Bravotv.com: Tell us about Toi’s struggles with Lupus. How has this affected your first year?
Toi Troutman-Walker: For the most part, my struggles with Lupus have been fairly minimal and have mostly stayed focused on my digestive system. There were times when we were dating that things were much worse with my health. I think being with a man like Rouvaun who is calm, caring and loving, helps to keep flare ups at bay and I am doing better than I had been before being with him.
Bravotv.com: Rouvaun, tell us about supporting Toi through this time. Toi, tell us about being on the receiving end of the support.
Rouvaun Walker: Supporting Toi when she is in a flare is tough to watch because she is in so much pain. I see it as my job to make sure she manages her pain and I usually make the call if she needs to seek emergency medical attention. Many times Toi tries to tough it out. However, lupus attacks and inflames specific organs in her body; therefore, it very well could be a life-threatening situation. On the occasions that she is admitted, I rarely leave her. My goal is to keep her stress levels down and get her to manage her work load.
TTW: Rouvaun is always by my side when I am ill. If I need him, he never hesitates to stand by me. I am careful not to abuse this or take it for granted. I will push until I have nothing left with which to fight before I call in a "sick day" on my husband. He is such an amazing man, and that is not something you want to take advantage of or misuse. Because I know he will do anything for me, and even somewhat enjoys doing things for me, I use this benefit sparingly. I am so blessed to have him in my life. Loving him propels me forward and gives me more tolerance for my pain.
Loving him propels me forward and gives me more tolerance for my pain.
Bravotv.com: Have you been able to keep eating clean?
RW: Eating clean is not difficult as long as Toi is cooking and can manage our meals. Where we run into trouble is when we are both busy and on the go, forcing us to eat out. Then all bets are off.
TTW: Honestly, when I do eat clean, I feel somewhat better. For a while, I was doing the FODMAP diet which is super restrictive. Because of that, I eventually became bored and now I do allow myself to eat other things that aren't on the diet. When I do cook, however, I always cook healthy clean meals for the entire house, including the children. It is still a struggle for me to be completely disciplined with eating clean. I am working toward not craving other things that I don't need. It is smarter to eat properly, but. . .the flesh is weak. LOL.
Bravotv.com: Besides gaining weight, were there any other surprises, good or bad, about marriage?
RW: A good surprise is that my wife takes care of me even when she is upset or sick. . .haha. She has this amazing ability to empathize, which takes our communication to the next level. Truly understanding your partner's viewpoint is very important because it saves you on the amount of arguments. You don't have to agree, but the understanding will actually give your viewpoint credibility.
TTW: I had always heard from happy wives that hips and rear ends spread quickly with romantic dinners and lazy weekends with the new hubby."That won't happen to me". . .or so I thought. Well, needless to say, I'm a victim of happy fat. Instead of a LA face and an LA body, I have an LA face and an Oakland Booty! I'm truly fitting into the Northern California culture. However, I'm not sure I would call that surprising either. When in Rome. . .
In terms of bad surprises, I know I sound like a broken record, but my husband really is amazing and I honestly don't have any complaints about being his wife. If anything, I'm surprised that he is still so amazing even after we've said "I do." I only hope I am as amazing to him as he deserves.
Bravotv.com: You two seem pretty good about keeping the marriage romance alive -- any advice to couples out there?
RW: Keep it sexy, I say. Don't let yourself go and be sure to block out some time despite your busy life. Stay creative. Although you are physically attracted to one another, remember men are visual, and women are more mental. If you can capture her mind, she is all yours.
TTW: Ingredients Required:
1 Large dose of CHEMISTRY.
2 Cups of compliments and kind words
1 Tablespoon of compromise
3 Heaping teaspoons of good timing
1 Good Piece of Lingerie (if worn properly, you will only need it for a few minutes).
All jokes aside, never forget to look amazing for your spouse whenever possible. Just cooking? Wear an apron. . .and nothing else. Or try donning full face on a random evening and doing his favorite dish when he arrives home. You don't have to do anything expensive or extravagant. A man just wants to know that you are thinking of pleasing him in any way possible. Romance doesn't have to include sex. Another quick and easy way. . .and one of my favorites is sticky notes inside his iPad case or somewhere you know he will see it later. Kiss it with lipstick and spray a dab of your favorite perfume. He will think of you all day. Use your imagination. You cannot go wrong here. It truly is the thought that counts.