Our Happily Ever After: Black Marriages Then and Now

Successful Black marriages do exist, and they thrive every day. In the latest issue of ESSENCE, five wives share what marriage taught them. We then asked our happily married online readers to take us down memory lane, too. Here's what you had to share.

Charli Penn Oct, 16, 2013

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Kwasi and Geina were married on June 1, 1996 at the First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Maryland.

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"I love being married to my best friend," says the Mrs.

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Mary and William Kearns were married on the 12th of November in 1994. "I Mary took William as my husband to love and to cherish until death do us part," says the bride.

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Nineteen years later, they live in Kuilsriver Cape Town, South Africa. "We worked hard on our marriage and have great fun," she shares. "Quantity and quality time together are very important in our marriage. We have our regular date nights and weekend breaks. I do, I do, I do all over again. Love you, William. Kiss kiss!"

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Sharon and Michael will celebrate their 20th anniversary next month. They were married on November 27, 1993 in Waco, Texas.

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The happy couple now live in Houston with their two kids.  "The best part of being married this long is looking back and knowing that each of us has made the other better," says Sharon.

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Yvette and Frederick were married on September 20th, 1997 in Birmingham, Alabama. "We've been together for 22 years," she tells us. "I can't imagine my life without him."

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"I love being married to my best friend, children's father and lover," says Yvette. "He's my biggest fan!"

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Registered nurses Junior and Carla Nelson were married on July 1, 2006 at The Swan Club in Roslyn Harbor, New York.

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"The best part about being married is waking up with the person that God hand picked for you to spend the rest of your life with," says Carla.

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Adolph and Cathy Carson met when they were teenagers. at a school dance. They were married on July 27, 1986 at Friendship Baptist Church in Lansing, MI.  They now have one daughter, Jade, who is 21.

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"What I love the most about being married is that after all this time we truly still love each other," says Cathy. "I Cathy have had several health issues including open heart surgery and a kidney transplant, and his love for me has never stopped.  We have been through some hard times, but the good times always outweigh the bad. We are both Christians and love the Lord.  I thank God for my husband everyday."

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Dr. Chester and April Wilson of Daytona Beach, Florida were married on October 2, 1999.

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What I love most about being married is that I get to spend everyday with my best friend.

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Clarez and Keith Evans were married on August 30, 2003 in LaGrange, Georgia.

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"After knowing each other since college, we are still learning more about each other every day as we get older," says Clarez.

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Bradgel and Curtia Moon were married in Rockford, Alabama on December 12, 2012.

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"What I love most about being married is that you have the best opportunity to learn what the type of love Christ has for us truly means, and that is that it is unconditional," says Curtia. "No matter what trials and situations may arise, we will weather the storm together."

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Curtis and Marcia Thibodeaux were married on November, 5, 2005 in Oppelousas, Lousianna.

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"The most humbling and joyous chapter of our marriage started six months ago when we were blessed with our daughter, Sydnie Octavia," says Marcia. "Being parents has made us both more aware of how precious time is and how amazing life is. Especially when we're experiencing it with an extension of ourselves."

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Aaron and Dianna Munson tied the knot on August 1, 2004 in Washington, D.C.

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"What I love most about being married is having someone to talk to," she says. "We are able to bounce off of each other. He brings out the best in me and he always tells me the truth. Aaron is truly my best friend and I love him dearly. Marriage is our ministry and we want all marriages to succeed. Three years ago we started a page called Marriage is Fly (Fun. Loving. You.) on Facebook. Today we have 450 members."

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Frank and Chelsea Howard became husband and wife in 1997 and they reside in the Atlanta Metro area.

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"I love being married to my best friend and cheerleader," says Chelsea. "I've known him since I was 18."

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Horace and Hyacinth Fisher were married on June 29, 1968 at their hometown of Kingston, Jamaica.

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"Although we have had our up and downs, we would never trade it for anything else," says Hyacinth. "The love we share for each other is what keeps us together."

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Tandeace and Anton Hairston were married on July 17, 2007 in Philadelphia.

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 "We love being an influence of covenant for others despite the fact that we both come from a long line of unmarried family members and dysfunctional couples," says Tandeace.

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Anthony and La'Shaunda Simes were married on JUne 16, 2001 in Winston-Salem North Carolina. "The one thing we love most about being married is growing and maturing in our walk together," she tells us. "We didn't have a lot of married couples around us that were able to pour wisdom and knowledge into our lives, so when we went through it, we went through it. But, we can sit back at the end of the day and think about where we've been and where we are now in our growth and say: 'Look at God. Yeah we did that!'"

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Randy and Michele Butts were married on September 16, 2000 in Richmond, Virginia.

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"We love knowing that each day starts over and we get another change to love each other all over again," says Michele.

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Kevin and Ruth Davis of Chicago, IL. were married on October 9, 2010., which means they're just beyond "newlywed" status.

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"What we love best about our relationships is being married to a great friend," says Ruth. "And, being married to someone you can experience the storms and good times with, and know that the other person has your back."

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