Sunday, September 29, 2013

"On Fire": Realistic Ways to Make Love MAGICAL


Even in spite of all of the horrific movie reviews that came out about Baggage Claim, I still went. People who know me know that I am pretty militant when it comes to certain things within my (black) culture; one of them being that I choose to (financially) support efforts that are made in cinematography when people strive to tell non-stereotypical stories in their own way.

I'm glad I went too. It's no Oscar-contender but it's cute enough (Jill Scott is really good in it). Plus, without giving away too much, it's also great at conveying the very thing that I addressed in the blog post under this. It's very similar to what Derek Luke's character asked Paula Patton's character when discussing with her the plight to change her single status: "[Do you want to be] *somebody's* or *anybody's*?"

Yes, yes. I really do like it when confirmations come. And thank you, Spirit (John 4:24) for sending signs (Daniel 4:2-3), even in parable form (Matthew 13:13), that being in a relationship is about more than being with a man. It's about being with *the right man* (and no you don't have to go from man to man to man like they're a pair of shoes to find the right fit. Eve didn't).

On the heels of the film,  I thought about an interview that I watched with Jill Scott a couple of weeks ago. One of the questions that she was asked is how to know if a guy is "the one"...*her one*. I dug her list.

"I want a man to treat me like a person." I'm sure a big part of what she meant by this is someone who is not moved (or ill-motivated) by her fame. But let's look deeper than that. To be a person is to be human and to be human is to be someone who makes mistakes (I John 1:9-10). There are a lot of people who get into relationships expecting folks to be characters out of chick flick films so that they can "edit" them however they choose. Sadly, when it's revealed just how *human* their significant other is, they are resentful and irresponsibly judgmental (Matthew 7:1-6, John 7:24) in the sense that they want their own issues to be tolerated while they don't extend that same kind of mercy, grace and forgiveness (Matthew 6:14-15) to others. Standards are one thing (and please do have some) but expecting perfection is unrealistic (Ecclesiastes 7:18-Message) put it mildly. Another definition of person is one's actual self or individual personality. I am a *big fan* of the word "individual" and so is God (Psalm 33:15). It's important that a man loves you for who you *actually are* (which means that you need to reveal who that is). It's also important that he honors you as an *individual*. As someone who is *distinctive* in his life. To be distinctive is to be "having a special quality, style, attractiveness, etc.; notable". It reminds me of the verse in Song of Solomon that says "My darling, everything about you is beautiful, and there is nothing at all wrong with you." (Song of Solomon 4:7-NCV) Yet please take note that in order for a man to see you distinctively, *you need to be distinctive*. Don't copy others. Don't be a chameleon (you know, becoming whomever the person you're dating wants you to be). Don't dismiss the special things about you that make you...*you*. If you strive to do this and you put forth the effort to give him space to do this same, this is what it means to treat and be treated as *a person* in a relationship.

"I want a man to treat me like a lady."  Oftentimes, when people use this word, I'm not sure if they actually know what it means so let's explore. To be a lady is to be well-spoken; it's about being cognizant of your words *and also your delivery* (hence, I Peter 3:7 speaking of a quiet and gentle spirit being precious to the Most High). To be a lady is to be of high social or economic class (yeah, a lot of folks tend to overlook that one but having a good reputation should fit the bill-Proverbs 3:3-4-Message). To be a lady is to be female; a woman. OK, let's stop here a sec. GOD MADE MALE AND FEMALE (Mark 10:6). On purpose. No mistakes. No one gender trapped inside the body of another (that sounds like a lot of confusion to be and the Spirit does not author that-I Corinthians 14:33). And a big part of being a woman is being a helpmate (Genesis 2:18). As a matter of fact, another word for "lady" *is* wife. There are a lot of women who are in less-than-fulfilling relationships (or even God's intention for a relationship) and it's because they are not expecting a man to treat them like a lady but a sex partner, a cook, a maid, a date to business functions, a long-term girlfriend (over 30, dating more than three years is something wise counsel on)---basically any and everything *but* a wife. Yet, while Jill *may* have been talking about a man opening doors, etc., as we can see, being treated like a lady goes well beyond chivalry. If you want to be treated as wife potential, you must act like it.

"I want a man to treat me like one of the boys." I remember going to a guy's friend's house a couple of years ago and they were all playing video games. Do you know what I did? I sat quietly and watched. Video games have their time and place even in a grown man's life (if he wants them there). As a matter of fact, *several husbands* have told me that if a woman will leave a man alone for 20 minutes to play one after a long day at work, not only does it allow him to "shift gears" from the office to home life but he can also mentally work through a lot of things during that time. Anyway, the guy said to me, "You are actually the first woman to come over here and be quiet. That's really cool." It didn't bother me. Video games can be fun. So, where am I going with this? The Amplified Version of Genesis 2:18 tells us this: "Now the Lord God said, It is not good (sufficient, satisfactory) that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him." When women think of being treated like "one of the boys", oftentimes they associate it with going fishing or watching a football game with their significant other. I equate it from another place. Amos 3:3 asks us how can two walk together without them being in agreement. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 speaks of the value of a friend and two individuals *working together*. When you are suitable, adapted to and complementary to someone else, that is the healthy foundation for a true friendship. In counseling sessions, you might be surprised by how many couples I work with who may have great sex or similar values or check off pretty well on one another's "mate list" but at the end of the day, I can tell that they are not friends. They don't laugh together. They don't enjoy similar leisure interests. They don't prefer each other to just about any other human on earth. Men hang out with their "boys" because they enjoy being around them. If you want a good relationship, you and your beloved will feel the exact same way.

"I want a man to not be scared of me." OK, Jill actually took this one a step further: "If you can tell me what to do, you can tell me what to do. If you *can't* tell me what to do, you *can't* tell me what to do." Yeah. Don't get all in a tizzy (LOL). I actually understood *exactly* where she is coming from. As I tell single women often, if you don't want to submit to a man, *stay single*. It's really just that simple. However, if you are going to submit to a man (which is essentially submitting to God in a marriage-Ephesians 5:22, Colossians 3:18), *to your husband*, then it needs to be the kind of man you will respect when it comes to the position that he holds in your life. However, it goes deeper than that: You need to be able to fully and totally trust his relationship with God. A part of the reason why we're told to not unequally yoke ourselves with non-believers is because they have a different way of approaching life. Prayer tends to not be their top priority (James 1:5). They don't really understand what it means to love a wife as Christ loved the Church (Ephesians 5:25-32). They don't get that they can lead a home because God is leading them and with God appointing their position, if their wife respects the Lord, she will not challenge that. So, a man not being "scared" of you is actually more about a man being aware of who he is. When a man knows his place in God's kingdom and in your life, as his woman, you can't help but to get in line with that. If you're smart.

So, what does all of this have to do with the title of the the blog? Well, although I do discern that we should be more responsible with the word "magic" (because its classic definition is a means by which to deceive), there is a definition that I long for more marriages to be walking indications of: "any mysterious or extraordinary quality or power".

Do you not think that when the Spirit created marital covenant that he did not do it with the intention of it having a mysterious quality and resonating an extraordinary power? After all, is that not what the Covenant (I John 5:8) is like?  Mysterious. Extraordinary. Of high quality. Plenty of power. Plus, being that "God is love" (John 4:8&16), doesn't it make sense what the picture quote says? That love, *that Love*, truly is the closest thing that we have to magic? To the Covenant. To knowing how to be in marital covenant?

Sometimes---no, *most times*---we make things harder than it actually has to be.

If you want your love relationship to be magical, don't try and *get* married.

Do what's required to *stay* married.

And Jill's list is a big part of recipe.



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