Sunday, March 28, 2010

Memoirs of a Husband

The day before the wedding-
I look at her and I can’t help but smile…She’s so beautiful… Her heart is amazing…and her love for God just overflows to everyone she meets. I love her…I love her for the breath of inspiration she gives me…I love her for her self-sacrificing to make me happy…I love her because she loves others…I love her because she loves God more than she loves me…And the best part about it is that she is mine! God sure smiled on me :) :)…And tomorrow we would be able to enjoy each other as married people do ;-).

The honeymoon –

Her soft gentle kisses brings a chill up my spine…She is so sexy and I just can’t imagine getting to know her more…I can get used to this! Man, this is the life! She makes me so happy…And I want to spend the rest of my life with her!

After the honeymoon –

I want to be a good leader. I want to be a good provider. I have a huge responsibility to lead my family to heaven. I wonder sometimes if I am doing okay. I sometimes doubt my ability to be a good leader, a good man…

Beyond the honeymoon-

I’m sensing a bit of negativity creeping in. I am not sure what happened or when it happened but it seems that I can’t do anything right! Every day I am met with either subtle or overt criticism. Last week I forgot to take the trash out, yesterday I didn’t wash up, today I was not romantic enough…What will tomorrow hold???

She doesn’t seem to remember all the other times I try…All the other days I take the trash out or wash up…I barely get a thank you or a glimmer of appreciation…What’s up with that? I mean, I am trying here! And not once do I hear her say she appreciates my efforts…NOT ONCE!

It seems that every time I attempt to be intimate with her she has an excuse…Either she’s tired, or sick, or has PMS, or just simply not interested. I just don’t get it! Eventually I just stopped trying…I was just tired of the rejection man…

The worst is the one time we “do it” and she seems unfulfilled…She’s barely engaging and basically she just lies there…seemingly absent minded…Who is this woman? Where is the woman I married??? Then she has the audacity to tell me that I am not doing it right…I am not trying to please her and I am just trying to please myself. WHAAAAT?!

I’ll end with this one…

I am starting to feel that she no longer respects me. There have been several occasions where she made me feel stupid for either an idea I had for us or about something I forgot to do. The other day she totally flipped out because I invited my parents over for the weekend. She acted as though I killed someone…Instead of understanding that my parents live very far and we only get to see them ever so often…Instead of understanding that, she makes me out to be a stupid, and insensitive husband…

I can’t seem to do anything right! I can’t seem to make her happy! Everything I do is met with criticism! And I never once get any thanks for the effort and energy I put out…Sometimes I wonder, why I even bother. What’s the use of trying…

Where is the woman I married?

Friday, March 26, 2010

What if I invited Jesus to Church?

I wonder if I invited Jesus to church if he would be met with stares and judgment from the people based on the way he looked.

I wonder if I invited Jesus to church with his dusty feet, and run down shoes, with holes in it if we would look at Him and wonder “He don’t realize he’s in the Lord’s house?”

I wonder if I invited Jesus with his raggedy hair…that was long, if people would point and say, “He can’t be holy, he looks just like the world!”

I wonder if I invited Jesus to church with his “poor man’s clothing” if the people would look at him and say, “Doesn’t he know he’s supposed to wear his Sunday best?” AKA three piece suit.

It’s amazing that the King of Kings came to earth and didn’t take the form of a King dressed in his “Sunday best” (purple robe)…He came as a regular man with not much to be desired. He showed us that it’s what’s on the inside of a man that counts. He showed us that he wanted us to worship him in spirit and in truth. Not with our outward appearance.

Yet today our culture has allowed us to think that we are not supposed to come to the Lord’s house unless we put on our Sunday best. Our culture suggests that we must give God our best by wearing our best…I somehow have not see Jesus demonstrate this principle when he chose not to wear the purple robe…

Can we stop for a moment to really think about what God wants from His children?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My Blog: My Story

The interesting thing about a blog is that you get to create your own little cyber world…a world that’s of your design. You can create the villains…and you can create the heroes…You paint a picture of the world as you want people to see it…It’s almost like putting together a photo album or scrap book. We pick and chose the pictures we put in there. These hand chosen pictures capture the joys, triumphs, smiles, milestones, first steps…Rarely does it capture hurt, heart ache, meltdowns, fears, anxiety…Where are the pictures that represent those events in our lives? But really, who wants to remember the negative aspects of life? That’s why photo albums are filled with pictures that mostly represent joy…But behind the eyes in the pictures lies hurt, heart aches, fear, pain, anger, anxiety, and suffering…A story untold.

My blog is like a photo album…I get to hand pick the stories I want to display to others. I get to share the milestones of my life with others. The only exception is that my album also has pictures of pain, hurt, anger, frustration, heart ache, anxiety etc. etc. Emotions we all can relate to at some point in our lives.

My blog allows me to express my inner soul…The part of you that most people keep hidden…The part of you that most people think should be kept private. But I have chosen to write about my life’s journey…I want you to understand that in my life I had many triumphs, but I have also experienced an array of emotions…like any other human being. So since I am writing about my life, I thought that I shouldn’t just pick and chose the pictures with the smiles, but also pick some pictures with some frowns. Because ultimately my prayer is that someone would be encouraged. Someone can read my posts and relate…Realize that you don’t have to be perfect to be happy…And that every day trials is part of life…Something to be embraced so we can learn and grow…It does not have to make you bitter…

Though our experiences are different, our cultures are different, our ethnicities are different, we all share something in common….our emotions…We all laugh, cry, feel joy and feel pain…And its through these emotions everyone from every corner of the world can relate.

We all are striving to be faithful…but along the way there are distractions…I might write about some of those…We all are striving to be loving…but along the way there will be challenges…I’ll write about that too…And we are all striving to live a wholesome life…But along the way there will be naysayers…Regardless of your story, we all share these things in common. My purpose is not to present my experiences and thoughts as the right way…but to simply talk about it…Plain and simple!

And as I walk along on my journey of life, I hope that my life can encourage someone along the way. I hope that you can see that I am not perfect, and I feel other feelings besides the permanently etched on smile on Facebook. I hope that you can see Jesus in me and that it is through Him that I am able to rejoice! Because even though I write about the pain, heartaches and frustrations, my end story always leads me back into the arms of my Lord…and I can smile again…

Have you seen Jesus? No. But I believe one way we can show others Jesus is through our lives…Our life’s story represents a testimony of the goodness of God! But we must be willing to open the door and welcome others in.

Please don’t close the door behind you…someone else is coming in…

Monday, March 22, 2010

Preparing for Marriage

On a much happier note....This post was written in July 2009...I thought I would share it again!

I have been married for three years…THREE WONDERFUL YEARS. I cannot begin to tell you the immense joy I feel to know that my marriage has been blessed. But a happy marriage is not something that just happens just like that. There were some things we did before we got married, that has set the tone for our marriage today.
Here is my two cents…for what has worked for us…

• For those not yet married – During your dating years keep yourself pure. Fight with all your might to save yourself for your marriage. There is nothing more special than two people who can get to know each other at this very intimate level, without any guilt associated, or without any comparison to a former partner etc. And even if you have not been pure in the past, that’s okay, START TODAY! Forgive yourself and let go of any guilt…that’s only a tool of the devil to weigh down your relationship. Spend time in prayer, and devotion together.

• While dating, keep it real. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that “marriage will change things.” Be observant about behaviors and be open and honest about your true habits. There was NOTHING that surprised me when I married my husband. We dated for 5 years and by then I had a mental list of everything I liked, and everything I did not like. I knew EXACTLY what I was getting into. Never romanticize marriage…Just keep it real. Do not let infatuation take over your better judgment.

• A good preacher once said, “As much time as you spend preparing for your wedding, spend AT LEAST that amount of time preparing for your marriage.” I absolutely believe that there is nothing better you can do for your future marriage than to prepare for it. Read good books together and talk about it…Have fruitful discussion. During the year preceding our wedding Jared and I read several great books, and had discussion on every topic imaginable. From how to divide the housework, views on children, and even the unspoken…adultery…and what we can do to prevent ourselves from falling prey to adultery. Believe me, when I say that we talked about everything! It annoys me when I seek folks spend so much time planning a wedding day and not placing half as much time, effort and energy preparing for their life together.

• Adultery – never believe that “it can’t happen to me.” Everyone whom it has happened to probably felt the same way. Adultery can happen to you…I think Jared and I were 21 when we had that conversation…and I vividly remember the night…I cried…Because I could not believe he was telling me this! IT was like him telling me that later in life he plans to cheat! WHAT!!? But that is not what he was saying at all…Simply put, if you don’t take care of your relationship and preserve the love and affection you have for each other, and start taking each other for granted and forget the God you serve, sin will creep in…Once you acknowledge that it can happen to you, you will always cherish the love you have and work very hard to do what you need to do to safeguard it.

• Before we got married, we promised each other that we would seek help should trouble creep into our marriage. Do not be too proud for counseling, or confessing your faults to good brothers and sisters and seeking wise counsel from faithful friends. It is a hard thing to admit that something is wrong with my relationship, and pride and shame can prevent us from seeking help. Take the time to resolve any potential problems early by seeking help…don’t wait until you hit rock bottom to seek help.

• Friends of the opposite sex – Keep them at a distance! This goes back the whole adultery thing. Now let me say this…my friends are like family to me…And though many people say that, I actually mean it!!! So much so, that in the early years of dating, I told Jared that if he ever told me crap about choosing between him and my friends, I would chose my friends! Because not only is that is sign of serious control issues, but also that’s like telling me to choose between my family…not cool. That was just a forewarning, it never happened of course :-).

BUT, when it comes to friends of the opposite sex, please keep them at arm’s length. I have a couple of VERY CLOSE male friends. I see them as brothers, and I am their sister that watches their girl friends cross-eyed, up and down, and wondering if you are good enough for my bro. Don’t play! These are friends I made more than 10 years ago…And we are still great friends today…I have cried on their shoulders, and gotten mad at them (a sign of closeness in my crazy family!) and I am not afraid to tell them when they are messing up. However, I have consciously never made close male friends after my brothers. I will not confide in another man, I will not cry on his shoulder, and I will not tell him my deepest fears. See where I am going with this? Neither is it cool for your man to be having that type of relationship with other chicks! I’m not saying don’t have male friends…I’m just saying to make sure to keep them at arm’s length and recognize when you are crossing the line. Girls on the other hand, I keep VERY close to my heart!! And they can get to know me like a book! But there is nothing better when a man has a male friend they can confide in…someone who is Godly and can keep him accountable…These are the types of friends you need to surround your relationship with and seek out.

• Know the difference between quality time and quantity time. It’s not about how much time you spend, but the quality of that time together. Ensure that you spend QUALITY time together.

• Develop healthy habits regarding communication, conflict resolution, budgeting and finances, date nights, and of course spirituality.

So what's your two cents?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Follow up on the post “Friends are not Forever”

For some reason no one comments on the blog itself but I have received a number of comments from my sisters about my post “Friends Are Not Forever.” Here is a synopsis of the comments I received:

• My husband and a friend from college said that I should take down my original blog because it may offend my friend in question.

• Another friend I said I should leave the post because it represents MY JOURNEY and where I am in that journey.

• Others suggests that being a conflict avoid is not wrong but rather a different way of dealing with conflict.

• I should tell her how I feel and bring closure to the situation…Even if it means stating that we are going to change our friendship as it stands.

• What would Jesus do? God does not give up on us so we should not give up on our friends

• Your silence and avoiding her is against everything you (me) stand for. It’s so unlike you!

Here is my response to some of these comments:

• I took the blog down for a day or two and then reposted it as is. I started this blog to write about MY JOURNEY. Why should I edit it? Some of the things I write are not going to be easy to write…Perhaps because it may be a painful topic or perhaps it represents a bad decision. However the aim of this blog is not to present myself as the perfect version of me…Only writing things that would keep me “saved” in the eyes of some…But rather to write about my life’s journey…past, present, friends, family, relationship etc. My hope is that someone can be encouraged by my struggles and by my victories. Therefore I think it’s important to write about the good, the bad, and the ugly. I also feel confident that my friend does not know about my blog though it’s very public. Though someone can forward my blog to her, it still does not change how I felt at that moment.

• I think that a person who avoids conflict at all costs, keeps things inside and grows in negative feelings towards another is not right. This Bible gives us a blue print of how we should deal with conflict. I think that we sometimes ignore the instructions to suit our own comfort levels. But we must force ourselves out of our comfort zones if we are to grow, to learn, and to achieve higher quality relationships

• So how does the Bible tell us we should deal with conflict?

1. First, go to your brother/friend and privately tell them what they did wrong (Matt 18:15). We must be careful not to go blabbering to everyone but to the person who actually offended us. I understand that sometimes we may confide in a spiritual confidant to seek clarity with the situation due to raging emotions. But in that case it’s more about you and ensuring that you prepare your mind to do the RIGHT thing. Your goal in telling another should be to bring you closer to resolving the conflict and not fuel or justify your anger. Furthermore if you happen to be the spiritual confident then you are charged with the responsibility of guiding your brother or sister according to the scriptures…by advising that they speak with the person in question.

2. Secondly, if he or she would not listen, take one or two others with you as witnesses (vs. 16). It’s interesting that the Bible does not tell us to just forget about if they won’t listen…You know many times we pat ourselves on the back when we “try” to resolve conflict by saying, “well I went to her and she didn’t care…I tried…” And we give up at that point. No, it’s at that point that you go into second gear. The object is to resolve conflict, especially if it can negatively impact the church. Let’s put it this way, two Christians not speaking to each other does not positively impact the church. And if we actually tried to safeguard the church then we would be more proactive is trying to resolve conflict.

3. Thirdly, if he/she refuses to listen, take it to the church (vs. 17). Now the context of this passage pertains to a brother who is caught in sin. And suggests that we are going to that brother to encourage him to leave his sinful ways. When we have conflict it may not be that the person is caught in a sin…It can be a simple difference of opinion went wrong! However the same principle applies. When there is negative energy due to conflict, you go to that person! Not bury it in your head in the sand, hide it under the pillow, or pretend everything is okay when it’s not…You go…go to the person.

4. If you know you have offended your brother then you are responsible to go to your bother and try to resolve that conflict. You are responsible because you know. EVEN if they never say anything to you, you are still to go because YOU KNOW and it can hinder their relationship with God. (Matt. 5:23-24).

Essentially, when there is conflict you are RESPONSIBLE for resolving that conflict whether you are the one offended or whether you offend someone. This approach is in direct opposition of conflict avoiders.

• I agree that I should go to my friend and bring closure to the situation or try to resolve our differences. This is exactly what I have preached and goes hand in hand with my nature. Whether I have been wronged or I wronged her, I HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO GO…I wanted to go…I really did…Sooooo many times I came REAL CLOSE to sending her an email…But I can tell you this, the email would not have been nice…It would have been filled with rage!!! I needed to give us space…Give her space to make her decision about our friendship…And give me space to learn about how she feels about our friendship. Her silence has shown me that she is not willing to fight for our friendship…And I BELIEVE this reflects her value of our friendship. I evidently valued my friendship with her more than she valued her friendship with me.

• Yes, God forgives…and I believe we are to allow ourselves to be used for the gospel sake…(Matt 5:328-42)…Whoever slaps you on your right cheek you are turn the other check…This means that you stay and not run away when there is conflict…You are to allow yourself to remain open, not become closed off. Remaining open HURTS…Often times we do not turn the other check…We run away so we won’t get hurt again. We say, “forget this!” and “forget you!” and PEACE, I’M OUT! So yes, IF she asked me to resume our friendship, I would probably say YES! Because I am a SAP and I like PAIN…

But friendship is a two-way street…The nature of our friendship was at a very high level (in my mind) and I have FINALLY come to terms that she did not view our friendship in the same light…I have finally accepted that she may not want to be close friends the way I want to be close friends…AND….I have FINALLY come to terms with reason we clash…When I have a high level of friendship with someone, it allows me to be open and honest with them…I can share my deep dark secretes with anyone…but real friends challenge you…they make you uncomfortable and force you to step out of your comfort zone so you can GROW…That’s the type of friend I was trying to be…And you know what…I FINALLY realized, that is not the type friend she wanted from me! Hence my constant encouragement seemed more like bashing…or my constant challenges to better herself spiritually seemed like a putdown…Because truly, when you encourage someone to do better, it assumes that they are not where they need to be…And when you tell someone they are not where they need to be…they may not like it…

HA HA! I feel so liberated at this point…It may have been obvious to everyone…Especially my husband…But I FINALLY REALIZE that I have been pushing a type of friendship she did not want…It feels so good to acknowledge this…Because now I can pick up my shoes and move on with a smile of my face, no anger in my heart, and no more tears!

Thank you Jesus!

My next project will be to bring closure to this situation…Now that I have found myself in a good place…and not overtaken with hurt and anger…I think I can approach her with a clearer head…Maybe I’ll write her that email…Stay tuned :-).

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Are Weddings Really Worth It?

I have become absolutely disenchanted with the frills and fancies of weddings! It really bothers me that people spend so much money on a wedding and so much time and energy planning a wedding…YET so LITTLE time planning and preparing for marriage. The wedding is one day…ONE day of “happiness” that DOES NOT LAST…A marriage can be a lifetime of happiness if you take your time to plan and prepare yourself….hmmmm? I would choose the lifetime of happiness!

But one may ask…Can’t you have both? Of course you can…Many people (though few and far between) actually spend a great deal of time planning and preparing for marriage…They read relationship building books, they speak to spiritual couples and seek wisdom, they engage in REAL pre-marital counseling and a host of other stuff. ..And then they have a wonderful celebration of their union at the end of their planning…I love being a witness to those weddings! But I am inclined to believe that the majority of folks become so wrapped up in the details of a wedding that they forget the details of life…the details of marriage…the details of family…and the details of friends…

Take for example your willingness to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a dress…A dress that you plan to wear only once…Yet your unwillingness to spend $150 to see your sister graduate (under the guise that you have no money)…That seems pretty strange to me…Hmmm, no money to spend on friends and family, the things that are supposed to be the most meaningful things in your life…Yet lots of money to waste on a day…Here is another example…We cannot visit our family for Christmas or Thanksgiving because we don’t have any money. Yet, we chose to spend $20,000 on the wedding…Looking back on it, that $500 I spent on wedding favors could have very well paid for our trip home…Favors or spending Christmas with family? I chose family!

So what’s more important the frills of a day? Or the financial freedom to spend your money on the things that matter most…time with family and friends? Hmmm? I vote for the time spent with family and friends.

But the wedding is a once in a lifetime opportunity you say…Really? And because you know that your parents are going to live forever and your friends will always be there, that justifies taking that for granted? Hmmm….

And as a side note…I don’t ever want to be asked to be anyone’s bridesmaids ever again. What is even the purpose of bridesmaids…So you can have a few girls who are supposededly close to you, wear a $150+ dress, $50 shoes, and how much ever in accessories…for what purpose?? As part of the decorations? To look good? I really don’t see the point of bridesmaids. Especially when trouble hit your marriage you doh even call one ah dem. Steups…What is the point…Is it just for show? I do feel like that sometimes...And I dont want to be part of a show...I want to be part of your life!
You are probably wondering why I sound so disenchanted with weddings and bridesmaids…Well get this…I have been in exactly 4 CHRISTIAN weddings…Two ended in divorce in less than 3 years…But yes, we got all dressed up, looked pretty, details and decorations that took months to plan and prepare were all there…And now what…IT does not mean a thing now that they are divorced or their marriage fell apart…

I am disenchanted…