The best lessons from 23-years of marriage (The Art of Life-ing with Keka)


– Today on the Art of Life-ing with Keka, I’m so excited to introduce
my husband, Gordon Duncan. – The reluctant husband. (Keka laughs) – He’s joining me today.
We’re going to talk about some of the things
that we’ve learned over our 23 year marriage. That’s today on the Art
of Life-ing with Keka. [MUSIC] Okay, so this is my
husband, Gordon Duncan. We’ve been married for 23
years, my God, (laughs) – It’s gone by fast. – It’s gone by fast. And we thought that we
would take this opportunity in advance of Valentine’s
Day to just, kind of, share some of the things that we’ve
learned in our relationship. – Yeah, and there’s lots. (laughs) – I think he’s a little scared. (laughs) – Ah it’s okay, bring
it on, I can handle it. – So a lot has changed
since we have been married. I actually turned 46 last year and one of the things I
said to my husband was like, “Oh my God, I have been married to you “for literally half my life.” I think that raised an eyebrow. – A little bit, yeah, it did. But speaking of you turning
46, Happy Birthday, by the way. – Thank you. – I won’t tell anyone that
you’re a little bit older than I am, though. – I had rocked the cradle
by six months. (laughs) So, when we first got
married, we were both 23. And it’s interesting, because
I think about that now and I go, “Oh my God,
we were really young.” – Well, yeah, we actually just graduated. – Yeah, but first of all, if I went back, I wouldn’t change a thing. – Nope, no, not at all. – But I think sometimes,
like if our kids came to us and said, “Hey, Mom, I’m
23 I want to get married.” – Yeah. – Right? My inclination would be like, “Aren’t you a little bit young?” – But it’s mindset to be
honest with you, though. Because I think whenever
we were getting ready to get married at that age, it was like, “Well, yeah, I’m good, I’m good.” – It felt right. – You know it, you know,
whenever you found someone that you want to settle down with. Doesn’t mean it’s always
going to be perfect or a silky smooth road, but you know it, and I think if they ever
came to me at that age and be, “Hey Dad, just so you know, “I’m looking to get married at 23.” I’d probably raise a bit of an eyebrow, but it would be, “You know what, “you know if you’re ready or not,” right? And it really depends on
who they’re like, obviously, personality wise,
demeanor, all that stuff. – So for me when we first got married, I think one of the big
things for me was that I had taken, like, other people’s definition of what marriage should be. And I just figured that that would be us. 23 years later, I’m kind
of like, “You know what? “You do you, we’ll do us.” – Forget it. – And so if somebody was
a soon-to-be wedded couple and came to us and said,
“What advice would you have?” I think one of the first
things I would say is, – Oh this, I want to hear. – Oh, really? (laughs) I would say that you know,
create your own rules and don’t worry about what
works for other people, just do what works for you, right? – Sure. – And like, for us, for example,
when we first got married, I had said to Gordon, “I
think I just want to keep our finances “separately together.” So I want my own account,
I want to have the freedom to spend where I want to spend, you can spend where you want to spend, and then we’ll do things together. And I can’t tell you
how many of our friends thought that was the weirdest thing. – It was shocking to
them, absolutely shocking. – I’m like, certain that
I saw a few glances like, “Well, we’ll see if this lasts.” (both laugh) Because it was so out of the
ordinary from what people do. But for me the thing was this, I was like, “Okay, we’re starting a new life, “we each place value on
money differently, right? “So I like purses, scarves,
I might pay a little bit more “on something that, you know,” – No, it’s never happened. – No, never happened. But I remember when we first got married, I was like, making $8.50 an hour. And I remember you used to
buy those, the model cars. – Oh the Match Box or whatever they were. – To me, they were like, you
can go to buy a $0.99 dinky car, what’s the difference?
– Not the same, not the same. – And he’s buying like $99. – No, no, God no, they weren’t
that much, not even close. Not even, no, no, no, not even close. – So goes the “He said, She said.” Anyway, they were expensive. But to me the thing was
this, if we meet our bills, we meet our mutual
obligations in the household, and we have some of our money
and autonomy separately, then spend it on what you want to spend. I didn’t want to pool our money together where you take some of my money, and spend it on your
Match Box cars, or vice versa. But that was such a crazy
weird thing at the time. I think that people didn’t get. – You’re right. But now I’m finding it’s
actually very common. I hear couples all the time, they keep their finances
separate, yet together. For me, one of the things
that I had to get used to whenever we got married, it wasn’t the money aspect of things. But it was, I have to share
my bathroom with someone. – I’ve been perfect. – I lived alone for
years, so it was all good. I use what I need and yeah, but that was a bit of a challenge. – So this is the big joke that
we had amongst each other. So we didn’t live together
before we got married. And so prior to getting
married, I’d come over to what would soon be our joint apartment. And we’d watch a movie or something and then my husband would, well, my soon-to-be husband at the time would always walk me to the
car, and then I’d come home. And so he treated me like a guest. So then when we first got…
– No. – No, no, no, I’m just saying, well, no, but you’d walk me the car.
– Yeah, of course. So then we get married,
Now, I’m not going home. So the big joke for him was like, “Oh my God, my wife won’t go home.” But then, I think it was the first month that we were married, we’re at home and we’re watching a movie
and like within 10 minutes of the movie starting, he’s
sleeping, he’s snoring! – This is a bold faced lie,
people, I’m telling you, bold faced lie. (both laugh) I’ll tell you, the movie was
“The Mirror has Two Faces”. And for any guy who’s seen it, you know what I’m dealing with. – Oh, the torture! – I lasted 45 minutes, and
that was it for that movie. – It was 10 minutes. But it was a big joke for
us because we were like, “Okay, oh, clearly, I’m
not the girlfriend anymore. “Now I’m the wife that won’t go home.” But you know, the bathroom
story is interesting because when I was in my house, the bathroom was a little
bit of my private sanctuary. So I would lock the
door and enjoy “me” time. And I remember the first
week that we’d come into our apartment, and I’m
in there brushing my teeth, and then you came in behind
me, grabbed your toothbrush and you started brushing,
in my head, I’m like, my instant reaction was like, “Oh my God, you are in my space! “I’m in the bathroom, get out.” But the logical part of me was like, “This is his bathroom too,
we need to learn to share.” And yeah, it was weird. But did you notice now, we don’t share, we don’t really share the bathroom now. – Yeah, but you still
lock the door though. – I do still lock the door! (laughs) I do. – Going on 23 years,
she still feels the need to lock the door. – We didn’t really have,
we had maybe one fight before we had this. – Yeah, we had one pretty good one and frankly was kind of
stupid anyways. (laughs) – I don’t know what happened
that day, so this was pre-kids. We both got up in the morning. – She woke up on the
wrong side of the bed. – Okay, we both woke up on
the wrong side of the bed. As far as I was concerned, he
was breathing wrong. (laughs) But we were like, so
irritated with each other. So we were like, nickering
and knackering at each other. And then I don’t remember what happened, but I got, I was like, I
don’t know, I was all offended and I went into a room
and I closed the door. And then I hear Gordon
go into another room, close the door himself. And I’m like, feeling all indignant. – How dare he? (laughs) – Yeah and then standing
behind the door for a moment, I was like, “What are
we fighting for, again? “What are we fighting about?” And I really wanted to know
because I was still angry but I couldn’t remember. – I was on the other door
thinking the exact same thing. – Yeah. And so then I kind of
decided, I kind of want to know, is he still in the room? What’s going on? So I opened the door ever
so slightly and peeked out and he’s doing the exact same thing. (both laugh) – So we both looked at each other, we killed ourselves laughing. – Yes, argument over. – So we didn’t have kids
for the first 10 years and that was probably
like our one big argument. – Yeah, you got a little upset
over one other thing too. So we used to get the Toronto
Star (newspaper) delivered to our house and you know, we got a
little bit neglectful about, – We? We got, because it’s we
– No, him. (laughs) – We got neglectful about
not throwing the papers out or recycling. And at some point Keka decided
to put her York University degree in this pack of papers. – Oh no, no, no, no, hang on. – And then I took all the papers
and I got rid of them all. – He threw my transcripts out. – I had no idea they were there. So I can’t be held responsible, if I didn’t know what was there. – Okay, so you see, some
arguments still persist after 23 years. (both laugh) Yeah, no, we had like stacks of letters, including the newspaper
that came in the mail and so it was all in a pile. – I recall it as newspapers
only, but anyhow. – So we shall agree to
disagree and progress. – I’m okay with that, yeah. – But once we had kids, I
think one of the biggest things that I found, is that when
you’re sleep deprived, and when you’re tired,
you’re very irritated at little details. So I don’t know if I ever told you this, but I’d get irritated over
little things. (laughs) – But you’ve told me you would wake up in the middle of night
and you’d be mad at me for just lying there in bed. Oh, yeah, I’d had a dream of some sort and I was still mad at him. But one of the things that I feel is so critical in a
marriage, is friendship. And we were best friends
before we got married. We were friends throughout
the first 10 years before we had kids. And that is something that we. (Gordon laughs) – That sounds like as
soon as the kids arrived, we weren’t friends anymore. (Keka laughs) – No, no, no. (laughs) No, no, but I’m just–
– I’m teasing. – I’m saying that that is a foundation that I think made a big difference for us. – Oh, absolutely. – But one of the things
that I think, for me that I realized is that, when you watch these romantic comedies and you sort of hear things in the world, maybe from a female perspective, totally being stereotypical,
but marriage is kind of like this magical thing that if you have love, it’s enough to make everything better. And one of the things that
I’ve learned over the years is that love is not enough
to make things better. You have to have love plus
effort, understanding, compromise, patience. There’s a whole repertoire
of different things you need to make it work, right? So when I think about the fact that when we’ve had strenuous times
in our, we’ve had that, like, when we’ve had difficult times our life, – It happens. – Love is not enough to pull that through that’s like this beautiful,
magical myth that happens. – That’s Hollywood. – Yeah, no, but I mean,
it’s Bollywood too. (laughs) It’s around the world. But I think that’s something
that I would tell the kids is that, and I use this
analogy before in another video was that to me, we tend to think, marriage is like a coal,
you add love to it, and then you know, ta-da,
it turns into this diamond and then you’re good to go. When we first got married, I was like, “How many years does it take
before we know we’re safe? “And we’re not going to get
divorced with that 51%,” or whatever the number is now. And what I realized
today, is that marriage is like gardening.
– Yeah, that’s true. – Where you need sun, you
need water, you need soil, you need good seeds, you need all of that. – Well, you have to work
at it, you have to grow it. – That there is no one point
in a marriage where you go, “Okay, the marriage is safe now, I’m done. “I’m going to stop working at it.” It’s constant work though. – You’re right, and
it’s not just marriage, that’s just life in general. And, you know, you have to work at life, you have to work at career,
you have to work at friendship, you have to work at all of it, and it’s not meant to be easy. – Oh, no, no, it is
easy. (laughs) – Well, maybe we can
agree to disagree here. – Marriage is not hard,
it just takes work. – And I’m not saying it’s hard. – Is he going on
camera, saying it’s hard to be married to me?
– No, it’s not hard to be married to you, it’s actually quite simple. But what I’m trying to say is that it’s effort, you have
to put in the hard work. – So, there’s one thing that I remember somebody saying to me, and
it really resonated with me was that, you’re working, you’ve got kids, you’re kind of going back and forth. And he said, in his marriage, he said, “We’ve also almost gotten
into,” like him and his wife, he said, “We’ve gotten into
this exchange of poker chips. Because it was like, “The
laundry needs to be done, “or the dishes need to be. “Fine, I will do this,
but then I expect you to do that,” right? Back and forth and oh
my God, did that happen. So I feel like when we first got married, it was all like, “Let’s
do the dishes together because we love each other.” It was just all nice, we were
well rested and everything and then sleep-deprived, we’re working and it was kind of like this expectation, and we go back and forth. And I feel like it’s so easy to get transactional in a relationship. If you get too much into the
poker chip give-and-take. Do you know what I mean? And so when he said that
to me, it totally resonated because I feel like we totally do that. I’m like, “Okay, he did the laundry, “so I really need to do
the dishes,” or whatever. Or I did this, I really, I want him to do that, sort of thing. But to me, it was the mindset
that when he said that, I was like, “Oh gosh, that’s not the way that we want our relationship to be. Did you feel that poker
chip sort of thing, before? – Of course, it happens, it happens. I wouldn’t have a specific example but yeah, that’s going to be there. – Okay, so if Kayden or Kiran, if our boys, came to you and said, “Dad, what are the biggest
lessons you’ve learned, “in your marriage to date?” What would it be? – Oh, man. – Pretend I’m not here. (laughs) – That’s a good question
that’s setting me up. (Keka laughs) No, I’m– – There’s nothing you’re going to say that I probably don’t know, right? – That I’ve probably said. Advice that I’d give them of
what I’ve learned in 23 years… This sounds so corny, it really does. It sounds kind of cliché as well. One thing I would say,
just be there for the ride, enjoy the ride. Because it’s a good one, it’s a good one and just be there, be present, give today. – Give today, yeah.
– Give today. Because you don’t know
what’s coming tomorrow. Tomorrow might be even
better, it might be worse, you don’t know. Just be there for the ride,
enjoy it, but be present. – Beautiful.
– Make sense? – Yeah, totally. I think my advice, complementing
what you would say, I think is that marriage is not perfect and there will be times
that you will be hurt, on purpose, inadvertently, through life, whatever it might be, but
we can’t be afraid of that. I think we all too often
expect marriages to be perfect. And if it’s not, it’s like,
“Oh my God, it’s broken.” But the imperfectness within a marriage and the things that you felt
hurt with and then healed, I think are what makes
marriage so beautiful. And so I feel like when
we go through adversities, it deepens our trust for each other because we choose to be together, we choose to do this together. I think that too, like where
we are today in our marriage is that it’s about us,
it’s also about our kids. So what we’re doing, the
life that we’re setting up for our relationship is one that we’re not only setting
an example for our kids, but we are impacting the
way that they live as well. So there’s more at play. – That’s right and it’s focusing, focusing on the collective. – Yes, yeah, absolutely. – It’s not me, it’s not
you, it’s not the two boys. – It’s us.
– It’s us. – And then when you have that
connection with somebody, where it is us, scars and warts and all, it’s a beautiful thing. I’m forgetting this now, there’s
something I’d heard about in Japan where when they look at tea sets, or ceramics and whatnot,
if there are cracks or certain imperfections,
they consider that to be more beautiful, that
it makes it more beautiful. And to me, I feel like in life, I wish I knew the name
of what that term was. But in life and in
marriage, I think that it is those little bumps and
bruises along the way that tell the story in
our marriage, it makes us, I just think that it makes it, the imperfections make it more beautiful. So I would say to Kayden and Kiran, “Don’t look for perfection, “look for something that
makes your heart happy, “look for something that
you can grow together.” And that at the end of the
day, it’s what counts the most. – I agree. So there’s one, talking
about duration of marriages. We were on a cruise and we were at this, it was a show that was going on, and they were playing
like The Newlywed Game. And there was a couple
there who was just married, couple who’ve been
married for, I don’t know, five years, 10 years. Then there’s a couple who were celebrating their 60th anniversary,
which was pretty awesome. – We’d been married for
two years, at the time. – Maybe, yeah. So anyhow, so they go through, they’re asking all these questions and one of the questions was, (laughs) “Where was the first
place you were intimate with your partner?” And then of course, the
young couple answers it. And the gentleman said (laughs) – This 60-year-old. – This is the 60-year-old, yes. – Or 60-year marriage.
– 60-year marriage, yes. So they’re clearly into their 80s. So (laughs) he said, “I
believe it was in a cornfield.” So everyone laughs,
because it’s pretty funny. Well, then they bring out,
they bring out the wives, and they go through all the questions then they get to her answer, and she says, “I believe it was in a tomato
patch, but I’m not sure.” That place exploded in
laughter and it was just that showed to me first of all, I couldn’t stop laughing, I was crying. It showed to me that yes, they remember it but they remember it very differently. They knew it was outside. Anyways, but it was they were
able to just laugh about it. – And that’s the most
important thing, right? – Exactly, that’s really my point is that no matter how opposite it
was and how they saw things, they were able to at least just sit back and have a pretty good chuckle over it, no matter what it was. – All right, so this Valentine’s Day, sit with your partner have a good laugh. (both laugh) Don’t stress the little things. – No, it’s not worth it. – And just make sure you’re remembering that a marriage or a
relationship is like a garden. It needs sun, it needs rain, fertilizer, it needs all those things
to be able to make it grow. And when you do that, you end
up having something beautiful. – Yeah, I think so. – I’m really grateful
to my reluctant husband. Thank you so much for joining me. – My pleasure. – Thank you so much for
watching this video. Please like it, comment on it and share it with someone you love. I put out new videos every Tuesday and if you want to be notified specifically, then just click on that bell icon. Thank you so much for
joining us on this journey and I’ll see you next time.

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