Welcome to February and our annual Black Love Role Models Series! Each Wednesday we will be featuring a couple you should know who exemplify Black Love and give God glory in their relationship or marriage. I met Pastors Keith and Tiffany Strong when I shared a panel discussion with them last year. We immediately shared a common interest in reaching the urban faith community in the areas of relationships.
Keith and Tiffany represent a family that is Black, Blended and Strong, as they have led in multimedia messages and discussions to help those with kids date and marry with wisdom. Without further delay, meet the Strongs!
BLISS: What is your experience in serving God together and what can singles learn about serving God in their future relationships?
Strongs: Our experience in serving God together was divine. We meet in the house of God, and we both had our own real personal relationship with God while we were both single. We both pull from one another, and where one is weak the other strengthens. But foremost, as a single Christian, you must be focused on God, and not be distracted by the idea of marriage that you miss God and you marry a counterfeit.
You must never idolize relationships and marriage because God should always be first. Your life should be in order God first, your spouse, your children and then your career. You should always be occupied in God’s word so that you know you are in his perfect will for your life.
BLISS: Tell us what made you want to start Black, Blended & Strong?
Strongs: There really wasn’t a blueprint or any models for blended families around us. The word of God is a heterosexual book from a traditional family point of view. The only model of a blended family was Jesus. So we wanted to use our journey and what God took us through as a blended family to help single parents that are waiting and new blended families.
Blending two different families from two totally different backgrounds and cultures is not easy and definitely is not for the faint at heart.
But, we also believe and know God is sending Revival to the inner cities and ghettos of America, and the people from these sectors are going to come to the house of God. Most of them will be single parents that will want to be married. Our motto is: “If you keep the family alive, you will keep the church alive”.
BLISS: What is a common misconception that people have about dating someone with kids?
Strongs: One of the main misconceptions of people that have kids are that they all have Baby Daddy and Baby Mama drama and that’s not true at all. Another misconception is that a person is still involved or in love with their child’s mother or father and that can be so far from the truth.
BLISS: What is your top word of advice for single parents who desire to marry?
Strongs: Don’t settle for anybody or anything just because you feel like you have been waiting too long. Always remember that your children are watching you, and picking the wrong spouse can destroy their future as well as yours.
You’re a package deal! They can’t love you and hate your children. They must love you and your children and if they can’t or won’t, you need to RUN!
BLISS: What is a common issue that arises in blended families in the beginning of the marriage? What is the best way of addressing those issues?
Strongs: There are several issues that arise in blended families in the beginning of the marriage:
1.) It is very hard for previous single parents to relinquish control, especially for mothers. They have started a business, earned several degrees, and purchased their first home. They have made all of these accomplishments while being a single mother. So it makes it very hard for them to not take the lead and follow; and it’s not that they don’t want to but they don’t know how.
2.) Blending two different families from two totally different backgrounds and cultures is not easy. Both families especially the parents have different views on finances, discipline and etc. So you have to be strategic about blending your family together while meeting everyone’s needs and figuring out what will or will not work for this new blended family dynamic.
3.) Setting boundaries with the biological parents are important when you are a Christian family. You have to respect each other’s roles in the children lives. No bad-mouthing biological or step parents in front of children. All parents involved must present a united front for the children. If you don’t it will always create confusion and drama between all families and this is not healthy for the children involved.
The best way to address these issues is first and foremost, you should always be led by the Holy Spirit and should do nothing in the flesh. Always be fair. Treat people how you would want to be treated. Always remember that your children are watching.
BLISS: What is one thing in marriage that all singles need to know before they say “I do”?
Strongs: In your vows we declare for better and for worse, but deep in our hearts we are only excited and ready for the better. We never take in consideration what the worst could be or if we are even able to handle it. But always remember when you say I do, it doesn’t only include for the better but it most definitely includes for the worst. Be ready, always keep God first and remember divorce is not an option.
BLISS: What’s your take on Black Love? What does it mean to you?
Strongs: When we think of the essence of Black Love, we are always reminded of the struggle of Blacks. When we didn’t have anything, when all odds were against us, we had each other. Our families became are most important commodity. If you don’t have family, you ain’t got nothing. The Black family is how legacy and wealth is born. The family is the strongest corporation you can ever have.
Thank you again to the Strong family for sharing their wisdom! You can support their cause Black, Blended & Strong on Facebook and Instagram. They host a weekly live show on Facebook with special guests and topics that cover what they shared with us in this feature.