Before we jump in, can you briefly walk us through your dating history?
We started dating in the summer of 2009 at the Georgia Tech College of Architecture. Sophia was pursuing a Masters degree, having recently graduated from Florida A&M University. Alphonso was an undergraduate student and star athlete. We shared similar interests, and just genuinely enjoyed being around each other. We were already friends before we dated, but over the years we truly grew to be best friends. We’ve had our differences and our ups and downs, but through it all, we've persevered. In 2014, Sophia relocated to Charlotte for work and the relationship became long distance (which presented a whole new set of challenges). Now, in 2017, as a newly engaged couple, we look forward to living together and being in the same city again!
Alphonso - how did you know it was the right time to propose to Sophia?
I knew I was ready to propose when the thought of our life together was bigger and more important than my life, individually. I think 2016 (in it’s totality) was one that neither of us will forget, from personal struggles to social/worldly struggles. It was when we both were at our lowest that we still supported and loved each other. Anyone that accepts/embraces you at your lowest deserves you at your best.
Sophia is my best friend in every sense of the word. The first day I saw her in August 2008 on the 3rd floor of the Architecture building wearing all black, I said to myself “I’m going to marry that girl.” The energy and excitement I had for her back then, is even more prevalent now.
Sophia - what are your thoughts on being "ready" for marriage?
In a way, I feel like I was more “ready” for the challenge of marriage in my mid-20s. As I approached 30, I grew more confident and affirmed in who I was, less accepting of what didn’t meet my standards and more content in myself. I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to “settle” down. My thoughts have evolved since then to accept and love who I am becoming, and to fully accept Alphonso and his growth as well. I don’t think there was a specific day that I declared that I was ready. It was more of a steady self-actualization that being married was one of the things that I desired in my life. I began to pray about it. Soon after, Alphonso and I reunited.
How do you incorporate God into your relationship?
We pray together – often. We believe that there is power in being on one accord and coming to God together as a couple. If there are times where one of us is going through a tough or stressful situation, it’s pretty common for the other to set aside time to lead us in prayer. The more consistent we have been, the better our relationship has grown to be. It has been a great way to keep us spiritually connected in a long distance relationship. We are looking forward to finding a church home that will allow both of us to deepen our relationship with God.
Did you ever have doubts that the relationship wouldn't work? Has it always been "rainbows and butterflies?"
There have been very serious doubts. Sometimes there is a level of complacency in a long term relationship that can have detrimental effects. We have had many conflicts -- often about the same issues -- and because of this, we were recently separated for almost an entire year. Both of us struggled emotionally during that time. However, it took that separation for us to come to our own conclusions (in our own way) about how we value one another. There have always been “rainbows and butterflies” between us – we still miss each other, smile at the thought of our future, and laugh at our inside jokes – but sometimes the rainbows only come after intense storms. It was in those storms that we were tested, and had to learn to choose love above any other emotion. The path to get to where we are now has been rough at times, but forgiveness is key. We have been working on and will continue to work on, communicating effectively with one another toward happily ever after.
Thank you Alphonso and Sophia for keeping it real! What a beautiful love story and testament to timing and trust.
Until next time....