• Ashburn, Virginia
  • Tuesday, May 21, 2024


NOIRE Black Love Showcase: The Kelleys - Sam And Dr. Marla Kelley


NorieOnline- Black Love Showcase

Mr. Samuel L. Kelly, Jr. (Sam) and Dr. Marla Scott Kelly

What careers do you both have?

Sam is a non-profit CEO for Bridges To Independence, a mid-size non-profit located in Arlington, VA, serving families who are experiencing homelessness.

Marla is a practicing OB/GYN with Kaiser Permanente Mid-Atlantic and a professor of GYN residency at Penn State University.

Are you a part of any Greek, Masonic, Social Groups?

We both attended an Historically Black College and University for undergraduate studies.Marla attended Dillard University in New Orleans and Sam attended Southern University in Baton Rouge.

Marla is not a part of any Greek or social organizations.Sam is a Prince Hall Affiliated Mason.

How did you meet?

We are from the same hometown, DeRidder, Louisiana.We attended the same church and school.In addition, we grew up across the highway from one another.Funny thing is—Marla has always been a brainiac, while Sam has NOT.It took some time for the stars to align for us.One summer break from college made all the difference.We began to hang out and realized we had more in common than not.

What were the expectations you had before marriage?

Within a couple of weeks of dating, we knew that we were on a path towards marriage.Dating was fairly simple for us.Her expectations of me were centered around maximizing my greatest potential through education, so she pushed me to excel in areas in which I’d never had much interest or thought of.The only expectation I had was of myself.It was important for me to keep our relationship above “par”.Marla was fairly inexperienced at dating and it’s more than a notion to say that I had my fair share of fun.So, we focused on friendship being the cornerstone of our relationship.We rarely spent time alone.We hung out in groups of like-minded people and couples, and took deep dives in discussions about our hopes, dreams and challenges for ourselves personally and the relationship.So, the easy answer is our expectation was to be friends over all else.

What are some of the things you’ve done to keep your relationship growing?

We laugh at ourselves and each other daily.We crack jokes on each other all the time.It’s that cornerstone of friendship.We travel four times a year.Two trips are 5-7 days with kids.2 trips are 3 days with just us.It’s important to have that time to reconnect.Also, it’s been a practice to put our young children to bed at 8:30- religiously.This also provides time to talk without interruptions.Communication is key.We are intentional about communicating.

What famous notable or high-profile Black couple do you feel you emulate?

The couple we most emulate is the fictional couple Cliff and Claire Huxtable of the Cosby Show.The show projected so many things we both admire such as love, friendships, parenting techniques, class in all things, appreciation for art and music, most of all the value of family to include grandparents.

View other installments in the NOIRE Black Love Showcase series.

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