While listening to some R&B slow jams, one of the songs that came up in the rotation was Tyrese's "One". It starts out with the lines, "Let me start by saying that you're the one. It's the first time I felt like this player's done." As I continued to listen, I thought about many of the conversations that I've had with husbands over the years. It inspired me to hit some of them up to ask what made them come to the conclusion that their wife is their one. Still.
It's not so that we all will use their answers as the barometer for our own journey—after all every love story is different. It's more so that we can see through the lens of men on what many of them find to be valuable when it comes to choosing a mate and ultimately saying, "I do". Anyway, here's what 10 happily married men shared with me. (I appreciate you guys, for the insight.)
Joshua, 40. Married for 11 years.
"I like this question because I haven't thought about it in a long time. My wife is my rock. I don't mean that to sound cliché, but no one has ever held me down like she does. In the past, there were a lot of beautiful and smart women that I dated but a lot of ladies don't understand what it means to be a real encourager and support system for men. Even before we got married, my wife made me feel like the sky was the limit when it came to my dreams and desires. She wasn't critical. She wasn't negative. She's still not. I knew she was the one for me because she made me see myself in ways that no one else had. She still does."
Alan, 31. Married for three years.
"Right when I met my wife, I had just gotten out of a long-term relationship. What stood out to me about her is she really listened. She became a source of peace for me that I hadn't experienced with another woman, not even my mom or sisters.
"When a man can be fully vulnerable, it feels safe and when we feel safe, that is when we know we've found someone really special."
Finn, 42. Married for 15 years.
"What's interesting is, I think I believe she's more 'the one' now than I did on our wedding day. You've got to be married a while before you realize, even as a man, that a lot of that movie BS is just that—BS. You can be attracted to a lot of people. You can have great sex with a ton of 'em too. I married my wife because I trusted her. Over time, she's become my best friend. I can't think of anyone closer to me or who knows more about me. Single ladies, that's rare. When a man sees you as his closest friend, that's when you know you've got him."
Jesse, 25. Married for 11 months.
"My wife is hilarious. If that sounds crazy, my bad but that's how I knew she was the one for me. So many women can be negative and always looking at the downside of things. My wife is just the opposite. No matter what, even when we get bad news, she sees a silver lining in it and finds a way to make me laugh about it. I enjoy being around her. She's fun. Fun goes far."
Samuel, 34. Married for three-and-half years.
"My wife is very spiritual. I don't mean 'churchy' either. Her discernment is crazy. She's very much into finding balance and a center. She hates drama and creates peace. She loves God, nature and animals. I dunno.
"I've just never met someone who makes me want to be a better person in the way that she does. I see God differently because of her."
Christopher, 38. Married for five years.
"No drama. That's what made her the one for me. Lord, so many women like to create drama. Sweating the small stuff. Nitpicking at every damn thing. Not knowing how to let s—t go. My wife is the opposite of all of that. If there's a problem, she wants to solve it as soon as possible but she doesn't create ones that aren't there. Damn, I love that about her. Thanks for reminding me. I'm gonna call her right now."
Wynton, 29. Married for two years.
"My wife is sexy AF. Call it shallow if you want but sexy is different than pretty. When you find the kind of woman who you really can never get enough of, she's special. I always desire my wife. It's like, other women have become irrelevant since her, not because they aren't pretty but because they just don't have that 'umph' that my wife does. That woman's walk. Her tone of voice. The way she looks when we're first waking up. The fact that her sex drive is even higher than mine. How confident she is in her clothes. Damn."
Deven, 45. Married for eight years.
"I had a horrible mother growing up. She was angry and bitter most of the time. Because of that, I didn't have serious relationships with other women. It was casual dating and sex, that's about it. I met my wife through a male friend of mine and it was the first time when I saw a woman as being the polar opposite of my mom. My wife is nurturing. She is easy-going. She's one of the most emotionally solid people I know. I didn't even realize how emotionally damaged I was, in some ways, until her. She's even helped me to forgive my mom in some ways. Guys, if a woman isn't making you better, she's making you worse. Straight up."
Mandel, 33. Married for six years.
"My wife is the first woman I ever met who I could see years of my wife with. After about our third date, I knew she would be a good mom, a great partner and someone who I wouldn't mind getting old with and that had never happened before. Before her, women were just kind of transient. I knew I wanted her to stay. I proposed five months later. We've been together ever since."
David, 40. Married for 10 years.
"This is a funny question because I'm not really the 'soul mate' kind of guy. I think we all can be happily married to numerous folks. I do think my wife is 'my one' in the sense that we fit together in a way that is hard to explain or compare. She just gets me and I feel like I get her. She is my favorite person and I have no regrets about asking her to be my wife. I know a lot of men who can't say the same. Marriage isn't easy, I won't lie to you. But when you don't regret your choice, not one day in your life, that's when you know you picked well."There you have it and you know what? It really can't be said enough that we can't tell a man how to think or what he wants or needs in a relationship. They have to tell us. So, when you get a moment, ask some of the husbands in your life what made them choose their wife. The answers just might surprise you. Intrigue you. Even inspire you on some levels. You never know.
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (firstname.lastname@example.org) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
Chief Mom Officer: 23 Quotes From Working Moms Finding Their Balance
The truth is, Black moms create magic every single day. Whether we're juggling motherhood with a busy 9-5, a thriving business, or staying at home to run a household, no day is short of amazing when you're managing life as a mommy. This Mother's Day, xoNecole is giving flowers to CMOs (Chief Mom Officers) in business who exemplify the strength it takes to balance work with motherhood.
We've commissioned these ladies, who are pillars in their respective industries, for tidbits of advice to get you through the best and worst days of mothering. Here, they share their "secret sauce" and advice for other moms trying to find their rhythm.
Emmelie De La Cruz, Chief Strategist at One Day CMO
"My mom friends and I all laugh and agree: Motherhood is the ghettoest thing you will ever do. It's beautiful and hard all at the same time, but one day you will wake up and feel like 'I got this' and you will get the hang of it. After 4 months, I finally felt like I found my footing to keep my kid and myself alive, but it took vulnerability to take off the cape and be honest about the areas that I didn't have it all together. The healing (physically and emotionally) truly does happen in community - whatever and whoever that looks like for you."
Alizè V. Garcia, Director Of Social & Community Impact at Nike
"I would tell a new mom or a prospective mother that they must give themselves grace, understand and remember there is no right way to do this thing and have fun! When I had my daughter three and a half years ago, I was petrified! I truly had no clue about what to do and how I was going to do it. But with time, my confidence grew and I realized quickly that I have all the tools I need to be the mother I want to be."
Nikki Osei-Barrett, Publicist + Co-Founder of The Momference
"There's no balance. I'm dropping sh*t everywhere! However, my secret sauce is pursuing interests and hobbies outside of what's required of me and finding time to workout. Stronger body equals = stronger mind."
Lauren Grove, Chief Experience Architect, The Grant Access, LLC
"I try to give myself grace. That’s my mantra for this phase of motherhood…grace. I won’t be able to get everything done. To have a spotless house. To not lose my cool after an exhausting day. Those things can’t happen all of the time. But I can take a deep breath and know tomorrow is another day and my blessings are more plentiful than my pitfalls."
Rachel Nicks, Founder & CEO of Birth Queen
"You have the answers within you. Don’t compare yourself to others. Curate your life to work for you. Ask for help."
Tanisha Colon-Bibb, Founder + CEO Rebelle Agency + Rebelle Management
"I know love doesn't pay bills but when I am overwhelmed with work or client demands I take a moment to play with my baby and be reminded of the love, energy, science, and Godliness that went into his birth. I am brightened by his smile and laugh. I remember I am someone's parent and not just a work horse. That at the end of the day everything will work out for the good of my sanity and the love within my life."
Christina Brown, Founder of LoveBrownSugar & BabyBrownSugar
"Learning your rhythm as a mom takes time and can be uncomfortable when you’re in a season of overwhelm. Constantly check in with yourself and assess what’s working and what’s not. Get the help you need without feeling guilty or ashamed of needing it."
Mecca Tartt, Executive Director of Startup Runway Foundation
"I want to be the best for myself, my husband, children and company. However, the reality is you can have it all but not at the same time. My secret sauce is outsourcing and realizing that it’s okay to have help in order for me to perform at the highest level."
Jen Hayes Lee, Head Of Marketing at The Bump (The Knot Worldwide)
"My secret sauce is being direct and honest with everyone around me about what I need to be successful in all of my various "jobs". Setting boundaries is one thing, but if you're the only one who knows they exist, your partners at home and on the job can't help you maintain them. I also talk to my kids like adults and let them know why mommy needs to go to this conference or get this massage...they need to build an appreciation for my needs too!"
Whitney Gayle-Benta, Chief Music Officer JKBX
"What helps me push through each day is the motivation to continue by thinking about my son. All my efforts, though exhausting, are to create a wonderful life for him."
Ezinne Okoro, Global Chief Inclusion, Equity, & Diversity Officer at Wunderman Thompson,
"The advice I received that I’ll pass on is, you will continue to figure it out and find your rhythm as your child grows into new stages. Trust your nurturing intuition, parent on your terms, and listen to your child."
Jovian Zayne, CEO of The OnPurpose Movement
"I live by the personal mantra: 'You can’t be your best self by yourself.' My life feels more balanced when I offer the help I can give and ask for the help I need. This might mean outsourcing housecleaning for my home, or hiring additional project management support for my business."
Simona Noce Wright, Co-Founder of District Motherhued and The Momference
"Each season of motherhood (depending on age, grade, workload) requires a different rhythm. With that said, be open to learning, to change, and understand that what worked for one season may not work the other...and that's okay."
Janaye Ingram, Director of Community Partner Programs and Engagement at Airbnb
"My daughter's smile and sweet spirit help me to feel gratitude when I'm overwhelmed. I want her to see a woman who doesn't quit when things get hard."
Codie Elaine Oliver, CEO & Founder of Black Love
"I try to listen to my body and simply take a break. With 3 kids and a business with 10+ team members, I often feel overwhelmed. I remind myself that I deserve grace for everything I'm juggling, I take a walk or have a snack or even head home to see my kids, and then I get back to whatever I need to get done."
Jewel Burks Solomon, Managing Partner at Collab Capital
"Get comfortable with the word ‘no’. Be very clear about your non-negotiables and communicate them to those around you."
Bridget Bogee, Marketing Lead At Meta
"Ask for help and always prioritize making time for you."
Julee Wilson, Executive Director at BeautyUnited and Beauty Editor-at-Large at Cosmopolitan
"Understand you can’t do it alone — and that’s ok. Relinquish the need to control everything. Create a village and lean on them."
Salwa Benyaich, Director Of Pricing and Planning at Premion
"Most days I really try to shut my computer off by 6 pm; there are always exceptions of course when it comes to big deals or larger projects but having this as a baseline allows me to be much more present with my kids. I love the fact that I can either help with homework or be the designated driver to at least one afterschool activity. Work can be draining but there is nothing more emotionally draining than when you feel as though you are missing out on moments with your kids."
Brooke Ellis, Head of Global Marketing & Product Launches at Amazon Music
My calendar, prayer, pilates class at Forma, a good playlist, and oatmilk lattes all help get me through any day.
Courtney Beauzile, Global Director of Client and Business Development at Shearman & Sterling
My husband is a partner who steps in when I just can’t. My mom and my MIL come through whenever and however I need. My kids have many uncles and aunts and they will lend an ear, go over homework, teach life lessons, be a presence or a prayer warrior depending on the day.
Robin Snipes, Chief of Staff at Meta
"Enjoy the time you have to yourself because once kids come those times will be few and far between."
Monique Bivens, CEO & Founder at Brazilian Babes LLC.
"For new moms, it is very important that you get back into a habit or routine of something you use to do before you were pregnant. Consider the actives and things that give you the most joy and make the time to do them."
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Tracee Ellis Ross On Why She Declined The Idea Of Someone Else Running Her Hair Company
Actress and entrepreneur Tracee Ellis Ross recently revealed the driving force behind her desire to become the owner of her haircare brand, Pattern.
According to its site, Pattern is a haircare company that provides a wide range of products, from shampoos, conditioners, oils, creams, and many more to individuals with curls, coils, and tight hair textures. Although Pattern would launch in 2019, the idea for the company first came to Ross a decade before --in 2008, when her hit show Girlfriends wrapped-- following a brief encounter at a beauty supply store and many wanting to recreate her past looks.
At the time, those individuals couldn't achieve the exact results because limited natural hair products were offered to the public. That instance became a pivotal moment in the star's life because she spent eleven years experimenting with professionals to create products that best suit those within the natural hair community.
In a May conference with Fortune's MPW Next Gen, Ross opened up about the struggles she faced early on as an entrepreneur trying to get Pattern off the ground and why she declined the offer to have the company be run by someone else.
Tracee On Past Struggles And Why She Chose To Run Her Company
During the discussion, the 50-year-old revealed that she is Pattern's "majority owner" because the company's overall mission to cater to those in the natural hair community was built from her "experiential knowledge."
"I'm a majority owner of my company. [Other celebrities with brands] aren't the founders of the company. Often, they join a company that exists," she said. "The mission [at Pattern] is born out of my experience. It's born out of my own experiential knowledge."
Further in the interview, Ross would add that she avoided partnering with an expert for Pattern because she felt she had gained enough knowledge experimenting with products in her bathroom.
"I didn't want to partner with an expert or a 'professional' because I felt—like so many—I had become my own best expert in my bathroom because the beauty industry was not catering to us," she stated.
Despite refusing to have a partner within her company, Ross found creative ways to build it. It includes paying a chemist with her own money to bring her visions of various products to life, and sending those samples to retail stores, ultimately leading to partnerships.
The final piece that helped Ross during her journey was receiving advice from business partners on ways to improve the brand, one of which came from Ulta Beauty CEO and Footlocker CEO Mary Dillon.
The black-ish star claimed that Dillon helped her realize how she could use her celebrity status and journey to promote Pattern, which she did. Because of that, Patten has now become a favorable haircare brand among many.
Tracee On How She Plans To Use Her Company To Create Opportunities For Others
Toward the end of the discussion, Ross disclosed how she plans to use the power of being Pattern's CEO to help others.
The High Note star explained that being an owner of a company has given her access to be around other CEOs interested in what appears to be becoming more profitable, and with that, she wants to expand that access to other people.
"I know that I have access to sit at a table with a CEO in a way that perhaps another founder doesn't. And when I do that, I make sure that those conversations are not only centered around Pattern," she said. "They're centered around creating and expanding the access for all of us."
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