Reflections of a Newlywed

Reflections of a Newlywed

Reflections of a Newlywed

Joyce and Harold Update

Reflections of a Newlywed: Lessons Learned From One Year Of Marriage

A little more than a year ago you all reached out to my husband, Harold, and me on our exciting new journey as a married couple. We are so grateful for all of the wisdom that you shared with us.

Since we have been married a year now, and as an ode to National Marriage Week, I thought you may be wondering how we are doing.  We are doing great! 

Here are just a few of the nuggets of wisdom  passed onto us, which we really relied on this first year:

  • Overcome stressors in your marriage by making your marriage a priority
  • Never criticize your marriage in public and keep your marriage off of social media 
  • Be intentional about serving in your marriage
  • Pray together
  • Never end an apology with “but”
  • Life is going to happen no matter what’s going on, so share these things with your partner.

“We are bringing you along with in a new life together. And, we’re going to be learning along the way.”  


The gift of this advice was timely and helped us overcome unforeseen challenges that arrived after the wedding.

I have only shared this with a small group of people, however, shortly after we were married, Harold suffered a stroke. It was traumatic for us both. I thought to myself, “we just got together, Lord please don’t take him from me.”  We had a tough hill to climb, but we were both strong mentally and we leaned on each other to get through it.  Now that Harold is a lot better, he said  he drew his strength from us, and we both realized it made us stronger.

What did we learn from all of this: 

1) We learned that mental support is needed just as much as medical support.  It’s like a diet without exercise.. 

2) We learned well-being as a couple is also just as important as it is for individuals.  

3) We also learned that community and a social network helps you get through it all.

Our community provided us with strong advice and principles which we continue to integrate into our marriage. We talk a lot about community at Georgia Center for Opportunity, which is why we think it is important for you to experience community in our Family Life Education classes. In these classes we equip and empower you with the knowledge and skills that help you to become resilient.

As Harold and I continue our marital journey, we hope these words of wisdom will help improve the quality of all of your relationships. For those looking for a little extra nudge, The Family Life Classes are available along with our Healthy@Home, and Thriving Together series on our website.


Boundaries Define Us

Boundaries Define Us



Boundaries Define Us 


By Joyce Mayberry




“Boundaries define us. They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows me where I end and someone else begins, leading me to a sense of ownership. Knowing what I am to own and take responsibility for gives me freedom.”

Dr. Henry Cloud

Merriam Webster defines boundary in this way:

  • Something that indicates or fixes a limit or extent.
  • A line that marks the limits of an area, a dividing line.


When we talk about boundaries, we talk about restrictions and not necessarily freedom. There are several types of boundaries: mental, physical, and emotional. What type of boundaries do you have in your life? I think of obeying the law. Most recently, I think of COVID-19 and I think of social distancing. I just got married, so another boundary is being faithful to my spouse.


Let’s look at what’s going on today. The first thing that comes to my mind is the tragic death of George Floyd. In this case I would think that the four officers lost sight of their emotional and personal boundaries. What about the boundaries of COVID-19? Do you feel that the coronavirus is creating stress? You may need to create mental boundaries that help to give you freedom from listening to all the news. 


Are there areas in your life where things are in disarray? If there are, then you most likely do not have boundaries in that area. At the Georgia Center for Opportunity, in the impact area of Family Formation, we see regularly where people refuse to set clear boundaries. It’s important as we work to strengthen families and to see individuals flourish that we all seek to acknowledge when this does not happen. The Healthy Families Initiative has relationship education classes to help you to begin to experience that freedom that Dr. Henry Cloud talks about. Until you sign up for a class, here are some quick strategies that will help you to begin setting healthy boundaries:


  1. Know your value. Be clear about knowing who you are and where you stand.
  2. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Have your words speak for you!
  3. Trust yourself and have the courage to say no.


As Dr. Henry Cloud says, setting boundaries is key to knowing where you end and someone else begins, and it allows you take ownership. Individually, we each can begin to take responsibility for what happens in our state, community, and families.


You Don’t Have To Be African American In Order To Appreciate Black History Month!

You Don’t Have To Be African American In Order To Appreciate Black History Month!

You Don’t Have To Be African American In Order To Appreciate Black History Month!

As I reflect on Black History Month, I remember when I first started working at the Georgia Center for Opportunity (GCO). Randy Hicks, GCO President and CEO, and I entered into a discussion about African American families. In reality, it should be called more of an awakening than a discussion.  

When one group does not succeed, it affects us all.

Randy spoke for several minutes on some of the experiences African American families were having within Georgia and across the country. For instance, the rate at which black people were getting married was drastically dropping while the number of single African-American parents was at an all-time high.  He asked me if I was aware of this plight within the black community and I said no. I remember asking him why did HE know so much about this group of people when he was so clearly not one of them, and his response was stunning.  He said, “It is important that ALL people flourish.”

When one group does not succeed, it affects us all. To this day, I am still amazed by that conversation, especially because I wasn’t aware of the horrifying statistics affecting my neighbors. After all my parents raised my sisters and me to know about Black History.

I had no knowledge about the state of African-American Marriages or the incredibly high out of wedlock birthrate.  As part of my work, I attended The African American Healthy Marriage Initiative conferences and I began to learn more.  This education has not only shaped my work but shaped my life in how I think and care for others.

Today, my life is devoted to helping relationships (of all kinds) be healthy and strong. If I’m not doing something to solve the problems, I am part of the problem. As Black History has taught us, it’s through strong individuals and communities coming together that we all become one and see success.

I am very thankful for my conversation with Randy almost 15 years ago.

About The Author

Joyce Mayberry

Joyce Mayberry

VP of Family Formation

As VP of Family Formation at the Georgia Center for Opportunity, Joyce works in the community to build strong families through local collaboration, event planning, and outreach.