AFTER Tameika Binger Fuller got married four years ago, she felt as if she had been deceived.
The neat, tidy man she had dated was nothing like the seemingly absent-minded hoarder who was now her husband. Her hubby was also in for a surprise as Tameika — who he thought would have become more docile after marriage — was still as 'aggressive' as she had been before the wedding.
Needless to say, the marriage faced some rough tides as the couple relearned details about each other. Thankfully, after a while, the couple was able to adjust their sails and get back to smooth sailing. The experience was an eye-opener for Fuller, who decided to pen a book about the experience.
Are You Ready to Say I Do?, the title of her book that was self-published on Amazon under the pen name TB Fuller, asks couples.
Binger Fuller spoke unabashedly with All Woman about some of the myths and misconceptions about marriage that she had to debunk personally, while overlooking the tides rolling into Kingston Harbour from the patio of Ribbiz Ocean Lounge at Victoria Pier in downtown Kingston.
“What's the purpose of that marriage? When the sex gets boring and if there are financial issues, what happens? Are you sure you want to get into this thing?” a passionate Binger Fuller asked.
She shared her personal experience with her husband of four years that inspired her to write the book, which, she said, is geared especially to Christian couples who are considering marriage.
“When we were dating he was the neatest person that the Lord had created. He was 'Mr Clean'. But when we got married it turned into, 'Why is this here? Can you take that up for me please?' And it would still be there one week later,” an exasperated Binger Fuller said. “I remember saying, 'You tricked me! I thought you were neat and would always be that way'.
“And he said, 'So what you expect? Mi did a look you. I wanted to impress you',” she divulged.
She soon realised that her husband was a hoarder, too, which would cause conflicts because she hated clutter and felt compelled to discard of items around her that were not being used. Binger Fuller admitted that she started to question whether she had made the right choice in getting married.
“To me, he was an amazing creature and he could do no real wrong — until he did. And I had to learn that, just like me, God was still perfecting him, and it was my duty to work out my own salvation with fear and trembling,” she shared from her book.
It was while she was learning to accept her husband, flaws and all, that she first considered writing the book. But she decided against it out of fear that it would've been too subjective.
“I wanted to write the book from 2017, after I got a word from my pastor,” the certified Christian life coach remembered. “But at the time I was going through a lot in my marriage, and I didn't want to write it from a place of anger. I wanted it to be more sober and honest, and not bashful of men.”
When she sat down to reflect and write early last year, Binger Fuller also saw flaws within herself as a wife, which needed to be addressed before she could give advice to other women.
“I realised people tend to bash men a lot, but when I began to look into my own self I saw that I do have issues, too. The book went from my intention of saying, 'Ladies, choose your man wisely', to me saying, 'Hey, ladies, do you know yourself enough to be ready for marriage?'” she shared, highlighting, too, how she struggled with the notion of submitting to her husband who was expecting that the ring would have reined in her aggression.
“He expected me to change. I grew up in a nuclear family with three older siblings, and I'm very close to dad, so I can be a bit aggressive. I was still myself after the honeymoon, and at one point he was like, 'You're so aggressive,' and I asked, 'Wasn't I always aggressive?'” she disclosed.
But with guidance from God and deliberate effort to meet each other in the middle, the couple cautiously navigated the troubled waters. The wife said she made a conscious effort to be more careful with how she spoke to her husband, and they developed a system to ensure their home was well-kept.
They learned who was better at preparing what meals, and how they would share caring for their daughter, who is now three years old. Submitting to her husband was not easy, but Binger Fuller used the Bible to help her with this issue.
“Among women, the word submission sticks out like a sore thumb; it is like a dreaded disease for the modern woman. Submission is considered slavery disguised as love. The Bible teaches us that it is a man's duty to love his wife as Christ loves the church, and it is a woman's duty to submit herself to her husband (Ephesians 5:25). However, the uncertainty that most women face is that when married, she will be submitting to a slave master and be held against her will. To be honest, I had the same mindset,” she bares in chapter three of her book, fittingly titled 'The Painful Word'.
While the author and relationship coach believes she has found her calling in helping couples to identify and solve relationship issues, as a young girl she thought she would have become a journalist.
“I low-key thought I would be writing articles for a media house,” a laughing Binger Fuller said. “I never gave much thought in becoming an author, but I did write a lot in my journals, a few fictional [pieces], social commentaries, debate speeches, and poetry.”
It was when she became a part of the National Youth Service programme at the end of sixth form, and was a teacher's aide that she realised she was called to be a counsellor.
“I had an experience with a young man who came from a troubled home,” she recounted. “I had to be talking with him every day to get him prepared to actually learn the lesson. I found myself counselling him, but at the time I didn't know it was counselling.”
While studying for her counselling and psychology degree, she reconnected with the man who would become her husband, as she had been acquainted with him from years prior. They dated for three years and then got married. One year later, their daughter, Miera-Ruth, was born.
Are You ready to say I do? was published last August, and since then she said it has been doing well.
“I want to be known as the relationship and marriage coach for millennials,” said Binger Fuller, who is just under 30 years old. “For me, helping persons to be connected to the right persons for them, and being in healthy relationships, that's success; and just being able to destroy the myth that there is only one person out there for you,” she said.