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This Couple Shares Why Prayer & Faith Are The Foundation Of Their Marriage

"God opened my eyes to see that my husband was the tangible expression of God's love for me."

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.

In a world and time in our lives where it can seem many are searching and asking where God is, there are still moments that prove His love for his children. It can be in the simple things: A beautiful day, an unexpected surprise, or even a partner who makes you feel like you're on top of the world.

That's the vibe of Wanda and Lorelco Mulzac's marriage, one that is grounded in faith and prayer. Seriously. Funnily enough, the two met through Instagram (so y'all, you can find your King even on the 'gram), after Wanda commented under Lorelco's sister's photo and he asked who she was.

The two dated for six months before getting engaged, and then only for a year before tying the knot and making their love official. While some may think this is a fairytale story straight out of a movie, think again. Wanda says that she decided to take a chance on the relationship when "God gave [her] the okay sign," signaling that the decision of pursuing, surrendering, and ultimately, loving, is something that we can fully give over instead of carrying the weight on ourselves. Here's how these two have made it through their first year:

The One

Wanda: I knew he was the one by the way that he pursued me. In our first conversation, I definitely thought that he was special, but I did not feel that we would be together because I wasn't looking for a relationship. He always checked in on me and went above and beyond to make sure that I was okay. Eventually, I had to realize that the reason I wouldn't accept such a good man was because I didn't find myself worthy of one. But after I prayed and asked God to give me peace, I knew that he was the one! God opened my eyes to see that my husband was—and would continually be—the tangible expression of God's love for me.

"God opened my eyes to see that my husband was the tangible expression of God's love for me."

Lorelco: I knew Wanda was the one for me during our first conversation. It was the most transparent conversation I had ever had with any individual. I instantly loved her honesty, her sense of humor, and her love for God. We prayed together, sung worship songs, and just had an amazing time during the six hours we were on the phone. That conversation taught me the value of transparency and the value of a woman. As we talked, I knew I couldn't make it to the next level of my life alone. I needed my rib and I knew she was it.

Overcoming Fears In Marriage:

Wanda: One of my biggest fears was that I would fail at being a wife. You see, I had never witnessed a loving marriage so it was hard for me to really visualize who I should be. Ultimately, I learned to conquer that fear by prayer and just giving it my best shot. We both had to realize that there is really no secret potion to marriage and everybody has to find out what works for THEM. Also, every other obstacle has and is continually being tackled through prayer, faith, communication, and unconditional love/support!

Lorelco: We had some fears and obstacles to tackle once we were married. Prayer kept us through. We have learned that it is unhealthy to fight against each other, but we must be FOR each other. I admit, we didn't handle every situation well. We argued and argued, but we had to make a decision to love and remember why we fell in love in the beginning. Our love is stronger than any obstacle or any negative situation and we just have to be reminded of that daily. In addition, we've learned that communication is better than silence. One of the major reasons we were able to overcome obstacles is talking about the issues and working through them.

Important Lessons In Marriage:

Wanda: The most important thing in marriage to me is friendship! I say this because friendship opens the door to so many key principles that would otherwise be missed. The first key is communication. You hear this a lot but don't realize how much it is needed until you actually reach a point where it feels like a challenge to communicate what you're feeling. Also friendship allows you to move beyond your pride to make sure that your spouse isn't hurting. Lastly, it allows you to stay together in rough times. You won't always feel like being emotional, but when you have a genuine connection, it allows you to know what to say and do in tough moments, without applying extra pressure. A great friendship will heal your soul and bring light to the darkest of days.

Lorelco: The most important thing in a marriage is communication and honesty. Communication is the key to exponential growth. It is the bridge between love and adore, like and dislike, happy and unhappy. If the bridge of communication is torn down, depending on what side you are on, you can miss the connection of growth between the two differences. I never wanted to get stuck not liking some of the things my wife does or get stuck being unhappy. The truth is, it happens sometimes, but one way to bypass those moments is to communicate those specific things that are causing you to be unhappy. It is hard to hear if you're the one receiving the criticism, but it's necessary if you want to grow.

Love Lessons:

Wanda: One of the best love lessons that I have learned is that marriage isn't really about being a happy wife. While I love to be spoiled and admired, there were times that I had to realize my husband deserved the same happiness and catering. This was a lesson because he would always push me away from celebrating him, but I had to go above and beyond to make sure that I listened to his needs and not his wants. It seems like women are always receiving compliments and gifts but I've learned that my man who works tirelessly needs the same kind of love!

Lorelco: Some of the best love lessons I have learned is to never give up. Marriage is hard and it can get harder maneuvering your way through the unexpected, but I have learned that I can never give up. I have seen many marriages fail because they refused to keep fighting so I'm learning and still learning to press through the hardships and disagreements. Real intimacy happens when you trust each other with the deepest parts of your heart and choose to love through the brokenness you have experienced in life.

"Real intimacy happens when you trust each other with the deepest parts of your heart and choose to love through the brokenness you have experienced in life."

Best Part About Marriage:

Wanda: The best part of our marriage is that we celebrate each moment and we spend time together. We are constantly growing but we are never too busy to reconnect. I love how thoughtful my husband is and how he would do anything to put a smile on my face. Creating memories and learning each other every day is my favorite part of marriage.

Lorelco: The best part of marriage is traveling, spending time together, and experiencing new things. I wouldn't trade it for the world. It has truly grew me in ways unexpectedly and I am just happy to do life with my baby, Wanda Mulzac!

Click here to read past Our First Year love stories!

When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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