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.
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
This post is in partnership with BET+.
Kingdom Business is back for its second season, with even more sermons, songs, and serpents. The series picks up where it left off, with actress Serayah as Rbel caught between the stripper pole and the pulpit. With the first lady of the church working desperately against her, Rbel must find a way to live her dreams and honor her friend while figuring out her faith in the process.
Season one served a collection plate of rivalry, deceit, and revenge –– among many other tribulations. Between the 28-year-old’s acting, conviction, and harmonious voice, here are a few reasons why season two of Kingdom Business is a must-watch.
If the Spirit Doesn’t Move You, Serayah’s Singing Voice Will
Rbel, formally known as Rebecca Belle, is a stripper whose life forcibly takes a turn after suffering a tragedy. Through her quest to find the truth, Rbel finds herself at odds with the head of a local church, First Kingdom’s Denita Jordan, played by the legendary Yolanda Adams. Rbel unknowingly emerges as what a faithful Christian embodies: a perfectly imperfect human who works every day to try their best while leaning on God. Although struggling with her faith, each ballad sung by Rbel can be felt, as the lyrics relate to personal struggles we all endure in different ways. Gospel songs hit differently when your life is in shambles, and chile, Serayah is singing new life into folks.
Serayah is a Formidable Opponent to The Yolanda Adams
As one of the best-selling gospel artists of all time, it’s no easy task to take on the role of a person on the opposing side of greatness. Serayah’s Rbel does an excellent job meeting Jordan at her level while shining through her solos. Throughout season one, Rbel emerges as a top streaming artist, an accomplishment that begets something of a holy war.
Serayah’s Acting Range is Engaging
As a former stripper trying to make a name for herself in the gospel industry, you can imagine the struggles that could come with it. Rbel goes through a range of emotions, all understandable and relatable. Despite several crises of faith, Serayah ensures Rbel delivers a humbling performance that makes the audience root for her redemption.
The Kingdom Business Soundtrack is Everything
Streaming now on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music, the Kingdom Business: Season 1 soundtrack is one you’d want to add to your playlist for high and low times. Aside from four soul-soothing songs from Serayah, the soundtrack also features singles from co-star/Hamilton’s Chaundre-Hall Broomfield, gospel artist Chandler Moore, and legend Yolanda Adams.
Serayah’s Rbel Makes You Root For Her
With First Kingdom beginning to crumble under the pressure of lies, infidelity, and deception, Rbel’s window to take that top spot seems wide open; however, the end of season one showed us the Spirit had other plans. Whether you believe or not, Serayah’s Rbel makes you want to see her win. Who doesn’t love a good underdog with a laid 22” bust down? Whether she seeks Him or not, God is proving to be on Rbel’s side. But is it enough to turn everything around for her? Will Rbel lean on faith or fear?
With secrets coming to light, success within reach, and the devastating conclusion of season one, you don’t want to miss season two––especially with more guest collaborations. Kingdom Business returns to BET+ on Nov 2.
BET+ Original | Kingdom Business | S2 Official Traileryoutu.be
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While I was in a session with a married couple semi-recently, I asked them to share one of the best things about being in a long-term, committed relationship. Believe it or not, it was the wife who quickly provided the answer that serves as inspiration for this article: “You have a locked-in-for-life quickie partner. People don’t realize how wonderful that is!”
Ah, yes, the quickie. It’s one of those things that pretty much all sexually active people have experienced before, and yet, I’m not so sure that quickies actually get all of the props and respect that they truly deserve. I mean, I get why because, since reportedly, a little under three minutes technically counts as one, some people think that they are automatically getting slighted whenever a quickie goes down.
Yet, if you give me a little bit of your time today, my plan is to show you that quickies are, by no means, a consolation prize or something to roll your eyes about. If you choose to take in all of what I’m about to say, you could up and realize that one of the best things about your day could be making sure that you either don’t start or end one without checking a quickie off of your to-do list.
I’m dead serious, too. Check out 12 reasons why the wife was right — quickies are indeed the ultimate short-yet-potent activity.
1. Quickies Can Help You to Get Out of the RIGHT Side of the Bed
I recently read an article that said sleep deprivation can take a real toll on romantic relationships. The method behind the madness is, when you’re not getting enough rest, it can put you in a bad mood, and that can alter how you engage with your significant other (hey, makes perfect sense to me). So, it would seem that being intentional about getting 6-8 hours of sleep would help to alleviate this problem. Okay, but what do you do on the days when you were tossing and turning all night, you had some bad dreams, and/or you’re just not in the best of moods when your alarm clock goes off (even if you don’t know why)? Have a quickie.
Dopamine, endorphins (which are neurotransmitters), oxytocin, and vasopressin (a hormone that helps with your emotional stability and with your circadian rhythms) are all natural chemicals that are released during sex, especially when you climax. Since all of these can help to put you in a better mood, that’s just one reason why a brief romp before rolling out of bed could get your day off to a great start (no matter how you initially felt when you first woke up).
2. Quickies Can Make Waking Up (and Falling Asleep) a Quicker Process
It’s kind of wild that the same act that can wake you up is the same one that can totally knock you out. Sex does have that super innate ability, though. If you want something better than your alarm, a quickie can get you up and going pretty fast; that’s because, when sex gets your heart racing and your blood pumping, it can get your adrenaline going to — especially if you’re say, riding cowgirl instead of just lying in the missionary position (yes, the more active, the better!).
As far as sleep goes, whenever you have an orgasm from sex, your body releases the hormones oxytocin and prolactin — both of these will help you to feel happy and satisfied. If you add to that the fact that cortisol (your stress hormone) level drops after having an orgasm too…yeah, there’s no cup of warm milk that will put you to sleep faster than a quickie will, chile.
3. Quickie Sex Is More Energizing (and Enjoyable) than a Cup of Coffee
If you always assumed that coffee gives you extra energy, the reality is…it doesn’t. What it does do is stimulate what is known as your adenosine (a system that regulates sleepiness and alertness); that’s the good news. The bad news is, just as quickly as the caffeine in coffee can give you a charge, it can also tank, leaving you to feel exhausted (which is a part of the reason why some people endlessly drink coffee throughout the day).
What’s more reliable than that? Yep — you guessed it. Since sex does everything from de-stressing you, stretching out your muscles and tendons, and increasing your heart rate — it’s an all-natural way to get your body going…without all of the side effects that can sometimes come with coffee consumption.
4. Quickies Give You the Same Health Benefits As Longer Sessions Do
Earlier this year, Men’s Health published an article entitled, “How Long Should Sex Last, Really? Experts Say Longer Isn't Always Better.” It actually said that when it comes to penetrative sex between heterosexual couples, the average was (you ready?) 5.4 minutes — yep, basically a quickie. And here’s the thing: whether you go that short or much longer, you’re gonna basically get the same health benefits either way.
Sex is gonna lower your blood pressure. Sex is gonna boost your immunity. Sex is gonna reduce any anxiety you may be feeling. Sex is gonna make you feel better about yourself (yep, it literally helps to boost your self-esteem). Sex is gonna reduce your pain levels. Sex is gonna improve your quality of sleep. The list goes on and on.
In fact, the only health benefit that longer sex probably provides is how many calories you can potentially burn. The reason why I say that is because you need to “engage” for about 30 minutes in order for you to lose 69 calories (“69” — the irony) and your partner (if he’s a man) to lose 101 of ‘em. In every other way? Even quickie sex can do your body a whole lot of good.
5. A Quickie Can Actually Make Sex More Adventurous
Especially as we age, it’s easier to automatically retreat to the bed when we plan on having longer sexual sessions; that’s because the bed is a comfortable place to have it. Okay, but what if you’ve been with your partner for a while, things kind of seem boring and routine, and you’re not really sure what to do about it? In walks the power of a quickie. ‘Cause let’s be real: there is some stuff that you’d probably never do for an hour that you’d be willing to try for 10 minutes.
For instance, if the thought of public sex has always intrigued you while also freaking you out, you might be down if it’s only gonna take five minutes — and the more spontaneous and creative sex is, the more it can breathe new life into any two people’s sex life!
6. Quickie Sex Significantly Reduces Stress Levels
Stress can kill you — yes, quite literally. I make sure to say that as often as I can because it’s the truth. Heart disease. Asthma. Obesity. Depression. Accelerated aging — these are just a few things that are oftentimes directly related to stress. Since it’s been scientifically proven that sex will trigger the neurotransmitters (dopamine) that help to make you feel good as it also decreases your cortisol (your stress hormone) levels — you are helping your mind, body, and spirit out by having sex…even if they are quickies.
7. Quickies Make Prioritizing Sex Way Easier
I’m gonna be honest — since more and more articles are coming out that sex doesn’t really “need” to be more than 7-13 minutes, I’m not sure the whole “we have no time for sex” thing flies (anymore). If you’ve got time to be on Instagram or TikTok for two hours a day, you’ve got a fraction of that time to get busy with your partner. At the end of the day, it’s all about prioritizing what’s important to you (now, if sex isn’t important, we’ll have to tackle that at another time).
However, if the issue is that one of you likes to “make love all night long” like 90s R&B songs talk about (chile) and the other is cool with sex that is less than half of a 30-minute sitcom, try to schedule “the 90s” in for once a week (or once every other week) while mutually committing to getting some quickies in a couple of times a week. If you haven’t already, I think that by the time this article is over, you’ll see all of the reasons why this can be the greatest — and most fulfilling — compromise that you and your partner have made in a really long time.
8. Having Quickies Can Take the Pressure of Sexual Performance Off
A platform that I used to write for, once upon a time, is Marriage. I kind of chuckled when I read an article that they published earlier this year entitled, “15 Signs You’re Bad in Bed and What to Do About It” because boy…I used to deal with a couple who both believed they were the absolute bomb in bed, even though neither of them agreed. Listen, just because someone from your past may have thought you were “the ultimate” — when it comes to great sex, truly one size DOES NOT fit all. Anyway, some of the reasons that the article listed was poor communication regarding needs and expectations, not having a good emotional connection, and (basically) sucking at foreplay.
That last one? If you and your partner are currently trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t, please don’t forego sex altogether until you figure it out. HAVE. QUICKIES. It can help you both to get the physical release that you need as you work towards achieving the type of sex that you both desire. It’s a practical solution to a layered situation.
9. Quickies Bond You to Your Partner
Every time I see a TikTok post or read someone on Twitter (it’s always gonna be Twitter to me, chile) talk about sex is nothing more than a physical release, the first two things that come to mind are one, we are not animals; we have sex for more reasons than “being in heat” or even to procreate and two, how many people actually never learned about oxytocin in high school-level science class (like really…what in the world?). To be honest, there’s one more thought: don’t you want to see yourself as more than just “casual”? I say it often: casual means things like careless, apathetic, and unintentional. Regardless of what your personal feelings about sex (and who you should have sex with) are, I hope that we all can at least get on the same page that we should see ourselves as more than just…casual.
Back to the oxytocin thing, though — science is never gonna change. There is a hormone (that I’ve already mentioned) that is released during sexual activity (shoot, even just affectionate activities) that literally makes you feel closer to your partner. Oxytocin is its name, and that’s why it has “the love hormone” moniker.
Am I saying that quickies will prevent cheating? There are layers to why people are unfaithful, so to give a blanket “yes” or “no” would be irresponsible. What I will say is something that a husband of over 30 years once said to me, “When I’m having consistent sex at home, it’s the difference between seeing an attractive woman and saying, ‘She’s pretty’ vs. not having much sex at home and thinking, ‘I wonder what she’s like.’ Full people typically aren’t hungry…unless they’re just greedy.” All of that will preach. On a billion different levels too.
10. A Quickie Is a Great Sex Compromise (for When You’re Not in the Mood)
Relationships are all about compromise. And when you’re in a long-term committed relationship, it can’t be said enough that sex isn’t just a “perk”; it’s a responsibility (when it comes to marriage, even the Good Book cosigns on that in I Corinthians 7:5). Unfortunately because not enough people give quickies any type of real consideration, they don’t realize that it can be the ultimate “meet in the middle” move when their partner may be in the mood and they’re not totally…there (or vice versa). Yes, quickies are a solid way to “scratch the itch” without there being a need for an all-out performance.
Listen, I tell my married clients often that when it comes to being faithful to your vows, it’s pretty ridiculous to expect your partner to only be with you if you are rarely with them. After all, no one signs up for a sexless marriage. Bottom line, quickies can be a happy medium when you want to make sure that your partner is good without you having to…do the most (so to speak).
11. Quickies Can Make Sex…Later…Better
If you want to intensify your orgasms (or your sexual experiences overall), one way to do that is by edging. The best way to explain edging is you and your partner sexually stimulate each other to the brink of climaxing, stop for 30-45 seconds, and then start all over again. Why would anyone want to send themselves through that kind of sexually-induced torture? One reason I already mentioned (it makes the quality of your orgasm better); another is it can actually help your partner to last longer (if that’s something you’re ultimately after).
To me, quickies are a next-level form of edging. The way I see it is, it’s like having an appetizer or snack to hold you over until you can enjoy the meal that you’ve been waiting for all day long. For instance, if your quickie consists of morning sex or an afternoon delight during your lunch break, just think of how much that will consume your mind and build anticipation until you and your partner can get together again (especially if you throw some sexting into the mix!). Five-minute previews now can lead to a full-on main attraction later. Amen?
12. Quickies Can Teach Both of You How to “Push the Right Buttons”
Almost every couple, who’ve been together for over a decade, that I know personally, tells me that sex has only gotten better with time. There are a myriad of reasons why. One of them is because they have really learned each other’s bodies, which means they know what works and…what doesn’t. And when it comes to mastering a quickie, that’s the ultimate cheat code because there are going to be times when your mind wants to, your energy levels or your schedules are on the fence, and so you’ll want to “get what you need” without it taking forever.
And listen, if you let quickies teach you how to know just what to do in record time, this point alone can be a solid reason for why you’ll want to engage in one or more quickies a day — a guaranteed orgasm. DAILY? C’mon now.
Welp. On behalf of quickies, I’ve pleaded my case. If I’ve convinced even a handful of you to at least try to have one a day, I’ve done my part. Again, under seven minutes (give or take a couple of minutes) of pleasure that will give you all of what I just said? WHY NOT HAVE A QUICKIE? Damn.
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