The Problem With Potential


Be sure to marry the person, not their potential.” ~ How to Cultivate a Marriage Mindset

PotentialI am sure I am not the only person who has said and/or been told that the person they are dating has potential. I have said it on numerous occasions with confidence and somehow convinced myself that this person would make a good mate for me. But what exactly did I mean when I said he had potential? Was I saying he had the potential to be more than he is? Was I saying he had the potential, at some point, to be everything I needed him to be? And was I so foolish in my thought process to think that I could help me reach his potential?

I can’t give you everything right now. I don’t know how much I could give you, but I know it wouldn’t be everything, and I know you deserve everything.” ~ Unknown

As I have shared in previous blogs I am on a journey of healing and allowing God to prepare me for my #FutureHusband. I have been reading a book titled How to Cultivate a Marriage Mindset and a quote from the book inspired this blog.

Be sure to marry the person, not their potential.”

What exactly does the author mean? Shouldn’t my #FutureHusband have potential? Shouldn’t I marry a person who showed the potential to grow and change, even if the potential is not obvious in the beginning? This was something I’ve read and been taught over the years and now the author is telling me it’s all been a lie. I guess this wouldn’t be the first bit of information I thought to be true only to learn it was not, but I digress.

As I contemplated that statement, I thought of myself; what potential do I have? Should someone decide to marry me based off my potential alone and is that enough? Well, while I agree that my #FutureHusband should have potential, I must also understand that my decision to marry him should not be based off what or who I think he can become. Now, hear me out. Everyone has the potential to be great; to be someone. God gives us gifts, talents, and abilities to do amazing things. But unless we use those gifts, talents and abilities and apply ourselves, all we will ever have is potential. We have to want it in order to realize it and if we don’t want it, if we only continue to wear our potential like a badge of honor on our chest, then the potential has been wasted. So as the author pointed out in the book, it is important that when choosing a mate that we find that balance between accepting a person for who they are, but being willing to help them change (reach their potential) IF they desire to. Because at the end of the day I have to decide should my #FutureHusband not desire to change, grow or be better, can I love them forever right where they are.

Be sure to marry the person, not the potential.”

As I consider my last dating relationship I can say he had the potential to change. But the potential was slow to show itself. I could have changed how I looked at certain things, but in the end how exactly would that have benefitted me? It would not have. I would have accepted behaviors that had the potential to change, but probably would not have changed, thus leaving me unhappy, frustrated, disappointed and angry; more so than they already had.

That is how potential works. Its fly by night. It’s not something that we can grab a hold of; and it’s a weak excuse for a relationship. He had the potential to give me his heart. He had the potential to make me his priority. He had the potential to give me what I needed. He had the potential to be fully present in the relationship. But unfortunately what was being shown to me in the present was not the same as potential and thus our love would have been tragic (to borrow a line from The Weekend). We all have the potential to change, but hanging around and waiting to see the manifestation of those changes is a complete waste of precious time if you are not happy in the present moment.

Hip-hop artist Eve taught us that we should be ride-or-die chicks. But really there is nothing admirable about that quality. Rarely will a person gain respect by staying with someone that they believe can change while they continue to be miserable. There is nothing honorable about that. That is called being blind to reality.


About Shannon D. Robinson

Shannon Robinson Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland (Go Ravens!!!), I discovered early on that I am very opinionated and passionate about my opinions. This has brought on the realization for me that I think differently from most people and it took some time for me to come to grips with that unique side of me. Writing for me is often an escape. A place I can go with my thoughts and opinions and not have to concern myself with offending anyone or not agreeing with someone. My thoughts and opinions are mine and God’s and I know that He doesn’t judge me on them. My writing is a personal journey that allows me to be transparent with self (and sometimes others) as I believe that nothing I have experienced or gone through on this journey called life was meant for me to keep to myself. Somewhere there is another woman who is experiencing or has experienced the very same things, thoughts, and feelings I have and it is my prayer that my story in some small way helps her to see that she too can come through. While at the same time giving God glory for his wondrous works. I appreciate you for stopping by and sharing in my journey as I try my absolute best to navigate it as smoothly as possible; even when I come across detours and bumps along the way. ~ Hotep

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