WHEN Marvine and Zeelah Davis and their two adorable children walked into the garden at Jamaica Pegasus hotel for their interview with Family and Faith Magazine there was an air of great comfort and easy-going love. The couple was visibly affectionate, with a smile, a laugh, and a kiss lingering not too far from the corners of their lips.
We met up with the Davises to talk about love and glean from them some of the lessons they have learnt after serving as couples' ministry leaders in their local church for over a decade.
Let's delve into their engaging love story and also hear what they have learnt from the stories of others.
In love since college days
After more than 20 years of love, some married couples can understandably get tired of each other, or simply lose the 'fire'. Well, not Marvine and Zeelah. The two lovebirds, who met in college many years ago, have maintained a strong, thriving friendship, oftentimes finishing each other's thoughts and sentences.
A sense of humour is also one of the key characteristics of this fun-loving couple, displayed in their two different recollections of how they first met.
According to Marvine, “We met at Exed [Excelsior Community College] and he [Zeelah] was actually checking another girl when we met, so he doesn't remember that we were introduced, but I remember being introduced to him at Exed library,” she said with a chuckle and a gleam in her eye.
Zeelah, on the other hand, remembers it another way: “Marvine was the friend of a guy who was my best friend at the time. So we were just joking around one day and I said, 'Yuh need to decide if a me yuh like or a him yuh like,' and I remember she just started to hang around me. So that is what I remember,” he finishes off with a smile.
Even if the story of how they met is still up for debate, their commitment and love for each other are clearly anchored.
Asked how they knew that marriage was the next step for them after dating for several years, the couple testified of having the “peace of God”.
“One day he was on the bus and the Lord said to him, 'How can you get married without asking me?' and he actually, at that point, prayed about it and said, 'Lord, is it your will for me to get married to Marvine?' And that was when he said the peace came over him, and he was really good with the idea that this was it,” shared Marvine.
“For me, it was the same. I prayed about it,” she continued. “We had a lot of things in common and, just praying about it and getting that peace and knowing that the person feels the same way like you, that was really what did it for us,” she said.
Over the years, Marvine and Zeelah have managed to develop their individual careers in paralegal services and information technology, respectively, even as they build a beautiful life and expand their family with their children Jevon and Justine.
The simple things keep love alive
The pair have also spent more than 10 years spearheading and leading a couples ministry at their local church. Over the years, they have gained quite a bit of insight and wisdom on how to make a marriage successful. They offer that one of the key principles of a successful relationship is communication.
“Once one party stops talking and sharing, when one person decides that they are going to clamp down, that can be the beginning of demise,” explained Marvine, noting that there is always a lot to talk about.
“In the Bible, when it says that divorce was only allowed because of the hardening of someone's heart, it always comes back to communication, because if you stop communicating it means your heart can harden,” Zeelah added.
Besides the age-old principle of communicating effectively, the two stressed that couples need to focus on the simple things.
“Sometimes it is the simple things — apologising,” stressed Marvine. “Don't go to your bed vex. I've been in my bed vex already and the Lord said, 'Get up and apologise.' You have to be obedient,” confessed Zeelah. Offering more examples, Marvine added that sometimes you have to be prepared to extend an olive branch of love in simple ways.
“The Lord is not going to tell you to love each other as He loves us, and then when you have the opportunity to show the love, you withhold it. So if He says, 'Go mix him a glass of lemonade as a kind of olive branch,' yeah, man, go mix the lemonade! Be submissive and go mix lemonade and give him.”
Ultimately, the wise couple emphasised that you have to fight for love. Unwillingness to do these simple things is where the hardness of the heart comes from, the couple contends. “If you are not fighting for it, if you are not believing in what it is supposed to be, then you are either going to end up alone or it is not going to be a family any more,” they warned.
Join us next week for more about fighting for love.
Shelly-Ann Harris is author of God's Woman , president and founder of Family and Faith Magazine and a media, communication, change management professional. Connect with her on Twitter @Harrisshellyann.