Bravo's “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star NeNe Leakes and her husband Gregg recently shared some advice for couples on how to make a relationship work. The Leakes’ famously divorced in 2011 after 14 years of marriage, and remarried 21 months later. The cause of the split was Gregg’s admittedly poor communication and listening skills. “The first time we were married, Gregg was not the best communicator, and a lot of men aren’t,” said NeNe. “We had counseling going [into the marriage] the second time, and I think it helped Gregg to be able to communicate more.”
Gregg takes full responsibility for the breakup: “In our first marriage, we did not have to divorce. It was 100% my fault. I did not listen to my wife. I did not follow the guidelines, the parameters that she was setting for me, which were broad and spacious. But I didn’t listen. I was a typical man: ‘I’ll get lost, then I’ll ask directions.’ I had a whole lot of mouth [and] my ears were blocked, but my heart never stopped functioning. I know I love my wife, and I refused to be a statistic. Not this family. We’re not going to be a statistic. So you have to listen. And when your wife, your mate, significant other, asks you something, you have to be truthful. No matter what it is, you have to be truthful. I learned that the hard way. I tried to remember a bunch of untruths and I can’t. You can’t get them in order. Tell the truth. Get it over with; it’s the best thing to do. Look where you’ll end up... I’m back with my queen.”
Today, they make communication a priority, and say the marriage is even better the second time around. Gregg says “the best thing about being married is to have had a marvelous marriage to start with, but even a greater opportunity to have it again.” NeNe says the best part of marriage is the companionship. “I have a partner for life. I’m a girl that likes companionship. I really do like having companionship... I love it actually. I was single for a little while and it was so not for me. Although I dated a lot.”
On relationship tips: “My advice to any person in a relationship, male or female,” said Gregg, “[is that] the same thing it took to get them is what it takes to keep them. So whatever you started with, finish strong with it.” And that goes for maintaining your physical appearance. “Guys, [and] sometimes girls too, get in a relationship and a lot of times they forget to look great,” said NeNe. “After a while you’re so used to your partner, and you’re not doing your hair as much, or you’re like ‘He doesn’t really care; he likes me anyway.’ No, he doesn’t. He’s always looking at the other girl who has her hair done or she’s just all fly. So every now and then I’m like ‘Oh my God, I know Gregg is tired of looking at this weave, I need to go ahead and get this fixed.’ And the same thing with Gregg. I always have to remind him: ‘Um, hello? I’m going to need you to have on some cologne. You had on some when we were dating; I need you to look good.”
It’s also important to keep dating so the relationship doesn’t become predictable. “[Gregg and I] always date. I’m around a lot of athlete wives because we live on a golf course. They always say ‘Well, we go out every Tuesday night at 7.’ That is so damn boring. Who goes out every Tuesday night at 7? Guys do not like that. They want spontaneous and something different. So I may finish work early and call Gregg and say ‘Meet me at such and such and we’ll have a drink at the bar.’ We take vacations together, that kind of stuff. Communicating... We have pillow talk.”
Gifts can also get stale when a couple has been together for years. “[Men] love neckties. We are sick of neckties!” Gregg exclaimed. “We love socks. We don’t need no more socks. We’re multi-dimensional men now. We want drills that go backwards; we want nice stuff.” Some of Gregg’s Valentine’s Day picks include an Armitron bracelet watch, Craftsman cordless drill driver, and Adam Levine cardigan. NeNe said “every girl needs a diamond,” and recommend a pair of ParisJewelry.com 2-carat diamond stud earrings for Valentine’s Day. But what if diamond jewelry isn’t in a man’s budget? “Just go to ShopYourWay.com,” said Gregg.
The Personal Shopper program by Shop Your Way is a unique shopping and social network site that makes it easier to find your favorite items. On ShopYourWay.com, you have access to relevant product information, user comments, recommendations, and more, to add fun and convenience to shopping and gift-giving. The Personal Shopper program is an additional feature on the site. It is a free, member-based, loyalty rewards program and personal shopping community that gives users the opportunity to have their own Personal Shopper, or to become one! “If there were a way for you to be a personal shopper, make additional income, and help fulfill someone else’s shopping needs with little or no convenience for you, [would] you be interested?” asked Gregg. “Of course you [would]! Go to [ShopYourWay.com] and sign up; let’s get the ball rolling. Make that cash!”