In xoNecole's Our First Year series, we take an in-depth look at love and relationships between married couples with an emphasis on what their first year of marriage was like.
Whether it is with our friendships or our partners, God makes no mistake when placing the right people in our lives. For married couple Jamal and Lisa Ford, God was very instrumental in the way they found each other and later found love. Their love story began way, way back in the day when the two were only kids. At nine years old, a young Lisa was attending children's church like she did any other Sunday. To her surprise, there was an unfamiliar eight-year-old boy sitting in her usual seat. As kids, they would meet as strangers, unaware of the love story that would unfold between them years later as they grew into adulthood. It was the start of their forever, but neither of them knew it yet.
After meeting, Lisa and Jamal became friends and would eventually become a couple in 2014. They'd date for six years before officially tying the knot and saying "I do". For this married couple of nearly a year, it wasn't hard for them to see a future together. While Lisa and Jamal knew each other for most of their lives, they naturally had a bond with one another that grew into true love. According to Lisa, marriage is about making your own rules. So the couple makes it a priority to not only keep their marriage fun and exciting, but to also build a legacy together for their family and future generations.
In this installment of "Our First Year", xoNecole was able to sit down with Lisa and Jamal to talk more about patience with one another, facing marital fears, and trusting God as the foundation of love.
How They Met
Lisa: We actually met in children's church. We were both young, aged 8 and 9. One day I saw that he was sitting in my seat. I thought to myself, 'Who is this kid sitting in my seat?' He was visiting the church that day, so I was definitely curious to know who he was and why he chose my seat to sit in (laughs).
Jamal: She's right (laughs). It was my first day at the church and while I was sitting in her seat, I was meeting my cousin there too. My cousin just so happened to be Lisa's best friend at the time. So after church, I went to my cousin's house for dinner and they both still talked about "the boy that was in Lisa's seat" (laughs).
Lisa: We started talking to each other in the summer of 2014 and dated in the fall. I remember telling my best friend, "I wonder if he's going to give me a promise ring soon." My friend thought I was crazy and joked that we only have been dating for a short while. But the reason why I mentioned the promise ring is because I knew he was the one. We started off as friends and gradually became each other's best friend. I just knew he was my person.
Jamal: I knew Lisa was the one because when we were dating I would say to myself, 'I don't see myself being with anyone else.' Thinking about that really made me want to see this through and take that next step with her.
Courtesy of Lisa Ford
"I mentioned the promise ring is because I knew he was the one. We started off as friends and gradually became each other's best friend. I just knew he was my person."
Lisa: My biggest fear walking into marriage was that we would get so caught up in a routine and we would forget about the romance. Growing up, I saw a lot of married couples who didn't look happy. I knew I didn't want that to be my story. I didn't want to just settle in a marriage where things became predictable. I always wanted to have that romance aspect in marriage. What honestly helped me get over my fear before getting married was to just get married. Once we were married, we talked about how we wanted our marriage to be and defined certain things for us to do in order to keep our marriage fun.
Jamal: My biggest fear was finances.When I was trying to find a ring for her, I was in college at the time. So I thought about just being able to afford things and provide for her whenever she needed. But Lisa is very driven, so I knew that she would help if we ever had any finance troubles. I trust her and just the nature of our relationship helped me get over that fear.
Lisa: For me, one of the biggest challenges was trying to balance building a marriage and building a business. I am really driven and once I say I am going to do something, I stick it out. Even if that means me working till late at night. That was hard for Jamal because by the time I'm done working, I don't want to spend any quality time [together]. I just want to go to bed.
Jamal: I know for me, I have been navigating through my mental health. I have PTSD and it can be hard sometimes for Lisa. Before we even got married, she was helping me with it. I feel so blessed to have been supported by her all this time. She has been patient. She would talk me through my different emotions and just be there for me. It's very healing knowing you have someone in your corner when you have a mental health condition. I really appreciate her.
Jamal: There is no limit to how much you can love someone. Love is selfless and, in the name of love, you are capable of doing anything for someone without expecting anything in return.
Lisa: My biggest lesson has been loving someone the way they need to be loved. If I am loving you the way I receive love, then it doesn't benefit the other person. So it's important to know how to show up for my husband in a way that he will be able to receive my love for him.
Courtesy of Lisa Ford
"There is no limit to how much you can love someone. Love is selfless and, in the name of love, you are capable of doing anything for someone without expecting anything in return."
Lisa: This may sound materialistic, but we want to be the first millionaires of our family (laughs). We are trying to break generational curses and create that wealth. We have seen our parents work so hard and they are still working till this day. We want to be able to help our family to the point where they can enjoy life.
Jamal: We definitely want to help support our families financially, but we also want to help the less fortunate. Really make an impact in the community and bring positive change.
Featured image courtesy of Lisa and Jamal
'K' is a multi-hyphenated free spirit from Chicago. She is a lover of stories and the people who tell them. As a writer, 9-5er, and Safe Space Curator, she values creating the life she wants and enjoying the journey along the way. You can follow her on Instagram @theletter__k_.
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Your Go-To Matcha Latte Just Got A Fruit-Inspired Summer Refresh
Can we talk about the grip that matcha lattes have on us? While I’ll always be an iced caramel latte (with oat milk) type of girl to the core, matcha lattes have become a must-have, pick-me-up to get me through the day.
If you’re anything like me, your FYP and explore page is probably filled with pretty matcha recipes that are just begging for you to try. And with these green, semi-sweet lattes quickly becoming a go-to for emotional-support beverage drinkers, it’s hard not to resist the temptation of a delicious and calming sip or two.
Matcha is a type of green tea that originated in Japan and is known for its vibrant green color, fine powder texture, and distinctive flavor. The traditional way of preparing matcha involves whisking the powder with hot water until it forms a frothy mixture, which can then be combined with smoothies, lattes, and other treats.
Not only is it high in antioxidants, but it also has been shown to have a number of health benefits, including reducing stress and anxiety, and a good source of L-theanine, an amino acid that can promote relaxation and improve mental focus.
Some newcomers to the tea may need a little convincing to come around to its distinctive, leafy taste, however, some new variations to the transitional technique could offer a sweet experience that will make them a true matcha believer.
Outside of milk, which is matcha’s creamy companion, strawberries and mango are two of the latest fruits to be paired with matcha and are unlocking new, refreshing recipes to try for the warmer months ahead. To get you started, we’ve provided a simple, yet tasty recipe for strawberry and mango matcha that you can try at home:
Easy Mango and Strawberry Matcha Recipe
pink everything all february🍵🍓💕 #fyp #matchalatte #matcha #strawberrymatcha #pinkeverything #pinkmatcha
- 1 cup of oat milk/almond milk
- 1/2 cup of strawberries, hulled and sliced (or),
- 1/2 cup of mango, peeled and diced
- 1 teaspoon of matcha powder
- 1 teaspoon of honey/agave
- Ice cubes
- In a small bowl, add 1 teaspoon of matcha powder.
- Add a small amount of hot water to the matcha powder (about 1/4 cup) and whisk vigorously with a bamboo whisk or a small whisk until the matcha powder is dissolved and there are no lumps. You should end up with a thick paste-like mixture.
- If desired, add 1 tablespoon of honey or sugar to sweeten.
- Add 1/2 cup of sliced strawberries or diced mango to a blender and blend until smooth.
- Fill a glass with ice cubes and pour the fruit and matcha mixture over the ice.
- Sip slowly and enjoy!
Here are 4 more matcha recipes in action:
fruity matcha lattes >> 🤭🥭 #matchalatterecipe #mangomatchalatte
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