How We Met
I met Monique at The Source. Literally. We met at a youth gathering called “The Source”. So you could say our connection started out on spiritual grounds. That was back in 2005. Monique was 4 years fresh out of Jamaica, and had stumbled on a church that would later be her home. One week after, she stumbled on the man who would later become her husband ;) She approached me only 60 seconds after being in the same room. A vivacious soul, with an almost supernatural heart of gold, I felt her warm, loving energy from the very beginning. She walked over to me as if she was a regular at The Source, though it had only been her first week. The next few days, weeks and months were colored with lots of batting eyes, coy smiles and tons of laughs. We were only 16 at the time. And after a few short adventures, she had become my best friend. We so easily fell in love, I can’t even tell you exactly when it happened. But we were inspired by the models we had of healthy, loving relationships in our community and very naturally became a couple. We later become members of a non-profit organization called “Hearts Of Fire”(HOF) that allowed us to celebrate our creative talents while spreading hope all over the world. Being in HOF together, allowed us to learn so much more about each other, on a more intimate spiritual level. my promise Yet after only a year together, Monique got the letter that she was accepted into her dream school: Binghamton University! I chose to stay closer to home for college, which meant 4 years of doing the long distance thing. We had already talked about marriage and our future together but it just wasn’t the right time. After her 21st birthday, I surprised her with a promise ring. I couldn’t tell her when we would finally tie the knot but I wanted her to know that my love was unwavering and that I promised my heart to her, way back when we were 16. 4 years turned to 6, when Monique decided to go for her masters but the distance strengthened us in ways we wouldn’t have been otherwise. In the meantime, I grew more involved with our HOF family, traveling the world and building a stronger character & bond with them. By the time Monique was back in NYC, we were like glue, seeing each other almost every day and growing so rapidly towards a beautiful stable life. It had been 12 years since the start of us, and I knew it was time!
how they asked
Over the years many of our close friends had gotten married and we were happy to celebrate their union every time. We without doubt have had the longest relationship we knew of, outside of marriage. But we have two younger friends, Jared & Ana, as enamored with each other as we were at their age. We have grown so accustomed to witnessing other relationships that blossom to marriage that I thought it would be beautifully ironic to fake a proposal between our friends. So I told Monique that we would be having a joint picnic with two other close couples we know! She was so excited, she came up with awesome picnic ideas and things to bring, but I had already chosen the spot and set everything up! Once we got there, my sister asked us all to take a photo in front of the stunning Hudson river skyline. Seemingly swept up by the beauty of the moment, our friend Jared Knelt down before Ana and pulled out a closed box. Monique, like everyone else froze while I took out my phone to record the moment. Everyone waited for Jared to open the box, but he instead stood to his feet and said, “Something doesn’t feel right”. Then he shouted out a signal, and three of my closest friends marched towards us in a line, all decked out in HOF gear, and chanting “When I was young he put a fire in my chest”! Then Jared humbly declared “today, is a momentous occasion, but at last I must confess we are not here for me” . The group proclaimed our full names, before placing a custom HOF leather man jacket on my shoulders, a symbol personally made that we were truly high school sweethearts. Then I knelt down before my true love. The guys drew their swords above our heads and after 12 thrilling years with the love of my life, I finally asked: “Monique Kimberly Armstrong, will you at last…be MY Black Queen?”
She said YES! I finally removed our precious promise ring and replaced it with our forever ever ring. Crying of course, she grabbed onto me and we held each other in such a beautiful moment of intimate joy. After tons of giddy jumping, lots of kisses and some photos, we kept walking to find the perfect spot for our picnic. When we got to the top of the hill, she started crying when she noticed that her family and friends were waiting there to rejoice with us. It was such a cheerful moment to share together. We spent the rest of our day enjoying a picnic, and celebrating into the sunset.
Here’s to the beginning of forever!