{Podcast Episode 3} From the Walters' Couch: It's been a year, but why did we get married so fast?

In our first two episodes, you've been brought into Shekinah's world, but there's a big piece missing...her husband, Justin! Join us as they celebrate their one-year anniversary, by sharing their relationship journey, from dating, to engagement, to getting married in the middle of a pandemic.

They are diving into what they've learned about themselves, each other, and marriage in the first year.

Welcome to the Walters' couch! Let's get right into todays' Truths & Promises.

Visit our Podcast page to listen online, Google Podcast Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify.

Show Notes:

Colossians 2:7: "...rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught,

and overflowing with thankfulness."

Get Caught Up with Episode 2: That Ephesians 3:20 Type Favor: 3 Degrees Debt Free

From the Walters' Couch: It's been a year, but why did we get married so fast? - Transcription


Shekinah: Hey y'all. It's another episode of the Truths and Promises podcast. And today, I have something a little special for y'all. I think we're going to call this "From the Walter's Couch." Is that what it is?

Justin: I like that.

Shekinah: And as you can hear, I have my wonderful, lovely, handsome, so fly, intelligence, so strong. Everything husband sitting right next to me.

Justin: I didn't know I was all that. I appreciate that.

Shekinah: You are all that, and then some more. So I'm excited for this. Y'all, we are literally sitting on our couch. Definitely, we won't be video recording this cause my hair is all over the place. We're mixed matchin'.

Justin: I'm in my outside gear from walking our dog in the snow.

Shekinah: We had our first snow here in Minnesota. So when you hear this, it will actually be the day after our first wedding anniversary; look at us. But yeah, we're recording this a couple of weeks early, and it just snowed here in Minnesota. So we had the opportunity to go out and take our dog, Diamond. Who is, walking back and forth. You may or may not hear her at some point, walking around right now, but we got to take her out for her first snow.

She was eating it, running around crazy. All right, babe, don't be yawning in my podcast,

Justin: That's the purpose, to be on the couch and have a comfortable conversation. As if we are talking without the mic.

Shekinah: Yes.

Justin: So I may yawn a couple of times, you know, that's usually, that's what I do.

Shekinah: Because he finds my conversation so boring...

Shekinah: It's because you work so hard,

Justin: I'm just a yawner.

Shekinah: You and diamond. Absolutely. So yeah, this is going to be a really free-flowing conversation, but to give you a picture of what we want to do in our time here, we're really hoping that we can give you all insight. Into where it is, I guess we've been for the past year. What sort of relationship advice do we have, how we've seen God move, uh, how do we even get to this point so quickly? Uh, Engaged October 2020 married of November 2020. And here we are a year later. So it was a very quick-moving process, but it was definitely all God. , and so we kind of want to just talk about that.

Justin: I'm gonna give y'all the inside...the scoop.

Shekinah: All right. So let's go ahead and get into this conversation. The first place I wanted to start was with if you could get any piece of relationship advice given our past few years together; what would that relationship advice be? It could be as many points or viewpoints.

Justin: All right. Let me just start off by saying I'm not a relationship guru. I'm still trying to figure this out myself, you know? But, I feel like everyone has experienced that the next person can use or use within their lives or within their situations. So this is what I'm do give my opinions and how I feel about relationships and how you should go about it. So initially, I would say, you know, your relationship is your relationship, and it doesn't look; it doesn't have to look like anybody else's. Right? You know, no one person or two people are the same, everybody has differences. God made them differently. Right? So each relationship is going to function differently. Right? So I would say that, especially in this digital age, I would say to a certain extent, you should probably keep, you know, your relationship private, right. Things that don't need to be shared. Don't need to be shared on social media or certain groups within your lives or certain friends, or, you know, to share things that you are comfortable with, with the groups that you are comfortable with, right? , Yeah, and your partner, right? Especially at certain stages in your relationship. I think, you know, there's, there are certain people you want to let in a certain people you want to keep out by. When we first started dating, we had counsel from our pastors up in Rhode Island over in Rhode Island since we're in Minneapolis and out east. So over in Rhode Island. So yeah, we had counsel from them, and I was good at that initial stage because, you know, they have a fruitful marriage, and they have been through the dating stage. They've been through all types of stages. So, you know, they've been married for what, six years or something.

Shekinah: They've been married for over a decade.

Justin: But they've been married for a long time, and like, those are people that we felt comfortable with coming to them with advice. And, you know, maybe we didn't see eye to eye, you know, So, you know, just what that being said, going to people where you feel confident that they can give you constructive criticism and unbiased advice and advice that's uncapped, you know, advice meaning that they are not afraid to tell you where they failed or where they could have improved, you know, cause that initially can help you, avoid those situations in your relationship. So, yeah, that would be one piece of advice, you know, keep it private, seek advice from people that you trust and who have fruitful marriages or fruitful relationships. And then also just, you know, be grateful, graceful with each other, you know, nobody's perfect.

Justin: You know, nobody has all the answers, you know, you're in this together, you know, it's not you against the world or her against the world, him against the world. She against the world, you know, it's both of y'all against the world, and you kind of need to have this team mentality as opposed to this individualistic mentality, right. Because I think, especially in today's society, we have this individual, like propaganda goes on all the media and everything -is about me, me, me, me, me. Right. But you know, life is about love, about relationships, and about people. So you can't get far without relationships and without people, you know, there's, there's a cap on how far you can get and how the quality of life you can have without people or without relationships.

Shekinah: Yeah. No, that's all really good. I also like how you say no two relationships are the same. I think I had to learn that a lot throughout my single season. I think our relationship has taught me that in a lot of ways, you know, sort of checking my expectations at different points. At the same time, I expect it to look like this, or I expected to look like that, or this is how it worked out for so-and-so. So this is how it should work out for me. But that game of comparison, man, it's crazy. God really does give us our own stories to walk out and to live out fully. And it's so important that we leave and to each and every single one of those journeys that we have and accept them as our own unique journey and not necessarily play that comparison game a lot. I think you even touched on, you know, Privacy and making sure you're not putting everything out there to everyone and anyone, all the time. And I think that's been a large part of our relationship, somewhat purposefully. And I think somewhat accidentally; I fell off of social media after getting engaged and getting married. I mean, I was also dissertating and trying to get a real job. So there were a lot of things happening all at one time.

But I sort of fell off social media for a little bit, and I realized how comforting that was; I was able to live in the moment, like when we go out to dinner, or we would go out on random dates like we still do. It's like, oh, I can be in this moment instead of figuring out, is this picturesque, can I get a picture?

Can I do this? Do I need to post it? What should this story say? Like, it's been more just like living in the moment, which has been so important. In the middle of COVID like we don't get to go outside that much. So when we're outside, I like to be outside and away from my devices so that that's been really real.

I don't know that I would add much else to the relationship advice you gave, honestly. That piece on grace that you mentioned was going to be my go-to because I think that's the biggest thing I've learned. One, grace for myself. All right. I've been managing my own life, well, not my entire life. My parents managed until I was about 18. And then after that, I sort of was like in control of everything I did everywhere I went and like, I'm really good at managing me as an individual, as a single woman, but managing yourself as a married person is a little different, right? And you have to have, for me, I've had to have grace towards myself.

No, I'm not going to be able to cook and clean every day, as well as do all my research and run 1140 Glory of whatever else God might give me like, I have to be gracious towards the things that I can accomplish. Day to day or week to week, but I also have to be gracious towards you in the way that you do things because, inevitably, they're different than the way that I do things.

And so we've learned grace, I think, in so many situations. So I agree with that relationship advice. Would you say there's been a place like in our relationship where you feel that you've seen God the most, whether it's in this year of marriage, Or prior to marriage, a place that you feel God is really like shown his face and shown up for us?

Justin: Yeah. I would say for me; I think God really showed me who he was in our dating stage. And like, even like my single stage, right before I met you, like, God really like came down and it was like, all right. Let me show you what this is. Don't even think about anything else. Just focus on me and, at that time, I was really like in tune with like, get connected with God and like, you know, trying to understand the Bible and just trying to be in His presence, and through that time, like I was really, at the time it was really, really putting God first, you know, I was talking to my friends about God and stuff like that. You know, I probably seemed like this crazy radical religious person, but like, it was honestly, it was the worth it, you know, it helped focus me, and it helps give me something to look forward to.

Even when in I single phase, you know, I might've felt lonely, or I might've felt this and that, and then he led me to Chicago, right? Like who would've thought I would meet Shekinah so fast and marry her so fast, like these things are unheard of, especially in today's society. People look at you like you're crazy, you know?

So yeah, I think God showed his face in my single phase. And then also in our dating phase, you know, there were times where I was just unsure of myself because the situation was completely different than what I've seen in my past and what I've seen in my family lives and what I've seen just in my circle, you know, you know, people get married and really just leaning on faith and leaning on, you know, guiding counsel. Like that whole situation was new for me, you know? So for me, it was like really trusting, trusting God, and trusting this new phase. And like, I don't really understand it, but okay. This is a leap that I'm gonna take, right? and sometimes you just have to take that leap and say, all right, God, I'm putting this in your hands. And then through that, you really understand, like, those are when the best results happen. This is the fruit of that leap. Marriage. Yeah. So,

Shekinah: yeah. Yeah. I feel like God has been super gracious to us in so many different ways and has shown his face towards us, our relationship, our purpose together. Like, I feel like I could tell them about the most recent incident with Diamond and like how stressful that was, or even moving here to Minnesota.

I think this was the first sign of grace. Well, maybe not at first, but this is one of the biggest signs of grace that I noticed from Justin. When babe, you were like, "I'll go wherever you want to go, wherever you want to move wherever your career takes you, except one place." But you were like; I'll go anywhere except that one particular place.

And it was like, all right, cool. Well, what about Minneapolis? And Justin goes, "yeah, there's like a 0.5% chance that I'll ever move there.", but that's all we needed to get all the way. Well, like 5%, and God really showed his face in that because it was like, all right, Shekinah is going to land a job somewhere. She's going to accept the offer. And then Justin is going to have to get it together, find a job, and we're going to have to move. And so we expected this like I had negotiated in a whole one-year transition to make sure there was time for Justin to find work and for us to get our lives together, to move all the way out here.

But God showed up and showed out, Justin, ended up landing a job, that there was no job description for, that there was no job application for like, they made the description and the application after they made the job offer to him. So I know like the last episode was about that Ephesians 3 and 20 type favor. And that's what happened. All over again. So it's those moments that it's like, okay, God, this is confirmation that this is where we're supposed to go, and this is where we're supposed to be. And I think he does that for us time and time again like I think about even when we got engaged that day. Okay. Let's talk about that. What was that process like for you? Like buying the ring, asking my dad for my hand...what was that like?

Justin: It was nerve-wracking. Like the whole process was just new to me. Right. So I never even knew anybody in my close circle that had asked somebody to marry them. Right?

Shekinah: Our wedding

Justin: My wedding was my first wedding, which is crazy. It's like, so I really had no blueprint to go off of. Right? So would that being said, I was doing a bunch of research just in terms of like buying a ring, you know, I went to buy something that was authentic first off. I don't want to buy something that was fake or whatever. And then, like just doing research, I'm like, oh wow, these things cost a lot of money. This is the most money I've ever spent on anything in my life.

Right? And like, you know, you guys don't know me, but my wife does. Right? I like the budget and I'll, you know, I like to spend money consciously. So it was like, that was like a big leap of faith in that, in that aspect.

Shekinah: We knew it was when we would sit down with Shirley and Mel, Shirley would go, "Justin, you don't even need to buy Shekinah a very expensive ring. You don't even need to do it. She'll take anything. And honestly, in that moment, I wouldn't be so very, I wanted to be married so bad, but I was like, yeah, I'll take anything. Like, we can go get one of those 25 cent bubble gum. Yeah.

Justin: So, yeah, that was, you know, but knowing like, if you want to marry someone, you want to make them feel good and stuff like that. So I understood like she was saying at the moment, like, it doesn't really matter. But we all know it matters. Yeah. So like through that process of me, trying to find a ring was very, it took a lot of time and just figuring out what you liked and you know, what was out there in the market and the best place to buy. You know, what's the process of buying a diamond? You know, that was a process in itself. And then a process of honestly, the process of like asking your parents, you know, like being in a marriage and stuff. That was, that was simple for me because...

Shekinah: My dad didn't give you a hard time?

Justin: Nah, he didn't give me a hard time at all. But I think because I knew what I wanted, and he probably felt that I knew what I wanted. You know, I've met them before.

Shekinah: By that time, you saw them two times. I mean, I don't know exactly when you asked; you might've met them two times in person, like when you went down for an 1140.

Justin: I asked them around March or April. Oh, it might've been around there. Sometimes, my timelines are trash. I know it was like spring or summer.

Shekinah: So then was it before we had gone to Florida again? Cause that was the third time you had seen my parents in person was when we went to Florida that August, August of 2020, that real risky, real risky mid pandemic flight.

Justin: Yeah, it was definitely after that.

Shekinah: That you asked them for my hand? So we, we went down to Florida, stayed there for ten days, came back,

Justin: sorry. No, it was way before that.

Shekinah: So definitely early summer, late spring of 2020

Justin: Definitely early summer.

Shekinah: And he didn't give you a hard time?

Justin: You know, I think they just knew like, you know, we had to, we had good counsel, Shirley, and Mel. We had a, you know, we were taking the right steps and, you know, I was just serious about what I wanted and knew what I wanted. And I think, you know, coming to him and understanding like who I was and the plan was, and, I think that made it easier for him to be like, yeah, okay. All right. Okay. Then your mom was there when I asked him. And I think they were like at a family, my grandma's house, at your grandma's house. So he stepped outside, and there's like, steps that come here, and he's like, okay. All right. So you really can't imagine someone else. And I was like, yeah, I can't.

Shekinah: My dad said you cried...

Justin: I think so. I did.

Shekinah: How are you going to cry at that, but you ain't even cry at the alter? You know, every woman's dream is where a man cries as she walks down the aisle.

Justin: I don't know why I cried, to be honest. I think cause I knew I was coming. I was coming from your house. And I'll call them on my way back to my apartment. So I was on the road, so I don't know, cryin' on the road is kinda risky. My voice might have been a little shaky, and you know, so, but yeah, there was that, that's when I asked, you know, that was, that was good, that was, a nerve-wracking process as well. It was just new for me and just experience. I've never had kind of just going off of faith. Like I didn't, I didn't have any blueprint necessarily.

As I would just like, you know, that's another thing, going back to what advice you would have for relationships. There's no blueprint to relationships necessarily, right? There's no blueprint to your timeline. There's no one thing that should happen. It's when things when God allows it to happen, and that's when it should be. He allowed it to happen. He allowed me to open my mind to be married. He allowed, you know, to show grace in terms of my thinking and my understanding of marriage. And that's when he made me ready. You know, I wasn't ready years before that. He made me ready, exactly when I needed to be ready. Yeah.

Shekinah: That's real. That's real. Cause we both. We met, coming out of old relationships.

I know, I think when we met, I had been maybe six weeks out of the last relationship or something like that. And there was like this healing process that was also happening during that time, but this like preparation process. I felt prepared, and don't get us wrong. Like you can't ever actually be ready for marriage.

Like you don't ever actually know what it is until you're in it. But like, I think I've felt the most ready I've ever felt in my life. Like I could look back at the times that I thought I was ready and go, yeah, I definitely wasn't ready then because of one, two, and three. But when I look back at the moment that I met you, I felt the most ready.

That I thought, you know, that I think I could have ever felt, even in the midst of like that heartbreak that I was going through, because you were also there like a heaven send in ways that. I didn't expect a man that I met on Tinder to be able to be, you know, you started like ministering to me like you said, you were really seeking God at that time.

Shekinah: So you started sharing scriptures with me and podcasts and ministering to me. And I remember messaging with you and going, oh, so you're really religious. And you were like, well, you know, I'm seeking God and blah, blah, blah. And like we had that conversation. I was like, oh, interesting. I'm actually an ordained minister.

Shekinah: That was just, it was just kind of a funny experience.

Justin: Very funny experience. It's crazy how things work. That's crazy.

Shekinah: Yeah, God knows what to do. God knows what you need in the moment that you need it. And His timing can not be questioned. And honestly, in so many things that we've gone through in our relationship, People would say the timing was off from like just the that's not usually how relationships work, you know, for my parents, we were probably moving too slow. I mean, they got engaged after eight days of knowing each other married after four months. So, I mean, even the pastor, Shirley, and pastor Label, like they got married three months after knowing each other or something crazy like that. So, and I mean, they plan their wedding and all of like three hours.

So like our little slow-moving selves was nothing to them, but to like a lot of our peers, it was like, whoa, are you sure? Like, this is kind of fast. Someone even was like, oh, is Shekinah pregnant? Is that why she's getting married so early? No, we were abstinent. That was not happening. So, no, that's not why we got married so quickly, quote-unquote, but the timing seemed really perfect. I don't know if you have thoughts about that? Like, has anyone ever asked you, why are you getting married so fast or like.

Justin: Oh yeah, I felt in my circles, like I said, nobody has done this, especially at my age, you know, I'm fairly young for considering marriage. So a lot of people were like, oh, really? Okay. So it was, you think, you know, you didn't really feel the support at that level, especially being a, a man, you know, being a man and kind of looking to get married at this age is kind of taboo or like people like, oh, tripping, bro. You know, you need to live your life or do this, et cetera. And the things that they tell you that you should be doing, which actually just creates more nonsense. And it just, it just creates things that you aren't prepared for, where your mind and your body aren't prepared for it.

So it's like, I didn't feel the support at that level. Right. And I think once people started to see the fruits that came out of our relationship and see the fruits that were coming out of, you know, my level of thinking. I think, you know, people started to consider like, wow, okay. This isn't as bad. This is doable, you know, and I started to get more support and stuff.

Like my, my mom supported me from the jump, of course, you know, that's my mom, you know, my dad, he was a little, he was supporting me, but he was like, you sure you okay?. You know, that's his way of asking you, like you sure about that, are you sure kind of asked me if I'm sure. But, yeah, I didn't get that, like, and of course, my pastors supported us through. They were our biggest supporters in that aspect. But like, people in like my close circles where, you know, they supported me as well, but it wasn't like, yo, you gotta get married. Yo, let's do it, man. Let's do the ring. It was like, well, you showed her, you know, just kind of a little bit hesitant. Like, I don't know if you're making the right decision type of thing. , but I think, you know, those times. Those are the best times in your life, right? Where like, you don't need validation from people to do things. You know, something in your spirit is telling you this is the right thing for me. And I told my friends, I was like, I really can't explain it, but this feels right.

Like this is the right thing I should be doing. And that God wants me to do. And you know, I can't explain it to you guys, you know, is the best way I can explain it probably won't make sense. So, you know, this is what I'm doing, and this is how it's going to go down. Those rare moments in life where, you know, you've made the right decision where, you don't have too much support, or you don't have the backing that you really want, but you go through with it, and the fruits are tremendous, you know?

So yeah,

Shekinah: No, that's really good. I can only imagine what you are going through as a man, like from your side, like going through the process and making things happen, as a woman, like sitting and waiting on the other side, sometimes it just really like nothing has happened, and we're going on another date this week we are going out again, we have another conversation, but nothing is moving. I mean, till the day, when you proposed, like to that very moment that we were getting in the car to go to where you would propose, I was just like, this is not happening. And here you were rushing me out the house. And I was just like, I don't even know why he's rushing me out the house to this park, and it's raining outside, and he's not even about to propose... like Diamond don't lick the mic.

Justin: You know, a little bit patient, maybe it may not look like he's doing things, but I'm pretty sure he's doing a lot of things. Thinking about a lot of things that you may not even think he's thinking about. Like us men, we're very strategic. Most of us men are very strategic thinkers. And I like to think methodically about the actions that we're about to take. You know, sometimes it may take a while because we're like trying to get through society norms and, you know, trying to work through our confidence levels and things on our end. So we can come correct and ask you to correct way we need to ask you.

Right. So it is things that we need to work through individually so that we can come and give you what you deserve. , you know, whether that's being the ring and, you know, asking your parents, you know, I hid it in my closet, in my apartment,

Shekinah: but like when you came to my house for our anniversary...

Justin: it was in my suit jacket there. I was like, she's not going to walk. I think about things strategically. I was like, she's never gone in my suit jacket. Why would she go in my suit jacket? It doesn't make any sense.

But now you probably I kept it in my suit jacket, coat jacket pocket. And I was like; there's no reason for her to go on that. It was just no reason.

Shekinah: I know we've talked about this before, but just to share with others, Justin really was freaking out on the, on the day of, because this random storm came out of nowhere. Like I forget what they called it like a, a cyclone or some, some kind of boom, something.

It was just a random storm. It just covered New England was super dark, windy, rainy, cold. It was horrible. And it just like came out of nowhere after we had had just like a beautiful day out on the vineyard, come back, get some massages, get out of our massage. And then, all of a sudden, it's looking like doomsday outside.

Shekinah: And so we run back to the apartment, get dressed, to head out. I'm just like, let's not, let's not go to the park. It's cold. It's raining. Really, but we don't have to do this.

Justin: So my mind I'm like, woman, you do not know what I went through to get to this day? We go to the park. And in the process, I'm up here. Like, let me go to the car for my umbrella. And I'm calling the photographer like it's rainin', what are we about to do? This is crazy. She's like, well, we can do it tomorrow. I'm like, we can't do it tomorrow. It has to happen today. Right. It just won't make sense tomorrow, you know? Cause we, them to be the aftermath at the restaurant. So it's just like, we have to do it today.

And I was like freaking out and everything. , so I'm like, all right, we just gotta go. That's what we hope in the car, you know? And on our way to the park where I was going to propose, it still was raining. And so I'm like, yo let's, let's put us on worship music to be vibe out to worship music sometimes.

Yeah. You know, we vibe out to worship music, seeing it and praising God and stuff. And we pull up to the park. And the next thing you know, the sky started to clear up.

Shekinah: As we were pulling in, the clouds were partying.

Justin: And I'm like, okay, this comes okay, cool. We ain't, we in the game, we in the money right now. So, you know, we, I go along with my shindig you know, we get up on a rock, the photographer is in disguise and taking pictures, and get on my knee. It was legit, as if God opened up the sky. Just for that moment. If we were to show you guys the photos, you would see legit, the sun shining through the clouds. Onto us, as I'm proposing on one knee and asking her, will you marry me? Like, it's not even like, it's not something I'm making up. Right.

Shekinah: You couldn't make this up if you tried.

Justin: Like, it's like something you would see in a movie like this would never happen in real life. It actually happened in real life. It was crazy.

Shekinah: And then once we got back in the car, it started pouring.

The window of opportunity was crazy. We'll never, and I think that in that moment, like, as that was happening and in reflection of it, I was just like, wow, God, you really did ordain this. You really did call this to be, and, you know, so many things connected for me, like when I was a kid, and I would see this same thing sort of happened with the clouds.

Shekinah: I would always say, like, God's smiling down on this spot right now. And then that same thing happened on my proposal day, and it's just like crazy. But, yeah, you know, that was just the beginning of something glorious.

Justin: So much confirmation up to marriage and being married, like, you know, just like, yeah, this is it.

You know what I'm saying? Like, this is not a coincidence the way these things have, these events have unfolded, and how things have worked out. , it's just so much confirmation; as you know, this is my wife and meant to be here and be where I'm at, and it feels good, great. Yeah.

Shekinah: So then we started trying to figure out when we would actually get married for me; there were a lot of competing, what would I call them? Like, I don't want to call them priorities, but just a lot of puzzle pieces to have to put together to make it all work. I wanted my grandparents to be able to be present for me getting married, even if that meant virtually, which is what it ended up being. I want it to be able to do it in a certain timeframe so that I didn't have to think about wedding planning plus dissertating, like that would have just been too much.

We had to balance our families being in two different states, and what it meant to take off work in the middle of COVID what it meant to travel in the middle of COVID, for people's health or people's financial being like it, it was just a lot to juggle, not to mention, we ended up getting COVID ourselves.

And on the day that we got married, we were in day 21 or 22 of quarantine from when we knew that we had, gotten COVID. And so, it was a pretty stressful experience. Like we had the air purifier going. I was yelling at all our parents to keep their masks on. We were eating, and instead of eating at a large table together, we were eating at those TV dinner tables.

It was a whole thing. It was definitely not how I imagined my wedding.

Justin: Yeah. But for me, honestly, I enjoyed it.

Shekinah: It was great.

Justin: It was a small wedding, right.

Shekinah: It was nine of us in an Airbnb.

Justin: And we had a bunch of people on zoom. You know, but it was the part that I enjoyed, though, was that it was very intimate, very intimate. All we had, those nine people.

Our family close family, you know, of course, Shekinah's side of the family, weren't able to make it.

Shekinah: My mom and dad were there. They married us. ,

Justin: it was just very intimate and very, just the air felt fresh, you know, just very different and things like that. It made it, you know, cause sometimes when you get married in front of a lot of people, it doesn't seem like the day is for you sometimes like a lot of people are out of the, just side to take pitches, join the party, but this felt like everyone knew it was there for us and just for us.

And for that moment to be a support system of us getting married that day, it was beautiful. It was a beautiful Airbnb. You know, a Newport, Rhode Island was, was a beautiful weekend, we had nice cake and food and

Shekinah: I decorated the cake.

Justin: The cake was decorated by Shekinah. It was very beautiful. It was nice. I wouldn't change a thing.

Shekinah: I mean, I would've maybe had a friend there because at one point I was stuck upstairs by myself, waiting for y'all to get it together, downstairs, whatever was happening down there. And so I was freaking out. I was like, oh my God, we're late. And this isn't happening, and this isn't right. And that isn't it right, I was walking down the stairs cryin' and frustrated. But then when I got to like our little makeshift altar, I was just, I looked at you, and I was just like, ah, it's okay. Everything's okay. And like, I finally kind of stopped crying, but then I started crying again. But mainly because I was just overwhelmed with love and not that I was frustrated anymore, but yeah, it was something else.

Shekinah: It was a good time, though. We had our favorite pasta, got some good pictures, like. Yeah.

All right. So I think to end this conversation, I don't know what to ask. I have two thoughts. What's your favorite thing about marriage thus far? Or how would you describe marriage?

Justin: I would say, yeah, I got to answer.

Shekinah: Okay.

Justin: I would say my answer kinda hits both questions.

You know, having a person that's there for you always regardless, you know, good or bad, you know, your partner in crime, you know what I'm saying, that you know, is going to fight what you do and is the best thing about marriage, and being able to come home to your partner, to your wife, to your husband or whatever, right?

You may have a situation. Being able to come home to a person that is there for you is going to love you for you, no matter what you've dealt with in your day. You know, at work or in traffic, who knows, you know, I feel like that's a feeling that is unmatchable, right? And you can't get that feeling dating. You can't get that feeling bouncing from relationship to relationship.

You know, you get that feeling by having a partner that, you know, you've dedicated yourself to. In front of God, in front of family, saying that I'm going to be there with you to the end, you know, and having that commitment and that promise is what makes everything worthwhile. Right? You lay everything out on the table. Do you know what I'm saying? Like, nothing is left off the table. Like you really do everything you can to make it work and make sure that things are copacetic in a house and you know, the energy is good. Do you know what I'm saying? You try to make sure that well, I try to make sure I'm the best husband to you and to make sure that you know, it isn't just something that we're just living through the days, you know, something that we intentionally are here for.

Shekinah: Yeah. I guess along those same lines, the way I described marriage nowadays is work. Marriage is work when we have our counseling sessions. That's usually how we start out. They say, how are you guys doing. This is work cause marriage really is where a lot of it is fun. A lot of it is beautiful, and you know, miraculous in its own way, but a lot of it is also work. Like you have to work to be in that good space. You have to work, to support your partner and to learn the next person. You know, we realized at our six-month anniversary mark this past. May, when we have like our larger wedding and let people focus on what they want to wear and take all their pictures and do all that good stuff.

We realized we had only known each other for two years. And in that time, we got married. I've gotten a degree. I started my career, Justin, picked up and moved with me to Minnesota and started a new career, or a new job here. And so it's like, there's so much that we've done in a six-month span, not to mention a one-year span that, you know, people don't do for three or five years together. And so there's just so much that has been accelerated. And I think with or without that. This is still a lot of work. There's a lot of learning a person that you've only known for a limited amount of time.

There's a lot of adjusting to being with someone else. It's not all about you. It's not all about how you've always done it or how you want to do it. It is about we are in this together, and there have honestly been times throughout this past year. I won't speak for you, but I know that I've forgotten that we're in this together, and it's been less about us fighting together and more about me proving my point.

And it takes work to break out of that cycle. It takes work to break away from that mindset. This is me. I do what I do. This is you, and every now and then, we come together, and we do something together. Like it's a 24/ 7 job to be married. And it's one that is truly and honestly worth it, but yeah, it's not easy.

Justin: Yeah. Yeah. There's work, you know, you really have to, like Shekinah was saying. You have to come there and work for like, you know, I'm an engineer and Shekinah is a professor, right? So initially, we both have kind of two different ways of thinking, you know, I'm very analytical, and she's analytical in a different way, on certain ways.

And you know, those things had kind of clashed heads in certain, certain situations or conversations. But, you know, through the end, we realized like sometimes we're both seeing the same things. Just in different ways, you know what I'm saying? So it was really like being able to listen, listen, and hear each other out and accept that, oh, you do feel that way when I do this.

Okay. I will do my best, and I will work at making sure, you know, I don't do that again. Or making sure that, you know, I work at being better in a certain area, you know, and making that promise to work at it every day, you know, in life comes up with, with, with situations and hurdles and roller coasters every single day.

And you know, you may handle a situation a certain way, and she may handle a certain situation another way. Right. But now, now that you're in a marriage, you have to figure out the Walter's way. Right? How do we handle this as the Walters? And that's one of the things we learned being a marriage counseling with a passage is like, there's kind of, this is not a Justin thing or a Shekinah thing. This is a Walters thing. How do we handle this as a unit, as opposed to how do I handle this by myself. And you know, you're not just two individual people, you're one person together. So how we handle those situations together is going to be different than how you handle it individually. Right? So finding that, your character, I guess, within your relationship and how you handle those situations is work in a learning process because each day is different. Each problem is different, and as those problems approach, you get stronger.

Shekinah: Yeah, something I was thinking about as you were talking was identity. It takes people years to find their identity as just an individual and a person.

What, what's your purpose? What's your calling? What do you like? What don't you like? What are you passionate about? And as a couple, it's not like two separate identities come together and form this new it's like, you're making a whole new identity. As you say, who are the Walters? The Walters isn't just Shekinah and Justin, but we together have our own individual identity as a unit, and learning what that is and learning how to be that person is just as challenging as learning to be an individual and growing up. Do you know what I mean? So I look forward, you know, I would say year one has been sweet, year one has also been challenging, very challenging, but it's also been really sweet, and I look forward to, you know, the years ahead. My grandparents would have celebrated, what was it? Sixty-four years this year, I think. It could be like 69, I think. Yeah. But it's a very long time. Celebrated their wedding anniversary this year and still to their last days together, I can remember going in there, and my granddad would be like, well, Loie did this, and Loie, did that. And my grandma's saying, well, Cedric did this. And at one point, I became like, when did I become the marriage counselor? Every time I walk into y'all room, but it would be the same things. You know, people we change, but at the same time, there are so many things about us that don't change. And we have to learn how to love those things about each other. So, you know, I say that to say, I don't expect it to ever get perfect in our marriage, but I do expect it to continue to be sweeter and sweeter with time, and I look forward to the day. I've known you and being your wife longer than I've known myself. That's going to be really interesting.

Yeah. Yeah. Longer than you've been single and longer than you know yourself. That'll be about when we are 50-somethin'.

Justin: Yeah. It's crazy.

Shekinah: All right. Well, yeah. Do you have anything else you want us to say?

Justin: Do I have anything else I want to say?

Shekinah: We definitely got to do this again.

Justin: Yeah, definitely got to do this again. Let's see, just be patient with your partner, have grace, show love, have intention in your relationships.

And as a man, you know, it's not easy, you know, taking a leap, you know, she's the right one. You will definitely know. and people always be like, but how would you know? That's crazy. You would just know, it sounds like something crazy, like you, would know, but you really know. So like, it's hard to explain it. Just say you would know, you would know if she's the right one.

Yeah. You know, you know, definitely, after the fact too, when you kind of just look back and be like, whoa, this is crazy. That has happened. So, you know, just have grace on yourself as a man, too, and understand that, you know. It doesn't have to be perfect. You know, it doesn't have to look like, you know, a million dollars situation or whatever.

If she loves you, she's gonna love you for you and what you bring to the table, and if not, she may not be the right one.

Shekinah: And here's a pro tip, definitely consider pre-engagement counseling. We talk a lot about premarital counseling. So post engagement, pre-marriage getting that counseling, having those deep conversations, but we started those deep conversations maybe. Wow. Was it more than a month? It might've been like. A month or two before we even got engaged that we started that in pre-engagement counseling. I mean, we were talking about everything from finances to children to in-laws and how we plan to manage our relationships with our families while we're together.

And when we cross, I think, a lot of rough bridges during those pre-engagement counseling sessions. But that's another thing when people ask us why we got married so fast. We had already done the counseling. We had already done a lot of the work by the time he put that ring on my finger. So at that point, he had decided, this was what he wanted to do.

I had decided this is what I wanted to do. We already had support from our pastors and our parents. We already went through the bulk of the marriage counseling that would end. I think a week before we actually said I do. And so. We had done all the work by that point. It wasn't fast. It was perfect timing.

And if you're being intentional and planning ahead and you know where you're going, you sort of get to that place. And ladies, I will say the beautiful thing about this was it was Justin's idea. Okay. It's not always going to be every guy's idea. So don't try to make our story your story, but it was something beautiful about it.