"First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in a baby carriage."
I'm sure we all can remember singing that idealistic love song as young ones, but for Tommicus Walker and LeToya Luckett-Walker , it's more than just a child's game--it's real life. With their beautiful new baby Gianna close-by during our conversation, the vibe you get from this married couple is one that's mixed with authenticity, love, soul, country, spirituality, and laughter. And it's a vibe that they say is only present because they decided to forge a new and better path individually before joining their lives together.
The two Texas natives originally didn't meet until a month after their first conversation, but it was during that time that they began to establish the foundation their relationship would be built upon: love of God and commitment to self-evolution. "After getting out of my previous marriage, where I was married for eight years, I began to really take a step back. I was fasting from dating, having sex, wanting to be around a lot of women, and just really clearing my soul and mind to hear from God," Tommicus tells xoNecole. "I was focusing on my daughter [Madison], running my business, waiting, and preparing myself for my wife to be presented to me."
As for LeToya, she explains that in life and especially in love, if you want something you never had, you had to be willing to do something you've never done. "I wanted to do things differently this time around. I didn't want him to know my name or what I did. In the past, I had put the physical sometimes before communication but for this I put communication before the physical," she says. "And there was laughter and great conversation, I felt like I knew him before. We read the Word together, we prayed, it just felt right."
With a year and three months under their belt, a new bundle of joy to add to their bliss, and new ventures on the horizon, it seems as if LeToya and Tommicus are quite literally a match made in heaven.
Read on as they share their insight on life and love in this latest segment of Our First Year .
LeToya: He just felt like home from our first conversation. I know I've been in Los Angeles for the last 13 years, but we're both from Texas. We had so much in common with the way we grew up and eating, and family time. We both wanted to raise our family in Texas so off jump, we had a lot in common. I think the first time I prayed with him, I felt different. And I was also one of those girls who had a list before, and I finally threw it away. Because, there were things that he had that were on my list, but there were other things that he had that I didn't know I needed that weren't on my list. Sometimes we can get in our own way as single women. But it's nice to know that somebody is there that can be supportive. Once I had certain conversations with him, met him, prayed with him--God put it on my heart and told me this was it. This was my husband. He felt like a teammate and there was a real partnership that came into play. And I hadn't felt that before.
"He just felt like home from our first conversation... And I hadn't felt that before."
Tommicus: I think she said it best, we had so much in common. She was country as hell and she felt like a homegirl from the jump. But when we started praying together and having that spiritual connection--it was over. Outside of my ex, she was the only other girl I actually prayed consistently on a daily basis with. We read the Bible together, we read the book of Proverbs before we even met. Knowing that she was a Christian woman and a woman of God, it just felt right. God presented her to me. I knew after the third date she was going to be my wife. And I never looked back or questioned him.
"God presented her to me. I knew after the third date she was going to be my wife. And I never looked back or questioned him."
Overcoming Fears in Marriage
Tommicus: Being that I was married previously, I always said I would never ever get married again. I didn't want to have any more kids. I didn't want to put myself in a situation where I was heartbroken and having to pull myself out of the hole again. But honestly I can say, with LeToya, I never had any fear. And that was because my mind, my body, and my spirit was so clear and God was talking to me on a daily basis. I believe Toya is my soulmate, she's my best friend, now the mother of my child, my wife. I had my heart open wide and I didn't try to have my guard up. The thing is when you know, you know.
"With LeToya, I never had any fear. And that was because my mind, my body, and my spirit was so clear and God was talking to me on a daily basis. I believe Toya is my soulmate."
LeToya: When you're in and out of relationships, you learn to practice divorce. It becomes easier and easier because you know you can survive that. When certain things would come up in our marriage, it would trigger certain thoughts where I'd think: 'is it over?' And I had to learn to work through that and let him know my triggers. And he would do the same for me. So it was just fearing having to go through a breakup, that was what my biggest fear was. Because I don't get into marriage for it not to work out.
Important Lessons in Marriage
Tommicus: The Bible tells us that life and death are in the power of our tongue. And so what I've learned to do and what I continue to do is to speak life over my wife, over my kids, and our situation. I always look at the positive, me and my wife have received so much favor in this first year. And to be able to have that covering is something I believe is so important.
LeToya: Marriage isn't a sprint, it's a marathon and it's a lifetime. You're getting to know this person, you're getting to know yourself in different lights. As a wife, you got to stay on your knees in prayer, because the enemy doesn't like marriage. And you can't take your prayer life lightly when it comes to praying for your husband, your family and for our covering. And also I came into the marriage trying to be superwoman, I had to do all the right "wife" things. I learned quickly I can't do that because I'm not a superhero. I am flawed and I had super high expectations of him and myself. You have to take this thing day by day.
"I came into the marriage trying to be superwoman, I had to do all the right wife things. I learned quickly I can't do that because I'm not a superhero. I am flawed."
Tommicus: We had to just communicate with each other about our different trigger points. That was definitely key. We both came from childhoods that's similar to a lot of others. I came from a single-parent household but I always had a stepfather. As a child, I was never able to get these things out that I somewhat feared. And this is something me and my wife talked about not too long ago, the importance of not holding stuff in. So one of the things we try to do is try to communicate with each other and listen and try to see where the person is coming from. From a relationship standpoint, I was married for eight years so of course being a new husband, Toya wanted to know what happened.
LeToya: We've had moments where Tommi can go into that mode and retreat, and he's such an incredible father. But a lot of times I have to tell him, "Babe you're not a single father anymore. You have a partner, you can come to me. You don't have to go through this alone." So that was probably one of the biggest things we had to deal with.
"We had to just communicate with each other about our different trigger points. That was definitely key."
Tommicus: I try to speak her love language through spending time, communicating, and she likes to be complimented a lot. She wants me to be the first one to say she looks beautiful or pretty. I'm always aware of that and she looks beautiful all the time. So I know that's a part of her love language and what she needs.
LeToya: We're still learning every single day! There are things that I didn't know he likes or appreciates that I do and it was something simple. For me, mine is quality time--I love having that time. Yes I love gifts as well! But I appreciate gratitude, when someone takes a beat to say, "I appreciate you for doing that." A lot of times I don't get recognized for doing certain things, I'm just expected to because I'm a woman. As women, men just expect us to do everything and to do it right and perfect. But I'm finally with someone who doesn't overlook certain things. And Tommi definitely shows gratitude a lot. For him, I think he develops new things every day.
Tommicus: I would say take care of yourself first, do not lose yourself. Make sure your mind is good, you're exercising properly and you're taking care of your body. And also know the order of marriage: putting God first, yourself second, then your wife or husband next, then your kids after that.
LeToya: The best advice I would give to someone else is marriage doesn't have to be what you saw growing up. You get to decide what your marriage is going to be. You and your spouse are in control of where your marriage takes you, outside of God. Take the time, take premarital counseling, and understand that when you get married, it's no longer about just you. Go into it with an open mind and know that there's going to be some stretching on your part. You can't have a selfish mindset going into that. So I would say: keep Christ first, make sure you're communicating with one another, go to counseling. Here it is: Christ, communication, counseling, and commitment. Those are my four C's.
"Christ, communication, counseling, and commitment. Those are my four C's."
Tommicus: The best part is traveling the world! Being able to reproduce, hitting the goals we set each year as a team and making money together with my wife.
LeToya: There's someone there to go through life with, you know they're there through the ups and downs. The partnership and the love, I'd say those are the best parts.
For more of Tommicus and LeToya, follow them on Instagram @letoyaluckett and @tommicuswalker .
Featured image via Denisha DeLane / Shutterstock.com
Originally published on April 24, 2019
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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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Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
Victoria Monét has had an incredible year. Thanks to the success of the widely popular “ On My Mama ” that went viral, the singer/ songwriter’s Jaguar II album debuted in the top 10 of Billboard’s Top R&B Albums chart. She also went on to headline her own sold-out tour . So, when the MTV VMAs happened in September, everyone was surprised to learn that Victoria’s team was told that it was “too early” for the “Smoke” artist to perform at the award show. However, a couple of months later, the mom of one received seven Grammy nominations, including “Best R&B Album” and “Record Of The Year.”
Victoria is currently in London and stopped by The Dotty Show on Apple Music and shared how she feels “validated” after being dismissed by the VMAs.
“It really does feel nice and validating because, in my head, the reason why I wanted to be a performer at the VMAs or award ceremonies like that is because I felt like I am at the place where I should. I would work really hard to put on the best show that I could, and I was excited to do so,” she said.
“And I guess the best way to describe it for me is like when you're like on a sports team, and the coach is like, ‘No, you gotta sit this one out.’ When they finally put you in, and then you score all these points, and it feels like that feeling. You're like, yes, I knew it wasn't tripping, but I knew I worked hard for this, and so it's been super validating to just have these accolades come after a moment like that, and I know the fans feel vindicated for me.
While her fans called the VMAs out on their decision, the “Moment” singer kept it cute and is still open to performing at the iconic award show. “I feel no ill towards them because it's just maybe that's just truly how they felt at the time, but I hope their mind has changed,” she admitted.
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Feature image by Amy Sussman/WireImage for Parkwood