HAPPY COUPLE HIGHLIGHT
Beautiful Couple: Bonita McAllister and April Ricciardone
from Boston, Mass.
9 years together and 6 years married.
How did your meet? We were friends traveling in the same circles who happen to be single at the same time and befriended each other.
What would you say is the key to the success of your relationship? Communication and a sense of humor. We communicate and compliment each other when things are going right. We take time to acknowledge each other verbally and non-verbally. We practice being present. We know who we have and that we are blessed. Since we note how much we love each other and constantly express things that we like about it each other, it helps us to talk about not so pleasant things. It makes those conversations easier.
You mention difficult conversations being easier. How do make that happen?
Bonita: We are both self-aware. We make sure that we get ourselves right. We take time for self-care and self-preservation. If you don’t take care of yourself, you get distracted and then you can’t give 100% to your family or your relationships. For example, April needs to exercise to take care of herself. I love her so I acknowledge that I need to help her do that. I have to help her take care of herself even if it means that I have to sacrifice. She does the same for me.
You are from different cultures and are different races. What has that taught you?
April: We have no issues and it has never been our focus. I don’t profess to know everything about Bonita’s culture. I ask questions. I never assume to know. I am Italian, but people often mistake me for Latina or bi-racial. I am always open to learning.
Bonita: April just embraces who she is. Again, she never makes assumptions about who I am and what I feel. She just embraces me and asks questions. Communication is the key. And, making assumptions is not healthy.
There is an 8 year age difference, how has that shaped your relationship?
Bonita: It has enhanced our relationship. April is older in spirit, and I like younger women. We are two people who just live in the now.
How did you decide to start a family: We both always wanted a family so it was never an issue. The timing was an issue because of the age crunch.
How did you decide to use April’s eggs?
Bonita: My eggs were not viable. Anyway, I always thought that using April’s eggs was the best scenario. I felt that would be a better combination and connection for our family. That way we were both biological parents.
How do you feel when Bonita was pregnant:
April: I loved it! I loved her being pregnant. She’s is the most beautiful when she is pregnant. I would love to have more children.
What was the delivery experience like?
April: I was just happy that everybody was healthy. Also, we did not learn about the sex of our daughters until they were born. I was just happy that my wife and daughters was fine and safe.
How has having children changed your relationship:
Bonita: We don’t sleep but we make time for each other. We work hard to make sure that our relationship is strong. April is good at recognizing when we are drifting apart and then we make time to re-connect.
How do you recognize when you are drifting part?
Bonita: We start working as individuals instead of a team. We stop having conversations with each other. We stop talking about our days.
April: Drifting feels like tension; feels like two ships passing in the night. It feels like being on automatic pilot.
Bonita: We are usually playful with other. When that shifts, we know we need to re-connect.
After having kids, what you have learned about each other?
Bonita: I have learned that April is an incredible parent. She works a full time and even after a long day at work, she comes home and gives 100%.
April: I love her parenting style. She’s loving, but firm. I really appreciate how she parents and it makes me want to have more kids with her. I like her easy nature.
How did you decide who was going to stay home with the kids? Bonita: April could not stay home. It not her thing, it is not who she is. And, I always wanted to be e a stay-at-home. It was also more economically feasible for me to be home. I love it.
How do you get the flame burning after 9 years and two children?
April: She’s just sexy and beautiful so it is easy. I am romantic too and she responds well to my romanticism. Also, she makes me feel like I am funny and that’s endearing.
Bonita: She’s sexy and when we go out, I still get dressed up for her. I still put on dresses and heels. I am playful and I bring humor to the relationship. She also brings me flowers and gifts weekly. Now, she takes our eldest daughter with her to get the flowers. April is training our daughters to honor and celebrate me. I love that about her.
You have two daughters. What are you teaching them about your family?
Bonita: We are teaching them to be strong and independent. We are raising them to be neutral gender so that we don’t have to re-train them to embrace their power.
April: We are teaching them that it does not matter who they love. We expose them to different types of relationships – same gender and opposite gender relationships. Our oldest daughter understands the difference and she tells people that she has a Mommy and a Momma.
What tips would you give to women thinking about starting a family? Bonita: Make sure that you are ready. And, make sure that you don’t have competing interests. Talk and know what parenting is all about and how you plan to make parenting and partnering work.
April: Be self-aware. Don’t break under the pressure. Always ask yourself “what’s possible”. Create your own pictures of what you want your family to look like and be.
What do you like most about each other?
Bonita: She makes me feel wonderful. She makes me feel beautiful and special even on her bad times. Just having April by my side and knowing that she supports me emotionally makes me very strong.
April: I love her strength. I love how she loves me and our family. I love that she had our daughters. I love her cuteness. She makes me safe and secure and I can tell her anything and she never judges me or thinks I am crazy. I never think or feel like she wants to leave me or the situation. She always wants to know more about what I am feeling instead of being scared off by my sometimes intense emotional responses to difficult or touching situations.
What are the 3 most important tips you can share with other couples? 1)know yourself 2)learn how to ask for what you want 3)take time for yourself to be a strong individual.
What 1 word describes/characterizes your love? We both feel the word that describes our love is the word unconditional.
(Interview conducted by SharRon Jamison)
Thank you, Bonita and April, for sharing your love with us. We appreciate your time, energy and generosity in helping us CREATE LOVE!
Be sure to nurture YOUR LOVE at the Create Love! Conference on February 16th...More info.
Much love to you,