Big news — I finally put together the relationship Q&A I’ve been working on for approximately a month. Even though it took a while for me to sit down with Vagner and write this up, I am so excited to share it with y’all! Vagner is much more comfortable behind the scenes, which is why it’s so special when I convince him to co-write a post with me.
For those who have been following for a while, you know that I spent a lot of time writing about us during the Tumblr days. I don’t really have a reason why I stopped. Once we got married, it just felt like we’d rather be living our lives than writing about it! Now that we aren’t newlyweds anymore, I do feel like I have the mental capacity to write about our love life without feeling like I’m sharing too much. I’m going to be sharing a lot more about the things we’ve struggled with, the victories we’ve shared, and more.
In June 2009, I went to a friend’s house to celebrate — I’d just gotten my braces off and couldn’t wait to show my BFFs my new smile) and do whatever 15-year-olds do together. Vagner was there because he knew my friend; I was unimpressed. He seemed moody and way overtly Christian (and I WAS VERY INTO JESUS, OKAY?!) I didn’t think anything of it, although we talked briefly about worship music. He friend requested me on Facebook three months later, we started to talk on AOL Instant Messenger, and then I fell in love with his church and started going to his youth group! I told him I liked him on February 15, 2010, and he TURNED ME DOWN. (Post for another day.) -AL
We met for the first time at a local mall because my group of friends bumped into her group of friends (although Ayana swears this didn’t happen). I thought she was cute. The second time around, my cousin dragged me to his friend’s house, and I immediately connected with Ayana over obscure Christian music and found ourselves continually drawn to one another. -VL
I was always TERRIFIED of settling down and convinced myself that he’d eventually leave. I was also super young and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life or how he’d fit in. I feel like I made a conscious decision to choose Vagner, and that probably happened around April 2014. -AL
The more time we spent together, the more I knew I couldn’t live life with anyone else. Everything about loving her was so effortless. I think I knew toward the beginning of 2012. -VL
WHEW CHILE. Let’s start with the fact that I moved to a NEW CITY THE DAY AFTER OUR HONEYMOON and started a new job in an unfamiliar industry TWO DAYS AFTER THAT. I was so tired and scared that first month, and I just missed my mom for the most part. Additionally, we had a car crash that totally screwed up my back and ended up with me in the ER. And we were trying to navigate living together for the first time and having few friends (although we found friends who have become family very quickly). LASTLY, we worked opposite schedules, so I spent a lot of my weekends in bed crying because I was lonely. Sorry, depressing answer. It all worked out, as you can see. -AL
Three months after we got married, we got into a wreck and our car was totaled. Being in a new city with all of that going on was really difficult. And then we got scammed with our replacement car, which ended up needing thousands of dollars in repairs. It was hard. We were faced with physical, emotional, and financial stressors that definitely affected our first year of marriage. -VL
It’s been…complex. I have been so relieved to always have someone who can be there for me (for those of y’all who don’t know, I have generalized anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder and a few other fun things goin’ on) but I honestly still struggle with feeling like I’m burdening Vagner. And because my anxiety often makes me want to run away, during panicky seasons, I panic about the fact that we’re legally bound. But overall, Vagner is my fiercest advocate and sweetest confidant, and I think our relationship has helped my mental health so much. -AL
Ok, so here’s the thing. WE ARE COMPLETE OPPOSITES. When we met, all that we had in common were our mutual friends and our faith. Not much has changed, although we spend a lot of time working on blog content, watching Queer Eye, enjoying time with my family, taking naps, finding hole-in-the-wall restaurants, and trying to one-up each other in corniness contests. -AL
Watch Netflix, go out on dinner dates, take walks together, look at memes, travel and go to church together. -VL (Note from Ayana: It took him forever to come up with this answer.)
- Don’t make your spouse your entire life. Co-dependency isn’t cute, and it’s important to have other hobbies and friends.
- That being said, do say “no” to some invites so you can spend time with your husband or wife, especially if y’all are both busy.
- Communication will help you navigate all of the complications that’ll come with sex, finances, chores, and more.
- Have realistic expectations, and don’t expect the other person to read your mind.
- It’s okay if you go to bed angry. As Scripture says, His mercies are new every morning, and sometimes you need time to process. -AL
- Do your best to communicate your expectations for one another, no matter how small you think they may be. Sometimes little problems can lead to big ones!
- Learn to soak everything in. There will be a lot of mundane, “boring” moments. And those can sometimes be the most beautiful if you take time to appreciate them.
- If one of you is keeping score, you’re both losing. Give freely, and love for love’s sake.
- Date your spouse. The things that you do now to choose one another, continue to do them despite the fact that you are always together and that the dynamic has changed. Choose to love daily!
- Community is so important! Keep friends in your life that you can confide in with your struggles, and who will challenge you to be a better spouse. -VL
I love being around Vagner, and it’s really cool to spend so much time with him. I thought I’d eventually get tired of us getting to know each other, but there’s so much to discover. -AL
Being able to adventure together, from traveling the world to discovering little-knowns spots in our city together. I love that we constantly get to make shared discoveries. -VL
This is a sensitive topic for me, because we decided not to try to conceive this year for health + financial reasons. I assumed I’d be pregnant right now and ready to pop by the end of the year, and I sometimes still get bummed. But I know people ask in good faith, so I don’t get annoyed by it. I usually answer honestly and a bit jokingly, although I don’t think it’s a great idea to ask strangers and acquaintances why they aren’t pregnant. I have friends who have dealt with infertility and it’s a private, sensitive topic. -AL
I tell them we haven’t conceived because we’re busy practicing, which usually ends the questioning. -VL
MAN. I wrote about this for Bustle and I feel so strongly about the complexities that come with interracial relationships. The personal is political. We do face criticism, although most of it is subtle. I have people of color who assume that I chose Vagner because of his whiteness, which is hurtful but also understandable given the way whiteness is idolized in our society. I also have had some racist white folks who kindly messaged me things like “race traitor” and “c**t, but that’s thankfully few and far between. -AL
While not usually direct or overt, there was a noticeable shift in my life when we started dating. As a white guy, I never really “felt” glances until Ayana and I would go on dates and walk into restaurants together. Maybe people weren’t judging us, but they certainly seemed surprised. Over time you get used to it and maybe don’t even notice it, but there are always little moments that make you wonder whether you’d be treated the same way if we were both white. That applies to both little situations like walking into a restaurant, or big things like important conversations with other people. -VL
Ayana Lage is a fashion and lifestyle blogger based in Tampa, Florida with a background in digital media and content marketing. She’s worked for Bustle, the Tampa Bay Times, the Miami Herald, and numerous freelance clients. As a blogger, she’s worked with 50+ lifestyle, fashion, travel and food brands. When she’s not blogging, she’s focused on her day job in digital marketing, watching Queer Eye, or laughing aloud at tweets from @dril.