Miguel and Jessica Yrigoyen
Miguel and I met during the first week of the 2015 Fall semester. He was a transfer student from Iowa, and I was an incoming freshman. We crossed paths a few times, but one day we decided to hang out on campus, and from that point on, we were inseparable. I like to say our first dates took place right on campus, on the plaza, with conversations lasting for hours. When it got cold outside, we would just go to the library. He played baseball, so if I wasn’t at the games cheering him on, we were side by side any moment we had free. While dating, we became best friends. Miguel is from Venezuela, and I’m from Georgia. Although we grew up so far away and in two different cultures, we were raised similarly, and our values aligned. Amazingly, we have similar roots even though we are from different countries and languages.
Once Miguel graduated in Spring 2017, we didn’t consider separating. We simply agreed to trust God’s plan for our life together. So Miguel went back to his family in Iowa while I finished my remaining two years at JSU. We’d always visit each other during school breaks, but most importantly, we built our relationship on a firm foundation. On Christmas Day of 2017, Miguel proposed to me in my parents’ home. My parents also met and fell in love at Jackson State and married after graduation, so the moment was so full circle and special. From then on, we knew we could make it through the next couple of years because we were rooted in God’s promise for us.
I graduated on May 4, 2019, and we jumped the broom the next morning. We had all of our family in town, so it was perfect timing. Plus, we were just so excited to finally spend forever together. Our wedding was bilingual; our signs and party favors were in Spanish and English, our songs were in both languages, and our closest friends read Bible verses in both languages. Even Miguel’s vows were in both languages! It was so special that everyone in our families could understand and be a part of everything. It mirrored how much we value one another and our backgrounds. We pray that our future children will also fully embrace their multiple heritages and love others despite their differences. God has blessed us so much in the past five years, and we love growing and building in life together!
Mark and Alexandria Watson
Who knew that two people, growing up a thousand miles apart, would one day meet on the campus of Jackson State University and spend the rest of their lives together? When we both received our full ride offers to “Thee I love,” we were excited to attend the HBCU, but neither of us had any intention of meeting the love of our lives. We dated people here and there, but we never saw any of those relationships as “the one.” It took two years for us to finally meet—and even then, I was so done with dating, I gave him a hard time. I told another girl, “You can have him,” because I decided to focus on my education during my last two years. That same night, he made my best friend call me to come downstairs from my dorm room in Transitional, and I found him standing there. He could feel me slipping away and didn’t want me to go to bed that night with the wrong image of him in my head.
Ever since that moment, we were inseparable. He took me as his plus-one to his sister’s wedding two weeks later. He said we had to make it official so his family wouldn’t bombard us with questions. (I think he just wanted me to be his girlfriend, but I let him run with it). I began spending every break with him and his family – especially winter breaks because December in Florida is way better than December in Chicago.
He graduated in 2017, and that’s when the difficult questions began to enter our relationship. “What’s going to happen to us after I graduate, too?” “Are we going to continue dating?”
He received an offer from the Tampa Bay Rays Front Office in Tampa, Florida, after graduation. He knew that, even though I loved him, I wasn’t going to follow a boyfriend around when I had my own future to consider. So, what does Mark do? He asked me to marry him during the last winter break before I graduated in 2018. Now a fiancé? I would go to the ends of the earth for that.
Fast forward two years, we have recently celebrated our first wedding anniversary, and we live in our beautiful first home in Florida with our fur son, Ace, a funny miniature dachshund.
Corey and Denise Brown
Our story is a story of the Creator’s Divine Timing. Our paths crossed in 2009 when he became a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. Being that I am a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., we were destined to meet. We probably only saw each other two times while attending JSU, and from those encounters, we only shared a friendly hello. This ain’t no LOVE @ FIRST SIGHT type of story.
So, fast-forward to June 2013, one of my best friends from college was getting married, and Corey was my groomsman at the wedding. Corey and I talked briefly during the rehearsal, but that was it. No butterflies. No fireworks. To be honest, I wasn’t on his radar, and he wasn’t on mine. Ok, so now it is Homecoming 2015, and I am with my girls tailgating before the game. I remember my BFF Ashley saying, “Dang, he is fine!” I ask, “Who you talking about?” and she says, “Your groomsman from Brit’s wedding, Corey.” I look over, and for the first time, I am like, “Dang, he is fine! How could it be that I had known him since 2009 but never truly saw him until 2015?
Maybe God allowed for our vision to be impaired until He determined we were ready for what He had in store for us. I go over to the Sigma Tailgate to speak. “Hey Denise,” he replies with his distinctive southern drawl. Being the gentleman that he was, he asked me how I had been and if I needed anything. I asked him if he could get my friends and me something to drink. As he came back with the sodas in hand, I had to think quick. How can I give him my number without giving him my number? We took a photo, and I sent him our picture. After homecoming, we begin texting, but nothing too serious. So, it is now September 2017, Corey and I have been texting off and on for about a month. He asked me if I was coming down for homecoming because he wanted to take me on a date. Nov 5, 2017, was our first date, which was after all of the homecoming festivities. Our date was a simple movie date. But I knew after that night I wanted Corey in my life. For me, that night changed my life. We are grateful for years of preparation, and I am grateful for God’s Divine Time! That night led to the start of a beautiful relationship, now marriage.
Destin and Ashia Benford
In the fall of 2010, my eyes were enchanted by a beautiful woman I now have the pleasure of loving for eternity. I was a young, skinny freshman, and she was a well-defined junior who had a pen I wanted to borrow. Our interactions and conversations became frequent and I found myself in her presence a lot. Our first date was at Olive Garden, and I had little to say or share. I had never taken anyone on a date.
As time went on, I broke out of my shell some and the phase of puppy love grew to commitment. Let her tell the story, and the relationship can be described as a mutual exchange. I had a car and she had my heart. There was so much I learned about myself and the woman to whom my soul was now attached. The five years we dated were tested and out of that budded the inexperience of self-actualization and self-esteem that I had never dealt with.
The woman God gave me saw my potential and never let me fall short of my purpose, and that was all the confirmation I needed. In 2014, I decided I wanted to make Ashia my wife and I privately proposed to her without getting the blessings of her father and brothers. I called after it was done. Since then, we have spent five more roller coaster rides of love in marriage. We have a beautiful daughter, Audrey, who epitomizes the best and worst of her mom and dad. We have accomplished so much in so little time and I know there is more in store.
My hope is that those who read this understand that self-actualization is your responsibility as an individual, and when you bring that confidence into your marriage it strengthens accountability, trust and security.