LoveRules on BetsyIce!
Hey Lovers - BetsyIce is one of my colleagues/mentors/most ardent supporters, and on her personal site, BetsyIce.com she has asked me to fill in the blanks to her thoughts below on why I married a Black woman, and share a little bit of LoveRules.
[The lady I know as BetsyIce has been a travel & culture writer for years, and has been featured in top magazines such as Essence & Uptown, among others. She will be releasing a book of anecdotes/memoirs, soon, and has an amazing sense of humor. So stay tuned!]
As the varying success of marriages between Black men & women seems to find its way into the press in dramatic fashion these days, she does ask me how I got together with my wife, and to share some ideas that Black folks (African-Americans, Caribbean, West Indian, African, et al) might want to know if they are determined to find love within "their race." How could I say no? So here are a couple LITTLE bits that I think are overlooked in a BIG way.
Why did I marry a Black woman? My reasons didn’t have anything to do with not choosing white Black or White. More on that later. But I came to understand that there were thousands of Black women who could potentially complement me, hundreds who were within network reach, but one who was best aligned with me at the time.
Now, let's dispel some myths!
A "good" Black man is the same as any “good” man. He can be found anywhere, working hard right now. He takes care of his responsibilities, is kind, generous, and seeks to improve his life. He is at his best when “good” Black women believe he exists. Does any other race even wonder whether their men are good?
Men should know that "sisters" are more than just strong-willed. Contrary to media impressions, sisters are extremely giving and accommodating to men’s egos once they are being treated properly. For the right man, they will go through fire.
"Brothers" are getting a lot of attention today for marrying outside their race because Black people allow and perpetuate that conversation instead of how we can heal the challenges of our history. Black men choose to marry outside their race for various reasons. Sometimes they live predominantly among other cultural groups. They may marry for love and shared values regardless of color. Other times they marry outside their race because it seems like less history of shaming, blaming, or gaming within the relationship. It may feel like a clean slate.
There are Black men who love and marry Black women. Should you one day become a Black man and woman joined in matrimony, you will run into dozens of other happy Black couples. In fact, a bunch of us are having a party over at my house later. Everyone’s invited.
I knew my wife, a Black woman, was "the one" because when we had our first conversation, it was the most genuine conversation I’d ever had. Ever. No pretense, no judgment, no posturing, no-nonsense, no over compensating, no seeking to impress, just being herself. And that’s what impressed me. Permanently.
A sister who holds out to marry a brother will have a doubly happy life if she is first and foremost keeping her eyes open for the man who complements who she is.
Now a little LoveRules! Before we talk about marriage, let's talk about what happens in the dating stages. Try to date in a selfless manner, but inquire about what your potential partner values. Seek first to understand then be understood. Be the person you want to one day marry. Date and treat the person with the same regard you would give your spouse.
Selflessness and consistent communication are crucial to the success of a relationship. Sync your actions with your words to empower your partner as well as yourself. Empowerment creates trust and security, which allows people to weather emotional storms. The other days—the good ones—are a joy.
Love is not color blind. To be blind is to disregard or be unaware. Real love is unconditional. To love is to be aware of what is, to see reality, see the differences that exist, the challenges they might pose, and choose to love anyway.
At the end of the day, marriage is not something you do, it’s something that happens. People that truly connect cannot be kept apart. For marriages that do not last, there is no shame if both parties naturally grew apart, provided they understood each other, gave each other separate space to grow, and respect each other.
Make room for more.