Lauren Porter
May, 15, 2018

If you asked Brandi if she ever thought that she and Chris would end up together, the answer might have been no. But as it turns out,  God had bigger plans for their love story and they were fortunate enough to find the key.

The couple, who are proud parents to a daughter named Zora, use their highs and their lows to shine a light on the hard work that both love and marriage require. They do so by not holding back on the details they feel make them imperfect and yet still perfect in the eyes of Christ.

1. What made you decide to share your love on social media?
It wasn't much of a conscious choice. Like most people, we share different parts of our lives on Instagram, so sharing our love was an inevitable part of that. 

2. What do your followers love most about your love story? What do you feel inspires them?
Our transparency and the fact that we share our bad and not just our good. We're pretty open people and rely heavily on the testimony of others to keep ourselves encouraged. We aren't exposed to an abundance of Black, nuclear families, claiming God, and rooted in wellness. In desiring that for ourselves, we rely on a lot of resources and try to be forthcoming about what that looks like because it's also something we desire to see. In kind, we recognize that marriage is a ministry and want to use our own testimony to advance the understanding of what marriage entails and to advance God's kingdom. Disney had all of us duped, and that's okay as long as we're intentional about unlearning that and leaning into the reality of how healthy relationships actually function.

3. Is there anything you’ve decided together NOT to share? Why?
Of course, because everything can't be for everybody. Some parts of our journey are for us and not for public consumption. The bigger thing is being in agreement on what we do share. Nothing I've shared or posted on my blog was published before Chris set his eyes on it. When I share the parts of our story that are lackluster, he cosigns it. Because our truths are intertwined, so sharing my story means that I'm also sharing his. Granted, for all I do share, there are details I leave out. Because as I previously shared on an Instagram post, "It is not my responsibility to consistently air us out. Nor is it my responsibility to publicly crucify myself. However, it is my responsibility to come to my husband whole. To be forthcoming about what I lack. To allow him to see me for exactly who I am and choose whether he still wants to help me grow into the potential that’s also present." Basically, the things we've chosen not to share were simply because we don't owe a full level of transparency to anyone but each other, and people tend to forget that living in a world consumed by social media. 

4. Share one of your most liked photos together and a funny story behind the photo!
The story isn't all that funny, just interesting. My two most liked photographs on Instagram are of us, in bed, doing absolutely nothing, and looking less than glamorous. I started to send another picture that we'd taken at a wedding, after going through a personal storm and needing that ceremony to hit reset on our own vows. But, the reality is... folks are partial to our reality when it's not dolled up. That's so interesting to me since most people only present their highlight reel. Yet, we get more love when we're "sweatpants, hair tied, chilling with no makeup on."

5. How did you meet/fall in love.
Chris was the first guy I "dated" my freshman year of college. It quickly went up in flames. I outed him during a poetry performance, and he didn't speak to me for years. We ran into each other in South Dakota and still didn't speak aside from some shady and questionable text messages following the actual run in. Searching for a hairstyle tutorial on Youtube is actually what sparked the flame because I ended up stumbling on a recording of the poem I did about him. That lead to me reaching out via a Facebook message. We reconnected, on a platonic level, but months later - when he returned home from deployment, we were stuck at the hip, and I was calling my granny to say I loved him, was gonna marry him, and have all his babies. It didn't happen in that order, and we weren't even a little bit prepared for all the adult decisions we were jumping at but God saw us through. He knew what He was doing.

6. What’s the glue that makes your love stick?
Jesus, but our daughter is a very close second. Again, we didn't have a clue what we were doing, but God did. That remains true to this day. Our daughter gave us both staying power where we may not have had it, otherwise. So, yeah. The King of Kings and Zora, the Queen of our hearts. 

7. Pass on the love: Whose your IG couple crush and why?
My homegirl Sopha and her husband, who you've actually featured before (@livedeeplyrooted). My husband loves their photographs because he has an eye for photography. He also loves how intentional she is about sharing a story that's Christ-centered. You know when Drake raps, "They don't really be the same offline?" That's definitely not the case with Sopha. She's infectiously joyful and plainly enveloped in the Word.
 
8. What do you believe is unique/most inspiring about your love story?
Our perseverance. Any couple with longevity would say that's not unique. However, I think that's what's most inspiring. Our story hasn't been all hearts and rainbows. We've given each other plenty of reasons to give up, but we didn't. For some people, that's just code for accepting foolishness, but we were both able to see something greater and push through until higher versions of ourselves showed up. It took more than a little bit, but the rewards are worth every sacrifice. 

I just been playing. I ain’t even notice I was winning.

A post shared by Brandi Chantalle (@brandichantalle) on

9. If your love story was an Instagram caption, what would it be?
The first thing that came to mind was actually a quote by Hafiz. "Even after all this time, the Sun never says to the Earth, 'You owe me.' Look what happens with a love like that. It lights the whole sky."

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