Omari Hardwick values ​​”respect” in his 11-year marriage.

Omari Hardwick values ​​respect and communication in relationships. In fact, the actor tells PEOPLE that both qualities are key to their 11-year marriage Jennifer “Jae” Pfautch.

The outlet recently interviewed Hardwick, addressing the factors of a healthy relationship. In response, he dismantled the word “relationship” and likened a romantic partnership to running a ship.

Omari says the ship sinks when the people who operate a ship or boat don’t do their duties. He says things aren’t that different in a “relationship boat,” adding that it’s “a ship.”

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“When it’s romantic you really have to focus on the ship and the best way to connect on the ship is to communicate in a way that you do that on the nights you don’t want to do that , or on the mornings you don’t want to.” To do that, you get a kind of hallway or restroom pass, if you will. You get a pass because you’ve done enough. You counted your numbers sufficiently when communicating.”

Hardwick and Jae married in 2012 but had been together for several years and lost their first child to stillbirth in 2008. After wed in April, the couple had another child in November 2012 – a daughter named Nova. Their second child, a son named Brave, was born in March 2015.

Omari says communication and respect are “neighbors next door” in a relationship.

The actor, whose latest movie Mother is streaming on Netflix, says communication and respect give room for a healthy relationship.

“You can probably get away with it, as long as communication and respect stand alongside it. Respect is the closest neighbor,” Hardwick told PEOPLE. “You just have to really respect the person you’re in that relationship with. Once that’s gone, it’s really hard to get it back.”

Omari’s comments follow another couple’s take on a lasting marriage. Church And Tammy Franklin rejected the term “perfect couple” in a recent interview with Essence. Creating a perfect marriage “creates something that’s out of the context of reality,” Kirk said. Tammy added that there’s also a modern obsession with “length of marriage, not health.” For her, her 27-year marriage is based on faith, friendship, therapy, and being proactive rather than reactive.

In April, Omari’s wife Jae offered advice on dating and marriage, calling growth “one of the most important things”. She posted a captioned selfie of her and her husband Hardwick.

“Constant, ongoing, continuous GROWTH in all facets. Look for someone who is constantly evolving. Once you are married, they will not magically fall in love with growth, so pay attention when you are dating someone. Marry someone who loves to grow, get better, learn and progress. If you seek growth in your own life, you will nurture your relationship with growth in the same way. You see, change is inevitable, but growth is optional. If you marry someone who always strives to grow… shit! Best partner ever! Ps. Don’t be out there looking for a “producer” when your life is still stale, stagnant and full of excuses why you haven’t changed, grown, gotten better or didn’t reach your goals because they there won’t be it or you. Growth is always sexy.”

At the time, Omari reiterated his wife’s loving message in the comments.

“We’re all just rock-kickers trying to get by overnight. Many feel comfortable simply driving down a flat road. Most try to avoid the rocks altogether. & SOME dare… to kick, push, carry, pull and pull the stone up a mountain. That sucks. Maaaan. Forever grateful beyond that [Jae] because you are THAT! I love you,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, another special person in Omari’s life caught people’s attention online this week. His similar looking brother Jamil had the Innanet girls in a stranglehold when his photos went viral.

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