Posts Tagged ‘relationships’




I Waited For You (www.p4cm.com)

Click the link above to see a great example of a man seeing through the layers of heart and pain.  An exampLe of a man, who heard her cries instead of her insults.  An example of a man, whose spirit connected in a way that felt better than the physical.  This is an example of a man, who was strong enough to love her unconditionally by remaining secure in who God made him to be.  

This is an example of a man who patiently waited for the women of his dreams to heal, grow, and become what and who he needed to share in this journey called life.

I pray that God covers their marriage and allows them to be a shining example of what marriage should be.  Marriage truly is bliss when we find the right person and not settle for the one who made us feel good but was not good for us.  

I could not resist sharing this video on my blog, because I am sure that so many can relate and be encouraged by their testimony.  

He or she is worth the wait.

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Broken Heart Mended

A couple days ago, I posted a really simple question on Facebook, “How can I pray for you?”  Because of the number of responses, I have had the honor of speaking to and praying for many individuals and couples over the past couple days.  In each instance when I have had the opportunity to speak with both parties a consistent theme has emerged.

The contention within their relationships has to do with what they expect from their mate, but the focus tends to be on what they are NOT getting, instead of what they expect.

When you focus all of your attention on the problem, the conversations (or arguments) are one track and you will typically spend all of the time and energy trying to prove that you are right or why they are wrong.  However, when both of you ask a different question, “What would you like to happen?” now you become solution oriented and it shifts the conversation toward achieving a win / win situation.

Many of these couples are so close to relationship bliss, but they are all focused on what is not happening (the problem) instead of what they would like to happen (the solution).  They both are “complaining” about the same things, but missing that they both also want the same thing, but are simply disagreeing about HOW to get there.  When focusing on what you would like to see in your relationship, you discover what makes the other person happy instead of becoming frustrated about all that you do that they never seem to appreciate.

Imagine this...You are really hungry, so you decide to go to your favorite take out restaurant.  The customer service was incredible!  They really went above and beyond.  Actually, it was crowded, but because you are a regular, they made your order and pulled you to the side so that you did not have to wait…Royal Treatment! You hurry home, get comfortable and sit at the table to eat, but realize that they got your order all wrong.  They gave you extra of the stuff you said minus and minus the items you really like!  How would that make you feel?  When you complained to the manager, they replied, but we gave you special treatment, isn’t that enough?  

Relationships are very similar.  When you do not take the time to understand a persons needs, wants, and desires, it does not matter that you are their favorite and that they treated you special.  If you are not providing what they need and want they will not be fulfilled and will continue to be hungry for something more.  Some may settle and just eat what they are given, but others will complain to the manager.  If the “manager” (you) does not try to fix their order but only tells the customer what they should have done differently so that they did not make the mistake, eventually, they stop eating there and try another “restaurant”.

Below are four ways that can help you shift your thinking to become more focused on putting the pieces back together in your relationship, rather than only focusing on why it is broken to begin with.

4 Ways to Put The Pieces Back Together

  1. Recognize Your Part | NO MATTER the circumstance, there is typically something that you could have done differently.  Your actions may not have been the direct cause, however your lack of action or attitude could have planted the seed that caused a reaction. Without humility, it will be difficult to find a win / win solution because one will feel that the other owes them something more.
  2. Describe Desired Outcome | Do you even know what you want?  If you do not know what you want, you will not be able to recognize it when you receive it.  Setting proper expectations is vital to the success of any relationship, because it puts you on one accord.  Write them down!  Refer back to them.  This prevents miscommunication later in the relationship.
  3. Share Past Success | If your mate is currently doing something that you would like them to continue, share it!  “I like it when you…” is a great way to begin the sentence. Encouraging your mate reinforces what you like, which shifts your focus from what they are not doing.  Change your habits, change your life.  This will not happen overnight.  Have patience.
  4. New Habits | Going forward, do not point out what they are NOT doing, only reinforce what you like.  If you find that they are not meeting your needs or providing what you agreed to, bring the list that you wrote (step 2) and use it as a reminder.  Set a time during the week when you can check in.  Remember, do not talk about the negative, repeat step 3 and clarify how it makes you feel when you receive what is on your list.

Do not allow HOW you get to your desired outcome(s) to be the reason you never get there. There are many roads to the same destination.  Some may take longer than the others, but just relax and enjoy the journey with the person you claim to love.  If it takes longer, rejoice in the fact that you got to spend more time with them.  Make the most of the time instead of complaining about the journey.  If you arrive and do not like the person you are there with, you both will be ready to go home anyway.  Then, it all was just a waste of time. #Figuratively  #Litterally

Some may think that this post is cheesy!  Perhaps, but if you are striving to be in a happy, long-lasting relationship (or marriage), it will take a little queso to spice up your life every now and then.


married, Eugene Gatewood, Original Mentor, LaTanya Gatewood, Victory Cathedral Young Adults, Couples, Love, Marriage,

Last night my wife and I were honored to be asked to be apart of a panel for the young adults, at Victory Cathedral Worship Center, who shared their thoughts about marriage.  We have been together for 20 years (in December 2015), married for 13 years (September 2015), and it has been a joy.  Joy…not perfect.  We have had our ups and downs, but we have worked very hard to make it this long.

The facilitator asked the panel several questions.  We could have talked forever, but we did not want to be selfish and monopolize the discussion. 🙂 After all, there was another panelist couple who have been married for 39 years!  We needed some of their wisdom too!

Below we have included the questions and our answers from last night (not verbatim, but generally).  We are turning 40 this year, so our memory don’t always go back that far.  Ha!  We both did not respond to every question, but we have added some comments to, hopefully, give a little more guidance.  Lastly, we even got the remaining Twitter questions and answered those as well.

We are not experts, just sharing what has worked for us.  We pray that it helps someone.


1. Based on your spouse personality, what nickname would you give them?

LaTanya: The Principal: He is always giving people “a talk”. No one wants the Principle to know, but always ends up in “his office” when they need to “get right.” 

Eugene: If I am the Principle, then she is “The Counselor” they go to her office first and she refers them over here to me.  We just thank God that He has blessed us to share what we can and that people trust the God in us to come.

  • Tip: Lighten up!  Pet names are fun.  They make a relationship personal to the two of you.

2. What role did faith play before you got married? 

LaTanya: I always knew the Lord, he was a heathen! (well…maybe she did not say it quit like that). LOL   I would invite him to church, but…?

Eugene: Last Night I did not respond, but I will give my perspective.  I have always believed in God, but did not have a relationship with Him.  However, I was never averse to church and did not oppose her going.  I just did not go.  I went a few times in college, but it was not until after college that I began to go to the same church she attended.  I was baptised as a little boy, but this is when I say I was Saved “for real”.  I understood what it meant to be saved and my relationship began to grow

  • Tip:  Wait and see!  Do not force them to go to church.  They must want a relationship with God, which is different from simply attending church.  That is not something you can make people do.  God does not even force us to have a relationship with Him, so why would you think you could force it?  LaTanya and I were friends for more than a year before we got into a relationship, then together for 7 years before we got married.  She took the time to watch my personal growth and development, but stayed true to her faith.  Her relationship with God encouraged me to want to have one as well.  She never forced the issue, simply encouraged it.  I had to want it for myself and not just do it because she wanted me too.

3. How did you know that they were the ONE?

Eugene: On one of our first dates we spent the entire day together.  We did breakfast, then a movie, lunch, then Go Cart Racing, Dinner, then Arcade.  It was a good day.  The next morning, I called and asked her what she was doing and if she wanted to hang out again.  That was “different” for me.  If I had just spent the entire day with you before, I typically did not want to talk to you for a couple days (stop judging me, I been Delivert!).

LaTanya: “Just Look at him!”  LOL (Just Kidding…she did not respond to this question, because her answer was the same).

  • Tip: Wait and see. Stopping telling them what you are looking for in a mate on the first couple dates.  Simply wait to see who they are.  When you tell them too soon, sometimes, they try to become a representation of what you want instead of being who they are.  You will typically know that someone is worth keeping around when they genuinely care about your well being and best interest, above their own.  It takes time to determine that.
  • Quick Story…The summer before my 3rd year of college, I had a tuition bill from the previous semester that I had to pay before I could register.  I worked and saved thousands, but was short a couple hundred dollars.  I asked everyone, but resolved I was going to have to sit out a semester and come back a semester late.  When she came to my house later that day she handed me the balance I needed to pay my bill.  I never asked her, but she cared enough to make sure I was going to stay in school.  #SheHadMeAtGoPayYoTuition (Jerry Maguire Reference)

4. How has marriage impacted your relationship with your family?  Did they have a role in picking?

LaTanya: My family LOVES him and always has.  There was a period of time where we broke up and my mother called me and said “What did you do?” #WTW I think that if we would have broken up they would have disowned me.

Eugene: Our family dynamic is amazing.  My family and her family, my friends and her friends, all come together for the holidays.  It is great because we do not have to really chose where to go.  My mom and her mom talk independent of us.  It is really great.

  • Tips: Wait and See…Family dynamics matter, but should not be the determining factor.  You chose your spouse, not them.  However, you do need to consider the influence that your spouses family has on their decisions.  LaTanya and I are both only children from families where our moms raised us.  However, both of our mothers respects our marriage and have never imposed their views on our marriage or parenting styles.

5. How do you make time for each other to keep the passion in the relationship?

Eugene: Funny thing…when I worked in Corp America, I was home for dinner every night. Now, not so much.  We are intentional about setting aside time and doing things together as a family.  One summer we decided to only do NEW things.  We made a list and tried all new experiences for us and our son.  We also made a bucket list this summer, posted it on the refrigerator and checked things off as we do them.

  • Tip:  Marriage is what you make it.  Be Intentional!  You can succumb to the routine of the rat race, or you can step outside of the daily routine and try different things.  Trying new things exposes you to new people and sparks new conversation.  It does not cost money to make memories!  One summer, when money was tough, we challenged ourselves to find FREE things for the family.  Our summer was FULL!  So much so, that our son still ask to this day, “What are we doing fun this weekend!”

6. How do you handle money?

LaTanya: We have always talked about money. We just had two different views.  I was taught to save, he was taught to spend. But we have never allowed money to become a hinderance in our relationship.  Money has not always been good, but we talk about it.  We have a budget.  I HATE THE SPREADSHEET! But it works!  He provides me with a version that I can read without all of the formulas and color coding.

Eugene: My money is her money.  Her money is my money.  We are one.  A house divided against itself can not stand.  We have multiple accounts, but we have access to all accounts.  The various accounts are simply to help us budget.  All bills come out of one account, Gas and Groceries come from another, then spending from another.

  • Tip:  You are not roommates.  Roommates split bills not married couples.  Genesis 2:24 says that they shall become ONE flesh.  You cannot get married and still keep principles and practices of single people. Once LaTanya and I became engaged, we began to operate as ONE.  We shared one anothers credit reports, bank accounts, investment accounts, etc. We had nothing to hide.  If you go into the marriage avoiding the subject of money and not setting the proper expectations, you will continue to operate independently of one another, thus not being as effective as you could be as a unit.

7. How do you feel about living together before marriage?

LaTanya:  “We are not perfect. We meet in college and I will just leave it at that. Even after college he had his own place.  I spent the night at his place.  He said it was ok for me to leave items there, but I did not want him to get to comfortable, “playing house.”  I always felt so convicted when I stayed, because I knew it was not right.  I did not want him to think that I did not like him, but my spirit was so unsettled.  Recently, he even apologized for having me compromise my faith.

Eugene: The Bible says, “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” It also says, “shun the appearance of evil.”  I know this now, but was not mature in my faith back then.  I now realize the pressure I put on her and I regret it.  We did not live together before we got married, but we still were not perfect.

  • Tip: I have witnessed the effects of sex before marriage and living together before marriage.  I believe that they break down of family structure begins when people make the wrong decision about who they are with.  Then, before they realize it or correct decision, they begin to do things that the Bible reserves for married people; which further complicates matters.  Having a child with someone who you were not supposed to be with and can not even get along with, causes the cycle of dysfunction to repeat itself (Wrote a blog about it…wanna read it, here it goes) CLICK HERE “You Picked Em!”

Additional Twitter Questions

1. For saved and single, what is some advice you have on entertaining the right person?

  • Avoid the Representative | The “representative” is the person who people become, to get you to like them.  To prevent a person from bringing their “representative” on every date, delay telling them what you like in a mate.  Instead, ask them who they are?  If you tell them what you like, up front, then ask them who they are, it is easier for them to adjust based on what you said; thus the representative is born.
  • Be Yourself | On the other hand, it is so much easier to be who God created you to be.  It is easy to answer questions, it is easy to meet family and friends, because there is no pressure.  You are not “trying” to make people like you.  Either they will or they won’t.  Worst case, if you all figure out that you are not compatible after the first date, it saves you time, money, and heartache.

2. Is it wise for people in relationships to hangout with single friends?

  • Well… Generally speaking, the answer is no.  Single people and married people have different motives and hang out spots.  It does not mean that a married person would succumb to the temptations presented while with single friends, but the probability increases each time the married person is exposed to “temptations.”
  • …It Depends | Depends on what?  The type of friends that you have.  If you have friends that respect the sanctity of marriage and your best interest, they are more likely to change what they do and say around you.  They are more likely to ensure that you are not being placed in or around the things that enticed you in the past.  But there is always that ONE friend…LOL  JK!  Prayerfully you have friends who are all traveling on the same path, but some reach their destination sooner than others.  If they are your true friend, they would not try to run you off the road, simply because you got in the car with someone elses.

3. What is the best part about being married?

  • Companionship | Life is hard.  It is great to have someone on your side who will be there with you no matter what! A Companion is defined as “one of a pair of things that intended to complement or match each other (A.K.A. Friendship).  When you take the time to match up with the right person, you have two healthy, whole individuals coming together who fills the void for one another.  Not complete one another, but where I am weak, she is strong and visa versa.  His or Her strength does not compromise who you are or what you mean to the relationship.  When rough times come, you have a person you can lock arms with and know that for better or worse, richer or poorer, sickness or in health…WE got this.

Throughout this blog we have stressed “wait and see” so much, because if you link up with a person who only wants you because of your Better, Richer, and Healthy; where will they be when the other happens? Allow them to stay around long enough to see both sides.  In those low moments, If they care more about you than themselves and are willing to compromise to fill that void, you have the right one.


Valentine’s Day is approaching…so I wanted to remind you that (You Are) Worth The Wait.  Do not give in to the societal pressures that tell you that you need someone to love or love you because of a date on the calendar.

(You Are) Worth The Wait.  

Most may feel that I am talking to women, but men…boys…fellas, you are worth so much more than you can even image, because ONE late night decision can not only impact your destiny, but the potential of many generations to come.

(You Are) Worth The Wait.  

Worth is a price tag, typically, given based on who designed the thing.  The value is increased based on the notoriety, acclaim, or how accomplished the creator was.  If Michelangelo were alive to sculpt just one more masterpiece, I am sure every appraiser would deem it priceless. If he can create something priceless, how much more value do you have, because the one who made him sculpted you and breathe life into your very being; making Him the ultimate creator.  You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

(You Are) Worth The Wait.  


F-You

Think of everyone who has ever made you MAD…Everyone who has ever BETRAYED you…everyone who OWES you something…Think of all of your HATERS…Think of everyone who has every said they loved you, but BROKE YOUR HEART….Now…scream as loud as you can… (((((( F-YOU!!!! ))))))  again  ((((( F-YOU!!! )))))).  Feel better?  Whew…I Do!

I was reading a social media feed and someone asked, “what is the number one quality for creating a lasting relationship?” I read the typical answers of Communication…Faithfulness, Loyalty.  My typical answer is always “friendship”, but after I typed my answer I was surprised to read it. It was like an out-of-body experience.  In my mind I thought “friendship”, but to my shock I typed “FORGIVENESS”?  I erased it, to retype Friendship, but “Forgiveness” appeared a second time.  #BlankStare

I sat and pondered what just happened.  I have never considered “forgiveness” as the #1 quality of a good relationship, until that point. As I thought about it more, I decided to hit enter. #FinalAnswer.

Relationships end when a person decides that they are not willing to forgive a person one more time than they mess up.

As parents, we tends to forgive our kids more than anyone in any other relationship that we have.  Our kids make mistakes daily, but our unconditional love for them enables us to forgive them and even reward them in the very same day.  Of course any good parent does not reward negative behavior, but when I say “reward” I mean we feed, cloth, shelter, and love them inspite of.

With most other relationships, if someone betrayed us, it may take us days, weeks, months, or years to even speak to them again, if we do at all. Some of you reading this have people who you have not spoken to in years, due to how they wronged you.  Why can we so easily offer forgiveness in the context of parenting, but not to other relationships that we seek to nurture?

Even as husband and wife, we do not offer the same level of unconditional love to them as we do to our kids.  We hold grudges and give a false sense of forgiveness, only to reveal that what you did 6 months ago was only tucked away until you did something new that reminded me of how you hurt me before.

F-You! is an empowering phrase that allows you to release the weight and stress from a pass hurt.  It gives you permission to love again, to care again, to be vulnerable, to the point that allows you to experience the connection with others that you long for, but reject because you are afraid of being hurt again.  Failure to forgive is, really, self punishment that creates a landmine in relationships where the other person has to tiptoe around praying that they do not step in a spot that sets off an explosion In you

Forgiveness is your WILLINGNESS to let go of bitterness toward someone who has wronged you.

It is a choice.  You chose to take offense.  You are choosing to be unhappy.  Forgiveness is more than words, it must be a change in heart, a change in how you feel about a person.  It is not to simply think of them as if they no longer exist. Forgiveness is being able to speak to someone or be in the presence of someone who wronged you and not wish ill will upon them.  When you do not forgive it takes root in your heart and then spreads and choke out every good trait that is within YOU.  Yes…Within You! Forgiveness is for you.  The person that did you wrong, often continues to live life none the wiser, while you continue to devote energy in a direction of someone who does not deserve it.  You are now distracted from concentrating and focusing on you, your life and accomplishing the goals that you have set.

Dealing with Unforgiveness

Your future is your responsibility.  Take control of your future, by taking back the power that you gave to the one who harmed you.  By allowing them to have a piece of you, you are not able to give all of your self to the ones who truly deserve to benefit from who you are. Your are cheating the people who love you, because you are not willing to let go of what was done in the past.

#1 – Pray

Allow God to deal with it.  We spend too much time trying to control things and people who are outside of our control.  Ask God to remove the bitterness from your heart.  Unforgiveness is a sin.

#2 – Demonstrate Forgiveness

Do something for that person to serve them instead of resenting them. Generosity is the ACT of Love and prevents you from being imprisoned by things of your past.

You know you have Forgiven when:

  • You see the person and your bitterness is gone.
  • The Love of God causes you to want the best for them.

Perhaps you are the one who wronged someone else.  Go to them and ask for forgiveness. Read Mathew 18:15

#3 – Forgive Yourself

Sometimes the person we need to forgive most is ourselves.  Love yourself, God Loves you and will forgive you, no matter what we did.  Read Psalms 103:12 

If you want a relationship that last, that is meaningful, fruitful, and happy, you must determine if that person is worthy of being forgiven one more time than they mess up.  Are you willing to tolerat their flaws one more time than they get it right.  I am not talking about the big things, because far more often, it is the little things like leaving underwear on the floor, not letting the toliet seat down, not putting toliet paper on the spool, and leaving the lights on that weighs become the landmine that destroys the relationship.

Do you love them enough, to remove the conditions, and accept them for who they are.  At that point is when you know you have found someone you can be in a relationship that last a lifetime.

Micah 7:18-19 18 Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. 19He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.


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.