You know how we know Shanice and Flex Alexander are still madly in love after 14 years of marriage? They couldn’t get through a 20-minute interview without flirting nonstop and making each other blush. It’s understandable—the singer and her actor and comedian hubby have a lot to smile about these days. Their new weekly, one-hour reality show, Flex & Shanice, premieres this weekend on OWN and this coming Valentine’s Day they’ll celebrate a milestone 15-year wedding anniversary.
In case you hadn’t heard, they’ve been through a lot over the years. After going broke and facing career roadblocks, the couple and their two children were forced to move into a rental home with their extended family to share costs.
They weathered the storm, and they’re back with a bang, opening up about the secrets to their unbreakable bond and lasting love. (You’re gonna want to take notes, ladies!)
ESSENCE.com: What’s the glue that holds your marriage together?
SHANICE: I say, prayer.
FLEX: Yes, prayer is number one.
SHANICE: That’s one of the things that initially attracted me to him. He just loved God and that made me love him even more. So, faith and prayer, for sure.
FLEX: And communication. We talk about everything. It is not perfect. As anybody who has been in a long relationship knows, they’re not perfect. Everybody has their ups and downs. We just said, it’s ride or die—not only for our children, but also for us. We love family. We just keep pushing. We don’t have all of the answers, but we trust in God and we keep praying. Every day we take it as it comes. We’re just enjoying the journey and having fun.
SHANICE: We went through some hard times. I know a lot of people couldn’t just hold on and make it through what we have—like, losing everything. Our home. Our car. Our finances.
ESSENCE.COM: Going broke can destroy a marriage? How did you keep yours intact?
SHANICE: We said when we got married that divorce was not an option. When there were times that I felt like I just couldn’t go any further, he would lift me up. And, when he was down, I would lift him up. We were never both down at the same exact time. So, we helped each other through it. It came in waves. Flex was very positive throughout the entire thing. He would always say, “We’re going to make it through this. God has something planned for us.” I think I broke down more than he did. It was harder for me.
ESSENCE.COM: How do you balance career, family and love?
SHANICE: I flirt! (Laughs) I’m always telling him how beautiful he is; how sexy is. We try to have date nights. Our family lives with us, so the cool thing is that when we want to have date night, we can. We can just get dressed up and go out to dinner.
FLEX: We got to concerts, dinner and movies. We like to get out to concerts. She drops it like it’s hot.
SHANICE: Yes, I’m the party animal. I love dancing. We’ll just party at the house together and just dance to four or five o’clock in the morning.
ESSENCE.COM: So, you know we have to ask, Shanice. Do you love his smile?
SHANICE: You know what? I really do. (Laughs) He has beautiful teeth and such nice lips.
FLEX: Alright now. Now, when I start doing my flirt talk, you’re going to tell me to shish.
SHANICE: Yeah, cause you take your flirt talk to a whole ‘nother level. I keep it PG!
ESSENCE.COM: Okay, okay you two. What can we expect to learn about your love story when we tune in to the show?
FLEX: You’re gonna see family and love. You’re going to cry. You’re going to laugh. You’re gonna get a mixture of everything. At the end of the day, the overall message that you’re going to see is family sticking it out together. We want to give people a real sense of feel-good love.
SHANICE: We have some characters in here. Everyone in the house has a different personality. You’re gonna get a kick out of it.
ESSENCE.com: What advice would you offer another couple weathering the storm?
FLEX: Just don’t give up. Don’t succumb to outside pressure. Don’t let the dollar determine your destiny. Just love one each other and fight it through.
SHANICE: Yes, fight it through. Pray together.
FLEX: Fight for it, you know. It’s so easy to say, “Hey, let’s give up.” Just be patient with one another and just know deep down that it’s already worked out. God put it in us. You’ve just gotta activate it and walk toward it. It takes 13 months to build a Rolls Royce, it doesn’t happen in one day.
SHANICE: You aren’t always going to be in a storm.
FLEX: There are always three phases: You’re walking into the storm, you’re in the storm and then you’re coming out.
Tune in to the premire of Flex & Shanice on Saturday, November 1 at 10p.m. EST on OWN.
Follow ESSENCE.com Relationships Editor Charli Penn @ManWifeDog