Black Love: How Couples Make Love Last

 

In celebration of the month of love, the Defender sought out love stories from those in our community, seeking to find secrets or tips to making relationships work. Here are a few love stories from everyday couples, each offering a unique take on how they met, fell in love and also keep it going.

RaMone and Kiah Lawrence

RaMone Lawrence (33) and Kiah Lawrence (28)

Been in a relationship for 3.5 years; Married: 1.5 years

How did you  meet?

“It was a right swipe on Tinder, Nov 2015.” Ramone had previously used online dating and this was Kiah’s first time. She met Ramone on her first date.

Turning point of the relationship.

Ramone was infatuated with her the day they meet. Kiah knew it could be something when she could truly be herself around him. “The turning point of our relationship was when we moved in with each other about 10 months after we meet.”

Things you like to do together?

Singing, dancing, trying new things to make memories.

A challenge that you had and overcame together.

Long distance marriage; “when we got engaged, Kiah had recently got a new job in another state. Then being in the military, I (RaMone) was sent to Germany. Our whole time married we have been apart. Don’t feel sad because she is accomplishing her career and I’m clearing out debt. We make time for one another via video chat and we talk all the time (sometimes too much lol). We also see each other on a routine schedule.”

A tip on sustaining a relationship.

Support each other and communicate. Don’t worry about other people, other “GOAL” relationships on social media, or the stereotypical marriages (relationships);  do what makes you both happy as a couple.

 

 

 

 

Kareem and Sharita Abdullah

 

Kareem Abdullah; Sharita Abdullah Ages: 42 and 48

 

Status: Married. We were together for 19 years. We’ve been married for 18 years.

How did you  meet?

“We met in 1998. We both worked for Old Republic Life Insurance, located in downtown Chicago. We would often see each other in the break room. We associated with two entirely different groups of people. I (Kareem) was still transitioning from street life and my friend choices reflected that. She was friendly with several professional women who came up in good homes. I was a temp in the filing department and she worked in Policy Services. We would often stare at each other and there was an apparent attraction. For me, she had these hypnotic eyes. What began as periodic, cordial greetings evolved into full discussions which eventually landed us on a date.”

Turning point of the relationship

“We moved relatively quickly. We met each other at critical points in our lives. She was closing out a bad marriage and I was trying to stay off the streets and focus on bettering myself. We had similar upbringings, we would come to later find out. We communicated well from the very beginning and we enjoyed each other’s presence. I think that the concept of knowing ‘this is the one’ had never occurred to either of us. We were both at a practical and pragmatic stage in our lives that we were willing to build a loving relationship with a person we enjoyed and found comfort in. The turning point in our relationship came when we converted to Islam. We saw many examples of strong married couples and we decided not to waste one another’s time by putting it off.”

Things you like to do together?

“We pray and worship together. We read together. We have long discussions. We play chess together. We both love bowling. We both love attending poetry sets. Like most couples, we like cuddling on the sofa, binge watching Netflix or Hulu.”

A challenge that you had and overcame together

“We’ve both gone through surgeries. We have children. They were hers from her previous marriage but I accepted them as my own when they were 8 and 4. They are now 23 and 27) We had challenges related to child-rearing, as well as related to the children’s biological father seemingly choosing addiction over his children. Maintaining objectivity and attempting to preserve any respect they may have still had for their biological father was difficult. Another challenge was that I (Kareem) had felonies on my record and was a high school dropout. I kept losing jobs due to those factors, yet she stayed in my life and helped me to focus on finishing high school and college. “

A tip for sustaining a relationship in your perspective

“Whatever philosophy or religious persuasion you may adhere or subscribe to, keep those principles up-front in your relationship. Never be afraid to receive counsel from those who are more experienced. Have patience with your significant other and be realistic. Many of us have these romantic aspirations while entering a relationship yet can’t manage after the infatuation wears off. There is no shortcut to a successful marriage. It is constant work, communication, self-analysis, listening, self-correction, and observation. My best advice would be to understand that perfection is a process.”

 

 

Erik and Sherrie Kirk

Status: Married

How many years have you been together? 12 years

How did you  meet?

“We met each other in September 2005 at Nitro Night Club. First interaction was purely physical attraction.” Sherrie’s voluptuous curves drew Erik’s immediate attention. Sherrie was infatuated with his tall dark skin appearance. “We’ve been hanging out since then.”

Turning point of the relationship

“Three years into our relationship, we packed up, left Chicago, and took a risk of starting a life together in Central Illinois. That day signing our condo lease together was when we realized that this was it. We were starting a new journey together. We knew that our bond was so strong and that we needed each other more than we thought for whatever life might bring us. A couple years later, we got married.”

Things you  like to do together

“We like to enjoy live concerts; gospel, R&B, or soul; comedy – movies or stand-ups. We like dining and good food.”

A challenge that you had and overcame together

“For years we would speak of wanting to buy our own house. In Summer 2017 we jumped into the process. But on closing day, the sellers walked away from our deal leaving us literally homeless. Even though we bounced back slightly by finding another house, we were now forced to live in hotels with two children for 5 weeks. Keeping a smile on our faces and being “happy” on the outside to keep our kids in a good space was the hardest thing we had to do–all the while second guessing putting our lives at risk. We did close on our current house at the end of the summer 2017 and haven’t looked back (but we will never forget the process.)”

A tip for sustaining a relationship in your perspective

Keep the fire lit.

 

 

 

Katrina Waddy and Andy Delaney

 

Katrina Waddy, 49 and Andy Delaney, 54

Status: relationship

How many years have you both been together? 3

 How did you  meet?

Katrina: “November 2015 at a mutual friend’s mother’s funeral. As I prepared to leave the repast (where I’d helped the family and did lots of dancing), Andy introduced himself and asked if he could take me out for a cup of coffee. I told him to get my number from the mutual friend and asked how he knew her. When he told me they were friends from the Dearborn Homes housing project, I asked if he knew my grandmother (one of its beloved candy/lunchroom cookies/freeze cup ladies). He was astonished because he’d known my grandmother since he was a kid; so, he pulled out his cell phone and showed me a picture of him and her at a recent annual picnic (for which I’d gotten her dressed)!”

 

Turning point of the relationship

Katrina: “Andy had me intrigued during our first telephone conversation. But, after ringing in 2016 together, he volunteered to pay for the seafood and ingredients for my homemade New Year’s Day gumbo; and, that’s when I officially took myself off the market!”

Andy: “A few weeks after we met, we went to see (Jazz musician) Dave Koz at the Chicago Theater.  We had such a great time. Everything felt natural.”

 

Things you  like to do together

Andy: Concerts/listening to music, TV shows/movies, barbecues, having fun with family and friends, and travel!

Katrina: “On our first date, he told me how much he enjoyed traveling and his quest to visit every US state and each continent. In 2016, we went on our first trip to New York City for Valentine’s Day; followed by New Orleans for my birthday; Mississippi for his family reunion; and our first international trip to China.”

A challenge that you had and overcame together

Katrina: “Unfortunately, we met at the beginning of what would become a three-year unemployment stint for me. During that time, I underwent lots of dashed hopes, self-esteem drops, and wavering faith. I thank God for using Andy to save my life by supporting and encouraging me to get back up and stay in the game.”

Andy: “It was her being unemployed for a few years.  As a Black male from a poor neighborhood, I knew that things can appear grave, but would change.  I’d already faced one of my greatest fears/life challenges, and completely understood the very real feeling of despair and not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. So, her unemployment wasn’t hard for me. The hardest part was trying to keep her positive and from giving up. But, we made it through.”

 A tip for sustaining a relationship in your perspective.

Katrina: “Work to maintain a healthy balance of friendship and ‘loveship.’ In other words, be friends enough to feel comfortable talking to each other about any and everything; but, be in love enough to commit to the passion, communication, trust, compromise and other things necessary for maintaining a strong, thriving relationship.”

Andy:  “Being able to accept a person for who they are and what they do… not trying to change someone; but, understanding why they do the things they do.  An example is that she is very nurturing and, at times, overprotective.  I’m the complete opposite… very independent, not used to someone treating me like I need everything done for me. But, by interacting with her and her daughters, I realize that those are qualities of a good mother. I thought about it and decided that I’d rather someone show how caring they are rather than show little interest. It’s a learning experience and definitely ongoing. “

 

Conclusion:

We all know that relationships are not easy all the time, but it is great work on both ends. When you are in love with that person, it makes it worth the effort. In the Black community, we can have and strive for  strong relationships and marriages.

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