What are the names of you and your spouse?
The name of my spouse and I are Raymond E. Lyons III and La Shonda D. Smith-Lyons.
How many years have you been together and how did you meet?
La Shonda and I have known each other for 20 years, have been together overall for 10 years, and married for 8 years 7 months. We first meet in Cocoa, FL., where I worked as an Assistant Manager at the Playa’s Club. The moment I laid eyes on her I thought, “I have to meet this beautiful woman!” When the opportunity presented itself, I asked for her number, but she declined; however, I insisted that she take mines. A week or so later, I received a phone call and our friendship began. We dated for a little over a year, but due to personal issues, we separated. LaShonda moved to California, while I remained in FL. However, when God has preordained a relationship, not even distance can prevent His will. In 2009 we reconnected, began to reestablish our friendship and I soon realized that I did not want to live my life without her, and the rest is history
Where was your first date?
On our first date, Raymond and I went out to eat. Afterward, we went to the Pier in Cocoa Beach where we took a walk on the beach and talked for hours.
How did your husband propose to you?
This is such a long story, but I will give the short version (lol). I had a minister at a Church in Cocoa, FL and Raymond came to support me. I later found out that he had already spoken to the Pastors of the Church and explained to them that he wanted to surprise me with a marriage proposal. When it came time to introduce me, instead of my mother doing so, Raymond was asked if he would introduce me. After introducing me, he stated, “I have something else I want to share.” He explained in front of the entire Church all of the reasons why he loved me, and that he could not see himself living without me. He got on his knees and asked for my hand in marriage. I said, “Yes” and on December 31, 2011, I became Mrs. Raymond E. Lyons III.
What are your occupations?
Raymond E. Lyons III is an entrepreneur and one of the Senior Pastors of Greater Faith in Christ Ministries. La Shonda D. Smith-Lyons is an author, entrepreneur, and also a Pastor at Greater Faith in Christ Ministries.
Do you have children/ Grandchildren, if yes how many?
We have a total of 7 Children and 2 grandchildren.
What is your favorite activity you enjoy doing together?
Raymond and I are both competitive individuals and we enjoy many things together. However, the activity that we enjoy doing together is bowling.
What would you say is the secret to a long happy marriage?
The secret to a long happy marriage is being submitted to God first, and then to one another. In your marriage, there must be prayer, patience, communication, longsuffering, humility, forgiveness, and selflessness. You must also love who God has created you to be, in order for you to truly love your husband/ wife.
What was the biggest challenge you and your spouse had to endure that challenged the two of you?
Our biggest challenge was learning to blend our family God’s way while dealing with outside influences. Coming from two different backgrounds and upbringing was an eyeopener to the both of us. We had to learn to put our individual thoughts and opinions to the side and identify what would work for the entire family. This was definitely one of the things that stretched us the most.
How do you resolve conflict?
We have learned that it’s ok to take Adult Time-outs so that we can allow the Holy Spirit to minister to us through prayer. After doing so, we revisit the situation.
What advice would you like to share with newlyweds?
The advice that we would like to share with newlyweds is that anything worth having is worth fighting for. There will be days where you may feel like you do not love or like one another, but your commitment and covenant before God to each other is not about a feeling. God created the institution of marriage; therefore, when issues in your marriage arise, remember to go back to the one who created it. Make your marriage your top priority; therefore, this should be your biggest investment. Attend couples retreat, seek Godly counsel, as well as trustworthy individuals who will hold you accountable to the commitment you made.