The following post is written by my friend Timothy Woods about how he met and fell in love with his soon-to-be wife LaKisha Campbell. Be sure to check out Tim’s website as well as follow him on Twitter. Also, see what LaKisha is writing about on her blog and also follow her on Twitter.
Lakisha changed my perception on relationships when I first met her in a bar, two and a half years ago. A big sports fan and an alumnus of the University of Maryland, she had come in to watch a Maryland vs. Duke basketball game on TV. I was the DJ who was also in charge of the television controls. When I accidentally changed the TV with the Maryland game, she walked up to me with her braids and cute smile and asked me to switch the game back on. Later on, I’d ask for her number. A week later we went to the Bohemian Caverns on U-Street in Washington, D.C. for an Open Mic and Spoken Word night. The audience was an eclectic group of artists: Young women sharing personal stories about their relationships, both good and bad, young men sharing their experiences about feeling pressure to challenge stereotypes and perceptions. And there was a fair share of poets who had us laughing in our seats. At the end of our date, we talked in-depth about our lives and our faith, and I realized what I wanted…
Someone who would make me a better man.
Lakisha inspired me to focus on setting and achieving new goals. At the time we met, she had been single for several years in the District of Columbia, where the ratio of available men (especially African-American men) to women is widely skewed. And I had been out of college for several years, and I was getting tired of the party scene. I had moved to DC from New York for a job in government. But I had a variety of challenges as a single man finding exactly what I wanted. I found so many friends who were in town for school, or for an internship, or moving back home. After a year in town, I was getting invited to “going away parties” almost every weekend. For so many people, DC was only temporary, and that makes it a great place to network and meet new people in the short term, but it can be a difficult place if you’re potentially looking to settle down.
I knew I wanted someone with faith, and I had found her.
Our faith grew together in a variety of ways. We had both coped with the deaths of our fathers, she as a teenager, me while in college. And we had both lost touch with the church. Re-discovering our faith at the same time connected us spiritually. Discussing our relationship with God was the first of many ways that we assessed our spirituality. And we found and became members of a church we both love. We truly believe that our faith brought us closer.
Our spirituality also made us look back to our past.
Lakisha shared her stories with me about how she had found men who weren’t interested in “anything serious,” or who had lost art of inviting a woman out on a “real date.” She also revealed how men were often intimidated by her career. The more I came to know her; I asked myself, “What were these guys asking her to do? Should she quit her job in the “hopes” that a man would come along and not be threatened by it?” Her experiences had led to some heartbreak, and we collectively recognized that sometimes you can train yourself to be so focused on not being hurt, that you may end up closing yourself off to everyone and potentially missing out on meeting someone who is perfect for you.
The moment I knew we were meant to be:
Last year, Lakisha planned a surprise 30th birthday party for me. She gathered together a group of my friends, family and co-workers in D.C, and had even arranged for my friends from my hometown in New York to come down and surprise me. Over 60 people showed up. I realized how blessed I was to have a wealth of friends, family and support. In our lives, there are those few moments where you look around and realize that we are exactly where we want to be. I looked at her and realized in that moment I wouldn’t change a thing.
The reason I fell in love with her:
I loved Lakisha for her optimism, and our shared passion for volunteering, travel, and music. Her outlook on life has been an inspiration to my professional and personal goals, and she has truly become my best friend in the time I’ve known her. She has inspired me to work to utilize my background in government and non-profits, to think of new ways, to develop a vision of possibilities for the kids that I mentor. I find that so many of my mentees are affected by a prevalence of low expectations and need more positive role models of all backgrounds who can be the champions they need in life. I want to inspire others to lead the charge to be those role models, and having someone like Lakisha, who shares my optimism is one of the most important qualities I could ask for in a future wife.
The next surprise:
On the morning of Saturday April 6th of 2013, I decided to take a page from Lakisha’s playbook of surprises. With help from several of her friends and family members, I was able to set up a “Fake birthday” party for her. I did this because she was born on Christmas Day, and had experienced a lifetime of people rolling two separate celebrations into one, by writing, P.S. Happy Birthday on her Christmas cards. The day began with me taking her to the Cherry Blossom Festival in D.C. As we walked around on that beautiful day, she had no idea that her friend Vicky was setting up decorations and food at her house. Her friends came to celebrate, some flying in from San Francisco, Chicago and even London. My favorite part of the day was that I was the only one who knew for sure that I would propose.
When we arrived back at her house, it was filled with our loved ones who had all joined together to say, “Surprise, happy birthday.” Her friend Adena created one of her famous homemade raspberry vanilla cakes. As Lakisha blew out the candles, everyone shouted, “Make a wish.” With her back turned, I quickly got down on one knee and held out a ring. As she turned around, I said “I hope that you wished to spend the rest of your life with me, because that’s what I want to do with you” and asked her to marry me. Lakisha stared down at her finger and quickly looked around the room in amazement as nearly everyone she would have wanted to call at that moment was already standing there, smiling.
Our wedding will take place this November in Annapolis, MD. We look forward to a lifetime of shared surprises, but that is one day in which we will be very hopeful for everything to go according to plan 🙂