...when love is intentful
There is loving someone for the sake of saying you love them, and then there is loving someone with actual intent. For partners of three years, Roc and Amber, every move towards each other they have made has been with intent. From waiting a year before moving in together so that Amber could finish her teaching position to Roc sitting just a couple inches closer to Amber when they are spending time together so that Amber’s love language of physical touch is fed. Every action, every word, every feeling of love is rooted in intent.
And when Amber was faced with an uncertain future due to a tumor found in her brain, intent continued to be the theme of their relationship. With intent, Roc let Amber joke her way through her diagnosis because she knew it would allow her to remain comfortable with something that wasn’t at all. With intent, Roc collected messages of warmth and support from all of Amber’s friends and family so that she went into her surgery feeling loved. And with intent, Roc remains present in their relationship as they navigate Amber’s recovery as a couple. So that no point will Amber question if Roc truly wants to be there or if she is up to the challenge. Because through intent, Roc continues to show that she does.
Watch parts of LBH’s conversation of love with Roc and Amber above or read it in full below:
How did you all meet? And how long have you all been together?
Roc: Three years ago she slid in my DMS on Twitter.
Amber: I found her very attractive, so I had stalked her on Twitter for like a week and slid in her DMS. And [now] here we are, honestly.
Can you pinpoint the moment you knew she was the one? (Asking both of you)
Amber: I think it was my second time traveling out here, and I was sleeping, and I thought I
was just having some crazy dream, but she had told me, I told her that I loved her in my sleep. I don't recall, and I didn't say it again out loud [after that]. But I do remember we took this trip to Detroit and we went to go see some friends. She was having like a launch party for her lashes and t-shirts. And I can just remember looking at her and was like, “yeah, this is who I'm supposed to be with.” I just felt very comfortable. Like this could be my life partner for the rest of my life. I enjoyed the thought of us lasting forever.
Roc: Our first year [we were together] she planned a surprise party for me, and our first year was long distance. So she was back home, which was Connecticut and she reached out to all of my friends, some of which she hadn't even met yet and they were all there. So I don't know if that was the first case of love, but that's when I was like, “Hm, okay, all right, I love her.” And since it hasn't turned off. I always look at her like, damn, you moving like a wife now. I got it. Let me step it up a little bit.
And what did that feeling [the moment you knew you were in love] feel like?
Roc: I felt relaxed. I didn't feel fearful. It was just like, okay, I got you. And now that I see that, I need to act accordingly.
Amber: I think mine was more like a feeling of realization because I'm like a Disney princess. I think about the big ball gown weddings, me being sleeping beauty and the love of my life kissing me on my lips to make me realize that they are the love of my life. But that's not really how love looks for everybody or it's not how it looks for me. It [her love] felt real. Like I want to settle down with this person. I see myself buying a house with her. I see myself wanting to marry her. I see myself just living with her. I didn’t really see all that in my old relationships, I didn’t see any longevity in them. They were stepping stones. But [when] I look at her, I can see my significant other for the rest of my life.
"It feels like this is where I'm supposed to be. I'm grounded. I see. 15, 40, 60 years with her. I see going to the casket with her. I don't think I've ever seen that before."
Let’s talk about love languages. In what ways do you all feed each other’s love languages?
Amber: My [first] love language is physical touch, and then it would be words of affirmation and acts of service. And I feel like she just does them for me all the time and it's never asked. I don't really have to beg or ask more than once. I can literally just be watching TV and something will pop up and I'm like, “oh, I like that.” And next thing I know it’s at the doorstep. [I can say] I think I want sushi today and next thing I know there's sushi on our table. Her acts of service go far and beyond. And I feel like I'm clingy, but she never makes me feel like it. It's always welcomed and she's always embracing me. Holding my hand, patting me on the butt and opening the door for me. Just doing real cutesy stuff that I enjoy.
Roc: I say my top two are: words of affirmation and quality time. And she will gas me all day everyday. And quality time, like this, just sitting here. We could [just] be watching a movie and [it’s] perfect for me. I'm a homebody. And it’s not like a chore or anything, it just feels like this is what we do.
So you've relocated to be with Roc [to Amber]. How was that experience for both of you guys? How did the conversation of you all moving in together come up?
Amber: I think it was more of like, I don't see myself doing long distance for longer than a year. So if we're going to take that step, we're going to be serious. And it wasn't like I didn't get to see her all the time because her old position had her work four days on four days off. So those four days she was off she was in Connecticut anyway. She was always with me, but it didn't feel like she was with me. So when we had the conversation, she was just like, oay, when do you want to do this? I [had] just signed a contract to teach back home so I had to finish the school year. And I think three months into that school year, I was like, I'm ready to move now. But she's real big on commitment and told me that I had to stick with it.
Have you guys ever felt like it was difficult to feed each other’s love languages?
Amber: I think that it was very easy gassing her because she just does stuff that I'm not used to, or I have never seen, or I have not been accustomed to. The way she moves is very solid to me. [So] still being able to compliment her or affirm her on what she's doing is really easy because I mean that from the bottom of my heart. When I say, I love what you're doing, or babe, that dope or that's awesome, or you fly or you can dress your ass off or you're blazing, I mean all of that because that's how I feel about her.
How do you guys work through the challenges that you face in your relationship at times?
Roc: Early on, we had to, because we did the long distance and had to adjust to being in each other's space. I had been[living] by myself for like five plus years. So having someone in my space all the time was different. I'm really, really quiet, so my house is normally really really quiet. She is not very quiet. But we just talked about it. And at first we moved like roommates, so we had to sit down and be like, listen, we're not roommates. If we are going to eat, let's make food for everybody and let's eat together. We saw it [the issue], we spoke about it, each one of us accepted what the other person was saying and [then] made moves to make it (change) happen.
Amber: Yeah. I feel like what she says about the roommate thing is true because fresh out of college I had ended up living with one of my twin brothers. So I had to realize, like, you're not living with your brother anymore. You're here with your life partner. You'll have to figure stuff out and learning her communication style is a whole different ball game too. I'm very vocal, so if I have an issue with something it's going to be known that I have an issue. She's more about action. She doesn't say much. If I say “bae I don’t like this,” it’s fixed within that week or we end up having a discussion [about an issue] after she’s thought about it. I act out emotion most of the time. I want you to talk back to me right now. I don't want you to think about it, I don't want you to sleep on it. But I’m learning that she's sleeping on it and thinking about it because she needs to act on it, let’s me know to leave her alone and let her do what she needs to process it so we can figure it out together. Nine times out of ten she’s processes it and it’s (the problem) is changed.
You guys have come to be known on social media for your thoughtful gifts to one another. How important is gift giving in a relationship?
Amber: I think what's really funny about that [is that receiving gifts] is at the bottom of our rating for the test that we took together on love languages. We really don't care about gift giving. I think that she just really pays attention to me. And I think you could say the same (looks over to Roc), we are just very attentive. So little things like her buying the Connect Four [game for me], it blew my mind. Many people may not know, but all I do is sit in the house and play games. And especially since after surgery, the whole cognitive training and occupational therapy, they want me to focus on card sorting and playing UNO or playing connect four or monopoly. Just getting my brain back to doing what I used to do and just trying to get used to stuff again.So for her to like, I don't know, I can't put it into words. I'm about to cry. It was just cool to see that she knew, okay, well, her occupational therapist wanted her to do this, so let me get a Connect Four board with our names in it.
Roc: Is it important? No. [But] I think just being appreciated is important. So the gift could be me coming home and there's dinner. It doesn't have to necessarily be something like a pair of shoes or anything like that. So it's not that it's not that big [of a deal] but once you get it and you realize the thought behind it, that part is.
Amber: Yeah, that is the biggest part, the thought behind the gifts. You took the words of my mouth.
I see that you both are creatives/small business owners in your own right. How do you all balance your careers within your relationship?
Roc: So her art thing has just gone crazy and quickly. But right now it just works. We both are still working. So while I'm at work, she's here (at home) doing her thing and I'll come home and I may go do my thing for a little while. But at around eight o'clock every night, we put our stuff away and we'll chill for a little while until we're ready to go to bed. And even while we're working, we'll still talk to each other about stuff.
Amber, you mentioned earlier about the surgery that you had. What was that experience like? And in what ways did it impact your relationship?
Amber: So I got diagnosed early on, in January right after my birthday, actually. We had my birthday celebration and then I went to the doctors and got diagnosed. I don't really like hard things and heavy things, so I joke about things. So to acknowledge the fact that I had a tumor in my head, I always diddle-daddle around it. I didn't really feel comfortable talking about it and she just, I don't know, like she knows me. So if I didn't want to talk about it, she found a way to make me comfortable about talking about it.
"So I don't know if that was the first case of love, but that's when I was like, “Hm, okay, all right, I love her.” And since it hasn't turned off. I always look at her like, damn, you moving like a wife now. I got it. Let me step it up a little bit."
But when it came down to the day of pre-op, I think like everything had really stood still for me. I knew my family was going to hold me down regardless and I knew that I had a good home base of best friends. Like I know I have three solid people who are going to hold me down regardless, but to find that in a life partner wasn't realistic to me. I didn't think, okay, well she wants to be around for this. If we were having fun, who wants to do something serious right now? So, I gave her the out. Because I'm going to have brain surgery and when you hear brain surgery, you think, oh my God, that's a deathbed. That's what I thought at least, so I just really gave her the out. Like, listen, [if] this is too hard for you and you don't want to do this because I don't think anybody deserves or wants to be somebody's caregiver. But she shut all that down. I don't do not explain it honestly. I just felt like you're okay. You're going to be okay.
[And then] she got everybody who I talk to on Twitter, she got my best friend and family from
back home, and she curated this bomb video of everybody just sending their positive affirmations and [saying] that I was going to be okay and that I was going to see it through. She's been here, that's the best way I can say it. She’s made it very easy for me to go through this because it's been a very difficult process. She doesn't make it feel like it's difficult though. She makes it seem like it's very easy. She’ll say, I see that you're tired and you're overworking yourself, you need to come and sit it down. Or come take a nap. Take your medicines. Or ask, did you take your vitamins today? When is your therapy today? And if I'm having a breakdown, guess who was right there? “It's okay to cry, to break down. It's all right. You're upset, be upset. You're angry, be angry. You can't walk that long anymore, okay? You're not an athlete right now, that's okay.”
She just has my back like no other. I'm well taken care of. My grandmother just called me yesterday, and she's an overly emotional lady, but I love it because she just says what’s on her heart. And she was just like, “I want to thank Roc because, it's not that you don't even need to be taken care of because you're an adult, but I feel secure with you being out of state and being with that woman, because I know she's going to love you and take care of you like you were here at home.” And that solidified everything that could have just said in 10 minutes.
Okay last question, how does it feel to be loved by her?
Amber: It's natural. Even feeding back into my Disneyland conversation and feeling like I was supposed to be a Disney princess, I don't think that that's how that's supposed to work. Watching my father and my stepmother, who've been married going on 13 years, and how they operate, they make it look so easy. And Roc makes it feel so easy. I don't feel like we have to argue. I don't feel like we have to fight. Even when we are watching the shows we watch and we always talk about damn, like every couple goes through that big hump? What is ours going to be? For all we know it could have been the brain stuff, it could have been the surgery? But it's just, it's very easy. It feels like this is where I'm supposed to be. I'm grounded. I see. 15, 40, 60 years with her. I see going to the casket with her. I don't think I've ever seen that before. So that might be my Disney, that might be me being Cinderella.
Roc: She stole my word. I was going to say natural (laughs). It's like you get up and it's like, oh, hey babe. You go to work, come home. Hey babe I'm home. It just feels like the path I'm supposed to be on. I like it.
Written by: Kee Simone, LBH Editor-in-Chief (@thebaddiegalore)