It’s a path that winds toward a horizon of hope, climbs the peaks of passion, crosses the badlands of betrayal into the fertile fields of forgiveness. It’s our road to knowing who we really are.

My husband Jermaine and I have known each other since I was 15 and he was 18. Time separated us, but our love never wavered. Our previous marriages were impacted by infidelity and ended in divorce. We were going through the same sadness at the same time in the same city and didn’t realize it until it was over. We happened to end up at a mutual friend’s house. Until that day, we hadn’t seen each other in nine years. Needless to say, it was the best day each of us had had in nine years. Next month, we’ll celebrate 11 years of marriage

We trust each other. In the beginning, we discussed our fears. When something occurred to make those fears escalate, we would talk about it when it happened. On the second go-around, you should know what went wrong [in the first marriage], and how to avoid that issue. You should know what you like and don’t like, what you are willing to tolerate and how to verbalize it with [your spouse’s] feelings in mind. We talk about problems before they become deal breakers.

We are a team, pretty much the opposite of how I was reared. I was raised in the South, so all the cooking and cleaning was done by the women, and the men did outside work. But I was fortunate to visit other family members who ran their homes [as teams], and I thought that was a great concept. We cook, clean up, do yard work and spend time with our children together. Jermaine has sacrificed to put me through college, and now that I am about to finish my master’s, he will start school. He is a comic artist who happens to be a blue-collar worker. In our opinion, we don’t quite understand the big deal behind blue-collar and white-collar romance. We married for love. I knew he was the one and that the money would come. We rarely argue because we have young children and don’t want them to think that should be something that happens on a regular basis. Our lives are built on the fact that we all praise God. [Jermaine] has my best interest at heart, I have his, and we both have the children. We are all taken care of.