A soul mate is a person with whom one has a feeling of deep or natural affinity, similarity, love, spirituality, and compatibility. I sincerely believe that JR and I are soul mates.
Unbeknownst to us, we began crossing paths at a very young age. JR and I attended the same middle school, but he was a grade ahead of me in the same class as my cousin. We lived two streets away from each other, had some of the same friends and our younger sisters, who are the same age, attended the same elementary school.
Neither of us attended our neighborhood high school, but the schools that we did attend were on the same street. We often took the same bus route to school, but I liked to sit at the front away from the rowdy group in the back, who I later discovered to be JR and his family.
Two of JR’s sisters attended my high school, along with three of his cousins and his best friend. One of JR’s cousins, Melissa, became my best friend and, eventually, my roommate at Bloomsburg University.
I began my freshman year at BU in fall 2000, and JR transferred to BU in January 2001. Throughout that spring semester, JR and I had time to finally get to know each other. I later found out that we were both continuously creating opportunities to see and speak to each other; I would rush back to my room after my Tuesday/Thursday classes because I knew he would be in my room hanging out between his classes or he would call on the phone to “speak to Melissa” when he already knew that she was not there. Eventually I admitted to Melissa that I really liked her cousin and once she told him, he did not waste any time approaching me. Since that day in May 2001, we have been inseparable.
A few months following our graduation from BU in May 2004, JR and I purchased our first home in Philadelphia. On May 6, 2006, exactly five years from the day we first started dating, JR and I were married in Ochos Rios, Jamaica, and in June 2007, welcomed our first child, Laila, into the world. With the desire for more space, JR and I sold our first home and relocated a short distance away to Delaware, where we had our second child, Jason, on Christmas Day 2010!
Since the very beginning of our relationship, JR and I understood the importance of conserving our friendship, having balance, working as a team and most importantly, keeping the lines of communication open! Those very basic fundamentals are the building blocks which allow us to share a successful marriage. I believe that what continues to make us a strong couple is the fact that we understand that a relationship needs to continuously be nurtured. There will always be changes and ups and downs, but as long as you are willing to cultivate and nurture your relationship, it will continue to grow.
Even though we were a part of each other’s lives long before we realized it, going to college at Bloom is what truly brought us together and will forever be known as the place that set the stage for our future!
—Tenika Jean-Paul ’04
Editor’s note: Tenika Jean-Paul ’04 is a school psychologist and JR Jean-Paul ’04 works as a real estate operations manager.