Names: Brandon and Brandi Carson
Class years: 2005 and 2006
Number of years married: Seven Years
Current location: Houston, TX
1. Where did you meet?
During the spring of my junior year, I was minding my business and visiting some Spelman dorms on a Wednesday afternoon with one of my fraternity brothers. During the course of our time on campus, we happened to be inside of McAlpin Hall talking to the desk aids inside of the dorm office on the first floor. Without warning, a Spelmanite I had never seen before, walked into the office, looked at my frat brother and me, asked the desk aids why we were in the dorm before visitation time, and promptly kicked us out of the dorm… From that very moment, I was hooked!
I was on duty as a Resident Assistant one evening and made my way down to the front office for the Desk Aid shift change. As I did so, Brandon and his friend were making conversation with the Desk Aide. And me being the efficient and dutiful RA that I was, I politely asked them to leave since they weren’t visiting anyone in the dorm. We couldn’t have any stragglers in our midst.
2. How did you know he/she was “the one”?
After I graduated from Morehouse in 2005, Brandi and I were dating, but I wasn’t necessarily looking to settle down. I was working in Atlanta, during her senior year and it dawned on me that after she graduated there was a real possibility that our relationship may end. At that point, I really couldn’t imagine living life without her – as cliché as it sounds, I just knew that she was the woman that was destined to be my wife. In my mind, the moment we decided to enter into a long distance relationship after her graduation in 2006, was our first step on the road toward marriage two year later.
When I finally decided that I was going to give Brandon a chance, there was a still small voice that told me he was the one. I actually knew that a lot earlier before he did, but at the beginning of my senior year, I knew there was no way that I could ever be without him.
3. How did he propose?
I was interning with an Event Planner in DC who had a client who was a Fashion Boutique Owner. The client was having a fashion show and I volunteered to be a model. After the Fashion Show, there was a Reception scheduled. It was during that Reception, Brandon asked the band leader for the microphone and I had no idea what was going on. From the microphone, Brandon asked me on-stage. From there, all I remember was him getting down on one knee and me crying tears of joy incessantly. So much so, that I actually have no idea what he said! But being the Morehouse Man that he is, he had already carefully prepared his speech in an email. So, thankfully, he emailed it to me the following week so I could relive the moment anytime I wanted to.
4. What do you think are the guidelines for a successful marriage?
#1: Communicate. We have found that no matter what issue we are facing, if we can sit down and talk about it, we can almost always come up with a solution together. This is definitely easier said than done, but always give it a valiant effort.
#2: Don’t keep score. Spouses are on the same team. You have to be there to help the other person grow and flourish. If you don’t think you can do that, then you might be in a bit of trouble.
#3: Offer Grace. You’re not perfect and neither is your spouse. Give each other room to be human and be quick to forgive when the other person doesn’t meet your expectations.
5. What makes you such good friends?
The thing that allows us to be such good friends is that our relationship has always been based on our friendship. Before we even began dating, we made sure that we had a firm foundation as friends. We love to laugh and joke with each other and always have a good time. Also, we try our best to be very transparent with each other about everything. We also try to over communicate about everything just to ensure we are both on the same page about anything in our lives. Because we recognize we are two different people and don’t share the same brain, we like to ensure the other person is fully aware about feelings, opinions and situations, not matter how small. And while that is a LOT of work and a LOT of talking, our friendship and relationship is much better off because of it.
6. What are your money management tips for newlyweds?
Our advice for newlyweds regarding money management is to not be afraid to talk about it! We think that money conversations are probably some of the most difficult, but most necessary to have. A lot of times, when you first get married, you don’t realize that you and your spouse are both bringing different expectations and philosophies about money management into the relationship. If these expectations and philosophies are not discussed and carefully managed you can find yourself in a very tumultuous situation. As a newlywed you have to also consider the possibility that the way you have looked at money management during your single life, might not be the best perspective for you and your spouse as a married couple.
Also, learn each other’s money language. This is going to be key in understanding how each of you view money and is going to make some of those ‘tough’ conversations a little easier because you can better understand your spouse’s philosophy and approach towards money, finances, and wealth.
7. Has your marriage changed since you had children? How? (ages/how many)
We don’t currently have any children, but look forward to taking that step in our relationship! We’ve had conversations about how the privilege and responsibility of being a parent will change our lives for the better. And when we do get to that point, we realize that while our children will be a focus for us, they won’t be the main focus of our marriage. We have learned from other couples throughout our lives that your marriage and friendship still has to be and remain a priority, even with children in the picture. Especially, because we know children grow up and move out one day and we will still be there with each other. We have the wonderful blessing of being able to surround ourselves with like-minded Christian married couples with children and fortunately for us, we have the opportunity to see how they do it before we take the plunge! We get to sit, study and learn from their marriage and parenting lessons before adding children to our family.
8. Has there been any significant event that has changed your marriage? What was the event? How did it change your relationship?
One event that significantly changed our marriage was when we took the plunge into working together as entrepreneurs two years into our marriage. Our company, Posh & Private Event Design, although it is not a human being, does have all the demands of a small child! After we started the company, we had to be a lot more intentional about consistently creating time, space, and opportunity for us to spend quality time together. Since both of us overachievers and we are typically around each other all day, every day, we have to make sure we stop working at a reasonable hour in order to spend time together. It doesn’t always work, but we certainly try our best! Because we know we are establishing a legacy for our family, we both understand that small sacrifices have to be made now so we and our family can benefit later.
9. What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life as a couple?
The most important lesson we have learned in life as a couple is that no matter what life throws at you, you can tackle it together as a couple. We always hold our relationship with God, both individually and collectively, at the forefront of our marriage, and that allows us to not worry about any curveballs that life throws in our direction.
10. Where will we be in 10 years? 20 years?
In 10 years, we will be approaching the 20 year mark in our marriage, have a few children (at least 2, but no more than 5), and have expanded our business internationally. Hopefully, in 20 years we will have “retired” and will have at least one of our children in school at either Morehouse or Spelman. We’ve decided we won’t pressure them to go there, but those will be the only HBCUs we will pay for.
11. Do you have a favorite memory about any of the following?…Operation Olive Branch, Market Fridays, The Strip, Stegalls, Club Woody?
Some of my favorite memories while matriculating through Morehouse occurred on the campus of Spelman College between 3:00pm – 6:00pm every Friday at Market Friday. As a Greek on campus, I found any and every reason to find some of my Sigma brothers and head over to Spelman to get around some local ATL music and stroll for hours on end. All of the stroll-offs, chants, vendors, and occasional fights always made for an interesting start to the weekend! Market Fridays during my senior year were especially memorable because Brandi and I had just started dating at the time, and although she didn’t frequent Market Friday as much as I did, she would always make effort to come down and see me and we would talk for a while before I headed back to my campus.
Unlike my eloquent and articulate husband, I will simply plead the 5th. 😉