Saturday, October 5, 2013

Create Love: Reflections from the First Year of Marriage

Wendy Smith and Anita Haugabrook 
from Atlanta, Georgia 

Your wedding day was so beautiful. When you look back on your ceremony, what comes to mind? Wendy: When I think of our wedding day, I think about how blessed we are and how many people love and believe in us. We had a destination wedding because we wanted people to attend who really loved and cared about us. It was beautiful and I felt blessed. Anita: When I think of our wedding day, I think of Wendy at the top of the stairs, as she ascended I was floored; Wendy was beautiful. She was stunning.

Everybody was crying at your wedding. I know what my tears meant. What did yours mean? Anita: My tears were tears of joy. I felt joy that I was able to find and marry my soul mate. Some of my tears were also tears of fear. I realized that Wendy was my responsibility and I was responsible for every part of her well-being. When I took her hand, I felt “I got you”. My commitment was to be her caretaker. Wendy: I felt overwhelmed. At that moment, I felt all of the love she had for me and that feeling completely engulfed me. I felt “here is my soul mate” and it was overwhelming. I also had tears when my sister (Erica) gave me away.

It was interesting. I felt your emotions and my spirit was leaping. I didn’t know what to do with that emotion so tears flowed freely. It was difficult to compose myself to perform your ceremony because the love was so palpable. I felt something at your wedding that I never felt before in my life. It was powerful. Thank you for that moment.

How has being married changed your relationship? Wendy: Being married has made us closer and stronger. We were already close but the commitment of marriage made it more solid. We stood in front of everyone and made a commitment. Anita: It made our relationship deeper. Before we got married, I knew I loved her. But after we got married, it took my love for her to another level. Before I loved her but it changed my desire to wholeheartedly respect and value her.

I love that you both celebrate each other. Most couples struggle with celebration. Why do you feel celebration is important? Anita: Celebration is necessary and Wendy deserves to be celebrated. As my wife, she deserves it privately and publicly. She takes care of me and I have never had someone take care and love me the way that Wendy does. Wendy: Celebration is another word for praise. I praise her so she knows that I not only love her, but I also admire her. She has so many qualities that I desire for myself. When you praise your partner, you are building her up. You are reassuring and reinforcing that you love her. I praise her because I love her and because she is mine. It doesn’t matter if we are at home or by ourselves; I tell her how much I love her.

You come from very different backgrounds. How did you learn to bridge the culture and experience gaps?
Wendy: Keeping God as the center definitely helps with that. We also communicate. I used to struggle with people understanding me. I was raised by my Dad and I didn't have that nurturing thing. I felt that people didn’t “get” me. Anita said “I don’t get you, but I want to get you”. That was important to me because I never felt that before. Anita listens and tries to understand. She may not be able to totally relate, but she tries. That’s important. Anita: We have learned to agree to disagree. Also, I have learned to put myself in her shoes. That helps me sense what she feels. It all starts with listening.

This year was full of changes. What did the changes teach you? Anita: This year has taught me patience and that (patience) is still a work in progress. Many people in my life don’t know that I struggle with patience but I do and am working on that. It has also taught me to hush and listen. One of our friends, Cheryl Wayne, said you should “listen with the intent to understand and not reply”. Before I would listen but would also think about how I was going to respond. I am learning. I have also learned that some small things don’t matter so much. For most of my adult life, I have lived alone and I am very organized. Wendy disrupted my life but I have learned that it ok.  For example, I used to have the dishes in a certain way. But since she does most of the cooking, I don’t worry about the dishes. Sometimes I even have to ask her where things are. Wendy: When we were dating I would change things around to see if she would notice. She always would. lolWendy: I learned that I couldn’t do it without her. The role of a step-parent is a big load and I initially didn’t understand that. Lee has always been “that kid”. I was a Mom and I was used to it. But it was hard watching Anita in her role as a step-parent loving him and loving me. I didn’t realize that she was taking so much on in her heart because I was in so much pain too. It makes me admire her even more. I wouldn’t change anything that we have been through. But I know that I wouldn’t want to do it any of it without her.

What have you learned about each other this year that is surprising? Anita: Nothing about Wendy has surprised me. NOTHING! She has yet to surprise me and she does a lot. I just laugh and say “That’s my chick”.

Wendy: It has surprised me that she can let the little things go. I do little things because I am not as organized and certain things serve as reminders for me. But now if I leave something out to remind me of something, she leaves it there or leaves it alone. Before, she would pick it up and put it away. That she has been able and so willing to adjust has been surprising.

What has your relationship taught you most about you? Wendy: It has taught me that I take full responsibility for her heart. We don’t argue because I am yeller and she gets quiet. But I never say anything to deliberately hurt her. I will never say anything that makes her second guess my love for her. Never! I never will say anything in anger. Anita: I have always taken pride in my independence. I have learned that it feels good to need someone…I need Wendy.

Anita, I love the way you look at Wendy. You can tell you love her and are attracted to her. Describe the attraction? Oh wow….she’s simply stunning. The way she walks in the room and commands attention is amazing. What people see does not even begin to describe her true beauty. She is so much more than the heels, etc. What I love is that she doesn’t even see her beauty and that makes her all the more beautiful! 

Wendy, I always catch you stealing adoring glances at Doc too. Describe your attraction? When we are out, I know how much she loves me. I know how her touch feels, how she holds me and how she kisses me. I say to myself “you have no idea” and that only adds to her sexiness. Doc also has swag. She’s so smart, she loves her family, God is the center of her life, and all of that together makes me love her so much. She still holds me every night; she holds me and doesn’t let go. When I lay on her chest, I feel safe.

Wendy, you told me that there were so many things about Anita to love. What are the things that most warm your spirit? Her faithfulness. She still wakes up every morning and reads her Bible. She loves her family and parents and I admire that about her. Because of her, I am learning things about family that I never knew before. I love that every night she puts water by my bed and every morning makes me coffee. If I am still asleep when she leaves for work, she puts my coffee in the refrigerator for me. That fulfills me in ways that I can’t explain. I wish there was another word for love because what I feel for her is so much more than that.

Anita, you told me that there were so many things about Wendy to love. What are the things that most warm your spirit? I love how Wendy cares and nurtures me. She is the first the person who has ever allowed me to be vulnerable. She cares for my every need. She takes care of me and this household with so much care. She doesn’t look at it like a task. She thinks about my every need and looks out for me. She is invested me and in us. She reminds me of how my mom takes care of my dad.

Wendy: It is truly the love I have for her. I’ve never loved someone like I love her. Somehow God whispers to me when she needs extra of something. Sometimes I know she just needs me to hold her or to lie on my lap. Anita appreciates everything that I do and that makes me want to do more.

What do you most admire about her? Anita: I admire her persistence. For everything that she has been through before and with me, she could have said “I am done”. But she continued to persevere. We call it “ignorant faith”. You can’t stop her. Wendy: I admire that she is steadfast, and I am fascinated by that. If she says that she is going to do something, she does it and she keeps doing it even when it’s hard. Even after working 48 hours, she will come home and still hold me the entire night. Even when she’s mad at me, she still gets me water and holds me while I sleep.

It takes a community to support relationships and you are blessed that you have one. For you, what is the value of having a community support your union? Anita: Accountability. They are as dependent on us to survive as we are dependent on them. When I see them persevere, we know we can too. If they see that we are doing something that is unfair or wrong, they call us on it. Also, there is so much knowledge and wisdom to be gained from other couples. We wanted to surround ourselves with great people so that we could be transparent. Wendy: It is priceless. They will say “girl, you are wrong, now go home and fix it”. Our friends don’t take sides. The village is priceless and it goes back to having a solid foundation. They pour into us and we pour into them. It’s such a blessing to have people who love and invest in you and vice versa.

If you could thank her for 1 thing during your first year of marriage, what would that be? Wendy: I would thank her for her support. There have been so many changes this first year but she has always been supportive of me. She’s my biggest cheerleader and she supports me in whatever I do. I love her for that. This first year was hard but it makes me realize why I fell in love with this amazing women. Anita: Patience. She helps me with my lack of patience in a non-threatening way. That’s one of my issues and she gets that. She calls me on it and walks me through it in a loving way. 

What one word describes/characterizes your union? Anita: True: Our love is true. Our relationship is true. It is true and it is a God-sent. When people see us as an united front, that’s the truth---that’s true. Wendy: God. I think we are part of His perfect plan and His timing. For example, working on her patience. I am at a place where I can help now. God has His Hand on us. Whatever the challenges, we rose above all of them.

You can also find Anita and Wendy at the following links:
Happy Anniversary Anita and Wendy!!!!

(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.

Create Love Founders
Imani Evans and SharRon Jamison 


  1. Great interview. Happy that they are doing good and right by each other! Congrats Anita and Wendy.

  2. I Love the Interview .... it brought a huge smile to my heart. Me and My Girl always at it and i know i messed up alot... But she Contribute to my hurt, at the same time . I know .. we love each other... very deeply .. Words can't explain. I was feeling down until i read your interview and viewing your pictures... They are so amazing... I felt the strong intense love as i read it and looking at the photos.... Felt like i was there. I really enjoyed them very much. I pray one day i will have a love so strong and likewise from my partner. This made me want to work even harder on my relationship. Just the feeling of putting in my all and not getting it back in return. i know it takes two. Thank you for sharing this.... With Love and Much Hopes.. God Bless you both... Happy Anniversary. ( i know i am late) lol... But Congratulations !!!