March marks my one-year wedding anniversary, and MY has the time flown by. Over this year, I’ve been flooded with so many “#goals,” “yassssss, girl!”, and “you give me hope” comments that it’s crazy.
My single professional friends who’ve seen the struggle of relationships failed, heartache, and the social media cycle of posting then deleting Mr. Wrongs, look at me as the light at the end of the tunnel – an ideal example of what can happen if we maintain resilience on our journey to being loved right.
It’s a picture perfect “ending.” A successful woman gets an attractive husband who matches that success. That alone makes people cheer us on.
And I’m thankful for the love, I really am. But, my favorite thing about being your sister-girl is sharing transparent moments with you that will help you navigate life and manifest your dreams. And that means that I’ve got to start by letting you know that you don’t always get to the magic moment, seamlessly and without a hitch.
Sometimes, the smiles you see, are the result of “risks” that others aren’t willing to take.
The Back Story
At the beginning, there were lots of circumstances that most would immediately consider unacceptable. Bakari had no job, lived long distance, and had a kid.
On our first date, he looked me square in my eyes and told me that he’d recently quit his full-time job to take a football coaching internship at a university that was 8 hours away.
As an attorney who’d recently taken a well-paying job and had no children, deleting his number and putting him on the blocked list would’ve been easy.
Instead, I sat there listening to him lay out his full game plan for reaching his end-goal.
He had a clear and definitive timeline, passion in his eyes, and the willingness to make the necessary sacrifices. He finished his spill and looked at me in a matter of fact manner that conveyed, “take it or leave it.”
I thought to myself, “any man this strategic and determined will succeed.”
Sacrificing on Purpose
I decided to give Bakari a shot because, unlike the other in-between men I’d encountered along the way, he had a game plan to match the dream. He wasn’t just a talker, he was a doer who was using his own savings to fund his ambition. He had a deadline and a fallback plan. I looked at him and realized that he embodied the difference between a scrub and a man sacrificing on purpose.
Turns out, I was right. 3 months later, he was promoted to a full-time position.
In the meantime, in between time, he wasn’t depending on me to support him. To the contrary, Bakari hustled up money to throw me a surprise party, came home to visit me and his son at any given opportunity, took me on romantic dates, and spoiled me with gifts. Even more than that, I was finally being loved the right way. I felt respected, valued, and special.
Bakari went the extra mile to make me laugh. He stepped outside of himself to self correct areas he thought might hinder our relationship, and to top it off, in just another 6 months, he’d be promoted again.
He worked the plan until he reached his goal. Then he got on one knee, and put a ring on it.
And as for his son? I thought of him as an extra life to love. I wasn’t willing to dismiss a good guy because I wanted “perfect circumstances”. Most of the time, life just doesn’t work that way.
Has it proven to be challenging? Yes. Is it worse than being cheated on, lied to, and undervalued? No.
Dating Standards or Setbacks?
So to you I say, have your dating standards. Dating standards, in every aspect of the meaning, are good. But when you see adorable family pictures or videos of two insanely in love people traveling the world and building an unbreakable bond- understand that sometimes, getting that means reassessing the dating standards that are really important.
Dating a 6’7 man suddenly meant nothing when I found out he was emotionally unstable. And dating a dapper criminal attorney who bought me everything? That wasn’t as amazing as I dreamed when I realized I was dispensable to him.
Truthfully, when I think about it, I didn’t lower my standards at all. I made sure they aligned with what my heart deserved.
It’s been nearly 3 years since my first date with Bakari. And everyday, as he kisses me on the forehead before heading out to his full-time job, in a career field that gives him the earning potential to make 5xs more than me, I’m thankful that I didn’t let temporary circumstances dictate long-term happiness. #goals