Archive for January, 2014


Image

The reality is…You Picked ‘Em!  I am not playing the blame game, but responsibility has to be taken by all parties.  Often times we forget that we had a choice in the matter when we are far removed from that initial choice.  Yeah that’s right, You Picked ‘Em!  Months, years, (sometimes only days) and 2 or 3 kids later, we agonize over the consequences and hurt that we are now experiencing, even pointed to him or her as the source of that pain, while not accepting the fact that we recognized, but ignored all of the signs.  In most cases they were not even signs, it was blatant, audible, visual billboards that told us to Stop! Don’t Pass Go, or give them that $200, cause you will regret it.

Why do we press on in spite of???  We tell ourselves or are pressured by our peers saying, “I’m just having fun” or “You only live once” or “I’m still young” “Live a little” or “He’s so cute” or “Look at her body” without us really considering the consequences or thinking about how a single decision today can forever change our tomorrow.

I have counseled and coached young men and women that I mentor as well as my friends on this “relationship cycle” that I feel is the culprit responsible for the demise of stable family structure.  When it comes to relationships, people (young and old) are making short term decisions that have long term affects on the family structure that they truly want and dream of having. They are sleeping with people who they do not even like and in their hearts have no chance or true desire of ever living happily ever after with.

I am not perfect. It is only because of God’s grace and mercy that I did not experience some of the long term consequences for choices that I made.  Therefore, I feel obligated and a sense of responsibility to share what I was delivered and spared from (now back to our scheduled program).

Below I have listed what I believe are the proper phases to having a long and prosperous marriage.  THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS! However, I believe those exceptions only happened because the people in those relationships were wise and discipline enough to do two of the phases simultaneously.

I strongly believe that if these phases are not followed in succession, it increases the chances of a dysfunctional relationship and parents who are not positioned to model the type of parental partnership that enables the child(ren) to reach their maximum potential. Perhaps unintentionally, they then plant seeds of discord in their children, which causes that cycle of dysfunctional to continue.  Again….there are always exceptions (I am one).

Phase #1: The Friend Zone

The “F” word is quite scary to some people, but I think that it is THE reason why marriages succeeds or fails.  In my experience, when people have gotten a divorce and you ask them if they still love the other person, I believe the majority of the time you would hear a resounding YES.  However, to coexist with someone, for your entire life, I believe you must be their friend.

Being a friend means that you like someone, you enjoy being around them. A true friend is honest, a good listener, is respectful, encourages you to be and do your best, is caring, is forgiving, is trustworthy, is loyal, is patient, is supportive, is fun…I can go on.

I know some of you believe in love at first sight and have actually experienced it (I think it is more like Lust at first sight)  However, if you progress to the next step without exploring and finding out if that person knows what a friend is and is capable of being one to you, it threatens the longevity of your relationship.  Remember, it takes time and situations to discover if a person truly has a quality.  You will not know simply by them saying it.

Homework:

  1. List the qualities that you deem most important for a friend to have.
  2. Highlight the qualities that are non-negotiable and do not compromise on those (you will have to compromise somewhere, but not on those).
  3. Set boundaries to ensure that the friend does not begin to get the benefits of phase 2 before you are sure

Phase #2: Boy/Girl Friend

“Friends with benefits” has become a very popular term.  Commitment is a scary thing for some, therefore, we walk the lines, lower expectations, and compromise who we are and what we want for the sake of getting along and fitting in.  Homework item #3 from phase #1 is soooo important.  One weak night can cause you to slip into this Boy/Girl Friend phase without you really intending to.

In reality, most of us expect the exact same qualities in this phase that we do from a friend.  However, when intimacy of any kind is introduced into a relationship EXPECTATIONS change.  PERIOD! Often times we begin to have expectations of someone without listing and coming to an agreement on those expectations.  In phase #1, if he/she did not answer the phone or call you back in a day or two, it was no big deal.  But let yo boy/girl friend not call you for a couple days…that will be an issue.  IJS!!!

PLEASE HEAR ME!!!  If you are not sure that this person is a good friend (Phase #1) and now you have violated homework item #3 of Phase #1…you have now slipped into Phase #2. If someone ask you who that person is to you, your response has become “It’s Complicated.” LOL  I know I may sound old fashion, but many of the “benefits” that we offer at this phase should be strictly reserved for Phase #3.  Why?  You INSTANTLY have expectations of that person and you know deep inside that they are not realistic or that they can never be the person that you truly want and desire.  Don’t be fooled into thinking you can change them.  Be patient.  If they will not wait….deuces!

Homework:

  1. List your expectations of a Boy/Girl Friend
  2. Ask “Friend” to list their expectations
  3. Trade list and discuss the expectations.  You can decide BEFORE making a decision to move into phase #2.
  4. Highlight the expectations that are non-negotiable and do not compromise on those (you will have to compromise somewhere, but not on those).

Phase #3: Marriage really is Bliss.

Marriage gets such a bad rap.  It is not easy, but it is not bad.  I believe 50% of marriages end in divorce because most do not follow this natural progression of a relationship.  When you mix benefits and expectations from the first two phases, it makes phase #3 that much harder and requires so much more work to be successful.

God knew what He was doing when He said wait until you are married to have sex.  Not sure if you were aware, but having sex is the cause of pregnancy (really…I read it on the internet).  Marriage is supposed to be forever.  If you have a baby with a person that you did not take the time to determine if you even liked them (a Friend) and did not establish and agree on the expectations for being in a relationship with them (boy/girl friend), how can you possibly think that you would be able to live in the same household and communicate in a way that would help develop and nurture a life long relationship (or nurture another life, if you have kids)?

I could go on about this phase, but I will not spend much time here.  If you are already at this phase and kinda skipped the first two, it is not too late.  You can still do the homework items above.  It will help open the lines of communication between you and your spouse.  Resetting expectations will be key for the two of you.  You can not meet expectations that you do not know exist.  In my opinion, most arguments originate here.  Do not assume that they know how you feel and what you expect from them.  Tell them!

Phase #4 – Parenting
Again…there are exceptions, but I believe when you procreate with someone who you are, first, their friends, then decide and grow into life long partners that love one another, you create an environment that is ripe for planting and growing a seed that is nurtured with love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, gentleness and self control. When a couple comes together who have no intentions on staying together long term and produce a child, it creates and environment for the child that could breed dysfunction. Without extra effort from the parents, the child becomes a product of the decisions that the parents made.

As time passes, the mother or father blames one another for the type of parent they are and the impact that it is having on the child(ren). Remember…you are partially to blame. YOU PICKED ‘EM!!!

If we can get the first two phases right, phase #3 and #4 will be easier to manage.  Unfortunately this phase has become commonly known as the meet my “Baby Mama or Baby Daddy” phases because the two parents can not stand to be in the same room for too long, so don’t even consider a life under one roof raising a child.  We now have men and women bashing one another for the others poor parenting skills and lack of care, covering, and support…each blaming one another.  Remember…”You Picked ‘Em.

You have the power and ability to chose and not compromise the qualities that you will bring you joy on the inside instead of short term feeling of happiness. You Picked ‘Em and set the expectations that will foster a relationship that proves that they love you, value you and will be loyal to you.  Just remember…You Picked ‘Em…as you stand tall and watch her walk down the aisle toward you or you catch his eyes as you are interlocked with the man I pray set the standard for how all men are suppose to love and respect you.

Morale of the Story

Don’t compromise! and don’t blame, because at the end of the day, you had (or still have) the power to chose.  Do Your Homework(see above)!  If you do not know what you like or expect, how do you expect to know “it” when you find it.  At least know what you “don’t” like so you know when to run in the other direction.  Again, when you do the “homework” listed above, do not compromise!  Be patient!  He or She is out there.

Girls…prepare yourself and wait for him to find you.  Check what you are using as bait, that could be the reason you are attracting those type of guys (that is a blog for another day).

Fellas…see is suppose to be your helpmate.  Make sure you have a vision and plan for your life that is worth her time and help.  Be the man you and leader that she is willing to submit to and you will never have to regret the fact that you picked her and she will never forget or have to wonder why she submitted to you.

Advertisements