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5 Questions: Monica on Love & Marriage

Monica opens up about her husband Shannon and why she doesn't sweat the small stuff.

We recently had the pleasure of having newlyweds Monica and Shannon Brown stop by the ESSENCE.com offices for a visit. From the moment they arrived, we could feel the love in the air.

After tying the knot in a surprise ceremony with a Justice of the Peace last November, Monica and Shannon said “I do” once more in front of friends and family in a lavish dream wedding ceremony in July.

Monica was in New York to film the new video for her single “Until It’s Gone,” and when she wrapped, she took some time to tell us what balancing life as a mom, new wife, and artist has been like.

Read on as she opens up about finding true bliss with Shannon, why she’s madly in love with his mother, and much more.

ESSENCE.COM: We can just see the sparks fly between you and Shannon. How do you two keep things passionate?
That’s so easy for us, I don’t know where to start. The best lingerie I have, Vanessa Bryant gave it to me. She is the biggest fan of La Perla and she goes into those stores a lot. Every time I would open one of her gifts, Shannon was like “yeah” and he’d start clapping for that gift. Sometimes he likes when I’m just in his t-shirt or his jersey.

ESSENCE.COM: Despite your busy schedules, you and Shannon make a lot of time for each other and family. How?

MONICA: We’re together a lot because I think you make time for the things that are important and our marriage is important to us. So we make time, all the time. At a video shoot Shannon and I go in my dressing room and order the food we want and just spend time talking to each other and getting to know each other even more. Every day is a new day, so it never stops. You never stop learning each other. Sometimes the best moments are just the quiet ones.

My husband is my part of my greatest joys, so it doesn’t feel like work or like I’m balancing anything. My husband and my kids absolutely come first, so work is just something where I figure out where it will fit. I just think there’s no comparison of the two so it makes it a lot easier. The boys are at the age now where they can travel with us and they love doing it. Of course, they’re never hesitant to go to a game or two. Shannon’s work is way more exciting than mom’s. We find ways to make it all happen, but family is first.

I cook for him. He can cook, but I don’t think he should have to. I’m a traditional wife in every since. I like the fact that he cleans his plate. That’s a southern thing. I’m from Georgia. When we grew up, our uncles finished off your plate and theirs, you know. I love the fact that he likes to talk to me while I cook. It’s not like I have these lonely hours where I’m in the kitchen. We talk while I’m cooking and he’ll ask for things a particular way. He’s a big fan of garlic and different seasonings so I had to learn to use the ones that he likes. I like it because it’s just another chance for us to communicate and to talk about what’s happened in our day. We talk about what practice was like or what my day was like.

PHOTOS: Monica and Shannon’s Star Studded Wedding Guest List

ESSENCE.COM: Are you close with your new mother-in-law?
MONICA: Oh yeah! [Shannon interrupts with a big smile, “yes they are!”] He says we’re sickening. He’s always like, “you’ve been on the phone with her for two hours?” And then, our mothers are close too. We were looking for them for a whole two days before the wedding. They stayed gone and off shopping and doing their own things for two days.

When we really got very, very serious in our dating we took both our families to Cabo. We wanted to take them away from everyone and all the busy places and just really get to know each other. That was everybody’s first meeting. I’ve never gone more than 48 hours without talking to his mother since then. His mom loves her baby, but what’s so amazing about my mother-in-law is that she says I wanted someone to love my baby the way I love him, for him, whether he’s playing ball or doing something else; I want someone to love my son through and through and she met me and she said, “you’re the real deal.” We’re a lot alike. We like the same things. We go to a lot of the same places. We get lost together.

ESSENCE.COM: The blogs always have something to say about your relationship with Shannon — both good and bad. Do you have a response?
MONICA: Well, you know the way that I am now I have nothing to say, no response. The truth needs no support. I love my husband and he loves me and I think if you sit back and you watch and you pay attention you’ll see it yourself. I think that in the blogosphere the idea is to have the most controversial stuff up. They’re not saying anything about us that they’re not saying about other couples. There aren’t just stories about us up there. There are stories about lots of couples. I thank God for the fact that they’re not true and I have peace of mind.

It took me awhile to come to this reality because I feel like my fans don’t deserve to be told any type of lies. If I do something silly and there’s a police report or something – not saying that’s true or anything – that’s the thing you can’t be mad about. So I used to make a point of saying that’s not true. But I learned it’s really just people talking until I validate it and I respond. For us, we know the truth and we walk in our own truth and we don’t allow anything to come between that.

I think that you are what you speak a lot of times and there’s power in the tongue. I feel sorry for the people who always have something negative to say. If something happens bad in my day I don’t tweet about it, I pray about it, or talk to my husband about it or my mother about it and get it off of me and move on. I find the positive in the negative all the time. Any time you give something power it wins and it can continuously happen so I just let negative people know they have no place in my life. They have no place around my children. With that, I’m able to dust stuff off. Things do happen to me, I just shake ‘em off.

VIDEO: Inside Monica and Shannon’s Dream Wedding

ESSENCE.COM: Is there a reality show in you and Shannon’s future?
MONICA: No, we’re not looking to do any reality TV. I’ve done it before and I did it because I wanted people to know that there is life – great life – after children. Children should be your motivation. People in the music industry try to tell you that you’re old after 30. With the age comes the experience. For us, I think if we did a show we would love to do something that would really reach people like ourselves who are motivated and striving for success. If we could do something like that yes, but something where you just follow us around, no.

I think the foundation in our marriage is strong and we don’t want to leave room for anything to tear up the foundation or create cracks in the wall. I do like reality TV like “The Voice.” I enjoyed working there every single day. It was amazing.

There have been different networks who’ve called and asked about Shannon doing something about young guys trying to make it in the league and stuff like that, and that would be great too, but nothing about just our relationship, no.