Thursday, May 12, 2011

Negotiations

I wrote in an earlier blog that it isn't romantic to think of dating like a social contract; but, if we did it would alleviate so much drama that is later discovered in the marriage. I still stand on that statement, only I have to add an addendum onto it. It is necessary to add this clause for those who are naive of others being without the purest of intentions. You do realize that there are people that come to church for the sole purpose of finding a mate and once that ring and vows are in place the loyalty of serving (helps ministry) becomes a distant memory. For this reason, I believe it is of the utmost importance for women as well as men to know what is negotiable and what isn't (Habakkuk 2:2 KJV).

I recall a minister saying, "if you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything." He was referring to Christians voting at the polls during the election season; nevertheless, it is also appropriate here. Once realizing that this maybe the person you could spend the rest of your life with, the conversation becomes more detailed and clear as to what is expected and what can be tolerated. There are some common issues of divorce couples that I would think can be placed here as a jumping off point for discussion. I will make every effort to incorporate the Word in these points. If you don't see them now refer to this blog often because I will continue the search.

1. The Boys Night Out - This I find fascinating that a grown man went through what he did to find a mate in order to obtain favor from the Lord and then chooses to leave her alone while he has fun with his friends as he did when he was single. Is it a reason to have an argument (Colossians 3:12-14 KJV)? It could be if she feels neglected and or if she feels she can do the same thing and the feelings then are reversed. I can even see a continual revenge thing happening here - a sort of tit for tat. The mere title of the event tells so much. If he needs this boys night out, what happened with putting away with childish things? And if it isn't a problem for her then I would have her consider, when we were children, after a certain hour if we weren't in the house my parents knew that we were only creating trouble. When boys are out at all hours of the night, what are they doing (Proverbs 19:15 KJV)? The negotiation tactics of someone who still wants to play will say, "you have to trust me." The Word says otherwise (Psalm 40:4, 56:11146:3 KJV).

2. My Mother is My Closest Friend - Well, this seems pretty obvious. Whether it be the man or woman with this best friend, the Word is clear on the matter (Genesis 2:23-25 KJV). Negotiations can be manipulated easily because of who  the person is and wanting to get in the middle of such a close bond, "this is my mother," the newly married person will say and then guilt is in place. Get the guilt out and settle the matter. The two have become one and the spouse is now the closest person to the other. The mother must recognize this even if she is single herself. This will take some time and patience with much prayer, for the mother as well as the child with the close relationship.

3. This Is My Money Though - Money matters, they say, are the prime reason people get divorced. Personally, I believe the prime reason for divorce is the fear that shows causing the suggestion, "...there won't be enough for the both of us, there was barely enough for me!" The possibility of entertaining that thought should be discovered during the dating process. As I have taught my sons, get your spiritual life in order, your education, get a good job, have some money in the bank, purchase a car and a home before even thinking about dating. It is what God did with Adam and should be the on going agenda for all generations to come (Genesis 8-18 KJV). Stating that he needs help without all of this in place is not the clue for him to get married but a clue for him to go classes so he has the skills to get those things. If money becomes an issue for divorce then you must examine something else because you believed the hype (1 Timothy 6:10 KJV).

4. Big Families Run In My Family - So? What does that mean? Are you expecting a large family with this spouse? Is there an agreement? In these days and times with what the Word says about the pregnant woman, are you certain about that? Can you afford having a large family? Are you believing that God will make a way in spite of your income, environmental space, the emotional and mental health of the potential spouse, and your personal tolerance level? To set the record straight, as wonderful as it may seem to have those beautiful tiny versions of yourself running around the house, the real skinny is that the raising of the family usually falls on the woman. Does she have the stamina and desire to stay at home and do this? There is no question that with a large family, there has to be someone at home. How is this worked out on paper? Will she have to get a second job? For this large family, will government assistance be in the plan? If so, have you made the potential spouse aware of this? Which ever the amount, God expects for the home to be run with Peace at the helm. The children are to know and fear the Lord. For they are raised in the admonition of Him. How can this be done when the husband and wife are stressed having no fore thought that each child has expectations of their own from the moment they come out of the womb?

5. Age Is Nothing But A Number - This is what is believed when May/ December romances come together and marry. But when the years pass, are there expectations of the other to keep one's appearances up to par? This is also relevant for those who marry and are of the same generation. Style in clothing change and though what was once very appealing in the dating process, there has been some changes going on. The spouses have grown in their belief systems, the outlook of life and how they wear clothes. Styles are always changing and this must be looked at on a serious level. He could be changing his style based on what he remembers in high school that just is not appropriate for a middle aged man. She should have every right to say something without it being an issue. Who are you dressing to please? What is said during this time of disagreement is, "you liked it when we were dating! Don't try to change me now!" What is not seen is the extra pounds found on the backside or around the waist that wasn't there during the dating process. What use to look sexy isn't doing a thing for you and therefore either lose the extra pounds or change the style of clothes you wear. What about plastic surgery, liposuction, and botox? Are those things expected to do when the years start showing its signs? If one looks better then the other, for whatever the reason, is this important and will it be a reason for discussion later?

These are five major reasons as to why arguments in a marriage begin. It is not the actual reason for the divorce however, I don't care what any of the therapists, relationship experts,and those with PhD's say. If they were honest and truly looked at the matter with themselves rather then the other person, what inevitably is discovered is selfishness. There cannot be love in place when self has been considered before the other person. Even the act of arguing is a selfish act. One is trying to get the other to see his side as being right and no one is listening. The only negotiation for the lack of love is to get away from the other. Divorce is a failed marriage. The Word tells us that love never fails. There is no negotiating that.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Don't Worry

You think you have "the one" and all seems well, but you woke up this morning and thoughts of doubt have been pestering you about the relationship. Why now? Why when all has been going so well? Was it something you said or did that would cause these thoughts? Did he/she do something that changed the relationship and the lack of peace is proof of it (Isaiah 26:3 KJV)? Is God talking to you?

I ask these questions because it has happened to me and those that I have spoken to. There would be clear warning signs that the relationship isn't at all what one would think and because of the disregard to the warning signs we (meaning, I and those I spoke to) proceeded on and wished otherwise. I detest living my life in regret. It isn't really living the life that God promised at all (John 10:10 KJV). Therefore, I am writing this piece so you can have a clear path when taking the next step in the relationship; whether that be exclusivity or saying good bye.

Last night after having dinner with my family and a friend, the friend and I went to the movies. We both were thinking that lately how nice it would be if we were dating rather then going to the movies with each other. Know that the friend, whom I have known for more then five years, is a female. You get in that sort of mode coming from a "feel good" movie with so many couples around you. Its that wishing it were you kind of crap then, if you don't recognize the distraction, your focus changes from continuing your purpose to becoming a couple with someone. Believe me, its been done. Stay focused!

Years do fly by and there are points where your patience is tested, but know that God is in control. I heard a message where the minister tells the congregation that its not God that is in control but we are. The Word of God is for us. It is for edification, exhortation and comfort (1 Corinthians 14:3 KJV). I have learned over those passing years, that if the message doesn't have all three of those factors, it wasn't for me. Having control over the entire process of life might give some believers the jolt they needed to get out of the slump that they are in. I can relate to re-framing the fabric of your life in changing the lifestyle and with what one says (Mark 11:23 KJV); however, I am a firm believer in God being omnipotent, omniscient, and omni-present. I don't know of anyone else having those skills. Therefore, with Him being who He is, it is much more comforting, edifying, and exhorting to know that when I make a mistake, I can pray and He has my back. When I am traveling a road in life that isn't as well paved, I can take the matter before Him and He can pave it even before I get there. When I counsel clients, I can be reassured that what I say and write is being done because He knows their hearts even before formed in the womb (Jeremiah 1:5 KJV). I don't know of anyone else like that.

So the "feel good" movies that try to force the next step to a relationship, or the thoughts to distract you from your purpose, or the many sermons that brings one message but makes you think otherwise, I remind you to fear not. God sees you and knows what you are trying to do. With Him being here and seeing what happened there, you having nothing to fear. Trust in Him.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Marketing

High School Economics teaches that because there is a demand there should be an increase in supply. If there is no demand, why then produce what no one desires to have? Once the desire is targeted, then marketing proceeds in order for that market to be capitalized on. Marketing is seemingly a strategy that is monopolized by the economic industry. This would not necessarily be true. People have taken a page out of the our high school textbooks and have used the same strategy in every aspect of their lives; however, for the purpose of this blog, I will focus on Christian dating.

In my early twenties, married, and pregnant with twins, I was shopping in a grocery store with my sons' soon to be godmother and family friend. We happened upon a woman looking to be in her late forties shopping as well. I didn't know her but the family friend did. She introduced me and for the short time there in the market place we conversed. The way she and my friend spoke it was as if she had just divorced or her husband had passed away. I couldn't tell because the verbiage seems the same no matter what the incident. For instance:
How are you doing gurl (looking sad and patting the person on the back for some sort of sympathetic support)? Is there anything I can do for you? You are going to be alright...if you need anything at all.


The reply didn't reveal any more information then I already had:
Don't worry I am fine. I moped for a little while but I know life goes on. I know I had to shake it off and keep myself marketable.

It was that last statement that I remembered and thought how wise for her to say such a thing. How does a woman keep herself marketable in a market place where most of the men her age are either married, have committed to a life style of being a bachelor, or in the grave? I am speaking of Christian men. Adding the secular genre is not considered here. I contemplated over what this woman said for quite some time wondering if I would ever have to make the same decision she did and do whatever that decision entailed.

Working in a senior community I have watched the ladies the most and how they handle themselves in every given situation. Do they resort to old ways or do they try out their senior status in having everyone change because they are the age that they are. For the most part they rely on being seniors and like the benefits that it brings; however, I couldn't help over hearing a woman who is 101 in age. She was standing at the dinner counter looking over the dishes that were being served. The kitchen staff waited patiently as she decided what she was going to have. She said in a small voice, "I have to watch my figure." The kitchen staff chuckled knowing her age. I looked at her tiny face as she deliberated over the choices of entrĂ©es. She was serious.

The office manager was invited to an event that was being held at my place of employment. She invited her mother-in-law of whom she was caring for. While leaving to go to the event with her mother-in-law who was dressed in her after five attire along with her date, the office manager whispered to me, "She is 95. My father passed away 10 years ago and she has a boyfriend." The office manager didn't have a date nor the prospects of anyone interested. She looked at me astonished having known this all of this time and I suppose it bothered her a little; nevertheless, her mother in law looked good to be 95 years old.

As a care giver for a 93 year old woman, I did for her everything she could not do. She had her usual breakfast and watched her usual programs. For the most part she was home bound and her daughter preferred it that way. When I saw that she was getting bored with the usual breakfast I would cook for her, I changed it up a little. Instead of the one egg, a couple of strips of bacon with grits and toast every morning, I gave her along with the egg and bacon, one pancake. She enjoyed that pancake as if she hadn't eaten for awhile. I let her daughter know of the progress and the tiny change I made in her diet for one day. The daughter went ballistic. On and on I heard her drone about how fattening pancakes are and how I could ask anyone for that information which was not necessary. I figured if she was going to get upset it would be because any side effects it would have with her medication and her health was at risk. But then I thought - over a pancake! I had to listen to this woman go on and on how that one pancake was going to make her mother fat. She was 93! She was home bound! One pancake was going to set the scale on tilt - really? That woman was so happy to get that pancake. For goodness sake, let her live a little or did her daughter have the same idea as those women mentioned above? Even in taking care of her mother, was she thinking to stay in good shape just in case there are prospects near by?

Where am I going with this in the way of Christian dating? Isn't it obvious? For women, we may not be the ones to go and do the finding but we are the ones that will be making the assessments on whether the potential on looker is what God intended for you to help. Seeing the Word tells us that man looks at the outward appearance and as much as we would like for the faith walk to go further then what we have been taught, we still have to make this body holy and acceptable (Romans 12:1 KJV). If the animals are looking at appearance and strong scents before mating, what do you suppose God was looking at when He said it was good and for man not to be alone? Many women when they pass a certain age, we tend to think that there is a point of no return and we might as well let gravity have its way. Personally, along with other scriptures that I meditate on, one of my favorites is for the Lord to fill my mouth with good things and renew my youth like the eagles. I still fight the good fight of faith - even with gravity!

For the men, marketing for you would be much like what I believe God was looking at. Even when He provided Adam a job, a vision for the future, and a place to reside, Adam still needed the help of a woman. Note how God made sure all of those other matters were already in place. Also pause and look at the animals as I believe God did before forming man (Genesis 18-22 KJV). There the lion, walrus, kangaroo, elephant, some species of birds, and so many other males of the animal kingdom - they stake out their territory, they look around for the best female of the group, and they keep watch for any predators or other males trying to take what is theirs. This is what animals do! ANIMALS! Selah.