Let’s talk about potential: Are you dating him or his résumé?

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When love and the relationship becomes less about the person and more about their accomplishments.

My mother completed her Master’s degree six years before I was born. My father’s highest level of education is his high school diploma. When they married, my father was a utility serviceman for a power company. He also worked odd jobs on the weekend. By the time I finished college, my father ran his own business and made enough money to pay my tuition at an Ivy League School.

My mother saw something many women fail to see today–potential.

Working women–particularly black women are successful. While they may not make up a large portion of jobs in high paying, prestigious fields; the ones who are there, do extremely well. Particularly in tech, engineering, and medicine. And they deserve to be in these positions. Sown hours of hard work in school, late nights, sacrifices, and perseverance have reaped just rewards. Therefore, it’s quite understandable when a woman is very interested in finding her “equal”. Afterall, that’s what power couples are right? Jay-Z and Beyonce. Barack and Michelle.

Barack and Michelle did meet at Harvard after all. So it makes sense that two people would want to be equally yoked. And some cultures even go as far to arrange these sorts of marriages, to ensure the couple is matched with comparable educational backgrounds and income levels. There is nothing more romantic than treating a marriage like a corporate merger.

It’s understandable that a woman might not want to be the “breadwinner” in her marriage. Or that while looking for a partner, mistaking lack of academic pedigree, for ignorance. Or working an honest 9-5 as missing ambition. Love and the relationship becomes less about the person and more about their resume. And call me old fashioned but shouldn’t love be about the feelings two people have for each other?

Black men and women have it hard enough in this world. And a ten year sample of data (age 20-30) is not sufficient to predict a stable happy future. My parents loved each other and still do. My mother trusted my dad so much that she quit working for five years to be a stay at home mom. When that time period was over she jumped right back into where she left off in her career.

By the time I was in junior high (12 years old) my dad had started his business but still worked his full time job. However, when I entered high school, he had quit working his full time job and was running a very successful logging business.

My mother never doubted him for one second. They never fought about money or if he would ever be successful as an entrepreneur.

She loved the hard working man that he was. The man that took on overtime shifts and worked weekends so that she could raise her kids at home, take them to soccer practice, and tuck them in at night. Love is about trusting one another and seeing someone for more than just their current net worth or Oxbridge degrees. Take turns and be willing to make sacrifices.

My mom bought my dad a Rolex watch one year for their anniversary. I had never seen him get her anything so extravagant. Years later though, he bought her a brand new Range Rover. Love should not be about material things. But I personally would love to have a Rolex and Range Rover.

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