She’s a westside girl. He’s an eastside guy.
They met when 14 years old during a summer camp in the city and the Detroit natives Gil and Renèe Beavers, both 53, have been inseparable ever since. They even decided early on as teens to combine whatever little money they had at the time, and sharing has continued to be a healthy aspect of their relationship. The two have a story to tell about the type of love they have, a love that holds them together during every stage of their lives.
“We dated at 18 and got married when we were 21,” she said. “We have a very [strong story], our first commitment to each other was on Belle Isle at one of the piers — that is when we committed to choosing love over money.”
Gil Beavers said that was when they didn’t have anything but their commitment to each other was still life-changing.
And after being married for over three decades, the joy-filled couple with the megawatt smiles want to help other couples explore how to build better love stories of their own in their new book, “Rich Relationships Refuge: Oneness Code Workbook.”
The book asks hard but necessary questions to push couples toward restoration and richer relationships.
The duo also has a weekly podcast series, “Rich Relationships,” that airs Monday nights at 7 p.m. (CST) and empowers people with the tools, principles and community needed to “unpack ourselves,” the past and former ideas associated with how relationships should be.
The couple, who have a 29-year-old daughter based in Atlanta, now live in their “new tiny home on wheels” and are spreading the word about their uplifting work and how their relationship is made stronger every day after nearly 40 years of friendship and love, along with their love for God.
Right now, they are stationed in Montgomery, Ala.
The Beavers have been featured on CBS, NBC, TBN, Atlanta Live, HOT 108 FM, the Huffington Post, and LV & Sheen Magazine, and more.
Renèe Beavers said what inspired them to write their book is over 15 years when they’ve worked with couples, they started seeing the same relationship concerns.
“The workbook is designed [so that] instead of you getting to know the author it is really [about] getting to know the reader,” she said, adding that it sparks conversations for couples.
Her husband said that they came from homes where his parents were divorced and his wife’s mother was never married.
“We knew we wanted to be married but didn’t know quite how to do that,” she said, adding that they began to write down things they wanted to model and apply to their own marriage. “We realized this is just a framework. People can apply it to their own lives.”
For more information on the podcast, mobile app, and book visit richrelationshipsus.com.
In March of 2020, Justin Black was studying abroad while Alexis Black was working remotely in South Africa when they were emergency evacuated due to the coronavirus. While quarantining the young couple stayed in an RV posted outside of Alexis’ parent’s house where they began the journey of creating “Redefining Normal: How Two Foster Kids Beat the Odds and Discovered Healing, Happiness and Love,” and became bestselling authors just months later.
The bubbly duo decided it was time to tie the knot amid COVID-19 after being engaged for over two years
Shortly after their wedding, Justin joined his wife as a Western Michigan University (WMU) alumni and part of the three percent of foster youth that graduate college, they noted. At WMU, the Blacks were Seita Scholars for foster youth in higher education.
Alexis Black is a recent graduate with dual degrees, a BBA and BA in Entrepreneurship and Global and International Studies, respectively. She set the record for the number of study abroad programs completed at her university – eight programs spanning across Africa, Asia, Europe and South America. Justin Black graduated with a BA in Public Relations and African Studies in July 2020. He completed five study abroad programs as well as two summer programs in Washington, DC.
The Blacks attribute the purchase of their first home in December to the sales of their book. Since launching November 9, the Blacks have sold over 4,000 copies while collaborating with numerous youth-serving organizations, foster care programs and other outlets where they train and develop staff to interact with youth who’ve experienced trauma.
The memoir, published by Global Perspectives Publishing, follows the journey of the two as foster kids overcoming neglect and abuse before finding each other and learning how to create a pathway they never knew. “The Redefining Normal” book was also named a #1 Amazon bestseller in three categories and is available through Amazon, the Kalamazoo Library system, and local bookstores throughout Michigan. For more information and to order, visit https://www.re-definingnormal.com/.
In April 2020, Justin, a Detroit native, and Alexis, a Flint native, founded the ROSE (Rising Over Societal Expectations) Empowerment Group. The organization’s mission is to establish sustainability in communities through group economics, building healthy relationships and seeking value in local resources and networks.
On Thursday, February 25, Alexis Black will be speaking at Voices of Kalamazoo: Ensemble Author Event. Hosted on Zoom, broadcast live to bookstore media feeds, and recorded for future audiences, it will feature local authors across genres and topics, all providing a glimpse into their books and the reason behind writing them. More information at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/138349167083.
“Justin and I decided to write a book as a way to get closer together before we got married in August since we didn’t have that many healthy examples of a relationship with us both coming from foster care. After starting the process, we saw that this was much bigger than us – – we [can] impact millions while encouraging others to heal, break generational patterns while redefining their normal. Now, we are continuing the conversation through workshops, presentations, and keynotes across the country,” she said.
Justin said that writing about something they knew came naturally to them.
“Both of us grew up in foster care with a warped … and unhealthy perspective from what we’ve seen from our parents, [and our] family dynamic,” he said adding that the abnormal was normal to them until they became adults “and had to figure so many things out.”
He told The Michigan Chronicle that in moving forward it is important to recognize the unhealthy aspect of relationships by doing self-assessments. “A lot of people don’t understand situations they are in and are unaware of unhealthy sides.”
Alexis said that she and her husband are also busy running multiple businesses and trying to give back at the same time to “pay it forward.” The book and their businesses are their way to encourage and help others along the way by showing them that God can help anyone overcome.
“It is our way of juxtaposing that this is what the world tells us we will be versus what God says we will be,” she said, adding that so many young people have gone through what they’ve gone through. “We are not unique. The only thing unique is we found out a way to make it work for us. This is why we wrote this. All those ugly tears and all those days we wanted to give up — this is our story.”