By Tiffany and LaToya Rose

In our second installment of QTWoC Chronicles, Tiffany and LaToya Rose are a Black American lesbian couple based in China and attempting to conceive their first child with a known donor. The duo documents their lessons in life, love, and travel — exclusively on ELIXHER!

Join The Roses for our relaunch of #ELIXHERTalk on Twitter, Thursday, February 18 at 9pm EST! We’ll be talking openly and honestly about finding and flourishing love as queer women of color. Follow @ELIXHERMagazine and @thisisournormal. Join the conversation with the hash tag #ELIXHERTalk.

Since we’ve been together, we can’t tell you how many questions and DMs we get asking, “Are you two really that happy and in love?”

The first few times we got this question we laughed and responded.

But as time went on and we repeatedly were posed the same question, it got us thinking about what it truly takes to maintain a healthy long-term relationship.

Hell yes! We are that happy and in love and we’re not the only ones. We don’t put on a façade for social media. We are who we are. A happily married couple.

image2Sayings like “to the moon and back,” “love you to pieces,” and “forever and always”? Yeah. They mean just that in our home.

We believe that one key to a successful relationship is choosing your partner wisely. If you are serious and ready to be in a committed relationship, be honest with yourself and take a self-inventory. Ask yourself, what’s important in a relationship for you? What are your core values? What are your goals?  Then, in turn, choose someone who has also done this self-work and is ready for this journey with you. If not, then you’re setting yourself up for failure.

For example, you meet a woman, things are going great, it has potential to develop into something serious…you want children, and she doesn’t.

You think to yourself, “Maybe she hasn’t met the right woman yet; she’ll change her mind.” And she thinks, “She’s in love with me, she’ll definitely change her mind.”

When the reality is that you two, no matter how much you give each other the feels, are ill-matched. One of your core values is misaligned. And this will lead to heartbreak no matter how you slice it.

Before you know it, you’ve both wasted each other’s time on a relationship that was never going to work if both parties wanted to be truly happy. It’s not to say that compromise isn’t good. Because it is absolutely necessary in maintaining a healthy relationship. But we believe when you’re in a healthy relationship, you shouldn’t have to compromise your core values.

We believe that a good marriage or any long-term committed relationship requires “putting in the work.” We once read: “Marriage does not guarantee you will be together forever; it’s only paper. It takes love, respect, trust, understanding, friendship and faith in one another to make marriage work.” We completely agree. We never lose sight of this. We’ve been together five years and are approaching our third wedding anniversary. There are small moments each day that reaffirm the reasons why we married each other.

Of course, we have our moments. We both feel that when things aren’t peachy is when we learn the most about one another. Disagreements and fights don’t confirm that you are in a relationship with the wrong person; it just affirms that you are human. No relationship is all sunshine all the time. Being in love is an absolutely amazing feeling but that’s not enough. The older we get, we realize that it takes more than just rainbows and butterflies. It takes more. Are you willing to put in the work?

image1Sometimes Tiffany grinds my gears and I grind hers right back. But we made a commitment to one another. In Tiffany’s vows, she promised we would never go to bed angry at one another. That was something she was adamant about. That doesn’t come easily to me. I like to be in my feelings and take my own time to get over things, but I respect her emotional need to clear the air before bed. So I’ve adapted. It’s a work in progress. All relationships are.

We are constantly learning about one another and rediscovering old things. It’s constant work but never tiring when you’re with the right person. We make time for one another, listen to each other’s needs and make sure that we are speaking each other’s love language instead of getting lost in translation. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman shed some light for us on ways to be more effective communicators and better partners. We read it together, had an honest discussion about our love languages and applied what we learned to better fulfill each other’s needs.

As QWOC, we love to support other queer couples. So, of course, we follow a number of couples’ blogs and Instagram accounts. The Mrs. and I are cheerleaders for love and are always liking and congratulating our queer sisters.

However, as of late we’ve seen a lot of splits in our online queer community. It saddens us as a couple to see other couples deteriorate, especially long-term and married couples.

Pictures deleted, posts erased, and relationships ended. We want to reach out through the interwebs and shake them like, “Ladies! Are you sure? Did you try everything to save your relationship? How can we help?” We always wonder what was it that made these two seemingly in love individuals call it quits. It makes us sad. We want everyone to have the kind of love we have for one another.

Now, we are by no means love experts or relationship gurus but we know a thing or two about a thing or two.

image4So here are some tips that have helped us maintain our marriage:

  • Be honest. (Even if it hurts a little.)
  • Compromise, compromise, compromise.
  • Don’t take yourselves too seriously. Have fun in your relationship — do matching couples photo shoot, laugh so hard together your sides hurt.
  • Designate date night once a week.
  • Never lose sight of the person who gave you butterflies during week two.
  • Try your best not to go to bed angry. (Don’t drag yesterday’s crap into another day. It’s not healthy.)
  • Have sex! Lots of sex! (Get adventurous with your sexy time, explore new techniques, and have fun with your lover. Say goodbye to Lesbian Bed Death!)

We hope this sheds some light on love and relationships. We’re rooting for you!

Live, Love, and Travel,

The Roses

To learn more about the Roses and their musings on motherhood, marriage, travel and more follow them on Twitter @thisisournormal, on Tumblr at thisisournormal.tumblr.com or visit their website thisisournrml.com.

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