Ask a power couple what makes them great, and the response will not include attributes like intelligence, ambition or beauty — though many of the Misters and Misses featured here have such qualities in abundance. They will not mention portmanteaus (see Bennifer, Brangelina, TomKat) or other mono-monikers to mark their power couple status — though many of our couples have certainly achieved it.
Instead, our three couples — a dentist and a doctor, a pair of educators, a philanthropist and a corporate executive — captured the attention of Edge not for their accomplishments (which are many), but for their partnership. They are couples for whom the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Their relationship drives their common goals, their actions and ultimately, their success.
Said Robin Khan of her husband: “My mom gave me my wings, but he gave me the wind.” It’s a sentiment echoed by other power couples. Each half empowers the other until, Ansar Khan says, they become “better together than we are apart.”
These stories offer a glimpse into the inner workings of a few standout West Omaha couples with diverse professions, ages and backgrounds. Together, they form the Edge magazine’s first Mr. and Mrs. issue.
Ansar Khan never intended to stay in Nebraska. It was 1980, and the young doctor had just finished urology training and a fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. For Ansar, Nebraska was just a way-stop on his journey: From India to Chicago to explore cutting-edge medicine; Chicago to Minnesota to train at the world-class Mayo Clinic; from Minnesota to California to settle in the “land of glamor.” En route, he planned a quick stop in Nebraska to visit a friend.
Then he fell in love with Nebraska. And then he fell in love with a girl.
Robin Khan, who grew up a “poor white girl” in the small town of Woodbine, Iowa, was working as an oncology and urology nurse when she met Ansar in 1987. Ansar had long ago dropped his California dreams after experiencing Nebraska’s quality life, quality people and quality opportunities. In Omaha, Fremont, Blair and other rural areas, he found work that allowed him to be useful.
Working with oncology patients in Omaha, Robin and Ansar bonded over shared experiences and a common drive to take care of people in need. For Robin, Ansar was different than other doctors.
“I fell in love with him listening to him talk to patients,” she said. Robin remembers one patient, a 40-year-old woman diagnosed with end-stage renal cancer. Ansar delivered the diagnosis to the woman and her family.
“By the time we walked out of the room, she was thanking him. He had this ability to inspire hope. He had such a unique ability to do that with people — to somehow make them feel OK, that we’ll get them to the endpoint and it will be OK. She knew she was going to die, but there was hope that it would be OK — that she would not be alone and there would not be suffering.”
“He was really there for people. How can you not love someone like that?”
In Robin, Ansar found a woman with whom he could share himself completely. Robin understood his work and his desire to care for people. She had the “compassion of a cancer nurse and the looks of a model,” he said.
She was also smart and driven, and he let her know that if she wanted to plunge into medical school, he’d support it. Ansar and his siblings are among 13 generations of doctors stretching back in his native India. Medical education is a part of their DNA.
“He always wanted me to feel like I was as empowered as anyone else in the family,” she said.
Robin started dental school, taking classes over her lunch hour. She and her 40-year-old bachelor were married soon after.
They settled at Ansar’s home in the Skyline Ranches community in Elkhorn, the perfect base for him to continue his medical practice in Fremont and for her to grow the first of not one, but three Omaha dental practices with a holistic focus. Ansar brings a quiet, even temperament to their home, while Robin is the soul.
“She motivates everybody,” he said. “She is the nucleus of this family.”
Throughout their romance, Robin immersed herself in Ansar’s northern Indian culture. The importance of family and education are values the couple has passed down to their four children, aged 13-24. They are frequently traveling together to locations their children select, including Thailand, Turkey, China, Italy, Iceland and of course, India, where each child has spent some time attending school. Their home is dotted with photographs, art and sculptures from their travels, symbolizing their “East meets West” relationship, approach to living and love of culture.
What binds them together is their constant pursuit of excellence in their work.
For each, that pursuit has required tenacity — whether crossing the globe to achieve a goal, continually reeducating themselves on their craft, or challenging their children to be global citizens.
“We live life to the fullest,” Ansar said, “in the service of other people.”