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?
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.