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Maturing in Singledom

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Experience teaches wisdom...at least that's what most people say. The tangled web of emotions associated with complicated relationships can often result in experience being thrown through the window and foolish decisions being made. At least that's what my experience has taught me. My experience has also taught me that it may be best for me to be alone and embrace the life of a single woman. Although there is no textbook prescription for a perfect relationship, I have been doing a lot of reading to try to understand how my personality affects my interactions and who would really b the right type of person for me. I started viewing sites such as http://www.astrologycompanion.com/virgo-compatibility/ and taking compatibility quizzes until I saw this image today:

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Anger boiled within me as I read the chart. Who really has the audacity to tell me that I am compatible with no one? Why should I allow people's opinions to dictate who I choose to spend the rest of my life with?

This led to me doing some introspection. Each experience I have had has taught me aspects of my personality that I need to change and things I need to do to be happier and enjoy life. I describe these revelations as my "shining lights". Hopefully these shining lights can be your guide as you navigate the waters of singledom.

Shining Light 1:  No One Controls Your Happiness but You

Earlier this year on of my friendships turned sour. This greatly affected me because of how close I was to the person. The pervading thoughts in my mind sucked the joy out of me. Talking about it with my friends didn't help. In fact, it made how I felt worse because I felt it was something I should have battled on my own. Last week I decided to forgive the person completely. Only then did I feel a weight lift off of my shoulders. Only then was I able to communicate with him without feeling resentment. Only then did I realize that when I do enter a relationship, I should avoid harboring resentment in my mind and make the difficult choice to forgive. No one should have power of my thoughts in that way ever again.

Shining Light 2: Create Your Own Experiences

As an introvert, I understand the value of solitude. However, I have never been able to appreciate the value of solitude when going out. In my mind it makes no sense to go out without company. With my very limited budget I have learnt the value of going out alone. There are times when I leave work and find somewhere to just sit and chill with my thoughts. I'm even thinking about taking a road trip sometime next year when I can round up some cash. There is nothing wrong with enjoying your own company.

Shining Light 3: Loneliness Doesn't Validate Settling

Sometime last month I met an interesting character. Thankfully, he showed is true colours early enough for me to realize that he wasn't worth my time. However, there have been times when my loneliness has gotten so bad that I have thought about contacting him (it's a good thing I deleted his number). Loneliness doesn't make settling for the wrong person worth it. It's better to be alone than to be in an unfulfilling relationship. I have even begun to look at the beautiful relationships that my friends have and used their experiences as examples of what I want for myself.

I am embracing and enjoying my single life. If a relationship is to happen then I will welcome it with the right person. The three shining lights I have outlined will be my guiding principles stepping into the future.

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Love is a Decision

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Society has brainwashed us into believing that love is a fairy tale. Love is portrayed as a beautiful romance that is full of happiness and joy and a knight rescuing a damsel in distress. In reality, however, this is far from the case. Love begins with attraction. We are attracted to others because of their physical appearance and personalities. However, those attributes aren't enough to make a relationship last. Love is a decision to...

Be Faithful

When there are so many options to choose from, it can become difficult to not develop a wandering eye. True love influences you to nip those desires in the bud and remain faithful to your partner. There is no giving into any moments of weakness. There are no excuses. Love is a decision to be faithful regardless of the challenging situations you are presented with.

Be Selfless

Oftentimes we enter relationships because of what the other person can provide for us. Some of us enter relationships looking for someone to meet our emotional needs; others are looking for someone to meet their financial needs; some are looking for both. Love is a decision to let go of our needs and consider the needs of our partner. It doesn't mean that you're going to become a sacrificial lamb and ignore your own needs. Not by any means. However, some people make their relationships all about them with minimal consideration to the other person's needs. That's not what love is about. Love is about meeting your partner's needs and if both of you are doing that, both of your needs will be equally met.

Be Supportive

We all have dreams and goals. When you're in love you should know what your partner's dreams and goals are so that you can support him in accomplishing them. Traditional wedding vows also say that a couple is to stay together "For better or for worse...in good times and in bad". It seems like people forget this line when circumstancs become difficult. When there's no money left, you're still supposed to make a decision to love. When your husband is struggling, you're still supposed to make the decision to love and help him find a way out.

Make the Relationship Last 

Some things are not worth holding on to. We all know that. Before you give up on your relationship though, you have to make an effort to put the pieces back together. That's what love is about. You don't leave something because it's broken. Instead, you do everything to fix it. When all of that fails then it's time to move on.

 

Love is more than just physical attraction and butterflies in your stomach. It's more than just admiring a winning personality. It's a decision to be faithful, be selfless, be supportive, and make the relationship last. It's not easy, but those who go through the fire often emerge stronger then they were before. Don't give up on love.

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What Makes Him Mr. Right

ffhgfg It has often been said that the best person to get into a relationship with is someone who is the complete opposite of who you are. Of course you'd have to share some core values, but the difference in personalities helps to add spice to the relationship. At least that's what we've been told. Here, what works for magnets (where opposite poles attract) is being applied to the one ting that unites two people on deeply intimate levels- a relationship. People are starkly different from magnets. We're dynamic and colourful- a juxtaposition of right and wrong. There is, therefore, no rule or book or school of thought that can truly dictate what makes an individual right for you. It's something you discover on your own. The following are some tips that can help you on the road to discovery. Discovering Mr. Right is something only you can do, but these tips can help guide you in the process.

Understand Who You Are

There is no way that you're going to find the RIGHT person if you are completely clueless about who you are.  When you don't understand who you are, yon begin to look for answers in the people you surround yourself with. Some of these people may take advantage of that and only leave you more damaged and confused. Understanding who you are is a process that takes time. There are some people in their twenties who are still completely lost. If you are one of these people (maybe you're not in your twenties, but you're still lost) then you can use the QDR strategy to begin the journey of self-discovery.

Q- Question

Ask yourself important questions. What do you believe? Why do you believe what you believe? What are your dreams? Where do you want to go? Who do you want to be? You will discover the answers to these questions overtime, but the point is to seriously think about them. They are the gateway to the next step on the journey.

D-Discover

The only way that you are going to be able to test whether or not your answers are correct is through experience. Go out more. Interact with people more. Step outside of your comfort zone.

R-React

When Thomas Edison discovered that he could solve the problem of a lack of bright, steady light in the night time, he didn't just sit on his idea. Instead, he reacted and created one of the most useful inventions- the light bulb. As you discover more about who you are, react by gaining more experiences in what you enjoy and believe. Stand true to your values. Doing these things will help you attract the kind of person you'd want to spend a lifetime with.

Be Wary of Who You Spend Your Time With

Your life partner isn't necessarily going to be a random stranger you meet at some dingy bar. Instead, he more than likely will be that friend you've had for months or years. This truth means that you need to be careful about who you allow into your inner circles. Don't keep people who don't respect who you are. Even if your personalities and values differ, that respect will prevent them from leading you astray.

Don't Be Afraid to Give Someone Who Is Similar to You a Chance

It is true that we are often attracted to people with personalities opposite to our own. So, a quiet and reserved woman may be attracted to a more outgoing and verbose man. Being with that type of person helps you to discover things about yourself that you may never have discovered with someone with a personality similar to yours. The flip side to this, however, is that people who are opposites often don't understand each other. In fact, they began to irritate each other after awhile. For instance, the verbose man may eventually become annoyed by the very quiet woman.

This doesn't mean that you can't find Mr. Right in someone opposite to you, however. It simply means that you shouldn't rule out someone with a personality similar to yours either. He may just be the one for you.

 

There are no hard fast rules when it comes to relationships. What is true, however, is that you need to understand who you are and what you stand for in order to attract the man who is right for you. He may already be within your reach...you just need to open your eyes and get rid of your checklist. At the end of the day it's about who you're happy with. It's about the person who brings out the best in you while you bring out the best in him. It's about the man who can be your best friend and who can accept you for who you are, flaws and all. It's also about you being able to be all of these things for him as well.

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Are Relationships Really To Be Desired?

gfgf Every day, at some point in the day, I find myself thinking about being in a relationship. Either that or I'm thinking about the program or decor for my wedding.This has been especially true this month since it seems like almost every person on my Facebook friends list has been getting either married or engaged. I never knew December was the month for love birds!

Many single ladies often find themselves in the same predicament- dreaming about the perfect relationship. I'm not expecting a perfect relationship because I know no such thing exists. However, last night I had to stop myself and really question why I want to be in a relationship so badly. After all, a relationship is much more than just the warm feeling you get when you think about that special person. It most certainly is more than the ridiculously expensive wedding that you'll be encouraged to put on. It is a commitment of mind, body and soul. You can no longer focus solely on your needs, dreams, and desires. Instead, you have to ensure that you also pay attention to all that your partner wants, dreams and desires. The more I think about it is the more fearful I am about being in a relationship. I've been there and I know how completely I give myself to my partner. Do I really want to go through that again only to end up being alone after years of commitment?

A Beautiful Relationship is Formed with the Right Person

I've been told on countless occasions that you can be ridiculously happy in a relationship if you find the person who is right for you. I've even observed couples who've been married for years and still seem happy. My fear is that I will never experience that reality. How can I know that the person is right for me? Will he come with a check mark beside his face?

You Get to Know Someone by Dating

Dating is one of the best ways to get to know someone. Granted, most people put on a front to impress those they are dating. Nevertheless, after one or two dates it's sometimes fairly easy to know if you and the other person will click. The thing with dating though is that it requires money. At this stage of our lives, the people in my circles don't have much of that (neither do I for that matter). Yes, there are creative and inexpensive ways to date. Has anyone I know ever thought of them or tried them? Of course not. So, dating is restricted to occasional link ups and chatting via text messages, What's App, or Facebook. Don't get me wrong...doing these things does help people get to know each other over time. However, going on a date every now and again would be nice. My fear is that I won't find someone who will make that effort to think outside the box with his limited budget.

A Relationship is About Giving Yourself Completely to Someone

It is terrifying to know that relationships involve complete trust and being willing to share all your fears and desires with someone. It really is. It's hard to do this with a best friend much less someone who you're not sure will stay around. Is it really possible to trust so completely? Is it even ok to give yourself so freely?

I know that I've been rambling, but I just had to get these thoughts out. I would love to hear your feedback. Feel free to leave comments in the space provided below this post.

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Compatibility- Simple, Plain and Sweet

kkj You look into his eyes and feel butterflies forming in your stomach. His presence sends electricity through your veins that draw you closer to him and take you over the edge. You love him, he has your heart. However, is that really enough? If you really think about it, is he really the one who you’d want to stand with in the rain? More often than not we tend to settle for less than we deserve. We cling to people who don’t make us happy all in the name of love. Blinded by love, we get sucked deeper into an abyss that leaves us damaged when we eventually claw our way out. I’ve been there, done that. The most important lesson that I’ve learnt is the irreplaceable value of compatibility. Finding someone who blends well with every fiber of your being is the key to having a relationship that lasts a lifetime. Compatibility incorporates all of the following components.

Shared Interests

Unhappiness often comes from being with someone who doesn’t share your hobbies or think like you do. Your partner has to be someone you’d be willing to spend hours with engaging in activities and conversations you both enjoy. How are you going to spend a lifetime with someone who you can’t even enjoy being around?

Receiving Attention Without Asking

A person you’re compatible with will always want to talk to you and be in your presence. You don’t have to run after them like a lost puppy. Those people who have you begging for their attention often make you feel like a complete idiot because they’re annoyed by your calls. They make you feel as though something is wrong with your affection. Your compatible partner will relish your affection and endow you with the same or even more affection without you even asking.

Shared Beliefs

Let’s say that you think the sky is blue. If your partner is convinced that the sky is green and you’re a complete idiot then you’re going to face challenges in the future. A clearer example is a difference in religious beliefs. It is possible for a Muslim to love a Christian. However, what happens when they start to have children? What principles will they raise their children to believe? I am not saying that you and your partner will agree on everything. That’s impossible. However, your core beliefs have to be the same.

More than a Physical Connection

A couple has to be able to connect on more than a physical level. Each partner has to be able to stimulate the other intellectually and spiritually. Both partners in the relationship should be able to learn from and grow with the other. If your relationship is based on physical attraction, you are going to encounter problems in the future.

 

Strong Friendship

The best foundation for a relationship is a strong friendship. Good friends have been there for each other through thick and thin. They understand each other and tend to meet all of the criteria I’ve mentioned. Friends see each other at their worst and love each other regardless.

 

A strong relationship is one in which both partners are compatible. It has to be more than love. It has to be more than infatuation. Your partner has to be someone you want to build a life with, someone who blends with you so well that you can’t imagine building a life with someone else. Think carefully about these things before you decide to say “I do”.

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Relish the Single Life

Single people tend to envy those who are in relationships. They yearn for the love and companionship that couples tend to have. However, as I get older I have come to realize that envying these things is meaningless. In fact, envying these things can only cause more harm than good as you settle for less than you deserve because you don't want to be alone.  There is nothing wrong with being single and I just wanted to take some time to express my thoughts on the benefits of a single life. It Gives You Freedom

Being single gives you the opportunity to pursue your dreams in a way that you probably never could if you were in a relationship. You can settle in another country to start a fresh life. You can take a promotion in another state without having to worry about keeping your relationship alive. You can even advance your education without feeling guilty about leaving your partner behind.  There is so much you can do without worrying about how your partner feels.

You Learn to Love Yourself

I have learnt that you can't go into a relationship expecting someone to love you if you don't love yourself. When you're single you're able to discover your likes and dislikes without feeling obligated to do what your partner wants to do. Gradually, you begin to appreciate your beauty and feel comfortable making no apologies for who you are and why you do what you do. When you love yourself, you are better able to love others.

You Can Date More than One Person

Notice I said DATE NOT HAVE SEX WITH. I think that the value of dating has been lost in our society. We are more interested in getting too serious too quickly instead of truly getting to know someone before making the next step.  Dating more than one person makes it more likely that you'll make the right choice of someone to be with. This assumes that the people know that you're dating them to get to know them and not looking for anything serious at this particular point in time.

 

I'm sure that there are many more benefits, but these stand out to me. If you have any thoughts please feel free to express them in the comments section below.

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Defining True Love

lkljlk Love is an elusive concept. For many, it describes a feeling of attraction. However, true love is something that very few people experience in their lifetime. You see, love is more than feelings. It's more than butterflies in your stomach. True love requires hard work and sacrifice. It requires making your relationship work even when you feel like giving up.  It requires selflessness, sacrifice, commitment, and friendship.

Selflessness

Oftentimes we enter relationships because we want to feel good. We want to overcome loneliness. We want someone who will buy us nice things and take us to nice places. We want someone who will feed our egos. However, true love requires overlooking our desires. It requires that we put the needs of another individual before our own.  Instead of being selfish, it encourages us to be selfless.

Sacrifice

If true love requires us to be selfless, it is only logical that it will also require sacrifice.  There will be times when you will have to give up your comfort in order to make your partner comfortable. There will also be times when you have to sacrifice your own needs to meet the needs of your partner. It's hard work, but it is worthwhile if both partners love each other equally.

Commitment

Relationships are not easy. They involve several conflicts. True love requires us to be committed in the midst of conflict. Furthermore, it requires us to be committed even when we want to have an affair.  The vows we make should not be scoffed at. They should be treated with respect. For better or for worse. Through sickness or in health. Till death do us part.

Friendship

The best relationships are those in which both partners are friends.  They are able to share everything with each other. They are also able to enjoy each other's company no matter where they are. Friendship is a strong basis for the development of a lasting relationship.

 

If more people were focusing on these key components there would be stronger relationships in the world today. Two people who truly love each other are able to create a lasting bond. So, are you truly in love or are you experiencing infatuation?

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Is There Really a Perfect Relationship?

sfsdsd When most women think about a relationship, they think about a man who meets all of their criteria. She thinks about a man who is not only physically attractive, but also the man who can provide her with everything she needs. After all, a woman can't expect anything else when that is all that is portrayed in the media. These high expectations often leave a woman terribly disappointed when a man does not meet all of her expectations. Little does she realize, however, that although he may not be a perfect man, he may be the man who is perfect for her.

Identifying Love

Love is often inexplicable. Have you ever seen a couple and wondered how THOSE two people could end up together? She may be highly educated and he may have never graduated from high school. Or, she may be incredibly beautiful but he may be not so pleasant to look at. It is important for you to remember, however, that their relationship goes far beyond what you see on the surface. Love knows no boundaries and when you have found it, it's hard to let go.  So, you may have the perfect man or woman right in front of you, but you may be to afraid to admit it because he or she isn't what you expected. It may be wiser to give this person a chance and embrace the love he or she has to give. You may live to regret it if you don't.

Nothing is Ever Perfect

We often think of perfection as being without flaws. In fact, the Merriam Webster dictionary defines perfection as:

  1. "having no mistakes or flaws
  2. satisfying all requirements
  3. corresponding to an ideal standard or abstract concept"

However, this concept of perfection is only possible in a utopian society.  There is no human being who has no mistakes or flaws and will meet every item on your checklist. Stop looking for perfection because perfection doesn't exist.

This concept is especially true for the survival of a relationship. When a partner in a relationship either makes a mistake or does not meet up to the other's expectations, most couples are ready to call it quits. If you view your relationship as imperfect, however, you will be better able to work through the mistakes and problems and therefore strengthen your relationship.

The Best Relationship is a Happy Relationship

Essentially, the best relationship is one in which both partners are happy. Happiness means different things to different people so it is important for you to find out what makes both you and your partner happy. Believe it or not, the couples you believe have the "perfect" relationships have their fair share of challenges. However, they have learnt to deal with their issues together and find happiness with each other. That's what keeps some people happily married for over 50 years.  Start creating a happy relationship instead of trying to create a perfect one.

 

 

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Strengthening Communication in Your Relationship

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Communication is an essential component of any relationship. Without it, conflicts arise that can result in something that is so beautiful becoming so grotesque. Communication requires more than being able to express your thoughts. Instead, it requires active listening, being able to remove blame, and thinking objectively instead of emotionally.

Active Listening

It can be very easy to say what you want to say. In fact, both of you maybe so eager to express your thoughts that you forget to listen to what is really being said. An article published on the blog myCravings.com outlines the following tips for effective and active listening:

  1. Face the speaker
  2. Maintain eye contact
  3. Minimize external and internal distractions
  4. Respond at appropriate intervals
  5. Focus on solely on what the speaker is saying instead of thinking about what you’re going to say next
  6. Keep an open mind
  7. Avoid offering advice unless asked
  8. Give the speaker time to finish even if they are launching a verbal attack on you
  9. Clarify by asking questions

So, the next time you are having a conversation with your partner, incorporate the aforementioned tips and see if you are better able to communicate.

Use “I” Statements

Regardless of how upset you are, it can be very difficult for someone to accept your point if you are accusing him or her. Instead of beginning your conversation with accusatory statements, use “I” statements to express how you feel. For instance, if you feel like your partner doesn’t do enough around the house don’t say “You are so lazy. Can’t you do anything to help me?”Instead say something like “John, I feel over worked and I am very tired when I get home from work in the evenings. I know that you are also tired, but can you help me to wash up the dishes and straighten the furniture in the evenings?” You would be surprised by how easily your partner responds.

Think Objectively

Women especially are very emotional beings. Sometimes our thinking defies logic and can drive our partner’s crazy. It is, therefore, important for us to make a conscious effort to think objectively about what our partner is saying instead of taking it personally. Also, if you think you are misunderstanding what is being said, clarify by asking questions. For instance, if a woman is out with her man and sees him giving a casual glance at another woman, she is going to react emotionally. However, if she considers the fact that he was not blatantly staring at the woman and wasn’t even flirting with her then she will agree that there is no need to blow what he did out of proportion.

 

A strong relationship is grounded in love, commitment, and effective communication. Use these tips to help you improve communication in your relationship.

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Get a Clue: 4 Ways to Know that You're Flirting

gdgdf You whisper sweet compliments in her ears, make her feel like she's the one for you, and glance at her with admiring eyes. She think you're into her and she's even beginning to wonder if she could be into you too. Surprisingly, a few weeks later she find out that you have a girlfriend and you had no idea that you was flirting with her. Some men really need to get a clue because flirting with the wrong woman can lead to the end of their relationships if they're not careful. So, how do you know that you're flirting?

#1: You Have Wandering Eyes

Every time she passes by, you find yourself looking at her from head to toe. She captures your attention with her beauty and, to you, you may just be casually admiring. To her, however, you want her...every inch of her. There's nothing wrong with admiring a beautiful woman, but don't make it more than just a slight glance especially if you know that you already have a woman of your own.

#2: Your Words

Words evoke emotions. Shower a woman with compliments and she is going to feel good about herself. At least that's what you think.  Your innocent intentions may just be to help a woman feel good, but she may interpret your words to mean far more than that. Nothing is wrong with saying "You look nice today." However, when you say things like "You are so beautiful to me, I would want you to be my girl," that's taking it a bit too far.  Phrase what you want to say carefully and simply.

#3: Your Touches

Some men are the touchy type. Whenever they are talking to a woman they have to touch her shoulder or her hair or her hand. These touches can often be misinterpreted and can lead you into serious problems. The best thing to do is keep your hands away. Keep them for your woman.

#4: Your Attention

When you begin to be overly attentive to a woman, she may think you are interested. Probably you just like her company and stimulating conversations. However, if you are always around her and always texting and calling her that is sending mixed signals. Make sure that you express to her clearly what your intentions are and tone it down a bit.

 

Sometimes, men genuinely do not know that they are flirting with a woman. You may just find her interesting , but have no intention of pursuing a relationship with her. So, be very careful about what you do and say. Don't play with her emotions.

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10 Things Women Want Men to Understand

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Women are the most complex creatures to ever roam the earth. We know that. Men know that and it makes it even more difficult for them to try to understand us. However, there are 10 key thoughts that I believe every woman wants men to understand. These thoughts are pretty straightforward and can be grasped by a man's rational mind. They can also strengthen a man's relationship with the woman he calls his own.

Thought #1: She wants to know where she stands

It is one of the worst experiences to love someone who seems to have no desire to make a commitment to you. Instead of playing with her emotions and beating around the bush, let her know where she stands. If you see no future with her, let her go. Don't encourage her to stay and continue to encourage increasing intimacy. If she's the one, then take her out of the "friend zone". More than likely, you will know before she does where the relationship is going. So, tell her very clearly where she stands.

Thought #2: If she's not interested she's simply not interested

I am very polite and sweet. So, I will never tell a man explicitly that I am not interested, but I will clearly hint at it. If a woman tells you "I don't think I am the one for you" then she really does not see a future with you. Stop pressuring her. Take the hint and move on.

Thought #3: She wants to be seen as your partner, not your convenience item

In a relationship, you and your woman are equals. She is not some doll that you can tell to get dressed up so that you can look good at the office party. She is a human being with her own thoughts, dreams, and emotions. Treat her as such and support her in the same way she supports you.

Thought #4: She wants you to call her beautiful

Whether she's wearing nice makeup and her sexiest dress or she's in her pajamas with her hair all over the place, your woman wants to know that you think she's beautiful. Some of you may be saying "She's supposed to know that". You may tell her occasionally, but she needs to hear it every day.

Thought #5: A time will come when she stops accepting crap

When a woman loves, she loves deeply. This love often results in her turning a blind eye to some things that her man will do. However, there will come a time when her love isn't enough. Don’t let her get to this point. If you truly love her, don't make her jealous and don't abuse her. Instead, treat her like a queen. Love her, care for her, appreciate her. She will return your love tenfold.

Thought #6: She is not your maid

Yes, it is expected that a woman should be able to wash, cook and clean. However, in our present society, a woman's role extends further since she has to help her spouse provide an income for the family. I believe that a man and woman should share household responsibilities. Help her with the washing, cooking and cleaning instead of expecting her to be a superwoman.

Thought #7: She wants you to only have eyes for her

Women are beautiful and your woman knows that your eye will always wander. However, this doesn't mean that she still doesn't expect you to have eyes only for her. It may seem impractical, but it hurts her emotionally when you gush over other women. Let her know that she is the most beautiful woman you know.

Thought #8: She wants to know how you feel.

Women are emotional. Men are rational. She knows this. However, she still wants to know what bothers you. She still wants you to express your thoughts to her. She wants to be a part of your world. Open the doors and let her in.

Thought #9: She wants to have intelligent conversations.

Modern women are highly educated and focused. They don't have the time for men with no ambition who don't have the ability to hold intelligent conversations. Stimulate a woman's mind and you're close to winning her heart.

Thought #10: Don't take her love for granted.

Show that you love your woman just as much as she loves you. Don't wait until she makes a kind gesture to reciprocate it. Don't wait on her to express her love before you do. Show her that you love her.

 

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A Lasting Bond

lljljjkljklj The past thirteen weeks have taken us on a whirlwind journey as we followed Tessanne Chin's progress on one of the best reality TV series,the Voice. Week after week we were blown away by her amazing talent and it is no surprise that her cover of the song "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" is now at the number sixty four position on the Billboard Top 100 Chart. Despite her amazing talent, however, she could not have gotten this far without the strong support system of her family, friends and Jamaicans both locally and internationally. One of her biggest supporters is her husband Michael Cuffe Jr. and, over these few weeks, I have observed some striking and powerful dimensions of their relationship that I believe many of us could emulate in our own relationships.

He Supported Her From Beginning to End

Michael Cuffe Jr. is an established individual in his own right...he is the HRM for Guardsman Limited, works part-time for RJR and hosts the radio program "Uncensored" on FAME 95 FM. However, despite his numerous obligations he found the time to travel thousands of miles to support his wife. Regardless of the sacrifices he had to make, he was there and quite happy to be there too. How many of us are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to support our spouses or partners? We may not be as popular as Michael and Tessanne Cuffe but each of us has special milestones in our lives in which we need the support of those we greatly cherish.  Sometimes we become so self-absorbed that we neglect the needs of our partner or spouse. It's time to break the habit.

He Knew Not to Shadow Her Spotlight

I am not privy to what occurs behind the scenes but, from what I can see, Mr. Cuffe did not allow jealousy to prevail in his relationship. He knew when to step back and allow his wife to bask in her moments and he has never been cocky or arrogant about his wife's success. Some people envy the success of their spouse or partner instead of looking for ways to support him or her. How can you create a strong and lasting bond with someone if you are so consumed with jealousy? A marriage or relationship requires that the individuals who are involved support each other wholeheartedly. Learn to lovingly support your spouse or partner.

They Both Graciously Expressed Their Love for Each Other

One of the things that has been lodged in my mind is a tweet that Tessanne had posted about a week ago. She was so excited that her husband was coming and her excitement mirrored that of a teenage girl who was excited about the arrival of her boyfriend. Simple things like thi,s and the moments when they steal kisses and looks at each other, solidify the fact that they are both madly in love with each other. In an interview with GCaribbean Mr. Cuffe stated "Being married to Tessanne Cuffe is the most amazing and smart decision I have ever made". They both married their best friend and are reaping the rewards of a beautiful relationship. We all can expereince this kind of love if we are  wise when choosing our partners. Don't give into feelings of loneliness and desperation...be patient and the right person will come along.

Tessanne's journey is just beginning and I know that one thing is certain...she will always be Mrs. Tessanne Cuffe. I will always admire their relationship and pray that it continues to grow stronger as the years progress.

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5 Dating Ideas For Christmas

char-hot-date-ideas6 As the holidays roll around and we get caught up in the flurry of purchasing gifts for our friends and loved ones, it is important for us not to neglect one of the most important gifts we have been blessed with...our partners. We know that in this economy money is very tight but that is no excuse for us to neglect spending some quality time with our partners. Now is the time to get creative and I believe that these budget friendly date ideas  can help you to have a magical date this holiday season.

#1 An Open Air Picnic

Rather than going to a fancy restaurant and spending an exorbitant amount of money on food, why not grab a blanket, make some sandwiches and head to a nice botanical garden or beach. If you don't have either a beach or garden close by then why not make use of your own backyard? It can be a very romantic experience to spend some time alone together surrounded by the beauty of nature and the best thing about it is that you only have to pay for transportation and the food items you'll need to make the snacks.

#2-Games Night

This is a really interesting double date idea. Games like Twister, Taboo, Pictionary and Sherades are alot of fun and help add extra conversation pieces and interest to a date night. You would be surprised at how this experience can help you to enjoy your partner in a way you probably never have before.

#3- Movie Night

Now this in't the conventional buy a movie theater ticket type of movie night. Instead, you can begin your date night at home with a nice candle light dinner that you and you partner make together. Who knows, the heat in the kitchen could lead to some spice in the bedroom. after sharing a lovely meal together, you can  curl up in each other's arms on the sofa with a bowl of popcorn and a DVD of one of your favourite holiday movies.

#4- Road Trip

Although the car ride can be dreary, arriving at your final destination can be a thrilling experience. Plan a short road trip that will take you to some part of your country that you've never been to. If it's not too far from home it won't be a very expensive venture and it would be a great adventure that has the potential of bringing you closer together as a couple.

#5- Ice cream Outing

I love ice cream and I am quite satisfied with sitting down with an ice cream cone and enjoying good company. Ice cream may not be for everyone but the basic idea is to go out for a simple sweet treat that will allow you to spend some quality alone time with someone you love.

This holiday, make the effort to spend some quality time with your spouse. It will be worth it.

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Letting Go

cliff_hanging Your fingers grip tightly to the ledge as you look down at the dark space in the middle of the canyon. Fear grips your heart and threatens to take your breath away as you try your best to prevent yourself from falling into this deep abyss. No one can hear your screams for help and you have no idea what fate you will experience if you decide to take the fall. What should you do?

So often in life we find ourselves holding on so tightly to things, people, and situations that when the time comes for us to let go, we are so afraid that we will fall into an abyss of uncertainty and hopelessness that we choose to hold on to these sources of our pain and unhappiness. I realise that I have been holding on to the ledge of a 'relationship' I have been in because I am just too afraid to let go. Several questions swirl through my brain..."What if I can actually make him love me exclusively?" "What if I let go and can never find a man again?" "Who is going to be there fore me when I'm lonely?" I've come to realise that the answer to these questions will only come if I let go and trust that something will be there to catch my fall. Here are some tips that I have come up with to help me to let go that I hope can also help you.

Know Your Worth

Don't hold on to something or someone just because you want to fill a gap or find comfort. Know that you are worth having someone who loves you completely and will want to be with YOU and ONLY YOU; someone who want take you for granted and will view you as a valuable person in his life. You don't deserve to settle.

Better Will Come

Things happen at the right times and we go through various experiences in life that can only help to make us stronger. When you let go of the person or situation that is causing you to doubt yourself and your worth, your eyes will be opened to the wealth of possibilities that are out there. There is always light at the end of the tunnel.

Hold on to the Right Things

When we let go of something, we take hold of something else. Allow your experiences to guide you into holding on to the right thing or people. As Albert Einstein cleverly puts it "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Move on from the bad and take up what is good.

 

When it's time to let go just do what you have to and move on with your life. Don't hold on to things that will only tear you down.

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Becoming the Woman He Wants

Image Some good women really struggle to hold on to the men they want in their lives. They give their all in a relationship and still end up being cheated on or in a "one sided" relationship where the man shows very little interest.  These women constantly ask themselves "How do I make him want me and only me?" The answer is something that very few women have found and mastered...it all begins with YOU. Although the characteristics a man desires to have in a woman differs from  one individual to the next, there are certain desirable characteristics that most men search for.

Confidence

You could be the smallest or least talented person in the world but when you love yourself and understand your strengths, the confidence you exude is magnetic. Men love women who are secure with who they are and are able to appreciate themselves. As some of my friends put it "There's just something incredibly sexy about a confident woman". If you are constantly belittling yourself your man is going to get tired of it eventually even if he doesn't express this to you. So, begin to view yourself in a positive light and stop expecting him to do that for you. When you know and show that you can stand in front of a crowd and deliver an awesome speech or look incredibly sexy in an elegant black dress, he will be proud to have you at his side and shower you with compliments that you didn't even expect. Appreciate what God has blessed you with and make it work for you and instead of wishing for more, love what you already have.

You Make Him HAPPY

If you make your man feel like he is a bad person and that he can't do anything right, he is going to become unhappy. yes, you should be able to challenge each other to become better people but that doesn't mean that you should constantly highlight his flaws. Show your appreciation for all the good he does and all the good he is and be his support as he gradually makes positive changes in his life. Don't pressure him but love him and be patient with him. Make him feel good and he will want to stay.

Don't Pester

Men don't like nagging women. He doesn't need you to call him every minute of the day. Give him a little breathing room and TRUST him. Trusting him doesn't mean that you're going to be stupid, however. If he is cheating (and you have evidence to prove this) then you need to confront him about it and decide if it's time for you to leave or time to try to mend your relationship.

Let Him Be a Man

When I go out with someone (and I have some funds available), I have this tendency to want to foot the bill especially when I believe the person is having a rough time financially. It is a bad practice to adopt,however, because a man should be allowed to play his role in a relationship. When you begin to take over, he begins to shrink into the background and that makes him feel less like a man. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that you should take advantage of him and make ludicrous requests like asking him to pay for a trip to Italy when you know he can't afford it. Also, I'm not saying that you can't pick up the bill from time to time especially when his pocket is tight. However, you should allow him to play his role as provider and not allow him to become complacent.

Sex

Physical intimacy is an important aspect of a relationship. If he isn't getting "good loving" from you he will find elsewhere. Although I believe that sex should be reserved for marriage, it doesn't negate the fact that it is critical to the health of a relationship. The love that is expressed during sex between two people who love each other is a love that can't be expressed verbally. Don't neglect your man's sexual needs.

Add Spice 

Have you ever tried making a cake and added a little nutmeg or cinnamon to it? These sole additions can transform an ordinary cake into something exceptionally delicious. The same is true for relationships. The more adventure there is in a relationship is the stronger it becomes. Find time to date and go to places you've never been. You'd be surprised by how much you learn about each other and how much stronger your bond becomes after each new adventure. Be someone he can have fun with.

With all of this said, the truth of the matter is that there is always the possibility that he may just not be the right man for you. However, if he is and he really wants to be with you then I believe these tips will help you become the woman he wants.

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His Wandering Eyes

Image You expect him to be faithful...to love you and only you. You give him your heart and your all and there's nothing in this world that you wouldn't do for him. So why does he have another woman in his life? Many women intuitively know when their man is cheating. Probably they smell the perfume on his clothes or hear him having hushed intimate conversations on his phone. However, whatever the signs are, the real question is how do you deal with them when you know he is the man you love?

Confront Him

It doesn't make sense avoiding the issue. If you suspect that something isn't right then ask him to be honest about it. If he loves you, he will be honest. Some men will lie and say that nothing is going on and,if that is the case, confront his friends. One of them is bound to tell you what's really going on when you aren't around.

Find Out the Reason

Aside from not being able to be satisfied with what he has, a man may have other reasons for looking to another woman. Talk to him about it and if there is anything you can work on then make an effort to do so. When you are married and have children to think about especially, it is important for you to try to make the relationship work. The hard times should make the relationship stronger. However, when you discuss the reasons with him, you both should be able to come to an understanding that if it happens again you will leave since it is evident he wouldn't have been making an effort to make your relationship work.

Remove Him

Some people are just not worth having in your life regardless of how much you love them. If it is really evident that he is cheating just to fulfill his selfish sexual desires then it is time for you to go because it is bound to happen again. It is hard to walk away but doing so will protect you from a world of hurt further down the road.

Both men and women are attracted to what looks and seems good to them so even when they are in relationships, they have wandering eyes. However, when either party decides to act on that attraction a problem develops. Learn to make these attractions just a fleeting glance instead of a "one night stand" or long term affair for the sake of your relationship. Also, if you suspect your man is cheating, discuss the issue with him and then make a decision about whether or not he is still worth having in your life.

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Finding True Love

Broken-heart-two-part-heart-wallpaper  

The raindrops falling on the window panes remind me so much of the sadness I feel inside. I have loved so deeply and completely and have been hurt in different ways more than once. These experiences have led me to wonder if I will ever find the love I desire. How many of you find yourselves in similar situations? There is no way to avoid getting hurt and all of our experiences help to make us stronger, but what can we really do that will help us to find the love we desire?

Appreciate Being Alone

Being single is a blessing because it helps you to discover more about yourself. The more you understand and love yourself is the more capable you are of creating a valuable relationship with someone. Spend more time with your friends and become involved in activities that will help you discover your interests. Take risks and learn to enjoy life instead of wallowing in self-pity when you see couples who are madly in love.

Know Your Worth

When you know what you stand for and what you deserve, no one can take you for granted and treat you less than you deserve to be treated. Value your body, your time, your money, and your spirituality. As Margret Hatcher once said, "Disciplining yourself to do what you know is right and important, although difficult, is the high road to pride, self-esteem, and personal satisfaction".

Find Comfort and Support from the Right Person

I have one friend who always comes to my mind first when I feel down and want someone to cheer me up. The problem is that he loves me and I love him but we aren't willing to commit to each other which makes the friendship more complicated. He always finds a way to comfort me but he also always finds a way to break my heart. This highlights the importance of finding the right support system which is oftentimes better when the person is the same gender as you.

Don't Give Up

I believe that love is out there for everyone, waiting to be found. Though I feel like giving up many times and resorting to living a life alone, I know that that is not God's plan for me. Don't give up...the right man or woman will come along one day.

We can all find true love but while we're searching we can also do things that will guard our hearts. Also, don't let your past experiences prevent you from moving forward into what could be the best relationship of your life. Use your past to inform and strengthen your present and future.

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Keeping the Marriage Alive

 

Some people wonder how it is possible to commit yourself fully to one person for so long. With the high rate of divorce and people who are unhappy in their marriages, it is no surprise that the question is always raised...why get married? Personally, I am afraid of marriage and all it entails. Suppose I never find the right man...will I have to settle for what I get? Suppose the man I marry is not who I think he is? Suppose I can't handle parenthood?

Recently, I interviewed a lovely woman from my church who I admire greatly. She has been happily married for 21 years and shared some invaluable insight with me. Her lovely words of wisdom are shown in the interview below. I hope that her words will help those couples who are struggling to keep their marriages alive.

Do you find that with work and all of the responsibilities you and your husband have that you are drifting apart?

Not at all. Life is extremely full. Career, children, parents, church, community. We are always on the go but nothing beats coming home to each other. We are never out of touch. We call, text and WhatsApp through the day so we are in each other's day even if we are miles away. Our relationship is so elemental that it is the canvas to which everything else in our life is attached. It's the glue that keeps it all together. The greater the demands on us the more we rely on each other to rest, recharge and nurture so that we can cope with the demands. We make time for date night and couples vacations. But most importantly on a day by day basis we talk to each other. 

Has there been a point in your marriage where you felt that the relationship became lifeless?

Never! It's much easier to keep something alive than revive it when it's nearly dead!

 

How do you keep your marriage strong?

We have never consciously 'worked' to keep our marriage strong. Yet it has flourished without us really noticing it. I guess it starts with a solid foundation. If you marry your best friend then spending time together is a joy. If you enjoy many of the same things it's helpful. But you are not photocopies of each other. So being able to happily tolerate the others interests is also important. My husband loves to cook! So I eat and enjoy whatever he has prepared even if it means an extra hour in the gym to work of the calories! I believe there should be no completely exclusive interests. So he likes to play football with the guys but if she wants to sit on the side of the football field under a tree and read a book while the guys play this shouldn't be an issue. I find that couples who have 'space' that the other is forbidden to enter often develop competing relationships within that space. A solid relationship with God is invaluable. The marriage cannot fail if both parties remain committed and obedient to God. 

 What advice would you give to young couples who are beginning to feel the "seven year itch"?

Look critically at the relationship. Make each other your number one priority. Amputate (yes amputate!) any competing relationships. Get back to God and remember obedience is better than sacrifice. Love each other. It's as simple as that. Check 1Corinthians 13 if you have forgotten what that means.

 

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What Makes a Strong Relationship?

tumblr_mq0x9nDqIx1rataypo1_400 So, you've found Mr. Right and you've been with him for awhile. Everything seems so perfect that it's almost too good to be true. How do you keep this strong, healthy relationship going?

Understand the Love Languages

Gary Chapman, world renowned minister and author, coined a very interesting term that I believe should be the foundation of all relationships...the five love languages. When you understand what your partner's love language is, you are better able to help him feel loved. Some men have "acts of service" as their primary love language which means that when their women do small tasks for them, they feel loved. If you know that your man loves when his dinner is cooked and the house is clean then put in the effort to ensure these needs are met. Conversely, he should also understand your love language so that he is able to fulfill what you need to feel loved. My primary love languages are "quality time" and "words of affirmation". I really love when my man makes an effort to spend time with me....this is very important to me. I also feel loved when he tells me I'm beautiful and says things to inspire me and boost my mood. It is crucial that you both understand each other in this way so that you can meet each other's needs to feel loved.

Communicate

Whenever two people spend lots of time together and are in each other's spaces for prolonged periods of time, there is bound to be conflict. Some couples argue while others avoid each other in order to deal with conflicts. However, I believe that the best way to deal with conflicts is to approach them calmly and talk them out. Talking them out means that you understand the need to listen to what each other is saying and not accuse each other. Using "I" statements instead of "You" statements can help to relieve the feeling of accusation. For example, instead of saying "You're always out with your friends and you never spend time with me", you can say "I feel neglected and lonely when you spend so much time with your friends. I feel as though you are hardly home." Effective communication keeps a healthy relationship going.

Break any Existing Monotony

Sometimes, couples can become so comfortable that they end up taking the romance out of their relationships. Keep the flame alive by going on exciting adventures together and making time to enjoy new experiences together. Probably you can try zip lining or something else out of the norm together. You would be surprised at how these simple things can open your eyes to things you never knew about your partner and draw you closer together.

Good relationships are rare so if you have one, do everything that you can to hold on to it.

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Is He Really Mr. Wrong?

relationship2 Your heart smiles everytime you hear his voice and see his face and you are swooned by the way he cares for you when he is around. With every touch and every kiss you can feel yourself falling deeper in love. Are you meant to be together? He is so wrong yet so right. So close yet so distant. Your heart wants to do what your mind is saying you shouldn't...what should you do?

Love is more than a feeling. It is a commitment that requires hard work and compromise. So, how do you know whether you should accept him as Mr. Wrong or allow the crazy emotions you feel inside to cause you to accept him as Mr. Right?

Are You Willing to Enter His World?

There is nothing wrong with being with someone who gives you new experiences and takes you out of your comfort zone. However, if you believe that being in his space compromises your values and makes you uncomfortable then he is not the right guy for you. Think about it. If you enter a relationship with him and he wants to go to a night club, for instance, but because you are a Christian you feel uncomfortable in those settings either of two things will happen: he will become frustrated with how tense you are and avert his attention elsewhere or you will be forced to compromise to the point where you become someone you're not. The right man will take you into the right world...one in which you both are comfortable and are able to enjoy each other completely.

Are You Comfortable With His Friends And Family?

Some people don't realise that when two people decide to get married they are not only marrying each other but they are also marrying each others parents and relatives. If you have a serious issue with the way your man's relatives behave and you are very uncomfortable around them then he isn't the one for you.

Does He Encourage You to Become a Better Version of Yourself?

Your partner should force you to do things that make positive changes in your life. Partners in relationships should encourage each other to embrace opportunities and do things that will cause each other to advance, They should support each other. If, for example, he is only interested in influencing you to smoke weed and go to night clubs then he could never be a positive influence in your life regardless of how much you love him. Let go and move on.

Choosing the right life partner is hard work but it is not something that should be taken for granted. Make the right life choices and commit your heart to Mr. Right.

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