It only takes a few moments to realize that Stephanie and Alexis Foo love one another in ways that songwriters often seek to describe.
Of course, as two Black women in a same-gender marriage, some might assume that their relationship differs from the traditional, if not more acceptable form of love.
But to draw such a narrow conclusion when attempting to understand the bond these two women – these two wives – share and the love they have for each other, would be a profound error.
Just as God’s garden has an abundance of different kinds of flowers, Stephanie and Alexis illustrate how their love, while it may take a less common form, still exudes that indescribable beauty that only manifests itself when true love exists.
“I heard that Alexis had a crush on me back in high school but I was older than her and involved with someone else then,” Stephanie said. “But several years later, I looked her up on social media and shot her a note. I was curious. That’s how we started to get to know each other and then begin to date.”
Was it love at first sight? It seems that was the case for Alexis.
“Yes, I knew she was the one for me and I remember that I liked everything about her. She was neat and clean and took care of herself. She was funny and caring – she cared about people. That was important to me,” Alexis said.
Stephanie and Alexis, after dating for six years, decided to marry – to make it “permanent.” Stephanie admits that marriage had not been on her mind as much as it had been something which Alexis mentioned on occasion. But she had no objections.
“I considered Alexis my forever girlfriend. And although I didn’t want to try to fit in a box or feel like we were following the cliched, married couple, I wanted to be with her. So, we got married on July 4th. In a way, it was the day that I gave up my independence. And I was willing to do it – for her,” Stephanie said.
Naturally, the two sometimes disagree, like any couple does. But they said they have developed a way to overcome misunderstandings which keeps things from escalating.
“I usually shut down pretty quickly when we argue. And I cry easily. But Stephanie knows that and so she’s quick to come to me and ask me what’s wrong. She wants us to come to some kind of resolution,” Alexis said.
“I don’t like to see her cry. So, I’m okay with saying she’s right – at that moment anyway. Yeah, I will let her win. But later, I usually return to the subject and try to convince her that I was right and to see it my way. I guess that’s kind of my personality. It works for us,” Stephanie said.
Both agreed that love begins with loving oneself.
“You have to love yourself before you can love someone else,” Alexis said.
“Marriage is about two people. Both have to be self-assured. And both have to feel that they’re getting something positive from the relationship. But loving someone else is impossible if you don’t love yourself,” Stephanie concurred.
Alexis said she learned about love by watching her family – for Stephanie it was a little different. But both agreed that love is both a precious gift and something worth fighting for.
“My grandparents remained married until death and my parents are still together, so I want that, too. But marriage requires making time for one another – time for fun. We still go on dates and we love to celebrate our anniversary. It’s a big event for us and we invite all of our friends and our family,” Alexis said.
“My bank statement proves that we go on dates every weekend,” Stephanie said. “I like over the top kinds of things. Not the typical kinds of things people do for fun. And the two years before the pandemic, for our anniversary celebration we had 75 guests one year and 100 the next. We make sure that we do things together and have a good time together. We make sure we don’t take each other for granted.”
“I know that a lot of people say that because they may have been raised in a broken home, or by a single parent, or grew up in a bad environment, that love is foreign to them. But for me that’s an excuse. You don’t have to allow negative cycles to continue from one generation to another. I wanted to make sure my love and my marriage were something that gave others hope and inspired them,” Stephanie said.
Stephanie and Alexis are now raising a little boy together and they said while they don’t agree on every method of childrearing, their differences remain compatible.
“Stephanie is the teacher and I’m more of the nurturer. We’re a good team in that regard,” Alexis said. “We just want our son to be a good person and become the kind of person and man who does the right thing because he knows it’s the right thing to do.”
How do they keep the fire burning? Both agreed – communication.
“You have to listen to your partner. You have to talk. And you also should understand that it’s best to share your fears and doubts with your partner not with others. Because there are those who while they may seem to be in your corner or your friend, actually want to see your marriage fail. We were meant to be together and we were meant to be married. I feel safe with my wife and I know she’ll never let anything happen to me or to our son.” Alexis said.
Editor’s Note: An old school song from the ’70s by the Four Tops reminds me of the love shared between Stephanie and Alexis. “Ain’t No Woman (Like the One I’ve Got)” begins this way:
Every day the sun comes up around her
She can make the birds sing harmony
Every drop of rain is glad it found her
Heaven must have made her just for me
When she smiles so warm and tender
A sight for sore eyes to see
Ooh (ain’t no woman like the one I’ve got)
Oh, no, they don’t come better
(To make her happy doesn’t take a lot)
She don’t ask for things, no diamond rings
(So together, like a hand in glove)
Like pages in a letter
(Ain’t no woman like the one I love)