#TBT #Michiganlove – The following is the love story of Mr. & Mrs. Terry who have shared 10 years together, including 8 wonderful years of marriage. Their success, happiness, and commitment to one another thrives on the fact that they made the unwavering decision to put Christ at the center of their relationship from the very first day.
Mister: We met at an Inroads business conference in Grand Rapids, MI when we were in college. I didn’t know that I was going to that conference, until a spot had opened, two days prior. When I first saw her she was introducing a guest speaker at the conference. After introducing the speaker, she came down to get a seat for lunch, it was only one seat left and it was next to me. Since she gave the introduction, she didn’t have as much time to eat as everyone else so I offered to sit with her as she ate. After dinner, we walked around the hotel and it was actually a wedding going on at the same time. We walked through the art gallery at the hotel, she was asking me about movies, and I recited a line from Love Jones. After she knew that I knew a line from Love Jones that was all it took.
Misses: So, I saw him before I met him and I thought that he was a cornball. He had on an Alpha shirt, and I was thinking “Oh GOD, these people here wearing their fraternity gear.” That’s the only reason why I noticed him. So I’m pretty happy that he wore that shirt. I was excited to meet him, although I was a little tired. At the time, I was in my last year of school, working full-time, and being the primary caretaker for my Godmother who was going through hospice. That particular weekend, my Godmother’s brother mentioned that the conference would give me an opportunity to rest. So, I just so happened to go. I made the decision literally within a day or two before the conference.
After lunch, we had a break, so we had the opportunity to walk through the hotel. It was very interesting that a wedding was taking place, right in front of us as we were walking. We were thinking “aww that’s sweet, that’s cute”, but really it’s such much irony in that situation.
He was very inquisitive. He was really interested in getting to know me. He was interested in weird things that no guy had ever really asked me. And he did indeed recite a line from my favorite movie, “Is your name Yemeya?” What’s hilarious is that he doesn’t even know the movie. That’s the only line that he knows! That’s my favorite movie quote. Nonetheless, he really caught my attention.
I was thinking about him throughout the rest of the conference, I thought he was kind of cool. So the last day of the conference, I wanted to make sure that he had some contact information from me. Group pictures were being taken was in the Detroit Affiliate group and I was in the Benton Harbor group. I pretended to be in the Detroit group so that he could see me and would hopefully ask me for some contact information. I was trying be present near him and make myself available to him, but someone busted me out “This girl is not in our group.” But it gave him the opportunity to come over and speak to me. He tried to give me a hug, and I extended my hand. He shook my hand and asked me for my number and I gave him my email address.
Our Celibacy Story
Misses: We say it time and time again, “We have the happiest marriage that we know of.” He still does it for me. I think it’s because we initiated our relationship the right way, per our standards and moral beliefs. Prior to being together, we were both sexually active. I decided that I wanted a man in my life that loved me for me and cared about me, but I couldn’t figure out who “me” was. I felt like I lost myself in every relationship I was in. If a man wanted me with short hair, I had short hair. If a man wanted me with long hair, I had long hair. If a man wanted me smart, I was smart. If a man wanted me dumb, I was dumb. I was losing myself and I was unsure of what God made special about me. I was unsure of what God thought was important about me. If a man said that I had a big booty or a small waist, I thought that was important about me. Then after those relationships failed, I thought maybe that’s not what’s important about me.
I needed to take some time to figure out who I was and why I was special. I wanted to be able to bring to a relationship “me” and not become just who they wanted me to be. I personally did a 40 day fast from men. I did not engage in conversations and did not look at them. I prayed and entered a covenant with God. “Lord I promise that I will be celibate and that I will hold my body as a temple and I will be accountable for my actions IF (that’s the covenant end of it).” I asked that he will return the favor and present me with the understanding of who I am, why I am important, and why he made me AND if he could top if off with a really special guy I wouldn’t be mad at that! The covenant was made to last until marriage. The 41st day, my now-husband called me. That kind of blew my mind, but not really, it was cool but I was so ingrained in this new way of thinking. I was not thinking “Oh my God, it’s a guy” after my 40-day fast, I was just in a more mature state of mind.
We lived 8 hours apart by bus, because we had no cars. Our relationship was so cute and romantic because no sex was involved. Though I had an apartment, so the opportunity came up but because of our commitment we chose not to do it. We held hands, and because our relationship was not clouded by sex, I can remember the very first time we held hands. I can remember that because we were involved spiritually and emotionally. I remember when he first told me that he loved me. I was confused! Because I was previously sexually active, I was thinking, why is he telling me that he loved me, when he isn’t trying to have sex with me. It is unfortunate that I was confused. I had never received that kind of intimacy without sex.
There were a few times, that we got hot and heavy and ran to the store about to go get a condom. Thinking “I love you, you love me, let’s go.” But as we walked, the air would calm us down and we would end up laughing and talking. While we were engaged, almost married, there were sometimes that were difficult. We never lived in the same state so when he spent the night during his visits, it was really hard not to have sex with the man that I was head over heels for but we didn’t. We honored our commitment and put our covenant first.
Mister: I was not having sex throughout high school, because I was heavy in church. I started having sex my freshman year in college, up until I met her. She really challenged me in a way that I had never been challenged. She went to church, had a relationship with God, and told me that there was a line that I could not cross physically. Her standards made me like her more. As a result, we became best friends, before we became lovers. Instead of focusing on how to please her sexually, I learned how to love her emotionally and mentally. We wrote a lot of poems, letters, emails back and forth, and conversations on the phone, that was special to me. It made our wedding night that much more special.
Misses: That much more scary!
Mister: I wasn’t scared, I was ready! We waited TWO years. It was well-worth it because we got the chance to really get to know each other without having that cloud of sex.
Our Wedding Night
The most beautiful thing about being celibate, because I am a true advocate of celibacy, is that our wedding night was so blessed. It was spiritually blessed. I don’t remember my first time the way that I remember my first time with my husband. I feel like God closed me up and renewed me not just in spirit, but in body. I felt like a complete virgin. It was completely memorable. This moment, on this day I can remember how I felt that night. I don’t think that people have the opportunity to really appreciate the intimacy that sex can give. I truly believe that my sexual experience with my husband is more intimate now than anything I would have ever been able to dream up. Because of that night, and every night that has followed – with or without sex - I am a true advocate of celibacy. I would love for everyone else in this world to have the opportunity to experience this.
You’re the one
Misses: It made sense, all the cards continued to fall into place. My mind wasn’t clouded with my playlist (guys that I was entertaining). I was focused on him and making him happy. I worked hard at focusing on him, serving him, and wanting to make him happy. I had been that girl before but because of wrong reasons. With us he was doing the same things for me, it was a mutual giving and receiving of love.
Mister: I knew that she was different from any other girl that I ever met. I like that she was passionate, she was confident, and had long-term goals. We had a lot in common, but that wasn’t it. She was just the one. I knew in my heart, and I prayed about it.
Making it last
Misses: I can’t believe that 8 years later I am in the happiest marriage that I know of. I think a lot of it comes with education. Turning off the television and let the WORD of God educate me and let other happy married folks educate me. We are advocates for education. We research how to make it work. We decided that we were going to make it work. My 3rd month, I wanted an annulment! I didn’t want to be married, he got on my last nerves, and he was in my space. I had never lived with a man before, and 3 months into it, he would not leave, he told me no. I went through this psychological process, when I didn’t want to be with someone I broke up with him and his response was “no, we are married and we have to figure it out.” We had to research, ‘what to do when we wanted to leave’. We had to decide how we were going to make this marriage work rather that’s talking to our pastor or a seasoned couple. We decided that we were going to stay in this marriage forever. We made that covenant 3 months into it. We’ve been upholding our promise to one another. Education is huge. He still does it for me, not just physically and not just sexually. Mentally he still does it for me, and that drives the physical and everything else.
The biggest thing for me is the mindset. In our society we hear a lot about athletes and celebrities and what they did to become rich and famous. How often do you hear about couples that do everything in their power to make their relationships stronger/ make their marriages last? This is why our marriage is lasting:
- Faith. GOD, he is a third-party in our marriage. When I talk to her, I talk to her as a daughter of GOD. I need to love her the way that God loves the church. When she and I argue, I utilize God to mediate the anger or the issues. It’s not only about the husband and wife, it’s about God.
- Divorce is NOT an option. We will not get a divorce. I think that if more people had that mindset it would cut down on a lot of the hurt, for example, if when you know that you are going to be with someone for 50, 70, 80 years you’re not going to do certain things to that person, you’re not going to hurt that person because you are going to be with that person long-term. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
- We would prepare for the marriage, more than we would prepare for the wedding. How many TV shows are about preparing for the marriage? So much focused is put on the wedding. Issues that couples have with finances, physical attraction, quality time, and communication, these things can be worked out before the marriage. Also, it’s OKAY to change your mind, if you wanted 5 kids, and now you want two, that’s fine…we just have to compromise. We don’t have to agree on everything. Just because we don’t agree doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be together. It just means that we are two individuals. This relationship is long-term, more important than a work relationship, more important than any family relationship. The bible says, Man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife. (Genesis 2:24) Our relationship trumps our relationship with our children. We love each other right so that we can model that for our son. So that when he finds a woman, he can love her right, because he’ll understand the right priorities.
Misses:We use to have really ugly fights when we first got married. It was awful, we didn’t know how to communicate, how to please each other. We were confused. We decided that we have to do something different. We had to educate ourselves. We are not perfect. I’ve cried, he’s cried. But we’ve never stepped out on each other, because we are committed to each other.
Mister: A lot of these arguments we don’t remember. But we do remember how someone hurts you in that argument. It’s okay to argue, but it’s not okay to hurt each other, harm each other, or curse each other out and to hurt each other.
Misses: I use to be that girl who would be quick to go completely off on a man. It’s interesting because the things I would say to him, he wouldn’t ever say to me, because it would hurt my feelings and I’d cry.I had to realize that being a man doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have feelings, he’s huMAN and its ridiculous to think otherwise.
Our recommendations :
- Proverbs (read a verse everyday for a month. Some of these stories get played out in relationships everyday and it was written in the bible years ago. There’s a story about what happens to a man when he cheats on his woman. It talks about how women can build and tear down their home just with the words that they say. It’s a whole chapter on how to be a virtuous woman. It would be so dynamic is people followed this. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about having standards.