Our Relationship Values

Relationship Values

Who is Your Ideal Marriage Partner?
by LaTonya Irby, Editor-in-Chief | Relationships | Monday, February 24, 2014

A research study on the “Personal Characteristics of the Ideal African American Marriage Partner” revealed that Black men and women may actually share similar values when it comes to choosing a desirable mate. 

Despite mainstream views that often focus on the differences between what Black men and women typically find attractive in a mate (which usually disheartens their views about marriage- especially with one another), research professors at Wayne State University (WSU) found that when it comes to personal, social, and economic qualities that Black men and women say they prefer in a marriage partner, their values may in fact, be more alike than different.

For instance, in regard to the popular belief that Black men feel insecure when it comes to having a partner who earns more money, the study revealed that both Black men and women actually prefer to have a significant other who has a higher income than their own. 

After analyzing self-reported surveys from 344 African American men and women, who were 34-years old on average, from states in the Midwest and East Coast, the research professors from the WSU School of Social Work reported that both Black men and women also want a potential marriage partner that is reliable, monogamous, affectionate as well as financially stable. More importantly, 98% agreed that they prefer a partner who always keeps their promises and meets their obligations while 81% agreed that their ideal partner should be financially stable. 

Having confidence, and religious and spiritual values was also important among both groups. And although a majority of the respondents preferred a mate who is also African American, 45% agreed that race should not be an issue when choosing a marriage partner. Someone who is “honest and caring” was also how a few of the subjects specifically described the characteristics they primarily seek in a long-term partner. 

On the other hand, women did emphasize the importance of the financial and educational status of their ideal mate (such as having a high income and college degree), while men were less likely to agree that having money and a college degree were significant factors. Women rather than men were also more likely to agree that their ideal partner should not place a high priority on sex. 

Unarguably for many women, when it comes to finding a mate there still exists the issue of high incarceration and unemployment rates that also play a role in creating a shortage of so called “marriageable” Black men. Likewise, Black men also have their own unique set of concerns when it comes to choosing who they want to marry. According to the researchers, the findings from the study are important for understanding the basic values and attitudes that may guide and ultimately determine how Black men and women choose who they believe are their ideal partners in love and marriage.

Photo credit: Getty Images


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