By Briana Myricks
My marriage means so much to me. It’s a union between myself and my best friend. Going into the marriage, we didn’t have the best role models within our immediate family. Don’t get me wrong; we have a few. There’s my uncle and aunt, who have a great marriage and did it the right way (marriage, house, then a child). There’s his sister and his brother-in-law, who both were in the military and live a great life that my husband and I both would love. I would include his parents and my grandparents based on their marriages now but both of those were rocky in the beginning years. My parents, who married my stepparents when I was young, both have experienced divorce.
This was a huge concern for me once we got engaged. With the scary statistics of divorce, I felt anxious about finding marriage role models. Who would we look up to? Who would we model our relationship after? How would we go from being married at 20 to still being married 50 years later? While none of these examples have hit the 50 year mark yet, these celebrity spouses have become my black marriage role models:
Barack and Michelle Obama: How refreshing to have a black president and a black first lady. Their love just warms my heart. They are truly each other’s backbone, and it shows. They’ve been together since college, and you can just tell they have a bond like no other. To have that type of marriage in the forefront, not just for me, but for all of America to see, is just a blessing. They complement each other so well, and I can just feel the love they have for each other. I want to have that effect on people. I want them to know when they see my husband and I that we truly love each other.
Beyonce (Knowles) and Sean (Jay-Z) Carter: They may not have been listed first, but this is my all time favorite couple. I’m a Jay-Z fanatic. Not a groupie; I really enjoy his music, so much so that it inspired a tattoo of mine. Their relationship makes me grin from ear to ear. They’re very private and secretive, even going as far as getting married on the low. I love watching interviews to see if one is going to mention the other. They giggle when the other is mentioned. They can work together and support each other without everyone being in their business. You can imagine how absolutely excited I was to find out they were expecting. I want to keep my marriage between my husband and I.
Will and Jada (Pinkett) Smith: The entire Internet universe went crazy when rumors were spreading that this couple was heading for splitsville. I feel like I was the only person in my network who just knew it wasn’t true. Now I don’t know Will and Jada like that, but I can just feel the energy their relationship has. They are each other’s cheerleaders and campaign managers. They can joke, they show public displays of affection, and they’re awesome parents too. I want my marriage to be as fun as theirs.
Mariah (Carey) and Nick Cannon: Surprised to see this couple on the list? You shouldn’t be. They’re defying all the odds. I’ll admit, I thought it was an odd pair, but hey, their relationship is their business. Now new parents, Mariah and Nick don’t care what anyone says about their marriage. They are focused on loving each other. And Nick just loves his wife to pieces! I don’t want to let what anyone says affect my marriage, just like them.
Kimora (Lee Simmons) and Djimon Hounsou: Besides being an absolutely stunning couple, I love how they make the blended family work. Djimon accepts Kimora’s daughters, Aioki and Ming, while also loving their son Kenzo. The fact that they have a relationship with Kimora’s ex Russell is just worth applause to me. I come from a blended family, and I have to say, I would’ve loved if my parents could’ve been like this. I admire how comfortable they are with each other’s careers.
Oprah Winfrey & Steadman Graham: Okay, so not a traditional “marriage” but a romantic partnership nonetheless. I’m a powerful, headstrong woman myself, and I’ve been focused on taking over the world since I was 5. My husband doesn’t feel threatened by that at all. He just supports me. Steadman isn’t in the way or intimidated by Oprah’s success. He lets her be herself, and I admire that so much.
Our families may not have provided us with a lot of good examples of marriage, but as long as these couples are in the media giving positive vibes about it, I can really believe in happily ever after.
Briana Myricks became a freelance writer and blogger after being laid off unexpectedly. She blogs about life as a young newlywed at 20 and Engaged.