Shaquana (Shaq) and I met in college at Virginia State University (VSU); we were introduced by a mutual friend on campus on “The Yard” at Foster Hall. I was in my final year of school while she was only in her sophomore year of college. We hit it off instantly, and we hung out and spoke all of the time. Between classes, we went on ice cream dates, and I would invite her to my apartment for dinner and a movie.
As the weeks went by and turned into months, we grew closer. After graduation, I moved back home to New Jersey and continued my career as an engineer. Shaq is originally from Brooklyn, so during the summer, we were only a short ride away from each other. Because of this, we were still able to talk and hang out regularly. Unfortunately, once summer break was over, Shaq headed back to school to begin her junior year at VSU. During this time, we started the process of our long-distance relationship. We didn’t know how we would make things work for the next two years, but we made it happen. We spent countless hours on the phone. I would travel to Virginia every few weeks, and she would come home every possible chance she received. Our long-distance love continued until she graduated and moved back to Brooklyn in May 2009.
A few years after moving back to BK, Shaq eventually moved to New Jersey so we could be together permanently. I always knew I wanted her to be my wife when we initially met in college, but neither of us were in a rush. We were still very young and even had a lot of growing and learning to do, not just with ourselves but together as partners. I never met someone that I enjoyed being around all of the time. I’m a Gemini, and I tend to have mood swings and want my own space, but not when I’m with her.
When she sees me starting to slack, Shaq pushes me to my most significant potential to become better in any and every capacity. She makes me feel special like I’m the greatest guy in the world, and that’s what I love most about her. Both of us spent the next several years enjoying each other and the things we like, such as traveling and giving back to the community. As the years progressed and our relationship continued to blossom, I knew it was time to pop the big question.
June 6, 2014, on my 30th birthday, while vacationing in St. Maarten, I proposed, and after a year or so of planning and preparation, we finally married on September 2, 2016. My uncle, who is also a pastor, officiated our ceremony. My uncle has been married for almost 30 years and is someone I’ve watched, learned, and admired for decades, especially the way he treats his wife and family.
Since he’s someone who I’ve looked up to my entire life, this made the exchange of our vows between Shaq and I much more meaningful to us. Our wedding was magical and the very best day of our lives. It was beyond our expectations, and I’m glad we took our time to do things our way. It’s easy to tell someone you love them, but we strive to show each other our love and commitment to our partnership every single day.
Reflections by @drew430