While I can relate to pretty much all of the personal content that I write on this site on some sort of level, as someone who decided at 45 that I'm 90 percent sure that I don't want to be a mother (even via adoption), this is one that is really close to my heart. The reason why I say that is because, although I am a doula, a godmother to two (technically three but that's a long story) beautiful girls, and kids and I have a truly remarkable connection (even random ones I see when I'm out), at this stage in my life, I am at peace with not being someone's mom.
It's not like I thought it would turn out this way. I've shared on this site before that when folks ask me if I am a mother, my response is usually something along the lines of, "I'm a mom of four aborted children" because that is indeed the case (check out " Why I Named The Children I Aborted "). I mean, isn't it interesting that when we want to have a child, the moment we see a positive sign on a pregnancy test, we say, "I'm having a baby!" and yet, if the pregnancy isn't desired, suddenly it's a debate if there is significant and profound life growing within? The conflicted resolves of humanity, boy. Besides, I knew what I was doing, every time I got on that table. And while I've spent years healing from the childhood abuse, relational trauma and low sense of self-worth — things that all played a role in why 1993-1999 was such a battlefield for me in this area — on this side of healing, there is a part of me that believes that while I would've been a good mom, if there was a part of me that made the choices that I did because I didn't entirely desire to be one. Not way deep down.
No, I'm not justifying that I should've used condoms more nor am I coming at you like abortions should be a form of birth control . Lord, that's all another discussion for another time and I certainly own my part in my recklessness. What I'm saying is, while I thought in my 20s-30s that becoming a mother was inevitable, throughout my decisions and due to the peace I feel now, I can't help but wonder if I was more caught up in thinking that I was supposed to want to be a mother rather than I actually longed for it to be a part of my reality. Because you know what, y'all? What we really want to make happen in this life, we really do tend to go out of our way to make it so.
Yeah, I know that's pretty deep for an intro yet I thought it was important for me to share because, if you're someone who is currently on the fence about whether or not to have children yourself, it's absolutely essential for you to ponder your own life choices in this area — if you are preparing for motherhood or doing what moves you further away from it. And while you're doing that, how about you ask yourself the following seven questions as well?
1. Do You Even Like Children?
While some folks will look at this question in sheer horror, I know better. That's because I know some really good people who honestly can't stand kids. Not like they want to do them bodily harm (those are psychos) or anything. It's just that, if they could go their entire lives without seeing a child, they wouldn't lose any sleep over it. In fact, what's kind of funny about this is I know a guy who is a dad and while he's actually a pretty good father, he says all of the time that he can't stand children and if he could do life all over again, he definitely would've been wiser on the birth control tip.
Again, this is nothing to feel bad about or ashamed of because there is no rule that says every decent human being has to have a love affair with little people. What I will say, though, is you are definitely selling your potential future children short if you are going to try and love them without really liking them because kids require A LOT and liking them can definitely make the rough days easier. So, if you're someone who doesn't really seek out time to hang with little folks, you're not big on being a "love auntie" or you are more polite to children than embracing of them, it could be because you're cool with them existing yet not super geeked about them being in your personal world. That's fine. Yet again, why become a mom if that is indeed the case?
2. Are You Too “Selfish” to Be a Mom?
The reason why I wrote articles for the site like, " What If It's Your Parents Who Happen To Be The Narcissists? " and " Here's How To Know If You've Got 'Mama Issues' " is because a lot of us are recovering from folks who, let's be honest, were way too self-consumed to become a parent. Some of our needs went unmet because of it. Promises were broken because of it. Hell, some of us barely even know our parents — then or now — because everything in the world but us was made to be a top priority for them. Case in point, I know a guy who says that he knows he's a commitment-phobe to this day, in part, because his mother put her career ahead of him. He was the baby — a surprise. And because she didn't plan on having more than two children, let alone four, she left him in another state with her parents so that she could go pursue her education. Then, once she got it, she spent more time mentoring students via her career than bonding with him, her son. Now, as a direct result, he's afraid of getting serious with a woman and making children with her because he's not sure if he'll make the same kind of decisions that his mom did — not because he wants to; because it's all that he knows. Damn shame.
I can't tell you how many times I've looked across at an engaged couple and rolled my eyes right in front of them and it's all because one or both are way too selfish for a selfless dynamic like marriage. Parenting requires even more selflessness. So, if it needs to be all about you. If you're not willing to make sacrifices. If, in your mind, you are never wrong . If you're not good at being flexible. If you don't know how to humble yourself and apologize for your mistakes and bad decisions. If you've got to "win" all of the time. If you suck at sharing. If your needs always have to come first — if this is you, it's OK to own that.
If you don't want to change, that is totally your right. Yet why you would subject a child to you being that way is beyond me, sis. Selfishness is about being self-consumed. Folks like that need to stay with on their own— not raise some kids.
3. Can You Afford Them?
OK, so here's the thing about this particular point. Did you know that from 0-17, the average cost that it currently takes to raise a child is somewhere around $233,610 ? That's roughly $14,000 each year. Yeah, kids ain't cheap. Not only that but they shouldn't be raised to feel like they are a burden or that we're somehow doing them a favor by meeting their needs. Back when I was a teen mom director for the local chapter of a national non-profit, I witnessed more verbal abuse from parents than I ever would've liked and a lot of it was because the parents were so financially stressed out that they took it out on their children. Kids didn't ask to come here. Adding to that, they are going to have needs on a daily basis. A lot of those needs are going to cost money. For instance, if you decided to have a baby and put them in daycare, the currently average monthly bill that you would get is close to 700 bucks . Whew .
There are so many of us who are still healing from the PTSD of our own parents just "getting by" when it came to financially providing for us. Choosing to put your kids through that simply because "you made it out OK" is a really low bar. No one said that you need to be rich to be a mom, yet you should be realistic about if you can actually afford to be one or not (even if you can't now, be real about if you're going to put a plan in place to get ready before trying to conceive). Then follow that thought up with if you're willing to make constant sacrifices to make sure that they're gonna be good under your watch and care.
4. Are You Emotionally Mature and Self-Aware Enough for Children?
This point right here, boy. Another piece that I once wrote for the platform is " How To Recover If You Had To 'Raise Your Parents' As A Child ". I'm not gonna get too deep into how much I can relate to this today. Let me just say that I get triggered when folks say, "I wanna have kids young so that I can grow with them." Honey, you need to be raising them and that requires a certain level of emotional maturity and self-awareness. Unfortunately, a lot of parents — shoot, adults, in general — lack both.
Emotionally mature people are calm. Emotionally mature people hold themselves accountable. Emotionally mature people don't constantly burden others with their "stuff" (especially not kids). Emotionally mature people aren't know-it-alls. Emotionally mature people can say "I was wrong" and "I'm sorry". Emotionally mature people don't hold grudges, pout or manipulate to get their way. Emotionally mature people don't sweat the small stuff.
As far as self-awareness goes, check out " These Are The Things Self-Aware People Do Daily " when you get a chance. For now, what I'll say is a self-aware individual knows their strengths and weakness and are intentional about improving upon both of them.
If you read any of this and honestly felt a little triggered, while that doesn't mean that you should never become a parent, I definitely recommend booking an appointment with a reputable therapist, counselor or life coach to get to the root of why you aren't as "grown up" as you probably should be at this point in your life. Because if there's one thing that a child should not be expected to do is make up for the areas where you are emotionally inadequate. You are supposed to be mentoring them; not the other way around.
5. Have You Healed from Your Own Childhood?
Speaking of sitting on somebody's couch and laying your burdens down, a few weeks ago, I wrote " Childhood-Related Questions That Can Reveal A LOT About 'Him '" for the platform. Listen y'all, the more I work with people, the more I realize, just how much one of my favorite quotes rings so very true — adulthood is surviving childhood. I mean, when I think about my ish and others', about 60-80 percent of it can be tied to something that we witnessed or experienced as a child.
I can give you an example that isn't connected to direct trauma too. I've got a friend who only likes to eat Lunchables when he gets home from work. He's almost 50. When I asked him what the deal was, he said that growing up, that's what his mother left for him until she came home to make dinner. Sometimes, she got home so late that he'd fall asleep and since she didn't want to wake him, that meant Lunchables was all that he had. Now he eats them out of habit. Another example is me and thrift/antique store shopping. It was nothing for my mother to stop by one of those or a yard sale when I was growing up. Now I find myself doing the same thing.
I didn't want to get a lot into traumatic events because I've already gotten pretty deep (I think). Yet I do want to say that we are very innocent, and while resilient also quite fragile, as children. In fact, there are many studies to support that whatever age we were abused/traumatized, we oftentimes continue to emotionally process at that age until we get some help to get "unstuck".
Have mercy. Some of us got beat because our parents got beat and we've already got it in our heads that our kids will experience it because we did. That's not nearly a good enough reason. If you know that you've got some unresolved childhood stuff going on, don't wait until after you have a child to realize you need to work through it. Now is the time to get that stuff handled, as much as possible. If you choose not to, it really is an act of love to not subject a child to the pain that you still haven't healed from.
6. Have You Thought About the Purpose of Parenting?
There's a Scripture in the Bible that says, " Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it ." (Proverbs 22:6 — NKJV)
Here's something that I think a lot of parents miss here — it says in the way your child should go, not in the way you want them to live their life. You know, a quote that I really like says something along when two people are just alike, one of them is unnecessary. Lawd, the amount of parents who need to hear that.
It's not a child's job to become your mini-me (that is sheer ego talking). It's not a child's job to do all of the things in their life that you didn't get to do. It's not a child's job to get on the path career-wise or relationally that you think is best (whew, there are a lot of narcissistic parents in this world. Straight up). No, a good parent is someone who knows that their children are gifts from the Most High and so they need to being in constant prayer and meditation about how to prepare their little ones for being who God called them to be, not what their fallible minds want them to become.
The reason why a lot of people wreck marriage and parenting is because they go into both with absolutely no clue what the purposes are. If when it comes to the topic of having a child, all you hear running through your head is "me, me, me", you definitely need to rethink it. Because any sane parent will tell you that helping another human being become their own best self has very little to do with them and what they want personally.
7. Have You Processed How Permanent Parenting Actually Is?
Just about every time I see that Tide commercial where the grandparents talk about their daughter and all of her kids moving back in with them, I damn near hyperventilate. While I am definitely someone who subscribes to "Parents are supposed to raise adults, not children" (which means a parent's job is to make their kids transition into adulthood so that they can be self-sufficient in every way), even adult children are still their parents' kids. Not only that but sometimes life happens and things don't always go as planned. Take some friends of mine who couldn't wait for their daughter to turn 18. Let's just say that at almost 21, she is still right in their crib. Partly due to her constantly changing her mind about her life plan. Partly due to the pandemic. Partly due to her sucking at saving money.
Moral to the story? If you aren't sure if you want kids but a part of you is like, "I mean, they'll be gone at 18, so…" — don't set yourself up. Parenting, on some level, is until you or your children take their last breath. If even the thought of that freaks you out, don't rush to get pregnant. Because once they're here, they're here . On some level. To stay.
Yeah, I know this was a lot. The good news is there is abstinence, birth control and, to a large degree (especially if you're under 40 and reading this) time. My main objective in writing this is to remind us all that having children isn't a flippant decision and oftentimes, real stuff like this isn't discussed as much as it should be. If after reading what I just shared, you're like, "You know what? I think I'm good", that's something to applaud because responsible parenting isn't just about being a good parent when you have kids, it's also about knowing that you don't want to do what being a good parent requires and so you decide to put your focus elsewhere. Personally, I salute both sides of the coin. I wish more folks had been so thoughtful. And if you took all of this to heart, I'm glad that you are exceptional in this way. I mean it. Salute.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find , there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecole exclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause , marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression , anxiety , like all of it, mental health challenges , all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry ’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy . If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures , and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood , her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff , which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You , which stars Anne Hathaway.
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How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.
Have you ever heard the saying, “You can't have it all?” Do you think there’s any truth to it? The more I resonate with the thought, I realize it just depends on what one considers “all.” In this “How We Met” story, I chatted with two individuals who have reached an unusual level of success but, for years, celebrated it alone. Now, they have a beautiful marriage centered around faith, family, and legacy.
But the journey to getting there required them to be uniquely intentional, submit fully to God, and practice an amount of vulnerability that I think most people would find uncomfortable – especially on the first date.
Santia Brown, known more commonly as @Trackbaby001 on Instagram, earned the highest-paid contract ever for a woman in American football. Also, she is the first female athlete to have her own shoe company. With a combined social audience of 3 million followers, she’s established herself as a mega-influencer in the health/fitness and lifestyle space. But surprisingly, in our 48-minute phone call, we only discussed this for roughly 60 seconds. Instead, I had a beautiful conversation with Santia and her husband Isaac, a successful tech entrepreneur , about their dream-like partnership.
His company was one of the fastest growing in his county for two years, and he is the only Black entrepreneur to win a federal aviation award for being a government contractor. Plus, he previously won a $13.4 billion contract with the Air Force and Space Force (cues, "he got money" in my best Quinta Brunson voice). But seriously, both of them have such an amazing story alone – yet they made it even better by finding each other. It almost sounds too good to be true, right? Well, Santia felt the same way. In fact, on their first date, they actually tried to disqualify each other. Here’s how it went.
Let’s start from the beginning. How did you two meet?
Isaac: Well, firstly, we connected through the divine grace of God. But we met on Bumble and talked there, and she gave me such a hard time (laughs). But we built a connection online and then took it offline to the phone and eventually in person. Since that meeting, we’ve been stuck like glue.
Santia: Yes, we met on Bumble. But I’ve gotta add to that. I was pretty much done with love, relationships, and especially online dating. But it was right around Valentine's Day, and I felt like God was telling me to try just one more time. So, I created my profile and made it very blunt; I was super clear about what I wanted. I started swiping for a few days and eventually came across his profile, and I noticed our profiles were very similar.
I felt like it was rare for a man to be that intentional. Also, I like that he was attractive and an entrepreneur. I felt like he could understand my life. It took him a couple of days to swipe back, though, and I was little in my feelings. I was literally going to delete the app when he DM’d me . So, it was really the grace of God.
Tell me about your first date. What was the chemistry like?
Isaac: She was late (laughs). But we went to Seasons 52, which made sense because I’m vegan, and she likes to eat healthy. So I made reservations, but again, she was late. Eventually, she got there, and when she did, I saw the entire room shift. It was the weirdest thing. I’ve never seen that in real life. It was like the whole restaurant was looking at us. So we got a table, and immediately, it felt like our energy flowed together so smoothly.
You know how first dates can be awkward? This was exactly the opposite. She grilled me, and I grilled her. We asked some of the deepest questions ever. It was like we were trying to disqualify each other. After dinner, I walked her back to her car because she was recently injured. And in that moment, God talked to me. I knew that this is what it is.
Santia: We talked for like three hours on that date. I remember in the conversation, I said, “Not to be weird, but your energy makes me feel very calm.” That was a big green flag for me. I also remember him walking me back to my car and not trying anything but genuinely just caring for my leg. I was like, this is different. It was an A+ date.
"We asked some of the deepest questions ever. It was like we were trying to disqualify each other. After dinner, I walked her back to her car because she was recently injured. And in that moment, God talked to me. I knew that this is what it is."
Photo courtesy of Santia and Issac Brown
So, what are some of these intense disqualifying questions y’all asked?
Isaac: We asked everything. We talked about our thoughts on kids, marriage, church, gender roles , family, past relationships, and trauma.
Santia: Yeah, we asked everything they tell you not to. But that’s how I knew he was the one; he didn’t get uncomfortable.
Okay, so if you were still dating, walk me through that next step. What was that conversation like when you two decided to take it to the next level?
Isaac: I had a business trip I had to go to in Orlando, and because of my connection with the Creator I knew she needed to go on this trip with me. She was overcoming tearing her ACL and just needed a break. So we took a road trip together. We drove from Atlanta to Orlando in the car for 8 hours, and we just did the work. We got into childhood trauma and aspirations. It got deep –
Santia: Like, I cried. I discovered stuff about myself I haven’t talked about with anyone else.
Isaac: In that moment, I developed a deeper sense of trust in her because of her vulnerability . And after that trip, I just knew. She still had some concerns, but I was good (laughs).
Santia: Yeah, because I felt like something had to be wrong. Like, I remember calling my mom and she tried to help me just embrace it. Eventually, I actually asked him, “ What are we ?” And he literally said, “You’re going to be my wife.” And I still was like, are you going to ask me to be your girlfriend though, and he did – and I said yeah. (laughs). But that was only like a month in. It was very quick.
It seems like communication has been a core part of your relationship. What are some important lessons you’ve learned about yourselves individually through loving each other?
Isaac: That’s hard to answer just for this week. A lot of our stuff is self-discovery. But I’ll say, I learned how skeptical I was that this is possible. Also, I learned that all of what I went through is crafting me to be who I am today. Through this relationship, I’ve learned to embrace my 100% authentic self. Her love matters more to me than anything else, and that’s my #1 priority.
So if she accepts me how I am, who is the world to tell me I can’t be this way? She has allowed me to see myself more than any other human, and because of that, I have to shower her with as much love as possible.
Santia: I don’t even know where to start. He’s taught me a lot since day one. He made me more confident in who I am. As an influencer, you don’t always know who is there for the right reasons. But he’s made me feel 100% more confident in standing on who I am. He’s also taught me so much about business. He taught me how to open up more, not feel shame in who I am, and how to set boundaries and stick to them.
And Issac has melted every fear, doubt, and insecurity I’ve had about relationships. I could keep going, but overall, he has a really amazing way of teaching me in a loving way. Having someone that sees and understands me – and not just the social media me – but Santia Barnes, the individual, has been beautiful, and I’ve never experienced it until now.
"Issac has melted every fear, doubt, and insecurity I’ve had about relationships. Having someone that sees and understands me – and not just the social media me – but Santia Barnes, the individual, has been beautiful, and I’ve never experienced it until now."
Photo courtesy of Santia and Issac Brown
How do you guys navigate past struggles, baggage to work toward your relationships?
Issac: On our honeymoon, I vowed that I would come into this relationship with a clear understanding of what’s holding me back so I can be my best self going through our marriage. For example, on our first day over there, we both wrote down all of the negative anchor thoughts we had around money and finances, and we literally went through every thought.
I found 50 financial aspirations, and every time I read something that I didn’t agree with, I wrote it down. And we talked about where these negative thoughts came from, going back to childhood.
Santia: We do that all the time. If anything comes up, we talk about it, try to get to the core of it, dissect it, and we solve it.
Okay, seriously do ya’ll argue at all (laughs)?
Santia: I mean, if we feel something, we say it.
Isaac : The way we got there is that we established early on that if we’re going to do this we have to be on the same team. We have a championship we’re trying to win, and that’s a family legacy . If something is going on, I’m gonna treat it like my teammate is going through it, and we’ll work through it. But it’s impossible not to have any challenges.
Santia: We don’t have to yell, scream, or be disrespectful though. We can talk in a calm voice and disagree. As long as we know that we’re on the same team, we’re good. I always know we’re not purposely trying to hurt each other, and I know that he's my partner. Looking at it from that lens changes things. We’ve only had two real arguments . It was early on, and when we dissected those too, we realized that back then, we didn’t know each other the way we do now. We weren’t sure we were on the same team (laughs).
Do you guys have any rituals or daily practices that help keep your relationship strong?
Isaac: To cement our process, we listen to our spiritual practice. We practice Sabbath every Friday evening until Saturday evening. So that means no work, no outside communication, we’re just in each other’s skin for 24 hours and experience the world together. Then we recap our week, things we’re grateful for from each other and from God, things that bother us, and then we process it right there. We do that every week.
Santia: We also go over a Bible verse and dissect it together. We have a lot of processes because when you have a plan, you can’t really fail.
Isaac: And the Bible verse always relates. It’s crazy. (laughs)
Photo courtesy of Santia and Issac Brown
What are your love languages?
Santia: Mine is acts of service, gifts, and words of affirmation
Isaac: Mine is physical touch, acts of service, and words of affirmation.
Are there any challenges you guys had to work through?
Santia: This is my first time living with a man. So things that guys do – like not flushing the toilet, putting dishes in the sink when I’m washing the dishes, and stuff. Honestly. I was really scared about that because I love my space. But surprisingly, I adjusted very quickly. We both work from home and have our own offices, too. So it just kinda works out.
Isaac: For me, it was going from being a single man to adjusting to her needs. For example, she likes flowers. To me, that meant I occasionally bought her flowers. But to her, that means, nah, I want them multiple times a month. Date nights meant occasionally to me; she wants them weekly. It’s just about making sure our needs and expectations are articulated correctly. We come from different worlds, so it’s important to do that.
Finally, I’ll close with how did you know it was love?
Santia: We took a trip to NOLA – another road trip. I cried again and just remembered thinking there’s no one like him. I was like, God, if he’s not my person, this is a cruel joke. But more blatantly, like three months into us dating, I was so conflicted because I was like, I’m falling, and I don’t want to be hurt again.
I remember I had a dream where I was in this dark room and there was this figure there, and I knew it was God, and in that dream, I feel like he told me clear as day that Isaac was my person. Plus, my Mom hates everyone I’ve ever dated, but she was like he’s gonna be my son-in-law. I had so many confirmations that I eventually just let go.
Isaac: It was multiple moments. I really got confirmation on the first date , but I became sure in one moment. I was sitting in my office, and she came in, and we were talking about her making history. So I started showing her some of my awards, too, and at that point, she still didn’t know what I did. And she was like, why don’t people know about this, and I showed her my Facebook page – where I had made a small post with a few likes (laughs). And she was like, do you know how many young Black children don’t know this is possible? It was different.
I felt like a hypocrite because I do everything for the next generation. So, she allowed me to see myself in that totality and still hold me accountable. The only person who had done that for me was my Dad and [he] passed away a few days before my 18th birthday. So after that, that did it for me. Then we went to the DR for my brother's anniversary, and she met my family and I saw how well she blended with my family, and I just knew.
Santia and Isaac are continuing to grow their individual businesses and love journey. Through that process, they have created an intentional dating platform on Instagram called @dateintentional1 .
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Featured image courtesy of Santia and Issac Brown