Michelle: "I can tell you this, some things are really worth waiting for. Napoleon and I have been married for over 13 years and we have been together for almost 20. During this time, we have definitely seen our share of trials and tribulations. It's actually mysterious and a bit ironic that we even fell in love, especially when we came from such drastically different backgrounds."
Napoleon: "Michelle has that right for sure. At the time, my role models and life centered around dope dealers, pimps and gangsters. They literally would be in my own home and I would be divvying up the drug money. On the other hand, Michelle grew up in a two-parent household where church was a priority. Irrespective, I developed a huge crush on her, but considering all things, she seemed inaccessible. I gotta say the crush blossomed when Michelle and her four children from a previous marriage moved in with (of all people) my aunt."
Michelle: "Yeah, that's when it happened...long and behold we got engaged, but we waited several years before we got married. Can you imagine blending seven children together from previous marriages and two of our own? It was challenging and crazy to say the least. However, unfortunately the trials were just beginning for us."
Napoleon: "To be honest, my past was hard to overcome. I was still looked at like this street guy or this real bad dude that was a womanizer and did all these different things (that I'm not proud of). And I went through the whole experience of the street life and all that with the gang banging.
Michelle: "We separated when Napoleon moved out of the state to try and get his head on straight, to deal with his past. I was so deeply hurt and I felt lost and alone and even had suicidal thoughts. The bottom line is that I had never really had a man like him before. The others just kind of whizzed in and out of my life. I never really had one that stuck around and went through hard things with me and was always there. I seriously thought about filing for divorce, but my church rallied around me and I decided 'there is no exit in marriage'. Still Napoleon was gone attempting to get his 'head on straight' and there I was alone and confused with all of the kids, but I knew how much I truly loved him."
Napoleon: "I finally came to my senses and returned home to Michelle and the kids. I transformed into a new man! The result of my transformation was the result of much prayer. I was in the wilderness, but it was for a reason. I truly believe that people who are delivered from the wilderness, they couldn't have appreciated the promise land unless they went through the hard things that came before it."
Michelle: "Napoleon went back to college and majored in social science and secondary education. He is now teaching and is a community advocate for social change as the Director of Advocacy at Connections for Success."
Napoleon: "I have to admit, everything isn't peaches and cream now between Michelle and I, but we have stuck it out and now see a bright future together. Our life is not this 'Leave It To Beaver' love story where you have the husband who marries his high school sweetheart and they have a couple of kids and they live in this beautiful house with a white picket fence at the top of the hill, but our marriage still has the possibility of having the same happy ending. In the long run, there is hope for all things. We just have to look for it."