Valentine’s Day is time when some people spend hundreds, even thousands of dollars, trying to convince another that the fires are still burning hot between them. But at other times of the year that love cools into lackluster interaction and mundane routines.

It is time for a change in this thing we all call love. While society and the mass media no longer seem to appreciate or support the long-lasting commitments of marriage and the traditional family, there is a movement afoot to revive love.

Married couple and counseling team Ayize and Aiyana Ma’at, have been advocates of real love for more than a decade. Through their relationship counseling and coaching sessions, they’ve been able to help individuals and couples heal their open wounds and breathe life back into their love.
“Everybody defines it differently, but I say love is giving yourself while seeking nothing in return,” Aiyana said. “When you truly love someone, you are concerned about that person’s well being, their welfare, how they feel, and it’s not attached to anything you want in return.”

Her husband added, “Love is a profound connection. Love is sacrifice. Love is trust. Love is forgiveness. Love is that special something that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside when that special someone is not around or when that special someone is sitting right next to you.”

Love has an ambiguous definition, but when you experience it, you know you have it. Beyond the feelings and the material actions, love is also a spiritual action that takes place first within the individual. Then it manifests between a couple.

The Ma’ats agree that the spiritual work in love is an important aspect in a good and healthy relationship. They explained that real love challenges, grows, helps, and matures individuals within a relationship.

“When you come together with another person, the primary goal of a good, healthy, loving relationship is to help each other grow spiritually into everything the Creator would have you to be,” Aiyana said passionately. “The perks of a relationship is that you feel loved and that you have a great partner. But the real purpose is to be of good support of one another in the evolution of insight and in the capacity of your growth. If that’s not spiritual, then I don’t know what is.”

Keeping the Creator above all and in the midst of a relationship is essential in maintaining a long-lasting commitment. The couple said that it’s in those moments of trials and tribulations, when words can’t quite articulate your feelings, that your spiritual practices, your spiritual connection with the Most High manifest its greatest work between couples.

But don’t get it twisted, love takes a lot of work and it means addressing all aspects of each individual’s needs, including the physical.

“We say sex is a must if you want that relationship to be healthy,” said Ayize. “Just like your spiritual life encompasses prayer and meditation, we feel that sex should be a part of the relationship if you want it to be strong.” He further explained that if one spouse’s physical needs are not being met, it may cause division, tension, or even cheating to occur in the relationship, violating the sacred connection a couple has.

“Sex is a great way to get connected, burn some calories, and release emotional tension,” said Aiyana. “But it’s really a sacred plane where people can touch each other and be with each other the way no other [action] provides. There are times when you can’t express how you feel in words, but it’s like no matter how many differences we have with each other, we can still come together this way.”

In this era, when marriage is taboo and relationships are not the trend, the Ma’ats celebrate love and coming together. It’s through hard work and sacrifice that the bond will last longer than the average three to five years. The couple emphasize the importance of pressing through the problems and issues that arise from time to time. They say it isn’t the issues that dictate how things will go. It is the way you deal with them that matters the most.

While keeping God first and listening to each other’s needs, making time to pray together, work together, do something satisfying together, love has room in the relationship.

Learn more about love, marriage and counseling by visiting www.blackloveandmarriage.com. The Ma’ats will be hosting relationship classes for both individuals and couples online beginning in April. Registration starts in March.