Monday, March 18, 2013

Happy Couple: Angela Laster-King and Tina Crittenden

Angela Laster-King and Tina Crittenden
Atlanta, Georgia

How long have you been together?  We have been together since March 11, 2003. We had a commitment ceremony 9  years ago. We were legally married in California on  September 13, 2008.

How did you meet? Angela:  A mutual friend thought we would be "great" for each other and introduced us.

What was the initial attraction?  Tina: She carried herself like a lady- the hair was beat, nails done, and she was extremely attractive. Angela: I knew of Tina years before and thought there was this "thing" about her. After we were introduced she was of course physically attractive, but she had a "kind sprit” and seemed easy to talk to. My youngest son thought she was "cute".

What would you say is the key to the success of your relationship?  Tina: Angela is my friend, buddy and she’s a solider. She is always there for me. Angela: We are best friends. We have fun and laugh; we enjoy each other. We make sure that our emotional house and its foundation always stay intact. This is key to ensuring that no matter what trials and tribulations we endure, our foundation is solid.

Tina, you said Angela is a solder. What does being a solider mean? Angela is a solider. If anything happens, I know that if there is anybody in my corner, it will be her. She is a “ride and die” chick. If I am in a battle, she will be there. It is her actions-the way that she treats me and the way that she looks at me – that lets me know she loves me. I show her that I love her too, but it is the way that she acts that lets me to know that she has my back. That’s why I love her.  She accepts me for who I am.

Angela, you mentioned laughter and enjoying each other. What makes that easy:  Tina has a kind heart.  She is genuine and has a soft spirit. That is why it is easy to love her. Tina has showed me over the 10 years that she knows and understands me. She understands my faults and works through my faults with me. She is my best friend and I can sit back and talk to her about family stuff, work stuff, my aspirations, everything. We just enjoy being together.

Acceptance and enjoyment are key pillars of a great relationships. You both mentioned them. How do those pillars support your relationship? Tina: Angela knows and loves me in my nakedness. She knows all of me and still loves me. This is the longest relationship that I have ever been in, and this is the first time that I have been in love. I love her and I try to do what I need to do to make our relationships work. I do it on purpose.  When we first started dating, she laid back on me, and I felt something that I never felt before. I asked myself “what’s that feeling”. I had never felt that before. I knew then that I would do whatever I needed to do to make this relationship work. Angela: Tina is sometimes “extra” but she is always Tina. She keeps me laughing, and I have learned that laugher is really good medicine. It releases stress that I didn’t know that I had. I enjoy her, and I enjoy being with her.

You both are mothers. How did your children respond to your relationship? Angela: We were totally open and out with our kids. It wasn’t the first relationship that they saw so that transition wasn’t hard. When we met, my son was 16 or 17, and Tina’s daughter was 10. Our kids just wanted us to be happy. It was a new beginning for all four of us. We had some growing pains and some hiccups – stuff that happens all the time in families.  But we were a unit. Tina: We just had to deal with regular family stuff. When we moved in together, there was some jealousy stuff – but like Angela said – just stuff that all families go through. We had different parenting styles and we had to learn how to blend those because we were both used to running our own homes.

What advice would you give to women blending their families: Tina:  Have one set of rules, if not, the kids will play you against each other. When we did disagree, we would have a sidebar away from the kids. And, we never challenged each other’s authority in front of the kids. If you do, they know that got you. We were always a unified front. We were united. Angela: My advice is when two people decide to be together, learn each other’s parenting styles first, especially 2 women who have ran their own households. We had been functioning one way for so long that we had to learn how to work as a team. I would l tell others  -Don’t be selfish and understand each other’s viewpoint first. When you have children, you have to become one with your partner, and one with your family. One way is not better than the other way, it is just different.

Now that you are empty-nesters, how has your relationship changed: Angela: I now have time just to focus on me and Tina. Before, we had a routine with the children. It is just us now, and now I can make the next 10 years with Tina greater than the first 10 years. We can just concentrate on us. We can talk and travel, and when we recognize it is time for us to get away, we can. Tina: Angela and I don’t have the same responsibilities, and so life is simple. It is pretty cool that they (children) are not here too. We are learning how to communicate better. We have time to just deal with our issues, and not theirs.  We have us.

You not only ran a household together, but you also ran businesses. How did you learn to be business partners? Angela: That was a growing process because you have two individuals used to running their own corporations. We had to work through that. I am a very structured, analytical person. I am a planner and I need a time-line. I want to know and see all of the pieces before I start something. Tina is different. She just needs to know the end results. We had to learn to communicate because she functions one way and I function differently. That’s why we have separate offices and I know not to move things around in her office. Tina: Angela is the administrator, she does all of the administrative stuff because she has to analyze everything first to make it happen. I am operational. I just need to know the end result and I can make things happen without knowing all of the pieces. At the end of the day, we have the same goal but getting to the goal may be different. We had to learn that we had different methods of getting things done and accept that. Angela: We are who we are and we had to accept that. It is the 80/20 rule. If something falls in the 20% that does not really affect us or our relationship, we let it go.
Discuss how you deal with and face challenges that might come up in your  relationship?  Tina: To always remember I am not the only one with an opinion in the relationship. I have to listen to my wife and try to put myself in her shoes, and understand her feelings.

What role does spirituality play in your relationship? Tina: Spirituality is key to making our relationship work, and understanding God is the main focus is important. Without God, there is no relationship. Angela: Spirituality is a BIG part of our relationship. Our belief in God and serving together is very important to us.

What role does sensuality play in your relationship? Tina: It is important to keep the fire going, i.e. role playing, date night, etc.  Angela: Sensuality is a way to allow passion and awe into everyday life - a life for which you will begin to feel more and more grateful and appreciative, even in challenging times. This is key to us because when we  play up each other's sensual sides: such as a touch; a smile; a wink, or maybe a compliment-it carries us through almost anything on a daily basis. Flirting is key!  Never lose that touch.

Over the years, how has romance and/or sex changed? Tina:  It has changed because we know each other now. It is more than sex; it is deeper. Early on I made the mistake by saying that “sex is over-rated”. In the past, I could have sex without being emotionally connected. But to Angela, sex is different; it was important for her to feel connected. Sex is still hot, but it is way better. It was hot then, and it is hot now but more intimate. We know each other, and I know what she likes and how to get her there. It is better and deeper now.  

How do you celebrate your love and stay connected daily? Tina: We flirt and we do a lot of role- playing. For example, we act like we are in high school sneaking behind the bleachers.  Lol. We also never go a day without telling each other that we love each other. Angela: You have to reach back to the passion you initially had. You have to reach back to understand what the passion was and why the passion was there. You have to plan a date night and switch it up so that it makes it exciting for your partner. When you take the emotional portion away and if you hit rough times, it will be a rough ride. But if you remember the emotional part and keep the connection solid, it will lift you when you are going through hard times.

What has your relationship taught you the most about yourself? Tina: It is not all about me, because for the first time in my life, I am in love . And, I am will do whatever it takes to make our relationship work and to make it better. I have learned to be more considerate. Being with Angela and being in love with Angela, has taught me to be more mindful of what I say and what I do. I have to be mindful of how she feels and what you wants too. If you are in a relationship, you got to act like you are in a relationship. Angela: That I am part of a team, and the decisions I make will affect us both. This was a hard one for me and I have grown from it, and I’m still learning. I have to remember that we are a couple/team - no more me/I  - in everything I do, BIIG OR SMALL! Being with Tina has taught me that we are team, we are one.

 What advice would you give other couples?  Tina: Always communicate your feelings. Understand there are two people in the relationship - 2 minds and 2 personalities.  Always fight fair - don't be mean  while arguing, be mindful of what you say to your partner. Angela: It is important to get to know your partner for who she is. Remember what made her tick. Get to know their family background. Have date night and have fun.  Discuss your goals together and often-- this can change as time passes.

What do you want your legacy to be as a couple: Angela: One of my friends said “you are my favorite couple” and that made me feel really good. I want our legacy to be that we set and maintained an example for other couples to aspire too. We are not perfect. But by giving and sharing, we want people to see that there can be normalcy in our relationships. I hope that we set the bar for others. Tina: I want our legacy to be that we were and are a happy couple; that we laughed and enjoyed ourselves; that we had fun and knew how to relax.  When people look at us, I want them to know that we love each other, and that at the end of time, we still loved each other.

What one word describes/characterizes your relationship: Tina: Enjoyable. I enjoy my life with my wife. Angela: Easy.  I am enjoying life to the fullest.  Loving Tina is easy.

You can also find Tina and Angela at:
Gentlewoman Clothing- www.gentlewomanclothing.com Online Store
The Other Women of America- TOWOA  @ www.towoa.com ( fb/twitter)
Tina is also a fulltime Realtor, Founder- GW
Angela is a Business Consultant- Specializes in Grants and Business Proposals.  Her new book is scheduled to be released in the Fall 2013.

(Interview conducted by SharRon Jamison)


We are grateful to Angela and Tina for sharing your amazing love with us at Create Love for Women Who Love Women!  www.createloveforwomen.com

Imani Evans, MA
SharRon Jamison, MBA

4 comments:

  1. I will have this one day!!! Your interview was very touching. You can see the love through the statements. I am a fan of you both and admire you two a lot. May God continue to Bless your union...Thank You for being inspiration to us all.

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    1. It is definitely something to strive toward for all of us. They are truly amazing. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

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  2. Really enjoyed this article and getting to know the women in a more personal level.

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