Real Talk About Relationships and Married Life

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How to date with purpose and discover your own truth Video Interview with ATIYA


This is a video I wanted to share with you as I recently did an interview talking about love, relationships and dating with purpose.

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Have a blessed Day



Marriage 101

In this message, Atiya offers 10 tips for couples on how to get through common challenges in marriage. For more information, visit us online at: To read the article in full, please go to:


Fighting Fair in Your Relationship

fight fairIn the past, I have actually coached a couple who right there in front of me, got into an all out drug out war of words. For all intended purposes, the way they went at it, I might as well had popped some popcorn, got a coca cola, put my feet up, sat back and watched the entertainment. This couple acted such a fool. They went from name calling, playing the dozens to things being drug up from another lifetime. This couple argued about everything, and the arguments would start over something like, “Stop leaving your shoes in the middle of the floor.”

Some couples fight over the silliest matters but claim to love one another. However some of the immature exchanges and the foul way they handle each other leads me to ask the question, “What’s love got to do with it?”

Couples who behave in this manner fail to realize that they cannot take words back. Sure, they can apologize later, but the damage has already been done and the words have already made a deep impact. If you are one of those couples where one or both of you get so angry that you storm out of the house, name call, talk about his mama or her baby daddy of the baby that you’re not the daddy of , hurl insults or stonewall or attack your partner’s character then you are NOT FIGHTING FAIR. Further, ultimately your FOUL way of communicating will destroy your relationship or marriage.

First let me say that it is natural and healthy to argue. Arguing is no more than simply expressing your reasoning for or against a matter. It is healthy because through loving instances of discourse, very important communication is taking place. The problem is when people become disrespectful in the process and take the conversation out of the “safe zone.” (i.e. Name calling, yelling, playing the dozens, stonewalling, mocking, invalidating, etc.).

Stonewalling is not talking to your mate at all or not listening to your mate. Women usually stonewall by giving their partner the silent treatment. Men usually stonewall by totally refusing to listen or interact. Yet in these battles for power and winning, everyone loses – the husband, the wife and the children. Also, family and friends lose because they are often put in the middle or end up having to listen to the madness. It becomes very messy and in these types of situations, everyone’s hands get dirty. What they say about misery loving company, doesn’t even adequately describe what it looks like when husband and wife lose all sense of civility when fighting.

While fighting is a normal part of any healthy relationship, there is a healthy way to fight. So here are eight ways that will help a couple keep their relationship on track during an argument.

8 Ways to Keep an Argument Healthy

1. Open Your Discussion in Prayer – Opening your discussion in prayer will invoke a higher principle in the mix and help to temper both people in the exchange.

2. Use the LTL Formula – The Listen-Talk-Listen formula ensures that both parties will listen twice as much as they talk. Steven Covey in his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, provides a habit that couples can adopt. “Seek first to understand, and then be understood.” If you and your mate practice just that one habit, there will be a whole lot more understanding in the relationship.

3. Create a Safe Emotional Space for Communicating – It’s important to create an emotionally safe space for your mate to be able to communicate. This is the responsibility for both people. Safety means no yelling, no character attacks, no blaming (you did this or you did that…), no invalidating (that’s stupid, silly, or crazy), no stonewalling, and no judging each other. Remember that your mate is not the problem, the problem is the problem. Make the problem the enemy not your mate. So the two of you can attack the problem as a united front.

4. Use “I Feel” and Avoid Extremes Such as “You Always” or “You Never” – When you use the words, “I feel” as opposed to you did this or you did that, it removes the defense mechanisms that people automatically put up when they feel they are being attacked. Also avoid extremes such as “always” or “never.” Extremes are usually an over exaggeration of the truth.

5. Don’t Interrupt – It is important to listen to your mate and not interrupt them or talk across them. If necessary, put time frames on bringing a discussion and put a time frame on rebuttals and go back and forth until an agreement can be reached. Even if you end up not seeing eye-to-eye, agree on how you will handle the matter in the future.

6. Use a Trigger Word – Trigger words or also referred to as “Safe Words.” They are words such as time-out, pause, stop, or uncle. The purpose of these words is to invoke them during an argument that is beginning to escalate out of control. The agreed upon word is used consistently when necessary during discussions to allow the two of you to cool down, then come back to the conversation. The timeframe for the pause or time-out may be 15-minutes, 30-minutes or an hour. It all depends on what you agree to. However, the two of you must come back to the discussion to resolve the matter.

7. Address Issues as They Come Up – It is important not to let anger build up. Discuss things while they are small instead of waiting until they blow out of proportion. Also avoid going to bed angry. Resolve your matters promptly so that they don’t become bigger than what they would have been if you had addressed them early on.

8. Ask Your Mate Resolution Questions – It is both natural and important to discuss the problems in a relationship thoroughly. Yet, once the problem has clearly been outlined from both perspectives, it is critical that both of you move the discussion to a problem-solving format. In other words, just don’t complain about it, now work together to do something about it. An example of a resolution question is, “Honey, how can I help so that you don’t feel that way?”

There are many things that happen in a relationship which triggers an argument or fight between couples. It happens; but just because you had a fight is not cause to be concerned. The time to be concerned is when the fighting and argument goes afoul. So couples remember to argue in the best manner and in a loving way. Remember that your mate is your ally, not your enemy. If you have been fighting in an unfair manner, make a paradigm shift and evolve your relationship to a more healthy state.


The Power of Transparency in Your Marriage

lady-manThere is no doubt that communication is important in any relationship. For couples to win at love they must be willing to talk to one another about important matters. However, when we discuss the art of transparency, and it is an art, it goes far above and beyond simply having discussions about those things that really matter. Discussing things openly and without any hidden agendas or motives goes right to the heart of what transparency is all about. It is a manner of relating that places on the table all hidden information.

Couples who are completely open and transparent with one another have authentic relationships. These are couples who demonstrate being real with one another and do not hide or seek to hide matters. Now, it is not necessarily an easy feat to accomplish this because transparency in relating to your counterpart requires an amazing level of maturity and emotional aptitude. This manner of being with your mate or spouse encourages total openness and honesty. However, there must be an emotionally safe environment for transparency on this level to occur.

Let’s look at your relationship with your spouse from the perspective of four rooms. In the first room of your relationship there is information that is known to you and to your spouse or mate. The second room is filled with information that is not known to you but your spouse or mate is aware of as it relates to you. The third room contains information that neither one of you are aware of. Finally, the fourth room is filled with information that you know, but your spouse does not.

The goal of a transparent relationship is to move as much information as possible from all of the other rooms to room number one – that room where information is known by both you and your spouse. While many may challenge the need to communicate like this, I offer some strong reasons as to why transparent communication with your spouse is one of the most powerful and effective ways to cleave and place hedges of protection around your marriage.

Using Johari’s window, as describe above with the four rooms, the strongest relationships are formed when information is known to self and others. This is even more important with the person you have committed to spend the rest of your life with.

Transparent Communication in Your Marriage:

1. Closes the door from any external mischief-makers playing two ends against the middle or from enemies of your marriage who attempt to sow seeds of dissention. If you talk about things openly with your spouse, you are better able to work together to put strategies in place to handle problematic external forces and influences that work against harmonic relations between the two of you.

2. Demonstrates incomparable trust. If you keep lines of communication open about any subject matter and no subject is taboo with your mate and create an atmosphere of emotional safety in discussing even the hardest of subjects, you demonstrate with your action a profound level of trust that you have for your mate and are willing to expose information and receiving it responsibly. It places the couple in the position to have to trust the other not only with their heart but with information that may be extremely sensitive. This kind of communication requires commitment.

3. Builds an authentic friendship between you and your spouse. Real friends are very rare. When people are married, the best and strongest friendship one can build is with their spouse. Having your spouse as your best friend makes an “ordinary” marriage extraordinary; and the difference one can make by befriending their spouse is adding that little “extra” dynamic to the relationship.

4. Offers protection against infidelity. Infidelity happens in a cloud of secrecy. When things are not kept secret between husband and wife, and couples are able to openly discuss their weaknesses or temptations with each other, it provides an opportunity to effectively deal with risk factors and to implement strategies to strengthen any pillars in the marriage that might be crumbling.

5. Serves as a tool for healing and conflict resolution. Transparent loving communication helps to ease the pain that sometimes spouses causes one another. When you can fess up or sincerely and openly discuss your feelings and emotions with your mate, it provides a platform to work through issues maturely and lovingly. Words do matter. Yet, when couples take the necessary time to thoroughly share information that is needed for each other to “be okay” it offers a profound opportunity to heal and reconcile differences.

There is a saying that, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Transparent communication in your marriage might be difficult, but it is definitely worth it in the long run!

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