Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Years Married: 12
Children: 3 boys
Occupations: Kembe is a third grade virtual teacher and Jermaine is Online Program Coordinator at a local University.
Hobbies/Interests: K: Being outdoors with the family on a warm summer day is heavenly. I like riding bikes, playing tag with the kids at the park or a competitive game of Uno. I’m the one who likes going to all the social events, making sure I speak to everyone at the party. J: I love to barbecue! Pick your meat: ribs, pork shoulders or brisket. I also enjoy song writing and poetry.
Favorite flavor of ice cream: K: Mango sorbet J: Vanilla
Q. In what specific ways do you express love and appreciation for each other on a day-to-day basis?
K: On a day-to-day basis, I try to keep the communication going. It could be a text, an email, or simply a foot massage.
J: She stole my idea! I was going to say foot massage. It is something we do on a regular basis. It is a way to express affection. It is a love language we have in common.
Q. What are some of your absolute favorite date-night ideas?
J: Kembe is the one who always plans where we go.
K: Yup, I try to find free things around the city. Parks, lectures at the local college (Kind of nerdy, don’t laugh!) and even theme parks.
J: I like The Spoken Word Poetry Café.
K: Remember that time we went to Centennial Olympic park and had a picnic?
J: (laughing) Yeah, we used to do a lot of stuff like that before the kids!
K: (giggles) There is date night before-kids…
J: … and there’s a date night post-kids. Which is usually a movie night because we didn’t get a babysitter.
K: We do occasionally splurge on a concert for an artist we really like, like Stevie
Wonder, India Arie, John Legend, Sade…
Q. What principles and/or practical suggestions have helped you manage your
K: We have listened to some of the money gurus and used some their practical
suggestions. For example - saving for emergencies, debt stacking, and tracking our spending.
J: Some of those we don't do consistently, but having a regular time to go over finances has been good. Hopefully every Monday.
K: Yes, hopefully on Monday… I guess being honest about our finances is a principle we use. (Laughing) Jermaine will buy something and he’ll tell me about it. It will be a used book almost every other day!
J: Not every other day!
K: I know some people who buy stuff and hide it in the car. I like checking out the thrift
stores and showing Jermaine all the deals I got.
J: We are still working on staying within a budget.
Q. What specific things help you nurture the intimate relationship you have with
J: I think sharing on all levels - intellectually, physically and emotionally - is important. We sit down and talk about our past, the way we were raised, and the experiences that influence us now.
K: Like he said, there are so many different levels to being intimate. I try to be available. Being available helps us nurture the intimate relationship we share. When we are a better couple, then we can be better parents. When we are united, then everything else falls into place.
Q. How do you talk about hard things, or tough issues, where you don’t see eye-
K: It depends, we both need time to think. We usually need time to get our feelings straight. We need some quiet time. We are not the yelling type. I like taking the time to determine what is bothering me or having time to think about how to express my feelings.
J: Yes, we tend to withdraw, think about things, and come back together. We have had to make some big decisions together. Oh, and we pray often.
Q. What are some of the greatest challenges you have faced in your marriage and how have you overcome them? How has your marriage been nurtured in the process?
J: Throughout most of our marriage we have often had to balance employment, pursuit of education, family, church service and all the other things in between. It put pressure on us and we responded well to it. We tried our best to keep the first things first. When you make the most important things a priority, all the other things work out or get settled.
K: I agree. Some of our challenges, like unemployment, finding balance, and education, bring us closer to God. It nurtures and humbles us, we know we can’t do it all on our own. We need Heavenly Father.
Q. What is your secret to a happy and healthy marriage?
J: God + communication + intimacy + fun = happiness.
K: I wouldn’t even necessarily use the word "happy," because we are not going to be happy all the time. We are going to have highs and lows. Recognize the importance of your spouse in your life. I recognize there is no other person I’d rather be with than Jermaine.
J: I feel the same way. Thanks for saying that. I agree that happiness doesn’t mean that every moment of your life is going to be wonderful. There is an overall state or condition of happiness, so at the core, when we have all the elements in place, then we can be happy with each other.
"There is properly no history; only biography."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
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