Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Real Talk

I hope the blog is as enjoyable for you, as it is for me writing it. I know I don't have a lot of followers yet, but I know there are people out there reading it, and I hope I'm able to provide a bit of insight as to how to "wiggle" through it all and come out better on the other side.

It's great when my friends and acquaintances give me something to write about. Addressing real world experiences is the way dig into any issue, as opposed creating a theory and making it subject to one's thought process. Let me explain why I brought this up:

When we talk about relationships and having a relationship of any depth which has risen to "marital status," inevitably there will be talk of moving in together. I did it and I know more people who have lived with someone than haven't, so at this point to say it's acceptable in society would be an understatement.

I'm not going too deep into my experience in this article about my situation when I lived with someone, but I expound on it in the book. Needless to say, it's something I will never forget. I thought it was the right thing to do, no one could make me understand why this didn't make sense, and most importantly of all, it made sense to me. In my mind, moving in=finding out if our relationship would work long term. Point blank, period (to quote T.I.). Anything else was out of the question. Needless to say, I was 0 for 2 in both of those instances, and living together caused more harm than good. Enough about my situation, let's talk about another relevant situation.

A friend was explaining to me that she lived with her longtime b/f. Everything was copacetic initially, as he was living with roommates prior to moving in with her. Keep that in mind...he moved in with her. Important point which I will address later. He moves in under the premise this is temporary, and he is looking for his own place. They live together, but she had the 'impression' he was looking to find a place of his own. After a bit, she could tell he wasn't interested in looking for another spot and was fine with staying with her. I don't think she had a problem with it either, from our conversation. Fast forward to the point where she recognizes he's not contributing to the bills and that needs to change. He does start contributing, but he doesn't contribute a fair amount. Well, that changes also, as they have a discussion about things and he starts to pay half of the bills. At some point later, they have a pretty intense argument, but they make up. My friend, the woman in the story, leaves town on a trip. She returns to find he has packed up and moved out. Basically, he didn't want a confrontation, didn't want to continue paying for the place, so he moved without telling her. They broke up, and as you can guess, she took him back and let him move in AGAIN! Some might say this is drama, but I hear this kind of story daily, and they all end the same...She realized it was HER house (remember he moved into HER spot), and finally it came to a boil and she put him out one night in the wee hours of the morning.

Real talk, go into 'live-in relationships' with a "let's see what happens" attitude. Women go into these relationships assuming and EXPECTING to get married and live happily ever after, once everything is in a place where that is feasible. The biggest problem is we rarely communicate our expectations out of living together. The conversation usually goes like: "Babe, I love you, and I think we should move in together." It's a one sentence conversation for a life-altering decision! I don't even believe the woman says yes verbally most of the time. She's so starry eyed that her time and attention means something to the person she loves it's like "where is the moving truck...let's do this!!!"

Ladies, we have to communicate. If you are good enough to live with a man, why are you not good enough for him to marry you? Why not say, "Ok, we can live together, let's get married first." Don't accept anything other than YES for an answer. When you live together, you're playing married anyway. The problem is, there is no real commitment. Someone tried to explain it to me, but I was too stupid to understand. It took revelation, study and wisdom to understand that any man who loves you enough to share your bed should love you more than enough to marry you before he wants to spend every evening in it. Stop accepting spending time as a substitute for spending a lifetime.

Fellas, I made it a point to say he moved into HER house. The reason is women feel possessive about their heart and their lives and when you break her heart, you will feel her wrath. Moving into a woman's house that you are not marrying is playing with fire. Maybe you won't get burned if you touch a hot stove, but is it worth trying it to see? If you don't want to find the sidewalk full of your clothes and belongings like the example in my book, or put out at 2 in the morning, like this example, don't move in with a woman until you say 'I Do' for life.

Finally, it's so easy to walk away from a non-committed relationship. Mortgages, car payments, benefits, all of that stuff can be replaced. Also, it's not living under the blessing of the covenant between you and God. Divorce will continue to happen, but it's a much more thought out decision, as many lives are changed when there is true commitment. Choose to try it the right way, the way it was supposed to be, and you will find that real love, and real commitment walk hand in hand. Real talk.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Success breeds...contempt?

Ok, I am going to write about every facet of a relationship from time to time. Most of the time, it will be how the 9 tenets and other components "work together for good," so to speak. This time, I want to take a different approach. I want to talk about how important it is for both parties to want to be successful.

Successful by definition would assume both parties in a relationship would want to be "successful." Definitions of successful, by are having a favorable outcome or having something desired or intended. It would seem to go without saying everyone entering a relationship would want a favorable outcome or want something desired or intended. The problem, or maybe better stated, the disconnect is we have different intentions and desires and we don't communicate them. Let me expound a bit.

This week, I was talking with a female friend who is married with a beautiful family. Her situation is that her husband has the unfortunate circumstance that his field of expertise tends to take him away from his family for months at a time. So she's not happy as a wife, and she is raising their children without him in the house. There is the challenge of the economy, and the jobs he takes away from the family make enough money to pay the bills and be a provider for the family. Here is where the lack of communication of desires and varying definitions of success come into play. He wants to be a provider, and he is doing that. She wants him closer to her and the family, so he can be a part of the family. Of course, she wants him to be a provider as well, but his thinking is at this point he can only do one or the other.

Let's work on this problem in reverse, meaning I will share the philosophy of my answer first, then I will work on the problem and solution. I want to share the philosophy first, because it's so important. Both men and women share the issue of overlooking this important point. Life is about the journeys. It's not about the plateaus, it's not about the valleys. Guys can relate in athletics. Winning a championship is almost anti-climatic. Winning is the goal, but you remember the tough games, the heart-breaking losses, the things that make you reach your goal. Women can relate in novels and dramatic shows. The harlequin romance you're reading isn't so much about who winds up with who, though that's the ultimate goal. You read the book because of the passion and fervor of the journey. The twists and turns of the road along the way. I use those examples, because although we see it in our recreation and hobbies, we tend to forget these things where it is most important, in life. For example, you will hear couples say, "we will have kids when we can afford them." Who can ever afford to have kids?! If that's the case, no one would have been born beyond Adam and Eve! We have to live the journey. We can't live looking for external indicators of success.

That's my philosophy, now on to the ways to rectify the problem. In my friend's situation, she wants her husband at home. In her case and most cases, to have a successful relationship, he NEEDS to be at home. He should be at home. Of course, there are exceptions, but in this case, either the family needs to move closer to his job, or he needs to be with his family. Success in life is not determined by the house you own or the car you drive, but by the lives you impact. The biggest house will one day exist no more, but the kids impression their father makes on their lives will live with them for a lifetime. My friend's circumstance is a difficult situation because there are certain bills to be paid, a lifestyle to maintain. If you have made it this far on my blog, remember this point most of all: The woman I will eventually marry, I don't have to have a certain "lifestyle" to love her. We can live in a cave, and eat shellfish I catch at a stream and we crack on a rock, as long as I'm with her. Being with her is my "success." Everyone wants to maintain the lifestyle they create for themselves and that's fine. Also, you want to keep your woman happy as this is important as well. I think every woman will tell us guys that success begins with being there for her. Everything else will revolve around that. When we commit to one another, we commit our lives to each other, not just our money. Make it a point to communicate your desires to one another. Ladies, tell your man what is most important in your relationship with your b/f or your husband of 25 years. Guys, make sure you communicate your desires and your intentions so your woman will know exactly what you want, and exactly what you are trying to do. For my friend, tell your man specifically what you want and what is going to make you happy, because everyone of us, including you, deserve success in our relationships.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Let's talk about...relationships?

I decided to start this blog in support of my upcoming book, "The 9 Tenets of a Successful Relationship (for Singles)." I think it's interesting to hear different people's take on relationships, which is why I wrote a book, and why I'm doing this blog. So let's get right into it...

I know a woman who basically runs over her husband. Realistically, he's only there for one reason, which is the only thing she can't do for herself, and that reason is probably on life support. I also know a couple who are polar opposites of the first couple, it's his world, and she's just living in it. The first couple, well...that's not working so well. The second couple is just fine and happy and both are loving life. Can someone who is "under the thumb" so to speak be happy with their relationship or is her compliance with his domineering behavior an expression of her lack of self esteem? Could my homegirl in the first example be getting tired of being allowed to run the show?

These are the types of things I'm going to address here. My book, "9 Tenets" deals with these topics. The thing is, one can only touch on so much in the confines of a book, so I want to get more discussion on the topic. I will touch on all of the tenets as we go through time, but one definite thing is you have to communicate well for your relationship to thrive and that is lacking in both instances above. I wrote my book with Singles in mind (since I am single and most of my perspectives are from that of single people in my book), but much of these things will deal with single, dating, engaged, married and even divorced people. In the cases above, one couple is not very happy, and the only communication is the woman talking down to the man. The other relationship works, because both parties accept it. The challenge in this relationship is a delicate one. A man HAS to be a man, so sometimes being the head of the household will require making tough decisions. A man also HAS to love his wife like Christ loves the Church, to paraphrase scripture. So fellas, you can "run the show" so to speak, but run the show with compassion, love, honor and respect, and she will love you even more for it. In both cases, communication from a place of love and respect would make both of these situations better.

Ok, we made it through the first post. It can only get better from here! Hope you enjoy it...capiche?