So excited to feature today's couple in The Wisdom Corner. Jared, Sharece, and I went to college together and were roommates when we all moved to DC. Jared and Sharece have a sweet kind of love. They are both calm spirits and really seem to get each other. Below the O'Neals share their wisdom on love and marriage. Enjoy!
What first attracted you to your significant other? What sustains the attraction?
[Jared]: When I first met Sharece, I saw a woman who was beautiful, and deeply committed to service. When I saw her around campus in college, she was just so driven, and that intrigued me for a long time. After my first conversation with her, I was finished! Since we have been committed, I have seen Sharece grow into a woman grounded by her faith, while never losing her ambitious nature. Sharece has seen the good in me, when I didn’t see it in myself. She has been my rock, someone who has always been there for me when I needed her. People like that don’t come into your life every day, and I am eternally grateful that God that has placed her in my life. Lastly, did I mention that she is beautiful? If all of that can’t sustain my love for her, I don’t know what will!
[Sharece]: We met at Georgia Tech during our undergrad years. When I first saw Jared, of course, I thought he was attractive. He had a very kind and gentle spirit. He was seemingly unassuming, but very outspoken when it came to discussing things he was passionate about. It was that same passion and pursuit that began our relationship. I know we are still newlyweds, but we don't go a day without expressing our love for each other.
We discovered our love languages, and that has made such a huge difference in our relationship. We know what each other needs.
Everyday, he makes me feels beautiful and I show him how much I love and support him. It's not always easy with the hustle and bustle of life, but we put in the work to make each other a priority.
What is the biggest misconception about love today?
[Jared]: I think one of the biggest misconceptions about love in the media today is that “love” should be effortless. Movies portray love like a 24 hour fairy tale, sending the message that if you’re trying too hard, then it must not be real. I think that is completely false. I love Sharece without limits. If I am doing something to express how I feel for her, then it can never be too much (well, usually). Lol. But seriously, there are very few things in life that come to you without working at it, and I don’t think love is an exception to that.
[Sharece]: I think another misconception is that you will lose yourself when you enter a committed relationship. When I finished college, I didn't have any set expectations for when I wanted to get married, but I did have things I wanted to do and accomplish. Once Jared and I become serious, I was a little nervous about not being able to do those things, but once I knew we were headed for marriage, God placed new goals on my heart. It became less about me and more about us. God revealed to me that Jared was my husband, and that nervousness faded.
I have still done the things I wanted, but now with a partner. Our combined efforts have made the experiences that much sweeter.
And the best part is how his goals and vision have expanded my perspective. We can share in these experiences together.
Specific to our generation, why do you think marriage has a negative connotation? Why the obsession with failed relationships?
[Jared]: Our generation moves at a very fast pace. We seem to want to move onward and upward to the next big thing before we have even had time to enjoy the present and what it brings. I think that this ambitious nature of our generation causes people to have negative connotations of symbols of stability, like marriage. I think when people today hear “marriage”, they just can’t fathom staying with one person for the rest of their lives. As far as people’s obsession with failed marriages, I just think it’s in our faces more now. The generations of the past just didn’t get divorced, so there was no need to talk about it. Now, we have TV shows dedicated to the subject. Divorce has sadly become a mainstream option of dealing with marital strife. I really hope that changes soon!
[Sharece]: I agree with Jared. Our society is all about the next, new thing Whether it's our job, material possessions, social activities, we can have pretty much have anything we want. Giving up on one thing and moving on to the next is easy these days. Marriage takes work, and with all that is available to us, that may be a turn-off to some.
What would you tell your future children about love and commitment?
[Jared]: If I had a daughter, I would tell her that love is what you make it. Love is about more than ‘feeling butterflies’. I would tell her to be careful with her heart, as many men may tell her anything to get what they want from her, but not all of them will have her best interest in mind. I would also tell her to pay attention to her intuition. If something seems amiss, don’t ignore that feeling. If I had a son, I would tell him to be good to his significant other simply because it is the right thing to do, not because you are trying to get something. I would also tell him to make sure he is the man that he needs to be for himself, before he goes out with the intention of finding a wife. My last advice to my son would be:
“If you ever find yourself in an argument your significant other, and felt the urge to say something rude to her, think of how you would feel if I said that to your mother”.
[Sharece]: I would tell my daughter, first, that God loves her. That His love is complete and all-encompassing. I would tell her how much we love her. Then, I would tell her that no matter what the world says, she must love herself as she is. I'd tell her that before she gives her love away, to make sure she is secure in the love of her own. I'd tell her to command respect and nothing less. I know she'll have heartbreak and will face obstacles, but I'll instill in her that she is a strong and powerful being. I'd tell her to listen to her instinct and find love in her own way, and pray that God guide and protect her. To my son, I'd consistently tell him how much God and his parents love him, and instill self-love and self-respect. We help him become a strong man, and also emphasize respect for women. I'd also tell him to trust his instincts, first, and when he finds the right woman, to always honor his commitments. I'd explain to both of them that God made marriage for His glory. It's beautiful and honorable to be married.
Let the church say Amen! Yessssssss! The O'Neals are wise beyond their years.
Until next time...