Nicole Ari Parker: “The Minute You Find Your Husband, Make Him Your Boyfriend”
Actors Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker met and fell in love when they played lovers on the old Showtime series “Soul Food.”
She says, “When Boris walked into our first rehearsal, I thought of him as the really hot guy that got to play my boyfriend in the first couple episodes,” reports YBF. “But for some reason we connected and found it easy to talk to each other and laugh and be comfortable… and then I married him. Vanessa (L. Williams) called it from the beginning just like a sister would.”
Eleven years and two kids later, the couple is still going strong. Eleven years is like a 30 years in Hollywood marriage years, so how does she still keep it together?
“Taking care of yourself is important in a marriage,” Parker said. “Not necessarily being skinny. I also think it was Boris speaking the way men speak privately: ‘I want my wife to be her best self.'”
“That’s important to keep the relationship going,” explains Parker. “[Taking care of yourself] is true, not just for your weight but for your emotional health as well. You can’t just all of a sudden unleash on someone emotionally with your anger or unresolved issues. You have to work it out. You can’t all of a sudden just let yourself spiral out of control in any capacity. In a relationship, you have to have compassion for your partner, but you also have to have compassion for yourself.”
So with the pressures of keeping one’s body, mind, and career together, how have Parker and Kodjoe managed to make it work after 10 years?
“You and your husband have to look at each other and say, ‘I know that we’re going to go through a rough patch,’ whether it be financially, intimately, life decisions, you’re going to go through a rough patch,” Parker said. “But then you have to make the real commitment to say, ‘We’re going to be with each other through the rough patch,’ because there is joy on the other side.”
You become better people on the other side. Everyone wants to run if you have one argument, one misstep or one mistake. But if you commit to going through the desert, so to speak, it’s so good on the other side. And No.2, just as your girl [laughs], treat him like your boyfriend. Because in marriage, you get into a practical rut. It’s nothing new. Don’t panic. You’re going to get in a practical rut about who is doing what, paying bills, sharing the house, two different jobs, then the children. You become roommates. But if you remember that this person is your boo [laughs], you keep it fun. You can’t wait to get home, even if 10 years have gone by. You can’t wait to buy him a gift for no reason on your way home from work. He gets you flowers for no reason. So, I always say, the minute you find your husband, make him your boyfriend.”