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This month, we spoke to 112 singer Q Parker and his wife, Sharlinda Parker, about how they were able to turn their marriage around after finding themselves on a downward spiral.

Let’s begin with the story of how you met.

Q: We met here in Atlanta. We were introduced by one of my closest friends, Wingo from Jagged Edge. He introduced me to Sharlinda and from that moment, I dropped this “so rough, so tough” on her and she couldn’t resist.

But yeah, we talked and shortly after that we started secretly courting and dating. Probably like 1 year 1/2 into us dating, we wanted to make it official and let our closest friends know that we were an item. After about 2 1/2 years of dating, I asked her to marry me. We were married in August of 2002.

Sharlinda: Richard Wingo of Jagged Edge, Q’s best friend, introduced us. Wingo was one of my clients at this hair salon in Buckhead—and he was also a friend. Q came to get his hair done, and he never left since then. Even when Q was telling people I was his girlfriend; I was like “Stop telling people I’m your girlfriend because I’m not your girlfriend. I wouldn’t date my clients.” He was a client first. He kept pushing it on me. I’m a few years older than Q. But we made it official after so many months—almost a year.

Q: It wasn’t even that we were secretly dating. If you paid attention, you knew that we were—as they would say—“talking,” but we didn’t want to tell people we were officially dating just yet. We waited until we were sure we really had something.

Tell us about the proposal!

Sharlinda: First of all, I had no clue about the proposal. Yeah, we probably touched on, “Oh, we’re not going to be dating forever.” It was never “Are you going to marry me? When is this day going to come?” We were just enjoying each other as a dating couple, as an item. It totally shocked me because I thought Q was planning something different and it was my proposal.

Q: Ryan Cameron of V-103 had a residency at this nightclub in Atlanta called Taboo. He booked me to perform on the night he was broadcasting live. I set it up to where I would perform—I started doing solo appearances outside of 112—and afterward, I’d have the band start playing some soft music and I would use that as my opportunity to propose. In the middle of my set, I sang the Babyface version of “You Are So Beautiful.” I called Sharlinda up on stage, and I proposed to her. The next day, Ryan played it over the radio—he had the morning show slot. He broadcasted it over the whole city of Atlanta. It was totally by surprise.

The one thing that I loved about Sharlinda was that she laid down a lot of ground rules. “You’re not going to do this,” “Don’t call me after a certain time. Me and my daughter go to sleep at a certain time,” “I’m not going to be dating you just to date you.” She never pressured me about marriage. We were just enjoying each other. And when the opportunity came for me to perform, I just woke up at the jewelry store, and I bought her engagement ring.

We were engaged for almost a year. We had our wedding August 10, 2002, in Atlanta. We had about 300 guests. BET and Ebony/Jet covered the wedding. It was a pretty big wedding.

What is the worst marriage advice you’ve ever received?

Sharlinda: Everybody’s advice! [Laughs] No, it’s cool to get the basics like being honest and communicating or compromising with each other. Yes, take all of the positive. However, when you have your girlfriends like, “Oh girl, make sure you do this and do that” sometimes people can give bad advice based on what they’ve experienced in life.

Also, people who say your life won’t change after marriage. That’s kind of a fib. It does.

Q: I’ll just say that you have to be likeminded. You have to share a likeness with the people you get advice from. If I want advice from a mechanic, I want to get it from a licensed mechanic who has been doing it for a while. Single guys trying to tell you what to expect is probably the worst advice.

The great advice is that you have to show up every day. There are no off days in marriage. Show compromise, sensitivity, compassion, and thoughtfulness, not being selfish. All of those things have to become a verb.

Sharlinda: As much thought as I put into styling as much thought as Q puts into writing songs is the same amount of thought and care we have to put into our marriage each day. The same way that you have a business, you have to put just as much in your relationship—you have to plan and strategize. Q and I are not perfect. We have had a whole bunch of ups and downs, but we’re learning. We’ve gotten to a point where we know that these things work.

Your marriage is a big part of your life and if you don’t work it and make moves, you’ll fail like half of America. We were on a downfall at one point in our marriage.

I know that you’re both Christians. What role does your faith play in your marriage?

Q: We can’t have a successful marriage without having some level of spirituality.

Both: We’ve tried!

Q: We definitely are Christians and we strongly know that we can’t survive in a marriage without God. We’re definitely in a 3-way relationship. We tried years not having an active part in our spirituality incorporated in our relationship and like Sharlinda mentioned, we were in the fast lane to being unsuccessful in marriage. The moment we realized we couldn’t do it without the Lord in our relationship, it made the relationship so much better. You have to be in a space where you ask the Lord to come in. It’s a choice that you make. We have to make the decision to invite the Lord in our relationship. So we re-invited him. We reconnected ourselves. It has been night and day.

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