Friday, November 29, 2013

An Ounce of Prevention: 'Are You TOO NEEDY in Relationships?'


There's nothing like hearing things from a man's point of view, which is why I go on men's websites to do a bit of "eavesdropping" from time to time.

According to "5 Signs of a Needy Woman":

A needy woman can be among the most frustrating aspects of a man’s romantic life. The problem is, a lot of chicks have no clue when they're acting like the human version of Velcro. Whether her needy behavior is subtle or overtly obvious, it can cause a lot of unnecessary and exhausting drama and put a major strain on your relationship. Below are five signs that will help you recognize whether or not your dating a needy woman.

1. She wants to stay in touch all the time. A needy woman will blow up your phone with a gazillion calls and text messages along with excessive emails. She also expects you to call and text her multiple times a day. She needs to know where you're going at all times and will begin to feel restless and angry if you are late contacting her.

2. She wants your attention all the time. A needy woman feels like she deserves your attention at all times, even if your busy talking to someone else, working on something or just relaxing by yourself. She demands to be by your side as often as possible and hand-holding and nonstop body contact is mandatory. She's a controlling woman who feels as if she owns you and discourages you from spending time with your friends.

3. She thinks you don't love her as much as she loves you. A needy woman demands to analyze everything about your relationship and thinks that constantly bringing up problems in the relationship will make you a better man. She'll tell you that she feels like she's the only one trying to hold the relationship together, and if she doesn't see you wearing the shirt she bought you three months ago, she thinks that you don't care about her anymore.

4. She's constantly worried about being dumped. If you forget to say "I love you" at the end of a conversation, she thinks the relationship is coming to an end. Due to previous disappointments and painful experiences with men, she is a psychologically unstable individual who needs constant reassurance that you are still there and haven't dumped her.

5. She has no life of her own. She's afraid to have her own interests, always glues herself to you and follows you around all the time instead of doing her own thing. She wants to spend every bit of her free time with you and wears out her welcome rather quickly.

Which led me to another article I read from a young cat (25) entitled "5 Signs You're Being Needy":

1 – You call, email, and/or text too much. If you’re over-communicating your partner, you’re bound to be single. You don’t need to be checking in every two hours. If you want to run a woman or man off quickly, this is one of the best ways to do it.

2 – You are overly-emotional. You share all of your feelings right away and you always doubt yourself. You need constant reassurance about your relationship, work and friendships. That is a instant turnoff. Most people interested in a relationship look for a strong partner they can lean on. So if you are always leaning on your partner, they might doubt your ability to do this. Remember, women and men want a partner who is confident and independent–not insecure and dependent.

3 – You are always available. This means you’re too available. Nobody wants a man/woman who are always available because it makes them think that you don’t have a life of your own, making you far less desirable. Being a challenge to your partner makes you more desirable. When you meet someone you like, show interest in them, but ensure that you keep your regular schedule and don’t be available every single day.

4 – You do whatever they want. You let your partner walk all over you and then continue to be a doormat and allow it over and over, giving up things you really value in an effort to align your life with their wishes. This is a instant turnoff no matter what their actions are displaying. Women and men are not looking for a partner who agrees with everything they say. They are looking for someone confident who can stimulate their minds and not bore them. Don’t be a yes man or yes woman.

5 – You need constant reassurance. You constantly need to hear how great you are and you constantly need your partner to stroke your ego. This is a sign that you have low-self esteem, high insecurities and a poor self-image of yourself. This behavior can become tiresome to most people because they don’t want to deal with a partner that needs constant assurance.

Which finally led me to an article that a woman wrote: "5 Ways We Sabotage Our Relationships". Because although you really can lose a good man by being needy, there are other ways that you (YOU) can bring your relationship to an end as well:

1. Needing To Be Right: If it is more important to you to be right or have the last word than to have a loving and close relationship, this will get in the way for you time after time.

2. Trying To Control Others: When you think you can change the way others act and feel, it's a no win situation.  You will be constantly frustrated and the other person will feel judged and put down.  This leads to both of you shutting down and no problems solved.

3. Withdrawing: If you don't talk about what's bothering you or leave a discussion without being honest or start doing more things with others, then you have become emotionally unavailable to your partner.  Once disengaged you will both feel hurt and rejected and alone and no problems get resolved.

4. Trying To Get Back At The Other Person: If you go by the "You Hurt Me So I Can Hurt You Back" rule chances are you will just create an ongoing battlefield in the relationship.  It really is just "Offending From The Victim Position" which is still offending.

5. Saying Everything You Think Or Feel With No Filter: We don't have the right to dump our fears, anger, lust, interpretations, accusations, etc onto others without their permission.  We have to respect our own boundaries but we also have to respect those we love.  Some people think they have to tell the people they love everything and right away or they aren't really close.  Well, not everything we have to say is necessary or important to share and if it's pushing people away you have to ask yourself, "Is this working for me?"

Good stuff. Forward it along. Um, to the needy chicks...



Thursday, November 28, 2013

An Ounce of Prevention: 'Are You a GIVER, a MATCHER or a TAKER?'


This article entitled "The Best Kept Secret to Highly Successful Couples" has some really good points in it. Especially since a lot of people are not *true givers*. They "give" only so that they can receive. That's not *giving*. That's a form of *manipulation*. Anyway, here's a straight copy and paste:

According to Adam Grant, Wharton's most popular and youngest tenured faculty member and the author of Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, people fall into one of three distinct categories: givers, matchers and takers. While Grant's book is written for a business audience, its theories provide extraordinary insight into romantic relationships. The category you fall into may well determine the success and happiness of your relationship.

For example, has a romantic relationship ever made you feel like you were not good enough? Have you ever been taken advantage of by a romantic partner? Have you ever felt like you gave everything to someone and ended up completely worn out? Then you may just fall into the "giver" style of romantic partner.

Interestingly, while the giver style may have its drawbacks, givers are also usually the most attractive partners and are more likely to have long-term relationships. A study examining the trait most highly valued in potential romantic partners suggests that both men and women rate kindness as one of their most desired traits. Givers are also most likely to be affectionate, a trait which determines the long-term success of a relationship (as I describe in this article), not to mention their own longevity.

In order to understand where you fit in and how to best navigate your relationships with others, here's a summary of the three styles of romantic partners.

Givers are people whose primary motivation is to take care of others, to make sure others are well, and to contribute to others and society. In a relationship, these are people who are always thinking about gifts for their partner, who take their partners' interests into consideration, and who are always thinking, "What else can I do for you?" They're pretty awesome. As Grant mentions in his book, everyone likes having givers around because they are always happy to contribute and thinking of others. They understand the relationship as an opportunity to give and take care.

Givers often end up thinking that there is something wrong with them when they are unhappy in a relationship. They are the ones who think they are not lovable or good enough because they take personal responsibility for making the relationship work (rather than blaming their partners). They can end up burned out and exhausted from continuously giving if they do not receive the support they need from the relationship.

Matchers tend to keep a balance sheet in a relationship. When matchers give, they do so with an expectation of getting something in return. When they receive something, they feel like they have to give something back. Matchers are the ones who are keeping tabs and view relationships as somewhat like a commercial transaction. They are the ones who are most likely to say something like, "I did this for you, but you didn't do that for me" or "You paid for this, so I'll pay for that."

Takers are just that -- takers. They usually treat people well if and when those people can help them reach their goals. Interestingly, Grant points out that they often appear as the most charming and charismatic people on the surface. They know how to work the crowd and seduce, but under the surface they are actually motivated by self-interest. You can recognize a taker by how poorly they treat people that they believe are of no use to them. You know you're in a relationship with a taker when you feel sucked dry for all you have, whether it's money, affection, time etc. Once the taker has everything they want from you, you may be relegated to the unimportant sphere of their life. Their primary focus is themselves.

So who is most successful and who is least successful?

Grant points out a fascinating fact about who, among these three styles, is happiest and most successful: it is givers. What about those who are least successful? Also the givers! Why? Givers who learn to successfully navigate a world with matchers and takers make out great. Everyone loves givers, trusts them, and supports them when they are in need. So why are givers also the least successful? Because some givers don't know how to navigate that world and, as a consequence, end up getting taken advantage of. If you're a giver, you've been there at least once both professionally and personally.

Imagine a relationship between a giver and a taker? These end up with the giver completely worn out, having perhaps spent their savings, time and energy on someone who keeps demanding more and never or scarcely provides for their partners' needs (unless they do so temporarily because it behooves them at that moment).

What makes a successful giver? Read Adam Grant's book to get his complete lists of tips. One that stood out to me was the idea of being a "giver with awareness." Awareness of what? Be aware that the world has givers, matchers and takers. Watch people's words and actions and you will know who is who. When you navigate romantic relationships, friendships or business partnerships, investigate which category your potential partner belongs to and don't get blown away by first-impressions (as noted above, takers are masters of first-impression charm). Then what? In a non-romantic situation, you can deal with matchers and takers by adopting a matcher-like attitude (I know, hard to do for a giver!). Start speaking in terms of, "Ok, we have an agreement, you do this and in exchange I will do this."

What about in romantic relationships? I conferred with Adam Grant while writing this article and he shared the following tip about long-term love: "In the most successful relationships, both partners are givers. In other words, when a romantic relationship works, matchers and takers are focused on giving. Both partners might be giving in different ways, but they should be willing to support each other without expecting something in return. That said, when things get too far out of balance, I think we all become matchers." Imagine a relationship where both partners are always caring for each other's needs. Where when there is a fight, both are the first to say, "I'm sorry, it was my fault." In which both live their life with their partner's best interest in mind. You better believe that matchers and takers are also looking out for givers so, if you're a giver, be sure you seek one out for yourself too because you deserve it.

If you recognize yourself as a matcher or taker then -- first of all -- congratulations on being so honest with yourself. Of course, because of givers' affectionate and service-oriented qualities, it is also in your best interest to have a partner who is a giver. However, I'd like you to consider two things:

First, givers will never be fully happy unless you support them as they support you. They will eventually feel worn out and perhaps even leave. In a recent study by Amie Gordon at the University of California-Berkeley, those who experienced more gratitude in their relationship also felt closer to their partner, more satisfied with the relationship and tended to engage in more constructive and positive behaviors within the relationship. Ultimately, for a good relationship that benefits you, you will want your partner to be happy and you'll want to support them in return.

Second, as Grant's book clearly outlines, givers are the ones who end up being most successful and happy if they are not taken advantage of. A large amount of research now shows that a lifestyle comprised of kindness and service leads to greater fulfillment as well as health and happiness. If you want to be happy and successful, it therefore behooves you too to be or become a giver.

With the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays coming up, it's a great time to start being a giver! After all, isn't that what love is about?

Indeed. It is... (Acts 20:35)



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"On Fire": Are You Getting Excited About NOTHING in Your Relationship?

"When Jesus realized what was going on, he intervened. 'Why are you giving this woman a hard time? She has just done something wonderfully significant for me. You will have the poor with you every day for the rest of your lives, but not me. When she poured this perfume on my body, what she really did was anoint me for burial. You can be sure that wherever in the whole world the Message is preached, what she has just done is going to be remembered and admired.'"---Matthew 26:10-13(Message)


I've actually been meaning to pen something on that quote up top for a hot minute but it just didn't seem like the right time. I'm not 100 percent clear on what today is the day but here we are.

Several weeks ago, I wrote a devotional that referenced the story of the woman who poured perfume on Christ's feet. Although oftentimes when I hear the account told, it speaks of her utter humility (and humility is *so* important-Proverbs 22:4), when I read the Message Version translation, what really stayed with me was the sentence that's underlined: "She has just done something wonderfully significant for me."

Significant. SIGNIFICANT.

Wonderfully significant. *Nice*.

Can you imagine how much bigger each of our worlds would become if the focus was to do something, for someone else, that was significant each and every day of our lives?

Significant: important; of consequence; important, notable, or momentous

Honestly, I discern this is a big part of what the Word is reminding us of when we read verses like "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith" (Galatians 6:7-10-NJKV) and "But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work." (2 Corinthians 9:6-8-NKJV) These verses reveal to us the fact that what we do, good or not-so-good, is going to bring forth consequences.

And with that being that case, wouldn't it be better if we focused on saying and doing things that are deemed to be truly important? Things that will manifest good consequences? Things that will prove to be notable?

So what does that have to do with the Cher quote? It's pretty simple, actually.

Cher said that there are a lot of women who have the tendency (or is it pattern?) of getting all excited about nothing. And then they marry him.

OK, I'll say this. I'm not really into calling a man "nothing" for the same reason why I don't call men "dogs". We're made in the image of the Godhead (Genesis 1:26-28) and so while some choose to take that more literally than others, a guy is certainly not *nothing*.


After looking at the definitions of nothing a while back, I did have a bit of an "ah-ha moment":

Nothing: no thing; not anything; naught; something that is non-existent; something or someone of no importance or significance

"The trouble with some women is that they get all excited about nothing---and then they marry him."

Uh-huh. Let's look at this another way.

"The trouble with some women is that they get all excited about a relationship that is virtually non-existent but think they are going to marry the person anyway."

Let's try it from one more angle.

"The trouble with some women is that they get all excited about someone who is really of no importance or significance to the outcome of their lives and they still want to marry him."

I have said many times before and was actually just discussing with someone last night that I discern it was by God's perfect will and design that he did not say "It is not good that man should be alone. I will make a woman for him to love." No, what the Scriptures *actually say* is "It is not good that man should be alone. I will make him a helper comparable [COMPARABLE] to him." (Genesis 2:18-NKJV)

Another way to look at this is: "It is not good that man should be alone. I will make a helper in the form of a woman who will be important and significant in his life, especially as it relates to his spirituality and his purpose." God made someone who would help Adam to be important and significant on this earth. And no one can deny that Adam was indeed that. And that in many ways, he still is.

And so, being that significance and importance were relevant with the first covenant couple and even with Christ's interaction with the woman who washed his feet, why should we settle for any less than a significant union with our future husband? In other words, why is it good enough to be with a guy just because he's cute or single or likes some of the same things that we do or gives us some attention or has 80 percent of what's on our "wish list"? (Yeah, make sure to consult God on some wisdom re: that list, by the way-James 1:5) Why wouldn't we aim higher and want to be with the kind of person who will prove to be *truly* or, as the lead Scripture says, *wonderfully significant*?

Someone who is going to help us do *important* things in this world.

Someone who is going to make sure that our marriage to them is going to be *notable*.

Someone who lives to make significant and momentous choices in the lives of others.

Now how many marriages do you know that you can define that way?

Unfortunately, a lot (A LOT) of people got excited about "nothing" and got married. Anyway.

Life, and marriage, is to be so much more than that!

Don't you be a statistic. Of the "nothing epidemic".



Monday, November 25, 2013

An Ounce of Prevention: 'Lying About Who You Really Are Is Highly (HIGHLY) Deceptive'


I happen upon all kinds of information that I bypass as far as posting it onto the site but *this thing right here* (sigh). It was featured on Slate's website and honestly, there are enough counseling sessions that I sit in where one (or both) of the partners are like "Whaaaa? Since when?" about certain things that the person they married straight up lied about that this bears mentioning (and warning about):

Q. Bait and Switch: I dated my wife for three years before we married. We were both in our 30s and had had all of the important discussions before we decided to marry (kids, religion, etc.). At the time, she told me she was agnostic, and not really into "the whole religion thing." Now, less than six months into our marriage, she tells me she's joined a church and expects me to join her for Sunday services. It's only now that I learn that she has extremely right-wing, religious views. After talking with some of her friends, they couldn't believe I didn't know this about her. I asked them why they wouldn't have mentioned this when they found out we weren't having a church wedding and they told me that was probably done for my benefit. Now, instead of our not wanting any kids, she wants at least five and maybe more. Instead of no religion, she wants strict adherence to her religion. I feel I've been duped and that she's lied to me about herself. Is there any way out of this short of divorce?

A: This sounds like the idea for a follow-up to Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, because you've got a wife who rivals Flynn's in the unreliable narrator department. In your case either your wife is completely crazy or you've decided to concoct a crazy letter. I hate to think I'm being duped, but if this is an accurate rendering of the first months of your marriage, I don't understand why you're writing to me on how to avoid divorce. Your question should be something along the lines of whether you should go directly to a lawyer or trying a stab at therapy first. I get a lot of letters about couples with differing religious views. Almost always if there is deception, it's on the part of the person who is having doubts about their faith but who doesn't want to upset the believers around them. I haven't heard of the devout who want to keep that under wraps in hopes of snagging an atheist to convert. Marriages can be annulled when entered into fraudulently—I think you've got better grounds for this than did Henry VIII.

Now here's the thing. It's both dangerous and unrealistic (Ecclesiastes 7:18-Message) to marry someone and expect them to never change. HOWEVER, based on the information provided, I agree with the advice columnist. It sounds like a woman who wanted a man *so badly* that she lied about who she *really was* so that she could get him.

And look at where it got her. Him thinking about leaving her. And with just cause.

It might sound "crazy" but I know women who have lied about if they are a virgin...or not, lied about if they have an untreated STD, lied about their credit score, yes lied about if they want more children...oh the list goes on and on. I also know women who have *lied to themselves* and decided that *they* should "missionary date" in order to convert a man. It's not a woman's job to win a man to Christ. It's a man's choice to receive the Lord. She can *influence* him but there's a fine line between that and *manipulation*. Motives usually reveal the truth (Proverbs 21:2&8-Message).

So let this woman, someone who may have thought what she did was "harmless" but straight up deceived her husband, be a wake-up call to us all: If you can't be *authentically you* in a relationship, then you don't need to be in one at all.

(Poor guy. Really.)



An Ounce of Prevention: 'Why Women Still Need Husbands'

"Then God said to the woman, 'I will cause you to have much trouble when you are pregnant, and when you give birth to children, you will have great pain. You will greatly desire your husband, but he will rule over you,'

Then God said to the man, 'You listened to what your wife said, and you ate fruit from the tree from which I commanded you not to eat. So I will put a curse on the ground, and you will have to work very hard for your food. In pain you will eat its food all the days of your life. The ground will produce thorns and weeds for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. You will sweat and work hard for your food. Later you will return to the ground, because you were taken from it. You are dust and when you die, you will return to the dust.'"---Genesis 3:16-19(NCV)


I'm well aware that some people believe that the curses spoken in the Garden no longer apply. I don't see *any biblical evidence* to support that. Plus, as a doula, I have yet to personally encounter a woman who has not experienced some level of pain during labor and just about every single day, I talk to women who desire a man/or their husband.


I'm still rocking with the what God said to the Woman and Adam.


If a woman is going to hurt in labor then a man still needs to *work hard* for his provision. As I oftentimes tell women who are exhausted, have their homes in disarray and seem to have a stronger work ethic than their husbands (or potential husbands), "I don't see why you're the one toiling when you were never told or expected by God to."

And no, I'm not saying that a wife shouldn't work. What I am saying though is that when she is expected to be the breadwinner in the family, something is in disarray. The relationship heirarchy (Ephesians 5:21-33) is *out of order*. And the Word tells us that God does things in a decent order (I Corinthians 14:40).

So if you're dating someone with a poor worth ethic, he is not ready to be your husband because he has not fully matured as a man. (Yet.)

I'm not saying that he has to be wealthy or that you should be materialistic. Many women have missed out on some real gems because the guy didn't bring in six-figures. But what I am saying is that if you're doing more than he does to provide, then you are setting the stage to be doing that after marriage. And that's not good.

That said, here's an article that I checked out just this morning that addresses this matter entitled "Why Women Still Need Husbands". Check it out and think about your standards. A man can be fine all day long. He can be a good communicator. He can love the Lord (please make sure he loves the Lord). But in order to be a *good husband*, he also must be in the position to provide. PROVIDE.

Over the past several decades, America has witnessed a profound change in the way women view men and marriage. It began with the baby boomer adage “never depend on a man.”

This message resulted in a generation of women who turned their attention away from the home and onto the workforce. They did what their mothers told them to do: they became financially independent so they’d never have to rely on a husband.

In time, “never depend on a man” turned into the full-blown belief that men are superfluous. In 2010 Jennifer Aniston claimed women needn’t “fiddle with a man” to have a child. 

This may strike you as an isolated case of stupidity, but Aniston’s willingness to put it out there speaks volumes about modern cultural attitudes. No actress would have said such a thing in the 70s, 80s, or even early 90s.

Fortunately, most women come to the realization that they do, in fact, need a man—at least if they want a family.

Financial independence is a great thing, but you can’t take your paycheck to bed with you. And there’s nothing empowering about being beholden to an employer when what you really want is to have a baby. That’s dependency of a different sort.

This is the conclusion to which most women have come. Research shows that what women want more than anything else is not to work full-time and year-round but to live balanced lives.

How will they do it? That’s the number-one conversation among women today.

‘Round and ’round we go, asking how women can gain more control over their lives. How can they spend more time with their children? How can they make time for exercise or even a social life? How can they keep their houses in order and still have time to cook? The answer is obvious.

Lean on your husband.

According to Pew Research, “Dads are much more likely than moms to say they want to work full time. And when it comes to what they value most in a job, working fathers place more importance on having a high-paying job, while working mothers are more concerned with having a flexible schedule.”

That women prefer part-time work is simply irrefutable. It was true back in 2007, and it’s even true among Ivy League graduates! Study after study, both here and abroad (the majority of women in the UK, Spain and other countries seek some combination of paid work and family work) shows women as a whole (the Sheryl Sandbergs notwithstanding) want multifaceted lives. They want balance.

And there’s only one way to get it: rely on a man’s more linear career goals. Unlike women, a man’s identity is inextricably linked to his paycheck. That’s how most men feel a sense of purpose. Indeed, research shows men see it as their duty to support their families even when their wives make as much money (or more) as they do!

Perhaps that’s because men can’t produce life the way women can—let’s face it: those are some serious shoes to fill—but they can produce the means to make a child’s life secure. As a nation, we dismiss this integral part of masculinity. But that doesn’t make it any less true.

So why not let husbands bring home the bulk of the bacon so women can have the balanced lives they seek? There’s no way to be a wife, a mother and a full-time employee and still create balance. But you can have balance by depending on a husband who works full-time and year-round.

I know what you’re going to say. Where are these husbands on whom women can depend? And you’re right: there are fewer men these days who seem eager to be primary breadwinners.

But ask yourself why, and I bet you know the answer.

It's nice to see woman still having, not traditional values so much as *healthy standards*.

Take heed...




Friday, November 22, 2013

"On Fire": Being LONELY Is a CHOICE

"Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]"---Hebrews 13:5(AMP)


I've been processing an article that I read earlier this morning, in and out, for most of the day---and I just haven't been able to shake it.

It's not because I don't support people feeling what they feel, and sharing it. Especially when they are vulnerable enough to be *totally honest* (honesty is *such* a lost art...and virtue these days-James 5:16). It's just that what I read, I know a lot of women agree with and basically surrender themselves to while they're single and so I wanted to take a moment just to provide another perspective.

On what exactly? On something that singer and newlywed (and soon-to-be-mom) Kelly Clarkson recently said (per People magazine):

Good things come to those who wait – as has been learned by Kelly Clarkson.

The singer and expectant mom, 31, agonized over being single for almost seven years, but says when she met hubby Brandon Blackstock, she immediately knew her date-free days were out the door.

"Every Christmas, it was like, 'Seriously, I'm still pathetically alone? Awesome. I'm still telling people I'm okay with it? I'm not,' " Clarkson tells Parade as part of a holiday-themed photo spread promoting her new Christmas album, Wrapped in Red. "[When I started dating Brandon], in my head, I was like, 'I'm already married to you!'"

OK, I'll first say I'm glad that "I'm already married to you!" was something she did not blurt out (LOL). Take it from me, (most) men do not want your relational forecasts or fortune telling about your future with them. The Woman was brought to Adam but she still didn't have to tell him who she was (Genesis 2:18-25). HE. TOLD. HER. #wordstoliveby 

Yet it wasn't that sentence that had me on "pause". It was "Seriously, I'm still pathetically alone." (Also, *agonizing over being single*)  On Christmas.

For one thing, if you're waiting until you're in a relationship to be happy, that is *a lot of pressure* to put on any one individual. A person is not supposed to *make you happy*. They are to *share in your happiness*.  (James 1:4)

Secondly, I've had moments when I thought it would be nice to be in a relationship over the holiday season (especially since I've had years when I was in one). Therefore, I get that having companionship would be nice during that time. Still, I want to encourage you not to assume that being single means that you *have to be lonely* (and especially not *pathetically lonely*)...because you don't.

How can I be so confident in saying that?



Let's walk through the definitions of the word.

Lonely means that you're depressed about being alone. And guess what the Word (John 1:1) says is a root cause of depression? Anxiety: "Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad." (Proverbs 12:25-NKJV) The Word also tells us what to do when we find ourselves feeling uneasy...fearful...worried. Anxious: "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7-NKJV) Also, there's another Scripture in the Bible that says this: "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life." (Proverbs 13:12-NKJV) When you're single and you don't want to be, you can be tempted to lose hope. *Don't*. Romans 5:5 is a favorite verse of mine because it simply states "Hope does not disappoint." That doesn't mean that you'll get what you want and/or when you want it (Acts 1:7-Message). But what it does mean is that hope will do what it's defined to do. It will remind you "that what is wanted can be had OR that events will turn out for the best" (Romans 8:28).

Lonely means being destitute of companionship, intercourse or support. OK, the intercourse thing? Yeah. I get that (LOL). Although if that's all you're wanting a man for, the more appropriate would would probably be *horny* not *lonely* and that's another blog for another time. But when it comes to companionship and support, where are your friends? I mean the ones who aren't married or in a relationship? And more specifically, where are your *male friends*? Not the ones you're slick trying to make a "boyfriend" or are slick trying to sleep with you, but the ones you have a healthy connection with. I'll raise my hand in this class and say that a few good male friends can provide an absolutely amazing support system. They can also prepare you for him. When he comes. When God deems that it's time for him to arrive (Psalm 84:11).

Lonely also means being isolated (which you definitely have the power to not be) and "unhappy as a result of being without the companionship of others". Happy is "delighted, pleased, or glad, as over a particular thing" BUT ALSO "characterized by or indicative of pleasure, contentment, or joy" and here's the thing. The Scripture at the beginning of this message tells us, instructs us, *commands us* to "be satisfied with our present circumstances" or as the New King James Version puts it: BE CONTENT. And being that joy is one of the characteristics of the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), when we have the Holy Spirit, joy is to be indicative of that. Yep. Some of us don't need a man to make us happy. We need more of the Holy Spirit within our lives. Some of us are simply in the pursuit of the wrong thing. "Wrong" meaning that it's out of order. And God does things in a decent order (I Corinthians 14:40). Him first. Everyone and thing else, second (Exodus 20:3, Mark 12:30-31).

When I read Kelly's quote(s) on how she felt during her previous status, I kinda felt sad for her. Mostly because there are so many people who can't wait to get into their "marriage season" that they can't embrace the benefits of their single one (and if you don't believe there are some, ask your family members and friends who are already married...they'll vouch for it!). But if you're only focusing on wanting a man and not *living your life*, I can see how that can result in *choosing to be lonely*. Just remember that it is indeed...*a choice*.

So, as the holiday season rolls around, am I trying to talk you out of wanting a special man in your life? Absolutely not. I'm just encouraging you to embrace this time of singleness by celebrating the fact that you can take a trip, you can pamper yourself, you can buy you some can enjoy focusing on you.

This time next year, God willing, Kelly will have a baby for Christmas and that's awesome.
But she just might look back on all of those years when she was hating being single and wish that she embraced it more. And she could have. If she had *chosen* to.

Loneliness is not a condition.

Yes, it is a choice.

Life is short and every season serves a God-ordained purpose (Ecclesiastes 3).

Please (please)...choose wisely.



Thursday, November 21, 2013

An Ounce of Prevention: 'Back Off When Your Male Friend Has a New Woman'

On the heels of the piece under this...yeah.

Straight up copy and paste on 'Back Off When Your Male Friend Has a New Woman':

"Is there, in your opinion, an unspoken understanding that one should heed a certain discretion with friends of the opposite sex when they enter a relationship? For example, if I’m best friends with a guy that has a new girlfriend, does that mean I have to censor how often I contact him, especially if the new girlfriend doesn't know me personally?” —K.U.
In so many words, yes. But instead of taking for granted an “unspoken understanding,” you should have a conversation with your friend about what’s expected, what’s crossing lines and what’s likely to rattle to your friend’s significant other.

I find that I’m one of the rare people who believe men and women can be friends, just friends and only friends. I have several male friends, friendships that span more than and approaching a decade, and they are strictly platonic. We are not superhuman to accomplish this feat. It is possible, as you seem to know.

But like I said, that tends to be a rare perspective. A noticeable number of the people who contact me for help with their relationships have complaints about their significant other’s opposite-sex friendships. Some just don’t want their mate to have them at all. Period. Others find that friends call too often, too late, are alternately “too friendly” or “not making enough effort” to get to know the new mate. And a lot of times they fear that the “friend” is secretly crushing on their partner and just waiting to sabotage the relationship. Any of this can be true. And it can also entirely be paranoia resulting from insecurity about the relationship.

You’re dealing with it, so you know how odd this situation can be, at least for you. You’ve been friends with a guy all this time, and now this new woman comes along and you have to fall back? It doesn’t seem fair. But look at things from her perspective, too. There’s another nonrelative friend in her man’s life who knows him better than she does. That’s not exactly a comfortable feeling, either.

I’m happy when my guy friends get into relationships because, well, they’re my friends and I want them to be happy. But admittedly, it could be annoying at times to act in a respectful way of the relationship, especially when I was single. For instance, when something wonderful or surprising or tragic happened, I’d pick up the phone at any time of day and shout, “Dude, you will not believe ... !”

But when he got into a relationship, I had to check the clock before I called. I thought about what time I sent texts because a phone going off in the middle of the night while your woman’s laying beside you is never going to go over well. When I went home for a rare visit—he lives in my hometown—I might get a night to hang out with him if he was free. His girlfriend (now wife) obviously took precedence for weekend plans.

Whether I liked it or not, that’s the way its supposed to be. When you enter a relationship, you’re not supposed to forget about your friends, but in day-to-day matters, the partner trumps. It makes things a lot easier for the friendship and the relationship when friends play an appropriate position, and by “appropriate,” I mean behave respectfully so as not to give any appearances that there’s anything more than an entirely platonic situation.

It also helps if you’re just overall considerate of the new relationship, even when it’s inconvenient. In addition to curbing the time of day and amount you call, be mindful to ask, “Are you with so-and-so? Tell her I said 'hi', " or if you want to hang out with your friend, extend the invite to his significant other. I find those two small gestures can go a very long way in making a new girlfriend more comfortable, and more importantly, less paranoid, if at all, about any friendship with her man.

This strategy has worked exceptionally well for me, as even though I’m not friends per se with his wife, she’s seen that I’ve always respected their relationship. For instance, the last time my bestie and his wife were coming to New York for the weekend, she made plans to do a whirlwind shopping trip with her sister.

He’s not the type of guy to tag along for a girls' day. He asked her, “What am I supposed to do then?”

She looked at him like he was crazy and said, “Doesn’t Demetria live in Brooklyn? Why can’t you go hang out with her?”

Good luck!

Now remember that unlike the article under this, she's speaking of a STRICTLY PLATONIC situation. OK now.



"On Fire": Can (and Should) You Be Friends with Your Ex?

"To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven...a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing."---Ecclesiastes 3:1&5(NKJV)


There is a running joke that I share with my platonic male friends: "Watch who you bring home to your mother because if she and your mom connect, once you break up, you will hear about her for the rest of your entire life."

I am a living testament to that. And not to toot my own horn, but I actually do pretty well with mothers. As a matter of fact, I just talked to an ex's mom a couple of nights ago and one of the things that we discussed was if I would be able to be friends with her son ever again.

Now before we get into the answer, here's the backdrop of the story: For years, he and I were extremely close friends. Then one day, he told me that he was in love with me but (catch it) he didn't want to be. As a gal who had a crush on him *and* low self-esteem (and with that usually comes selective hearing), I'm pretty sure you can guess all that I heard: "I love you."

So, our friendship took a turn, we started having sex and even a pregnancy came from it. My final abortion: December 4, 1999. Interestingly enough, the experience earned me a byline in the now defunct Honey Magazine in part because a year later, he got with the woman who is now his wife. At that time, they were living together but the catcher is that he got her pregnant a year after my abortion. A year after telling me that he wasn't ready to have a child.

His daughter is 12 now.

Look ladies, abortion is wrong. No if, ands or buts about it. Psalm 127:3(NKJV) says "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward." There's just no debating that. So, if you are someone who is pregnant and the father is pressuring you to abort, let my testimony remind you, *don't*. Three of my four aborted children's fathers now have children. I don't.

Take heed.

OK but here's the main point. As his mom was talking to me about how she feels that we both still care for one another, I shared with her something from the video featuring the woman I posted on here some months ago; the one who studies what sex does to us physically (you can watch it again here). One of the things that she stated was if you *conceive* a child with someone, their DNA is in you for the rest of your life (THE REST OF YOUR LIFE). Sex makes people "one". God said it (I Corinthians 6:16-20-Message). Don't doubt him.

That said, I told her "I am always going to love your son but he's married and we have a lot of history. We will never be able to be 'just friends' because we violated boundaries. I have to respect his life now but I do hope we can be peaceful in one another's space."

What am I saying? I don't discern that it is healthy to be intimate friends with an ex.

Yes, I personally know some people who would debate that you can't be friends with an ex. To that, I'll say this: I am *cool* with some exes but when you have sex as a part of your past with someone, you have entered into a territory that makes it potentially uncomfortable for the woman they do decide to build a future with. And if you don't choose to respect that, it's a rude. It's inconsiderate. And yes, it is questionable what your true motives are. It doesn't matter if it's "in the past" (Proverbs 21:2&8-Message). Fornication has consequences. Ignoring that is...unwise.

Case in point: One of my closest male friends' wife said to me "I am totally comfortable with your relationship with my husband. Why? Because you never slept with him." And can't you see why she would feel that way? No lines were crossed. SEX CROSSES THE LINE. Look, if there's a man you want to keep in your life for the rest of your life, do the both of you a favor and leave sex out of the equation. It makes things easier for everyone.

So, you might wonder why I still talk to my ex's mother. Good question. The truth is that she and I became friends before he and I started having sex. But to be honest, we had to "wean" off of one another over time. Literally. We used to talk like once a week. Now it's literally a couple of times a year. Her son is fine with it. But we both know that his wife is more at peace with us not being as close we used to be. *And none of that would be an issue had he and I not slept together*.

Yes, when God puts rules (RULES-Hebrews 13:4) in place, he's taking the past, present and future into account.

So again, "Can you be friends with your ex?" Well, first it's a good idea to think about what a friend is and does. A friend assists. A friend supports. A friend, by definition, is also a confidant, affectionate and (catch it) intimate. What do you, someone who he has violated boundaries with (godly boundaries at that!), exactly need to assist him with? Why do the two of you need to remain affectionate?

That said, I believe the better question is "*Should* you be friends with your ex?" I mean, would you want women your future husband has been intimate with to be in your emotional space? And more importantly his? To remain one of his confidants? To be affectionate with him? To be intimate with him?

And if you do still care for your ex, wouldn't leaving him to build with someone else be a sign of that? Honestly, the women I know who try and maintain one part of the intimacy with a man they've slept with seem to be pretty selfish (Philippians 2:3). Love is about putting someone else's needs above your own . It's important to really think about what "he" *needs* you for. And don't even get me started on the fact that if you couldn't make it as a couple, you might want to think about if it's even *productive* to be friends. Life is meant to be lived "fast forward", not "rewind".

Real talk? A lot of people who try to be friends with an ex are individuals who still want a remnant of the past on their terms and that gets into the lead quote up top: it leads to questions about if there are some unresolved issues.

Again, I'm very "cool" with some of the men from my past. And I'm also pretty cool with a couple of their wives (and yes, the wives know that I had a past with them). But because those guys and I had a connection, even though we're both two very different people now, I know that I forfeited (FORFEITED) the right to be the true definitions of friends. Friendly? Sure. Intimate? Uh-huh.

So first up: If you have an ex that you have a sexual past with and you're considering getting back together with him, one of my favorite quotes on that topic is "Getting back with an ex is like putting on dirty underwear after taking a shower." (Ewwwww.) I'm not saying it's impossible. I'm saying that we reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7-8) and to this day, I haven't met one married couple, *not one*, that hasn't dealt with some serious stuff because they had sex before marriage. Lot's wife (Genesis 19:26) allowed her past to paralyze her. Just stay prayerful. It's not that it *can't* work; just make sure God *wants* it to.

And if you have an ex that you have a sexual past with and you're trying to act like the sex never happened as you attempt to be "just friends"...

1) If he has a woman and she doesn't know *fully* about your past with him, that's a flag.

2) If the two of you are keeping some dynamic of the "friendship" a secret, that's a flag.

3) If he's seeing someone and she said she doesn't like your relationship and you don't care, that's a flag.

4) If you have not even stopped to consider if you'd want your man to be in the same predicament, that's a flag.

5) If you haven't put what's best for "him" above what you want, that's really a flag.

It was the Apostle Paul who once said "All things are legitimate [permissible—and we are free to do anything we please], but not all things are helpful (expedient, profitable, and wholesome). All things are legitimate, but not all things are constructive [to character] and edifying [to spiritual life]." (I Corinthians 10:23-AMP)

This applies to everything. Including past relationships.

A mature person is a responsible one (Galatians 6:5-NCV).

They don't do things just because they *can*.

They do things because they *should*.



Tuesday, November 19, 2013

"On Fire": The Right Thing at the Right Time Is a GOD THING

"He told them, 'You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business. What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit.'"---Acts 1:7(Message)

Yeah. Well.

Some of y'all will probably be tempted to freak out after reading an article that I checked out this morning (LOL) but personally, I found it to be extremely endearing and a testament to the fact that when it comes to marriage, it really is better to wait until it's right than to rush into a relationship (just ask all of the children who come from broken homes-Malachi 2:15-16-NCV). Marriage is not to be some race against the clock. Or your hormones. Or your insecurities and fears. Covenant is about two *whole* people coming together (James 1:4) to display a human example of how the Godhead operates (I John 3:8), to help one another further fulfill their purpose (Psalm 20:4) and to be an example of what real love is. Until death (DEATH) parts them.

That said, yes. I do think that the article entitled "N.B. Couple Makes It to Altar 75 Years After First Kiss" is extraordinary and needed to be shared.

Carol Harris and George Raynes got married on the weekend, 75 years after their first kiss.

A man and woman from Saint John married on the weekend, 75 years after their first kiss.

George Raynes and Carol Harris, both 83, have known each other since they were in Grade 1, in 1936. In Grade 3, they played the lead roles in their class production of Sleeping Beauty.

"I was sleeping beauty and he was my prince," Harris told CBC News.

Raynes says he wasn't supposed to actually kiss Harris during the play. "But the rascal that I was, I laid a big wet one on her. And she jumped up like a startled deer, you know," he said, chuckling at the memory. "And actually, so she's the first girl I ever kissed."

Raynes moved to Ontario after he graduated from high school, and later married and raised a family. But he kept in touch with Harris, who never married.

In June, months after his wife of 61 years died, Raynes drove to Saint John for what he called "a last look around."

"Thank goodness," said Harris, because the long-time friends soon fell in love and Raynes proposed on the deck of a romantic restaurant in Ontario.

"He will tell it differently than I. He will say he had sunstroke when he asked me," she said. "But he made an offer that he says I couldn't refuse, which was true actually.

"He suggested that we had had a great time and we had always been good friends and why don't we spend the rest of our lives together."

Harris didn't hesitate in saying, "Yes."

"I can't help but think … that my prince from Grade 3 has finally come home to stay. And I think it's just marvellous," she said.

Harris says Raynes came back into her life just as she had given up on the idea of ever tying the knot.

"There was a time when I thought I was going to be single forever," she said.

"When you get into your 80s and you're still alone, it begins to sink in that perhaps this is the way it's going to be until you pass away."

But the happy couple married on Saturday at the Lancaster Baptist Church in Saint John.

Words cannot express how often I hear women who are less than half of this woman's age already resigning that they will be single forever (according to statistics, 50 percent of marriages end in divorce if you get married before 25, by the way). For one thing, that sounds a lot like signs of being controlling and quite fearful. It's essentially saying "I'm afraid that I won't get what I want but what God wants for me and what if that's not a husband? What if he doesn't know what will make me truly happy?" Being that Psalm 84:11 tells us that God withholds *no good thing*, we all, myself included, have to make peace with what we don't have (yet) will not yet be good for us. And marriage is a good thing. It will come if/when it's a good thing for us. Besides...

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love."---I John 4:18(NKJV)

In the meantime, this story also reminds me that we don't allow God to surprise us nearly enough. Carol's husband came into her life *right* when she gave up the idea of getting married. When she thought she would be single forever. And yes, how precious that over the years, a friendship (a true friendship) was established and ultimately, she married the first man she ever kissed. Precious.

Moral to the story: Y'all probably can guess by now that one of my favorite Scriptures is Ecclesiastes 3:11(NKJV):

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end."

God makes things beautiful in its time. 


George and Carol's *love story* is certainly a testament to that.

Romans 5:5 clearly tells us that hope does not disappoint and I Corinthians 13:7(NKJV) tells us that true love, real love, *godly love* "...bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."

Yep. Trust God. *Welcome surprises*. Stay hopeful.