“That initial choice and all the choices you make hereafter must be love-guided.”
Relationship Status: Dating for three years
What is love?
N: Love is a choice. Everyday single day, you get up, and make decisions about your day—some small some large but, no matter what, being in love is choosing We over Me. It’s viewing the whole to be more than the sum of its parts. It’s always considering the feelings of that person in your personal deliberations, and acting in the best interest of that whole.
J: It is a choice and the willingness to choose each other and our love everyday, no matter what little fights we have. We are both very stubborn people and we have our ups and downs but nothing is worth sacrificing our love and being together. I choose him and I choose to love him because our relationship is worth it.
What do you love about each other?
N: I can be myself around her. As a young African man, I generally have a persona I have to put on when I’m outside and thats even with people of my own race. Jeanne allows me to feel at peace in myself. There is no one in this world where I am at peace except for her. The thing I love most about Jeanne is she allows me to be me: 100 percent of me. My thoughts, my hopes, my beliefs, my fears, all aspects of my life are accepted, and all while doing so she elevates me to be better each day.
J: I love him because I can be completely myself with him, I don’t have to hide anything and he’s helped me grow as a person and in finding who I really am. I also love him because he’s so passionate about everything he does. We push each other to be the best versions of ourselves, in not only character but in our talents and careers, as well. He’s my best friend.
Did you have a couple or a source of love that you looked up to, while growing up?
J: Growing up I was a Disney child, so I believed and wanted the happily ever after—and because my parents divorced before I was born, I wanted that perfect relationship even more. Growing up, my sister and her husband were goals because they’ve been together for as long as I can remember and are now married, with my two beautiful nephews. But my relationship goals are [N’dere and I]. Realizing that it’s not a fairytale and it’s definitely not perfect, but we choose each other everyday, and just seeing how much we’ve grown together throughout our three years and continue to grow in love, that’s more than I could ever ask for.
N: Growing up I never saw successful relationships, but because of that I developed an aspiration to create that image for myself. By gleaning information from the people I came in contact with I utilized this knowledge to figure out, over the years, what things I wanted and did not want. And in doing so I developed an almost fictitious situation I hoped to one day cast myself with the lady I hoped to find. So you could say our goals are a figment of my own imagination.
What do you consider to be fundamental to a strong relationship?
J: Choice, trust and communication.
N: Trust in your own conscience. Love is a lifestyle commitment. As humans our natural instinct is to be self serving, unless you are part of a twin you did not come into the world with someone right next to you. So we naturally have an inclination to not consider people before we make our choices. So when being in a relationship one must have trust in their own conscience and use love as their compass to be the continual guiding force that governs every single action that they make. Because if you commit to love then love will commit to you, and in so doing reward you in ways that you are not prepared for But it all begins with the choice. That initial choice and all the choices you make hereafter must be love-guided.
Love is…? Fill in the blank with a word or two.
J: Love is work. It’s accepting that our relationship is a process and working at it everyday. I know that I don’t know everything about N’dere but I work at learning about him everyday and understanding why he does certain things and reacts in certain ways and finding out what he likes and doesn’t like. There are things he doesn’t tell me yet about himself and I have to trust that in time I will eventually find out, but I have to work at it.
N: Love is conscience. It still goes back to choices. Love can be a lot of things, it can be stressful, it can be joyous, it can be a lot of different things. But if every time you make a choice you make it with that in mind, at some point it will reward you. That is more so the thing I have gleaned from love, if you want to live in it you have to surround your life in it. If you try to be a dual citizen it’s not really gonna work out for you.