Tag Archives: relationships

6 ways to speak love in your relationships…

From time to time in our relationships, including familial and platonic connections, we may begin to take the people in our lives for granted.  In these cases, we can often choose to direct our focus from the continued work of building our union to the laxity of disconnection, even if on a subconscious level.  When the stagnation begins to overtake a relationship it can be easily broken by the effort of speaking love to your partner, friend or family member.  Like fresh air this can ultimately breath new life into your connections!

Encouragement You can practice encouragement in many ways, but there are two that I’ll focus on here: verbaland  physical.  Verbally telling someone how proud you are of them or how great of a cook they are can truly build a sense of love in a relationship.  Physical encouragement comes in the form of support.  When I first started my t-shirt company I felt truly encouraged because I had the support of my family and friends.  My mom would encourage me to get my shirts in stores and she would tell anyone that fit the audience about my book.  I had friends that took cards and placed them all over the city and my ex attended shows with me all over the US helping me sell items for hours and hours all in the name of support (and love of course).  When you truly love someone you’re invested in them and their dreams because they are a part of who they are.  I knew my family and friends loved me not only because they said how proud they were of me pursuing my goals, but because they put actions to the words.  It didn’t have to be big, it could be as simple as sharing their current endeavor on social media.   But also keep in mind that the encouragement should always come from a genuine place, not one of manipulation, flattery or wanting to impose your views on someone else’s efforts. 

Respect Honoring that persons presence by speaking to them with tones and other verbal cues which reflect respect is a large part of speaking love into your connections.  Always attempt to Express gratitude for the gift of who they are and their role in your life through your expressions and interactions.

Protection Speaking from a sense of guarding each others hearts in relationship  and not just physically but showing that you are committed to keeping this person safe on all fronts is crucial to security.  If that person knows that you will use their own words against them later on, they won’t want to share with you who they really are.  Protection can consist of numerous concepts including protection of that persons character, heart and ultimately soul by pulling them closer to God consistently.

Silence Sometimes the best way to show love is by keeping your mouth shut or as one of my favorite preachers, Heather Lindsey, would say invoke he spirit of shut-up!  This one is might be difficult for me as I always have something to say and often feel as if I’ll burst if it doesn’t eventually topple off my tongue.  Practicing the self-control involved with quietly allowing someone to make their own mistakes without a big I told you so or not being spiteful and vindictive with your words can be difficult, but mastered. Taking the time to quietly mull things over before speaking or give them to God to work out can have a powerfully positive impact on your relationships.

Dependability Being a woman or man of your word, doing what you said you would or being where you said you would be are all large partsofbuildinf a string foundation in relationships.  We all have that flaky friend that says they are going to be somewhere but never shows up, unfortunately there are plenty of times that I have been her!  Once we come to expect someone to blow us off or not keep their word it often starts to place cracks in the foundation, your .  James and Matthew tells us to let our yes be yes and our no be no and in other words, do what you say you’re going to do.  Everyone falls short and within the expectation of dependability there has to be some grace shown simply for human frailty, no one can be perfect all of the time, but if it’s a consistent pattern it will make the person you’re in relationship with wonder about your integrity and seriousness. 

Grace As I stated previously grace plays a large part in speaking love.  By extending grace to our loved one we are allowing them to mess-up and not be constantly ridiculed or berated.  They know that you are a safe place where they can come and feel free to be themselves.

Do you have any other ways you choose to express love in your relationships?  Please feel free to share in the comments! 

God Bless!

Court 

 

 

 

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Why I stayed…

We met the summer before I was to become a freshman in college, he was tall, cute and in my own words ‘an older man’ (four years older).  But I was intrigued because he wasn’t like the boys in high school that were immature and silly, he had a real job and his own car.  He would be my first everything including encounter with cheating and abuse.  The first two years of our relationship were fine as we were long distance, but when he moved to live with me things took a violent turn.  I can remember the first time he hit me, it came as such a shock I didn’t really know what to do, I remember it till this day, he punched me three times in the head and tried to pull my eye out of the socket.  The police were called, my parents were called and I was taken to the hospital for treatment.  I still did not say good bye, but after that I began to fight back and when we fought it was dirty, punches were thrown, memories destroyed and vicious words tossed around like ammunition to see who could hurt the other the most.  We would find each other fighting like enemies and making up like lovers, it was a horrible debilitating cycle that many people find themselves involved in.  Although the physical scars have long since healed, dealing with such hatred and negativity left many internal scars some of which are still slightly open.  I’ve often wondered why I remained in that relationship for so long and have had people ask me the same.  I came up with three main reasons why I and many other people remain, I’ll admit for me in essence they are all excuses for not loving myself enough to leave the situation.

Our souls agreed:  My ex and I were both fractured human beings for different reasons, he grew up in a household where he saw his dad beat his mom and I had come from a home where my dad never hit me and had loving parents but dealt with other issues that wrecked my self-esteem. Because I didn’t truly love me Somewhere deep inside I agreed with treatment that told me I was unworthy of love and being handled lovingly.  Beyond the insecurities I’d built up being molested as a child, years of constant bullying and a tremendous amount of self-inflicted deprecation, his words confirmed what I already felt about myself.  There was always someone prettier right around the corner because I wasn’t that beautiful, my body was ugly and skinny, I could never get another man to care for me etc etc.  I ate the negativity up and it only fed my unhealthy negative self image. I stayed because I didn’t think I deserved better.

There was benefit: As I said my self esteem was not the greatest, I allowed people to walk over me, say whatever they wanted and get away with taking advantage of me. I internalized a lot of pain and the only time I seemed to be able to release it was when I was angry, I didn’t have (and am still working on) the tools for communicating effectively within the boundaries of a respectful and nonaggressive confrontation or argument.  In that situation I felt vindicated in venting through painful words and fighting back because he was just as aggressive as I was, it actually felt good to release the frustration and in some twisted way speak up for myself, it was a rush.  Unfortunately, it’s how I continued to handle confrontation in my relationships going forward and am now paying the consequences as I continued to fight dirty verbally when angry.  In addition I also received sympathy from my friends, when I would have bruises or went to the hospital.  It felt good to know people cared for me and had my back but in return I easily allowed myself to play the role of the victim which is something that’s haunted me for years.

There was comfort in the pain: In addition to being comfortable with him, I also believe the torment felt familiar from the years of bullying as a child by peers.  The name calling and the breaking down of me as a person that I had allowed in the past was akin to his speech when it came to me.   After being with someone for years at a time many of us can become reliant on them being in our lives and that attachment, albeit healthy or not, makes it more difficult to leave the relationship.  Change is scary, I didn’t want the burden of getting to know someone else’s flaws, faults and secret skeletons that lurked behind their closet doors.  I reigned myself to stay with him because I thought it was love and I knew what to expect.

The reasons people remain in abusive relationships vary vastly, there is no cookie cutter clue as to why some are willing to put up with physical harm.  If you or someone you know are in a destructive relationship I would take a look at this article I wrote on what to do to get out!  I sincerely pray for your healing, physical and spiritual restoration and release from such a situation.

God Bless,
Court

Is online dating the Christian way?

Man offering a rose to a beautiful woman over laptop screenSince breaking up with my ex earlier this year I’ve had numerous people attempt to set me up with guys, get me to go out more in an effort to meet ‘the one’ and one friend in particular that was bent on ushering me back into the world of online dating. In the past I have visited that world and honestly couldn’t wait to get home!  The thought of seriously engaging in online dating made me cringe.  Having to journey through over crowded man catalogues and sorting the good from bad apples was really not something I felt mentally prepared to endure at that time.  But after knowing a hand full of people that are now happily married through online dating and listening to my friend who was recently engaged to someone she met online I saw a little bit of silver shimmer on the outer edge of that once dark cloud.  Finally, I honestly think out of wanting to fill the void of loneliness I gave into her urgings and my curiosity and opened an account.  Unfortunately, the experience was once again lack luster and my silver shimmer was soon revealed to be just some annoying glitter that clings unrelentingly to every part of your clothing and body!  My interaction on the account went from sometimey to rarely reeeeeal quick as I interacted with men that didn’t quite get where I was coming from or going.  Maybe I didn’t try long enough or was on the wrong site but one thing I struggled with was the thought that I was outside of God’s will by dating online.  I didn’t know if I was truly relying on or trusting God to bring my husband or if I was taking it upon myself to seek out a mate because I was too impatient to wait on God’s best?  If the latter was true, I already knew that things could only end badly and definitely did not want that.

Since I realized that my reasons for opening the account in the first place weren’t going to bring about a healthy return I refrained from using the site in leiu of growing my relationship with God and building a solid spiritual foundation.  I have however decided within those months that online dating is fine for Christians, at least this Christian (since I can only speak for me) if I ever decide to give it another go.  Here are three reasons why…

It is a tool:  When I decided it was time to purchase my home, I went to the interenet, the same with a car and school.   I use the interenet daily to help me get along in life and why should dating be any different?  These tools were provided to make my life  easier and options plentiful.  Believe me, I know choosing a mate isn’t as simple as buying a car but the ablitity to see what people are about, what their intentions are, if they are honest, and some general information right off the bat makes it slightly easier to choose.

God isn’t limited:  But I can choose to limit my options.  Have you ever heard the story about the man that was drowning and he ask God for help, God sends a boat (amongst other methods of escape) but the man doesn’t take it because he is waiting on God.  When the man get’s to heaven he ask God why he didn’t help him nd God is like ‘well I sent a boat’.  Yeah, I kind of feel the same way about using online dating services.  I don’t know where it says that using the services are wrong and by limiting my interaction with others I put boundaries on the people I can meet, including those that may turn out to be great friends or just people that I can be a light for by talking to them about God.  I realize God can do anything, He can bring the man for me straight to my doorstep or to my inbox online.

It does not take away from my Christian walk:  If I were to go on a blind date with someone he would know on our initial date where my head was and that I was a woman of God attempting to live my life as such.  No one night stands, no kissing etc and there’s nothing different online.  My profile statement and photograph make it clear that I’m not here for anything more than making a connection with someone whose goal is to make Christ the center of their life as well.

What are your views about Christians dating online?

God Bless,

Court 🙂

Guarding your heart when dating

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Guarding our hearts is crucial to our walk with God, in Proverbs 4:23 we learn that we are to keep our hearts with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.  This tells me that it is an ongoing process and it will take self control and effort on my part.  Throughout the bible we see that God actually searches our hearts and in Matthew and Luke we learn that out of the mouth the heart speaks.  We can choose to store good and peaceful things or evil things in our hearts and our true character is built based on what we have built up within our hearts.  I definitely want God to be happy with what he finds in my heart so I know that I must be vigilant about protecting it and filling it with good fruit.  The heart is fragile and even in our bodies we have the ribs as protection around the physical organ so why would we think that there shouldn’t be added security around our spiritual hearts?

There are many aspects to guarding our hearts and can stem from the obvious such as the company we keep and the places we go to the not so obvious like not watching certain television shows and listening to some music.  Throughout my dating experience I have learned that making sure to protect your heart early on can save you a lot of heartache later.  Just because you feel sparks when a guy touches you or there is always excitement built around your encounters does not mean that this is God’s best for you or that you are going to be compatible in the long run.  In the past I have given my heart to boyfriends completely, only to end up heart broken as the relationship unraveled for whatever reason.  Part of the reason in each of these cases was improper protection of my heart.  I have come to a place in my life where I desire to relieve any preventable heart break and genuinely pursue relationships God’s way and under His protection or not at all.  Throughout this process, I have grown to understand that guarding my heart does not mean building an impenetrable wall or hardening my heart as I had in the past.  It does however mean placing boundaries around my heart as a safe guard to allow the right people in.  Below are five ways  I plan to use when dating going forward, let me know if you think of more!

  1. Loads of prayer! – Philppian’s 4: 6-7 tells us that we are not to be anxious for anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let our request be made known to God and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard our hearts and minds in Jesus Christ.  Of course this scripture pertains to so much more than dating but I can clearly see that the first and probably most crucial step in guarding my heart when pursuing a relationship is prayer!  Upon meeting someone that I may have an interest in I will pray for discernment, wisdom and for the Holy Spirits guidance when navigating the relationship.
  2. Release the outcome – So many times I think I held on to the thought of what I created and shaped our future as a couple to be that I failed to look at the reality of what actually was.  It’s a harsh reality, but sometimes when this is done the other person may not even be at that level in the relationship yet, so while you’re thinking about how great his last name sounds with your first he’s contimplating if he wants to see you or the other girl that he’s dating this weekend.    Just as a general  character trait (and sometimes flaw) I hate to give up on anything, but eventually realized that there comes a point when you have to let go of the future and give it to God.  Constantly thinking about the future you could have with a person rarely leaves much room for truly getting to know them in the present.   Not being tied to a particular outcome will make it a lot easier to let go of them if they turn out to be  a wrong fit.  Whereas if you have already built a mental future with a person it can be sometimes be quite difficult to even think of replacing them with someone else.  In 2 Corinthians 10:5 – we learn that we are to take every thought captive so that we can obey Christ, which means although it may be difficult I can and must control my thoughts.
  3. Practice the art of detachment  – Remaining emotionally detached  and keeping my emotions in check is easier said than done, especially if I genuinely like someone and enjoy their company.  I usually will want to spend as much time as possible with them, getting to know more about them, talking to them throughout the day etc etc.  There is nothing wrong with getting to know someone, but there is something wrong with making them the center of your life, in other words an idol.  Remaining detached and regularly realigning with what keeps you grounded (for me reading the bible, connecting with God, friends and family) on a regular basis will help you from losing yourself while finding out about your partner.  Although you will devote time to them, always keep doing you and live your life.  Being able to view that person from an grounded point of view and not one that’s emotionally charged can help make a realistically sound decision about them.  Once you have your heart and mind invested in someone it can be difficult to see things clearly sometimes to the point where even glaring red flags may be overlooked on a consistent basis.
  4. Limit physical contact – Personally once intimacy has come into play my attachment to a person goes up 100%and as Christian women we know that fornication is wrong, but there are so many other types of physical contact that can set small fires which eventually cause a huge uncontrollable roaring fire.  Even something as simple as talking about sex which can plant seeds or sending certain photos can cause a brother or sister in Christ to slip.  Early on I plan to set boundaries with my partner letting him know what types of touch and interactions I wish to reserve for more serious levels of our relationship.  Since the bible only indicates sexually immorality as a sin I think couples should do what works for them and many choose to only go out to public places, in groups, not to kiss or even hold hands initially.  In an interesting article I read on phycology today they noted that  touch is one of the most fundamental ways of fostering and communicating intimacy in a romantic relationship.*  The question is how quickly do you want to fan that flame?  Self-control will ultimately have to be practiced on both ends, especially if you’ve had sex in previous relationships.  By  limiting physical contact you create room to get to know the person on a truly intimate level and are allowing the relationship to flourish in other ways without having to lean on sex or other physical acts which can always be explored later.  God tells us that we are to flee from and put to death, like literally slay and destroy, all sexual immorality which is an earthly or fleshly desire, if not we will not inherit the kingdom of God.  Since we are His bridegroom, we can pretty much say that we are in a committed relationship with Jesus and married to Him spiritually but will refrain from cheating on Him physically!
  5. Give purpose to your dating (courting) – Although it may not always be possible, I know that clear  communication is key to making a relationship work and being on the same page as to the purpose of your union can only come about through taking the time to candidly discuss your relationship goals.  If one person wants to date for the sake of seeing where things will lead and the other is focused on marriage the relationship could take a drastic turn for the worse if these desires are never communicated.  In the same vein, both couples could be seeking marriage but one a year down the line and another ten years down the line.  I also don’t believe that communication should be limited to just talking about marriage, but also the significance of your individual walks with God and how you plan to come together to further His kingdom.  Can you do more for His kingdom as a team or as singles?  So many times people become a couple for selfish reasons, but the more I grow up in Christ I learn that relationships are for His glory and not solely for the pleasure of the two people involved.  If the relationship is within God’s will and the focus on God it will be blessed.

God bless!

Court😊

*The Power of Touch

8 dating rules mature christian women live by


If I compare my views on dating over the past three decades I can truly say that they have shifted tremendously with age and maturity.  I wanted to share some ideals that have changed in my thinking of dating over the years.  These are things that I feel most mature Christian women keep in mind when dating and rules I’ve grown to live by.  Let me know if you agree or have more to add!

1. FOMO is a disease worth preventing:  By this I mean fear of missing out on meeting the man of your dreams! You no longer feel the need to drag yourself to the club every weekend or attend social events when you’d much rather be comfy in bed simply because you’re afraid of missing that chance encounter with Mr. Perfect for you. You are able to rest in the fact that when the time comes for you to meet it will happen no matter where you are, if God wanted to he could bring him right to your door.  It’s just not that serious and your purpose for going out has less to do with meeting a man and more about the personal experience of having a great time.  Besides, most of us have been to the club a gazillion times and have  met Mr. Horrible breath, Mr. Much too pushy and Mr. Stalk you all night but never Mr. Right!

2. Resist emotional attachment:  At least until his representative exits stage left and you’re sure you can deal with his crazy, because let’s face it everyone has a touch.  You may feel the flutter of butterflies in your stomach, your words may get jumbled somewhere between your tongue and lips from nervousness when he’s around but somehow you still manage to remain planted in reality.   Your desire to take it slow, guard your heart and refusal to get caught up in the what if’s is a very intelligent move.  You realize that some relationships are sizzling hot one day and fizzle out the next so you are able to keep your emotions in check and remain observant of his actions and words. Of course after dating someone for a while thoughts of white poufy dresses, last name changes and babies may begin to infiltrate your daydreams but you definitely don’t have your wedding planned after the first few dates.

3. Date around: You get that there’s no need to become attached at the hip to a guy after only a couple of dates.  You have no problem keeping your options open as you find out where his head is and get to know him and you’re okay with him doing the same.  Of course being open and honest about the fact that there is no exclusivity until the time comes to take a more serious step is a necessity.  Granted there are people that get married after a couple of dates and it works out well for them, so if this is where God is leading you then hallelujah you’ve been blessed!

4. Make big life decisions like a boss: Waiting on someone to enter your life before you can start living it only hinders your progress as a person and possibly as a mate.  Going it alone with decisions like purchasing a home or moving to a new city can be scary, but worth it.  Although you may be fearful or nervous making a huge move alone you still do it scared, sometimes shaking in your boots scared!   The thought that you need a significant other to make a big leap in life is in my view a grave misnomer.    I’ve moved more than 1000 miles from home twice and last year took the leap into homeownership.  One of the comments I got from an older woman in my family was that the purchase was too permanent and what about marriage.  This type of thinking is fear based and I refuse to live my reality based on someone else’s and while I’ve learned a few things that I dislike (mowing the lawn being primary) I truly enjoy my humble abode.  I would encourage anyone that has the funds, desire and plans to make a giant life altering leap to go ahead and jump you will most likely soar and flying solo is actually pretty empowering.

5. Know when to opt out of dating drama:  While dating is fine, you realize that you don’t have to go out with someone simply because they ask or throw some affection your way.  While a man findeth a wife, the woman decideth to deny or accept his advances. Some times you just need a break from the entire scene or men in general and decide to take a much needed respite from dating.  Although slightly forced due to a break up, I recently gave up dating for months and grew tremendously from doing so.  I highly recommend it for anyone that has recently parted ways with a significant other or would like to make some beneficial life or character changes without the pressure of dating.

6.  You never have to prove yourself:  I can recall the countless times that I’ve met a man and before asking me about my spiritual beliefs, my background or goals he bee lines straight for what is apparently the most significant question of them all, ‘can you cook’ usually followed by ‘what you gone cook for me’.  As if being able to throw down in the kitchen automatically turned you into suzie homemaker.  The old adage tells us that a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and many times a man will want you to prove that you are ‘wifey material’ prior to moving into a more serious status.  As I’ve matured in my dating style I don’t have the desire to prove much to any man and the answer that goes through my head when asked if I can cook is, yes I can cook, but why would I cook for you?  Mature women know that proving you can whip up a quick meal in a pinch or are good with money, kids etc is reserved for the man that is worthy of receiving those gifts not some random that may not be around after the third date.

7. Always remain focused:  Many times our purpose for dating is marriage as Christians, I include myself in that category as well.  I no longer date for the fun of simply going out because I don’t have the time to waste on men who aren’t marriage material.  Even if marriage isn’t your end goal, as you grow more mature you come to know what you want out of dating.  You know that time is valuable and tremendously more precious than a free meal, so you opt out of possibly unequally yoked partnerships to focus on more important things.

8. Dating does not mean sex:  As a Christian woman I have been walking the road of abstinence since my last relationship.  It’s pretty easy to do while not dating, but I know it may become a bit more difficult when I enter into another serious relationship as the temptations will surely come.  But I also know that I don’t desire to move too fast with anyone and that goes for any physical contact including hugging and kissing.  The world sells us a view of dating that goes hand in hand with sex, as Christians living for a God that calls fornication a sin, we don’t buy the hype.  I know for me l almost instantly grow more attached to the person after sex and in an effort to guard my heart chose to reserve my body for the man I marry.

God Bless
Court

Single for a reason

Months ago I prayed to God to block the entrance of any man who wasn’t my husband into my life. I was (and still am) seriously done with wasting time in the dating scene. I prayed this prayer soon after my last breakup simply because I was fed up and tired.  Exhausted to be completely honest, exhausted of falling for someone only to realize years into the relationship after I had played wifey, after the cheating, the lies, the games and the fleeting dreams of marriage and a family together that we were never meant to be.  I was tired of trying to make it work with someone who hadn’t even saw value in me to make me his wife. Tired of running into men who although they say they want to do things the God way we still somehow end up in fornication. I went through this process three times during my adult life and although it may not be a lot for some, that was more than enough for me. Granted throughout the years I was no angel in relationships although I never physically cheated I kept ‘friends’ that I knew were interested in me around, I consented to fornication with my boyfriends, feared putting all my eggs into one basket and played the little petty games that many do when dating and ultimately lost.  I suppose I grew most tired of just that, losing, always coming to the end of a relationships feeling as if I had lost a piece of me that I could never get back yet again. It’s exasperating, frustrating and most of all painful, but in my case necessary for me to reach the point where I gave the heartache, the pain and the confusion to God and focused on Him.

In the past if I broke up with someone it wasn’t long before I found another man to keep me occupied while I nursed the wounds of a broken heart.  While we wouldn’t have sex I would allow myself to form an emotional attachment with them or go out just so I wouldn’t think about my ex. Neither of these were the right thing to do, because as I wouldn’t think about the pain or loneliness while I was out having fun but it was always waiting for me at home. I wasn’t fulfilled with these outings and grew to understand that I would never be, because what I wanted was so much more than an empty relationship. Although a couple of the men wanted to take it further and date seriously, something always held me back from progressing. There was no peace in the thought of spending a lifetime with them and if I couldn’t see that then I didn’t want anything more. Ultimately I would find something I didn’t like about them so I could easily keep my distance while still going out and having fun without delving too deeply into feelings even if they had them for me, basically I was led them on, which was so wrong.

Since praying the ‘anti-counterfeit’ prayer and becoming more purposeful in who I choose to spend time with, my dating life has been, shall we say, pretty nonexistent.  I have turned down dates by men that I know aren’t for me and old familiar faces have popped up every now and then but I choose to focus on my growth at this point in my life and devote time to having a stable foundation with God while still having a ball doing life.  I live my life and try to appreciate living it solo, as there may be a time when I long for the solitude I have now. I am able to travel to different places, have fun with friends, meet new people, become more involved with the church and try to simply enjoy the days as they come. There are moments of loneliness, but I realize they are just moments and the feeling passes when I remember that I am single for a reason. My reason no longer consist of bettering myself for a husband that may or may not ever show up, but becoming the woman God wants me to be, to form a deeper relationship with Him, to grow in faith and to hear His voice so clearly that I have no doubt when He whispers which way I should go. I long for a relationship like that with God and if being unattached is what brings me closer to Him then I would have it know other way.

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God Bless,

Court

But you say she’s just a friend

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The creation of security within the boundaries of a relationship should be a major priority between partners.  When this security is breached or not given the attention due it allows distrust, doubt and anger to creep through the door and settle into your relationship.  I was with someone who had a lot of friends, particularly of the female persuasion.  The issue wasn’t the gender of some of his friends but more so the way the relationships were presented and handled at least in my eyes, I’m sure he would beg to differ.  When I brought this to his attention, his stance on the issue was that they were my insecurities to deal with and had nothing to do with him.   I wasn’t completely sold on his position, but did partially agree as I believe my personal insecurities within myself are totally my responsibility to work on.  But insecurities felt in the relationship that were based on things he did or said had more than a little to do with him and vice versa.  I will admit that I may have over reacted slightly to all of his female friends initially, as I allowed my past experiences to guide my thinking many times in the relationship, but none the less I had some real concerns.

My ex had one female friend in particular, let’s call her Fern, that sent my cheating radar into alarm mode.  Granted I never found out they were anything more than friends but the entire situation didn’t sit well with me.  He initially told me they were just friends, but I found out later that they had been in a sexual relationship years prior, he still had photos and video of her in his phone, would pick her up from work and he texted or talked to her constantly.  When I began acting suspicious, I was made out to be the irrationally jealous girlfriend that just didn’t want him to have any friends, which wasn’t true at all, I just didn’t want the secrets that came along with these relationships.  This led to me looking at his other relationships with a bit more side in my eye because I wondered about what else he was hiding.  I’m not really the type to have a huge issue with my boyfriend having friends of the opposite sex as I do as well.  But I am a huge proponent of knowing exactly where the relationship stands and expect honesty.  If you are having similar concerns, I would suggest speaking to your significant other, communicating your concerns and ask them to do the following four things then watch for changes.

1. Be open and honest:  Had my ex disclosed the fact that he and this woman were more than friends in the past I may not have had such an issue with their friendship, but I felt that pertinent parts of their relationship were kept from me purposely and it made me extremely suspicious.  I understand that the past is the past and had their relationship remained in the past then fine, but she was still in his present.  You shouldnt have to feel as if you are being naggy because you ask questions about a relationship if they be reasonable and it shouldn’t be like pulling teeth to get a truthful answer.  Honesty should always be extended in regards to legitimate concerns. Relationships are all about communication, if one party feels as if that communication is one-sided it will only cause them to shut down, leave or continue the relationship in doubt, which only ends badly.

2.  Include you: if your partner and this person truly are ‘just friends’   they shouldn’t have an issue including you in their discussions or outings if that’s something you’re comfortable with.  When you enter into a serious commitment, the dynamics of your other relationships are bound to change and not necessarily for the worse, who knows you could gain a new friend out of the deal.  There were times when if I was at my ex’s house and he got a call from someone who asked what he was doing, his responses would never include me, except for with certain people in his life.  He was very selective about who knew we were together and who didn’t and I believe that Fern happened to fall into the latter category.  Had I been included in their discussions I would have felt somewhat more comfortable and not as if he was hiding the fact that we were together from her.

3. Be present: If your significant other spends tons of time on the phone or texting their friends everytime you are together, you’re bound to feel slightly neglected or at least slighted in some way, unless you’re doing the same.  I can recall a time when we were watching a movie together and he was constantly texting Fern.  Instead of focusing on our quality time he was focused on her, telling her how she would like the movie, sending memes and other messages but when I got upset and called him out about it, he saw nothing wrong with his actions.

4. Put themselves in your shoes:  I’m sure if the shoe was on the other foot, your significant other would feel some type of way, unless they really don’t care.  Unfortunately, I often learn from making mistakes and am a pro at playing tit for tat and I began doing many things to spite him.  Many of the things he did, I became guilty of and them some. Since he would constantly chat with his female friends, I began to engage more and more with my male friends (some of who I knew wanted more than a friendship), I would talk to them constantly, go out with them and entertain talk that I probably shouldn’t have.  It got to the point where I would actually be on my phone more than he was when we were together towards the end of our relationship.  This is not, I repeat not the correct way to let someone know you want them to know what you feel.  This only created a deeper divide between us, it was childish and unnecessary because it exacerbated the real issues we had.

Hope this helps someone!

God Bless,

Court

Five things a man should see in you, besides your beauty

Portrait Of Loving African American Couple In Countryside

I go to a singles bible study every now and then and an acquaintance, let’s call him Franco, started attending as a result of me telling him how much I enjoy the studies.  One day Franco informed me that he didn’t really need singles bible study because he already knew who he was going to marry and after a couple of minutes of going back and forth he revealed that his wife to be was me.  Now, I’m not the type of woman who buys something most people are selling especially if it doesn’t add up.  In this case, we had known each other for about a year, weren’t dating and I had made it known we most likely would go no further than a friendship.  Since I tend to question everything, this was no different and I asked him what about me made him think I was the one?  His answer immediately turned on my ‘game running alarms’ as he informed me that I was the proud owner of the three B’s: beauty, brains and booty to which I promptly chuckled while mentally incorporating a forth ‘B’, the boot!   If a man is unable to tell me why he wants to be with me or has trouble pulling out a couple of specific character qualities that make me special to him it’s an issue.  If he can’t do these things in my view he isn’t paying attention or truly invested in me as a person enough to get to know my core, especially if he claims to love me or would discuss something as serious as marriage.  This scenario made me give much thought to some of the qualities a mate should be able to recognize, appreciate and honor within your relationship beside your beauty and booty!

Your value: Regardless of whether you’re dating, courting, engaged or married your significant other should be able to clearly recognize the value that you bring to his life.  Throughout proverbs, wisdom is characterized as a female and in Proverbs 31 we see what makes up an excellent woman or wife.  In the bible it states that a man who seeks wisdom will be blessed, just as a man who finds a wife is blessed.  It also states that wise words and wisdom are more valuable than rubies, just as a woman of noble character is more precious than rubies.  I say this to make the comparison to the value of wisdom and that of a noble wife.  The word wisdom appears in the bible over 200 times and we are told in Proverbs 4 that obtaining wisdom is a principal thing; And although the bible is speaking of wisdom, verses 6-9 could seriously read as a guide-book for having a very happy wife and hence life.  If there are so many similarities between the attainment of wisdom with all its importance and that of the rare and noble wife then it is fair to say that you are quite valuable in God’s eyes and should be in your significant other’s as well.  In 1 Peter 3:7 husbands are told to live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.   If a man does not show understanding and honor to his wife his prayers could be hindered.  Meaning the way a man treat’s his wife is directly correlated to the way God treat’s his prayers!   That’s just how serious God is about the treatment of his daughters by their husbands and truly shows the value of a virtuous woman.

Your Irreplaceableness:  In the middle of an argument, I had an ex-boyfriend tell me that he could go out tomorrow and find another  ‘good girl’ just like me.  Aside from the fact that he called me a girl, the comment made me cringe because I felt like after all the time of us dating my worth to him boiled down to the fact that I had a steady job, was smart and pretty.  Like he could just go to the girlfriend store and tell the manager ‘this one didn’t fit I need another one of the same model’.  His statement didn’t encompass any of the attributes that made me who I was internally, it didn’t entertain the uniqueness of my laugh, my penchant for singing loudly off-key in the shower or my quirky sense of humor, it only focused on the external which in essence could actually be easily replaced.  Thank God for instilling me with enough confidence to know that although he may find someone else quickly, there was no way on God’s green earth he would run across another me.  If you look at the beginning of Proverbs 31:10, it begins with a question, ‘Who can find a virtuous woman?’  Since it’s in question form I immediately think that maybe this virtuous woman isn’t so easily found and while there are many, many women in the world to choose from, this particular woman is actually quite rare.  We all have qualities that make us irreplaceable to that special someone and if we model ourselves after virtuous women in the bible we become the one in a million that God so highly speaks of.  If your significant other is unable to see how irreplaceable you are maybe you need to take a trip to the boyfriend store and get an upgrade!

Your equality: Granted, men and women have very different roles within the boundaries of marriage, the fact that the wife chooses to submit to her husband as the head in marriage does not make her input, opinions or suggestions any less valuable or her role any less important.  In the bible it states that women are the weaker vessels, but it also states that the men are to honor her as a result of it.  Women are afforded the same salvation, grace, forgiveness and love promised to men.  Galatians 3:28 puts it this way: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Your intelligence:  I suppose one out of three isn’t bad in Franco’s defense as brains was one of his three B’s, but a man should love your brain long before he’s made love to your body.   Dating without fornication is a great time to get to know someone without the would be distractions of physical sex.  I regret the fact that I delved into sexual relationships with boyfriends in the past because it got in the way of us getting to truly know each other at times.  Hopefully, your mate enjoys having conversations with you, hearing your points of view and heeding your advice if it be wise.  Speaking from experience, if you have a long-term mate that is constantly dismissive of your views or rarely seeks your advice on pertinent issues in his life you may have a long, hard road a head, especially if you decide to marry him.  In Proverbs 31 we see that the virtuous woman speaks with wisdom, she is hard-working and doesn’t worry during seasons of winter because she was smart enough to prepare ahead of time.  I can bet she was one of her husbands main confidants and counselors as it tells us that his heart safely trusted in her.  So release your inner nerd and let your geek flag fly, the man meant for you will only love you all the more for it!

Your God: A man who knows you, should be able to see the God in you through your daily interactions together and optimally, in turn, will encourage growth in your relationship with God.  It could become extremely problematic if you set your standards as a child of God and he continually attempts to cross those boundaries.   If he constantly tries to get you into bed, take things further than you would like, speaks to you in a mean, harsh or vulgar way, disrespects you or treats you anything less than a lady he definitely doesn’t recognize or at the most respect the God within you.

God bless
Court

Without the ring

Bridal portrait.

When you’re dating sometimes the lines between acting as a girlfriend and a wife without a ring can get quite blurry. I’m not speaking exclusively of sex, but also the simple things that as nurturing women we want to do for our significant others. Oftentimes we don’t recognize that we are giving husband privileges to a boyfriend that hasn’t earned them. Although the bible gives us a glimpse of a godly wife, there are no hard and fast rules about biblical girlfriend-hood.  I’ve been in a relationship where it seemed the guy wanted me to be his wife in every aspect except the vows, the license and the ring.  Amongst other things, he wanted submission and of course sex, but wasn’t quite ready to take that walk down the aisle and I perpetuated it by allowing it to continue.  Many times we choose to believe words that hold the promise of a ring instead of believing the actions that ultimately will sell a person out.  I’ve learned a few things while in long term relationships (6, 7 and 3 years), so here are five big rewards or acts that in my opinion should be reserved for a husband that actually put a ring on it and not just a promise to do so.

  1. Sex: This is an obvious but extremely important point. The direction to flee fornication may oftentimes seem more like a punishment than the gift it is. I know from personal experience I cannot have sex with someone without becoming attached because for me there must be a deep connection already woven into the relationship. Unfortunately, through premarital sex I’ve formed unhealthy soul ties in the past with boyfriends because I thought it was okay since we would one day be married. Had I used the wherewithal to wait on God’s best and until marriage to take our relationship to the next level this may not have been an issue and I could have saved myself a lot of heart ache, disappointments and stress.
  2. Household responsibilities: In my twenties I lived with my boyfriend and found myself playing house every since then, simply because I thought that was the way it was supposed to be. I recently had a guy tell me (yes, tell me) that I would have to make him dinner because he wanted to make sure I could cook.  Now, when I want to, I can be a culinary (crockpot) guru, but have grown to a maturity level where proving my cooking skills to some random isn’t in my realm of desires.  I am eager however to cook for my husband and ensure that he enjoys every bite. In fact I have begun to cook more at home in an effort to add meals to my repertoire.  Things like cooking regular meals, ironing (which I despise anyway, a spray bottle filled with water and a dryer are my best friends), cleaning and other household chores are reserved for my home, if there happens to be a husband in it then he will definitely reap those rewards. If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, that’s great news, because the only man’s heart I want is my husbands and he is the only one I want to cook (or order) dinner for every night!
  3. Changing churches: In past serious relationships, the issue has not been that we are unequally yoked concerning being Christian, but that we weren’t attending the same church. I don’t see much purpose in changing my church home until God has spoken to us and we are actually on the road to marriage. I do plan to attend my future husband’s church for counseling reasons and to be of equal accord, it just isn’t necessary while dating. The idea didn’t sit right with me the big one being because I wouldn’t feel comfortable in the case of the relationships demise; and If I based my decision about a church on who I’m dating at the time there’s a possibility that I would be a consistent church hopper.  If you are seeking a church home or already attend the same church those are very different circumstances.
  4. Combining finances:  I usually refrain from even discussing specifics about my finances (or his) early on in a relationship including what I make or what I have in savings.  Also, I have never been asked, but cosigning (read proverbs) on things or mixing finances would not occur while dating, joint bank accounts are reserved for marriage in my eyes. I do however think it extremely important to discuss how you each spend money, is his style thrifty or frivolous, does he save money regularly, are bills paid on time, is he in debt and vice versa. It’s been noted that many marriages fail due to monetary differences or struggles, knowing these types of things prior to engagement is crucial.
  5. Submission: Submission is intertwined into many aspects of our lives even if we choose not to see it. As a child you submit to your parents and as an adult to a boss, coach, pastor or another head. The bible tells us that as wives we are also to submit to our husband as unto the Lord.  That being said, I have yet to read where it states a girlfriend is to submit to her boyfriend, if you find it let me know!  Even though we may practice submission daily as brothers and sisters in Christ, until we have become one under God I would not consider any one I’m dating my headship.  As a single woman I submit to God and am still under the umbrella of my earthly and heavenly fathers.  I would however, expect him to exhibit leadership qualities and to have respect for the decisions he makes in his own life.

Just my two cents 😊

God Bless and here’s to a purposeFULL life!

Court

Through the flames

I got a text from my ex yesterday, that although it shouldn’t have, caused me a great deal of sadness.  I think it’s because it solidified the fact that we weren’t getting back together, and although I thought I had totally let go, there was this little piece of me that was still holding on.  While we were dating, I honestly thought he was the one, we discussed marriage, having a family, and he told me (although I never saw it) that he had gone ring shopping.  I thought he was the man who God had for me and we were going to live happy together for the rest of our days.  Unfortunately, there was a curve ball thrown and that didn’t turn out to be the case.

I won’t go into detail about the text but it was enough to send me running back to feeling as if we had broken up more recently and there was such an internal pain that it was almost crippling.   I didn’t want to see or deal with anyone, but since I received the text in the middle of doing something I had to push on and wait to open the flood gates until I got into my car and a safe distance away from the building.  I confused myself, because  I was dealing, coping or at least I thought I was until I found myself falling back into the anguish of sadness that seemed to come out of no where and so quickly that it was impossible to dodge.  I fell back into questioning the things that happened, wondering if I had made the right decisions. I found myself questioning God, asking Him if I would ever have love, did I miss my chance and why am I here yet again?  I found myself holding onto heartache more than happiness as I dwelled on the fact that I was 37 and without prospects.  I wondered if I would have to do the rest of my life without a mate and if so could I be okay with that?  I forgot to remind myself that just because I didn’t see big things on the horizon, doesn’t mean they aren’t there.  Since, I’d been here before in my twenties I knew that if I stayed one of two things that would happen.  1. I would fall deeper and deeper into sadness and eventually depression and 2.  I would  fall further and further away from Christ.  So I prayed and prayed some more between sobs.  It was a long sleepless night of guarding my tongue against words the enemy would have me speak over my life and asking God for strength, faith and vision to see beyond this point in my life and also for contentment while in the season.

Today after almost two months of my ex and I officially parting ways, I let go.  It was difficult, because I wanted to hold on, but I deleted the numbers, emails and text.  I released the dreams of meeting him at the end of the aisle on our wedding day and us growing old and wrinkly together.  I let it all go, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt, it means that through the pain I must hold on to the faith that all things will work together for both of our goods and release the fear that it won’t.  It is not a fire of consumption but of cleansing, so I have to thank Him even while walking through the flames.

Whatever your issue is, if you find yourself taking a couple of steps back, remember it’s normal.  Blame it on our humanity.  No one and no situation is perfect, some days it’s easy to roll with the punches and sometimes you feel like you got knocked off of your feet.  Fight the good fight and remember God is there for you, He will help you, believe that.

God Bless
Court

Isaiah 41:10 – Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  (ESV)

1 Peter 5:7 – Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (ESV)

Genesis 2:18 – Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” (ESV) – God will bring someone great into our lives if it is His will, he made us for companionship.

If you need to speak to someone: The Samaritans 24-Hour Crisis Hotline (212) 673-3000