Real Talk About Relationships and Married Life

Archive for April, 2013

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A Message To Women: Go From Fat to Fabulous

quote by Toni MorrisonThere is a reason why fat people are fat. This is not an attack on those who are obese. I myself used to weigh close to 200 pounds. I got tired of being fat, so I did something about it. I got up off of my behind and went to work to lose some weight. But losing it does not always start out by going to the gym or running on the treadmill. It starts by cleaning your house literally and figuratively.

When people saw me go from wearing a size 18-20 to working a stage in a new 125-lb frame sporting a size 4, they asked me how I did it. I always responded with, “I took back my life and power.” That’s exactly what you’ll have to do, not withstanding any medical conditions that could place you at risk.

Physical weight in most cases starts out as mental and emotional weight, and then blows out of control and manifest itself as more pounds. One of the first things a person has to do is deal with the issues that are burdening them. This takes time; but the first pounds you shed will come off as a result of you bringing some control back into your life by getting rid of emotional baggage. You need a support system to do this. However, not having one should not be an excuse. Be determined to get better for yourself. In other words do it for yourself, not necessarily by yourself.

When a person exercises they release endorphins. Endorphins help you to lose weight by suppressing the appetite and by blocking pain giving a sense of overall well-being. Once this process is kicked off, a fat person can get some physical exercise by washing down walls, taking out the trash, sweeping and mopping the floor. They can also add a little fun by playing with young children or each other. This does not have to always be outside. Have fun playing indoor hand ball with a foam ball, bowling with plastic bowling pins or coke bottles and a large soft rubber ball, play hand tennis with a mate or child.

Some people, who have put on considerable amounts of stress related weight, often have other people doing things for them that they could be doing for themselves. Unfortunately children or young people become the victim of unnecessary work that could be shared more fairly within the household. If you are overweight, you do have to take some responsibility for the way you are. It makes no sense to continue blaming other people for your condition. I encourage you to take back your life and power. You can do it with a little will power, self control, and self determination.

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Creating Togetherness in Your Marriage and Relationship

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In the Valley of Decision

Which road

Dear Atiya,

I’ve been in a relationship with a man for about two years now and from the day we’ve met I’ve known that I could spend the rest of my life with him. About two months ago I found out that he cheated (from him) and the woman he cheated with is now pregnant. Yes I was beyond hurt when he told me; but I reminded myself no man is defined by his biggest mistake.

Truth is he really is a good man, so I decided to stay and see if we can get through this and continue to build back what was lost due to his infidelities. It’s been two months now and it’s getting harder and harder to build that trust back. I genuinely love this man and that has never changed despite his mistakes. The only thing missing is the trust (an important element in any successful relationship).

Well, the point is “I’m scared.” I’m scared that I’m wasting my time building something that won’t stand through the test of time. I’m young (just turned 25) and people keep saying that I’m wasting my youth with this relationship that I have too much to offer to put up with him and his baggage (being that I have no kids of my own). Honestly sometimes I think that also. There are times I want to let go and then there’s times I want to try even harder than the day before. I’ve prayed about it and listened for God’s guidance but as we all know it can sometimes be challenging to discern the difference between emotionally guided decisions and spiritually guided ones.

I love this man. He has elevated me to heights I may have never reached on my own. He has taught me that love can come without/before intercourse (that’s why this hurts so bad). I’m a young woman devoid of experience. I know that I’m not immaculate (and he never requested that I be) but I try. I always do but this time around I’m questioning if I should…. keep trying.

So tell me, should I give up all that I’ve built with this man because of one mistake and important missing element…. TRUST?

– Sincerely Torn

Dear Sincerely Torn,

WOW! I feel your heart in this letter and while it is not my place to make the decision for you as to whether or not you should stay or leave, I can offer some things for you to consider. The impression I am getting from your letter is that the two years you and this man have been seeing one another, you have not had sexual intercourse with him. If this is the case, I applaud you for practicing abstinence and it demonstrates maturity, amazing strength, and character on your part. The latter (character) is what I want to address.

Now, you mention in your letter that from the day you met him that you knew you could spend the rest of your life with him. The question I would pose to you is, “Has he ever expressed the same feelings toward you?” See some can argue that because the two of you were not married, in truth he was not cheating. However, I would say that if you two were in an agreed upon monogamous relationship and it was clearly understood between the two of you that your relationship was exclusive and marriage discussions were on the table, no matter how honorable it may appear to be that he himself told you of his indiscretion, the fact remains that he was not being honest, he was misleading you, and giving the impression that he was committed when he was not. Additional questions I would ask are, “How long has it been going on?” and “Would he have told you if the other woman was not pregnant?”

There are two very critical components to any relationship, let alone a marriage. They are honesty and fidelity. See, the willingness to be honest and true to whom you say you are and to your intentions lay a very strong foundation for trust in the relationship. If you are not able to trust the person you are with prior to marriage, what type of foundation are you building? How can you build trust in a relationship when there is lying and cheating going on?

You say he is a good man. What makes him good? A man’s character is determined by what he does, and while good is relative, there are certain characteristics that most people would agree makes up a good man and honesty and being true would be two of those characteristics. This is not to say that he is “bad” because he makes mistakes. We all make mistakes. But let me be straight to the point, lying and cheating my dear are not mistakes, they are intentional behaviors, and any reasonable person would question the integrity and character of a person who chooses to operate under the premises of lies and deceit.

I call a spade a spade and although you might remind yourself that no man is defined by his biggest mistake, I agree. But infidelity and adulterous behavior is not an accident. It’s intentional deception and paved by a road of calculated lying, deceit, sneaking around, secrets, and cheating. And, to further state after you’ve been caught that it was a mistake or not meant to happen is yet another lie.

I do not buy into the hype that all men are dogs or unfaithful. I believe that every man who chooses commitment over casual relationships has the opportunity and the fortitude to be faithful to their mates. They all have the mental, emotional, and physical strength and capacity to face and overcome the difficulty or adversity of temptation courageously. The question is not a matter of ability, but rather one of the willingness to do so.

Now I am not saying do not try working it out, because many relationships bounce back after infidelity. I want you to seriously consider what you may be in for. See the “one” mistake as you call it has a lifetime of consequences, and in today’s society one mistake can cost a life. This is real talk. Your man made a choice, and the choice he made did not just impact his life, it impacted your life, the woman’s life he cheated with, and now another innocent life coming into the world. See, it may be devastating that he is bringing a baby home, but in today’s society he could be bringing something other than the “bundle of joy” and that is nothing to play around with. So when you seriously consider whether or not you should stay or leave, you want to weigh things very carefully.

Should you decide to leave, let me say this, you are not “giving up all of what you’ve built,” he did, when he made the decision to step outside of the relationship.

Should you decide to stay, again, many relationships bounce back after infidelity and some become even stronger. Who is to say yours won’t be one of those. Keep in mind that if you decide to stay, there will always be the baby, the baby’s mama, and often “baby mama drama,” particularly when you are dealing with situations such as this. In any case however, if you stay, I would recommend you and your mate go to counseling and seek support in dealing with the blended family scenario as well as support on rebuilding trust after an affair.

I know this is a very hard pill to swallow, yet in truth, the ball is in your court. Whether you stay or leave, a word of advice, keep the cookie in the cookie jar until the honeymoon. This applies to whether you will be riding into the sunset with him or someone else. Only bring home bags you intend to unpack.

-ATIYA

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Marriage 101: Let’s Stay Together

Lets stay together

Anyone who is married or has been married can tell you that marriage is not always peachy. It is not an easy road to tread. It takes work, a stick-to-it attitude, and a decision to work together no matter how hard the other person may be to deal with. When couples do actually work together not just in word, but in deed, and when they view their roles as members of a team instead of opposing forces, therein is half the battle. There are many ideas and philosophies of how marriage should go. Some may be very effective for your relationship and others may not help at all. The important thing is to find a method that works for your relationship and you and your mate’s individual personalities.

Now this does not mean to sweep things under the rug, tolerate abuse of any kind, be complacent, or not deal with the real issues. It means to determine and agree upon the best method or practice for your particular relationship and be consistent with the execution of what you decide upon. However, again the key is working together.

There are many psychologists, marriage counselors, and relationship coaches out there who have great advice. Couples who utilize their services can be the better for it if they in fact take the prescription. However, honestly, how many actually do? If they do, how many actually continue using the principles? So my question is, if you are looking for ways to make your relationship better, no matter how many great people are out there to support you and help you to succeed, it boils right down to you and your mate. That is the bottom line.

There are many people who have difficulty being married or they anticipated marriage being different than what they perhaps might be experiencing. While this is not unusual, it does lead to disappointment in the relationship or the feeling that maybe the grass is greener on the other side. The truth is sometimes it is, but most of the time it is not. Grass that is greener is grass that is being watered. So before you start watering your neighbor’s grass, try giving your own grass what it needs and you will find that you have just as beautiful of a lawn as the one you are envying.

You cannot neglect, abuse, or misuse what you have and expect it to perform at its best. A car needs to be tuned up. A house needs maintenance and repairs. A plant needs sunlight and watering. Likewise, a marriage needs adequate attention for it to thrive. Don’t expect to build a happy home, yet refuse to get your hands dirty and get in there and work at it. It just doesn’t happen that way. A car does not drive itself. It takes a driver and that driver must take action in order to move the car. If the driver is reckless, the car can veer out of control. If a house is not properly built or the foundation is not stable, the house will not be able to withstand the various weather conditions and the changing seasons.

At the end of the day, it is not your therapist’s responsibility to keep your marriage together. It’s not your pastor’s, your friend’s or your parents’ job to make your marriage work. It is yours and your mate’s job. No ifs ands about it, point blank! Yes, it can be very frustrating when negotiating with your spouse to respond to your needs and respond the way you want and need them to respond. Again, at the end of the day, the responsibility belongs to the two of you. Believe you me; running is not always the answer.

Now, there are many views on marriage. However, here are ten basic marriage tips that will help couples get through some common problems in their marriage.

1. Make Your Spouse Your Number One Priority After the Creator. The Leave and Cleave principle is worth its weight in gold to a healthy and happy marriage if you but understand. The truth of the matter is if the couple do not cleave, someone is bound to leave.

2. Communicate With Your Spouse and Consult With Them. Remove the “I” and replace it with the “WE.” Nothing destroys loving communication faster than feeling like you don’t matter or are not a part of the plan. When you got married, you chose to exchange the singleness with the togetherness. Don’t be surprised if you try to do the single thing in a together situation and it does not work out well. Two opposing ideas cannot occupy the same space at the same time and there be harmony.

3. Fight Fair. No stonewalling, name-calling, playing the dozens, verbal abuse, going to bed not speaking to one another, or withholding intimacy out of frustration or anger. These are games people play because they lack self-control, but they are the very games that chip at the core of a marriage. This is a game that both players lose.

4. Practice Self Control and Maturity. People get upset and angry. Yet how you handle anger is key. Don’t lock yourself in a room and your spouse out of one. The only thing that should be between you and your spouse is loving kindness. It is emotionally abusive to lock your spouse out of a room absent of physical danger. Nothing breeds distrust faster than locked doors between couples with the refusals of opening them. In truth, you are locking more than doors in regards to your marriage, and you might find that when you are ready to open them, the door is jammed.

5. Be Patient With One Another. It’s amazing how patience and forbearing couples are with one another when they are trying to “get” the other. Somehow that forbearance goes out the window, when the “I do’s” happen. Patience is a demonstration of maturity and the willingness to do what is necessary to work things out.

6. Make Time For Intimacy. There is no such thing as “I don’t have time” when it comes to a healthy marriage. People do what is important to them. That is the bottom line. Couples, who make their marriage an important part of their life, make the time to nurture it and give it what it needs to thrive. They are happier and get the most out of their marriage. If you can make time to go to the barbers or salon, dentist and doctor’s appointments, surf the web, tweet your daily tweets or make your Facebook posts, or the other things you deem necessary, how important is your spouse and making the time to nurture that relationship?

7. Balance Me Time With We Time. It is important for couples to have individual time and space for their own personal development. Yet when the “Me” time far outweighs the “We” time then something is wrong with that picture. If you find you much rather do things alone or without your spouse, then perhaps you need to reconsider some things. Marriage is about togetherness, not singleness. If you prefer the “Me” over the “We” more, then you might want to ask yourself if you are in the right life situation.

8. Share Household Responsibility. Nothing puts a damper on morale in marriage faster than the feelings that your spouse is not pulling their fair share around the house or is not being a team player. Household maintenance and upkeep is not a gender responsibility it’s a team effort. One of the worst feelings is to be taken for granted and nothing drives that point home faster than a spouse who does not help.

9. Pray Together. The old familiar tune, “A family that prays together stays together…” I have a feeling that this is actually very true. It takes humility to pray with your mate, especially when they are getting on your nerves or you just do not want to be around them. In truth, that is when you should be more apt to pray together. When both husband and wife realize or believe that there is a power greater than them both, they tend to honor and respect one another more. However mere belief counts for nothing unless carried into practice.

10. Be Loyal and Faithful Friends. Some couples act as if they are mortal enemies. This is a ridiculous disposition to take. If you want a war and desire to be on a battlefield, go to war with anything or anyone who causes a division or sows seeds of dissension in your marriage and get on the battlefield to make your marriage work. There’s enough unrest in the world. Who wants to come home to it? If you intentionally pick fights or “stir the pot” with your mate just to get them going or hear their mouth, you might take a closer look at what you might be cooking up. Know when fun has turned foul.

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