By Lauren R.D. Fox – madamenoire.com
Fame is nothing new for David and Tamela Mann. They got their start in the business by singing with gospel group, Kirk Franklin and The Family. And as the couple transitioned into acting, The Manns rose to fame through Tyler Perry’s Madea production in the Atlanta theatre circuit. David Mann is known for his hilarious role as Mr. Brown and Tamela, as his daughter Cora in the Madea, Mr. Brown and The House Of Payne series.
Over the past year, Tamela Mann’s anointed voice has blown us away with her song “Take Me To The King,” and the couple recently shared their love story with Ebony Magazine, which was a blessing to all. Married at 22 years old, The Manns still flirt and adore each other as though they are teenagers in love. And in an interview with us, David and Tamela shared sage advice on how they are even more in love with each other than the day they met. Both candidly spoke on what they know for sure in love and marriage as they approach their upcoming 26th anniversary. Check out what they had to say:
HOW DID YOU TWO MEET?
David Mann: We met in high school. A friend of mine brought her (Tamela) to the group where myself, Kirk Franklin and Darrell Blair sang. Tamela thought she was bad and she came to the school to teach us how to sing. Long story short, one day I looked into her eyes and she kissed me on my lips. That is the short version of it.
Tamela: If you say so sir! My best friend did go to school with him and that is how we met.
HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR LOVE ABLAZE AFTER ALL THESE YEARS?
Tamela: I do things to keep him turned on; it is never a dull moment. I try to give him a different lady- I may try to change my hair color or change up something, especially in the bedroom. I try to make sure he is keeping his eye on me.
David: One day we can try to make love, hanging off the door until we can’t breathe!
HOW DO YOU KEEP THE LINES OF COMMUNICATION OPEN?
Tamela: We talk about everything. If something happens, we try not to go to bed angry with each other and whatever upsets me, we talk about it. Even if it takes calming down for a few minutes and then going back to it. We don’t let things fester a long time. We keep it all out in the open and we don’t have any agendas. Everything is together- there are no separate accounts. Everything has both of our names on it. This is how we keep everything open in our relationship so we can always put everything on the table.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT MARRIED COUPLES WHO HAVE CLOSE FRIENDS OF THE OPPOSITE SEX?
David: You have to really be careful because of human nature. The reason you have to be careful is because that friendship ultimately plays a role in your relationship. I don’t object to it but you have to understand how to handle that friendship. If it bothers your spouse, then you have to back off from that friendship.
Tamela: We both have friends who are of the opposite sex. We trust each other in our relationship but we never go too far. We do not hang out too often with friends depending on the circumstance.
David: Right, like no intimate dinners. Maybe a phone call, “Hey, How are you doing?” but you just really have to be careful in the dynamics in the relationships outside of your marriage.
HOW DID YOU BOTH MANAGE GETTING THROUGH SEVERE FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES IN THE BEGINNING OF YOUR MARRIAGE?
David: The first thing we advise couples who have been in similar situations to do is take the option of divorce off the table. Once that happens, someway the relationship has to work out. You both have to figure out how to be happy in your marriage. We did not allow financial struggles or adversities to drive a wedge between us. For us, we became closer during that time.
Tamela: That season made us realize we are in it together. We are not in our marriage as individuals.We are one unit. For instance, David was doing hair in the beginning and sometimes when you are independent, your finances can be up and down. I on the other hand worked in corporate America and my check came every two weeks. So in the beginning of our marriage, it was never “my money,” “his money.” It was one big pot of money.
David: It was always “ours.” We never separated anything. It was never “your bill,” “my bill”, it was just an electric bill and we knew it needed to get paid.
HOW DO YOU BALANCE MAKING TIME FOR YOUR MARRIAGE AND YOUR CAREERS?
David: We never balance our marriage with our careers. Anytime you are balancing something, you have to give it an equal amount of time. Our marriage comes first and outweighs anything we will do in this (entertainment) industry. We never balance anything. We give time to our marriage and then whatever else comes after that.
Tamela: The Lord first and then our marriage.
WHAT MARITAL ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE GIVEN YOURSELF AND SPOUSE DURING YOUR FIRST YEAR OF MARRIAGE?
David: The advice I would have given her during our first year of marriage is, “Relax, I got you!”. I would have told myself to step up and be the head of our household.
Tamela: I would have told myself to trust him. Trust, he will take care of me. I was so used to being independent, I didn’t totally trust him. Well I did trust him but I felt I had to do things myself. I had to learn how to allow him to be the man and get myself out of the way.
WHY DO YOU THINK SO MANY HOLLYWOOD RELATIONSHIPS ARE SO DYSFUNCTIONAL?
David: It’s because people are so superficial and sometimes there are hidden agendas. Sometimes it is built on sex, money; it’s built on a lot of stuff that is based on newness. But once the newness wears off, then you are left facing the question: “We are suppose to do this for life? Oh no, I can’t do this!”
Tamela: I would not only say this for Hollywood, but I would say for the world: if a lot of us had just waited versus taking steps in the water, we would not compare people based on our sexual experiences. Because we look for our greatest sexual experiences in various partners. If you wait, you won’t know anything but the person you have.
David: Exactly, you would not have all of that comparison to confuse you.
Tamela: And a bunch on expectations on people. “Well he was better at this and she is better at that”.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR SINGLES?
David: I would tell my daughters and women in general, wait and let Mr.Right find you not Mr.Right Now. If you wait on God and let the man find you, things work out better.
Tamela: We as women don’t realize we are the good thing. He that findeth a wife, findeth a good thing. Therefore the man finds favor through you. We are the good thing and we bring favor into the relationship.
David: Ha! Exactly, you are not just some “good thang.” As for men, when you find a good woman you have to treat her like treasure and not trash. We have to start treating women like treasure that they are, so we can start building the Queen for the King we are to become. I feel like preaching today!
HOW DID YOU KNOW YOUR SPOUSE WAS “THE ONE”?
David: To be honest, I just knew. It is not like I knew “oh that’s going to be my wife and we are going to get married!” because first, I wanted to see how she was a friend, first. I wanted to see if we could be friends because anybody can be lovers. I came with a package- I have a daughter from a previous relationship. So I wanted to see what kind of friend Tamela could be. She was strictly my friend and, after while, I knew she was my friend and knew everything about me. I knew once I started dating her and because of the anointing she has on her life, I knew I was not messing around with just any old body. I knew this is going to be for real or it ain’t going to be it at all.
Tamela: For me, we were friends and I enjoyed his company before us doing anything. Once I started to spend a lot of time with him, I knew I could spend the rest of my life with him. I also had a lot of faith in him and not that I was that sure but I knew he was “The One”. There was another guy in my life but I just knew there was something about David. I felt a completion with him. Also, I had prayed for a man like him.
SEEING DIVORCE IS NOT AN OPTION FOR BELIEVERS, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ADVICE OUTSIDE OF PRAYER AND SCRIPTURES FOR STRUGGLING COUPLES?
David: For those with marital issues, you have to get to the issue that is causing the couple not to like each other. People do not just get divorced. People do not fall in love, get married and get divorced. There is something that grows us a part and not to like each other. People often forget why the fall in love.
Tamela: Life is a test. You have to examine your life and what did/ did not work for you to pass this test. We have to look at our own self in the mirror and self-examine our issues. Sometimes we want people to change, but we have to do our part too. We often blame the other person but sometimes it is you. You have to make sure you are doing the changes you seek from the other person, as well. God will do the rest. Everything will happen accordingly and fall into line. If it’s meant to be, it will work itself out.