When it comes to Black Love, our team at the Defender loves to love. Their supportive mates are part of the Defender family. This Valentine’s Day, we’re taking a moment to celebrate and recognize them.

ReShonda & Jeffrey

ReShonda Tate (Caradine) is the Managing Editor for the Defender.

ReShonda and Jeff in Puerto Rico

Time together: Started dating in 2019, Married 2021

How they met: Blackpeoplemeet.com 🙂 Both of us divorced after more than 20 years of marriage and had NO desire whatsoever to ever marry again. My cousin decided it was time for me to get back in the dating pool and set up a profile on the dating site. I had no desire to participate, so she started pretending to be me. She swiped right on Jeffrey and began a conversation (as me). The only thing was….Jeff had no desire to be on a dating site either. His co-workers set up a profile for him and were communicating as him, trying to find him a date. Even though he was in Oklahoma and I was in Houston, after a few weeks of talking online, my cousin said, “I think I found a good one for you.” His coworkers told him the same thing, so we both stepped in and revealed the truth. We had a good laugh, talked for a while, then agreed to meet up in Dallas at the TSU-Southern game. And the rest is history. (Don’t worry, I got copies of his license and all pertinent info first).

What you love most about him? Jeff is a different type of man. The calm to my storm. The peace to my happiness. He’s retired military and the most giving, caring, thoughtful man I’ve ever met. I’m a workaholic and he taught me to push pause and enjoy life. He taught me to say “I GET to” instead of “I HAVE to.” He’s changed my outlook on so much. In my short time with him, I’ve traveled more, danced more, done more, explored my mind more (I mean I went ax-throwing)….He supports my crazy and demanding career. And he tells anyone, I wake up daily trying to make my wife happy. That makes me want to do the same. Our blended family (I had three kids and he had two) all love our union.

Advice to couples. Life is too short to be unhappy. If you get upset at each other, take time, then come back and talk about it. Communication is key, but always ask yourself “Is this argument worth it?” Most of the time, the answer to that will be no. Some days you will give more than you get. And some days he will give more. It’s a balance. And above all else, keep God in the center of your relationship.

Check out The Caradine’s slideshow….

Jimmie & Tanika

Jimmie Aggison is the High School Sports Editor and events photographer for the Defender.

Time together: Dating (June 2002), Married 2006

How they met: In college at the University of Kansas in Sept. 2001.

“She was waiting at the bus stop. I had just gotten out of Biology class and saw her standing there, and then I saw her tattoo on her leg. It was a killer clown and at the top of it read, ‘Who can you trust?’ So, out of curiosity I had to ask her, ‘Why did you get that?’ Maybe I offended her, because she looked at me, stood up, and walked off.”

Over the next year, he would spot ‘the girl with the killer clown tattoo.’ But something always prevented him from making his move. Jimmie was a loner who did his own thing. However, in April 2002, he decided to attend a step show with a group he normally didn’t associate with. There, he saw ‘the girl with the killer clown tattoo’ again. But this time, she approached him.

“She asked, ‘You ain’t gonna ask for my number?’ Of course I did. She walked away. Then I noticed it was a long-distance number!’ Mind you, this was when we paid for long distance and I was like ‘Man, I’m not using my minutes to call that girl long distance!’ Luckily, I saw her later at a party and we’ve been together ever since.”

What you love most about her? It’s hard to narrow it down so I’ll just give three. She is smart, thoughtful and passionate. She makes up for the things I’m not, so as a unit she helps better complete what I’m missing. She is willing to take risks, whereas I’m way more of a glass-half-empty type of person; afraid to lose and change. I love that we moved to Houston with only $5,000, no family, a one-year-old, one car and no jobs. We literally made something out of nothing. She’s my other half.

Advice to other couples? Keep God first and live in a way pleasing unto him because the commitment was to him first. Marriage is work. Hard work. Do the work if you want to stay married. Find other married couples you can hang with as they can understand what you are going through or will go through when you’re going through it. Single couples aren’t married, therefore can’t really relate to marriage problems. Remember, it’s okay to be upset. It’s okay to be angry. But if that person died in two hours, would it change the anger you currently feel? If it would, then that anger is a waste of time.

Check out The Aggison’s slideshow….

Wiz & Laura

Laura Onyeneho is the Education Reporter for the Defender.

Wiz and Laura

Time together: Courted (2020); Engaged (June 2022)

How you met? Let’s just say it all started in the DM in 2019. From there, we built a strong rapport with each other before we decided to seriously court in 2020. The rest is history. Like Beyonce said, “If you like it then you should have put a ring on it,” and that is what he did. 😉

What do you love most about your mate? He is very mature, kind, considerate, assertive, dapper, disciplined, open-minded, understanding, cool, calm and collected, and self-assured. Oh and he’s tall, dark, HANDSOME and fit! “SOMEBODY GET THIS MAN A MODELING CONTRACT!!!!!!!

How do they make you laugh? He is naturally funny. He tells corny jokes just like me. We both laugh at ourselves and have too many inside jokes.

Advice to couples: I just started, so I’m no expert, but what I’ve learned so far is to stay present, be intentional about each other, and don’t allow those social media relationships fool you because it will end in premium tears if you start comparing your life to theirs.

Aswad & Adrianne

Aswad Walker is the Associate Editor for the Defender.

Time together: 24 years (met in 1999; married in 2001)

How we met: At church in Detroit. We were introduced by my wife’s brother-in-law.

What you love most about her: This is a much harder question than I guess it should be, but it’s because there’s so much I love and appreciate about my wife. Her willingness to put up with me is Mos Def high on that list, as is her heart for family, God, service and Black people. And I love the way she pushes me out of my comfort zone, being both a cheerleader for anything I do, but also reminding me that I can do and achieve so much more. Plus, she pours endlessly into our children… and she out-reads me. I could go on and on.

Advice for couples: Advice for couples? Hell! I need advice!!!! A relationship, no matter how many or how few years you’ve been together is always a work in progress. I guess my advice is realizing that, and then being willing to do the work to make the thing work. It’s equally important to be able to initiate those hard/uncomfortable conversations as it is to be on the “receiveing end” of those “We need to talk” moments. The willingness to work through the “stuff” that we each bring, makes for stronger bonds.

Check out The Walker’s slideshow….