A Love Supreme

A Love Supreme
ESSENCE.COM Oct, 21, 2008

1 of 9 Courtesy of Subject

Even as college students, Michael and Arlene Thomas were intent on defying the odds. When they wed, he was a 22-year-old senior and she a 21-year-old junior. "People made negative comments about marriage, saying things like ‘Your first year of marriage is going to be a honeymoon, but you’re gonna get tired of him,’ " Arlene recalls. “But being married has been easy.”

2 of 9 Ron Aira

THE COUPLE: Michael, 50, middle school math teacher, and Arlene, 49, faith-based relationship counselor

HOME BASE: Grayson, Georgia

MARRIED: 28 years

CHILDREN: Andrea, 25, Emanuel, 14, Andre (deceased)

FAVORITE SONG: “Love Ballad” by L.T.D.

3 of 9 Ron Aira

“What works for someone else’s marriage may not work for you.”

4 of 9 Courtesy of Subject

Both Vera and Horace believe that with God at the forefront of their marriage, anything can be accomplished. “Our love is solid,” Horace says. “You commit yourself, you submit yourself, and you give yourself to and for each other. That makes a successful marriage.”

5 of 9 Ron Aira

THE COUPLE: Vera, 66, food services employee, and Horace, 70 (retired), building construction supervisor

HOME BASE: Minneapolis

MARRIED: 46 years

CHILDREN: Lisa, 43, Derek and David (deceased)

FAVORITE SONG: “Morning’s Breaking” by Richard Smallwood

6 of 9 Ron Aira

“Remember the action of your vows. Honor communication, and work at it.”

7 of 9 Courtesy of Subject

As teenagers, both attended the same church fellowships and ended up making eye contact at a worship service. “There was something about her that stood out,” says Ronald. “She was someone who loved God so purely.”

They built a friendship that blossomed into an engagement. “We were never boyfriend and girlfriend,” says Chiquita. “But whenever we needed to talk, we turned to each other.”

8 of 9 Ron Aira

THE COUPLE: Chiquita, 39, and Ronald, 40, copastors

HOME BASE: Edmond, Oklahoma

MARRIED: 19 years total

CHILDREN: Quiese, 18, Quiedra, 17, Isaac, 12

FAVORITE SONG: “Up Where We Belong” by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes

9 of 9 Ron Aira

“We make our sex life a priority!”