Category Archives: Relationships

How Not To Get Married

Here is my quick and dirty list of things you should NOT do if you ever want to get married. Hopefully, you’ll find it entertaining, as I list the most common mistakes most single men or women make in their pursuit to find ‘the one.’ Feel free to comment and add to this list with your own items!

1. Be overly anxious

Stop always being so nervous and afraid that you’ll miss the good one ‘right under your nose’ and stop thinking that life just seems to be passing you by.  No one likes desperation, particularly that nice brother or sister who just joined the church. Sit still, keep to yourself, hold your head up and know that you know that God will reveal your husband or wife to you in time!

2. Keep saying things like, ‘God sent you to me.’

If God truly ‘sent’ that person to you, he or she will be just as aware of it as you are. You did not need to provoke, remind or beat that person over the head with that information. You may be a holy prophet or prophetess of God, but believe me, my brother or sister, God will leave that bit of prophecy for someone else to reveal to your intended. Know your role and stick with it. Repeat after me: “I am a holy woman (or man) of God. I need not be anxious for anything! If this man (or woman) is meant to be my spouse, God will reveal it to them in His own time!” Repeat as often as necessary.

3. Go out with everyone who asks you.

You are NOT desperate! (For reference, go back to point #1). You do not need to go out with everyone who asks you. All you are doing is creating an (unpleasant) reputation for yourself. You do NOT need the headache. Instead, choose to be picky and wait until it is clearly your time. Date a bit and have some fun, but don’t get emotionally invested unless you can see the relationship going somewhere. And if you are desperate (and Lord knows we’ve all been there), at least have the dignity to pretend you are not. Walk around as if you don’t have a care in the world, do your crying in private during your prayer time with and wait on God to openly reward you with a wonderful spouse for your ‘secret’ diligence (Mat 6:4)!

4. Talk about marriage on the first date.

Please, please, please don’t talk about marriage on the first date. And if your date brings it up, be very suspicious of him or her as well. Sure, most of us will end up married at some point in our lives, but you probably won’t get married that first date night. Talk about marriage when it is appropriate. Like if you’ve been friends for years and are ready for that next step. Or when you’ve diligently prayed and fasted over the matter. Or, heck, at least wait until the second or third date!  Don’t embarrass yourself – you’re better than that and don’t need the heartache!

5. Spend all your time at church

Though you should regularly pray and fast, meditate and study, for goodness sake, don’t spend every single free minute you have at church! The Bible study can and will go on if you don’t show up one week. All three services don’t need to see your face (unless you’re serving) and the anniversary committee doesn’t need to see you every single year for this event to go off without a hitch.  Think about it for a minute – how will a brother or sister ever get to spend time with you if you don’t have any to spare? Yes, the Bible says you should meditate on the word ‘day and night’ (Ps 1), but Lord, it would be nice to have something other than scriptures, your prayer life and what the Pastor had on to talk about on your first date. Read the newspaper. Hang out with friends on occasion. Be up on current events. Make sure you’re not one-dimensional and that every minute of your day is taken up with church or church-related activities.

Be Blessed 🙂

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About the Sexual Revolution

The sexual revolution happened before I was born. All I know of it was what I saw on TV – women marching, burning their bras and equality being demanded for all women. Equal pay, equal rights and the equal ability to sleep around.

Or, at least, that’s how it was portrayed.

I think the sexual revolution and the women’s equality movement were beneficial to me in many ways. I appreciate the fact that I am paid as much as my male counterparts. I appreciate the fact that my future daughters can play any sport they want. And I appreciate all the minority government contracts that were set aside for minorities and women. (Not to mention my previously obtained rights to vote and to own property.)
But I also think the sexual revolution brought great losses to women.

One of the issues I have with this ‘revolution’ is the idea that women are now ‘equal’ in their ability to sleep around. Women of my generation and of the generation preceding me were told we were free to sleep with whom we wanted. Birth control became widely available and sex was no longer tied to the idea of procreation. Now, we could just have sex for fun. We could be just as sexually adventurous as man, we were told. Live a little. Date. Sleep around. Enjoy yourself. It’s your Right.

But they never told us the other side of the coin. That with sexual promiscuity comes a higher level of responsibility. That getting pregnant no longer meant a man would ask you to marry him. Or even stick around. As a matter of fact, abortions were as widely available as birth control, so that was now one of the choices we had to make for ourselves.

They never told us that since sex was no longer tied to procreation, not only would the man not necessarily stick around, but may never even acknowledge his child. Nor would there be anyone to pressure this young (or old) man into being responsible. Women were now solely responsible for themselves and, in many cases, responsible for the welfare and development of their children.

And they never told us that men and women process sex so very differently. That the hormonal and biological interactions that occur during sex cause men to become distant and women to become clingy. The Bible even says that sex is the only sin you do to your own body – and that you are ‘joined’ with every person you have sex with. The Bible meant that you are joined ‘spiritually’ – so you connect with every single person you have sex with. And, unless you go through a long period of cleansing and renewal, you will always carry those people around with you in your spirit. For the rest of our lives.

They never told us that.

The other problem I have with the sexual revolution is that I don’t think it prepared women to deal with the reality of being ‘equal’ to men. Yes, we could join the work force, and no longer had to stay home to raise the kids, but we also lost quite a bit. Because we said that a woman has no set place, we now don’t seem to know who we are or where we belong. Most women (myself included) love going to work every day and making a living, but when it comes to the idea of marriage and the ‘equal’ roles that I am told I should want – I am left at a loss. So now I don’t have to cook, clean or be a full-time mom. But, what if I want to do those things? Does that make me any less ‘liberated’? I am often struck not by how many women work these days, but how many women still choose to stay home and be full-time moms. College-educated, smart, work-oriented women. And studies show that women still do the majority of the household and child-raising duties. So, what did we really gain? A new expectation that not only would we work full-time, but that we would do the majority of the household chores and still do most of the child-rearing. That doesn’t sound promising.

The Bible admonishes me to be submissive and humble as a wife. To respect my husband and to serve him as I serve the Lord. Society tells me to be equal to my husband (or even to be dominant in the relationship) and to demand my ‘rights’. Who’s right?

I can tell you this for sure – I do want my rights in my marriage. I want my ‘right’ to have a husband who loves me as much as he loves himself. I want my ‘right’ to have my husband minister to me spiritually and emotionally. And I want my ‘right’ to have a husband who will do what he needs to do to support our combined household (spiritually, financially, etc.). And I want my ‘right’ to a husband who feels just as responsible for our children, our spiritual life and our marriage.

I’m just not sure where all that fits in with the ‘sexual revolution.’

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Excerpt from The Single Black Woman’s Guide to Christian Dating, http://www.christiansinglewoman.com.

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The Dynamics of Cheating

For the man or woman whose signifcant other has or is cheating on him on her:  it’s not about you.

 For the man or woman who is or has cheated on his or her loved one:  You are the problem.  But there is hope.

There’s hope because – in many ways – why you cheat is not about your character, your faith or your willpower.  I would even go so far to say that cheating is not a reflection of how ‘spiritual’ you are. Some of the best people in the world I know have cheated or struggle with being faithful.  Some people that I don’t think much of have been consistently monogamous.

So what am I saying?  That engaging in unfaithful behavior is a reflection of what’s going on inside of you.  Your struggles, your perceptions, and your past experiences.  The events that have gone into shaping you.  How you deal with stress.  Where you find your self-esteem.  What comforts, soothes or calms you down. You do not cheat because you are a ‘bad’ person.  Cheating, simply put, is something you (your flesh) desire to make you feel better.  It is a ‘work of the flesh’ as reflected in Galatians 5:19-21:

     “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions, parties,  envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of which I forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that they who practise such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

For those who struggle with sexual purity, cheating is a particularly challenging foe.  It says in the Bible that the enemy can only ‘tempt’ us with what is already inside of us (James 1:13-14).  If you already have an inclination towards illicit sex (sex outside of the boundaries of a Godly marriage), this is something that you will probably struggle with before, during and after marriage.  As a good friend of mine once remarked, ‘being married doesn’t change the fact that you find other people attractive.’  Amen to that.

In its least harmful form (to you at least), cheating is a reflection of a lack of self-control.  At its very worst, cheating is a way of attaining satisfaction.  It’s worst when you cheat to gain satisfaction – be it enhanced self-esteem, ego-stroking, comfort, solace or validation – because sex can never satisfy those desires.  So if you are looking outside of your relationship to find those things, you will never find what you seek.  Which usually leads to you continuing to engage in illicit sex to get the ‘temporary’ fix this type of sex provides.

If you are having sex because you lack self-control (and can’t figure out how to say no), this is the least harmful (to you, of course, not to your partner) because gaining self-control is a lot easier than learning how to find validation, self-esteem or comfort.  Like food and drugs, we use sex to provide many things it was not designed to give.  And like food and drugs, you will have to re-educate yourself to end this vicious cycle.

And how do you train yourself to not cheat?  As I said in the beginning, it starts with acknowledging you are the problem.  You don’t cheat because because your wife gained 20 pounds or because your husband doesn’t treat you very well.  It’s never because of another person – it’s all about you.  You cheat because of who you are, what you struggle with, your motivations and your experiences.  All these things decide how you will respond to outside temptation.  So first you have to figure out why you are doing it.

In order to ascertain this, think about the last time you had sex with someone other than your significant other.  How did that encounter make you feel as you were carrying it out?  What did you walk away feeling?  Did you feel better about yourself?  Did you feel like you were the ‘man’ or that you were the ‘woman’?  Did you pat yourself on the back for how ‘smart’ you were by being able to fool your man, your woman or your friends?  Or did you finally feel a sense of satisfaction – your stress was gone or your mind had cleared?  Did you feel relaxed and ready to face the world? Did you leave this other man or woman feeling on top of the world?  Was it exciting to plan it out, choose a meeting spot and do something you had no business doing?  Or, did you finally feel loved?  Did you think, ‘well my husband (or wife) didn’t want me but this person did?  Or did you do it because you feel conflict about the person you are with?  That your relationship isn’t the right one for you?  Is your cheating a reflection of the doubt and ambiguity you feel towards your spouse?

Spend time thinking about this and then pray.  Go to God openly and ask Him to reveal to you why you are doing what you’re doing.  Ask Him to help you as you make the journey towards wholeness and wellness and stop cheating on your mate.  He may reveal things to you from your childhood that you never quite got over.  He may point out things that are flawed within your marriage that you need to address.  He will probably show you how you misuse this gift for your own selfish desires.  He may even show you that that person was not the one He had intended for you at all.  But, most likely, He will point out you to yourself. 

Ask Him then to help you resolve or change those behaviors that cause you to act the way you do.  Ask Him to help you find new friends, a new city or new hobbies to take you away from that person or the situation that triggers you.  Ask Him to give you strength and harden your willpower as you struggle to walk away.

Here’s the truth:  you won’t be able to do it alone.  As a child of God, you will find your strength and your ability are contingent upon your relationship with the Father.  If you are weak in that relationship, your other relatonships will suffer as well. 

Finally, do what He asks you to do.  Accept that He knows what is best and promise yourself (and Him) that you will follow His directions.  It will probably involve further praying and maybe even some fasting.  It may involve cutting some people out of your life.  It may involve sacrificing something you are simply not prepared to give up.  It will most likely involve cultivating regular communion with God and enhanced Bible study and meditation.  It may be something difficult.  But it will be worth it as you put God’s values, and your family, above your own selfish, self-centered desires.  There is nothing in this world more important than following God.  And that’s what you want to do….

It will be hard.  But, with God’s help (and your desire to change) you can do it.  Here are some scriptures to reflect on as you go through your journey:

Jam 1:12-15

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he hath been approved, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord promised to them that love him.

Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempteth no man: but each man is tempted, when he is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed.

Then the lust, when it hath conceived, beareth sin: and the sin, when it is fullgrown, bringeth forth death.
Gal 5:16-17

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 

For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary the one to the other; that ye may not do the things that ye would.

Phi 4:6-7, 13

In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus…

I CAN DO ALL THINGS IN HIM THAT STRENGTHENETH ME.

(Emphasis mine) 

Players in the Church

I wrote this article a while ago, but I think it is still pretty relevant.  I would love to know what you think, so please comment!

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Are there ‘Players’ in the Christian church? We all know some guy or girl whose life was utterly changed after meeting someone who ‘blew their mind’ and now their nose is ‘wide open’. And, as hard as they try, they can’t seem to let this person go, even though it costs them money, sleep and wasted time. In this article, we expose these ‘players’ for what they are, identifying the three levels of ‘playerism’, tactics and techniques of the player and ways to avoid falling into their traps!

     First, who are these ‘players?. I define players as those who are doing just that – playing. They play at relationships, they play at commitment and they play with your time. They are not serious, they are not likely to get serious any time soon and simply enjoy the game too much to ever fully give it up. There are three levels of players in the dating game:

     1. ‘Dog’ – Yes, I know this term is offensive to many, but more offensive than that is how the ‘dog’ treats his or her conquests. A ‘dog’ is a player who will date anybody, at any time, under any circumstances. Morals? Values? Forget it. The ‘dog’ will take advantage or your feelings, your best friend’s feelings and then hit on your mom or dad. Most ‘dogs’ are always broke and always looking for a ‘come up’. A ‘dog’ is to be avoided at all costs. Signs that an individual is a ‘dog’:

a. They ask you to dance and if you say no, they ask your friend; 
b. Their pager or phone rings off the hook;
c. They are always checking other people out when you are together;
d. They have several ‘baby mamas’ or ‘baby daddies’;
e. They have no particular ‘type’ – they think short or tall, big or small and everything in between is fine.

     2. ‘Player‘ – The ‘Player’ has gone beyond the level of ‘dog’. They have developed a little more discretion in their dating choices and can afford to be a little more choosy. As a result, the ‘Player’ often dates nice-looking men or women or someone with money.  The ‘Player’ has acquired a few toys, has a nice car or a nice body, which he or she will use to part you from your time, your money, or sexual abstinence.  They are not ready to settle down and will only give vague responses when asked when their last long-term relationship was. ‘Players’, though nice company, are a waste of time and should be avoided. Signs that an individual is a player:

a. Their phone or pager vibrates constantly (they’ve learned how to be quiet about their other men or women); 
b. They say things like ‘I want to settle down when the time is right’ (translation – no time soon and not with you!);
c. They will take you out to nice places or make you a nice dinner, but they always expect something in return; 
d. They are very casual about when they can see you again (because their schedule is filled with other people and other events); and 
e. They respond to your declaration of love with ‘I care about you as well. But I told you I wasn’t ready to settle down’ and then hope that you never bring it up again!
 
     3. ‘Mack‘ – The ‘Mack’ has mastered the dating game. He or she is ‘sharp’ and well-dressed at all times. They have a nice houses, nice cars, and they usually have outstanding personalities. They have an inflated sense of their own self-worth and will remind you of it every chance they get. They are charming, sincere, but non-committal. ‘Macks’ are the most problematic of all the players, because they fool you into thinking you are ‘special’.  And you feel ‘special’ until you realize they treat everyone else the same way, too!  Have fun, go out on a couple of dates, but forget about long-term commitment with the ‘Mack’. Signs that an individual is a ‘Mack: ‘
 

a. You are never sure where their cell phone or pager is (they have discreetly turned it off or placed it in another room to avoid detection);
b. They have always been left heartbroken by some other relationship, which is why they can’t commit to you;
c. You can rarely catch up with them (after all, when they are with someone else, their cell phone or pager is turned off to you as well!);
d. They always behave as if going out with them is an honor; and 
e. They say things like ‘I really care about you’, but their real philosophy is ‘out of sight, out of mind.’

     How can you avoid these players and beat them at their own game? Easy – spend a lot of time when you first meet someone carefully evaluating their statements. Ask yourself these questions – When was the last time they were in a serious relationship? How many children do they have (and by how many different people)? How do they feel about marriage? How often do they call or spend time with you? And definitely don’t rely just on what comes out their mouths – look at their behavior as well. Do these individuals call when they say they will? Do they schedule ‘prime time’ with you (6:00 p.m. on weekdays or afternoon/early evening hours on the weekend)? Or do they call you only during the ‘booty call’ hours (9:00 p.m. on weekdays and even later on the weekends)? I know it’s hard to realize that someone you care about may not care as much about you, but it’s better to face the truth now than pay the consequences later.

     If your main squeeze is failing to show signs of being a commitment-minded, Christian-led individual, then let him or her go. Right now! And learn from your mistakes. Know that your true love is out there, somewhere, and this person will not play games to win your heart. Keep praying, keep going to church and keep talking to God and you can avoid all the traps of the Christian ‘Player’!

Witnessing From the Bedroom

I’ve been an (adult) member of a church since 1997, so I experienced the Christian dating scence up close and personal for many years.  And, as scary as it is on the ‘outside’ (in the world), it sometimes seemed even scarier on the inside.  We think when we are newly saved that God will send the man or woman of our dreams who will respect our boundaries, fall in love, commit and then we will get married.  Or we think that dating a nice Christian brother or sister will somehow be significantly different than dating someone who doesn’t know Christ.  And it is in many ways.  You have someone who understands your commitment to God, that hopefully enjoys church as much as you do and can be counted on to help you get through your crisis.  But many times these relationships don’t work out.  So we turn to Plan B.

Which I call ‘Witnessing From the Bedroom.”

What exactly is Witnessing From the Bedroom?  When we begin to date in the hopes of getting married, but get distracted, side-tracked and caught up in the sexual relationship.  Somehow, we think that, okay, if I stick with this for a while, he (or she) will eventually come to realize they love me and that they want to take this relationship further.  That by giving my body to him or her (or providing a sexual service for him or her), I am showing my seriousness and tying him or her closer to me.

I only have one thing to say about this practice:  it doesn’t work.

If a man or woman want to commit to you, they will.  Sex does not make anyone more committed.  Sex will not make anyone stay in a relationship with you.  And, finally, sex is not an effective means of taking the relationship to the next level.  Sex in the wrong context is just that – sex.  A meaningless physical act between two people.

I’m not one of those people who talk about being a born-again Virgin or the evils of fornication (we all know that sex in a loving, married relationship is a thing of Beauty as God created it to be), but I am one of those people who say: Be Smart!  Take care of yourself and your body.  And recognize the consequences of your actions when you engage in a sexual relationship with another person.

Next time, I will talk about the physical, emotional and spiritual changes that come when you are sexually involved with another person.

 Until then – Be Blessed!

It’s All About…Reciprocation!

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day about his dating situation.  He’s a really great guy and (as far as I can see) pretty in demand on the dating market.  He mentioned that someone had expressed in interest in him and my question to him – automatically – was, and what did you do?

Because that’s what this whole dating situation is all about – Reciprocation!  You can’t date someone who is not dating you!  What do I mean?  Read on….

Ladies – there is no problem with you showing interest in a man.  Asking discreet questions.  Getting to know him over a long period of time through church, work, school or through friends-in-common.  There is a BIG problem, however, when you pursue men who have (thus far) shown no interest in you.

Women who call frequently and only receive sporadic return phone calls.  Women who arrange dates and wait in vain for their young men to invite them to dinner.  Women who put themselves in the object of their interest’s way, only to receive a passing hello or an even more passing goodbye.  In other words, women who pursue, but are never similarly pursued.

I have something to unequivocally say about most men:  Men will go after a woman they are interested in.  Period.

Ladies – no one is that shy, that busy or that scared to pursue a relationship.  I don’t care what he tells you! More than likely, he is telling you those things (or you have convinced yourself those things are true) because he does not want to be in a relationship….with you.  Want to be sure?  Watch him closely to see who he is dating.  Notice the attention he pays to her.  Notice that she seems to have no problem getting a date, getting a return phone call or getting ‘quality time’ with him.  This is the sight of a man who is interested.  Note it for future reference.  And learn from this experience.

It’s time to fact the truth – He’s just not interested.  And it’s not personal.  I’ve been there, you’ve been there, heck, we’ve all been there!  He doesn’t know you well enough to know if you would make a great wife, a wonderful friend or a Christian soulmate.  His head (for some reason or another) is somewhere else or he is doing something else.  There is no need to concern yourself with the details or try to figure out the reasons why.  Just LEAVE IT ALONE. 

Know why?  You are worth more than that.  You deserve someone who is interested in you and can show that interest by returning your phone calls, taking you out on dates, spending ‘qualilty time’ with you and getting to know your Christian soul.

Just hold out for this guy.  He’s on the way.

Be Blessed.

And Be Strong….