When you first fall in love, you never, ever want to let each other go. If you listen to Keith Sweat’s 1987 hit song, “Make It Last Forever,” all you had to do was say, “I love you” and make each other feel good. But we all know that happy, long lasting relationships takes more than that, right? We turned to people who would know—e
ight 9 black, lesbian couples in long term relationships. These real-life couples share their secrets for making their love last.
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1. Lapedra & Tamara Dated on and off since 2006, took a break, got back together in 2012, married April 2014 Tamara: I like her so it makes it easy. I can talk to her for hours. It’s been like that from the start. We’re really close; there is no one on this planet I love more. We laugh and play and we argue but we are in it for the long haul. Lapedra: I feel so lucky to be married to her. We are two different people so we are going to argue but we learn from that. I don’t really run away from every argument that we do have.
2. Lia & Ashell Together 3 years Lia: We learned to work together. I saw potential in our relationship and what could be. When we first got together, we were happy all the time and once we started living together and seeing each other for who we are, there were some ups and downs. Ashell: We clashed a lot, but never broke up. It took a lot of patience and learning who each other are. I held on knowing that this is the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. In my head, we were already married and I didn’t believe in divorce.
3. Wendy & Rose Together 24 years; Commitment ceremony August 2011; Legal marriage April 2013 Wendy: I love her like crazy. Even after 24 years, it’s just gotten deeper. When we are mad with each other, we just let it out for a minute, then forget it a few seconds later. Sometimes we cuss each other out and talk about each other’s family members! Lol. Rose: She makes me laugh and makes me mad too. We’ve got to vent, then we wind up apologizing to each other and holding or kissing each other. We know we’re not going to leave each other. We also do everything together; we even schedule our doctors’ appointments at the same time.
4. Tracey & Renisha Together 6 years; Married March 2012 Tracey: The only tip I have is to be honest and open about everything. Honesty is truly the best policy. I also would add to never make your mate feel second to anyone and enjoy each other despite any problems you face. Renisha: I would have to say that communication is a must. You have to learn how to communicate with one another.
5. Brenda & Kim Together 29 years; had a commitment ceremony in 1990, civil union in 2011 and converted that to a legal marriage in June 2014 Brenda: There is no secret. We’ve always been honest with each other and always been able to communicate with each other. Something is always going to come up in relationships. So, if can get past the little things and deal with the big things, you can make it. Kim: Authenticity is so important. If you’re in a relationship and pretending to be somebody you’re not, it’s gonna come out in the wash. You have to be real with each other and just love each other. You’ve also got to have mutual respect. I always think, “I don’t want to be treated this way, so I’m not going treat you this way.”
6. Lakeisha & Marlena Together for 2 1/2 years; Married on February 18, 2014 Marlena: Keep the lines of communication open at all times. Get to know your wife. Become her best friend as well as her lover. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. Be spontaneous. You only live once. I just wish someone would have told me how amazingly beautiful it is to be married to the woman of your dreams.
7. Kai & Slang Together 6 years but have an open relationship Kai: As far as our outside relationships, the rules and boundaries we have in place protect us from any drama or misunderstandings. Being open forces you to be just that—OPEN, so we communicate beautifully and honestly. She’s never worried or threatened by anyone I see because she doesn’t need to be. We have a fantastic life together filled with many, many adventures. One day I’ll write a book.
8. Delene & Joanne Together 15 years; Married May 2012 Delene: Allow the other person to be who they want to be. We are so different in so many ways, but it’s those differences that we appreciate about each other. It is important to talk, and thankfully we both love talking. If something is bothering you, address it and try to find a compromise. With kids it is a bit more difficult, but it is important to make time for each other where it is just the two of you.
Keyshia & Kierra Together 10 years Keyshia: I don’t have a secret. I’m very open with my partner. WE talk about everything and anything. We’re like best friends and lovers at the same time.
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