How long have you been married?
Shareef and Dee Dee: We will be married 14 years in August.
How did you guys meet?
Shareef and Dee Dee: We met in college at the University of California at Berkeley.
What were your first impressions of each other?
Dee Dee: My first impression of Shareef was that he was handsome, outgoing, asked a lot of questions and carried himself very mature for someone his age.
What made you want to get married?
Shareef and Dee Dee: We wanted to please God, stay true to our faith and because we knew God brought us the right person to marry.
How did you propose?
Dee Dee: Shareef proposed by suggesting a romantic dinner overlooking the San Francisco skyline and filled the area with flowers and rose petals.
How does your faith play into your marriage?
Shareef and Dee Dee: It’s the foundation of our marriage.
Do you have any marriage survival tips?
Shareef and Dee Dee: Pray, communicate, have patience and respect each other. Spend quality time together, appreciate your spouse and communicate this to them. Be compromising and build trust.
How do you keep the fire burning in your relationship?
Shareef and Dee Dee: Compliments, making time for each other/date nights.
Is there anything you would do differently looking back on your marriage?
Shareef and Dee Dee: Understand that marriage is both fun and difficult and embrace the difficulty and have faith early on that the difficulty will soon pass.
Why do you think African Americans have the lowest marriage rate, but the largest divorce rate?
Shareef and Dee Dee: Communication, less married role models, financial woes, not seeking marriage counseling/professional advice.
If you were giving advice to a couple who wanted to get married, what would you say?
Shareef and Dee Dee: Keep God the foundation of your marriage. Communicate openly especially if there is an issue of some sort. Respect each other and build each other up – not put down/tear down. Stay positive and know that whatever difficulties you may face that you will face them together and get through them together. Keep negative people out of your business and associate with other positive married couples. Appreciate each other and the little things. Don’t make a big deal out of the small things. Make time for each other and seek a counselor/professional advice when things get difficult.
What does marriage mean to you?
Shareef and Dee Dee: Loving someone unconditionally and being loved by someone unconditionally. Having a best friend, family, supporter, safety, protection from sinning and pleasing God.