Monday, December 17, 2012

SHARE YOUR LOVE: Happy Couple Highlight XII

HAPPY COUPLE: Nicole Varner and Tiffany Hairston
Atlanta, Georgia
How long have you been together: 11 years on January 5th 2013.
How did you meet:  Nicole: We met at Tower II. I reluctantly stopped by after a friend's birthday gathering….. Everyone was going there afterwards. Tiffany: I was supposed to go to the club with a straight friend to celebrate her birthday. However, she decided not to go out but I was already dressed up so I went out by myself.

What was your 1st impression? Nicole: I thought she was attractive. I am kind of shy. I am not a person who will go up and approach people. But, I liked her disposition. She didn’t look like she belonged there. Tiffany: I saw this little woman at the bar. She was preppy and cute.  We looked at each other and looked away for about 20 minutes. After several minutes of “come hither” looks, we talked and danced. She made me laugh and we spent the rest of the evening talking. We talked almost every night for about 2-3 hours, sometimes up to 2 o’clock in the morning.
What are the keys to a successful relationship: Nicole: That's a difficult one as I don't think there is one key. However, if I were to pick one thing it would be communication. Our communication with people, especially people in our lives that we value, should be clear, respectful, and compassionate. Tiffany: One key thing is friendship. She knows I love her and will always speak to her in a loving matter. I never talk to her in an unloving way. In almost 11 years, we have never had a shouting match or spoken to each other in disrespectful and unloving ways.

Discuss how you deal with and face challenges that might come up in your relationship? Nicole: I attempt to be flexible and sympathetic or empathetic, if needed. Conflicts arise in all relationships because we are all individuals and have our own opinions, ideas, and "stuff". I feel it's important for two whole individuals to come together in order to form a healthy and successful relationship. With this knowledge, you are comfortable with letting the other person be completely who they are without feeling threatened or fearing abandonment. And you can work together to find resolve for your conflicts. Some things you may never agree on, and that's ok unless of course, it violates some core principle you have regarding the relationship.
Couples have difficulty identifying their “stuff”. What has helped you determine your stuff? Tiffany: Being a cancer, I can be reclusive at times. Different things make me go inside of my shell. I have to work to let her know what is going on so that she doesn’t take it personally. I have to let her “in”. I have to be more vulnerable and share my pain. Nicole: We are both feeling and very intuitive people. I am a Pisces. I am very sensitive.  I believe you have to own your own insecurities. I can feel energy. When something is “off”, I ask myself if it is something with me or the relationship. Or, I start wondering where the “unhappy” is coming from. I can be moody. I am very passionate about everything – my friends, my job, everything. My passion sometimes can make me vulnerable.

With both of you being “water signs”, how do you manage conflict?  Nicole: Fundamentally we are different in the way in how we manage conflict. She likes to go away to bridle her tongue. I want to resolve and talk about the issue immediately.  The compromise is that I can’t talk immediately, but we will talk. I have to be ok until she is comfortable and emotionally available to talk. Tiffany: I have to let her know that I will talk about it and when. I may say “let’s talk about it tonight or tomorrow”. If I don’t, it creates anxiety and I don’t want that. We don’t like to go to bed angry. I know when/if we need to have a discussion so that we can move on. Nicole: The problem is that we all have the fear of being abandoned. Even if we don’t talk right then, I know we will talk. That really helps with anxiety.
What have you learned about your partner? Tiffany: I am surprised by how strong Nicole is. I have been with her and seen her during some of the hardest times. She’s is really a strong person. Nicole: I didn’t learn anything. I always thought that she was loyal, giving and loving and she has been all of the in our relationship.

After 11 years, what was the greatest change and what was the greatest challenge? Tiffany: Our biggest challenge was dealing with all of the loss. At times, we both were in some dark places but Nicole was my rock. She really helped me through. I lost my step-father after a 3 year battle with liver cancer. It was hard because I was very close to him. Nicole’s mother had terminal cancer and her father suddenly had a heart attack and died. Her mother passed 10 days later. We were just reeling from the losses. We had a time when we were not connecting because we were just so grief-stricken. We got through it. We were there for each other. Nicole: The biggest change is the maturation of the relationship. In the beginning, you are having sex in every place you can find. The maturation comes when the weight of the world is happening and you understand that the loving part is more than the physical part. As you grow in your relationship, you also need to make a conscious effort to not let the physical part of your relationship die. We love each other and are committed, but we don’t have to be bored. It is important to keep it exciting and to have those sparks too.
What have you learned about yourself in this relationship? Nicole: I have learned that it is ok to believe and know that someone is always going to be there for me.  We went through a very dark time. Both of my parents died within 10 days of each other. Tiffany’s self-father died and she is extremely close to him. Our dog died too. I was in a bad place but I did not want to put more stress on Tiffany. So, I would cry in the shower. One day she saw me crying and told me that it was ok. I had to learn that it was ok to trust her love. Learning that was freeing. I learned that I didn’t have to carry everything by myself. Tiffany: I have always been a very responsible and independent person. I don’t like people to help me financially. During the first year of our relationship, I lost my job. Nicole was always asking me if I needed anything or if I needed money. I had to learn that it is ok for me to depend on someone financially. I had to learn that that was sometimes part of a relationship, and that we were a partnership.

What role does spirituality play in your relationship? Nicole:  I feel spirituality is a base for my self-identity so it is an integral part of who I am. With regards to our relationship, we are on the same page with this and I feel that is an important. Tiffany: Spirituality is important as people and as a couple. We need to plug into our spiritual side to handle all that we go through. Our spiritual selves and our connection with God had made a huge difference. The spiritual connection has also helped our connection to each other.
How to your practice your spiritually? We attend Hillside {Hillside International Chapel and Truth Center}.

What role does sensuality and mutual attraction play in your relationship? Nicole: I think those are both important elements to a relationship. However, our experiences with people have the ability to minimize or magnify our attraction to our partners.  When I look at Tiffany, to me she is the most beautiful and the sexiest woman I know. Tiffany:  Sensuality and mutual attraction are very important in our relationship. You can’t lose sight of that. You have to try to stay looking attractive. Nicole: One thing that is important is that we brought back date night. We enjoy that. We get dressed up and got out and remember what it felt like we were first dating.
What do you do to make her feel special? Tiffany: We know each other very well. I know what she likes. She likes roasted chicken and vegetables so I will do little things like that for her. For example, one of her birthdays, I surprised her with a trip to Las Vegas. I may send her texts.  Sometimes we play hooky from work and just spend the time with each other. Nicole: I think about her all of the time. I am shopper and I love going to the mall. I will just pick her up something, maybe just something little. Or if I eat something different or good, I will bring her samples so that she can taste it too. Sometimes I still pick her up and take her to lunch.

What makes your partner beautiful to you? Nicole: Physically, she is beautiful. She’s not only a good person, but she is a great person. She is a good balance for me and she complements me. We are both sensitive. But she doesn’t allow me to get stuck in my feelings. Tiffany: Physically, she gorgeous. She has the most beautiful eyes. She is just a good person and has a great spirit. She will do anything for anybody. She’s a generous and giving person.
What tips would you give to other lesbian couples?  Nicole: Learn to love, in the purest definition of the word, and learn to be loving. When people truly grasp the two concepts, they can and will create meaningful and lasting relationships.

What is the difference between being in love and being loving? Nicole: Being loving is action. It is a way of doing things. People can love a person, but not behave in a way that is loving. If you had a hard day, you can’t just come home talking short and being disrespectful. You may love, but you can not be hurtful. You have to remember that you have the power and authority to make people love us more or love us less. We have some control over that. Tiffany: Never lose the friendship that you had at the beginning of the relationship. I truly love spending time with Nicole. You have to work at that. You must be mindful and present. You have to plan to do things together. It is important to remain friends.
Why do couples have trouble remaining friends?  Nicole:   They are not nurturing that friend part of the relationship. You have to continue to connect and engage each other. Even if I don’t like to do something that she likes, I will still do it. Tiffany: For example she likes photography. We went to Savannah and she took pictures and really enjoyed herself. It was fun for me to see her having fun.

One word that captures your sentiment about your relationship? Tiffany: Synergy. I feel in complete synergy with her. Nicole: Completion. Not in the sense of being final, but complete in the sense of still moving but moving together as a complete unit.
When you look in her eyes, what do you see? Nicole: I see a reflection of myself; I see an extension of myself. Tiffany: I see a safe place

When you look into her heart, what do you feel? Tiffany:  I feel safety and comfort. Nicole: I feel love and joy-that makes me smile. 
(Interview conducted by Minister SharRon Jamison)
Be sure to nurture YOUR LOVE at the Create Love! Conference on February 16th...More info.

Much love to you,
SharRon Jamison Co-Founder


  1. Again...I loved the story of their LOVE! I could read this column forever!

  2. Wow!!! This morning I went searching for something to give me a sense of love direction...and stumbled upon this piece. I just want to say that both of your words, insights and answers resonate with me. I have had similar losses...mother, brother and others....and it was so emotionally trying and very lonely to deal with all by myself. I'm a Scorpio so I can relate to both of you and your experiences on a very personal level...this deeply touched me and gave me some perspective on why I feel and respond the way that I do. Thank you both for opening up and sharing and being so transparent and sorry for your loss as I remember how close you were to your mother. It has been so many years since we've spoken and I am so very happy that you and your lady are well. Be Blessed in the New Year and thanks again for so much helpful insight.

  3. Hi Swan! It's great to hear from you. I'm sorry to learn of your losses and we will be holding you in love & light.
    We are both humbled to know that the things we have shared may be helpful and inspirational in any way.
    Be encouraged, Sis, you do not have to deal with life's tests alone; there is a communiy to support you.
    Happy New Year and I am affirming all of the best for you!