When The Devil Uses Your Spouse

Marriage means so many things to so many people. Some refer to it as a business. Others say, it’s about love and some will debate that marriage is about religion or spirituality. I would argue that marriage is all of those things. Most importantly, a marriage IS spiritual. I say this because it is soul-tieing, or at least it should be.

I believe a couple should work to be so close that at some point, the two parties share the same emotions and empathy amongst the two becomes second nature. The only “drawback” to such an ordained connection is the threat of satan.

Couples must understand that when they take on a covenant such as marriage, their union becomes a target. This is why surrounding themselves with the right people is so crucial to the success of it. A person doesn’t have to be religious to believe that there is both evil and good in the world. We know that all things evil serve three purposes: to steal, kill and destroy.

What happens when evil gets into your marriage? When we get married, some of us become oblivious to the idea that our spouses can be the “devil’s mule.”

Here are 5 Signs That Your Spouse is Being Used by Satan

1. They stop putting the marriage first.

Like the human body, marriage develops in stages. In each stage of the marriage, we learn more and more about what it needs, through trial and error. By the next stage, we’ve mastered those premature needs and now it’s time to learn something new, something deeper. We stop learning or growing as a couple when we put the marriage second or third to all other things.

One can tell when this happens because one or both spouses will start to use words like, “I, my and me.” Their actions will become more self-satisfying and less about the success of the couple. This looks like making financial decisions or plans without discussing them first, or going places that your spouse isn’t aware of.

When you notice this about your spouse, be swift to point it out and don’t be afraid to explore where this thought process is coming from. You might find that your spouse is dealing with some insecurities they can’t quite communicate in any other way.

2. They interact with people who speak against or attempt to divide the marriage.

The biggest “NO-NO” in a marriage is congregating with non-team players. This includes ex-partners, friends, co-workers and family members. Yes, family members can be “haters” too. Some spouses do not realize this, but the company we keep can be a straight pipeline from the devil’s playground to their home.

This looks like, people who work hard to make your spouse feel uncomfortable by making snarled comments, nonverbal gestures and disrespect when they are present; exclusive invites to functions for one spouse but not the other; the inviting of ex-spouses or ex- partners to functions who also don’t support the union, and the sharing of gossip or hear-say.

When this happens, chances are, our spouse has a common interest or thought process that allows them to believe these type of interactions are acceptable. Maybe deep down inside, they have a problem with their spouse too and need allies, or maybe they aren’t strong enough to stand up to evil forces. Either way, it’s dangerous and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

The best way to handle this is to separate yourself and let your spouse see that those snakes will soon bite him or her. Take this time to get closer to God as this will be your only protection. The purpose of the ostracization has always been to provoke you, especially if you’re on a path to greatness. Let them have the battle because you’re about to win the war.

3. They downplay your success or minimize your growth

What happens when you wake up one day and learn that your spouse doesn’t believe in you? Or better yet, they believe in you so much, they become jealous. They say “the closest ones to us are sometimes the ones we need to watch the most with that knife to our backs.” It’s devastating to believe that the close one, could be your spouse.

Insecurities exists in all of us but it’s what we do with them that makes a difference. Because of this, having success on one’s own is important before entering a marriage. We all want to know or at least believe we brought something to the table. If a person doesn’t see themselves as adequate or making a contribution to the marriage, they will do things like minimize the impact of the other person’s success. This will look like, referring to their spouse’s career as “nothing” or categorizing a passion as a “hobby.”

When this happens, stay encouraged and ignore the negativity. Get a support system that inspires and separate yourself from the environment that is belittling. Communicate with your spouse that this is what you’re doing and let them know that they aren’t allowed in your personal space until they can add value.

4. They stop showing up for you

Nothing is more bothersome to a marriage than being in one and still feeling, “single.” Togetherness is very important when keeping the Devil out of a marriage because that gap between the two of you stays closed. When the gap is open or there’s too much space in between you two, satan will soon have its way. This looks like one spouse is always at home and the other is not; one spouse partakes in parenting and the other does not; activities and family functions are done separately; award ceremonies or work functions are attended alone.

When this happens, have a discussion with your spouse about the loneliness, explore the separation and make a plan to spend more time together. In the meantime, keep yourself busy and discover who you are without them. While it may lead to a more permanent separation, you might find that the dead weight was slowing you down anyway.

5. Manipulation becomes their new way to resolve issues

Vulnerability is the key to effective communication in a marriage or any relationship for that matter. When people fear that vulnerability will no longer benefit them, they sometimes do or say things to get the desired response. For example, if your spouse fears that saying, “I love you” will result in not receiving an “I love you too,” they may resort to tactics such as, guilt-tripping by saying, “If you love me, you will do or would’ve done…” Sometimes, they may even create scenarios to see if their spouse will get jealous. Either way, this is exhausting and causes a rift in the security of the marriage.

The decision to use manipulation is a tell-tell sign that a spouse doesn’t have a high level of self-worth or assurance. It’s kind of like dishonesty and stealing. People lie and steal because it gives them a sense of control over another person or group of people. If a person felt secure in their presence and sure of themselves, they would put faith in their hard work, decreasing the need to take short-cuts and control the outcomes.

When this happens, don’t engage in the manipulation. Silence or very few words is always best when talking to a manipulator. I’m big on saying, “Yep, you’re right, or whatever it is you say, babe” when someone wants to engage in getting a desired response out of me. It gives them all the control they want, by way of not letting them control me at all. I call it “manipulating the manipulator.”

A manipulator’s goal is to provoke chaos in the spirit. It takes two to fight right? So, if one partner doesn’t engage or surrenders, there is no fight. This isn’t the same as giving in, it’s simply a matter of not answering until your name is called.

Prayer, meditation, deep-breathing and relaxation, yoga, and becoming in-tune with one’s soul is always the best way to gain peace in the midst of a storm. Though it’s not ideal (because you two are supposed to be ONE), leaving the problem with the person who owns it and in this case, your spouse, is the best way to protect your energy. When someone close to you is used to destroy you, this let’s you know that you are doing something right. Keep going, don’t give up and turn up your light one more notch.

Pray for your spouse, pray for yourself and give your spouse resources to help them see that they are being used and not aligned with the marriage. Refrain from blaming or shaming or getting caught up in debates because God is the only entity that can turn this around.

This post was written to provide insight to ways in which our spouses can be used for maladaptive purposes and how to deal with it.

Nya B is an author, mental health clinician, professor and speaker. For more interaction with Nya B, follow her on IG and Twitter @author_nya_b or FB, @Nya B.

That Friend Isn’t For Your Marriage

They say a person learns the true character of others during 4 life events: the death of a loved one, the birth of a child, a promotion and a marriage.

While there is nothing disheartening about any of these events, these events are critical because they symbolize moments of change and growth. Change is hard for a lot of people, so support is crucial for the journey. Our loved ones need a support system that will hold their hands, carry out their best wishes and/or celebrate them.

What happens when we aren’t celebrated? What happens when we notice that those we once cherished and cared for become jealous, self consumed and unsupportive?

Studies show that in 2015, 42% of brides lost a friend during the planning of their wedding. Some women reported falling out over a dress, costs and lack of desire to be a bridesmaid. How does this happen? How is it that something so minor can change a friendship that was to last a life time? I’ll tell you how: expectations

Expectations are the root of all heartache. We expect people to play a role in our lives based on their title and years invested. We often fail to look at the characteristics and the behaviors, or whether the role or years invested have been of any substance. Substance is very important. A friendship can have so many years of “nothing.” It’s possible, trust me. Pay attention to the signs. It can save a lot of time and money.

5 Signs That Your Friend Isn’t for Your Marriage

1. Their wordplay isn’t supportive

When people first get engaged, they share the news with everyone. This is an exciting time. Two people will soon become one.

Be careful, because every “congratulations” do not come from a good place. Some congratulations have a “must be nice” undertone to it and there’s always that one friend who usually demonstrates that with his or her words. I’m often leery of people who describes a big accomplishment as “little.” There is nothing little about gaining a spouse. This looks like, “Oh here comes your lil’ fiancè” or “when are we going to plan this lil’ wedding?”

People tell us who they are all of the time, but for some reason we just refuse to believe them.

2. They are defiant about everything

Have you ever planned an event and someone had a problem with every detail of that event? You want blue dresses but they hate the color blue; you want them to wear makeup for better photo optics, but makeup just breaks our their face; the venue is too small or the food is too salty. There is always something. This is because they don’t really want to be apart of said event to begin with.

There comes a time when we have to stop forcing people to be happy for us and see the value in our choices. Don’t get in the habit of bargaining with bullshit when you know you deserve premium. Real friends will stand by your side wearing a banana suit, if you asked them to.

3. They put you in positions to look “Single.”

When our lives change, especially our marital status, there will be activities that aren’t beneficial or conducive to our lifestyle anymore. This includes “freak ’em” dresses at the club without your spouse (for ladies), leaving or traveling without notice, or making plans without discussing them with your partner first.

In my first marriage, this was a struggle for me. I was so big on independence that I failed to realize that marriage is anything BUT that. I was blessed to have friends who sat me down and said, “Get your ish together. You are married…”

All friends are not like mine. There are some friends who suggests that because they were “around first” your spouse or ‘soon-to-be’ isn’t important. There are some friends who will encourage you to disrespect your mate by not calling him or her to check in, or not sharing your whereabouts because your mate doesn’t own you. This type of thinking destroys marriages. Also, your friend may be worried and trying to preserve as much as your time as they can for themselves. After all, having a spouse means, less time for them, and some friends, do not like that.

4. They become too busy and unavailable

You ever notice that when you were single, that friend was almost, always available? Now that you are engaged or married, they don’t have time anymore. Sometimes the reasons are, “I’ve been busy; Oh, I have a new boo-you have one so let me be great too,” or my favorite, “I thought you were busy with your new fiancè so I didn’t want to bother you…”

It’s really confusing because at no point did you ask for space or insinuate that you didn’t want to spend time anymore, yet that’s what you ended up with. Don’t fret. This is a tell-tell sign of jealousy and a defense mechanism people use to avoid being letdown. That friend is most likely fearful of losing you to your spouse so they create distance themselves to avoid what they see as an inevitable break down of the friendship. The best way to work this out is to reassure friends that you haven’t forgotten about them and schedule times to get together consistently based on your schedules.

5. They disrespect your spouse or soon-to-be

Some friends can be too “mouthy” or opinionated when it comes to communicating with your spouse. If you’re at an outing or hanging out as a group and you notice your friend is constantly telling your significant other to “shut-up” or “move, give my friend some space,” that behavior is not supportive to the relationship and should be extinguished immediately.

Friends should have boundaries with your spouse or soon-to-be. As much as we love protection from our friends, it is not OK for friends to insert themselves in lover’s quarrels (unless it’s a safety issue) or share with their friend’s partner thoughts about what they should or should not be doing, without your consent. It’s not OK for your friends to withhold greetings from your spouse because of something shared about a disagreement. A wife should be able to tell her friend, “hubby didn’t take out the trash” and he is still greeted with a warm welcome, the next time they’re all together.

Remember, a marriage is between TWO people, and God, not two people and friends.

This post was written to improve boundaries with friends in a marriage and gain insight to authentic marital support.

Nya B is an author, mental health clinician, professor and speaker. For more tips, follow Nya B on IG and Twitter @author_nya_b.

Forgiveness Isn’t For The Weak

What they tell you, but don’t really tell you about marriage is that in order to make it to the “til death do us part,” phase, forgiveness is the only route. And when I say forgiveness, I mean “gut- wrenching-don’t-know-if- you-could-ever-look-at-them-the-same-heart bleeding,” forgiveness.

It’s not for the weak, that’s for sure. I tell the couples that I counsel, “If you’re happy everyday with your spouse, you aren’t married. Come back when you’re married.”

I truly believe in marriage and I love having a husband, but there are days, (sometimes weeks) that I’d like nothing more than to put on my Nike’s and just do it…run! However I know that unless my safety is at risk (my deal breaker), I have to take the alotted time to get to that other side and forgive.

I struggle with forgiveness because I have a filter that says, “forgiveness means hurt me again.” I know myself enough to know that my filters are not always true and sometimes a hinder to my personal success. I owe it to myself to challenge them. I challenge my filters by seeking out proof that whatever I fear is a lie and that whatever I’m avoiding, can alternatively be a source of happiness for me. My life is living proof of that.

So, if you’ve ever been hurt in your marriage and find yourself shackled by the anger that comes with disappointments, here are:

5 Ways to Help You Heal When Hurt is Present.

1. Take care of yourself

A lot of times when people get emotionally hurt, they look for quick fixes or ways to not feel the pain at all so other people can stay comfortable. This is unhealthy and unkind to your heart, literally. Stress occurs when there is a conflict between what we want to do and what we are capable of doing. This is the time to look at what one is capable of doing and leave it there. If you need to pray, pray. If you need time alone, take it. If you want to scream, cry, or shout, go for it. Don’t let anyone tell you that your pain isn’t valid and that you should move on. Sit still, get it out, be kind to your immune system. Reality is, when you give your emotions a voice, they will simmer down and allow you to move to the next phase of your life appropriately. Emotions are the worse, when they are ignored, downplayed or avoided. Don’t do this to yourself. Your emotions will come back with a vengeance and you’ll find yourself medicating or using maladaptive behaviors to control them.

2. Give time, time

They say time heals all wounds and that’s a lie. The concept of time itself does not heal all wounds. Time spent healing, heals all wounds. Being hurt repeatedly and not healing, develops a sense of learned helplessness or a state in which a person has lost all hope for progression, so they quit trying. This ultimately leads to depression. Can you imagine, being hurt and just sitting there doing nothing about it? It’s like a request for ‘arthritis of the heart.’

Give the concept of bad timing, good energy. This is what really heals all wounds. Get up, move around, read books about whatever it is that hurt you, figure out why it hurt you as much as it did, because that’s where the problem really lies.

3. Attack the problem not the person

When our spouses do something to hurt us, it’s a natural instinct to point the finger and say, “you, you, you…” It feels good too, I know. I’ve been there. While it may feel good to “check” him/her or “spazz out,” it can easily become an addictive behavior that cripples the marriage. Effective communication has become scarce and abuse is now the “go-to.” Instead of attacking the problem, we find ourselves attacking each other and eventually we become silent enemies. The ‘tit-for-tat’ war is just getting started and both parties are about to lose.

All marriages have different problems or triggers, which is why it’s unhealthy to compare. For example, a wife believes her husband is selfish and his selfishness often leads to her getting the “short-end” of the stick. She’d like to handle it by being selfish in return, but how will that give her what she wants? The best way to handle a spouse who is selfish is to explore the root of your spouse’s self indulgence. Were they coddled growing up? Were they only children, the baby of the family or do you as the spouse make all things easy for them? Either way, the problem lies in the root and pointing the finger to tell them how selfish they are every day isn’t going to help. They will most likely ignore the problem because for them, selfishness is habit.

Create an atmosphere where selfishness is less attainable and be consistent. Show your spouse that you have needs too and they will modify their behaviors based on what’s required of them.

4. Seek Solutions

My husband tells me all of the time, “Nya, you focus too much on the problem. We need solutions.” He’s absolutely correct. We do need more solutions and less problems. My fear is that, if I give him a solution, he’s ‘off the hook’ with the problem. Irrationality at its finest and the same poor logic I tend to have with forgiveness.

Can you imagine completing a math problem that never gets solved? I don’t know about you, but I’d probably die from annoyance, so you can just about imagine what it will do to a marriage. This is what couples go through when they re-live the same problems over and over again. It’s like completing a math problem with about 53 steps.

The idea of finding a solution is not only healthy for your spirit and liberating, but it gives the marriage something to look forward to. For example, if the problem is, “your spouse spends too much time with friends and family,” the solution would be to prioritize time for the marriage and have allotted times for friends and family. The two of you can also work out a way to have couple’s night or family night. It incorporates both and satisfies both. Problem solved…

5. Let your spouse make it right

There is no better feeling than seeing the one you love be vulnerable. After we’ve been wronged, we want our spouse to hold our hand, look into our eyes, and say, “Please forgive me, what can I do to make this right? Let me make this right?” Sounds amazing doesn’t it? However, if your anger is anything like mine, you just might get that question and respond with, “Nothing, get out of my face!” Don’t be like me. I ruin everything 😫.

Because I am aware that I can be like this, I have to use my support systems and gain better insight. I talk to my “less traumatized friends” or friends who I believe are more submissive as wives to help me ‘think’ better. I realize that sometimes my “boss chick persona” gets in the way of my happiness and I need a balance. So, I call on them.

A good friend of mine, just yesterday said to me, “Nya, you have to let your husband make it right.” That stuck with me because she was absolutely correct. My husband and I have made it thus far because I’ve always allowed him to make it right and he’s always allowed me to make it right. So, why stop now? Oh, I know why…because my anger says, “stop now!” My fear says “stop now,” but God says, “keep going…”

When your spouse apologizes, allow him or her to show you with their actions that they want to do better. If you see progress, reward them in their love language, whether it’s words of affirmation, acts of service, physical touch, gift giving or quality time. (The 5 Love Languages, awesome book by Gary Chapman btw, get it!)

Positive reinforcement always works. It’s the gift that keeps giving and it’s the positivity that both parties need to heal when the hurt is present.

This post was written to help improve the quality of marriage and give insight to the process of forgiveness.

Nya B is an author, mental health clinician, speaker and professor in the school of Behavioral Arts and Sciences. Learn more about her at nya-b.com or follow her on IG and Twitter @author_nya_b

Lost in Translation: Why Your Spouse Isn’t Listening to You

Have you ever tried to communicate with your spouse and it seemed like the message just didn’t get recieved? You tried everything: emailing, texting, using your words, shouting, nonverbal gestures, role play, coloring books, painting, and still nothing seemed to get through. If you’re like me, you’ve probably said to yourself, “I know I’m speaking English.” Chances are, you probably are speaking the correct language and did everything you could to get your point across, they just didn’t hear you. When this happens, it can seem like you are talking to a brick wall, or maybe a room full of empty seats.

When we speak to our spouses, the one thing we want to walk away with is knowing we’ve been heard AND we need proof. Unfortunately, “of course babe, yeah honey, or ok,” is not enough. We want to see action. When we say to our spouses, “I would like more affection,” the very next day, or the next moment, we expect a long hug or to feel the touch of their hand. We all of a sudden begin to feel good about the communication because it shows we were heard.

However, what happens if actions don’t follow after we’ve expressed a concern? It can have a huge impact on our confidence. Sometimes we begin to have doubts about our efforts. We question if our spouse cares or we may just shut down altogether to avoid that “slap in the face” for vulnerability. Don’t lose hope. Being unheard isn’t always your fault. There are other reasons.

Here are 5 Reasons Your Spouse Probably Didn’t Hear You…

1. Lack of Comprehension Skills

Learning disabilities are a “thing” and a very common reason why people misunderstand one another. There’s truth to the saying, “I say tomato and he says, tomoto.” While some may be able to read the story, they may not be able to tell you the main point of the story. This is a big deal when communicating with others. The brain is a very complex muscle and depending upon what happened to your spouse in utero or early childhood, it is likely that those cognitive skills didn’t develop appropriately. Get tested. It never hurts to know you or your spouse’s actual IQ. You may learn that the way you two understand the world, is drastically different.

2. Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, predominately inattentive type (ADHD)

Children are not the only group of people who struggle with lack of attention span or poor impulse control. Adults have this problem as well and many of them are misdiagnosed or undiagnosed.

Symptoms include extreme forgetfulness, inflated reaction to trigger words, cutting a person off in mid-sentence, inability to follow clear and precise directions or a need for step by step instructions. An example of this would include, having a simple request to take out the trash, and instead of it getting done in that moment, it may take a day or two to get the request fulfilled. This is because your spouse probably needed you to be precise and say, “Please take out the trash, right now or at 3:30pm.” Similarly, he or she probably also needed an alarm, a schedule book, or a constant reminder. As annoying as it is, it’s not personal.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is a mental health condition that is best treated by behavior modifications, constant stimuli and lots of structure and sometimes, medication. An explanation of such a disorder is that the frontal lobe of the brain was possibly distorted during development by premature use of drugs or alcohol, or physical trauma. Be specific and consistent at all times or be prepared to put a check mark on your spouse’s behavior chart.

3. Lack of empathy

Empathy is described as having the ability to feel what another person is feeling by putting oneself in their shoes. This is a very tricky task for a lot of people, especially those who’s needs were met their entire life and they didn’t have to master meeting the needs of others. Some parents, (especially mothers with their sons) tend to give their children everything. They want their children to have what they didn’t have. They also don’t want their children to experience setbacks, pain or hardships, so they coddle them. This is dangerous and highly ineffective when it comes to “adult-children” learning to love someone else. This lack of empathy decreases their ability to listen or see others as having needs. Sometimes, they can be unintentionally dismissive or have a tendency to downplay serious emotions until it’s their own. So, if you’re married to a “momma’s boy,” or a “kept daughter,” Good luck!

4. Shame

One of the hardest things for a lot of people to do is humble themselves and admit that they don’t know everything. Many people go into relationships thinking they have all the answers and they know what their spouse needs better than their spouse does. That logic couldn’t be more wrong. However, instead of acknowledging that their spouse is the only expert on themselves, they dismiss the entire idea. The shame of not knowing everything takes over the communication and the spouse goes unheard. An example of this would be, a wife likes making love in a particular way, yet her husband is convinced that he’s doing a great job because it seemed pleasing to his previous partner. So, instead of listening to his wife’s needs, he’s ashamed that he may not be the lover he thought he was. Therefore, he continues making love the way he knows how. As a result, the sex continues to be a poor experience for the wife all because the husband’s shame wouldn’t allow him to put his pride aside and listen. Don’t be this type of spouse. Be humble, sit down…

5. Filters

Communication is best understood in two ways: what we actually said and what the person heard us say. People hear or listen to others based on their filters. A filter in communication is described as the singling out of a trigger word and responding to it based on trauma, abuse, an insecurity, neglect or grief.

An example of this would be, a wife says to her husband, “You never put gas in my car anymore…” Her husband’s response is, “Oh, so you’re saying I’m a bad husband, huh? Well, leave if you’re unhappy.” His filter word is probably “never” and is clearly based on an insecurity. Underneath it all, he somehow believes that he’s a bad husband, although his wife was very specific about him not putting gas in the car, not the marriage.

The best way to handle this is to address the insecurity and make the connection for your spouse that what was said, was very different than what was heard.

While communication should be the easiest thing in the world, it’s the most complicated because we all bring something different to the relationship. Be mindful of your spouse’s learning and communication style. Avoid being judgmental. Who knew that a picture book just might save your marriage.

This post was written to provide insight and improve communication skills in relationships.

Nya B is a licensed mental health clinician, public speaker, professor and author.

To learn more, follow Nya B on IG @author_nya_b or check out her website http://www.nya-b.com

Pour Into Me: How to Make Your Wife Fall in Love Again

To say a woman doesn’t show love is an oxymoron. How can one be a woman and without love to give at the same time? Genetically, women tend to be more nurturing. Research suggests that the XX chromosomes and the production of estrogen makes it almost impossible for women to be careless.

Sure, there are exceptions to every rule when we consider trauma, abuse or even heartbreak but truth of the matter is, a woman IS love. She represents the warmth that makes a house a home. She represents the organization that makes a business ‘flow’ and most importantly, she represents the support behind a successful man.

There’s usually one time a woman stops showing love, and that is when SHE stops receiving it. A lot of women tend to give and give until there is nothing left in the tank. Even then, they will try to pull from resources they don’t even have. This is what makes the woman unique.

However, if there’s concern of a love drought, or fear that your woman or your wife has stopped loving you, it may be time to stop what you’re doing and pour into her.

Here are 6 Ways to Pour Into a Woman:

1. Listen

We all want to be heard but there is something about active listening that makes a woman feel valued. There are two types of listening: active and passive. Each one has its subtypes but for the most part, people will identify with these two forms. Active listening provides feedback, paraphrasing, validating and involvement in the conversation. This looks like, “Wow babe, so your supervisor only let you take a 15 minute break when you were there 9 hours? That’s got to be exhausting. Would you like for me to let you rest this evening?” This is very different from passive listening, which only means the person heard you on the surface and isn’t connected to anything said. This looks like, “Wow babe, you didn’t get a break today? That’s messed up. What’s for dinner though?” See the difference?

2. Offer Help

What attracts women to men is a man’s ability to offer support, guidance and protection. Support isn’t limited to financial obligations. There are more ways to help than that. Some examples of ways a man can offer help include, helping the children with homework (if this applies), prepare his woman a lunch to take to work, engage in chores around the house, such as dusting, and cleaning the entire kitchen, not just washing the dishes (a woman loves it when her man sees the counters, the stove and the floors). Make sure her car is filled with gas and that it’s vacuumed or washed. Believe it or not, domestic help turns a woman on. Fellas, don’t let a defiance in household chores stand in the way of a good sex life. 😉

3. Take up for her

It’s natural for men to go ‘head-to-head’ with other men because they are territorial. Men have no problem putting another man in his place when it comes to his woman. However, the stickiest place for a man to be is in a battle between a female family member and his woman. Most men prefer to behave like those battles don’t even exist because it’s often too much to deal with. However, avoiding and ignoring the battle isn’t the most effective way to handle this type of conflict. When someone is attacking your woman, (whether she can protect herself or not, whether she is wrong or not) take up for her in that moment. If a man finds that his woman is in the wrong, a ‘united front’ is the best solution. A ‘united front’ is when a couple presents as ‘one’ or on the same team to the public, then handles their controversy in private. A man standing by his woman will not only, let others know she is important to him, it may encourage her to “squash the beef” and give her the sense of protection she needs to keep providing the warmth and comfort her man needs. Sounds like a three for one deal to me…

4. Plan a date

While she may not admit it, a woman loves it when a man says, “who, what, when and where.” There’s nothing more relaxing to a woman’s soul than a phone call from that special person to say, “Hey, Friday night, be ready at 7. I’m taking you out and wear something sexy…” To be courted enhances a woman’s self esteem. In 2019, it seems a lot of women have lost faith in the dating rituals. Some say that men aren’t making the ‘right’ moves and other say that men expect them to make all of the moves. Either way, women like it when a man takes an active role in courtship and the planning of an outing. If you need help planning the most romantic or fun evening, check out the events page in your local paper, groupon or social media platform. The best dates are usually the most inexpensive ones.

5. Show up for her

Physical support is one of the most influential acts when it comes to boosting confidence. Think of musical artists, actors/actresses and entertainers…who would they be if their fans didn’t show up? Be your woman’s biggest fan. Show up for her. If her friends or family have a function, join her. If there is a wedding or a graduation, be there. Nothing is more humiliating for a “taken” woman, than to show up to an event where other couples are, alone. Don’t be a participant in her appearing single. Sooner or later, she will be.

6. Pray with her and for her

This should’ve been the first way to pour into a woman, but I thought I’d save the best for last. No matter how much societal roles change, the role of the man leading his woman, does not. Spiritually, a man has the closest connection to God. His prayers are highly favored. This doesn’t mean, God ignores women. He hears us too. It just means there is an order and when things are done in the order of God’s word, they tend to work out best. Women want men who inspire them and encourage them. What better way is there for a man to inspire and encourage a woman than to show her that he knows God? I’ll wait…

The sole purpose of this article is to enhance or improve the quality of a relationship by identifying the needs of others and decreasing one’s ability to be self serving.

For more tips and information on relationships, please follow me on IG @author_nya_b

Nya B is a mental health clinician, author, public speaker and professor in Behavioral and Social Sciences. Learn more about her at nya-b.com

Simple Intimacy

A lot of times, people get sex confused with intimacy. Truthfully, real love-making starts in the mind, or shall I say before couples even get to the bed room. Here are some tips to improve your sex life without actually having sex.

1. Talk on The Phone (helpful topics are “things that make you smile, the last time you were excited or surprised, and/or the greatest lost you ever had”)

2. Cook Dinner Together (instead of going out to dine, prepare by following a new recipe, shopping for it together and cooking it together. Get a bottle of wine, light some candles and talk dirty over dinner…don’t touch each other until AFTER you dine 😉)

3. Have a Book Club (just the two of you). Pick a book about relationships and have weekly discussions about how the two of you can relate.

4. Write Love Letters (texts are sweet, but nothing says “I’m into you” more than a handwritten note, left on the driver’s seat of your partner’s car or in a place you know they will find it (talk dirty if you must, but sharing your feelings is better)

5. Have Lunch During Work Hours (if your job allows, take your partner lunch or schedule to meet up for a quick bite, sit next to each other if possible, not across from one another.)

6. Give Compliments (we all like to know our partner is into us. Give them a compliment as a prelude to a kiss, “Baby, I Iike the way you’re wearing that hat, come here…”

7. Touch Each Other (soft or strong hugs, running your fingers up and down the spine, the back, or the arms, holding hands, scalp massages (my favorite), foot massages, hand massages, or holding each other while watching a movie or after a hot shower are good ways to feel close outside of sex)

Rememer, in order for anything to be effective, it must be done consistently. Once you stop engaging, be aware that it may take a while to see progress, should you chose to re-engage.

Happy Love Making

Follow me on IG @author_nya_b

Unfair

One of the biggest myths about marriage is that everything will be 50/50. That’s not only false but in my opinion, it’s one of the #1 expectations that often lead to divorce.

Think about it, everyone thinks sharing is half and half. “I take one side and you take the other.” I like to think that marriage is like two people carrying a sofa. One person is going to be stronger than the other. Therefore, the sofa will never be balanced. One side will be higher than the other, one person will move faster, as they walk their path and once the sofa is in its place, one may set it down in a spot that is more comfortable for them. While the means to get there may be different, the destination should be the same.

I struggle with the imbalance in marriage. It’s unfair, but it’s real. I didn’t expect the lack of balance. While I didn’t expect things to be 50/50, I expected things to be pretty damn close.

We all have our strengths and weaknesses in a marriage (or any relationship for that matter). My husband is 5 years younger than I am. I also make more money than he does. I love to spend money as fast as I make it. I have expensive tastes. I also have something like an A-type personality. I can be seriously obsessive over perfection or things being in order. I run a business so professionalism is everything to me. In my free time, I curse…A LOT…(helps my anxiety 😉)

My husband on the other hand is more laid back, he likes to save money, not spend it, he doesn’t curse, he prays more than I do, he doesn’t care about things being in order, as long as they are when he needs them to be. He’s not confrontational, and outside of his work schedule, he will not be pressed for time about anything.

I hate it!!

We sound almost incompatible don’t we? The truth is, we balance each other out. I’ve learned that marriage is most successful when two people take their differences and make them a strength. If a person is stronger in the area of being more assertive, let them do the talking. If a person is stronger in knowing when to be still, let them be silent. Respect goes a long way when it comes to differences in a marriage.

There will be times when the roles in marriage reverse, and one person will find themselves doing more, saying more or loving more. I’ve learned that this type of unfairness is natural and it may occur in stages.

If somehow, a couple finds that their differences are hurting them, and that the unfairness in their marriage is constant, then it is likely that the issue is bigger than a trait and should be discussed with a therapist or someone who can objectively help figure out what the problem is.

In the meantime, make a list of your differences. If you find that the differences are hurting the marriage, get help. If the differences are not hurting the marriage, make them your strength. A couple can easily turn their differences into teamwork…