Nita Catchings and Laurin Nabors
from Houston, Texas
How long have been together: We have been together for nine years. We started dating on March 23, 2004, and we had a commitment ceremony on August 22, 2010.
How did you meet: Nita: We actually met at college. We were very young – I was 20 years old and she was just 22. After previously dating women, I began to date a guy at college to be more accepted by my family. He cheated and lied and didn’t value me as a woman, but I tried to make the best of it to appease my mother. I attended a church on campus and eventually joined the choir as a way to pass time. One of my friends mentioned there was a lesbian who was the lead musician for the campus choir, but I had absolutely no idea of who she was. Once I discovered her name, I took the liberty of finding her name on a copy of the church directory. I called her and we talked briefly but I didn’t give her my name. I was hesitant to give her my name because I was afraid that gay rumors would resurface if in fact she was not gay. However, I did give her my phone number and when she returned my call I was not in my dorm room and my voicemail stated my full name. That’s how she found out who I was. Lol!
Laurin: Initially when she called, I told her I couldn’t talk at the time and it was because I was with my girlfriend who no one knew about. I was excited to find out who she was because I was fairly new coming out and was intrigued by the phone call. My girlfriend at the time was at least 13 years older than me and we didn’t have much in common, so my mind started wondering elsewhere. Once I called Nita back and got her voicemail (which disclosed her full name, lol) I was surprised to say the least.
What was your first impression: Laurin: My mind started racing because I knew that she was pretty and around my own age, but she was a little sassy. I toiled with the decision on returning her phone call once I found out her name because she was in the campus choir. I was the music director of the choir and she was a problem child. Lol. She wouldn’t pay attention when I was teaching the (singing) parts and she would talk during choir rehearsal. With me being the music director for the campus choir, I did not want to mix business with pleasure. But, I was so excited about the possibilities of her, and I decided to call her back and to say the least - we talked for hours on end. At first, we were just friends and I was there to comfort her during her troubling relationship with her boyfriend. I was there when she needed me and I would always tell her that she deserved more.
What really grabbed your attention about her: Nita: She was cute and very easy to talk to. The first night we spoke on the phone, we talked through the entire night. I remember because it was my 21 st birthday and she was the first person to tell me “happy birthday”. We connected immediately and after 1 week of speaking to each other, I knew she was special and I wanted to get to know her even more. She is so amazing, patient, and loving! Laurin: I am really reserved and focused but she was so against the grain. She was fun and adventurous. She was a little sassy but that was something I found attractive. When I look at what she has become, I feel like wow. She was beautiful then, but she is so polished and mature now. I am so impressed by the woman she has become.
How do you face challenges, crises and conflicts in your relationship? Laurin: We faced a lot early on in our relationship and that has really equipped us to deal with a variety of challenges. In a two year span, we had 2 major crises. One was when I was deployed to Iraq in 2004. Our relationship was not even a year old, but for some reason I knew that I could trust her. Nita: When she was deployed, I was so concerned for her safety because I saw reports of people dying but I couldn’t tell anyone. My family was upset that I was gay so I had no one to talk to about it. But she knew I was there for her.
Being so new in the relationship, what made you know that she worth waiting for? Laurin: I knew that I could trust her. Even though our relationship was new, I gave her power of attorney rights when I was deployed. I was never concerned about her spending all of my money, being unfaithful or anything. She was always there for me. She would send me boxes and anything else I needed. I would sit in long lines on the base just to talk with her and she was ALWAYS there for me. She made herself available to me when I needed her the most. Nita: It didn’t matter when she called or if I had class, I was there. I wanted her to know that I was there for her and that I loved her. I would also send her cards and boxes. Whatever she wanted or needed, I would send because I knew that she was the best thing that ever happened to me. I always say that God gave her “extra” because she is so sweet and genuine. Sometimes I feel that I don’t deserve her. Laurin: It meant a lot that she was there while I was deployed and I know that she is still there for me today. We always make time for each other. And, I always make sure that I am available to her and she does the same for me. Nita: When Laurin came home, I was still in college. We didn’t want to be apart so she gave up a good job in St. Louis just to be with me while I finished college. She has always been so giving; she is my rock.
Nita: The second crisis came when my mother died unexpectedly at the age of 47. She was not sick or anything. When I found out that she died, I was in shock and I couldn’t drive the 2 hours to get home. Laurin had to drive me home and she was there for me. She gave me so much love and support – she was/is such a great support system. After my Mom died, Mother’s Day was hard and I couldn’t even send cards and gifts to my aunt or my grandmother. For years, Laurin sent both of them gifts and cards for me because I couldn’t handle it emotionally. She was just there for me and she always gave me encouragement. This year was the first year that I could send cards myself.
Every relationship has Relationship Rules that support the connection. What are your rules? Laurin: We don’t hold grudges. We are always quick to resolve issues and make up. Nita: I tend to hold grudges a little longer than she does but I am learning to forgive quicker. I am also learning that I can initiate the apology and not wait for her to do it. I used to think that saying sorry would make me appear weak, but now I realize that it takes a strong person to apologize. Laurin: We have a rule that we always greet each other when we come home. Nita would always greet me, but I had to learn to greet her even if I have to stop what I am doing because that is important to her. Nita: Even though we are together, we know that it is important to say good morning, thank you and please. Another rule is that we always talk things through no matter what it is or even if it is embarrassing. If I have to hide my face to tell her something, I will. We communicate about everything.
What role does spirituality play in your relationship? Laurin: It plays a big role. I am a preacher’s kid and I grew up in the church. I hold onto a lot of things that I was taught in church. I value Christian principles like faith. Faith goes hand in hand with being positive, and I am a very positive person. We also believe in being people of integrity and paying it forward. We have always acknowledged that God is the head of our household. We refuse to allow the beliefs of others to identify our relationship as an abomination to God. God has given us confirmation that it was his divine design to be each others’ soul mates. Nita: Laurin helped me with that. I got into a negative mode because so many bad things had happen to me. I would sometimes ask God why certain things happened to me. But Laurin helped me with my faith and she continues to encourage me. Most of the time, I am a realist but she helps me see things differently.
How do you define sensuality and what role does sensuality play in your relationship: Nita: Laurin: I love that Nita is always available because her presence comforts me. Talking to her always makes me better. Sensuality is orgasmic. It is the warm loving feeling of each other’s touch and mental stimulation of words expressing our deep feelings for each other. I loved to be hugged, held, rubbed, touched and cuddled. I like to be kissed and I love that she always acknowledges that I am present.
What has your relationship taught you about you? Laurin: Being with Nita has made me more confident because she constantly encourages me to excel past my comfort zone. She always says I am intelligent, sweet and other wonderful things that I don’t give myself credit for. For example, I am a behind the scenes type of person, but Nita taught me to be more up-front. She taught me to be less passive and to be stronger. I have accomplished more in life with Nita’s encouragement than I would have accomplished on my own. Nita: She taught me that I do deserve wonderful things in life. She taught me that I have talents that I wasn’t aware of and that I am beautiful inside and out. She reminds me that I am a blessing to others, especially at my job. She taught me that my experiences have helped me to be better and stronger and that everything happens for a reason. Laurin taught me that I can accomplish just about anything I put my mind to.
If you could thank her for 1 thing, what will that be: Nita: I would thank her for loving me totally. She loves me with all of my insecurities, shortcomings, mistakes, etc. She loves me for who I am. She can always see the good in me and she is very delicate with my heart. Laurin: I would say thank Nita for trusting me. In our relationship, I am more dominant and I present and plan a lot of things for our family. Nita never shuts me out. She is very trusting and is always open to hearing my ideas. Her trust has opened the door for many things in our relationship. Trust plays a huge role and that reinforces our love. I would thank her for her trust. Nita: I totally trust her because I know that she will always take care of everything and she will always make sure everything is planned out. She makes the most money but she always reminds me that everything is ours and that my perspective and opinion matter. I take care of things too in our relationship and she trusts me also. Most of all, I trust Laurin with my heart. Laurin: I never want Nita to feel that she doesn’t count; she does. My role in our relationship is not a dictatorship at all. I always remind her that I could not succeed in my career without her support and trust.
What 1 word describes/characterizes your relationship: Laurin: Indescribable. The way we love each other is so complete and so complex that it is hard to put our relationship in words. There are many factors that make our relationship wonderful and that makes it too hard to define. Nita: God-sent. I feel that God has just smiled on our relationship. She is my soul mate and my best friend. I feel like the stars aligned when I met her. I never knew a love like ours could ever exist. She loves me unconditionally and there are no limitations in our love for each other.
You two have practically grown up together and have experienced so much as a couple. What advice would you give to other couples: Nita: In order to make a relationship work, you have to have two people who really want it to work. If you have one who wants it 100% and another who wants it 85%, it will not work. Both people have to be totally committed. Laurin: Remember that trust is important. Early on in our relationship, Nita proved that she was a person who could be trusted. She backed her words with actions and having trust and honesty made our communication open and easy. Nita: Communication is important. You have to be willing to talk and make every attempt to understand each other’s perspective. You have to be willing to compromise. Laurin: We always keep our business to ourselves. We don’t argue in public and we don’t tell people what is going on in our relationship. We work it out together. Nita: Always help, encourage, and motivate each other. Laurin: And laugh. We laugh with each other and at each other. Humor and having fun is important.
(Interviewed by Aunt SharRon, thanks Nita and Laurin for honoring me with the title “Auntie”.)