This piece is part of a 28-day series celebrating modern black love among millennials. It was created by Chuck Marcus and Michelle Nance, exclusively distributed by Blavity.

Her: Chaneé Patterson | 29 | Production Manager

Him: Ernest Graham | 28 | Fireproof Engineer/Construction Foreman

Relationship Status: Dating | 2 Years

Meet a young couple who first connected during their freshman year of high school, peak puppy love years. Years later, by reconnecting as adults, they were able to rediscover a bond that endured.

What does black love mean to the black community?

Chaneé: To me black love means progression and devotion. Stereotypes follow black people in every area of life. "Black women are too dominant. Too aggressive." "Black men aren't in their child's lives. They're not supportive. Black men love "exotic" or more "submissive" women." So, to see a successful black couple revokes some of those beliefs. Black love shows the world that we are capable of loving one another authentically, wholeheartedly, and openly. I love seeing successful black relationships as it instills in me the amount of support that is given within those connections to surpass the years of doubt.

Ernest: Black love is a form resilience. It displays a strong since of loyalty and foundation. Seeing black love shows that even with obstacles at every impasse you still find a way to push through.

How did you know you were ready to commit?

Chaneé: I was ready to commit when I found myself enamored by his charisma and the excitement when he entered any room. He knew how to own his presence no matter the location. And I like the loyalty that he showed his circle. With limited male figures in my household, I loved watching how hands on he was with anything request be it big or small.

Ernest: I knew I was ready to commit when I found myself not being able to go a substantial amount of time without communicating with her. Whenever we weren't around one another, she was all I thought about.

What’s the hardest part about being a millennial in a relationship?

Chaneé: The hardest part about being in a relationship as a millennial is being too available to the masses. Technology has progressed over the years and with it comes the responsibility of privacy. With devices attached to the hand of every millennial, it is hard for people to be present in the moment. Social media has opened the doors to receive attention from anyone with a login and depending on your partner, it can be detrimental.

Ernest: Being surrounded by peers who have not settled down and continue to operate with a single mindset. Peer pressure plays a detrimental component in millennial relationships.

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Chuck Marcus

What representation of a successful couple do you have around you to model after?

Chaneé: I've modeled my mindset on relationships around two couples, my aunt on my paternal side and her husband as well as a close friend's parents. They are both a symbol of love ordained by God. I value the way that each couple displays unity rather than opposing parties and their level of respect that they have for one another.

Ernest: My parents are a great representation for a successful relationship. During conversations with my dad he's expressed on numerous occasions how without my mom he would barely get by. My parents relationship showed me the value of finding a companion and a life partner. They're each others crutch.

If you could describe love in word, what would it be and why?

 Chaneé: Open-minded. Knowing that your partner had a different upbringing than you, different set of goals, and a different lifestyle exposes you to understanding things that you normally wouldn't. It allows you to communicate more freely when you do not impose preconceived notions about the person or their mindset. Being open-minded is a starting point for empathy

Ernest: Transparency. Being open. Vulnerable. Communication. Accountability. Honesty in a relationship. Revealing your inner self.

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