Where are you from?
I was born and raised in DC.
You mentioned that you're married. How'd you meet your husband?
We both attended the same Baptist church when we were young that we still attend today. We had Bible school every day of the week during the summer, and the van driver would take us to 7-Eleven to get slushies some days. One day, my cousin decided to match up the boys and girls on the van. So, she told me to sit next to him and he said to me, "You look nice today." He still remembers to this day what I had on. I can't remember that! But, we started talking and we didn't exchange numbers initially because I was so young.
How old were you exactly?
I was ten and he was thirteen.
Yeah! You know, his friends used to joke with him about robbing the cradle. He even tried to set me up with his cousin who was a year older than me. But we would talk all the time. And one day I found out that the church kept tithing envelopes in the basement and listed your address and phone number, so I looked up his phone number and called him. I told his dad that I liked him — I guess I was bold then. My grandmother and grandfather were deacon and deaconness in the church and so were his mother and father, so they allowed him to go out with me. We dated for a while. And when I was a freshman in high school and he was in his freshman year of college, he called me and said, "Shuy, I don't want to hurt you, but I think we should just be friends." I thought it was the end of the world. My dad told me, "Shuy, there'll be other Kevins in your life," but I went a whole year without anybody because I just couldn't handle it. But then my junior year of college, Kevin called out of the blue and said, "Do you know who this is?" So we started to talk regularly and he told me he was moving back to DC. I told him to come back and find a job, but we weren't going to be in a relationship. But he came back here and as much as I resisted, it was just like magnets. Although I fought it as much as I could at first, I couldn't resist. We started going together again in 2001 and he proposed to me in 2002. We were supposed to get married that year in June, but his dad passed two days before our wedding day, so we put the wedding off for two years. And now we just celebrated our eighth year of marriage!
That's fantastic! How do you go about keeping the love and attraction alive after all these years?
Last year, we tried something new. Trying to be more romantic, we moved into... what do you call it? Role-playing! For our anniversary.
How'd that work out?
Well, we went to a resort last year — on the odd years I plan our anniversary celebration, and on the even years he does — and he didn't know where I was taking him. So, he was running a bath for me and I slipped out while he was in the bathroom. And I went to the lobby to change into real high heels and such. And I went back upstairs and asked if he had ordered room service and pretended to be a prostitute. He pulled me inside and was like, "Where have you been? And what do you have on?!" It was so funny. I've never done anything like that before. Ever since then, he wants me to wear those shoes. You have to add spice to whatever you're doing. Sometimes you have to provide the fantasy. I'm a firm believer that you should be the mate you want. So, if I want romance, I have to give it! Another thing we've started doing is dating a lot more—we go out salsa dancing, out to eat, we sit in the park. As long as we're together, we make it fun for one another.
Was it love at first sight?
When we first started going together, when I was much younger, I did think it was love at first sight. He had the most beautiful teeth in the world and I was fascinated. But also, he was so helpful to people, and I really liked that. And he was always a comedian. He loves for people to laugh. He would make me laugh when I wanted to cry. But to be honest, I wasn't ready to marry him until the April before we were set to get married. I wanted to be sure that it was the right thing to do. Because sometimes you can become complacent, and I didn't want a marriage of convenience. I wanted it to be about love and friendship and respect. I wanted to still have a spark with him. And so I put it off, but in April 2004, I decided it was the right thing and we planned the whole thing in two months. It's amazing when you take the time to realize it's what you really want versus, "Oh, everybody says we should get married, so I guess we should."
Do you have any advice for people who are looking for love?
I would say that sometimes love comes when you're not looking. For me, I wasn't looking. I wouldn't put all my efforts into the looking process versus being who I am and letting that person see me. I think it's really important to let it happen naturally.