These buildings could drift out to sea
Some natural catastrophe
Still, there’s no place I’d rather be
Cause nothing even matters to me— Lauryn Hill
Nothing Even Matters, a song by Lauryn Hill and D’Angelo, sends me to one of the most delicate yet strengthening places on earth.
I’m an eyewitness to Black love as a descendant of partnerships through generations of my family legacy. I am a product of a 30-year marriage. A love that has endured mountains and valleys and continues to evolve and conquer. There is nothing comparable to finding The One or allowing The One to find you.
Through all of life’s greatest experiences, falling in love ranks at the very top of the list. However, staying in love requires long-term commitment, sacrifice, and devotion. And for these four couples who have shared their love stories, the common thread that weaves through all their journeys is to recommit daily and build a practice of gratitude to serve and love one another for as long as they could.
I’m an eyewitness to Black love as a descendant of partnerships through generations within my family legacy. I am a product of a 30-year marriage; an impenetrable love. It’s one that endured mountains and valleys and continues to evolve and conquer. There is nothing comparable to finding The One. Depending on your perspective, maybe you see it as allowing The One to find you.
Throughout life’s array of experiences, falling in love is one of the most gratifying dreams that come true for people. Staying in love is work, true enough, and, for four distinct couples who have openly shared their love stories, the common thread that weaves through all of their unique journeys is to recommit daily and build a practice of gratitude to serve and love one another for as long as they could.
The Stewarts: A Decade of Resilience and Unquestionable Respect.
Ten years ago, Tiffany and Johnny Stewart were living through a difficult and challenging time. Johnny was going through a divorce. Tiffany, meanwhile, had experienced a second failed marriage and was trying to overcome infertility issues.
Focusing on her solitude and her commitment to therapy, Tiffany would occasionally hop on a hotline to converse and engage with others. As advised by her therapist, she was not going to date. She simply needed someone to talk to sometimes. That someone turned out to be Johnny.
In the subsequent decades and as Mr. and Mrs. Stewart, Tiffany and Johnny shared their advice on taking a risk on love and remaining strong as partners through all of life’s challenges.
T: Johnny has always been consistent. He has always shown effort. In the first few years of our marriage, it felt like an attack on our marriage because of different issues. After experiencing further miscarriages, I was going to give up on my dream of having a child. But, through it all, Johnny has always been Johnny. He does whatever it takes and puts me first to be strong for our entire family.
As they’ve built and rebuilt, restarted, and continued to chase one goal after the next while serving their extended families, the two always place the Stewart legacy first.
J: We don’t need anyone but each other. No matter what comes against us, we bounce back.
They tell me their daughter often asks her parents how she became a Stewart.
T: Our story is everything we live for. The hardest part I have always faced in relationships is losing myself. I did not want to lose myself again. I realized that I couldn’t keep relying on my past experiences to define my future. So, I say to all women looking for love, take a deeper look in the mirror. Your unconscious mind has to agree with the rest of your being. I’m more solidified in my role as a wife and as a woman because I know I can always be myself with Johnny.
J: You take what you have and work with it every day. You continuously show regard for that person.
Johnny, the house chef, starts reciting their family mantra. Tiffany instantly joins in, and they say in accord, “The Stewarts don’t worry about anything. We pray about everything.”
Tiffany closes the conversation by suggesting that others fall in love in the way you need and know your purpose in life.
T: I began declaring what I wanted for my marriage, and I’ve never stopped.
J: Out of love, I moved to Detroit for this woman, and I am in love with her more and more every day.
THREE LESSONS FROM THE STEWARTS:
1. Fall in love with yourself and apply that same love to be shared with your mate. The greatest gift is love.
2. Be pleasant, stay committed, and make it enjoyable. Through the storms of life, hold on to your mate, and let God surround your union with protection. Pray about everything. Worry about nothing.
3. Handle changes through respect and communication. Listen and love unconditionally.
Soon-to-Be Mr. Larry Bryant-Burgess and Mr. Rasean Burgess-Bryant: On the ride of their lives
Detroit natives, Larry and Rasean, are approaching their first decade of love as a newly engaged couple in Los Angeles, California. As businessmen who live for sunny skies, good vibes, and world-traveling, the two anticipate the upcoming day when they will give each other their names and continue building their future.
Even during two years in separate states, they never let their spark dwindle. As Larry became acclimated to his new career in the hospitality industry, Rasean became just as acquainted with California through his constant visits to spend time with Larry on every holiday break and as often as possible. During their time apart, they remained in sync.
The Midwest raised them, but the West Coast helped them evolve in their individualities, and it helped them strengthen and protect each other as men and as life partners.
While only in their early 30s, the two have both endured and conquered trials. Seeing how mindful they were with one another as they each shared parts of their love story, it’s evident the other is the highest priority in each of their lives. Love exudes as they share even the uncomfortable moments of their story: as they fought to stay in California through every challenge.
R: We knew we needed each other beyond that issue.
L: Through the trials, we have never given up. At our lowest times, we held on to the little threads of love that we had. There was a time when I had to regain Sean’s trust.
R: Our test was asking ourselves, “Are we going to grow together or not?”
When asked about what helped them succeed past that difficult stretch, Larry points at, with no hesitation, his appreciation for his soon-to-be husband’s way of handling things.
L: During that time, Sean was able to work through and beyond victimization after being deeply hurt.
As for what Rasean needed from Larry in return:
R: I needed him to be 100 percent transparent with me. I needed his compassion, openness, and vulnerability to move forward.
They did: They went back to their roots and remembered why they belonged to each other.
L: It’s my job to let him know and show him how much I love him. Certain issues simply weren’t worth the lasting impact.
Following Larry and Rasean’s marriage proposal in their hometown of Detroit, the dynamic duo is looking ahead to their wedding day that will bring together the people who have motivated, supported and celebrated their love along the way.
THEIR LOVE SONGS:
“Part II” by JayZ and Beyoncé
“Love Crimes” by Frank Ocean
The Morgans: Partners in Life and in Business
Donnie Morgan and Dr. Dayna Morgan spend significantly more time in the kitchen. than most married couples. That’s because this couple unites as creators of health-conscious meals and co-owners of Kitchen Strong, a premium lifestyle kitchen essentials brand.
The year 2010 was their beginning. A Step Show at Aretha Franklin Amphitheater — formerly Chene Park — where the alpha woman and kappa man first crossed paths. Donnie was one of the event judges. Dayna, who was getting off work, was brought to the show reluctantly by her homegirl. It was at the show where Dayna caught Donnie’s attention, but at the after-party at Club Honey was where Dayna approached Donnie.
With birthdays only one day apart, there was a bigger plan for Donnie and Dayna. Their first date led to a marriage proposal six years later — in the privacy of their own home.
DM: Although Dayna is very much of a social person, and we both come from large families, I decided to make things official in a way that felt most comfortable.
- DM: It was perfect.
Beyond the kitchen, The Morgans remain strong through distinct principles.
DM: I do my best always to be mindful of what benefits us both. Not just one of us.
Dr. DM: I believe in giving each other plenty of grace and space and room to ourselves where necessary.
Dr. Morgan emphasizes that, even as husband and wife, they don’t necessarily prescribe to specific rules such as not going to bed angry. Understanding that they each require their own ways and methods of moving forward, she says some days, it’s OK when they don’t reach an agreement. The point is to come together and meet in the middle once both are comfortable.
DM: It’s all about evolution through the souls.
- DM: He is my person.
ADVICE FOR PARTNERS IN BUSINESS:
Just do it! This is the time to live out our dreams. Do not delay them. We suggest getting a good couple’s therapist. Communication is key in a marriage and just as important with your business partner. Even if you are mad at your partner, the business must go on. You have to put your personal issues aside. It can also be very rewarding to build something with your life partner, thus creating a legacy for your family.
THE FORDS: Dignifying Ruby
Through an aspect of symbolism, a marriage of over 40 years is considered the ruby anniversary as the gem represents eternal flame. Since September 26, 1976, the flame between Arthur and Pamela Ford has continued to burn. The Ford’s swept each other off their feet when Pam Kelly, a college student at Wayne State University, introduced her best friend to Arthur Ford.
PF: Arthur was friends and classmates with my best girlfriend, Bev, in high school. She convinced me to go to a party with her. I first noticed how well he could dance, and I hoped he didn’t ask me. I was intimidated.
AF: I noticed the black suit she was wearing. The night wasn’t going to end without me saying hi.
They both subscribe to the theory that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. Therefore, they advise creating a relationship rooted in respect through personal space, trust, and loyalty. Through that granted space is where the Fords have found a vibrant recipe crystallized by four decades of blissful work.
PF: In any situation, Arthur is going to show up for me. I would pick him as a friend time and time again.”
AF: It (marriage) was a collective discussion. We decided we were building a future together.
PF: It was nice falling in love.
Over four decades later, The Fords are now firmly settled in their individualities and nestled in their roles as husband and wife. Furthermore, their roles as parents and grandparents sets an example of unwavering love for future generations.
Parting has never been an option for the Fords through any challenge faced.
The Fords’ Greatest Lessons
PF: If you don’t acknowledge the differences, you cannot succeed in marriage. Marriage is a loving business. Arthur and I determined that we have the same common goals and were prepared to do the work.
AF: We respect each other’s space. Through that space, we have always been good. When she’s happy, the family’s happy.
Black Love transcends. May we always know it exists and that it begins with simply opening ourselves to the possibility and defining love on our terms. May we feel safe in it. May it be kind, patient, and gracious with us. May we take pride in our Black love, be captured by its limitless and priceless gifts, and may we allow it to help us move mountains as a people.