There are 810,654 Instagram posts boasting the hashtag #blacklove, with the most popular featured couples a split between hip-hop’s Beyoncé and Jay Z with the other half featuring POTUS and FLOTUS for the more sophisticated Black social media user, it would appear that #blacklove is something we all aspire to. However, the reality of these couples is very different than the average Black man and woman. Most of us will never make a movie based on our love that will earn millions from HBO and most of us will never be able to use our husband’s job as president and chief of the free world as a reference to why dating the smart guy paid off. For those of us on the ground without the glitz and glamour of exorbitant engagement rings and exotic sports cars as gifts and White House Christmas cards, married life is far more “normal” and some have labeled it a dying ritual, especially in relation to the black community. In our present culture where Instagram chicks destroy relationships with DM screenshots and men often value temporary beauty over substance, one could beg the question is marriage relevant as we move into 2016 or is it simply a power move to keep up appearances?
Rolling out sat down with Mark Breedlove, a career Army soldier and CEO of Elaine Breedlove Fashion, who is married to Marquitta Breedlove, a doctor of physical therapy. The Atlanta residents have been married for 13 years and have five children together, including two sets of twins. After posting a Facebook status celebrating his anniversary, Breedlove received a record-breaking number of comments and congratulations. He and his wife believe Black love is alive and well, and they love being able to set an example for other couples young and old.
“Fifty percent of couples I come across are happy in my opinion. I believe problems start when couples begin to look at others and what they have or what it appears they are doing. You have to look inside your relationship and advise each other. Outside influences can be the worst thing for a marriage because it usually involves a opinion that doesn’t have skin in the game for your marriage. If a couple remains together and uses communication and keeps the focus on the great things within their marriage they can get to and remain happy,” Breedlove says.
Another point Breedlove brings up is that wealth can be built much easier as a team than as an individual. “There is an African proverb that says, If you want to go fast go alone but if you want to go far go together. Eighty-six percent of all millionaires are married. Simply put, it’s cheaper for two people to live together than live apart. Getting married also allows you to pool risk. For instance, if you lose your job, but your spouse is still working, it will likely be easier to cope financially than if you were single. In addition, getting married can help with state and federal estate taxes,” Breedlove says.
When asked why he thinks many marriages fail or encounter hard times, Breedlove suggests most of the issues come from outside influence. He also has some tough love advice for couples looking to get married and fantasizing about what they see on television as an example for a great “power couple.” “Money is the number one stressor! Don’t separate bills! There are no her bills and his bills. Pay them together no matter what one makes. At one point my wife didn’t work and I paid everything, now that she is a doctor she makes more, we use her check for investing and special purposes. Save and invest early! You won’t be having sex every day all day so get those open TV porn fantasies out of your head. After working, kids, cleaning, cooking, bills, traffic, and normal daily activities get some damn rest. If you have a problem discuss it with your spouse and no one else first. The TV versions of reality show marriages are just shows. It doesn’t take drama to be happy or interesting.”