In xoNecole's Our First Year series, we take a more in-depth look at love and relationships between real-life couples, married and unmarried with an emphasis on what their first year in love was like. These couples allow us to journey through their love stories with them – the ups, the downs, the triumphs, and the tribulations of what it takes to make their love work.
The first thing that stood out to him when he met her was how different she was from any woman who came before her.
When Cameron, 24, met Aisha, 26, it was over six years ago at a mutual friend's BBQ. Among the sweet smell of hickory, the earthy aroma of charcoal, and too-sweet tea, their eyes met and so did their vibes. It was humble beginnings for the Creative Label co-founder and the pro-baller. Cam would love his wife for her creativity, passion, ambition, and most of all, her ability to challenge him "to be better and do better," he said. "And hold me accountable."
For AIsha, she would love in her husband the very thing that took her breath away from the jump: his kindness.
One look at Aisha's Instagram and you learn exactly how they fit. Photos of her in her cap and gown being supported by her man as she finishes her degree, him being supported by her while donning his own uniform for the Sasatchewan Rough Riders. It's not only a match made in heaven, but a match made in compromise.
After five years together, the couple got married in the spring, March 5, 2017 to be exact, during Aisha's spring break in her third year in law school. "The most memorable moment to me was when I walked down the aisle and Cam looked at me and siad, 'Wow,'" Aisha recalled. "He has this weird way of making me feel like I'm the only girl in the world."
A year later, and the Marshalls are giving us some insight into their first year of marriage in our latest installment of Our First Year. This is their journey.
Dating With Purpose
Cam Marshall: When I was looking to date, I was only looking to date someone that had qualities that I could see in a wife. When I met her, she was just different—in a good way—from everyone I met. I felt a strong and quick connection with her. After I knew her heart, it was obvious at that point. Nothing sudden, it was over time. When I knew her heart, I knew that's what I want.
Aisha Marshall: This is so cheesy, but I felt like I knew he was the one when we met. Seriously. You always hear that, but I felt it. Mostly because I knew I was dating a Godly man. And what came with that was someone who also put God first, valued our relationship, and had no interest in playing games. All that coupled together felt like if we were compatible, it would really lead to something special.
Cam: I knew I wanted to marry her early on. I decided to propose when I did, because I wanted to marry her for 3 ½ years, and I knew it was time. I felt like we were at a point in our relationship where we had gone through a lot and I felt like I had a good grasp on how we could handle things together when things were easy and going well and when things were really horrible—in each one of our lives, respectively. I felt like that was something I needed to push me [and feel] that it's time to do this.
Aisha: For me, when we first started long distance was when I knew—which was a little less than one year into our relationship. (laughs) We went the traditional route when it came to living together and being abstinent. So when our school and careers took us to separate parts of the country, I knew that I didn't want to live my life apart from him anymore. I knew he was it for me.
"I knew I didn't want to live my life apart from him anymore. I knew he was it for me."
Cam: I didn't have fears going into marriage, which is probably strange and naive to say. My parents have been married for 30 years. Not making it work is never an option for me. Knowing things get tough, I knew we'd make it work and figure it out. I wasn't scared about anything.
Aisha: My biggest fear is divorce. I came from a single parent household, so I experienced first-hand how that can affect a childhood. I absolutely didn't want that for my future. One thing we've learned throughout this year is that, oftentimes, couples bring their experiences—bad and good—from their family into their relationship. Making a conscious effort to recognize those feelings and shut them down if they're not helping your marriage is key.
Cam: In the beginning, we didn't overcome friction as a team very well. We had slightly different expectations post-marriage [that] made things difficult sometimes when we're trying to handle things. She thought, "This is my husband, this is how he should act." And I thought, "Why should things change from when we're dating?" That didn't allow us to act really well as a team. I did things and acted alone often times without involving her when I should have or when she expected me to.
Aisha: Nine months in, and I think we're finally starting to get the team player gig down, for the most part. Working as a team on hard, controversial topics is freaking hard. We both have the best intentions for our marriage, don't get me wrong. We just both have different ways of going about them.
Cam: Some bad behaviors for me was not being open. I'm naturally closed off as a person. That's not the bad part. What's bad is that I wasn't open with Aisha with the things that involve her. How did I navigate through it? Repeated arguing, until I finally realized that this was important. I had to stop trying to fight it and realize that this is important for her. When I was more open, things were a lot smoother than when I tried to control them by myself. Being open with her didn't mean that I never got my way anymore. It was just more discussions than me just unilaterally making a decision.
Aisha: One bad behavior for me was ending a argument or discussion when I felt like I didn't want to talk about it anymore. That's super wrong (laughs). I would deny Cameron a conversation basically when it got too heated. I learned that even if I'm frustrated, sitting through and talking things out brings more resolve than leaving or checking out of the conversation.
Lessons In Love
Cam: [The most important lesson I've learned is] that we can get through anything. I feel like when you have someone who you really know has your back 100%, little stuff—or big stuff even—doesn't bother you as much. So, even if I'm not confident in myself, I'm confident in her, so that makes things easier to go through. Having your best friend in your corner, you feel like you can do anything.
"Even if I'm not confident in myself, I'm confident in her, so that makes things easier to go through."
Aisha: He comes first, after God. He is the most important thing in my life. And by consciously serving and not expecting, and vice versa, we will produce a more fulfilling marriage.
Mentors In Marriage
Cam: We both went through different phases of people. My father early on, to my two friends, who are married. These people were my go-to for marriage advice because they each had different levels of experience and they were both great representations of what God intended marriage to be. I could trust them because they were men of God who were practicing God in His word.
Aisha: Typically, it's my best friend or two other close friends who are a bit older and married. It's hard because I'm the only one in my friend group who is married. So I want to make sure I'm getting the right advice. But the other two women are women of God. God is at the center of their relationship and they've been married for over 4 years. The experience aspect was one that was important for me to get.
Cam: A common goal would be to keep God first in our relationship and to push each other to accomplish our own individual goals. My individual goal is to great. The standard is great. It doesn't stop with athletics. I want to be a great husband, provider, leader. That's the standard. I want to be able to maintain that great standard throughout life and my marriage.
Aisha: Our marriage is rooted in faith. After my relationship with God, it's like a cycle. We both push each other to pursue each individual goal, to pursue a better relationship with God, and to pursue a better relationship with one another. Repeat.