Photo Credit: Photo Courtesy Of Charles & Shireen Kuykendoll
Black Love Day: From Long-Distance Love To A Same City Fairytale
As we celebrate Black Love Day, we want to highlight timeless love stories filled with endless laughs and commitment.
We recently spoke with Shireen Kuykendoll to learn how her long-distance love story, turned into a fairytale ending.
Travel Noire: When did the two of you start dating? How long have you been together?
Shireen: Charles and I started dating in April 2012, but didn’t make it official until June 2012. We got married July 8, 2016.
Travel Noire: Initially, how far were you living from each other?
Shireen: Charles was always in New York City, and I was between Indiana and Atlanta. When we started dating, we were both living in NYC, but I had just been accepted to graduate school in Indiana. So we knew I would be leaving soon.
Travel Noire: Did the distance make dating difficult?
Shireen: We had to be creative in seeing one another. Charles was from Chicago, so sometimes he would fly in, and we would spend the weekend at his parents house. Other times I would drive 2-hours to pick him up, and we would head right back to my campus apartment. Looking back I don’t know how we did it.
Travel Noire: After graduation, did things get easier?
Shireen: After I graduated, I got a job in Atlanta and the plan was for Charles to move to Atlanta with me. However, he ended up starting a new job and was really excelling in his career. I didn’t want to make him miss that opportunity. We were long-distance for about another year and half.
Travel Noire: How did you keep the spark alive all those years?
Shireen: I think for us, it was communication. We talked all the time! It’s easy for small arguments to turn into not speaking for days when you are long distance. Charles and I gave one another space but always tried to resolve things within a day or two.
We also tried to plan things when we went to each other’s cities. We would have date days, activities with friends, or stay at home to cook dinner together or catch up on a show. We tried to still that normal relationship feeling even though we were only seeing one another about 5-6 days a month.
Travel Noire: How did you make the move to sharing one home?
Shireen: In May 2015, Charles lured me to NYC for the weekend and proposed. At that point, it had been 3 years, and I was OVER the distance. I got a temp job and quit my full time role in Atlanta to move back to NYC. I knew it was risky quitting a full time job for a temporary contract. But I knew God hadn’t brought us this far to leave. So, I stepped out on faith.
Travel Noire: What does Black Love mean to you?
Shireen: Black love is beautiful. I love to see Black people being in love and passing that love down to their children. I pray the next generation knows that love and commitment are cool because they saw it in their parents and aunties and uncles. Black love feels like home.
Travel Noire: If you had to pick a song to dedicate to your husband for Black Love Day, what would it be and why?
Shireen: A Couple of Forevers by Chrisette Michele. We have been through so much together. There is no one I would rather do life with. When we got together we had nothing, and were working to see one another without breaking the bank on flight costs. Charles is my best friend and I pray our love continues to grow from now until forever.