink. It just went from nice and calm to hot and steamy in the house.
What was your worst Valentine’s Day?
JW: Curtis forgetting that it was Valentine’s Day. No cards, no gift. I demand a gift. I think it’s a day of love. Honor my love! “I don’t have to get a gift.” No, you do. You do. I want a gift every time.
What’s the best gift you’ve ever gotten for Valentine’s Day from Curtis?
JW: Jewelry. You can never go wrong with diamonds. Yes!
-Reporting by Laura Rosenfeld
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