Being adept at communication is what brought them together. Being transparent with their feelings is how they fell in love. Now Stephen and Lee Preston of Cleveland have a message and a mission to share with the world, particularly with families. They are attempting a “music/marriage ministry” as the singing duo Two No More.
As members of the Tennessee Country & Gospel Music Association, the Prestons recently competed in three categories — two as individual artists and one as a duo — at the Georgia/Tennessee Country and Gospel Music Awards, held at the Tivoli Theatre in Chattanooga.
They received awards in all three categories, qualifying them to move on to the international competition in Pigeon Forge in March 2014. They will be competing with performers from 20 states and eight countries. The pair also plan to audition for the next season of NBC’s “The Voice” in Nashville in February.
“We are obviously trying to get as much exposure as possible, with the hope of one day to be singing/ministering full time,” Stephen said. “We will be auditioning as a duo. It should be interesting, since this past season had no duo contestants even make it to the live auditions in front of the judges.”
The two have previous experience in leading worship, including singing in church choirs and praise teams. When asked why they chose music as their vehicle to spread their message, Stephen explained, “First, music is a universal language. We already have a couple of songs in the works that are a result of some struggles that we ourselves have faced. With that said, a second way is through our own life experiences.
“We want to be transparent in our ministry. We are by no means perfect; neither one of us. And sometimes we have to cope and understand the baggage that we each have from our previous marriages and relationships. We are truly committed to each other, but still stumble from time to time. And the only way we get through it is by allowing God to work through us. With the blending of our families, and all that life throws at us every day, our reliance on Scripture and Jesus Christ is the only way we're going to make it.”
Stephen and Lee met through an online dating site on Dec. 18, 2012, and married 10 days later at the courthouse in Blairsville, Ga.
“We fell in love while corresponding with each other through emails and telephone conversations before we ever met,” Lee admits. “As far as what sealed it for us, I think it was our ability to communicate and the ease at which we were able to do it. That includes listening. We also experienced a freedom with each other in our communication — the ability to say what was on our minds and hearts without the fear of emotional repercussions.”
Both said they believe God brought them together and “we wanted to be married, so, why wait?” When asked about their views on why so many marriages are in trouble today, they said, “First and foremost would be the absence of God. As a culture and society, we have all but denied His existence and necessity in our lives. In His place, we've relied on the media and advertising to define what we should be as men and women, as well as how we should act toward one another when we're married. Infidelity, selfishness and individuality have become celebrated, while faithfulness, sacrifice and looking out for another's needs are deemed unrealistic.
“Another way I believe we can help is by demonstrating how we communicate and listen to each other,” Stephen said. “A small list of the things we've dealt with in our first year in marriage is Lee finishing nursing school, the loss of my job, financial issues, the blending of our families — her two teenage sons with my three little ones, ages 11, 8 and 7 — and living in two different states when we first got married. I could go on. Through all these things, we've communicated and listened with our love for one another at the forefront.”
Explaining why they chose the name Two No More, Lee said, “Our name comes from Mark 10:8, where the Bible explains how the flesh of man and woman are joined together as one, and are also inseparable. We wanted a name that would be representative of our ministry as well as our marriage, and what we believe is a biblical truth concerning marriage.”
Lee, who was raised in Dalton, Ga., and Stephen, who was raised in Waverly, N.Y., said they truly believe that, thanks to God, they are “two no more.” For further information, visit: www.twonomore.com or facebook.com/twonomore.