Congratulations to Omar & Lennise Germany, our winners in The Lyfe Magazine’s Dinner & a Movie contest. Read Omar & Lennise’s amazing story of love below. We at The Lyfe Magazine hope that their story inspires you to write one of your own.
Omar Germany and I have been married for nine years (together for a total of fifteen years). We share our lives, including six beautiful children, and we are also business partners. It’s no walk in the park, but it’s definitely a life I wouldn’t trade for anything.
We met on October 15, 2005, at a bar in Tampa, Florida. I was almost two years post-divorce and he was two years post-HBCU-graduation. Neither of us had a pot to pee in or a window to throw it from. We were both living with family members and simply down on our luck. I had smoked cigarettes and Black & Milds for years but, for some reason, on that particular morning, I had decided that I was done smoking. I quit cold turkey. My girlfriends, friends, and I were celebrating a birthday and decided to go to a local bar. As my girls and I proceeded to the dance floor, Omar brushed my stomach—which was so flat back then!—as I walked by. When I turned to see who touched me, I found the man I’d spend the rest of my life with. We talked until the sun came up and have been together from that day forward. No breaks or break-ups… and I haven’t picked up a cigarette or a Black & Mild since.
We’ve faced so many monumental challenges. I’m a step-parent of two amazing boys (that in itself is a major challenge). We’ve dealt with merging families, in-laws (love & war), pregnancies, miscarriages, little to no finances, poor credit, mismanagement of finances, almost losing our home… You name it, we’ve been there! However, the challenge that trumps them all was accepting the fact that we’ll forever be “becoming one” in our marriage.
People think that the minute you say “I do,” you’re instantly joined and the union is formed. That is so far from the truth. It’s actually quite the opposite. Each person has to be willing to communicate and to sacrifice, give up, and deny oneself. We’ve learned (and are still learning) that it is simply not about us individually but us as a team. Nothing and no one outside the four walls of our home matter. We cannot be successful, have a successful business, successful marriage, or successful family without each other. Omar tells me the ugly truths about myself (even when I don’t want to hear them) and chooses to love me in spite of them. That’s what unconditional, for-better-or-worse love looks like and I’m blessed to have him as my life partner.
There are so many things we could share on so many different areas of marriage. One would be to focus on changing and becoming a better individual first because we simply don’t have the power to change each other but we do have the power to inspire change. I can’t express how frequently we tried to change each other, to fix one another’s problems. We’d constantly tell each other what we disliked, what annoyed us about each other. I actually became an expert in telling him and an expert at ignoring him when I was on the receiving end.
Unfortunately, we had circumstances that brought us to our knees and, when things like happen, you have to make the decision to rely on each other to pull through. I realized that my commitment was to God and to my marriage. I then decided to separate my husband (who is human) and my marriage (which is my vow and commitment to the Lord). We began praying for our marriage, journaling, setting goals together, working out, and a host of other things that focused on self-betterment. When we did that, it strengthened the muscle of “we,” while conditioning and exercising the “me.” I noticed the effortless dismissal of the petty things that used to make us so mad. We effortlessly began to take each other’s feelings and ideas into consideration. We effortlessly loved one another unconditionally. We effortlessly liked each other. We vowed to God that we’d spend our lives with each other and we chose to do that happily and refused to do it miserably.
Here are some tips. Focus on bettering self so that you both reap the benefits. Choose to be happily married. Don’t ever even toy with the word “divorce.” If you’re truly committed to the marriage, divorce should never be spoken playfully or otherwise.