Web Stories Thursday, April 25

What Rita Smith remembers most about meeting her husband is the way her heart beat fast and the smiling.

“I was just smiling, and he was smiling,” she tells TODAY.com. Rita was 14 and a half when Theodore Smith Jr., who was 17, finally asked for her number on a street in New Orleans.

“We grew up in the same neighborhood together, and I’d always seen her, but this particular day, I just got the courage to talk to her and ask her for her phone number,” Theodore recalls.

The pair married four years later and had three children.

Now 62 and 64-year-old empty nesters with more than 40 years of marriage under their belts, the Smiths have discovered the star-making powers of TikTok. By posting snippets of their lives, they have amassed a following dedicated to their signature content: sex tips.

On any given day you might see Rita, or as she’s called online, BadGalRiRi504, out of breath, in lingerie, and covered in chocolate body paint. In other videos, Rita tosses full-coverage underwear aside for a pink lacy pair she prefers. Numerous posts show Theodore coming home with lingerie, dresses and jewelry for Rita. And before nights out, when they’re all dressed up, the couple regularly showers each other with compliments and can’t seem to keep their hands to themselves.

Most of their videos, however, are dedicated to sharing what they’ve learned throughout their 42 years of marriage. They answer questions from their followers and post advice about showing your partner appreciation, showing up for them and the importance of intimacy as a gateway to emotional vulnerability and fun.

From an innocent meeting on the street some 40 years ago, the two have evolved into a couple who knows the other deeply because, by way of physical openness, they’ve gained access to the most personal parts of the other’s mind. Even at their lowest, the Smiths have still felt their most beautiful in the other’s presence.

Courtesy Rita and Theodore Smith Jr.

The Smiths have always doted on each other in this way.

Since getting married at 19 and 21, “we’ve always had a hot intimacy in our marriage,” Rita says. That remained even when she got sick and being physical wasn’t an option.

“We couldn’t do a whole lot, but through it all, we still stayed close together.” Rita says the couple prioritized touch and togetherness as much as they could. “We’ve always kept that fire. We always kept that flame no matter what,” she adds.

Rita was diagnosed with endometriosis at 23 years old following the birth of their daughter. By 25, Rita was feeling run down. “It took me a while to bounce back,” she says. But prayer, an eventual hysterectomy and the attention Theodore showed her, she says, got her through it.

“When I was going through my illness and everything that I was going through, he always bought me beautiful jewelry,” Rita says. “I couldn’t do anything else at times, but he would still get my (lingerie) out for me and I’d put it on, and I felt sexy. I felt rich. I really did, and that felt good to my body.”

Theodore, Rita says, knew what it took to make her feel seen. And she encourages other couples to focus on doing the same in their relationships.

“Learn your partner. Learn who you’re with and respect them,” and through it all be authentic, says Rita. She has never had to be anything but herself in her marriage, so she’s never shied away from dressing up like Wonder Woman or a warrior princess in the bedroom. Theodore embraces every part of her — plus, he loves it.

Rita Smith and Theodore Smith Jr.
Courtesy Rita and Theodore Smith Jr.

Because the couple didn’t have other couples to look up to as newlyweds, they’ve prided themselves on being an example for others.

“I came from a single parent home, and (Rita) came from a two-parent home,” says Theodore, “but in each home there was no example of (affection), so we just kind of found out our way through it.”

Through sickness and trauma, the Smiths say love and understanding have gotten them this far. In Rita’s case, she says Theodore’s love has saved her in more ways than one.

“I feel like God has truly, richly blessed our marriage, even in my sickness,” Rita says. “Many times, when women get sick, the men always leave. He didn’t leave me. He stayed by my side. He prayed for me. He fixed my breakfast; he did everything that needed to be done,” she adds.

They’re far from a perfect couple, Rita insists, but they’re perfect for each other because they’ve taken marriage seriously and they’ve shown the other person every part of themselves — the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Rita Smith and Theodore Smith Jr.
Courtesy Rita and Theodore Smith Jr.

“I literally just sit down and cry about it,” says Rita. “That’s a wonderful feeling to be in love and to have somebody to love you back.”

Because they’ve made a point to cultivate their marriage at every stage, they’re still together, says Theodore. At some point, for many couples, things get stale, he adds, but the intimacy can “never stop. It never stops.”

Read the full article here


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