December 26th marks the beginning of Kwanzaa - seven days of meditation and celebration honoring African-American culture and heritage. The seven principles celebrated during Kwanzaa remind us of the collective strength that we possess when we operate in unison.
Nowhere is unison more important than in a marriage. The seven principles acting as guideposts for a community can also be used to illuminate your union.
Umoja (Unity) - It goes without saying that that no marriage can thrive without unity. You have to be a united front and a teammate with your spouse.
Kujichagulia (Self Determination) - Just because you are a team doesn't mean that you forget yourself or become a caricature of Cliff and Claire. You get to determine what your marriage is and looks like for yourself. Do what works for you.
Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility) - Teamwork makes the dream work. If traditional gender roles and chores don't work for you, remix them. But everyone on the team has to work together to move the unit forward. We have to work toward shared goals and also work to support each other in your individual goals.
Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics) - Dreams require financing. You have shared goals, work together toward those goals and also financially support those goals. To remix Debbie Allen's famous line in Fame, "You want dreams? Well, dreams cost and right here is where you start paying."
Nia (Purpose) - Why are you together? Marriages come together on purpose for a purpose. While healthy marriages are the union of two whole people, your union serves God's purpose. There is a reason for the two of you to be together.
Kuumba (Creativity) - For a marriage to be successful you have to be creative. You have to be use your creativity on date nights, on solving problems, and in bed. Creativity is the spice of marriage.
Imani (Faith) - Now, you know that marriages require faith. Faith in God and faith in each other. Without faith, the other principles can't come to fruition.
So why reinvent the wheel? I firmly believe in finding inspiration wherever you may find it. Use the seven principles to guide your relationship and bring you closer together so that the first fruits of harvest can reap a fruitful marriage.