Men, Relationships & Marriage, Stories

[The Lovers Rocque] How Deep Is Your Love?

Alot of people talk about love and marriage in terms of emotional connections, but very few think about what it truly means to commit to another person for life. The idea of being with someone “until death do us part” signifies forever. Not to be morbid, but there’s a lot of time, experiences and hurdles that fill in the spaces between “I do” and your eventual passing or that of your significant other. Ultimately, it’s those years that will test and define your union.

I had the pleasure of meeting an older gentleman recently who’s been married for quite some time. As a newlywed, I always make it a point to seek insight into the relationships of others who’ve had more experiences than myself. I’ve found it helps me in better understanding my own journey to forever, and provides me opportunities to learn from the mistakes of others.

As this man shared his love story with me, I discovered that while his adult children have long since left the nest, his home is far from empty. Due to an unfortunate chain of events, he and his wife are legal guardians to two of their adolescent granddaughters. Both of whom have behavioral and developmental issues. On top of that, his spouse is also suffering from multiple sclerosis.

Needless to say, these are not circumstances he ever expected or even imagined facing when making the decision to walk down the aisle. But who really thinks about the worse case scenario(s) when preparing to embark on his/her happily ever after? Still, he’s managed to take it all in stride, accepting life’s constant curveballs and remembering the solemn vow he made so many years ago to be a faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow.

One of my biggest fears is to have a child with a birth defect or any kind of developmental issues. While I’d love him or her just the same, my wish (as is the case for most) is for a healthy child that can hopefully take care of my wife and I in our old age, not the other way around.

Hearing this man’s story and how he provides for his family through what must be incredible difficulties has become an inspiration. I can only imagine the strength and personal conviction and sacrifice it takes to pull through each day and face his adversities with a smile on his face.

I can honestly say I’m not sure if I could do the same if the tables were turned, but I’d like to believe that the foundation my wife and I are continuing to build would provide me with that necessary mental fortitude. That’s what real love can do. It makes the impossible seem possible, and gives you the innate desire to put the needs of your family before your own. Or at least until death do you part.

Writers: Mr. and Mrs. Rocque are the couple formerly known as Anslem Samuel and Starrene Rhett, journalists who found love in between bylines. Follow the newlyweds’ musings of a marriage in progress here, on Twitter and via their joint blog.

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About Proud Poppas United

A former Youth Division Aide and Mental Health Therapist with the Office of Children and Family Services turned his reduction-in-force experience into a win-win situation, and many are reaping this harvest. When Tyrone “Zire” McCants, who is also a versatile services photographer and visionary in the Phoenix, AZ, lost his job; he took his youthful interest in photography and his prior knowledge from working in a family-centered position into new ventures. He even figured out a way to coincide his two passions into meaningful opportunities to advance his cause. The layoff he faced freed him up to develop his photography business (Zire Photography & Graphics) and to showcase his skills as a prolific artist. One of those ventures that McCants created was an initiative called Proud Poppas United; which is a community-based group designed to strengthen the bonds between fathers & their children. It aims to encourage a tradition of fatherhood and family, increasing the number of active fathers in our community. When McCants isn’t intellectually cultivating his repertoire of talents, he manages to merge his interest in photography with his desire and passion for fatherhood. Using the Proud Poppas Photo Project, as his flagship initiative, he displays images which celebrate and encourage the pride of being an active father. In many minority and ethnic communities, there is a progressive concern of absentee fathers and the devastating effects of this challenge on our children, our families, and community. He also believes that by displaying these images will help to shed light on and celebrate the gift of fatherhood. He hopes that this movement will also become contagious and bring other men closer to their children and families, and encourage a presence of well-being and development in our children, our families, our communities and our people as a whole. McCants quotes that “My scope is capturing the energy between a father and his children” and that’s what he is creating through his community development initiatives. Through, a first look into the reality concerning “Responsible Fathers” many disturbing statistics and contributing factors related to absent fathers. But, to the credit of McCants, he has been able to overlook the negative stereotypes and prejudices that have perpetuated his community and rise to the occasion. Although, he wears many hats that provide guidance and leadership to the infrastructure of his life’s purpose. To all of the fathers out there with the silent victories of triumph and the principle-centered leadership; who fight depression, financial woes, relationship conflicts, the penal system and the racism of our day; McCants say’s “Thank you” for all that you have been able to get accomplished behind your veil of anonymity. You have just endured the last 13 years of this millennium, and you are still here to tell about it. Although some will say that these last few years have been amazing they are still asleep to the fact that; we (The black community) must work with higher ideals versus dollars and cents. We must look within ourselves and see us as being brave, black, accountable, and reliable. The truth of the matter is that you are embracing fatherhood but at a frequency that may not be understood. I am with you as we will not look at the diluted statistics but at the “transformational leadership” that is displayed by all black fathers and role models everywhere. Don’t give up now as our families are leaning on you in these times of difficulty to represent us to the best of your ability as the “Mighty Men of Valor.” You are the man for the job, and now it’s time to come out of hiding and show the world what real black men look like; and we represent as a tribe of Intellectual builders, teachers, warriors, leaders and Kings. “Fatherhood is not a right; it’s a privilege. Your children are the best part of you. I send my love to this new generation of fathers who have learned from the sins of the past and take a very active role in the lives of our children. ~RAPPER TALIB KWELI, FATHER OF TWO


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