I was encouraged by some friends to share this story - the story of me and my husband. It's not your typical sappy fairy tale and it's definitely a little unconventional but I hope that those who need to hear it find it encouraging.
*My husband is shy, so we'll just refer to him as T'Challa.
How We Met
May 2013 I flew from Miami to NYC to visit my old friend from college. She had been raving about a Dirty South themed party called Grits n Biscuits and she invited me to come check it out with her and what Miami girl can say no to a party where all the best Uncle Luke and Trick Daddy classics would be played? So we planned to make a girls weekend of it.
The day after the party as we were heading to brunch she mentioned that her best guy friend and a friend of his would also be joining us. I didn't think anything of it because I had heard all about (and I do mean ALL about) her friend T'Challa over the years and hey, the more the merrier!
T'Challa and his friend showed up incredibly late to brunch, so much so that we were just about finished by the time they arrived. But, we decided we would continue on from brunch to a nearby waterfront bar - La Marina.
And we all had a great time. We chatted and joked with each other like we've all been friends for years - you know that feeling when a group instantly clicks? Well, that was us.
Even with all the fun we were having, for me, T'Challa and I were strictly on a friend vibe.
I will say, that night, T'Challa and his friend stole the show. They were like a non-stop comedy duo the whole night. And I had not laughed so hard, real deep stomach hurting, can't breathe, belly laughs. But even still, I had not even an inkling that this hilarious "friend of a friend" would become my husband. Because for me a friend is just a friend, but I found out much later that he had other thoughts...
T'Challa would eventually tell me that he fell for me on the subway ride to one of the many spots we hit up that night. He recognized a calmness in me that struck him as something he needed - and he knew from that moment that I was the one.
He didn't show any overt signs that I could see (although in hindsight he was clearly vying for my attention) but at the end of the night he actually did (clumsily) ask for my number and because he was a nice guy, I gave it to him. However, our relationship didn’t go any further because he forgot to save my number because and according to him, in all his excitement, he forgot to lock it into his phone and by the time he realized it, I was long gone and back in Miami. He said he tried to get it again from our mutual friends, but was told to “give it up, she’s not interested”.
Fast forward to 2015, we were living separate lives, me still in Miami and T'Challa now in Chicago.
And once again, I was planning a visit to see another friend this time in Chicago. It was her birthday and we were going to start in Chicago and then do a mini road trip to Michigan for a weekend wine tour to celebrate. Now the same friend I went to see in NYC 2 years ago, was now living in Florida and when I mentioned in casual conversation that I was planning to go to Chicago soon, she thought it would be a great opportunity for her to visit T'Challa. She and I would fly out together and then go our separate ways once we landed - I would go to the birthday celebration and she would spend QT with her buddy T'Challa.
T'Challa and I hadn't spoken in over 2 years but for him this Chicago trip was his moment to finally make his intentions known.
And he had it all planned out...
He picked us up from the airport and before he dropped me off to be with my friends - he once again asked for my phone number and this time he saved it and used it. That was the beginning of our long distance love.
Falling in love over the phone
A relationship that took 2 years to get started took no time at all to make official.
T'Challa got my number in September of 2015 and we began exclusively dating that November. We spent hours over the phone pouring out ourselves, our backgrounds, our hopes and dreams and in each other we felt safe. We knew very early that this connection was divinely meant to be. I expressed to him way before I told him that I loved him, that I knew he was my soulmate and he expressed the same knowing in return.
My first trip to Chicago to visit T'Challa
This type of connection did not come without work, we spent countless hours on the phone, exploring each other, being vulnerable and sharing ourselves. There were many days I came into work with red eyes from getting no more than 2 hours sleep the night before. We also spent hundreds of dollars flying back and forth alternating months to visit each other. We even squeezed in a trip to Jamaica during our short courtship.
Our first vacation together - a road trip in Jamaica
Bold Wants Require Bold Moves...
By January we agreed that we wanted to get engaged before the end of the year BUT that date changed when T'Challa decided to leave his job. He thankfully received 2 huge job offers rather quickly. But while he was trying to decide on which job to accept, the lease on his apartment in Chicago was up and he asked to come stay with me for a couple weeks. Our relationship was going so well, we were growing as a couple and frankly I was tired of having a cell phone and airplane relationship. So I felt it was the perfect time for us to finally be in the same city. So after dating for only 6 months, I agreed for him to come and stay with me—despite how I knew it would be perceived.
This was not an easy decision, or a decision that I endorse or recommend to anyone, but why share my story if I'm not willing to share my truth?
One of his job offers would take him back to New York, the city he loved and wanted to get back to and the other (we thought) could keep him in Miami with me. This was a critical point for us, there were so many factors to consider but I knew that if he was going to New York, he wasn't going to leave without me. BUT. If I was going to leave my life behind, I was not going to go as just a girlfriend. So I told him that I wanted to not just move up our engagement timeline but our wedding too.
I knew this was a bold request, but when I tell you that even though I knew it would be a risky move for most, when you have a peace knowing that you are walking in God's will, taking a big leap is nothing at all. You see, from the beginning of our relationship I gave it over to God, asking for clear direction and assurance that the feelings that I was feeling were true. Above all, I wanted what God had for me
And so on June 28, 2016, T'Challa came to my job to treat me to lunch and he took me over to Bayside Marketplace in Miami, next to the water. But instead of buying me a sandwich, he asked me to be his wife in front of everybody there. Of course I said yes which was followed by applause from the observing crowd.
Two months later on September 3, 2016 we got married in my childhood home and then two days after that, I was on a one-way flight to start a new life with him in NYC.
Of course, I said yes!
Making our debut for the first time as Mr. and Mrs.
And here we are now making a life together in one of the greatest cities in the world. I sometimes reminisce about our beginnings and where I was in life when we first got together - when I wasn't sure that marriage would happen for me, but at the same time finally in a place of peace with that possibility. If there was to be no husband in my life, I was going to enjoy myself and I sure did that. I traveled and I focused on my church, my family and my friends. Me and Irie (my pup) were going to be just fine and live our best lives.
And now, as T'Challa and I are finding our way through this marriage thing, I still have the same assurance that God brought us together. It was so clear. Nothing about us was forced. Everything about our relationship, though not always easy, was natural. Our pace and our timing had God's hand all over it.
So for ladies and men struggling to be patient, try letting God take over, what do you have to lose?
And for those who have already found their soulmate, when did you know they were the one?