Distractions

Have you ever noticed that things can be going very well for you, then all of a sudden, they take a wrong turn? That’s because all that is good has God’s stamp on it and who hates God’s triumphs more than anything? Satan! Satan doesn’t win when things are going well, especially with God’s greatest triumph called marriage.

I think many people are led to believe that marriage is bad because there are many unfair things that take place in it: Adultery, divorce, hurt, pain, anger…but the truth of it is, while those things are very real, they are all distractions. A distraction can be anything that Satan uses to destroy your marriage. They can be ex-spouses, family members, your children (yes Satan uses them too), finances, friends, your job, etc. Distractions are not of God. They never have been and they never will be but when we give into them, we are convinced that they are apart of who we are and we need them to get by. Distractions are like symptoms of a cold. You sneeze, you cough, you may get a fever but all in all, it is still a cold. We treat those symptoms in order to get better, right? Therefore, we must do the same in our marriage with distractions.

No marriage is the same. However, every marriage has their theme of distractions. One marriage may have the distraction of a selfish or a controlling spouse. Another marriage may have the distraction of a spouse who works too much or one that doesn’t work at all. There are quite a few marriages that have all of the above but either way, your goal should be to get rid of the distractions together.

Take my husband and I for an example, our biggest distraction was his ex- spouse. She made it her business to ruin whatever God put down in our marriage. I’d have to give it to him, Satan used her well.

Initially, I took on the task of step-mom with a smile. The children enjoyed spending time with me and I enjoyed them. Unfortunately, that turned around real quick. I was accused of having an unsafe home, accused of being inappropriate with her children, they were told not to listen to me or follow my rules and it seemed like everyone in the world was reminded, everyday that I wasn’t their mother. Clearly DNA could prove that but that wasn’t enough. On visits, the children told us they were spanked and/or threatened if they even mentioned my name or eluded to the fact that they liked me. It was sad and I was stuck. I didn’t know how to react. No one ever disliked me like that, especially someone I didn’t know and never did anything to. I was confused. I often asked the question, “How could a woman be this upset with someone who is trying to help her raise her kids?” Shouldn’t she be grateful? Will I ever get a damn “Thank you?” Part of me wanted to whoop her ass and another part of me wanted to leave my marriage. I told myself, “This shit is too much and baby momma drama is beneath me. I run a private practice and waaaaay to fly and classy to be attached to some ghetto shit like this…”

For a very long time, I was angry with my husband because he was slow to “check” her. It seemed he was afraid to do or say anything at the risk of not seeing his children or not having the bond with them he prayed for. A big part of him seemed to be parenting out of guilt and avoidance. I think he felt guilty for not being in the home with his children and having happiness with his new life. He surely didn’t want to spend the scheduled time he had with them focusing on her. I get that now but at the time, avoidance wasn’t working and all I could think about was, “What about my feelings?” Something needed to change. With prayer, forgiveness, patience and determination, together we conquered that distraction…

Keep following and I will tell you how…

Honeymoon Blvd

It is never my goal to give anyone the idea that “because marriage is hard work, there won’t be any fun.” Actually, marriage can be a lot of fun. As a woman who takes business very seriously, it is my motto that “if you work hard, you should play hard” and, “oh boy” do my husband and I play hard!! In fact, our time alone is the absolute best. While we didn’t have an official honeymoon, we made due with whatever time we had. Our wedding in and of itself felt like a honeymoon. We were married privately and we shared it with very few people.  What others thought was our engagement party, turned out to be our reception. We announced our marital status to the world, in a slideshow. It was actually quite exciting. While it wasn’t our intention to leave anyone out of our important day, we wanted it to be about us. If you’ve ever been engaged or even in a serious relationship, you will find that people have a way of giving unsolicited advice and we didn’t want to hear it. Most importantly, we didn’t need anyone standing up in the back of the room singing, Vesta’s, “Congratulations.”

Investing in your marriage with quality time is the best thing you can do to protect it from outside distractions and challenging circumstances. My husband and I love to hang out with one another, whether it be a movie, dinner, adult game nights with other loved ones, couples’ trips or flirting with each other at the local lounge like strangers, we do it!! We make it our business to make love on a regular basis. We take on new experiences together, this includes traveling to places we’ve never been before or me, singing a karaoke song, I have yet to serenade him with. If there are fears, we talk about them. If there is something to laugh at, we share it. If he wants to share the Watchtower, I read it. While it is not always easy, we make it a priority to be friends.

I know it sounds cliché to say, “communication is the best thing for any relationship” but it truly is. Communication is actually the most productive way to stay on Honeymoon Blvd. There are two parts to communication: speaking and listening. That latter part is crucial because we all know that when we “feel” some kind of way, listening goes out the window. Needless to say, my husband and I  listen a lot better to one another when things between us are good. When we are happy and meeting each other’s emotional needs, this marriage feels like a breeze; Our responses to each other be like, “Sure babe; Ok sweetie; Yes darling; Hey boo..” Now, let either one of our emotional tanks be on E, you might walk in our house and hear, “What?” or “Yeah, Ok…or his favorite line,  “I heard you, bean-head-little girl!” Either way, the most important thing is getting back on track. My husband insists that we go out together even when we don’t like one another. We aren’t allowed to cancel events just because we’re not getting along. I hate it sometimes but he actually does a great job at ignoring my attitudes. While, I’m not sure how I feel about that yet, I do know that by the end of the night we are fine. I can honestly say, I didn’t expect to have honeymoons regularly. I’ve learned to let them take place on a continuum. I’ve realized that the longer he and I go without our honeymoons, the easier it is to grow apart. I don’t think I want that to happen.

Next Stop…Distractions

“I Do”

Saying, “I Do” means, you’ve made the commitment to God, your partner and everyone watching to give yourself to someone, for better or for worse,  in sickness and in health, ’til death do the two of you part. Oh really??? Sounds better on paper doesn’t it? Hell, it even sounds great rolling off my lips but lets talk about the reality of “I Do.”

When my husband and I got married, we had only known each other for 8 months. Some would argue that we didn’t know each other at all or that the two of us didn’t give the relationship enough time and with those people, I’d have to disagree. What I knew about my husband was more than enough needed to say, “I Do.” I knew what I went through in the past. I knew what I didn’t want. I knew what I needed from him to feel more secure with myself and in the relationship and he did well at providing it. I also knew that if we didn’t marry each other, we’d both be passing up great opportunities. My husband has a great heart. He is a hard worker and what made me fall for him most was, he demonstrated great efforts to maintain his relationships with God, his family and his children. What I didn’t expect was that the same things that made me love him most, would be the same things that made want to rip his eyes out.

See, if you’re “text book” married, then you’re two steps ahead of folks like me, who apparently, likes all things difficult. It’s ideal and wonderful to marry a spouse with no baggage or deviations from the norm. The two of you don’t have any children from previous relationships and you’ve done well saving yourself for that one person.  The two of you live similar lifestyles and have similar personalities. You both fold your towels going in the same direction, laugh at the same jokes and ultimately, get angry about the same things. Well, good for you and I’m officially a “hater” because that is not our story.

We both have children from previous marriages. He is a Jehovah’s Witness and I don’t practice a religion at all. I am a believer and I try to live right but that’s about as far as it goes.  My husband is very close to his family. I, on the other hand, broke ties with my family 19 years ago.  My husband is calm. Me…not so much. My children are calm, his…not so much. Happily ever after isn’t the only thing we say, “I Do” to. There are so many unwritten parts that can and will come into play. However, we don’t realize it or even consider it, until we are “deep” in the marriage.

I don’t know about the rest of you but I said, “I Do” to all the positive ways my husband made me feel. Who knew that he would one day truly piss me off? I said, “I do” to things I could see play out. Who knew that some things would happen that I just didn’t see coming or had no control over?  I said, “I do” to helping out, being a partner, growing together…who knew that one day, things would be all on me? I truly enjoy being the only woman in the household. What’s mine is mine, right? Who knew that I’d look up one day and realize that I’m sharing my $15 shampoo because he suddenly wants a healthy scalp? I don’t eat sweets often but when I decide to, who knew it had to be eaten in 12 hours or less to prove that I really wanted it? So many times, I’ve thought to myself,  “I did not sign up for this…” but yes, yes, I did. It’s called marriage…

Let’s go!!

 

He Proprosed

When a person is in a relationship, he or she tends to evaluate how things are going or at least, they should. It’s normal to think about how we feel when we’re with that person, how much time we’ve invested and most importantly, we ask ourselves, “do we want the same things?” My husband and I knew we wanted each other. We cared very deeply for one another. The chemistry between us, was undeniable. He and I both enjoyed our time together, and we knew that we wanted the same thing…marriage. So, when he proposed, I wasn’t surprised. I knew it was coming, I just didn’t know when.

Unlike many married women, I didn’t have a fancy proposal. I rolled over one morning, softly awakened by the scent of him leaving for work. My natural curls were all over my head, wearing only a tank top and underwear, morning breath on foul yet there he was…on my side of the bed, on one knee, asking me to be his wife. He gave me a speech about how I’m the most beautiful when I wake up and he wanted to have that view every morning for the rest of his life. Some of you are reading this and probably thinking, “Awww, how sweet.” Yes, it was sweet and I gladly accepted. However, the expectations I had were on the inside shouting, “How dare you propose to me while I am ugly?” I wanted to be beautiful for this moment. I wanted to wear the fittest midi length dress with the “dopest” heels and be surrounded by all of my friends and loved ones as they cried with joy and admiration. Yeah, it didn’t go down like that. In fact, it went down exactly the way God intended it to: an intimate moment between the two of us. He kissed me, and the engagement ring is on my finger now. The moment ended and reality prevailed. He had to leave for work but he assured me that he would return and I could spend the rest of my day, sharing with my friends and loved ones, my awesome news.

Yes!!! I am getting married but in my mind, I’m thinking, “What am I supposed to share?” Do I tell my girls that I was proposed to at 7am in the morning with morning breath and now he’s off to work? Do I convince them that this man is “it” as they roll their eyes at me on the other end of the phone, thinking, “Here this bitch go again…another husband!”  While this was not my first walk down the aisle, it was my first that wasn’t due to “circumstances.” This one, was for love. It was the marriage that I expected to be “easy-breezy.” The one I expected would be all that I hoped it would be because both of us were married before. Similarly, I spent years, counseling other couples so we had all the answers, right? Wrong!!

No matter how many times a person has been married, no matter how compatible two people are, marriage is still a learning process. There will be things that come up that the two of you didn’t “sign up” for. There will be things you thought you knew or were sure about prior to saying, “I Do” but marriage has a way of making you question all of that. This blog will take you through both the expected and the unexpected and how I coped with all of it. I’ve had to take the good with the bad and change the expectations of how I thought marriage should go, starting with his proposal.

I hate to admit it but it took me a long time to appreciate the type of proposal I had. I didn’t see the beauty in it. I didn’t see the metaphor until a friend of mine said to me, “Nya, that’s what marriage is. It’s ugly, it’s stripped, it’s natural which in turn, makes it beautiful.” She was right. I work in a career in which I have to see the world through the eyes of my clients otherwise, I can’t help them.  However, it didn’t dawn on me that I have to do the same in my marriage if I want it to grow. I needed to see me through the eyes of my husband. He loves me in my most purest form. He stares at me when I’m just walking around the house. He wants to kiss me first thing in the morning, and I’m like, “Nooooo, I haven’t brushed yet…” I’m learning that not seeing myself the way he does causes unnecessary stress.  Before I react to something, I have to ask myself, “will my reaction make things better for me or us?” And if I decide that it’s my gratification I’m after, then I must redirect my thinking so that he and I both can win.

Stay tuned…

The Unexpected

This is the post excerpt.

Marriage is a beautiful thing. However, it can also be a challenge. Like everything else we accomplish in life, our support system is critical to the success of it. It is imperative to surround yourself with people who will “clap for you,” cheer you on, visit you and never tell you to give up on your marriage. While my husband and I have been married less than 5 years, we’ve been tested in ways unimaginable. If you’ve ever shared any ounce of your relationship woes with a family member or a friend, you may get feedback like, “You knew what you were getting into when you got with him/her.” Truth of the matter is, you probably didn’t. You knew what you expected. None of us know what we’re getting into until we’re actually in it. It’s like buying a house, the walkthrough is always nice but after moving in, you will become very familiar with it’s sounds, the neighborhood and all that comes with it. My husband and I are beyond the walkthrough. However, we are still here and have learned great lessons along the way. Let me share some of those with you…(posts are best followed from reading earliest to most recent)

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