Tononiya D. & Rashida Dixon
Coral Springs, Florida
How long have you been together? Rashida: Tononiya would say 16 years, but I say 15 years and 10 months. Tononiya: We met on a Saturday, and we moved in together the next Friday. We have only been apart 4 days since we have been together. We fall in love with each other more every day.
How did you get together/meet? Rashida: We met through mutual acquaintances. I was told that I was the third wheel company keeper and she was told the same thing. Tononiya was the last person to be picked up, so I was able to sneak a glimpse of her. When she opened the car door and our eyes met briefly, the air suddenly shifted. I know that may sound corny or cliché but that’s really what happened. She sat in the car and I being coy, said hello and gave her a little wave. It was like I knew her already. It was like we had met before and she was familiar to me in some way. There were no more words until we got to the club. But once we got there, it was like we had known each other forever. It was definitely a “where have you been all of my life” moment.
What was the initial attraction? Rashida: Her eyes. She has beautiful passionate eyes. But once we started conversing & hanging out, I was attracted to her core, her soul.
What was it about her soul that was attracted? Rashida: She was upfront, blunt and passionate about every and anything. She was sure, strong and confident since the day we first met. She allowed me to speak my mind without feeling guilty. She was a great inspiration for me. Tononiya: I’m not sure if attraction is an emotion that defines the connection that I felt when I looked in her eyes for the 1st time. That moment was so surreal for me that time stood still.
What captured you? Her eyes…I felt immediately connected to her soul. It felt as if I saw my reflection in her eyes. I saw her pain, but saw that she still wanted to love. I was gone; it was a connection of our souls. It felt like that spiritual warmth that comes over your body; it was breath-taking.
What would you say is the key to the success of your relationship? Rashida: Communication first & foremost, trust, complete honesty, and a mutual respect for each other. And we genuinely LIKE each other.
What do you like most about each other? Rashida: There are so many things. I like that she makes me laugh and that I can genuinely be me. I like everything about her- even those things that drive me crazy. Tononiya: It is hard to pinpoint one thing that I like about her. I love her nature, her genuine core that loves everything and everybody. Despite her pain and her past, she still loves.
Tononiya, what do you attribute your success to: (being able) to Love, in all of its forms.
Love in all of its forms. That concept resonates with me. What does that mean and how do you distinguish between the types of love? Tononiya: Most people don’t understand love. I love her as a friend, a sister, a lover, a woman, etc. All of those parts are connected and we make sure that we nurture, respect and love all of these parts. We make sure that we nurture all of those parts by first identifying those parts. You have to get to know your partner to nurture her. You have to listen so that you know how she feels. Rashida: My nature is to nurture. I feel like I am connected to everything. If I don’t nurture, I don’t feel as if I have done my job. In our relationship, I had to do some growing. I had to learn to listen and if I didn’t understand, I would ask. I am constantly checking in with her.
Discuss how you deal with and face challenges that might come up in your relationship? Rashida: We definitely put God first. Then we have a conversation, a real dialogue between us. We discuss how we feel, what steps to take next, and regardless if whoever said go right when we should’ve gone left, we stick together through every difficulty. We don’t blame each other if/when things in life go awry. Because at the end of the day, it’s just us and we still have to fix whatever is messed up. Tononiya: We don’t argue. We both come from broken homes and we didn’t know how to love so we did the opposite of what we learned. I believe that you nurture by letting go of what you have been taught and you develop/create a new way. Because no matter how much you heal, breaking the patterns of what you grew up with is a challenge.
Blame is such a toxic emotion in relationships. How do you talk about issues without blaming? Rashida: We just talk. If I made a decision and it doesn’t turn out well, I hold myself accountable. We also don’t ridicule each other. We really know that we only have each other. Tononiya: Honestly in all the years we have been together we never really had challenges in the relationship. We have had challenges of life that we have had to deal with and we dealt with them together. For us, there is no other way. We don’t allow things outside of our relationship dictate the way we interact with each other in it. Rashida: We don’t let anyone or anything penetrate what we have built.
16 years is such a blessing. What Relationship Rules, spoken or unspoken, did you develop and/or follow that support your union? Tononiya: 1) Always be honest. I don’t care what it is. If I can’t trust you, then I have an issue. 2) There are no secrets. We tell each other everything. Rashida: 3) We don’t disagree in front of people. She can be blunt sometimes but I will still back her up. Whatever happens, we address it when we get home. In public, that’s still my baby. I have her back.
What role does spirituality play in your relationship? Rashida: Spirituality is the core of our union. We both believe strongly in God, the existence of a higher power. We do not follow any particular religion. We are spiritual people and believe that we are all connected through the breath that God blew into us.Tononiya: Being that we are spiritual people, spirituality is in everything we do.
How do you practice your spirituality? Rashida: We pray, we mediate, we invoke positivity, and we do yoga. We take a minute to appreciate love and life. We make sure that we connect to God, ourselves and to each other. Tononiya: Sometimes we practice with our physical self through massage. Massage is calming and soothing. We turn everything off, we clean the house, clean ourselves, I cut my hair and we connect with each other. It is very empowering.
What role does sensuality play in your relationship? Rashida: Sensuality absolutely plays a keen role in our relationship. I think that we breathe & speak it every time we connect with each other, either through a conversation or through intimacy or through our shared interests of the arts. Tononiya: Sensuality is ever present from the curve of her smile, to the tone of her laugh. And that’s giving the short version…lol.
What advice would you give to other couples? Rashida: One thing I would share is that you have to actually like one another. Be each other’s best friend. When you genuinely like your partner, most issues that plague relationships won’t happen. Second piece of advice is don’t start something that you are not willing to finish. If you started cooking, cleaning and dressing sexy in the beginning to get her, don’t stop doing those things once you have her. Complacency can kill a relationship. Tononiya: You can’t live a single life and have a committed relationship. So be honest with yourself about what you want, need, desire, and expect from each other. Then completely share those things with each other. Compromise means to come to a middle ground… it does not mean surrender.
What has your relationship taught you most about yourself? Rashida: My relationship has taught me how to work at things you really want in your life and to never take the people that truly love you and are for you for granted. I have also learned that I have the power to change, to change anything that is no longer serving my purpose. Tononiya: I have learned that the love that I have inside of me is greater than the fear, shame, and pain put together.
What one word describes or characterizes your relationship? Rashida: Extraordinary. We are the minority among black women relationships and I know that our love is extraordinary. Tononiya: Liberating. Our love is freeing. It inspires and encourages. We don’t hold each other back from growth; we don’t limit each other. We are examples of pure love and acceptance.
If you could thank her for 1 thing, what would that be? Tononiya: I would thank her for choosing to be on this journey with me. People who are in relationships chose to be. Rashida: I would thank her for being my best friend. I never knew someone who gave so willingly. I would not be where and who I am today without her.
You can also find Tononiya and Rashida at:
(Interviewed by SharRon Jamison)
We thank you for sharing your love with us at Create Love! Your story will encourage, inspire and uplift other couples. We wish you continued success and happiness. www.createloveforwomen.com
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Imani Evans and SharRon Jamison