Future Foundation Atlanta

Category: Events

How long have you been married?

Modie and Brittany: We have been married for 5 years. June 7 will make 6 years for us!

How did you guys meet?

Modie: In small towns, everybody knows everybody, so we like to say we’ve known each other forever. We officially met on my birthday in 1999 when I followed Brittany home from school.

What were your first impressions of each other?

Modie: My first impression of Brittany was I thought she was a very nice and attractive girl. I had to have her as my girlfriend.

Brittany:  My first impression of Modie was that he was a quiet guy who was an extraordinary basketball player. I was a little hesitant because I wanted him to like me for more than what he could see.

What made you want to get married?

Modie:  I’ve always wanted to marry Brittany. I knew that she was the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with when we first started dating.

Brittany: In my teenage days, I always would scribble Brittany Johnson as my “name” because honestly believed that Modie was the person who God created for me. Like Modie, I’ve always wanted Modie to be my better half, so I had no problem with marrying him.

How did you propose?

Modie: I was in going to school in Tennessee and Brittany was in Arkansas. We both were coming home to Mississippi for the weekend and I decided that I would ask her to marry me. I had already asked her parents for their permission to marry her. We were hanging out at her sister’s house, and she turned away for a moment. I got down on one knee with the ring and went for it. She said, “Yes”, but quickly took it back. She asked me if I was sure that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her and only her. After I told her that I did, she hugged my neck, screamed yes, and started crying.

How does your faith play into your marriage?

Brittany: When we married, we decided that our marriage would be a trifold relationship-only God, Brittany, and Modie. We know that without one or the other, our marriage would not survive. Our faith has been the glue in our marriage. When there are good times, we pray and praise His name, and when we experience bad times, we pray, ask God to order our steps, and continue to praise Him in the midst of it all. We pray with and for each other because we believe that a family that prays together stays together.

Do you have any marriage survival tips?

Modie and Brittany:  As we mentioned before, our faith is very important. If there is a disagreement, rather than run to friends and family, we have made it a habit to only talk to our spouse and God about it. When others are privileged to the most intimate details of your marriage, trouble will be sure to follow. If you follow the rule of keeping your marriage a trifold relationship, you won’t need any other survival tip! 🙂

How do you keep the fire burning in your relationship?

Modie and Brittany: You have to be creative. The same things that we did before we were married, we still do now. We love date nights, hanging out as friends, and being spontaneous rather than so routine.

Is there anything you would do differently looking back on your marriage?

Modie and Brittany:  No, we believe in living life with no regrets. We’ve enjoyed the good times and survived bad times. Every “mistake” has always yielded a learning experience. Without growth, we believe our marriage would have become stagnant by now.

Why do you think African Americans have the lowest marriage rate, but the largest divorce rate?

Modie and Brittany: African-Americans have the lowest marriage rate because we rarely have examples of happy, married, and monogamous African-American couples in our community. The majority of the ones who we see does not value their marriage nor demonstrate any benefits of marriage. When single and dating Blacks see this, I feel that they question “What’s the point?” when they can do bad by themselves. I feel that we have the largest divorce rate because we have become more consumed in the wedding than the marriage. When couples do not invest in each other, mentally, physically, and spiritually, it opens the door to divorce quicker. Our counterparts are not afraid to utilize resources to help save their marriages. I feel that we get so wrapped up in what others think about what’s going on in our marriages, that we will simply file for divorce to avoid the stigma and shame rather than work it out with our partners.

If you were giving advice to a couple who wanted to get married, what would you say?

Modie and Brittany: Be ready! You have to be ready for any and everything that can come your way-the good, the bad, and the ugly. You don’t have to be prepared for whatever may come, but be ready to face it head on and together.

What does marriage mean to you?

Modie and Brittany: Marriage means everything to us! It provides us with love, happiness, entertainment, support, memories, companionship, comfort, and so much more. Also, it is our covenant with God that means spending the rest of our lives as one flesh as we love each other unconditionally.

How long have you been married?

Nikki & Alan: We’ve been married for 1 year and 1 month.

How did you guys meet?

Nikki: We met through a mutual friend.

What were your first impressions of each other?

Nikki & Alan: From the first time we saw each other we literally haven’t left each other’s sides. When we had our first kiss, while I closed my eyes I saw me standing in front of him in a wedding dress. In my mind I knew he was the one.  We didn’t even have time for first impressions but we just knew it was RIGHT.

What made you want to get married?

Nikki: Well I knew that I would never find anyone else to make me feel the way he does! I wasn’t sure at first and neither was he but with time I began to see that he was my balance and my EQUAL and that life wouldn’t be the same without him in it, not to mention we have children and we are also very spiritual and knew that we had to do things the right way in order to receive favor from God.  Alan: There many factors that went into our decision to marry but the most important was love for each other love for our kids and love for our God!

How did you propose?

Alan: LOL. Well there were two proposals; the first proposal was in front of her mother’s house. We sitting outside on her mom’s porch and I just looked at her and said “Will you marry me?” There was no ring and we had only been dating just 2 weeks.  She said “NO” of course.  LOL. The official proposal was while we were at home, just she and I. We were in deep conversation about life and what we wanted out of it and she turned around and I was on one knee looking at her with puppy dog eyes. LOL.   I asked her again and this time she said YES and she knew then that I really meant it the first time too!! Oh and this time I had a ring…A NICE ONE, LOL.

How does your faith play into your marriage? 

Alan: God comes first so we must abide by his laws outside of the respect we have for each other.  Nikki: I know I must stand beside my husband and follow God’s rules when it comes to being married and how we treat each other.

Do you have any marriage survival tips? 

Nikki & Alan: Communicate. It’s the most important part.  We tend to hide pieces of ourselves.  Be open to vulnerability and understand that marriage is a lifelong commitment that cannot be taken lightly.  You’re going to fight, you’re going to get on each other nerves but nothing but death should separate you.

How do you keep the fire burning in your relationship?

Nikki & Alan: We like to role play to keep it fresh and talk a lot to stay close and in tune with what the other one wants.  You have to pay attention to each other. Know their desires and be open to doing something different.

Why do you think African Americans have the lowest marriage rate, but the largest divorce rate? 

Alan: We have become lost and gotten deterred from following our core values. We use to cherish marriage and had more respect for our women but when the women don’t hold themselves to a higher esteem men don’t feel they deserve the title or respect of being a wife.

If you were giving advice to a couple who wanted to get married, what would you say?

Nikki: I would tell them to seek premarital counseling first because there are some coping and other skills that you need to learn before getting married.

What does marriage mean to you?

Nikki & Alan: Dedication, work, and love.  It is a journey that has endless possibilities.

How long have you been married?

Edward: Almost 27 years.

How did you guys meet?

Edward:  We met in college during a concert choir rehearsal.

What were your first impressions of each other?

Edward:  I initially thought she was a very fun loving, open person. She didn’t like me that much.  She thought I was “stuck up”.

Eddrena:  I did; nonetheless, he looked very distinguished, sure of himself and he was very handsome. For whatever reason, I looked at his shoes and on a scale from one to ten (and ten being the highest) he scored an 11.

What made you want to get married?

Edward: I wanted to get married because she was my closest friend and I was in love and felt we could make a life together

Eddrena: I wanted to marry Edward because I loved him, he loved me in spite of my flaws, he shared the same goals and beliefs as I did and my welfare was “his” priority.

How did you propose?

Edward:  I just remember I had to propose three (3) times.

Eddrena:  It was at a Shoney’s in Tougaloo, MS, and he proposed three times because I wanted him to be very sure and understand that he was in it for the long haul…for better or for worse; in sickness and in health; forsaking all others, till death us do part.  I also thought I’d better say yes this time because he might not ask again.

How does your faith play into your marriage?

Edward:  If not for my faith our marriage wouldn’t have lasted this long. Forgiveness and prayer.

Eddrena: God’s will is more important than my will. My faith gives me strength and power to endure all barriers, and the vicissitudes of life that challenge us daily…especially our marriage.

Do you have any marriage survival tips?

Edward:  Have patience, pray, and keep the lines of communication open.

Eddrena: Be your spouses’ “BIGGEST” cheerleader/fan and write letters/notes to each other.

How do you keep the fire burning in your relationship?

Edward:  Sex.

Eddrena: Making love; holding hands, winking for no apparent reason at each other, compliments; and calls/texts during the day to communicate your love.

Is there anything you would do differently looking back on your marriage?

Edward: There are times when I think there were many things I should have done differently, but I guess all things happen for a reason.

Eddrena: Premarital counseling would have been more extensive and would have dealt with inevitable issues (i.e. vacations, how to spend holidays with both families; who manages the money; and establishing our own traditions instead of making traditions based on our experiences.) and better management of our finances.

Why do you think African Americans have the lowest marriage rate, but the largest divorce rate?

Edward: A lack of understanding and communication

Eddrena: A lack of role models to observe, understanding that responsibility is attached to marriage; not having the resources to utilize when times get rough.

If you were giving advice to a couple who wanted to get married, what would you say?

Edward: Pray hard and don’t rush.

Eddrena: Premarital counseling is not an option it is “mandatory”; understand that growth without change is impossible; and communicate, communicate; and communicate some more!

What does marriage mean to you?

Edward: Marriage means love, understanding, companionship, stability, and family.

Eddrena: Commitment to one person; esteeming my spouse more than myself; applying unconditional love daily; and having each other’s back at all times.

How long have you been married?

Jasmine: It’ll be a year in April.

How did you guys meet?

Jasmine: We met at Columbus State University.

What were your first impressions of each other?   [Both Laughing]

Jasmine: Not good, actually. We both thought the other person was rude.

Atrevis: Especially her. [Laughs]

What made you want to get married?

Jasmine: To be honest, our passion guided our decision. Even though it was sudden, we both had an instant, almost natural connection and knew, with time, we would gain a deeper understanding of each other with time.

How did you propose?

Atrevis: [Laughing]. I proposed to her while she was watching her favorite television show.

Jasmine: I didn’t know what he was doing at first, so I was more focused on the show than him. It wasn’t until the commercial break that I realized he was proposing to me. I couldn’t believe it! I was so excited!

How does your faith play into your marriage?

Jasmine: Faith plays a big part, being that my husband is Atheist. At times, I find myself praying for him.

Atrevis: It’s a major difference in our lives. It’s a struggle at but we are working on it. We want to keep our beliefs, but at the same time, come to a point of understanding, rather than judging.

Do you have any marriage survival tips?

Jasmine: Yes, Communication is key in a marriage you have to communicate.

Atrevis: Definitely. I’m a quiet person, so I’ve been learning to open up more and openly communicate my thoughts and feelings.

How do you keep the fire burning in your relationship?

Jasmine: By being spontaneous

Atrevis: Yes, you can’t let it get stale, especially, so early in our marriage.

Is there anything you would do differently looking back on your marriage?

Jasmine: Yes, I would have waited a little longer so that I could get to know him better.

Atrevis: I agree. We find ourselves learning both similarities and difference, which we should’ve known beforehand.

Why do you think African Americans have the lowest marriage rate, but the largest divorce rate?

Jasmine: Nobody sees the value or purpose of marriage anymore.

Atrevis: Also, people aren’t willing to put forth the effort to work differences out. They rather quit than go through the rough times’ not realizing it is those tough times that make the good times even better.

If you were giving advice to a couple who wanted to get married, what would you say?

Jasmine: My advice would be take the counseling sessions before getting married.

Atrevis:  I would say discuss the goals of your marriage.

What does marriage mean to you?

Jasmine:  Marriage means a bond between two people that are deeply in love with one another.

How long  have you been married?

Will and Shyretta:  One year.

How did you guys meet?

Will: In undergraduate school at Ole Miss through a mutual friend.  He was dating her roommate so it was a blind date for us.

Shyretta: We met at a college step show.  Will always stayed in touch and found me about 10 years later.

What were your first impressions of each other?

Will:  Very intelligent, attractive, and classy

Shyretta: I thought Will was funny, sincere, genuine and a gentleman.

What made you want to get married?

Will: I know that she will be a good mother to our children one day.  Also, honestly as a man she is like my trophy.  Having her by my side really makes me look good.  Very good! Lol

Shyretta: I always felt like my dad was the best man I ever knew. Every time I thought about Will, I felt like he was the best man I ever met.  He loved God more than anyone and put his family first.  Those were the values that I witnessed in my parents’ marriage so marriage was a natural desire for me.

How did he propose?

Shyretta: Will tells the story better but it was one of the most amazing days of my life.  I still get speechless and tear up thinking about it. We were on the rooftop at Peabody hotel in Memphis, TN.  We had strawberries and wine with a live violinist.

How does your faith play into your marriage?

Will: Very big. It was one of the main reasons why I was attracted to her.  Having a similar religious background makes it easier to worship together regardless of what religion; but we are Christians.

Shyretta: Our relationship with God and overall faith is extremely important.  In fact, it’s the most important factor in our marriage.  Learning to love God teaches me how to love my husband.  We believe that marriage was created and designed by God.

Do you have any marriage survival tips?

Will: Pray. Learn your wife.  Communicate effectively so that you both understand.  Always show your wife that she is important to you.  Always always always as a man find things that make your wife attractive to you (hands, smile, feet, how she cooks, smells etc). It has to be something intimate and special because naturally any man can be attracted to the opposite sex.

Shyretta: Pick and choose your battles.  Maintain balance.  Create boundaries.  You have to approach marriage with as much passion as you approach any other life desires and remember it’s not about the amount but just consistency.

How do you keep the fire burning in your relationship?

Will:  Give gifts once a month (flowers, candy, cards etc). Do date days or nights. Talk sexy to each other!

Shyretta: Think about the beginning of your dating days.  I try to think about how I looked and what I thought, what would I have done or how attracted I was to him.  I think about how special I tried to make things or how I would take extra time to get ready.  Obviously you can’t do this every minute of the day. The beauty of marriage is learning to love someone during times of stress, life issues, hair rollers and house coats etc.

Is there anything you would do differently looking back on your marriage?

Will: I would change the date we got married! I had to leave two days after I got married to come to a new duty station so for almost a whole year being newlyweds we were apart.  We still haven’t had our honeymoon.  🙁

Shyretta: I guess we are so new there aren’t many things I can look back on yet but I would say more communication.  Sometimes it’s easy to think your spouse knows who you are or what you are thinking.

Why do you think African Americans have the lowest marriage rate, but the largest divorce rate?

Will: There are a few reasons.  No one has taught us about marriage. Some black women have a hard time being submissive because they have been independent so long that they give up on a man too fast.  Black men don’t know responsibility or really just don’t want to grow up. We tend to repeat the same cycles as our families and it leads to divorce.

Shyretta: We learn by what we observe. Unfortunately, many of us don’t get to observe strong marriages or how to be husbands and wives.  Sadly divorce rates are rising across the board and within our communities there are even fewer positive views of marriage.  We don’t address the unique challenges that plague African American marriages.  I don’t believe in excuses but we don’t really take time the address these lingering issues which are the result of struggles and historical past of slavery and racism in this country.

If you were giving advice to a couple who wanted to get married, what would you say?

Will: Know what you want! Be honest with yourself as well as your future wife. To the man be prepared to be a leader and provider and to the woman be a good partner for him. Team work is important! COMMUNICATE!!!

Shyretta: You can never be too prepared.  Once you are engaged I would recommend pre-marital counseling and continue counseling or participate in other retreats throughout the marriage.  Don’t wait for issues to come up.  Wives have to learn to respect their husbands and husbands have to learn how to love their wives.

What does marriage mean to you?

Will:  Partnership and commitment. God’s favor on a man’s life.  Responsibility, maturity, love, friendship!

Shyretta:  Marriage is the foundation of family. Marriage is learning: learning to love to grow to sacrifice.  It’s the hardest thing you can ever do but the most rewarding.  We just started our journey so I’m guessing we will spend a life time defining marriage.