Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Don't Be Afraid to Ask

Wow! Now, I'm fully engulfed in social media, trying to manage multiple platforms to reach my audience, speaking on radio stations, invitations to speak with book clubs, etc. Can I stop for a moment to Praise Him?! Maybe I do a little of this in every blog, but when you are me and you have been where I have been and now you're here...you know it's not about you, nor can you take any credit. Not even a little bit! It's all the work and the power of Christ. I'm still not the most famous writer or most popular blogger. I don't want either of those things. My prayer is that people hear and apply the message of what develops the early stages of success in relationships.

Also, a little break to thank many of those who have read my book. I appreciate the feedback people have given me, and I hope they apply the knowledge, discern the wisdom and truly live fulfilled relationships.

Ok normally, I get straight to the heart of the matter on relationships. This time, although I know my book is faith based and that's not normally my topic of conversation here, that's where we are going today.

I sent my daughter a message a few days ago. It read simply "prayer changes things." Real talk...all day, every day. Our creator has a permissive will for our lives. The ultimate goal is to find that your will aligns with His will. That's a topic for another day, but it's important to know...find ways to align what you want with what he wants for you.

His permissive will can only be accessed one way: by asking. You have to pray. As a couple, learn to pray together. It's not difficult. It's not even awkward. "Baby, come over here...let's pray." It's that simple.

By praying together, you are inviting God's presence into your union. If you live for Him, there's nothing He won't do for you. What is really amazing, is you will find that your will lines up with His, and the prayers will be answered before you even pray them, because He knows the desires of your heart.

Obviously, I'm single...but more importantly, I'm cool with it. Kinda like it. The one thing (maybe a few things) that I would just love to do with a spouse is pray together. If you haven't done it, you might not understand. There's a presence released when you glorify His name with the person you love on this earth more than any other. I'm sure I could get all spiritual here, but I'll just say when you feel God's love and you experience it with someone else...there are no words. You just know, that you know...that you know...that the presence of God is in and around you.

Pray. Pray often. Pray without ceasing. Little prayers like "God help me" or big prayers like the ones your grandparents may do as you're hungry wanting to eat Thanksgiving turkey. It's all good. Prayer changes things. Prayer changes lives. Prayer enhances relationships.

Don't be afraid to ask Him for whatever it is...just pray.

Until the next one. :)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Lack of Options? More of a Lack of Patience...

It's still so amazing, just how good God is to us. He put this book in my heart, opened the windows of Heaven to pour out his goodness, now I have book reviews flowing in, Radio and TV stations inquiring for interviews and a recent article which is upcoming soon in an online magazine. Again, I want to Praise His name now and make it clear that on days when nothing seems to go right and things just don't fall into place, I Praise Him on those days also. I value my relationship with Him as the ultimate successful relationship.

In the article I recently wrote for the magazine, I was asked to add some things which are relevant, that I don't address in the book. A topic that quickly came to mind the fact that our culture, the African-American culture has this disconnect between the genders when it comes to relationships. I want to expound more on those issues.

Women are led to believe "a good man is hard to find." There are articles out about how difficult is it to find a man who is not living at home, is gainfully employed and doesn't have "baby mama" drama. I will be the first to confess, we as men over the past generation have fallen short of the expecatations our grandparents and great-grandparents had for us. I fall in that category as well. I have never been married and I have 2 children. At least I'm blessed to be applying my knowledge at this point in my life, so I have grown to become a man who lives in Christ and Christ lives in me. I'm still not perfect, but I strive to follow His example. That digression of thought leads me to say, there are lots of other African-American men like me. You can't find most of those guys in the club, necessarily. You have to look for companionship while doing things that gravitate toward the lifestyle you want to be a part of. If you want to go to Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj concerts looking for a man, that's fine. I'm a Recording Industry major, nothing wrong with that. Make sure he has diverse tastes and there's more to his life than imitating the art of hip-hop. What is he doing now? What does this person aspire to do in two years? Singles groups aren't necessarily a great way to find a partner either, but what they really show is that you are able to exist without the dependency of a man. Joining workout clubs, book clubs and other places that interest you are places to find men who enjoy things you enjoy.

Never settle for a man you really don't want to be with. Being happy and alone is better than being with someone and not happy. You deserve a great relationship and if you take the time to realize you can and will have one by patience, perserverance and prayer, everything will work itself out.

Guys, we have to have the attitude that we want a woman that makes us happy. What you think of her sexually should be the least of your worries. That sounds crazy, I know, but if a woman fulfils your mind with great conversation, fulfills your heart with a willingness to serve you in love and fulfills your spirit with a shared faith in Christ, the other things will come naturally. Don't get me wrong, EVERY relationship requires work. What I'm saying is, find the person you really want to work toward something with. Something does not mean cohabitation. Something means a life together in covenant. If you're scared of commitment, don't go there, but don't sleep with multiple women, and take a part of them and destroy a part of yourself with each encounter. It sounds like I'm not a fan of sex or something like that. Read my book...you will find it's the exact opposite. My point is, like any other thing in life, everything has its time and place. Find a woman you want to spend your life with, take the necessary steps to make it official and then you can explore the intimate things with your wife. Until you get to that point, concentrate on the things which prepare you for your wife. Learn to understand women (Lol...I know that's a tough one). Learn to communicate clearly. Develop your faith. Cultivate your career.

Contrary to popular opinion, there are plenty of good men out there. As a matter of fact, one is writing this blog right now. :) Guys, let's develop ourselves to become great men for these great women out here who are preparing for loving, meaningful, lifelong relationships.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

When is Too Late, Really Too Late?

I hope everyone is doing well. Again, it's a very exciting time for me. My book is out on booksamillion.com, barnesandnoble.com, pendiumpublishing.com and hopefully soon to be in Barnes and Noble stores around the country. I have reviews which we be available on some sites soon, and I will give links to those once they are available. I have been blessed (again) beyond my wildest dreams.

Ok, so as usual, I'm hearing interesting stories everywhere. This one is very common and I believe it relates to more of us than I would ever hope to imagine. I know someone who is really tired of dealing with foolishness in their mate. Not the kind of foolishness that one might experience on a scene from The Maury Show, but it consists of infidelity, lack of remorse and a basic place where the spouses seem to be on separate paths in their lives at this point.

Interestingly this would normally be a story of a man who cheated, and he is being foolish. This time, it's a woman who cheated, and the man left the home. She has been ignoring his existence for a while. She works and does her thing, but there was clearly something wrong. She's not very affectionate, she doesn't do anything to "work" at making the marriage last a lifetime blessing for both of them. They have two children, and they share some responsibility, but for the most part, they are his responsibility. Somewhere along the line, it came out that she had been seeing someone else. There had been a lot lacking from this relationship for quite some time. No emotion, no affection, no working at it--basically from either side, because at some point, he got frustrated with the situation.

He left. Point blank, period. He feels like he had given her chance after chance to show she wanted to be there. The guy in this relationship felt like he had done everything possible to give her an opportunity to show in both word and deed that his wife was really still in love with him and wanted to work through their differences and make their marriage work.

This is an all-too familiar story. We know absence makes the heart grow fonder. Of course, she wants him back. Here's the problem, it may really be too late. The signs have been there for months. They have had conversations about her complacency, her lack of affection, basically just coasting along like roommates. No person should have to be subject to that behavior from a spouse, but it happens all the time. Much too often.

The question therefore becomes, when is too late, really too late? Ultimately the decision is up to the individual. There are two questions in this case, I think he should ask himself and be honest and frank in his answers to himself. First, has every option been exhausted? Marriage counseling (church or non-church related)? Has there been true open communication? Separation (in this case--yes)? If you can't see things changing now, while you are in the middle of the situation, there is ABSOLUTELY no reason to believe they will change going forward. Let me use this analogy: If a guy knows he has messed up, if he's smart, he'll bring his girlfriend/wife flowers, her favorite candy...something as at the very least a token of his affection. It doesn't have to be tangible. It could be praying together. It could be saying he has been "in denial" and needs help getting over an addiction. Whatever! Something has to be done to show the other person is at least making an effort to change. If you can't see change (tangible or otherwise), you can stop here and don't even have to proceed to question 2. It's over. It's fine for your spouse to miss you when you leave and beg you to come back. It's worthless if the action (in this case, separation) has not effected change.

The second question is, are you capable of true reconciliation? This has a lot of subtexts to it. With reference to this particular situation, he should ask himself if he still loves her--and give an unbiased answer. It would be good to take a moment in solitude and write these questions and answers. There's something therapeutic and a way of providing closure (good or bad) to a situation when you can see something tangible on paper. They have 2 children, therefore another subtext here is, "are you considering staying for the kids?" If the answer is yes, that's a definite path to LEAVE. NOW. QUICKLY. Children of relationships of convenience tend to be spouses in relationships of convenience. I know some of those kids, who are adults today in unhappy homes, causing cycles of unhappy homes. Your children will respect you more if you leave under amicable circumstances, than staying under bad ones. They learn strength and courage from a parent being strong in times of trials and tribulations. Show yourself faithful to your Creator and He will show Himself faithful to you. Sometimes leaving takes that first step of faith. Take it! Living in fraudulent relationships are the opposite of the title of the blog--successful relationships. Closing out the subtexts would be, "is your spouse contributing to your life moving forward, in the direction you want, or a hindrance and an anchor holding you from becoming who your maker meant you to be?" If the answer is they are holding you back, and the rest of the answers are also negative, how fast can you get the divorce papers signed? At some point, common sense should take over. Nothing positive is nothing gained. Move on. Let it go.

That being said, the name of my blog and book are 9 Tenets of a Successful Relationship. I am not a proponent of ending a relationship without just cause. I am not a proponent of divorce, but there are times when adultery comes into play. There are times when the commitment is gone and adultery is actually not the reason for the loss of commitment, but the result of the commitment being lost (Ladies, I know you hear me on that)! Sometimes, you just can't move on. Sometimes, unfortunately, it's over. I wish it wasn't like that. I wish in this instance, for this man, I could tell him, it's not like that. I know this situation. It's over. Why prolong the inevitable? There will be tears, it will be painful, Heaven knows he will have to deal with it long after the divorce papers are signed. They will have to be adults who raise children together. Eventually, he will see her with another man. None of that will be easy, but it's necessary. Extending inevitable pain is not good for anyone, and will be worse the longer it is allowed to simmer. You can't move forward and allow another door to be opened for you, until you permanently close doors which are necessary to be closed. That occurs in careers, school, relationships--all of life's journeys. If one door has to be closed, allow that to happen. Your Creator will open several other doors for you. For someone who is as against divorce as I, it pains me to say (but it's necessary), sometimes the Successful relationships are the ones you develop after you leave the not so successful ones.

One Love...

Friday, January 28, 2011

Definitely Worth Waiting For

Ok, so it's been a long time, I know. I have been away, getting my ducks lined up for Valentine's Day. Yep, that's the day the book comes out, and everyone can get so much more insight on ways to enhance your relationship, "for singles." I'm so excited to finally get the complete message out. I want to share the wisdom I have been led to give with everyone, so we can stop finding some of the potholes we tend to gravitate towards in relationships, unfortunately over and over again. Not anymore, now we're going to make some better choices, to get some better results! That's what the 9 Tenets are about.

So I was just talking to a friend about a good friend of hers. She was telling me that her homegirl is dating a guy a few years younger than her. He left town for a while and during the time he was away, he changed his photo on Facebook to a picture of him with another girl. Well, this left the original girl upset, and when he returned to town, she then wanted to "define" the relationship. In her heart, the relationship was already defined, she simply needed confirmation.

My friend made a great point...at this point it was too late to do what should have been done from the beginning. They had been intimate, and now her heart was showing on her sleeve and she wanted a commitment. The relationship soured and since he held out for a while, now they are back...not back together mind you, they never were together. They are back to the "intimate" relationship with no strings attached. The girl obviously wants more, but all she knows to do is to wait for him, and let him do what he wants to do until he is ready to commit to her.

Ladies, this is why you are definitely worth waiting for. Now her heart is caught up in the situation. If she would have realized commitment (and in my opinion, marriage) precedes sexual intimacy, then she would have waited. She wouldn't be emotionally trapped in a bad situation. I hope she takes her friend's advice to look at the situation without the blinders of her emotion involved, but right now, it's hard to remove her from the situation. Put a price on your self-worth, ladies...you are worth waiting for, and if you make him wait, he will appreciate you more in the long run as well.

So happy to be back on the blog...until next time!

The book is available now for presale orders at www.pendiumpublishing.com.