Continuing the series on honest answers on marriage, This feature is on a newlywed couple D’Andre and Shickerra Lacy. I know what you may be thinking, “These are newlyweds, what can they tell me about being married? Everything is wonderful for them!” As the title states, these are honest answers on marriage and even though they are new at this, they express a lot of wisdom!
Husband name: D’Andre Lacy
Wife’s name: Shickerra Lacy
Wedding date: July 18, 2015
How many years have you been married: 1
1. How did you meet?
We met at a HBCU baseball tournament at Minute Maid Park on February 18, 2012. (That’s why we chose the 18th of July for our wedding.) I went to the baseball game with my aunt, but our freshman class was there on a school trip as well. During the game, I left my aunt to be with my friends. My friends were sitting by Shickerra and some of her friends, and eventually, we all began to talk. (Years later, Shickerra told me she was not initially attracted to me.) Once we returned to campus, I realized I left my phone charger in my aunt’s car. Shickerra’s friend, Trench, gave me a ride to the store to get one, and we all piled up in his car to go. We all became close after that night and the next day Shickerra gave me her number. The rest is history.
2. When did you know they were the one for you?
Shickerra– I knew D’Andre was ‘‘the one’’ when he first changed my tire. I know it sounds weird, but when I had a blowout, he immediately came over. Although it made him late for class, he took my tire off, drove me to Discount Tire, and bought me a new tire. We came back and he got my car back up and running. It was in that situation that I realized he would do whatever it took to take care of me and our family.
D’Andre- I knew Shickerra was the one after we went on a mission trip together in Jamaica. Prior to this trip, I had already begun to feel that way about her, and the trip confirmed what I already felt. I take my faith seriously and I know that it will always be a major part of my life so seeing her do ministry with me showed me that she could fit into the vision I had for my life.
3. What’s the one key to the success of your years of marriage outside of communication and trust?
Our lack of physical intimacy before marriage allowed us to lay a solid foundation of friendship. We were friends for over 2 years before we officially started dating. During that time period, we did not kiss or do any sort of displays of affection. We honestly just hung out, talked on the phone, and got to know one another. D’Andre speaking: I truly began to love her before we started dating because I loved who she was as a person. I was not sure if I would get the opportunity to be in a relationship with her, but I always wanted whoever it would end up being to be a good guy.
4. Have both parties remained monogamous? (Have either of you ever cheated) If so, how did you reconcile?
Yes, we have both remained monogamous.
5. What are your goals/aspirations for the next 25 years in terms of becoming empty nesters if children are involved etc.?
In 25 years, we want to have wisely saved and invested our money so that we can:
· Have no debt
· Send our children to college debt-free
· Travel the world
· Open up a preparatory academy
6. Was there ever a moment when you gave up, and were just roommates, and how did you come back from that?
That has happened during our first year for brief moments, but it was mostly due to pride or lack of communication. We went through days of not wanting to speak to each other due to an argument we had, but we eventually got to the point of not wanting to waste time we could be enjoying each other because of pride. We accepted the fact that we will not always agree, but we must learn how to focus on solutions instead of the problems.
7. What advice would they give others in regards to making it work?
We read 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman and it was very helpful in showing us how to express our needs and demonstrate love to one another. Each person gives love in the same way they desire to receive it. The problem with that is we all have different ways of wanting to receive love. For example, my wife’s #1 love language is acts of service and mine is physical touch. She could do all of the acts of service for me that she wants, but with no physical touch, I will not feel loved and vice versa. Many marriages fail not from a lack of effort but from a lack of understanding how to make one another feel loved.
Secondly, and just as important, DIVORCE CANNOT BE AN OPTION. EVER! Many people thought we were crazy, but as soon as we were engaged, we opened a joint account and moved our cell phone service to one company. Many people, including Christians were saying, ‘‘You sure you want to put all of your money together?’’, ‘‘Keep you a secret stash on the side.’’, ‘‘What if it doesn’t work out?’’ Many marriages fail because no one wants to fully commit. By having secret accounts, prenuptial agreements, etc. you go into the marriage doubting its success and building escape routes for yourself. Marriage is not a commitment to the person, it is a commitment to the commitment. The person you married changes every day, so you cannot make a commitment to the person.
8. If they could do it all over again what would they do differently to improve their marriage.
We would have been more honest in pre-marital counseling and made more time for it. (We believe ALL couples should go.) Many believe the engagement process is final, but in reality it is still fluid. This is your last opportunity to properly end the relationship prior to marriage. Couples should spend this time asking the ‘‘tough questions’’: How many kids do you want? Joint accounts or separate? How much sex a week do you think you need? Etc. We never had the intention of not getting married, but we could have saved some time and arguments by being honest and dealing with some of the issues prior to marriage. Honestly though, for some situations it could be the wrong person or the right person at the wrong time. Pre-marital counseling gives you the opportunity to confirm these things.
9. When life got hard, how well did they know their spouse to give them the support they needed in their time of need.
Shickerra- We are newlyweds, and still getting to know each other. However, I know D’Andre is big on words of affirmation. So in hard times, I try to always verbally let him know everything is going to be ok and that God has us no matter what. I try to always let him know that I love him, and I believe in him.
D’Andre- Shickerra’s love language is acts of service, so when she is having a busy week or when she is really tired, I try to do all of the cooking cleaning, etc. so I can take the stress away from her.
10. What do you do to stay connected when your marriage hits a dry spell?
We are still a work in progress on scheduling our time. We both work and have other responsibilities outside of the home, but too many couples make excuses for not investing in their relationship. We are doing our best to have both scheduled and spontaneous time reserved for each other. We are starting with a weekly date night, and it is our goal to go on at least 1 vacation each year. (We have been on 3 in this 1st year.)
11. Are you still as happy as in the beginning?
We are in a much better place in our relationship than before because we have both matured during this year. I would not use the word happy because I do not believe that is a good way to gauge your relationship. Love is a choice you make each day. You will not always be happy loving someone, but loving someone will provide many opportunities for happiness throughout the journey.
12. Do you do EVERYTHING together?
We love to do a lot of things together. We love to wear matching/coordinating clothes. We love to spend as much time together as we can, and we enjoy many of the same things. However, we are different in many ways as well and we do a great job of balancing our time alone as well as our time together.
13. Is one or the other the “boss”? How do you handle “submission”?
As believers, we both view the husband as the leader of the home. Many people who have a problem with submission because they misunderstand what the Word says. In Ephesians 5 it does tell wives to submit and respect their husbands, but the Bible also calls husbands to love their wives like Christ loved the church. Christ died for the church. It also tells husbands to submit to God.
Many men take those verses out of context. God calls us to be servant leaders. That means sometimes I cook and clean because I see it needs to be done. It also means, I can allow my wife to take the lead in an area she knows better than me. Although, as a husband. I will make the call on all major decisions, (because God holds me accountable to the outcome) I always include my wife in the decision making process and take into account how it will affect the entire family.
14. Do you both work outside the home? How does that affect the relationship?
We both work outside of the home and it can be a challenge at times. Some nights we are tired, but we never allow it to be an excuse to neglect our relationship.
15. When you married were your long term goals exactly the same?
16. Have they changed over time?
Although money is still important to us both, now we value time and family more than money. Money is important but, quality time is more important.
17. Were you both believers when you married?
18. Is there any one thing that has held your marriage together?
God. Allowing the Bible to have the final say in our marriage. When we make decisions, we allow prayer and the word of God to guide us.
19. Anything that has caused it excessive stress?
During our first year, we have gone through several transitions. The first transition was finding employment after graduation. Recently, we were transitioning between working part-time jobs to finding full-time employment.
D’Andre was laid off as part of a reduction in force from his last employer. During his job search, D’Andre has turned down jobs with great companies because it would have taken him away from our family and church life. Although these were the right decisions, they did cause excessive stress. However, because we faithfully tithe and save, we were able to make it through this difficult time even though our income was cut in half.
D’Andre and I prayed for a specific amount of money, a job with benefits, and a schedule that will allow us to still be a part of our church. After that prayer, D’Andre stopped applying to jobs that did not fit the criteria. Last Friday, D’Andre accepted a position that pays more than double the salary he made at his last job and it fits all of the criteria we set. The entire situation did cause stress, but ultimately it brought us closer together and closer to God. It really grew our faith. It is also a testimony to the power of prayer.
20. Have you ever needed counseling?
Outside of our premarital counseling, no. Counseling helps couples communicate with each other, we have reached a pointed where we finally understand how to do that. If we ever do feel the need for counseling, we will not hesitate to go.
21. Have either ever felt “less in love” or loved less than in the beginning?
Shickerra- We have gone through hard times where I didn’t feel like talking to him, or one of us was too prideful to say, “I’m sorry”, and I began to feel the love I was receiving wasn’t the same as the love I felt when we first said “I Do”. However, we have really grown in our ability to communicate with each other. Now, when we go through situation and instead of drifting apart, we communicate what is wrong and leave the situation stronger and more in love than before.
D’Andre-At times I have felt certain needs of mine were not being met. I have felt that maybe she wasn’t putting the same effort into things like appearance or quality time etc. as before. Now, instead of holding it inside, giving her the silent treatment, or complaining, I express my needs and actively do things to help her to make it happen.
22. Where do you see your marriage in 10 years?
I see us having a 2 kids (maybe 3?), successful careers, debt-free, and enjoying life together as a family.
23. Is marriage how you expected it to be when you were single or engaged? If not, how is it different.
Shickerra– Marriage is NOTHING how I expected it to be. In some way it better than I could have ever imagined, I get to see my best friend every day. I have someone who no matter what the situation, is always going to have my back. I have someone that even at my worst he still chooses to see me and love me flaws and all. However, in other ways it is harder than I imagined. I have somebody else to think of before myself, I have someone else to clean up behind. Marriage is something I have to work on every day. Every day I have to wake up and make the choice to love him regardless.
D’Andre- Marriage is somehow both for me. In some ways it is what I expected. I knew it would be a challenge, I knew there would be times of difficulty, but I never knew the joys would be so great as well. I was so concerned about money and providing as a man. I always wanted a certain amount of financial security before I would marry someone. I can honestly say this is the best decision I could have ever made. I enjoy spending every day with the love of my life. We can have fun at home doing nothing, watching a redbox, or stuck in a layover at an airport. I cringe at my original plan of waiting until I was closer to 30 to marry because I would lose years of enjoying all of this time with her making memories together.
24. How have you stayed together when the culture around says to leave if things get hard?
1. We make all of our decisions based on Biblical principles not worldly ones.
2. Divorce has and never will be an option.
3. We do not take everyone’s advice. Only those whose lives display they live what they preach.
25. Have you ever felt as if you loved your spouse, but were not “in love” with them? Did you struggle with that? Did that tempt you to leave?
There have been moments when we have gotten on each other’s nerves, not spoken for a while, but we have never stopped loving each other or really wanted to end the relationship.