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Why This Intercultural Couple Chooses Faith As The Foundation In Their Marriage

"You can give without loving, but you can't love without giving."

Our First Year

In xoNecole's Our First Year series, we take an in-depth look at love and relationships between couples with an emphasis on what their first year of marriage was like.

For Billboard-charting hip-hop artist Call Me Ace, he met his match when he met his now-wife, attorney Roza Patterson, at his college birthday party. On this particular night, in 2011, Ace and Roza shared with each other their ambitions and their dreams after college. With both of them living in two different states, they had no idea that the strength of their connection would withstand the physical distance between them.

According to Ace, what drew him to Roza was the fact that "she loves so much. She has taught me to be less self-centered." For Roza, "it's the way he celebrates other people. He is so supportive of others." This couple maintained their long-distance love until they finally walked down the aisle in 2016.

For Roza and Ace, this month marks their five-year anniversary and they have centered their marriage in being aligned spiritually and purposefully. With combining their Jamaican and Ethiopian cultures, Ace and Roza made it their mission to build together in love and serve each other to reach the ultimate #RelationshipGoals. With Ace being an artist, his recent song "Love Goals" talks about the core principles of his marriage, and how he and Roza continue to work hard and trust in God to take them to the top.

When you love someone, having faith as your foundation helps you get through the best of times and the worst of times. Ace mentions, "Instead of thinking of these instances as negative, we took these moments as opportunities to help build together in this project called marriage." Whether you are married, engaged, or in the beginning stages of dating, a partnership is about togetherness. It highlights the importance of focusing on the journey of love and trusting that your faith will guide you to the ultimate destination.

Courtesy of Ace and Roza

In this installment of xoNecole's "Our First Year", Ace and Roza share how they kept their love alive during long-distance, how they keep God as their foundation, and truly support each other's dreams in their marriage.

Here's their story:

How They Met

Ace: I recently graduated from Columbia University and was having a birthday party on campus. A mutual friend of ours attended the party and Roza came with [the mutual friend]. My first impression of Roza was I thought she was a literal angel. I never met anyone like her. I was fresh out of college and I didn't have much. So after talking to Roza for a while, I compared what she was doing with her life versus where I was in my life. I couldn't even be her friend because I figured I was going to mess up her life (laughs). My attitude was that she was doing so great for herself, so she should just leave me or she would regret it (laughs).

Roza: I really didn't know anyone at the party. So to make myself more comfortable, I figured I would talk to the birthday boy. We basically talked all night and we exchanged social media information. Ace was definitely the most interesting person I talked to that night. When I met Ace, I thought he was a good listener. At the time, I recently got out of a relationship, so I wasn't looking to hop into another one. Even though I liked talking with him, I really didn't think anything would happen between us.

The One

Roza: When I met Ace, I had made a commitment with the Lord that I would not take action into anything unless hearing from the Lord first. A lot of people say "when you know you know" and for me I patiently waited for the Lord to tell me that Ace was my person. When the moment finally happened, it was all excitement from then on out.

Ace: Roza and I were long-distance the entire time before we got married. At a point in our relationship, Roza had a choice to choose between Columbia [my alma mater] or a school in the UK. She chose the school in London. I was mad at the situation because I took it as a sign that we weren't meant to be together.

But one day, while I was praying and writing in my journal, I heard this question, "Has Roza wronged you in any way? If so, leave. But if not, you should love her through this." I took that as a sign that if this is God's will, then so be it. So after Roza's Master's program was over, I was convinced that if we can make it through an international long-distance relationship, we can make it through anything.

"A lot of people say 'when you know you know' and for me I patiently waited for the Lord to tell me that Ace was my person. When the moment finally happened, it was all excitement from then on out."

Courtesy of Ace and Roza

The Big Day

Roza: One thing I do remember on our wedding day is that Ace actually surprised me with a song. I was completely shocked (laughs). Ace and I planned our wedding to a T. But after our first dance, I see the DJ walking over with the mic. I'm telling the DJ we don't need the mic, it's fine (laughs). But little did I know, Ace started performing his song and I was blown away. Ace told me when we were planning the wedding that he didn't want me to stress and that his job was to make me happy. He definitely did that.

Ace: One thing I remember is that when the wedding was all done, we ran into another married couple. They had this huge white old-school car and Roza and I asked if we could take a picture with them and their buggy. Then, we were slick and got them to take our picture by ourselves in front of their car (laughs). It was one of the dopest pictures ever.

Early Challenges

Roza: When Ace graduated from Columbia, he started at an unpaid internship. In my head I thought, 'Who starts an unpaid internship after college, we need to be getting jobs.' (laughs). So basically, he didn't have any money. I started to wonder if he would be able to provide for me in the future. I struggled with this and even thought about giving up on our relationship. But I am glad the Lord worked with me on that. I value security and I believe everyone does. But finances is not what I wanted to base our relationship on. In the end, he is providing for me more than I can ever imagine now. So I am glad I let go of that.

Ace: So the challenges as far as culture, what we like to eat, or different sleeping patterns hit us after we got married. But for us, it wasn't really a challenge per se. It was actually pretty fun. We have never lived together before, so it was all new for us and we were able to experience everything for the first time together. Instead of thinking of these instances as negative, we took these moments as opportunities to see how we build together in this project called marriage.

Biggest Fears

Ace: My biggest fear, and I am still working through this, I just want to be a good husband. In the beginning, I feared that our relationship would crumble because of me. The way I grew up, I didn't have a lot of role models on what a healthy black relationship looked like. All of it was new for me and even my family. So there's this pressure to not mess things up. But I submit my fears to the Lord and it is an everyday choice to trust in God and lead in loving one another.

Roza: One of my biggest fears was that we had different upbringings. I am Ethopian-American and he's Jamaican. My other siblings married other Ethiopians, so I was scared about how our different cultural backgrounds would blend together. I struggled between if my family would accept him or if I should do what my siblings did, because that's easier.

But God is so gracious, because I learned that above anything, you and your partner comes first. If I would have listened to those fears, I would have lost out on this amazing man and our beautiful marriage. When you are with someone that you know you love, don't use money, looks, culture, etc. as an excuse to break that up.

"If I would have listened to those fears, I would have lost out on this amazing man and our beautiful marriage. When you are with someone that you know you love, don't use money, looks, culture, etc. as an excuse to break that up."

Courtesy of Ace and Roza

Love Lessons

Ace: One of the scriptures in the Bible, it says love doesn't demand its own way. I think that is so powerful because in marriage, we are both individuals with our own perspectives. So it is not about living your life your own way anymore. It is about how we mend things together into one. One of the ways we keep our marriage intact is we have these relationship summits. We are working on a better name for them (laughs).

Every quarter, we travel somewhere and take a couple of days to sit and talk. Whatever are the hot topics in our marriage during that time, we have a chance to talk them through and our goals moving forward. This is really our safe space for one another to lay everything out on the table and the other person's job is to actively listen. I am really thankful for those times.

Roza: One of the lessons I have learned is that you can not treat love as a feeling. In marriage, love is action. Love translates through service. You can give without loving, but you can't love without giving. With that said, it's important to remind yourself that there are times you will show you love your partner whether you feel like it or not. I have to show up no matter what for my teammate.

"One of the lessons I have learned is that you can not treat love as a feeling. In marriage, love is action. Love translates through service."

Best Advice

Ace: A happy wife is a happy life. Period (smiles).

Roza: The only competition in your marriage is to see who can outserve each other. Marriage should not be for tit for tat. You should be serving your partner simply because that is what you are called to do.

For more of Ace and Roza, follow them on Instagram @rozapatterson and @callmeacelegit. You can also check out Ace's most recent album, Out of Office, here.

Featured image courtesy of Ace and Roza

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