Married @ 36 and 42 if it happened for us... it can happen for you!

I said a quick prayer before writing this. My prayer is for this short story to touch, encourage, and inspire the one looking for love.

Love Rain by Jill Scott is playing softly in the background; there is a chilled glass of water with squeezed lemons marinading to my left. Ima need a sip in a few; you may want to get something to drink too.

Husbaaaand is what I like to call him when we're making love or when he comes in from work, when we're praying, reading, laughing, or hanging. I like to call him Husband to affirm who he is, his position in our home, and because he's my husband...all mine!

My husband is someone I couldn't have ever imagined to be perfectly crafted for me. We met exactly a year ago today, as I swiped right from the FB dating app on my Samsung, galaxy S10.

Yes, I am totally a Samsung girl, for you iPhone cult lovers. Not that that's super important, but so you know, he swiped right from his Samsung Note10 as well. Seeee, smart man and a match made in heaven already.

But get this, seven months before my swipe, I was engaged to someone else that I shouldn't have said yes to. Caught off guard, he proposed at my 35th birthday dinner, surrounded by family and friends all watching, smiling, and filming with cellphones.

I can't front; the moment lowkey felt glorious, perfectly scripted, and seemingly a beautifully constructed bow or period, ending the sentence of a previously tumultuous year. "Deep breaths, be in this moment, Rahk," I told myself as one of my girlfriends yelled, "say yes, girl. Dang!" While trying to capture the perfect angle for Instagram.

So, I said yes, smiled, took the photos, and celebrated. I didn't say yes because my friend told me to (of course not), but I cared about and had love for him, and we were in a relationship.

However, privately I admonished my stipulation to him, "We're not going to anyone's alter if I don't see all of you. Like experience four seasons and feel at peace and confident that you're the one for me. Let's continue to date while engaged, getting to know each other more, but just because I said yes doesn't mean I do." I told him.

Behind the scenes, he knew what was hiding in the shadows, lying, incompatibility, different values, lack of communication, insecurities, and other things yet to be discovered.

There I was, 35, and finally engaged, ready to share my life, heart, and success with someone I could trust to lead, someone equally yoked and deserving. And, that, someone, wasn't him.

Two months into the engagement, I knew I made a mistake and plotted my exit. But, I was terrified of the optics. Like, everyone was watching, my family, mentees, and friends were rooting; heck, we even went viral on one of the popular "Black Love" Instagram accounts.

I was so embarrassed. I felt like a failure for turning off my brain, going against my gut because he was a "good guy," despite the flags and broken trust so early. I even entertained the thought of going through with it, laying low and then privately divorcing a year later.

Don't judge me. It happens all the time, and millions of people who knew (or questioned) that they shouldn't have married, settled, and married anyway. And, now they're feeling suffocated, bitter, and stuck, add kids to that mess, forget about it!

Some of you reading this post right now are with people you know ain't or wasn't the one, but let me guess, you love them, and you've become soo comfy in your toxicity to where it's easier to stay. I get it; it's terrifying to start over at times.

But guess what? You DESERVE BETTER!