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LeToya Luckett Talks Marriage, Prayer and Therapy
by Leah Sumner
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August 10, 2019

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LeToya Luckett Talks Marriage, Prayer and Therapy

You want something different, you have to do something different.” — LeToya Luckett

“I ain’t got nothing good to say!” That was LeToya Luckett’s original thought when she was in talks to commit to be one of the couples featured in the third season of the Black Love series, airing this Saturday, August 10th, on OWN.  

See, at the time, LeToya and her husband Tommi were not in a good place.  Marriage, new motherhood, and blending her family was a learning curve that she was still in the beginning stages of mastering.  But her husband, Tommicus “Tommi” Walker, thought, “Our story could truly help somebody out.”

The couple appeared at the Black Love Summit’s finale event – the Clips and Conversation panel shared with BLACK LOVE series creators Codie & Tommy Oliver, and highlights from season 3 of the series.  The panel was moderated by actor and television host Terrence J.   

LeToya and Tommi met through a mutual friend who set them up after telling LeToya that she had a guy that she may like.  LeToya’s identity was concealed at the time. Tommi was instructed by the friend to send a picture.  

After the first picture he sent wasn’t good enough, he picked out one of his “Top Five” pictures with his “shirt off and a little chest hair.”  That was enough for LeToya, but she did not afford him the same gesture of an image.  

“You want something different, you have to do something different,”  LeToya said.

“You want something different, you have to do something different.” 

LeToya had some bumps in the road when it came to love.  After years of picking the wrong partner, she prayed, “Alright, Lord, I can’t pick for me…I’m gonna get out the way, I’m gonna get out the driver’s seat, I’m going to get in the trunk!” 

LeToya did some growing, and when she met Tommi, she was ready to do things differently.  

Related: How to Find Black Love, Because You’re Worth It

She didn’t want him to know her identity immediately. Instead, she wanted to talk to him and let them get to know each other first. 

They began their relationship strictly through phone conversations, with Tommi saying that he “fell in love with her that first conversation.” 

LeToya was impressed, though it was going to take a lot more to win her over.

Clips and Conversations panel

And ultimately, Tommi did. LeToya stressed that, with Tommi, she wanted to really “see” him — beyond looks, she wanted to get to the truth of who he was as a man. She was able to do that through those phone conversations.  She saw who he was in the way he spoke about his mother and how he talked to his daughter.  They also shared a bond in spirituality that connected them on a deeper level. They were praying over the phone before they even met and on the day they finally saw each other in person, LeToya gushed that they spent hours just driving around and talking, “It was the foundation.”

And, when he found out that she was singer and former member of Destiny’s Child, LeToya Luckett, Tommi’s response: “Man, I used to have a crush on you in high school!”

But high school crushes aside, it was the bond that had already been formed that ignited their love.  That connection of spirituality continues to be a foundational bond of their relationship. Tommi shared, “We read the entire book of Proverbs together.” 

That connection of spirituality continues to be a foundational bond of their relationship. 

LeToya enforced, “You got to have that covering in your marriage!” It’s a constant thing for LeToya, who said her home is blanketed in “that covering.” When she prays, “I got some oil, I’m touching doors, I’m screaming at the top of my lungs!”  She shared that the book The Power of a Praying Wife, by Stormie Omartian, is one of her weapons of choice.  

But, even though Tommi was what she needed, he wasn’t exactly the type of man she’d always seen herself marrying.  LeToya spoke on how she was not looking for a man with kids.  

“That’s what God gave me,” LeToya said of the fact that Tommi was divorced after 8 years of marriage, and, from that marriage, had a daughter.  But, she was open to what God had in store for her. At the time, she had no children of her own, so after their marriage, she said, “I became an instant mom.”   

Related: ‘Black Love’ Series Wives Talk Overwhelm, Sex, and the Perfection Myth

Tommi had a special relationship with his daughter.  LeToya recalls, “They had their own little cocoon of love,”  and she was just trying to fit in. She noted that there is a certain amount of “patience and understanding with a blended family,” and that she is still learning her place. “[She and Tommi] didn’t give birth to this baby,” LeToya said, treading lightly with the subject matter. She has love and respect for her bonus daughter Madison, and when it comes to blending into this family –– she is giving it her best.  But she knows that she is “not always going to do the right things.” LeToya emphasizes, “I am new to this.” And the couple shared a sweet moment on stage when Tommi told her, “You are doing a great job!”

But prayer and open-mindedness were not the only thing that LeToya did to prepare for her relationship, and to be a whole and healthy partner once she entered it, she also, as a single woman, went to therapy.

“Ten minutes in, I am crying about my daddy!”

“Ten minutes in, I am crying about my daddy!” LeToya said of her experience attending a therapy session.  LeToya says she found therapy accidentally after having some anxiety. But she felt so “relieved” after she left.  She learned that a lot of the way she operated in life had to do with growing up as a child of divorce. LeToya said, “When there is a divorce and kids are involved, Mom marries the kids!” LeToya confided,  “I was told things about my father,” but, “kids can’t be the therapists [to their parents] all the time.” In therapy, she learned how serving that role to her mother affected her, saying that, “little girls need their fathers too.” She needed that view of her father protected for her to value and respect their father/daughter relationship. “It’s the first relationship you have with a man,” she said. 

Related: Black Women Need Therapy, Too

In some ways, the idea of therapy in the Black community remains, at best, a mystery, at worse, a stigma. Terrence J asks the room, “Who goes to counseling in here?” And, as I shot up my whole entire arm, I saw that I was in an overwhelming minority.  But all the couples on the stage noted how therapy had been a positive in their lives and marriages.   

“I was about to kill him a few months back!” LeToya said. After being intentional about counseling in her single years, LeToya talked about the transition to marriage counseling. She continued, “It’s what’s kept me sane!”  She and her husband Tommi started doing premarital counseling together. And Tommi said that “it’s worked wonders!”  Codie and LeToya discussed how the idea of therapy being for crazy people still exists.  But the panelists seemed to agree that it is the lack of communicating certain things, or of self-awareness, that can be destructive. LeToya just discovered, “I need counseling with my mom and my dad, if they gon’ sit still!” Codie noted, “The reality is, we probably all have issues.”

Yes, communication is key, but crystal-clear communication is better.

How have you mastered being on the same page? This question hails from the audience for the couples, and the couples were all in full agreement that they are still on that journey.  Yes, communication is key, but crystal-clear communication is better. LeToya said “I’m an artist, I paint pictures when I speak. I want you to see clearly…so I don’t have to say this no more!” And, as important as communicating clearly is, it’s just as, if not more important, to have both parties willing and wanting to receive it.  As for mastery, Tommi said, “I don’t think you ever master it.” 

LeToya even admitted that sitting on the Black Love series couch for their interview, she heard some things during the experience that she hadn’t heard from Tommi before. And that new level of knowledge and intimacy turned her on.  She recalls that, after the Black Love series taping, the couple had a date night and “did some real nasty things!” 

But what about the lone single guy on the panel? Terrence J was on a panel previously discussing his interest in settling down and the hurdles he needs to overcome. Codie asked Terrence J how he felt after getting an inside look into the struggles of real marriages.  

His answer? Without hesitation, Terrence J responded: “The benefits outweigh the negatives!” 

Terrence J opened up and revealed his desire to be married.  LeToya asked about the work he was doing as a single man looking for a wife.  Terrence, who has been open to the idea of couple’s therapy when two people were in a relationship, never considered therapy as a single.  The panelists conveyed the idea of therapy being a nutrient in our relationships whether it be the one with ourselves or our partners.

Tommy compared it to working out, which Terrence J does regularly.  People exercise as self-care, and the more you do it, the better you get at it.  Being physically fit not only promotes a more physically healthy life, but it also is a preventative measure against physical injury.  Therapy serves the same purpose for mental and emotional well-being. Codie took that time to tell her husband, Tommy, “I would like to go to counseling more!”

As the conversation developed, Terrence J realized that he too had been affected by his father’s absence from his life, and, more importantly, his mother’s conversations with him around his father’s absence.  He left thinking of how therapy could strengthen his understanding of himself. LeToya appealed to Terrence J not to “allow fear to lead you.”

Related: Men on Vulnerability and Dating at the 2019 Black Love Summit

“She is next!” LeToya said in reference to Terrence J’s next relationship being his wife.

“She is next!” 

Clips and Conversations panel

At the beginning of the panel, Terrence J asked Codie, “Why did you create BLACK LOVE?” Her answer: “Because I didn’t know what a healthy marriage looked like.” Today, LeToya & Tommi and Codie & Tommy expanded upon what two seasons of healthy marriages look like in these clips from season 3 of the Black Love series and their conversations around the stories behind them.  And you can catch the full story, along with all the new couples, in season 3 of Black Love, Saturdays on OWN.  

And you can catch season 1 and 2 of the Black Love series on Amazon and on the Urban Movie Channel.

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