One word: Wow. This couple is wise beyond their years and they are still in their 20s! My husband (then boyfriend) and I attended Otto and Jayna's wedding a few years ago and were blown away by the power of their ceremony. To think that they were even younger then really speaks to this couples' maturity. After reading Otto and Jayna's responses I thought, "holy moly - can we say #FAITHgoals ?!" Forget #relationshipgoals, this couples' faith is on fleek.
Why is marriage relevant in 2015?
[Jayna]: A healthy marriage is the foundation for healthy families. Stable children with two parents who teach them what it means to love, respect, honor, and trust is key. Happy/healthy children will most likely grow up to be happy/healthy citizens. We need this in 2015, and forever.
What does marriage mean to you?
[Otto]: Marriage is the physical representation of the greatest truth there is: How much God loves us. It’s the foundation of His command to be fruitful and multiply. The fact that we have flaws, insecurities, fears and vices BUT He still sees us as “Lovely,” “Pure” and loves us unconditionally in spite of those flaws is exactly what marriage represents. A husband is to see his wife as pure, to love her unconditionally – regardless of what she says or does. He is to sacrifice his life for her – in many different ways; I’ll stop here – I could talk for a day on it… marriage is absolutely beautiful.
What is your favorite part about being married?
[Otto]: Growing. I think people naturally enjoy learning something new because they can then take that information and add it to their character, to become better versions of themselves. Marriage does that in so many ways. I love how it not only teaches me how to effectively love someone unconditionally but it also gives me the affirmation and confidence to know that it is possible and can be done through me. I’ve learned so many things about myself through my wife that I hadn’t known before we got married.
What sacrifices have you made for each other?
[Jayna]: I sacrifice having my own way. And Otto invested his finances to help me pursue a dream career.
What first attracted you to your mate? What sustains your attraction to your mate?
[Jayna]: Jesus. When I look at my husband, I see a man who is connected to a greater Source then me. When I’m weak- he’s able to be strong. When he’s weak, he’s STILL able to be strong. All because of Jesus. His heart, morals, speech, thoughts and attitude stay holy because he stays connected with a holy God. I never have to worry about infidelity, poor stewardship of our finances, or other selfish vices that lead to divorce because my husband is like Jesus. Sounds cliché or super spiritual maybe, but this is what attracts me to my husband AND keeps me drawn/attracted to him.
He’s strong, handsome, honest, and honorable because Otto is tight with the Creator of all things beautiful = God.
What is the biggest misconception out there about love and commitment in the media?
[Otto]: We don’t watch a huge amount of television but we spend a little time on social media. One of the biggest misconceptions about love in a marriage context is that it can be negated if one isn’t “happy.” In other words, “If I’m not happy, then I have grounds to leave this commitment.” That’s the complete opposite of what love means. The media doesn’t necessarily show love as patient, kind, never envying, never boasting, never keeping a record of wrongs, never prideful, etc… (1 Cor. 13) which are all characteristics of true Love. It has nothing to do with feeling happy all the time but it is a choice that is made, regardless of the circumstances. Commitment is the same way – the media makes it look optional, which logically makes zero sense. By definition, commitment is about loyalty.
When a guy is committed to working out – he chooses to do so whether he “feels” like it or not and that’s what makes a physical difference in his body. Similarly, Love and Commitment are not buttons to turn on and off when convenient.
They are intentional choices that as “lovers,” we continue to walk in daily whether we feel great or not.
What impact will you and your spouse/Bae make in the world?
[Jayna]: We will be a symbol of success to all people. Our success comes from Christ. We are hard-workers and we are blessed. We are selfless and fulfilled. We are young and wise. We are healthy and hotties. We are dreamers and doers. We are married and happy!
[Otto]: What she said! We are one example out of MANY that will show the world how much God loves them. We will do it by loving each other the way that He commanded us to, which makes me happy! hehe
You are a fly young black couple. Many people probably look at you and think #relationshipgoals. What is one part of your relationship that people do not see on the outside looking in?
[Jayna]: On the outside we embody #happiness… we look like we’re laughing, loving, and living life… This is true. What people don’t see is that on the inside - we are hard workers towards a happy marriage. Yes, marriage is WORK. The only way we get to a place of complete openness, vulnerability, and freedom in each other is that we make every effort and WORK towards being 100% honest and understanding, which takes work to be humble, better listeners and doers of what we hear/learn from each other, which takes work to be self-less, not a brat, but sacrificial to consider your spouse’s needs before your own. It takes work to practice daily, serve and cater to each other in love. It all comes to work... But like all work, there is a reward and a “paycheck.” In return for all of our hard work, we have happiness.
[Otto]: She’s right. It takes good ol’ fashion work and sacrifice. Jayna and I love each other but that doesn’t mean we aren’t different. You don’t just take two people, having their own thoughts, their own ideas of how things should work, their own desires/wishes, etc.. then tell them to live together for the rest of their lives and think everything will be perfect. It takes choosing to love each other, even in the moments when it doesn’t feel the greatest (which, for us, doesn’t happen too often :-) ).
How do you make it work?
[Otto]: Our foundational belief is the power of Jesus Christ. This is built on God and as long as He is the focus of our marriage, we realize just how and what this is about. Once I start thinking about that – it’s easy to love my wife… I do not love her for what she does or how good she looks (although she is SEXXYYY) or how much she feeds me…I love her because God loves me, He always has, He always will… the AWESOME part about it is that He loved me the same BEFORE I started loving him. That’s the most bizarre part about the gospel that I’ve ever heard but it’s true. And in light of those truths, me loving my wife is only a taste of how much God loves me… She feels the same – her love for me isn’t based on my performance (or else, she shouldn’t love me because I do NOT get all A’s, lol)… It’s based on how much God loves her – His love is perfect.
Why do you think marriage has such a negative connotation today?
[Jayna]: People are selfish and aren’t ready to experience the transformation of true love & one-ness. It takes sacrifice, SELFLESSNESS, and humility – something that most people today don’t want to do.
It’s a process that takes patience and perseverance… also something that our microwave generation doesn’t want to deal with.
All these things place a negative connotation on marriage because many people want the benefits of marriage (fulfillment, sex, companionship) but don’t want to go through the process of becoming one (marriage).
[Otto]: I agree completely. The connotation has a bit of a stench because marriage has been abused and distorted. Many people see it as a trap or prison… some sort of binding contract that doesn’t allow for happiness... Some people are afraid to make that kind of commitment and it still goes back to a misunderstanding of what the commitment is about in the first place. Marriage is much bigger than you and your spouse – there is a legacy attached to two people choosing to love; generations are birthed from two people choosing to love (the way that God desires us to); people are blessed from two people choosing to love; people get healed by two people choosing to love…. These truths are not fully realized when it comes to marriage – which is part of the reason it has a negative connotation.
Until next time...