Roman and Ashley Barlow, a middle-class, American-born black couple, met at a bank where Ashley worked as a teller and Roman was a customer. Ashley said the first time she saw Roman, she thought, “That’s him. I know that’s him!” She gave him her phone number, they went out two nights in a row, and “that’s been that.” Although they agreed their meeting was a case of love at first sight, both brought plenty of baggage to the relationship. Ashley already had a daughter, and Roman’s former partner was pregnant with his daughter. They’d each had some brushes with the law, and both had been involved in the drug trade—Ashley’s former partner died when he swallowed balloons of heroin to escape charges in a drug bust. They conceived their son not long after they got together and had to create a home for their young children. But their biggest problem was their arguments—they both describe a steep learning curve for discovering how to have a good marriage. When they first got together, Ashley would say, “I’m leaving! I’m going to my mother’s house!” whenever she got angry. It worked the first time, but soon Roman stopped reacting to the threat. He wouldn’t fight with her, but they still weren’t communicating. Gradually they began, as Ashley said, “learning more about each other, and basically trying to compromise and come together.” Roman added, “We also talked a lot.” Now, he told us, “Once or twice a week, we have our moments where we’ll sit and talk 139for a few hours … We have a policy to not go to bed angry.” Ashley added, “We stick together about anything.”