In xoNecole's Our First Year series, we take an in-depth look at love and relationships between couples with an emphasis on what their first year of marriage was like.
I think that a lot of us believe in the notion of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. This notion allows us to be grateful for being late to appointments, having plans being canceled last minute, and even changing our minds on attending events we said we would go to. I know I am guilty of feeling so satisfied when things are changed at the last minute and it honestly makes my day better. For a then-25-year-old copywriter, Chelsea Coffey, it was actually the opposite. A last-minute change in her schedule would make her be at the right place at the right time.
Chelsea received a phone call from a coworker to cover a soccer event in Houston, Texas. She was not expecting this assignment, but she is so glad that she did. At the event, Chelsea had plans to connect with the soccer team, but had no idea that one of the soccer players would charm their way into her heart. Just in case you were wondering… yes, that MLS player was Warren Creavalle.
Warren and Chelsea dated a year and half before tying the knot. These days, the married couple has not only solidified their lives in love but also in business.
Courtesy of Chelsea and Warren
In addition to a successful Philly Urban Retreat the two are known for, Chelsea and Warren have founded a business brand called Coffey + Creavalle. Coffey + Creavalle is a one-stop-shop for all things ranging from home goods to apparel. For this couple, they want to become a resource for the community and create a legacy for their children.
Time was really on their side from the very beginning and if there is anything that I took from connecting with this couple is that: when it comes to true love, it comes right on time.
In this installment of xoNecole's "Our First Year," Chelsea and Warren share how they have kept their love alive by supporting one another, making love a daily choice, and knowing the importance of building a legacy.
How We Met
Warren: I was playing soccer for the Houston Dynamo. Chelsea was covering our team's End of Year Banquet for the magazine she worked for. So on that day, I saw her before we even spoke. I was already trying to see who this fine girl was. After the event and the after-party was going on, Chelsea saw me from across the room. With her being on the job and all, she walked over and approached my teammates and I. She starts giving her a spiel on how she could work with us to style us for a photoshoot. And we followed each other on Twitter--after she threatened me about not being a ghost follower.
Chelsea: So my coworker called me about covering the End of Years Awards Dinner for the Houston Dynamo. I thought this was perfect because I was coming from a photoshoot. So, I already had my makeup done. I wasn't very familiar with soccer-focused events, so I didn't know what to expect. But girl when I got there, I called my coworker saying we have been missing out! I continue to be professional, but after the event, I figured it would be a missed opportunity if I didn't make a connection. So I come up with my business introduction, walked up to Warren's team, and did my thing. But when I was talking to Warren, I felt like we were talking for the longest. So we ended up exchanging our social media information, and that's how we connected.
Chelsea: I was a little smitten out the gate, to be honest. I remember it was very dimmed lighting in the room and Warren's smile was just *ding ding* (laughs). It was really nice. Also, something to know about me. Since I am from Texas, my default is to pronounce certain names as if they were Spanish. I assumed Warren was Afro-Latino and when he was telling me his last name, I pronounced it differently. He got a little sassy with me, understandably, because I was saying his name wrong. But that was my first impression of him. As charming as he was, he was still a little sassy to me.
Warren: It was my rookie year and I was new to Houston. So when I saw her from across the room, I felt it was a turning point for me. I felt like I was glowing up and me being able to talk to women who look like her was a plus. I was convinced that Houston may be my kind of city. As Chelsea walked passed, I said out loud, "Look at my future beautiful Black queen!" Even after we were able to finally connect, I still thought Chelsea was beautiful and was looking forward to what was coming next.
Chelsea: Warren and I actually dated twice. We hung out a few times and we'd been dating for like five minutes. This thought came into my head, 'I don't care if he gets traded, we're going.' And immediately I told myself, 'Girl, what is wrong with you?!' 'First of all, where did this thought come from, and second of all, we don't even know him for real.' But, it's true when they say when you know, you know. I saw Warren as my best friend and we always had a good time together. Even though we broke up temporarily, I told myself that I wanted to feel like that, if I ever fell in love again.
Warren: So when we reconnected, Chelsea was still in Houston and I was in Philadelphia [two teams later]. But it felt like we didn't skip a beat. I still felt like I was talking to my best friend. It was a really refreshing vibe. To be honest, I did date other people when we were both single. But Chelsea was the only woman that would make me scramble if that makes sense (laughs). That was really significant for me because I felt like I didn't have to worry if she wasn't going to be in my life anymore. That was when I knew. It was natural to take that next step with her to me.
"Chelsea was the only woman that would make me scramble if that makes sense. That was really significant for me because I felt like I didn't have to worry if she wasn't going to be in my life anymore. That was when I knew. It was natural to take that next step with her to me."
Saying "I Do"
Chelsea: We had two weddings. We got married legally in the spring and then had our marriage reception/ceremony six months later. At the main marriage ceremony, Warren wrote his own vows, and what he said was so sweet. I would say that is one of the things I will never forget. But there was this moment after the vows and all the pictures were taken. I thought that we would come back to the bridal suite for a special one-on-one moment during the wedding. Ironically, it didn't happen like that.
We got to the room and slowly, but surely, all of our bridesmaids and groomsmen were in our room. They were eating snacks and playing music. But seeing all of our close friends together made me appreciate things that were just out of our control in the best way. It was a beautiful way to celebrate our love story by being surrounded by the people we really care about. So it's a mixture of both of those for me.
Warren: I would have to say when we were saying our vows to each other was the most memorable part for me.
Chelsea: I think that one of the benefits of me being older than Warren is that I was at a stage in my life where I knew I didn't want to date just to date anymore. I was ready to be in a serious relationship and get married. I wouldn't say that I didn't have any fears, because I think that's natural when you do have them. One thing that was a sensitivity of mine is hoping that we can navigate through each other's different seasons.
I wanted us to be able to get through things together rather than individually. What helped me to be less afraid about stepping into marriage was Warren's pace. When things move too fast, I get a little nervous. And since we were at different seasons, I admired that Warren knew what he needed as far as time, to be completely ready for this. Warren has a thorough and thoughtful pace. So by the time we got closer to the wedding, we were sure about it.
Warren: I agree with Chelsea. I think the pace we chose in our relationship helped us be more confident in our decision to get married. Marriage is forever. So it's important that you are sure this is exactly what you want. So being able to take that time allowed that assurance we needed.
"When things move too fast, I get a little nervous. And since we were at different seasons, I admired that Warren knew what he needed as far as time, to be completely ready for this. Warren has a thorough and thoughtful pace. So by the time we got closer to the wedding, we were sure about it."
Courtesy of Chelsea and Warren
Chelsea: I consider myself a proper particular kind of person. I have never lived with a guy before and so to my surprise, Warren is so particular too. He has his own ways of how he likes things done. In a way, we complemented each other, but there were times I felt we were tripping over each other and our own preferences. I will say that we are still working on this. It is all about picking your battles.
Warren: Yeah I do like things in my living space a certain way. I have had my roommates before, but I was living on my own when I was dating Chelsea. So stepping back into sharing my space with someone was an adjustment for me.
Chelsea: With Warren, I really appreciate how supportive he is. There is just something to be said about someone who knows how to be present with their partner. For example, when I was writing my book, Warren sat down with me for days and went through/edited the entire book. It is really a blessing to have someone like that in your life. Someone that is just down for you for whatever. So learning how to be that way for someone is what I've learned through how Warren shows up for me.
Warren: Prior to our relationship, I had this grip on life. I had this idea about what I wanted, where I wanted to be, and how I was going to get there. So allowing someone you consider your partner to add to that, is a shift. There's a trajectory in your life that is for the better because you are letting other people in. It was something I didn't anticipate, but it has definitely been my biggest lesson.
"Prior to our relationship, I had this grip on life. I had this idea about what I wanted, where I wanted to be, and how I was going to get there. Allowing someone you consider your partner to add to that, is a shift. There's a trajectory in your life that is for the better because you are letting other people in."
Chelsea: I remember I was trying to make this video right after our Houston house renovation. I was trying to be cute and asked Warren what his main takeaway from the experience was. Warren says, "Go get the money." As much as we joke about that, we are grinding out here. We want our kids to live a life that reflects all the hard work we put in. We want to be a significant staple in our community in a big way.
Warren: If there is anything to add, we want to be able to open doors not just for our kids, but for other kids in our community as well. I think that it's important to lift up the next generation and be that source of knowledge or resources for them to become successful.
Warren: One thing I've gotten from Chelsea's father and our marriage counselor is to make a choice to love your spouse every day. The butterflies and everything is not enough to sustain the day in and day out. So you make that choice every day and sometimes multiple times a day to love that person.
Chelsea: There is the overarching theme about grace. When you are in a relationship, you have to show the other person grace. I think that sometimes when we don't give the other person grace and we lash out on them when we are upset about something, we forget about our own shortcomings. If you are able to put yourself in the other person's shoes, it sets you up for getting out of a situation better than you anticipate.
For more about Chelsea and Warren, follow them on Instagram @thecoffeybreak and @malik_lebeau. Follow their brand @coffeywithcreavalle.
Featured image courtesy of Chelsea and Warren
Originally published on July 8, 2021
In xoNecole's Our First Year series, we take an in-depth look at love and relationships between couples with an emphasis on what their first year of marriage was like.
Love is beautiful, and if you believe otherwise, then you may just haven't found the right person yet. What I mean by beautiful is that love is a journey that is comfortable and uncomfortable at the same time. I am not saying that love doesn't come with its bumpy times because that would be a lie. What I am saying is that when it comes to love, sharing those moments with someone makes the ride called life all the more worth it. Whether it's going on trips, doing adventurous activities, or even relaxing together in the park, those moments are what helps keep the love couples share alive. That is exactly how DJ QuickSilva and Ashley Silva approach their love.
They have been married for 12 years, and they still make sure they have fun and do things together like they did when they met almost 20 years ago. Quick is a DJ and radio host from east Baltimore who is best known on Washington, D.C.'s The Russ Parr Morning Show. He is also the host of The QuickSilva Show, which can be heard weekdays 3 to 7 p.m. EST on both 92.3 FM in Baltimore and 93.9 FM in DC. Outside of DJing, he's the owner of Club Downtown Bmore and has opened a DJ school called The Quick and Eazy DJ Academy, with the goal of providing a curriculum that teaches a wide range of skills necessary to be a successful DJ.
While Quick has become very successful and is still reaching new heights, he was not expecting to find that support system and his partner in "fun" in the love of his life, Ashley Silva.
Courtesy of DJ QuickSilva
Once they got married, Quick and Ashley Silva, creator of the lifestyle brand and podcast @funtimemoms, made sure that they kept dating each other. "I think we lead by example. We really try to show our kids what a healthy marriage should look like. We hope that through our actions and how we live our lives, we inspire our children. We hope that through us, our children see that marriage can work if you allow it to work."
How We Met
Ashley: We met at a nightclub called Hammerjacks. One of my neighbors was the opening DJ and I was driving him to the club that night. I saw Quick there and I thought he was cute. The rest was history at that point.
Quick: So initially in 2002, Ashley messaged me on BlackPlanet.com. She introduced herself and was telling me about a DJ she was friends with. From there, we met in person at the nightclub a week later.
Ashley: We didn't really call ourselves being in a relationship until four years after we met. I used to call it a 'friendlationship'. But I think it started being called a situationship later on. One day, I stayed over at Quick's place and I literally just never went home.
Ashley: I love how dedicated Quick is to everything he works toward. Whether it is for work or for our family, I know that it's going to get done. That really motivates me because there are times where I am not as motivated, but when I look at him, I tell myself, if he can do it, then I can do it too.
Quick: It's hard to narrow it down to one thing. She is the most thoughtful person I have ever met. When I say thoughtful, I mean she goes above and beyond. It could be friends, family, or any person that she comes across. For her, it is really about making other people feel special. She does an amazing job of that.
The Big Day
Quick: We had our wedding in Jamaica and I remember it rained a lot that day. The wedding was also two hours late from starting. But my favorite memory of that day was when I first saw her. Ashley came around the corner and then Brian McKnight's "Never Felt This Way" started playing. Everybody in the room started crying. It was an amazing and magical thing.
Ashley: I believe there's a saying, "If things go bad, the better the marriage." Literally that morning, I woke up with three mosquito bites and I'm slightly allergic. With the rain, my hair was messed up and we had to move the wedding indoors. But the reception was so much fun. It was really the best time.
Ashley: I don't want to say it was love at first sight, but it kind of was. I remember telling Quick years before (when we were in our situationship) that one day he is going to want to marry me. I just loved everything about him. To me, he was the perfect guy.
Quick: There was definitely a moment for me. Back in 2002, Ashley was there for me during one of the lowest points of my life. During that time, when I lost everything, I would ask her, "Why are you still here?" Her response was that she liked being around me. I knew at that moment that she was the one, but honestly, I knew I wasn't ready.
"Back in 2002, Ashley was there for me during one of the lowest points of my life. During that time, when I lost everything, I would ask her, 'Why are you still here?' I knew at that moment that she was the one, but honestly, I knew I wasn't ready."
Quick: My biggest fear before marriage was not being able to provide for and protect my family. A lot of people get married because of love, but I wanted to make sure that I was financially and mentally ready before we took that step. What helped me overcome that fear was reminding myself that Ashley was there for me when I had nothing. Because she was there for me, it let me know that she is not with me for the money.
Ashley: I really never saw examples of long-lasting relationships growing up. Even if they were in a long-lasting marriage, the couple hated each other. That is not something that I wanted in my marriage. I wanted to have a friendship, too. For our children, I want them to see that their parents love each other and like each other. I think they are able to see that even now.
Ashley: The beginning of our marriage was around the time social media became popular. With social media, people have been really mean to me. There were people who said the worst things to me, and I was genuinely shocked about where this hatred was coming from. It really bothered me and it showed me how there are so many people truly unhappy in their own lives.
Quick: We live in a time where most people are pretty unhappy. No one wants to see success in careers or love with other people because that is something that they want. If there is one small thing that someone can nitpick at, that is what they focus on. That is what gets on blogs. It just shows that positivity is not what people buy into. It is the negativity that sells.
Self-Care Within Marriage
Ashley: I am a huge advocate for mental health and wellness. Self-care is a part of my everyday routine. I like to meditate with my daughter, and I like to take hot baths. Self-care can look different in different marriages. For Quick and I, we enjoy spending time together, but we also enjoy our own 'me time.' Having your own identity within your marriage is so important. For example, it can get hard being able to spend time with your girlfriends after you get married. Three months can turn into six months and then you're wondering where the time goes. So my other form of self-care is maintaining those relationships outside of my marriage. Everyone needs that.
Quick: Iwork so much. I literally party for a living and I am around people 24/7. There have been days when I have worked myself into exhaustion, so when I am not working, I do not want to do anything. I enjoy watching an old movie, smoking a cigar, and just relaxing. If I could watch a movie, smoke a cigar, and get a massage every day, life would be amazing! My form of self-care is honestly doing nothing.
"Self-care can look different in different marriages. For Quick and I, we enjoy spending time together, but we also enjoy our own 'me time.' Having your own identity within your marriage is so important."
Courtesy of DJ QuickSilva
Quick: One thing that Ashley mentioned in another interview really resonated with me. She said, "In marriage, you will always love each other. Will there be moments when you fall out of love? Yes. But what helps with keeping the marriage going is that we don't fall out of love at the same time." So those moments when we get on each other's nerves, it is always one of us that still cares to bring us back to love.
Ashley: A lot of people talk about communication, but for me, I think comprehension is more important than just communicating. If someone is telling you something and it is going in one ear and out the other, it doesn't mean anything. To understand where your partner is coming from is key.
Ashley: I think a goal for us is that in 20 more years, we still like each other. We try to do things together that we both will enjoy. Keeping the fun is a huge part in keeping the marriage alive. A big mistake that a lot of married couples do, is that they forget who they were before they got married. So it's important to do things that remind you why you got together in the first place—to be reminded, what made you fall in love.
Quick: I think it is important for people to see that just because you're married, doesn't mean you can't do the fun things you were doing before you were married. Yes, some things may slow down and change. But the Silvas like to turn up!!
"I think a goal for us is that in 20 more years, we still like each other. We try to do things together that we both will enjoy. Keeping the fun is a huge part in keeping the marriage alive."
Ashley: Keeping that balance of being a couple outside of being parents is essential. I remember Guiliana Rancic (works for E! News) said that her marriage comes first and her children come second. A lot of people were upset that she said that. But when I read more about what she was saying, I understood why. If I spend all my time with my children and my marriage is failing, I don't have a marriage to go back to.
Quick: Everything does not work for everybody. What works for us, may not work for the next couple. I think the main important thing in a marriage is to agree on what works for you two. It's not easy to be married to someone like me in this industry, but once you figure out what works, go with that. Nobody can teach you what works in your marriage better than you.
Featured image courtesy of DJ QuickSilva
In xoNecole's Our First Year series, we take an in-depth look at love and relationships between couples with an emphasis on what their first year of marriage was like.
It was a cold winter night in Chicago, more than a year ago. Your girl was scrolling through the fifty-eleven million options on Netflix to find something interesting to watch. I spotted this new show, The Circle, and have not looked away since. Produced by Studio Lambert and Motion Content Group, it premiered in January 2020 and has become my new favorite type of game show. Hosted by Michelle Buteau, The Circle is about contestants who are isolated in their own apartments and can only communicate with others via an online social media platform.
On season 2 of The Circle, the world fell in love with DeLeesa, the contestant who would eventually be crowned winner of the cash prize. She won the game by playing as a single dad named Trevor, who is actually her husband. As a true fan of the series, I figured it was only right to sit down with DeLeesa and Trevor to get the deets on how marriage has been for them IRL. So, let me take y'all back into time real quick, to the beginning of their love story.
It was 2007, and DeLeesa was starting her first day of school as a college freshman. She was getting adjusted to her new dorm and was introduced to her new resident assistant, *drum roll please* Trevor St. Agathe. They quickly became friends and Trevor helped DeLeesa find different activities around campus. After a year, they decided to take things to the next level.
Now, 14 years and two beautiful children later, the married couple have been focusing on doing whatever it takes to create the best life for their children. Since college, the power of commitment and open communication is what has kept DeLeesa and Trevor by each other's side.
One thing that we can all learn from The Circle and social media in general is that everything is not what it seems. When I connected with the couple, DeLeesa wanted to get the story straight about her and Trevor's love story. "I feel like people look at couples on social media and they think that things are perfect when that's not true. We went through stuff, too. We just figured out how to overcome it and move together as a unit."
In this installment of xoNecole's Our First Year, Deleesa and Trevor share how marriage is about work, navigating through the ups and downs, and prioritizing family. Here's their story:
How We Met
DeLeesa: I got to school early because I was starting [college] a semester late. I met him, we became friends, and I developed a little crush on him. One day, we were hanging out in his room and he just didn't want me to leave (laughs). So we were messing around for about a year. Exactly one year later, I told Trevor that I am not going to keep doing this unless he becomes my man. If he didn't make me his girl, then we were done. (Laughs)
Trevor: I tried to ride it out as long as I could (laughs). At the time, I was thinking, since I'm still in college, I shouldn't be tied down. But I knew that if I didn't make it official, she was going to leave. So, she was right, and we took it to the next level.
Trevor: I thought she was absolutely beautiful. She was pretty and the new girl on campus. So I knew she was going to get lots of attention. But I didn't want to be on that with her, so I continued to just be a stand-up guy. At first, it was the normal student-and-RA relationship. She would ask me what activities she could do on campus and I gave her a few suggestions. For a few days, we continued to hang out and I started to realize the chemistry we had between us.
DeLeesa: When I first met Trevor, I wasn't even thinking about going that [relationship] route with him. I was new to the school and I just wanted to be his friend. But because we shared bathrooms in the dorm, this man would just walk around in his towel sometimes. I couldn't help but notice him more after that. I just thought 'He is fine!' (Laughs) He was so nice and he never pressured me into anything, but, he knew what he was doing.
DeLeesa: I love that he has unconditional love for me. I feel like that no matter what I do or no matter how mad he gets, he is still always going to be by my side for anything that I need. We have been together for a long time. Even though we had breaks in between, he has always been there for me.
Trevor: It's not just one thing for me, but I can sum it up: DeLeesa is everything that I wish I was. She is very much not afraid of what other people think and she is very determined to go after what she wants. She has that go-getter mentality and it is so attractive to me.
"DeLeesa is everything that I wish I was. She is very much not afraid of what other people think and she is very determined to go after what she wants. She has that go-getter mentality and it is so attractive to me."
Trevor: On our wedding day, I was crying like a baby when I finally saw her. That is my fondest memory of that day: seeing my wife-to-be from a distance and instant water works. (Laughs)
DeLeesa: I really enjoyed our first dance. Our wedding was pretty big, and I planned the whole thing. I was very hands-on and it was hard for me to just have a moment and be present. But when we had our first dance, that was our time to just be with each other and not worry about anything else. It really hit me that we were married at that point.
DeLeesa: Well, the thing with Trevor and I is that we broke up a lot. We reached nine years of being on and off. By that time, we said to each other that this would be the last time we were going to break up. We were going to try our best to do everything that we could to stay together. And if we didn't work out, we were going to go our separate ways. For me, I really wanted us to work because I did see him as my future husband and my children's father. So it was the conversation we had to not break up that was my "you are the one for me" moment.
Trevor: It was something that I always knew. Young Trevor would say, "If I had to get married, this is who I want to marry." When I knew it was time to take things more seriously with her, it was after we had that conversation. Another confirmation that DeLeesa was the one was when we had to move to Canada from New York. I thought to myself that this woman must really love me to pack up and move to another country for me. This woman trusts me so much and she is my forever.
"The thing with Trevor and I is that we broke up a lot. We reached 9 years of being on and off. By that time, we said to each other that this would be the last time we were going to break up. We were going to try our best to do everything that we could to stay together."
Trevor: The questions that popped into my head were, "Can I do it?"; "Can I be a good husband to her?"; or "Was I truly husband material?" You can't take a test for that or study to get those answers. You have to just do it, apply your morals and values, and do the best you can. What has helped me with this is continuing to reaffirm how we feel about one another—affirmations that let me know that she is happy and I am doing a good job. Marriage isn't that much different from what we have already been doing this entire time. We just wear rings.
DeLeesa: My biggest fear [is related to the fact that] I am a very independent person, [so] if I do not like something, I can be out, quick! So with me, I questioned if I could stay put and fight through the bad times within a marriage. I would question if it is worth sticking it out since this is a lifelong commitment. What has helped me get through that is reminding myself that I can still be independent within my own marriage. I can still do things on my own and still share my life with someone I really care about.
DeLeesa: I feel like I have been really good at keeping my relationship with my friends balanced with my partnership with Trevor. So when we first got married, my personal challenge was me trying to juggle between being a good wife and still making time for my girls. I really didn't want to lose sight of who I was in the process of marriage.
Trevor: My work at the time forced me to travel a lot. So when you are in that honeymoon phase, it's important to have quality time together. It was hard with my job to enjoy life together as a married couple in the beginning. Yes, we have been together for a long time. But this was different. Not being around my wife as much as I wanted to was really hard for me and the both of us. Our communication started slacking and we definitely struggled during that time.
Trevor: There's two lessons that I have. One lesson is that I am a husband first. I have spent a lot of time not being a husband so it can be easy for me or anyone to continue to behave that way. But my wife always has to come first, no matter what is going on in life. When you're married, you have to reinforce that. My second lesson that has helped in our marriage is making sure I do things in order to make her life easier. It can be the simplest thing, but for me, it is a huge priority.
DeLeesa: My biggest lesson is being able to learn from each other. For example, if he is doing simple things to make life easier for me, I am learning from him how to show up for him to make him happy. It can be easy to just receive everything he is putting forth, but it has to be give and take for us.
"I am a husband first. I have spent a lot of time not being a husband so it can be easy for me or anyone to continue to behave that way. But my wife always has to come first, no matter what is going on in life. When you're married, you have to reinforce that."
Trevor: To do everything in our power to ensure that our girls have the best possible life. Everything that we do at this point is for them. Before children, I may have moved slower working toward certain things, but there is definitely an added fire on how we approach things because of them.
DeLeesa: I agree. The number one goal is to be the best parents we can be. We want to set up generational wealth and we want them to be culturally aware. We want them to grow up and be proud of everything we have done for them.
DeLeesa: My advice would be don't go looking for advice, honestly. A lot of people are going to have an opinion about your life and sometimes that may not be the best for you. People can have different intentions and may give you the wrong advice. So I feel that if you need to vent, then yes, have someone to confide in. But don't take their word as facts. Try to figure out your marriage for yourself. Stick to your intuition and what you want to do, no matter if you are being judged for it.
Trevor: The things that matter are to be patient, listen close, choose to be happy, and love hard. I also think when people come to terms with the fact that marriage is work, then it is more possible for people. There are honestly more things to be happy about with the person that you marry. You have to keep all the things that you love about that person at the forefront to get you through. Once you do that, you will be fine.
Follow Deleesa and Trevor on Instagram @leesaunique and @trev_saint and their family page @itsthesaints.
Featured image via Instagram/Leesaunique
Do you remember the first time you fell in love? It is this indescribable feeling that takes over your body without warning. The lucky ones get to experience this feeling more than once in their lifetime. Regardless, if this feeling lasted for forever or just for a moment, we will always remember the person who made us feel this way. When you experience love, yes we are physically attracted to that person, but it's deeper than that. Love is about accepting someone for who they are on the inside and wanting to share your life with them.
On June 2, 2019, I was honored to witness two people devote their lives to each other because of that indescribable feeling. I was able to see my sister, Calina Kimbrough, marry the love of her life. As Calina exchanged her vows to the woman that became everything she needed and more, it was a perfect moment to see what true black love looks like and feels like. Before this moment, things actually moved a little faster for my sister and her now-wife, Rennetta Kimbrough.
Calina and Rennetta met at a nightclub six months before they became engaged to be married. Calina spotted Rennetta across the dance floor and knew she wanted to learn more about her. With the power of using her best wing woman, Calina asked her friend to see if Rennetta was single. After they connected and Rennetta walked Calina to her car that night, it was only right for Calina to return the favor by taking her hand in marriage and later walking down the aisle.
Courtesy of Calina and Rennetta
After being married for three years, Calina and Rennetta have created a successful life for themselves and their children. They started a clothing business together called LiXX Clothing and plan to expand this business in order to leave a legacy for their family. When it comes to keeping the love alive, Calina and Rennetta have learned that it is about showing up for one another and working together as a team. Showing up can mean different things to different people, but for Calina and Rennetta, it is about lessening the load for one another and communicating openly and honestly.
Love will always have its ebbs and flows, but when you are able to navigate through it with the person that gave you that feeling, any couple will tell you it's worth it. Calina and Rennetta continue to pour the love they have for each other into their new family. They have been able to set an example and display what love really looks like.
In this installment of xoNecole's "Our First Year", Calina and Rennetta share how love is about supporting each other, navigating through the good and bad, and valuing the importance of family. Here's their story:
How We Met
Netta: We both happened to be at this club called Taste. Calina was looking at me and actually sent her friend over to try and talk to me. I told the friend that if Calina wanted to talk to me, then she had to talk to me (laughs). But then after that, I didn't see her in the club for a little while and I got kind of worried. But she came back to the club and we finally spoke to each other. After that, I walked her to her car and it's been us since then.
Calina: So that night, I was persuaded to go out with my friends. I had no intention of trying to meet someone that night because I was completely fine with being single. It was my first time being at this club and I noticed Netta at the bar with one of her friends. I did ask my friend to go over to Netta and ask her if she was single. When my friend came back with Netta's message, I honestly got nervous. I felt Netta was out of my league so I basically left to walk around to ponder about the situation and to see if Netta would still be there once I got back (laughs). But I came back and Netta actually walked up to me. So we started talking, she walked me to my car, and yes we have not left each other's side since.
"I felt Netta was out of my league so I basically left to walk around to ponder about the situation and to see if Netta would still be there once I got back. But I came back and Netta actually walked up to me. So we started talking, she walked me to my car, and yes we have not left each other's side since."
Calina: So my initial thought when I saw Netta was that I like the way she dresses. I have always been attracted to her style and her confidence. Her confidence exudes from out of nowhere and she doesn't try too hard. After I got to know her and within those first couple of weeks, I thought she was pretty cool. But she was trying to play hard to get and I didn't like that (laughs).
Netta: At first I thought Calina was really shy. But I noticed her stance and that is what initially made me want to approach her. She is ultimately very beautiful. She is very smart and I love this woman.
Netta: I love Calina's intelligence. I don't think she gives herself enough credit for how smart she is. She's my beauty and my brains.
Calina: I love Netta's passion for family. Family is something that I look for in the people I date because I am very close with my family. Netta is always keeping family first in mind and she makes sure that our home is straight before anything. I truly appreciate and admire that about her.
The Big Day
Calina: One thing I remember about my wedding day was how calm I was. Normally, I have very high anxiety. I am usually overthinking and trying to fix things when I am super anxious. Mind you, on our wedding day, nothing went right (laughs). My favorite part of the wedding was when my dad gave me away to my son and then my son gave me away to Netta. That moment was something I pictured in my head over and over again. The fact that my father was eager to get me down the aisle and then seeing my son being happy to be a part of the wedding is something I hold dear to my heart.
Netta: I remember seeing her at the back of the room before she was going to walk down the aisle. I cried like a baby (laughs). She looked so beautiful. I was definitely nervous and I am usually not a nervous person. But at that moment, when Calina was down the aisle I thought to myself, 'This is it. No take backs!' (laughs).
"I remember seeing her at the back of the room before she was going to walk down the aisle. I cried like a baby. She looked so beautiful."
Courtesy of Calina and Rennetta
Netta: Calina is very different from any other woman I have ever dated. We would have real conversations about anything and I liked that we could do that together. I also felt like Calina was "put away". What I mean is, she wasn't mixed in any of the crowds that I was a part of and that made her sacred to me. I also think she was a saving grace after losing my mother. My mother passed on the 10th and I met Calina on the 10th. Everything just lined up and I just knew she was the one.
Calina: I am very much big into the kids. One thing that she had above other people that I've dated, is that she knows what it means to be a mom. Netta has three daughters and when she mentioned that when we were getting to know each other, that was a green flag for me. But more importantly, I needed to know if Netta knew how to be a parent. There was this moment when my son and I were at Netta's house. My son needed something and my son and her were having this conversation without me. I really needed to see that my son is OK with whomever I bring into my life without me needing to be present. I needed to see that someone is going to care for him the same way I care for him.
Calina: I wouldn't say there was a key defining moment for when I knew I wanted to take the next step into marriage. I will say that everything happened so quickly for us. We were dating almost six months before she proposed. But everything that happened within those six months was very pivotal for me. We were able to try different things and see if we could really blend our lives together in the smallest ways. So by the time the proposal happened, even though I wasn't expecting it at all, it was very reassuring to me. Usually I am the one that is ready to take the next step, waiting on the other person to be ready. But this time, it was the other way around.
Netta: I know that we took a trip to Louisville together and I don't know, something happened with us down there. I don't know what she did to me, but that day, I remember telling my sister that it may be time for me to take the next step. We were in the mall and we walked into the jewelry store. Calina spotted her eye on this ring. After she walked out, I dropped money on the ring right then and there. I can't explain what kind of power Calina has over me, but she got me (laughs).
Netta: My biggest fear was failing. I have seen so many failed marriages firsthand and that really affected me. I didn't want to fall into that category like everybody else. What has helped me get over that fear is that each year Calina and I prove that we can make it through anything together. Even if we have a disagreement, we always come back and work out our issues.
Calina: My biggest fear was being exposed. I have done very well keeping a wall up for the majority of my life. So being completely vulnerable and open to someone scared me. I thought that I was being open enough with her when we were dating. But in marriage, it is a whole other level. However, when I have slowly opened up to Netta more, she has proven that she is going to love me through it all. She may not agree with everything or accept everything I say initially. But she is willing to work through things with me and be beside me regardless.
"My biggest fear was failing. I have seen so many failed marriages firsthand and that really affected me. I didn't want to fall into that category like everybody else. What has helped me get over that fear is that each year Calina and I prove that we can make it through anything together."
Calina: I wouldn't say the kids were a challenge, but it ebbed and flowed. I know at one point I'm their favorite person and then the next, I'm not. I think that's just parenting in general (laughs). But for me, those questions like, "Are you going to stay?" or "Are you going to make my mom happy?" were definitely questions we had to work through and I make sure I reassure the kids all the time.
Netta: For me, my challenge was not knowing everything about Calina. There were certain things that I had to find out later about her. It was mainly because I didn't feel prepared to help support her with her struggles or at least learn how to support her. I don't want to say it was because of a lack of communication. But to her point about her fear of exposure. It definitely played a part in the beginning of our marriage.
Courtesy of Calina and Rennetta
Netta: I want to say communication. If we do not talk to each other, everything goes downhill. It's important for us to talk to each other about if we are in a good mood and especially if we are in a bad mood. That is the biggest thing for me.
Calina: I think an important lesson is to make sure you do not lose yourself in the other person. I have done that plenty of times before and even in my marriage. Netta has definitely been my mirror. She has reminded me that I need to establish who I am outside of being a wife and doing things that make me happy at the end of the day.
"Netta has definitely been my mirror. She has reminded me that I need to establish who I am outside of being a wife and doing things that make me happy at the end of the day."
Calina: I like to show up for Netta by realizing how I can support her. How can I lighten the load for her when she is stressed or when she needs to just take a breath. That is how I like to insert myself. Now Netta would agree that sometimes I don't just lighten the load, I take the whole thing (laughs). But then that's not good, so I am definitely working on that. But yes, just reassuring her that I appreciate her and that I am here to be a true partner/teammate.
Netta: I am very protective of Calina. I always try to make sure that no harm comes to her and take the load off of her as well, when I see her juggling so many things. I also like to make her laugh when I see her in a bad mood. I try to brighten her day the best way I can.
Calina: I would love to say the ultimate goal is til' death do us part. I want us to be a strong example of black love. Not lesbian love, but black love period. I feel like that growing up for me, I was shown the example of what a healthy union looks like. So being the exception of everyone and showing how true love works in a marriage is a good common goal for me.
Netta: I agree with her. But I also want to add that I want us to take our business to another level. I want us to leave a legacy for our children.
Featured image courtesy of Calina and Rennetta
For Billboard-charting hip-hop artist Call Me Ace, he met his match when he met his now-wife, attorney Roza Patterson, at his college birthday party. On this particular night, in 2011, Ace and Roza shared with each other their ambitions and their dreams after college. With both of them living in two different states, they had no idea that the strength of their connection would withstand the physical distance between them.
According to Ace, what drew him to Roza was the fact that "she loves so much. She has taught me to be less self-centered." For Roza, "it's the way he celebrates other people. He is so supportive of others." This couple maintained their long-distance love until they finally walked down the aisle in 2016.
For Roza and Ace, this month marks their five-year anniversary and they have centered their marriage in being aligned spiritually and purposefully. With combining their Jamaican and Ethiopian cultures, Ace and Roza made it their mission to build together in love and serve each other to reach the ultimate #RelationshipGoals. With Ace being an artist, his recent song "Love Goals" talks about the core principles of his marriage, and how he and Roza continue to work hard and trust in God to take them to the top.
When you love someone, having faith as your foundation helps you get through the best of times and the worst of times. Ace mentions, "Instead of thinking of these instances as negative, we took these moments as opportunities to help build together in this project called marriage." Whether you are married, engaged, or in the beginning stages of dating, a partnership is about togetherness. It highlights the importance of focusing on the journey of love and trusting that your faith will guide you to the ultimate destination.
Courtesy of Ace and Roza
In this installment of xoNecole's "Our First Year", Ace and Roza share how they kept their love alive during long-distance, how they keep God as their foundation, and truly support each other's dreams in their marriage.
Here's their story:
How They Met
Ace: I recently graduated from Columbia University and was having a birthday party on campus. A mutual friend of ours attended the party and Roza came with [the mutual friend]. My first impression of Roza was I thought she was a literal angel. I never met anyone like her. I was fresh out of college and I didn't have much. So after talking to Roza for a while, I compared what she was doing with her life versus where I was in my life. I couldn't even be her friend because I figured I was going to mess up her life (laughs). My attitude was that she was doing so great for herself, so she should just leave me or she would regret it (laughs).
Roza: I really didn't know anyone at the party. So to make myself more comfortable, I figured I would talk to the birthday boy. We basically talked all night and we exchanged social media information. Ace was definitely the most interesting person I talked to that night. When I met Ace, I thought he was a good listener. At the time, I recently got out of a relationship, so I wasn't looking to hop into another one. Even though I liked talking with him, I really didn't think anything would happen between us.
Roza: When I met Ace, I had made a commitment with the Lord that I would not take action into anything unless hearing from the Lord first. A lot of people say "when you know you know" and for me I patiently waited for the Lord to tell me that Ace was my person. When the moment finally happened, it was all excitement from then on out.
Ace: Roza and I were long-distance the entire time before we got married. At a point in our relationship, Roza had a choice to choose between Columbia [my alma mater] or a school in the UK. She chose the school in London. I was mad at the situation because I took it as a sign that we weren't meant to be together.
But one day, while I was praying and writing in my journal, I heard this question, "Has Roza wronged you in any way? If so, leave. But if not, you should love her through this." I took that as a sign that if this is God's will, then so be it. So after Roza's Master's program was over, I was convinced that if we can make it through an international long-distance relationship, we can make it through anything.
"A lot of people say 'when you know you know' and for me I patiently waited for the Lord to tell me that Ace was my person. When the moment finally happened, it was all excitement from then on out."
Courtesy of Ace and Roza
The Big Day
Roza: One thing I do remember on our wedding day is that Ace actually surprised me with a song. I was completely shocked (laughs). Ace and I planned our wedding to a T. But after our first dance, I see the DJ walking over with the mic. I'm telling the DJ we don't need the mic, it's fine (laughs). But little did I know, Ace started performing his song and I was blown away. Ace told me when we were planning the wedding that he didn't want me to stress and that his job was to make me happy. He definitely did that.
Ace: One thing I remember is that when the wedding was all done, we ran into another married couple. They had this huge white old-school car and Roza and I asked if we could take a picture with them and their buggy. Then, we were slick and got them to take our picture by ourselves in front of their car (laughs). It was one of the dopest pictures ever.
Roza: When Ace graduated from Columbia, he started at an unpaid internship. In my head I thought, 'Who starts an unpaid internship after college, we need to be getting jobs.' (laughs). So basically, he didn't have any money. I started to wonder if he would be able to provide for me in the future. I struggled with this and even thought about giving up on our relationship. But I am glad the Lord worked with me on that. I value security and I believe everyone does. But finances is not what I wanted to base our relationship on. In the end, he is providing for me more than I can ever imagine now. So I am glad I let go of that.
Ace: So the challenges as far as culture, what we like to eat, or different sleeping patterns hit us after we got married. But for us, it wasn't really a challenge per se. It was actually pretty fun. We have never lived together before, so it was all new for us and we were able to experience everything for the first time together. Instead of thinking of these instances as negative, we took these moments as opportunities to see how we build together in this project called marriage.
Ace: My biggest fear, and I am still working through this, I just want to be a good husband. In the beginning, I feared that our relationship would crumble because of me. The way I grew up, I didn't have a lot of role models on what a healthy black relationship looked like. All of it was new for me and even my family. So there's this pressure to not mess things up. But I submit my fears to the Lord and it is an everyday choice to trust in God and lead in loving one another.
Roza: One of my biggest fears was that we had different upbringings. I am Ethopian-American and he's Jamaican. My other siblings married other Ethiopians, so I was scared about how our different cultural backgrounds would blend together. I struggled between if my family would accept him or if I should do what my siblings did, because that's easier.
But God is so gracious, because I learned that above anything, you and your partner comes first. If I would have listened to those fears, I would have lost out on this amazing man and our beautiful marriage. When you are with someone that you know you love, don't use money, looks, culture, etc. as an excuse to break that up.
"If I would have listened to those fears, I would have lost out on this amazing man and our beautiful marriage. When you are with someone that you know you love, don't use money, looks, culture, etc. as an excuse to break that up."
Courtesy of Ace and Roza
Ace: One of the scriptures in the Bible, it says love doesn't demand its own way. I think that is so powerful because in marriage, we are both individuals with our own perspectives. So it is not about living your life your own way anymore. It is about how we mend things together into one. One of the ways we keep our marriage intact is we have these relationship summits. We are working on a better name for them (laughs).
Every quarter, we travel somewhere and take a couple of days to sit and talk. Whatever are the hot topics in our marriage during that time, we have a chance to talk them through and our goals moving forward. This is really our safe space for one another to lay everything out on the table and the other person's job is to actively listen. I am really thankful for those times.
Roza: One of the lessons I have learned is that you can not treat love as a feeling. In marriage, love is action. Love translates through service. You can give without loving, but you can't love without giving. With that said, it's important to remind yourself that there are times you will show you love your partner whether you feel like it or not. I have to show up no matter what for my teammate.
"One of the lessons I have learned is that you can not treat love as a feeling. In marriage, love is action. Love translates through service."
Ace: A happy wife is a happy life. Period (smiles).
Roza: The only competition in your marriage is to see who can outserve each other. Marriage should not be for tit for tat. You should be serving your partner simply because that is what you are called to do.
For more of Ace and Roza, follow them on Instagram @rozapatterson and @callmeacelegit. You can also check out Ace's most recent album, Out of Office, here.
Featured image courtesy of Ace and Roza
In xoNecole's Our First Year series, we take an in-depth look at love and relationships between married couples with an emphasis on what their first year of marriage was like.
Whether it is with our friendships or our partners, God makes no mistake when placing the right people in our lives. For married couple Jamal and Lisa Ford, God was very instrumental in the way they found each other and later found love. Their love story began way, way back in the day when the two were only kids. At nine years old, a young Lisa was attending children's church like she did any other Sunday. To her surprise, there was an unfamiliar eight-year-old boy sitting in her usual seat. As kids, they would meet as strangers, unaware of the love story that would unfold between them years later as they grew into adulthood. It was the start of their forever, but neither of them knew it yet.
After meeting, Lisa and Jamal became friends and would eventually become a couple in 2014. They'd date for six years before officially tying the knot and saying "I do". For this married couple of nearly a year, it wasn't hard for them to see a future together. While Lisa and Jamal knew each other for most of their lives, they naturally had a bond with one another that grew into true love. According to Lisa, marriage is about making your own rules. So the couple makes it a priority to not only keep their marriage fun and exciting, but to also build a legacy together for their family and future generations.
In this installment of "Our First Year", xoNecole was able to sit down with Lisa and Jamal to talk more about patience with one another, facing marital fears, and trusting God as the foundation of love.
How They Met
Lisa: We actually met in children's church. We were both young, aged 8 and 9. One day I saw that he was sitting in my seat. I thought to myself, 'Who is this kid sitting in my seat?' He was visiting the church that day, so I was definitely curious to know who he was and why he chose my seat to sit in (laughs).
Jamal: She's right (laughs). It was my first day at the church and while I was sitting in her seat, I was meeting my cousin there too. My cousin just so happened to be Lisa's best friend at the time. So after church, I went to my cousin's house for dinner and they both still talked about "the boy that was in Lisa's seat" (laughs).
Lisa: We started talking to each other in the summer of 2014 and dated in the fall. I remember telling my best friend, "I wonder if he's going to give me a promise ring soon." My friend thought I was crazy and joked that we only have been dating for a short while. But the reason why I mentioned the promise ring is because I knew he was the one. We started off as friends and gradually became each other's best friend. I just knew he was my person.
Jamal: I knew Lisa was the one because when we were dating I would say to myself, 'I don't see myself being with anyone else.' Thinking about that really made me want to see this through and take that next step with her.
Courtesy of Lisa Ford
"I mentioned the promise ring is because I knew he was the one. We started off as friends and gradually became each other's best friend. I just knew he was my person."
Lisa: My biggest fear walking into marriage was that we would get so caught up in a routine and we would forget about the romance. Growing up, I saw a lot of married couples who didn't look happy. I knew I didn't want that to be my story. I didn't want to just settle in a marriage where things became predictable. I always wanted to have that romance aspect in marriage. What honestly helped me get over my fear before getting married was to just get married. Once we were married, we talked about how we wanted our marriage to be and defined certain things for us to do in order to keep our marriage fun.
Jamal: My biggest fear was finances.When I was trying to find a ring for her, I was in college at the time. So I thought about just being able to afford things and provide for her whenever she needed. But Lisa is very driven, so I knew that she would help if we ever had any finance troubles. I trust her and just the nature of our relationship helped me get over that fear.
Lisa: For me, one of the biggest challenges was trying to balance building a marriage and building a business. I am really driven and once I say I am going to do something, I stick it out. Even if that means me working till late at night. That was hard for Jamal because by the time I'm done working, I don't want to spend any quality time [together]. I just want to go to bed.
Jamal: I know for me, I have been navigating through my mental health. I have PTSD and it can be hard sometimes for Lisa. Before we even got married, she was helping me with it. I feel so blessed to have been supported by her all this time. She has been patient. She would talk me through my different emotions and just be there for me. It's very healing knowing you have someone in your corner when you have a mental health condition. I really appreciate her.
Jamal: There is no limit to how much you can love someone. Love is selfless and, in the name of love, you are capable of doing anything for someone without expecting anything in return.
Lisa: My biggest lesson has been loving someone the way they need to be loved. If I am loving you the way I receive love, then it doesn't benefit the other person. So it's important to know how to show up for my husband in a way that he will be able to receive my love for him.
Courtesy of Lisa Ford
"There is no limit to how much you can love someone. Love is selfless and, in the name of love, you are capable of doing anything for someone without expecting anything in return."
Lisa: This may sound materialistic, but we want to be the first millionaires of our family (laughs). We are trying to break generational curses and create that wealth. We have seen our parents work so hard and they are still working till this day. We want to be able to help our family to the point where they can enjoy life.
Jamal: We definitely want to help support our families financially, but we also want to help the less fortunate. Really make an impact in the community and bring positive change.
Featured image courtesy of Lisa and Jamal