Lovers and friends.
We met our freshman year of college through a mutual friend and unknowingly started a close friendship that would blossom into a very fruitful partnership. Both 18-years-old (very grown, lol) living away from home for the first time and relationships were the furthest thing from our minds. Meeting through a mutual friend after picking her up from a business school study session, Terrence says he knew he had to get to know me. He even remembers the outfit I was wearing—yellow halter top and white short shorts — was what really peaked his attention.
From there, we began a genuine friendship, sharing all our similar stories of growing up in the Midwest, childhood church stories, learning that both our mothers were HR professionals, and me enjoying all his goofy jokes and gentleman manners. We didn’t have cars as freshmen on campus, so he would call cabs to take my friends and me out to dinner or grocery shopping at Walmart. Around the spring of our sophomore year, our relationship began to blossom into something more. Our eye contact became more intimate, our phone convos a little longer, and the ‘heat’ got a little steamier.
Somewhere along the line, we were official, and by the time we were 21 and 22, respectively, we were expecting a bouncing baby girl together! We knew finishing college was the only option for securing a real future not only for ourselves but also for our budding baby-on-board. The pressures of marriage also read: shot-gun wedding, came from every corner. But at the time, it wasn’t our focus. We endured the typical challenges of a young-love-think-you’re-grown-love and the ups and downs of being young parents. I graduated first and moved away with our daughter to take a career opportunity in Georgia, and Terrence finished his five-year master’s program in Florida.
We worked for our family, weekend visits, mom, and dad only trips, prayer, and constant conversations of what we wanted our lives to look like in the future. Officially real grown-ups with jobs and a kid, we mapped out our own vision of a successful marriage. He was the cook; I specialized in cleaning. His favorite thing was to get the baby all riled up before bed, my favorite thing to do was plan parties and trips. We supported each other to grow as individuals, as parents, and as partners. I honestly rejected most relationship advice because back in 2012, the new mom and wife self-care language didn’t exist. I only knew the habits and lifestyle I would be able to maintain that gave me, my daughter, and my husband what they needed without sacrificing myself. WE HAD FUN!
On my birthday in 2012, Terrence proposed <3, at a 5-star restaurant with a bill price tag that I won’t share here, but at a time we were both ready for, a time that made sense for us. Our daughter was three years old, and we had poured love and life into her. We were ready to ‘make us last foreva.’
Fast forward to nearly seven years of marriage, and with God and our commitment to our family, each year has been better than the last. Let’s see, two cross country moves, several job transitions, the purchase of a new home paying off debt and now, over a decade after the first, expecting a new baby—we’ve really got OUR groove of marriage. Not a groove that was laid by anyone else, but what works for us. We’ve taken the best from the relationships we’ve watched. We’ve also loved and learned from our hard times and those from marriages — and divorces, nearby.
As we continue growing our family and strengthening our vision for our lives, the legacy that we want our names to hold is that of financial freedom and philanthropy. Serving as motivators and avid seekers of knowledge that propels our family to pass that insight onto others. We’ve remained friends through it all, and that has been the not-so-secret recipe to success in our marriage. Best friends who met on the highest of seven in hills in Tallahassee, FL, who grew together, learned, and planned a vision for their lives together for what we pray to be a long and fruitful marriage.
Reflections by @xo.bran