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Relationships

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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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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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                                     Strong Communication (Image Source)

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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Overcoming Your Addiction

flames Like an all-consuming fire ready to devour everything in its path, our addictions threaten to take over every facet of our lives. Every second of the day we think about our next "fix" and will move heaven and earth to ensure that we satisfy our voracious appetites. Many people associate addictions exclusively with drugs, alcohol and other substances but the truth is that there are so many other addictions that plague our lives that we may even fail to realise. Some of us have addictions to food, others to sex, and others to people. My addiction is to a person...someone who consumes my thoughts and who I care about deeply and I have come to realise that this is an addiction I need to overcome.  My thoughts led me to the formulate the following tips for overcoming my strong addiction to the man who presently has my heart.

Understand His Desire

Let's face it, if a man doesn't want to be with you he simply just doesn't want to be with you. Nothing you can do or say can change that so, it would be best for you to come out of denial and accept the fact that his desire is to only be your friend. This doesn't make you any less attractive or appealing and should not send you into a state of self-pity. I am slowly understanding the desire of this man as well as the fact that I need to continue valuing and cherishing his friendship. I need to allow him to move on with his life in the same way that I need to move on with mine.

Gradually Eliminate the Addiction's Source

People who want to stop smoking cigarettes don't begin the process by stopping smoking completely. Instead, they gradually train themselves to smoke 1 pack of cigarettes per day instead of 2 until they get to the stage where they no longer need to smoke any at all. The same is true with an addiction to a person. In order for the addiction to fade, you need to gradually train yourself to spend less time with him or her and call him or her less. Overtime your desire to have him or her as an important part of your life will lessen. This doesn't mean that you have to get rid of the person altogether (though this may be necessary in some cases). Instead, it means that you lessen your dependency on him or her.

Acquire a Good Addiction

Not all addictions are bad. Some people, for example, are addicted to playing music...they have to play a note at least once per day or they feel as though their day is incomplete. Find an addiction that will uplift you and allow you to use your talents. As you immerse yourself in this new addiction, you will find that your 'bad addiction' diminishes.

 

Once you recognise your addiction you should do whatever you can to overcome it and, as you overcome it, you will truly be able to become the person you were meant to be. Learn to let go.

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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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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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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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Yielding to Love

womanlonging Have you ever had someone in your life who you don't want to give your heart to but find it so hard not to? He's the good friend who you think has forgotten you but always finds a way to show that he hasn't. He's the one who sometimes says the simplest things that cause butterflies to flutter in your stomach. He is the guy who you think you're special to and although you know that's far from the truth, your heart still skips a beat every time you look into his eyes. How do you deal with these emotions when you know deep down in your heart that he is not the right guy for you?

Think About All the Things You Dislike

Quite a few of my friends have told me to focus on the negatives in the individual's personality and beliefs. Although that hasn't worked for me it is a true concept. Negative thoughts yield negative reactions and if you think about them rationally you will begin to question what you ever saw in the person in the first place.

The reason this advice never worked for me is because my mind would always choose to look at the many positives the person has and I would rationalize that the positive qualities outweigh the bad qualities. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that if the man you're attracted to beats you or belittles you that you should overlook that. Those are clear reasons not to stay in the relationship or even encourage a relationship and you would be a fool to overlook those things. What I am saying is that no one is perfect and I choose to look at the good qualities in him. This has not been healthy for me as I have become blind sided. Oftentimes, it is much better to listen to our minds than our hearts.

Stop Giving Him "Boyfriend" Status

This guy and I are not together...never have been and I am 99.9% sure we never will be but I still treat him like a boyfriend. I want to spend time with him and want to go out with him and be seen as important to him. I expect him to respect me enough not to be with other women. These expectations have, of course, caused me to get hurt. Why give a man boyfriend status if he has no intention of being your man? HE IS NOT YOUR BOYFRIEND...live with it.

Maintain a Safe Distance

I don't know about you but when I am around a man I am really attracted to and possibly even in love with, there is always some electricity when we're around each other. Keeping my distance helps me to squelch the flames instead of igniting them. Ensuring that there is physical distance between you and the person while you are in his presence also helps. Learn to resist and keep away from things that will only bring more harm to your heart.

Love is something we all tend to take lightly sometimes. However, it is a very serious commitment and when you get your heart entangled with  someone who is both incompatible with you and has no desire to commit his heart to you, you will end up damaged. It is hard to mend broken pieces so try not to create them in the first place.

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Right Man, Right Approach

Your eyes meet. He looks so sexy and charming. He walks over to you and whispers the sweetest words you could ever hear. You both go for a ride and end up in a relationship filled with blissful pleasure. Then, two months later he's gone. Ladies, how many of you have been in similar situations that leave you wondering "What is wrong with these men"? How can we prevent ourselves from falling for men who only have one goal when they meet us? I believe that the man who is right for any woman will be the man who has the right approach. However, a woman can only identify when a man has the right approach if she understands the following:

Her Values

There is a popular saying that goes "If you stand for nothing you fall for anything." If you don't have certain standards that you live by then basically any man who knows how to charm you with his words can enter your life.  I value a relationship with God as well as the body He has given me. These values cause me try to dress without showing my assets and to keep away from guys who are only after what my body can give them. Finding the right man starts with valuing yourself and valuing the type of relationship that you want with your partner.

Sex (or Physical Intimacy) Isn't The Pinnacle of a Relationship

He may be sexy and you may want to rip his clothes off once you're alone with him but sex cannot be the driving force of the relationship. If you find that sex or physical intimacy is all you're thinking about when you're with him then something is wrong. On the flip side, men will always approach women they find physically attractive and will always try to do what they can to get into their panties but the woman has to be able to ward off the man's advances and force him to spend time focusing on building the spiritual and mental intimacy needed in the relationship. A strong relationship is one in which all three forms of intimacy are developed in balance (my post entitled "Intimacy" speaks more about each form of intimacy).

The Right Guy Isn't Found in Certain Places

Let's be honest. The man who will cherish and love you the way you deserve to be loved will not be found at bars and wild parties. Think about the places where a quality man would hang out (a Sport's Bar where there is a nice pool table and not so much loud and obnoxious music or at a church's youth fellowship for instance) and gravitate to these places.

Learn How to Read Between the Lines

Men know how to say the nicest things to women. However, there are some men who only have one objective in mind...to get into the girls panties. If a man approaches you and the first thing he says is "Girl, I was watching you from the other end of the room and you look so sexy" then red flags should go up in your head. Possibly, if he says "Hi, my name is X" and he starts to build a conversation,it may be safer to say that he is more interested in getting to know you and not what's underneath the clothes you're wearing. Learn to guard your cookie and keep it in the cookie jar.

There are certain things that I have yet to experience that I have reserved for marriage but I have learnt that a woman needs to be able to read a man's advances carefully. The tips I have given aren't necessarily fool proof but they can certainly help in protecting you from single-minded men. If you're in a relationship now that is full of sexual charge and intimacy, learn to add some balance to the relationship or you may find that it will end sooner rather then later.

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How to Keep Your Woman

So, you've been together for awhile and you know that you have a really good woman. You want to hold on to her but you can sense that she's slipping away. What can you do to keep your woman? Don't become complacent Men have this habit of becoming very laid back and confident in a relationship. It's an attitude of "I have the girl so I don't need to try anymore." This is a misconception. In the same way that you want your woman to give her all to you, you should do the same for her. Most men go out of their way to attract a woman they are really interested in. They treat her like a queen and romance her with their words and actions (open the car door for her and all those nice things). What happens to all of that when the relationship is solid? She doesn't deserve to be treated like a queen anymore?

Be faithful We know that a man's eye wanders sometimes (so do our eyes believe it or not) but learn to control yourself. If she is the girl you are with then invest your time, energy and attention in her and her alone. Yes, there may be many fish in the sea but she is the only one for you.

What I find most disrespectful is when a man begins flirting with other women right in front of his girl. Whether it's face to face flirting or on the phone with a female friend it does make a woman wonder if you really are serious about the relationship.

Listen to her Don't pretend to listen. Don't brush off her comments. Take the time and listen to her. When a woman is really comfortable with her man she will want to share her heart with him. If she allows you into her heart don't take advantage of that because once she locks it away you will almost always never be able to reopen it. I understand that she shouldn't be trying to get your attention when you're watching your favourite game or having some man time with your friends. Once she knows and understands that she won't bother you unless it's something very important or you are making it too much of a habit. Learn to listen to her needs too.

Make her feel important to you She is your woman after all. Make it known that she is your woman. I don't mean that you should be possessive because that is a very bad extreme. However, your friends and family should know that you are proud to have her as your girlfriend. Also, making an effort to spend time with her makes her feel like you care. Take her out to places that you both enjoy. The time you spend with her will be beneficial to the healthy growth of your relationship.

Know her intentions It doesn't make sense putting all your effort into making a relationship work if her intention is to use you for money or some other reason. In the same way that your intentions should be pure, hers should be as well. When people are in relationships for the wrong reasons they always break up at some point....some of them have already made the serious commitment of marriage.

Put the ring on her finger If you've been together for awhile and you are both at a stage in your lives where you are ready for marriage then PUT THE RING ON HER FINGER. Some men have real commitment issues and are afraid of marriage. If she senses that then no matter how much she loves you, she is going to end the relationship. If you know she is right for you then do the right thing and stop tarrying. She wants to know that your commitment is real and the ultimate way of expressing that as two people who really love each other is through marriage.

Once a woman's heart is in the right place and she really loves you, I guarantee that these steps will work in helping you to keep her for the long term.

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Intimacy

Warm fingers caressing your body. Sweet kisses on your lips. These are the ways in which the media has caused us to view intimacy...the coming together of two people in blissful coitis(as Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang theory likes to call it). Although I am not discrediting that physical intimacy creates a deep "soul connection" between two people who are in love, I would like to challenge this by saying that it is not the "be all and end all" of the intimacy needed in a relationship. There are three types of intimacy that I believe a relationship must have: 1. Spiritual Intimacy When the Bible speaks about a man and woman becoming one I think it goes far beyond the uniting of two bodies in sex. Both the woman and the man in the relationship should be so connected to God that they each have to seek Him in order to find each other. When they have found each other, that spiritual intimacy should result in them being able to spend time together learning more about God and deepening their relationship with Him. The closer they are to God is the stronger their relationship will be.

2. Mental Intimacy A couple should be able to relate on an intellectual level and should become so close that they are able to read each others thoughts. How do you develop this mental intimacy? This mental intimacy can be developed by communicating with each other regularly and getting involved in activities that you both enjoy. As you take the time get to know each other more, your bond will strengthen.

3. Physical Intimacy As I said earlier, I am not discrediting the fact that there is a need for physical intimacy in a relationship. However, we do need to be careful of how far we take this intimacy before marriage because if it leads to sex, our souls unite with that of the one we are intimate with. Let me put it this way...have you ever wondered why it is so hard for you to let go of someone you have been physically intimate with? It is difficult because that intimacy leads to a uniting of souls...a bond that is very hard to break. Physical intimacy between two people who are in love can be magically but I believe it should be reserved for marriage and should also be explored after the other forms of intimacy have been developed.

Spiritual, mental and physical intimacy combine to bring us into a "true love" experience. The strongest relationships are those in which all three elements are actively pursued and maintained. Let's not follow popular culture and minimize our relationships to sex. Instead, let's deepen the bonds with our partners through placing more emphasis on physical and spiritual intimacy.

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