Archives for posts with tag: marriage

“People tend to spend more time preparing for their wedding than they do preparing for their marriage.” – Dr. Naima Cherie Price (who came up with this invaluable document that is the basis of today’s post)

Getting to know the person that you are about to marry is really important. I think so many people get wrapped up in the lovey-dovey feelings or the planning of the wedding, that they don’t spend time really getting to know each other and asking each other the “hard” questions. Hell, sometimes we don’t ask each other the simple questions. And that can lead to putting yourself in a bind years down the road when you find out something you should’ve discovered early on but now you feel “invested” in the relationship so it’s that much harder for you to walk away.  For example, after a year, I should know how much money you make. You should know how much money I make. We should know where the other person stands financially. But maybe that’s just me. I’m not at all saying that money determines whether or not you should be with someone. Instead, I just think you should know who you are with. You should get to know this person inside and out.

When you are buying a house or looking for a new apartment, you check the place out. You read reviews. If it’s a home purchase you look at the historical sales prices. You look at the records of the property. And most importantly, you go through every nook and cranny of the house – opening cabinet doors, moving appliances out of the way, paying for an inspection, just so that you can make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. And not saying that your home/apartment will be perfect. Not saying that if the inspector finds water damage in the basement then you won’t move in – no it’s just saying that at least you have done your homework and can make an informed decision about your home purchase. Now, you are much more prepared to deal with the water damage, whether that means you save up for some renovations before moving in or just take extra precautions, at least you know! Imagine the horror of signing your name on the dotted line, instantly becoming hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, and then discovering a long laundry list of items that you didn’t know were wrong with the house. That’s the worst. We do the inspection before the purchase for a reason. I just wish we practiced that same due diligence when choosing and learning about our mate.

My aunt shared this document with me that she found when she was preparing to be married. It’s called Getting to Know Your Mate: Before You Say I Do. It’s 10 pages  (yes, 10!) of questions that you and your mate can work through to get to know one another. Ten pages. Single spaced. Yes, it’s that serious. And you really get into the nitty gritty. Some of the questions are admittedly for couples who are in the latter stages of an engagement, but there are definitely some here that can help lay a great foundation for a relationship at any stage.

Some good ideas to help work through this document:

-Do it for yourself! Before you even get in a relationship, think about these questions and figure out what you want and who you are without the influence of some adonis looking young man clouding your vision. We spend a lot of time talking about the type of mate we want when we should really be figuring out the type of mate that we actually are.

-Do a question a day. This is what the author suggests. She says it should take about a year to do it that way.

Do a section a week. The questions are divided into various topics and this is the way that we started to work through them. It was cool because each week at dinner we would have an in-depth discussion about either family life, religion, finances, etc. It sure the beats the typical “how was your day” conversation.

-Do it individually and then swap answers. I think it can be beneficial to write down your responses and then share them with each other (as opposed to just saying the question out loud and then responding together). Sometimes, in conversation, you don’t get the opportunity to share everything you were thinking. Or you may find that your answers are influenced by your partner’s response. This helps make sure your voice gets heard and makes sure you’re not just saying something because it matches what your partner said.

-Have a “question jar.” Or something.  This would involve cutting the questions into strips of paper. Then whenever you are just sitting at home chilling, or even about to take a ride or go out to dinner (set your own rules!) you can pick out a question from the jar and discuss it. You could have a question jar in the car, at the dinner table, and on the coffee table!

-Set some ground rules. Example: There can be no judgement. Or have a code word that lets the other person know when you can feel yourself getting upset and want to table the conversation for another time.

-Just insert the questions into your regular conversations. Some of the questions will be easier than others to adapt into your conversations. But if you feel like your significant other wouldn’t be down to do this type of “homework” just find yourself asking him/her questions at random times. “Babe, do you think you and your future wife will have separate bank accounts or a joint account for everything?” could lead to a really rich conversation and tell you something about your potential mate without it even seeming like a “task” you have to do.

-Have fun! This is work. It’s a lot of work. And it won’t always be pretty. But you can either put in the work now, or you can be surprised and upset later. Look at it as a challenge. It’s the discovery of your potential mate. And it’s one of the best investments you can make towards a lasting, and transparent, marriage. And if you find out something that causes you to want to end the relationship, aren’t you glad you discovered that sooner rather than later? That’s definitely a win-win.

Check it out. Getting to Know Your Mate: Before You Say I Do by Dr. Naima Cherie Prince.

Today’s musical selection brought to you by the fine folks at… well, I don’t know where they’re from. But, it’s a message that everyone needs to hear. Forreal!

What does this have to do with Wholly Single, you might ask? Well, it just reminded me of the So You Think You Want to Get Married class we took last year. Our facilitators strongly recommended that after you get married, deactivate your facebook for at least two years after you get married (they really said forever, but still).

And I kinda like that advice. What say you? Would you give up facebook (and all social media) for your marriage?

At first thought, it’s like well, sir, your marriage didn’t work. Why would I take marriage advice from you? But then you think about it some more and realize, hindsight is 20/20. It’s so much easier to look back and explain as opposed to making sense of the mess that you’re currently in. That said, this is some amazing advice from a divorcé after 16 years of marriage. Wow. Like, some bookmark, print it out and laminate it, read it once a month type advice. Head on over to the Love Story from a Male Perspective Blog to read “Beautiful Advice from a Divorced Man After 16 Years of Marriage.

Some of my favorite pieces of advice that he gives are that “It’s not your job to change or fix her” and to “Fill her soul every day” while topping it all off with the ultimate challenge: Commit to being an EPIC LOVER.

And although he’s addressed it to husbands, there were parts where he was talking directly to me. As if he were all up in my business, tapping my phones, spying on my thoughts. Sigh. I hear ya…

All of that to say, heck yeah I’d take marriage advice from a divorcé – or at least this one anyway. So go ahead and see why; click here to read the rest.

Image from the Original Post – go on over there!

I’m all about being purposeful. Being intentional. And being transparent. Unfortunately, a lot of that has been lost in present day “dating” as we know it. Sometimes, I wonder if people even know why they are dating. Or if they’ve ever even asked themselves the question. So to help you clarify whether or not you should be dating in the first place, just answer this question:

If you are not dating with the intent to evaluate the other person in order to be married, then why are you dating?

If you are not dating with the intent evaluate whether to be married, then why are you dating?

If you are not dating to be married, then why are you dating?

If you are not dating ready to be married, then WHY ARE YOU DATING?

Please, someone answer this question. And you wonder why the other person needs you define the relationship after “dating” for 6 months. Chile. I ain’t got time.

But we will discuss this more at a later date. Right now, we just need to take it all the way back to the basics.

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Who’s back in the saddle for Awesomely Luvvie’s #31WriteNow Challenge?? Yep, that would be me. Let’s go!

One of the things that really weighs heavy on my heart is the state of families, communities, marriages, etc. Especially black families, black marriages, and black communities. I mean, if we don’t care about our own, who will, right?

I think many times, it’s as simple as people just don’t know any better. If they’ve never seen anybody in their extended family get married, let alone make a marriage last (and I’m not even going to throw “happy” in there), how will they know it could be any different? Sometimes I struggle with how much I should share about my relationship on these here innanets. On the one hand, I think it’s really important for examples of relationships that were founded in Christ to be vocal. Let other people see what it means to be in a Christ-centered relationship. But on the other hand, y’all nosey! And you definitely have to keep something for yourself. So until I uncover that balance of how much to share, I’m going to share other peoples’ marriages instead. And really, I’m not sharing them, but it’s the good folks over at Black and Married with Kids (better known as BMWK) who have answered the call. Bookmark this site – started by Lamar and Ronnie Tyler (they are hilarious by the way!), you will want to visit it often. Follow them on the twitter, like them on facebook, all of that. Share the stories with your friends. Let’s just blow them up so that people know this thing is real and that it can work.

Black & Married with Kids

Black & Married with Kids

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Barely holding on to this #31WriteNow Challenge – Can’t even blame it on being sick anymore!

 

I read Elisabeth Elliot’s Passion and Purity: Learning to Bring Your Love Live Under Christ’s Control a few weeks ago. It was right on time. Although it started out rather slow, the middle and end of the book were meaty with revelations about what it means to live for God as a single who thinks they’ve been called for marriage. (But it’s ironic that Elisabeth Elliot just knew she was called to be a missionary – which at that time meant a life of singleness.) Many people often get confused with the title of this book and assume she’s talking about a sexual passion. But that’s all wrong. It’s definitely the passion that you have for Christ. One of my (many) favorite* passages from her story:

A settled commitment to the Lord Christ and a longed-for commitment to Jim Elliot [her suitor] seemed to be in conflict. Discipleship usually brings us into the necessity of choice between duty and desire. They are not always mutually exclusive, however.

And the fact that they are not always mutually exclusive is truly a gift from God. It may be a struggle but struggles for Christ’s sake are never in vain. And I’m glad about it.

The concept of story has been showing its face lately. And how people share their stories as a way to be a blessing to other people. Elisabeth Elliot probably had no idea that God was going to use her story in such tremendous ways and help so many single people begin to bring their love lives under the control of Christ. Trey Erwin, the young boy who recently passed from pancreatic cancer probably had no idea how many lives he would touch just by sharing his story and his faith. Dr. Parker (and his wife) share intimate details of their marriage, Priscilla Shirer, lets us into her life, and so many more people really just bare their souls just so that they can win others to a life of discipleship. A really good friend from college shared her testimony to a group of young adults (and to me) and I was practically in tears realizing how much God had his hand on her life. It’s inspiring. And it makes me realize I shouldn’t be ashamed of some of the secrets I have in my past. Because they’re in my past and I’ve overcome them and been washed by His blood and forgiven. And the story that I have is one that can help others. God is so very good and I desire nothing more than to let Him use me and my life for his purpose.

(On another note, I like how God speaks to me about certain things. I never noticed it before but I think I’m beginning to be able to discern the voice of God clearly. First, I was constantly surrounded by commentary on the concept of fear – and eliminating it. Then there was this concept of purpose. And now it’s just letting God use me and telling my story. I love that guy!)

*My favorite passages are usually the ones that ring true to me at any given point in my life, that convict me and make me raise my hand to God while I’m reading on the metro or let out a soft “my God” – not necessarily the ones that are the most beautifully written or that speak to hope. Yes the truth does hurt but it also sets you free – word to John 8:32.