I recently had the pleasure of chatting it up with the “always real”, down-to-earth LaShawn & April Daniels, co-stars of the Tamar & Vince show. When I was new to the blogging scene, they were one of the first celebrity couples I interviewed for BlackAndMarriedWithKids.com (you can check out that full interview here). I immediately became a superfan and loved what they stood for. I adored how they showed the world that there are in fact, happily married black couples making it work every day.
So when the opportunity presented itself to catch up with them, I didn’t hesitate. I was “yassss’ing” and “Amen’ing” pretty much throughout our interview, and I’m pretty sure you’ll do the same.
While their “Rock Out With Me” for Couples online course is currently sold out, stay tuned to the end of the interview for how you can rock it out with them during their next event.
What inspired you to take the “rock out with me” movement to another level with the couple’s edition?
April: It was just listening to the demands of our fan base. Initially, it was women with the Rock Out With Me Empowerment Tour, but we’ve always been an advocate of healthy relationships. That’s clearly our stance on the Tamar and Vince show. So we figured if people are asking for it, why not give it to them? We can do that with our eyes closed because it’s something near and dear to our hearts.
We were newlyweds once upon a time so it can be hard to find your rhythm. We figured if we could be transparent on TV, clearly we could do the same with this online platform. Everyone loves to paint marriage as a white picket fence, and the minute you get in there and it changes colors, your first thought is: “wait a minute this is not what it’s supposed to be. Maybe we made a mistake”. It’s all about sharing and letting people know they’re going to have those moments but there is so much more if you just stick it through.
We must’ve got divorced about 35 times in our heads in the beginning [laughs]. Some people don’t want to be real about that. We just really want to speak to our fan base and hopefully, speak to others who may not know who we are. We want people to know love is hard, marriage can be difficult but so worth it if you’re willing to hang in there.
LaShawn: That pretty much sums it up. If your memory serves you correctly, it started out as a couple thing. When you did the first interview with us, the whole “rock out with me” came from her saying it to me on the show. So it’s kind of like we’re bringing it back to the source.
What are 3 key takeaways/insights that couples will walk away from as a result of either “Date Night with the Daniels” or “Rock Out With Me” Couples Online Course?
LaShawn: I think the key things would be unity, communication and understanding. With those three components, any couple can get through anything – especially for new couples. The biggest challenge is using the “wrong” language: it’s not about taking down, it’s about communicating and understanding. The woman wants to be heard. The man wants to be heard. If you can make up in your mind that you both are in it together; if you can make up in your mind that you want to understand what your spouse is saying; if you can make up in your mind that you’re not going to get in your feelings when communicating: any situation can be conquered. These three things can build a healthy relationship. They are simple things but life can make it complicated. We both have wants and needs, but it’s how to get to those things so you’re both getting to what you want and need.
What are tips/strategies for calming down a heated discussion in order to keep unity, communication and respect factor in tact?
April: When couples are disagreeing, I think it’s very important that you take a minute before it escalates. At that point, we’re now in our emotions because we both want to be heard. We’re talking at each other instead of to each other. It helps when we first take note that we are bothered or upset. And that’s never where you want the relationship to go. At the end of the day, you have to be accountable for your actions.
Take a minute and come back. Definitely don’t go sleep in the guest room for three days. But if you need a minute or thirty, come back and get to a place where you both can be heard and understood. Sometimes we don’t understand what they’re saying and that’s fine. But you can’t rob them of the opportunity to express themselves in the moment where they felt you’ve done something they didn’t particularly care for. It doesn’t matter how many times you apologize, you can’t take words back. They will always sit in the lower part of that person’s heart.
What has been the key to a loving, nurturing and long-lasting relationship between the two of you?
April: One thing people don’t really get to see or know about me is that I’m super silly. Sometimes I’m so silly that I know Shawn wants to smack me upside my head because I’m a big kid. I think it’s very important to have a silly side to the relationship. Of course, you have the accountability with our faith. I’m always make sure I include God in the relationship for my husband, for myself and for my family. I want to have fun with my husband. I want to be able to laugh with him and just enjoy each other.
People get so caught up on this love thing. I love my husband without a doubt. But I really like my husband! Marriages and relationships are really lacking the like part. People tolerate each other because they said “I do”. I work every day to keep liking him. When you like your husband or your mate on top of love, oh my goodness: you guys can conquer the world together! People get so stuck on love. But how many times have we loved something that wasn’t good for us? Love will cloud your judgement. Yes you should love your spouse. But on top of that, you should be in like with them. He comes in the room sometimes, and I’m like, “wow, he’s my husband”!
Recently, I was inspired by the movie War Room to create affirmations specifically for my marriage. Where do you pull your daily inspiration from in order to keep that spark and love alive in your marriage?
LaShawn: You brought up the War Room and that is old school for me. My father was a Bishop, and everyone knows I’m a church boy. The war room is your prayer room. When situations come into your life: there’s only one way to handle things you can’t handle: That’s to go to God in prayer. Inspiration draws from being well, from just being happy. It sucks to be pissed off.
[At this point of the interview LaShawn’s call dropped: the devil tried to get him off the phone from preaching God’s word but he did not win that battle!]
LaShawn (continued): See how the devil tried to get me off? See how the devil works? The devil loses here [laughs]! Like I was saying: it’s important for me to create an environment to where my wife wants to walk in the room and be silly! It’s important for me every day, to try to create an environment where we want to be; an environment where we want to do things for and to each other. When men say “my wife is crazy”, it feels like the truth but we know women are emotional creatures. It’s not that my wife is crazy, it’s that there’s a point she’s bringing up that I may not agree with. I have to get to where this is coming from and why she’s saying what she’s saying. A lot of times, you can ask simple questions and it boils down to a miscommunication or things that were taken the wrong way. You simply say, “that’s not how I meant it”. It’s about creating an environment for love and happiness.
What’s one piece of advice you would give your younger self about marriage?
April: I would say patience in knowing that you’re definitely going to have troubles, but they aren’t to break you, they are to build you up as one.
LaShawn: I know I keep harping on this: it is understanding. The bible says that in all you’re getting, make sure you’re get an understanding. Everyone thinks differently. If I understand that I’m going to pursue a relationship, I have to understand I’m dealing with a whole other person. And in doing so, I have to try and understand how they move, and why they make certain decisions. This will help me counteract and deal with that, as well as be effective in being two different people. I would tell myself: listen, you don’t know everything. I don’t know why as kids we think we know everything [laughs].
I’m to the point where I feel like my day has been slighted if I don’t learn something. You have to be able to take something away from your day and that’s a beautiful thing. Keep an open mind and don’t be too smart to try and get an understanding.
Did you enjoy this conversation with the Daniels as much as I did? Be sure to be on the look out for “Date Night With The Daniels” (coming this Spring). The next leg of “Rock Out With Me” women’s tour will be coming up soon so stay connected for that announcement as well. For all the latest, please follow their joint page @aprilandlashawn on IG and Rock Out With Me on Twitter @rockoutwithme_.