Meeting that someone, who is much more than all the other “someones” and feeling like this is home, is priceless!
There is a peace that tells you it’s safe to proceed.
You’re getting to know each other and learning the nuances of relating to each other. Some days you can see the future as plain as ever, while others you wonder if you can live with this imperfect human. How dare him not be made in the image and the likeness of the man that you constructed in your head!
After all, that man is perfect!
Still, this relationship is causing you to get over your more blatant “Meology theology.” You know the realization that the whole world does not move at your pace to accomplish your will. Yea…especially if you’re in your 20’S it takes some reckoning. Not to worry, change is at your door.
Marriage is in view and it’s scary exciting! Okay, at times it’s downright frightening when you consider how much you have to give up to become one with this unknown entity. At another glance, you wonder how you could be this blessed to have such a beautiful heart pant after yours. If you get your eyes off the image of perfection you have constructed in your mind, you can admit that his character is what you have prayed for and desired. After admitting that you love him and you’re in love with him, I have a question for you.
Can you follow his lead? A godly woman should seek to answer this question before her heart completely melts at his acts of kindness and his projection for the future. Before you consider marriage, you have to resolve that based on his core beliefs and persuasion, you can follow him. As Christians, we understand that the Marriage Maker has made the man the head of the household and the woman his suitable mate. This places the woman in a place of being very alert concerning who she allows her heart to be tangled with. If you cannot follow his lead, you will lead a rebellion against him.
“How can two walk together unless they agree?” Amos 3:3
You’d be surprised or not that you can easily attempt a coup against this man you love, for the marriage to go the way you see it. It is crucial to know that you are following the lead of someone who himself is under God’s leadership and agrees that he aims to love you as Christ loves the Church and gave Himself for it.
I recall someone poking fun at a gentleman she considered suitable for me in the presence of my mentor, who snapped and wiped the smile off our faces. In a strict tone, she opined, “She will not marry anyone who she can lead, or she will!”
I had to admit that she was right. I had to marry someone I honor and respect. His persuasion and moral stance command honor before he says a word. I was confident that I could follow his lead, even when I wanted it my way. I trusted who leads him to lead our family and our lives.
So ask yourself that question having noticed his consistency of character and devotion to God. Save yourself the unnecessary trauma. Consider why you’d be challenged to follow his lead. Be honest with yourself before getting too attached.
If your answer is ‘yes,’ happy courting!
It’s love and it’s beautiful! It’s heart-thumping and nerve-racking, but sweet! There is a bond, a connection and a feeling like forever is not long enough. It’s what the movies are made of! There is the occasional step back that makes you wonder if this is “too good to be true.” But what more could you ask for when the love is undeniable?
So glad you asked. Let’s stop for just a crucial moment and turn down the background music to really take a sober look at the marriage you passionately desire. Like any iconic building, marriage needs a strong foundation. After building that strong foundation, please turn back up the music and let the church bells ring with joyful laughter.
Even before starting the building, please consult the ‘Marriage Maker’ to find out if it is worth your time, effort and emotional investment. Did GOD give you the nod? This might leave you feeling lost, so let’s be clear. Very rarely will the voice of GOD thunder from heaven in approval of your spousal choice. Instead, this requires a relationship already established with Him where you, as His sheep, hear His voice. In worship when you have drawn close to Him and sense His presence, pop the question and wait. You might not get a worded answer, but you have started the quest. He is a good Father who will not give you a stone instead of bread. God wants you to know who to marry.
For me, He guided me by His profound peace. I came to realize that many of my decisions would be made this way since He wants me (us) to know Him this intimately. God will, in addition, confirm His approval in many ways: some very logical and others crafted just for you.
The work has just begun!
Not because he or she is the “one” means that it will be smooth sailing! You both have to empty your trunk of junk from the past, air your expectations in marriage and make a plan for this new family unit that you can both agree to. You guessed it…get pre-marital counseling! By the way, counseling should start when you both decide to pursue each other for the purpose of marriage – courtship. It does not start after you have sent out your “Save the Dates” for the wedding.
This preparation period if mishandled will turn something beautiful into a horror show! Besides the trunk of junk that each person carries into relationships, each has undefined expectations that one may consider is commonly known. Oh, contrary!
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Pr 4:7
God is entrusting you to love His daughter or His son and it will require serious adjustments on both sides. Some things will come naturally for you, while others, you will be taught in the process of learning to love each other. It is work! It’s not automatic! The more you are yielded to God, the more easily you will love like 1 Cor 13. This chapter speaks of committed love, the only kind that marriage should be built on. Note…1 Cor 13 goes where no emotion nor fling can follow. It too takes work!
We’re in London, England on our first anniversary…what could go wrong?
Sorry I asked…
We were chipper leaving the hotel and heading off into the great unknown to make our own anniversary adventure. Oxford Circus was a buzz and an exciting vibrant atmosphere surrounded us as we delighted in all its architectural offerings.
Admittedly, it was a little dampening when we learnt we could not catch any of our favourite plays in a theatre that day since they were fully booked. Still, if there was one thing we were – it was hope-full.
We shook that off and headed for dinner. You know, a little fancy restaurant to enjoy fine cuisine. The restaurant we settled with didn’t look ideal but we thought it might do the trick. After ordering, we chatted and shared our excitement about being on tour with the band for a month as well as all we would do together. Soon our Italian cuisine arrived and though not visually stimulating, we were ready for “new.” We got just that! Frozen squid in tomato sauce plopped on top of spaghetti, was new.
Eventually, we gave up on food and decided to browse the vibrant Oxford Circus. We soon found a struggling Czech Republic migrant who drew this picture with one pencil. He captured some facial features well and missed others, but we were happy.
Night was starting to fall and we decided to catch the train back to our hotel, after getting some directions to the station. We soon realised we were lost, very lost! We were lost for hours. All the honey in our moon was gone and we became annoyed with each other. We waved at taxis one after the other and stood confused as to why they ignore us. Hours passed and it was dark…and hopeless. We comforted each other, feeling the scourge of rejection. It dawned on us that we were Black. After praying, waving at more taxis and waiting, a kind taxi driver drove past us and returned. Interestingly, he dropped us in front of our hotel in under 5 mins. We were so close to the hotel.
As we entered the hotel lobby, we were greeted by band members who added the icing to our ‘anniversary experience.’ They informed us that the tour had been cancelled and we had to find a place to stay by tomorrow!
We laughed and laughed! Indeed, we were on a longer ‘adventure’ since we were stuck in England for a month now, with no more concerts. We decided to make the most of it and ride every wave that came.
At the end of that night, we ordered room service and had the best lasagna ever! We celebrated our love for each other and apologized for the moments we lost track of the main things. Looking back over the 21 years of marriage. Our attitude has been a lot like that first anniversary. We challenge each challenge together as one force and laugh a lot.
Courting is an exciting time of discovery and romance, laden with the mystery of weaving two lives together. I remember how keenly we planned our many excursions which strangely erased unfamiliarity and brought us closer together. The task of getting to know each other was the most rewarding job we could have been given. Certainly, we would do it well...like two nerds with sharpened pencils at the front of the class.
When we decided to upgrade from friendship to courtship, we promptly brought our decision to our pastor. So here was the assignment: get a journal and extensively log all your expectations in marriage and after writing, exchange books with each other. Hmmmm…interesting!!!
While you may call our premarital counseling somewhat of a drive-by counseling, these two nerds took the assignment to task journeying across Jamaica with our journals. Whether with fresh caught fish on the seaside or discovering a castle on a mountainside, we pulled out our Expectations journals (EJ). Discovering each other stirred deep conversations.
Like flipping the pages of our hearts to view the next set of details we uncovered our expectations in marriage ranging from how we want to be loved to who washes the dishes. Dating became fruitful and very interesting.
As I often say, the marriage you’re going to have is already programmed into your heart. It therefore makes sense to unveil the heart unashamedly in the early stages so each gather enough information to know if this is the one worth committing to. Differences are certain, but an amicable conclusion can often be reached.
After honestly and diligently going through a range of topics in our EJ, we were better prepared to tackle the tumultuous early years of marriage, understanding each other’s expectations.
Here’s a taste of a question you’ll tackle in the EJ, “If we have a conflict, how would you like me to approach you?”
After 20 years of marriage, we want to help couples navigate through the premarital stages with the Expectations Journal.
Unlike a plain journal, we have made it special with prompts and pictures that you will make into your own memorabilia, while getting on the same page with your spouse. We have provided a list of potent subjects that premarital couples should certainly discuss before marriage.
Interestingly, we still have our Expectations Journal and carry them on almost every anniversary. We chuckle over want we use to expect and refresh what we now expect. This premarital tool can accompany you on any date.
Get ready! Choose a topic. Write your heart out about it! Exchange books !
You may think you know what to expect!
Enjoy each other!
Order your copy of The Expectations Journal by Tania Case on Amazon.com.
Cherish…to hold or treat as dear; feel love for
For years I have counseled ladies to check for the clear signs that a guy cherishes them. It may seem quite simple and even a little insignificant, but think again. The reason a man cherishes a woman is because he has discerned the level of her value. Without that sense of treasuring you, he can easily mistake your identity and mistreat you.
Let’s find a biblical basis for this claim.
“He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favour from God.” Proverbs 18:22
If the man does not recognize that you are a “good thing” that leads him to increase in favor with God, you cannot expect him to truly cherish you. Your value is lost on him. It is important to identify that quality in your relationship. When you are treasured, you are treated with love, care and caution.
Take a look at one of my favorite Kings – King Lemuel.
“A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.” Proverbs 31:10
This King understood that to find this woman is rare. He likens her worth to more than that of rubies! Do you think that he understood and cherished the value that this woman carries? Let’s be fair. Notice the woman that this man cherished. She is of noble character.
These words are used to describe the Chayil
strength, might, efficiency, a force like an army, rich in abilities
She is a woman of valor.
So while we advocate for being cherished in a relationship, we equally urge you to possess high character qualities that will make it abundantly clear that you are a daughter of the true King and therefore royalty. Value yourself and you will be setting the standard for how you are treated.
For the many women who are disappointed in your honest and rightful quest to identify husband material, I’d like to do my best to help you. Your desire is noble and warranted. I understand that you have worked on yourself and have sought to elevate your educational and skill level. You have put yourself together well and have been looking for the kind of man that would match you. He would love you like you deserve to be loved and in freedom you would give the love that you are endowed with in your heart. Somehow, it has been an extreme challenge to find that worthy candidate since those who have the moral stance seem to be void of the financial stamina to impress you. The well-educated men seem to consider themselves the one to be chased and cherished – a gross error! All is not lost, but you will need uncommon wisdom to navigate these waters. Honestly, you may not have the grit for what I’m about to tell you. If you consider yourself a magnet for wisdom, read on!
Fact is that we do not have a shortage of men in the world. In fact, men have a slight lead over women. So what is the problem? Enter a lecture room of a college or university and take a count of females verses male. Enter a church and do the same. You’re getting the picture. Many changes have occurred in society over the years including more fathers being out of the home, school systems structured more towards the learning style of girls and a culture that celebrate male irresponsibility. These are not excuses for men, but look around and ask the questions. As a mother of boys I have had to stand up for them and affirm them in our schools system. Without a strong family base they would have been a statistic!
If you are looking for males at your educational, financial, and spiritual level, the field narrows significantly. Out of those who are educated and financially stable, how many will be godly and purpose driven along with the other character traits that you have on that must-have list for ‘husband material?’
Are you ready for sound advice?
There are many reasons why a woman will not find “husband material,” beyond just a scarceness of the man she has described on her list.
One of the reasons is understanding from the Marriage Maker God that you are the treasure and he is the treasure seeker. Many women have done the seeking and the man has nothing to do. He is then feted and pampered while she does all the work to convince him that she is what he wants. He is still wired to chase, so he continues to look for who to chase. Sis, you have thrown your precious pearls at one who does not know the value of them. When men see what or who they want, they will make chase. Stop giving of yourself indiscriminately with no reciprocal action. You have reserved nothing! So, you are bankrupt after the experience.
“He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favour from the Lord.” Prov 18:22
What’s stated in paragraph one should cause you to consider the pool of men you’re choosing from. Does that financial and educational banner which is held high over your head guarantee you success in marriage? What if you have to think outside of that box of requirements and consider the men who are not yet made but are in the making? Some are at a disadvantage for a plethora of reasons. Consider if you may need to cut brothers some slack, who are in the making stage, possessing great qualities and working on actualizing their vision. There are some who will need to have a woman who is a destiny helper to speak into their potential and help position them for greatness. Do you resent the thought of being a part of his process? Having a good job does not mean that the man has arrived. That can change quickly! Who is he without that job?
God gave Adam a help meet, “ezer kenedgo.” The Hebrew word ‘ezer’ means to rescue or save, to be strong, while ‘kenedgo’ means suitable. This suitable woman comes alongside him with strength that delivers him to the place of greatness. She is not just a passive helper but a strong force. Together they compliment each other and are powerful.
With the constructs of our society, many men would love to find such a woman. One who does not look down her nose at him while he challenges his mountain. We must note that many men are not even trying to progress and will always speak of a dream but will only roll over and sleep some more. Our focus is on the other who are pushing but need more force. Find the one who your force matches, whether he is above, beside or beneath your social status, he will need you.
I remember being annoyed with my husband one year into marriage because of his lack of social graces. “You should know that, though!” I exclaimed. He responded, “Who would have taught me?” I was floored! It was true! Who would have taught this Jamaican man about social graces and the softer side of life. I was humbled and gently accepted my role. He taught me and I taught him and together we grew.
What if you approached your relationship like that? Both will bring something to the table that the other does not have. Together iron will sharpen iron. A relationship is to be developed and nurtured over time. Consistent mutual affections and sacrifice indicates progress.
We’ve just scratched the surface of this topic.
Tassia has imagined her love story from as long as she could remember. Though life has thrown her some hard punches, her hope remains buoyant and fresh. Much to the annoyance of her friends she continues to talk about her dream marriage. It’s as if she is as excited about it as she is about her Christian walk. If you’re around her, that fervor will either annoy or inspire you. When she talks about her husband, eyes usual drift to her uncrowned finger in wonderment. It’s not that she is not aware that her faith and fervor thins out her crowd. Some laugh in front of her face but many more the moment she turns her back. She is void of any emotional stress that their rolling eyes may convey.
For Tassia, this confidence came out of a deep place of relating to GOD in prayer. She sought Him and He assured her of the son He has assigned as her husband for His purpose. Consistently and affectionately she seeks Him, who fills every void in her. She has dealt with the baggage she carried into several relationships unknowingly. Tassia would expect disappointment in various forms, so she braced for it in her relationships. Eventually, she would herself sabotage the relationship in order to avoid suffering the pain at someone else’s hand.
She was called away to GOD. There HE opened her heart and show her the persons she had to let go. HE showed her the beliefs she had to surrender to renew her mind. It was a power struggle. It took time for her to realize that the very thing she was comfortable to keep could kill her destiny. The fasted lifestyle took a hold of the rope that constricted her generations from healthy marriages demanding that it be fragmented. She partnered with the only One who could deliver her, denying her own way for His.
Don’t grudge her as she rises from the reputation you’ve known her to have, or the past that predicted her failure. Tassia is a bride made ready for her groom through yielding. She is no longer fickle, needing someone to fulfil her. It’s in her GOD that she has been made whole and strong.
Is she healed just so she can be married? Oh no! Her healing is the reason you can call her a faithful friend. Her processing is why she was employee of the year and many gravitate toward her.
Those who laughed, their laughter have been abruptly silenced and they are in awe as her many weighted words make way for her dream to materialize. Learn her ways. They are not unique to her. The Marriage Maker welcomes you into the same healing and strengthening. Honestly, Esther would attest that there is a price called – sacrifice. Don’t fear or discredit yourself, for you are granted the empowerment you need to succeed.
Here’s a little secret…If you’re not healed from the thorn-bush experiences that you’ve repeatedly tumbled through, you’re probably not in the best shape to know your type of guy. Will you not choose from those who do not threaten the unhealed areas of you? Well that would mean that your past pain is ruling your future.
If the right one comes along, will your scarred lenses detect him as you look through windows of pain? I would never dear to kick you while you’re down. No I am here to administer medicine you may likely think you don’t need.
It’s time now to purposefully return to the scene of the crime. Where they hurt you. Where they abandoned you. You know that place you erased from your memory in order to cope. Little did you know that you’re daily reacting to that trauma. Making decisions based on it… choosing friends based on it….viewing life based on it.
If only we could go there and remove the fears you found and carried from there. There were some decisions you made as a result of the heavy disappointments that your heart could hardly carry. They were vows intended to protect you against that terrible scenes but instead the vows built chains binding you to your unwanted past.
Again…I’m only here to administer medicine for a soul that can be healed. I need you to cooperate. Aaah…open your mouth and denounce those vows.
Open again…keep it open and repent of becoming so self sufficient, that you can hardly receive help from anyone – your defense mechanisms employed to protect the wound, but it shut you out of living.
Open up again and forgive the perpetrators of that penetrating pain. Please can I ask you once more to cooperate with me as you denounce hatred which sprung to existence taking advantage of your awful situation. Father’s arms are opened for you to collapse in it and surrender…
Did I say, “Father?” Now you don’t want to hear me since much of your pain came from him. This FATHER is not like that one. HE says He’ll never leave you nor forsake you. His love is forever…yes steady…like a credit card it’s maxed out on you…He wants you healed and whole…flourishing from a prosperous soul.
The healed you is amazing with strength and resilience. You’re telling your story as people wonder if it’s even possible to rise from such dark places to the light of the platform you stand on. Your soften heart embraces the many who are where you were. You only know to love them to life after Father poured his love all over your life. Look at you!
Now confident in GOD’s love, you have permission to fearlessly receive and give love. So who is your type? I’m holding his description against the one you once had and they are looking drastically different. With cleaned heart and cleared lenses, love finds this “good thing.” You know now that you had to be healed to even known and receive your type.
A funny thing happened on the way to I do! That moment he stepped out of the crowd and pledged his undying love, there was a mob attack. Suddenly, the tongues of all possible suitors came loose and there came with it the courage to now express their heart. So, when there comes a flurry impressive enough to make you wonder – How will you know he’s the one?
Since Christian marriages aren’t founded upon just feelings, it’s important to know what other signs to look out for. I will extract a couple of tell tale signs from my experience and hope that they will help to light your path to a confident “I do.”
We all want to know in our hearts that we are making the right choice when it comes to marriage, except those who are so caught up in a feeling/fantasy that a reality check would be threatening. Courtship is the place to fearlessly unveil hearts and intentions in order to take an honest look and decide if you can live with this person for the rest of your life.
In courtship, one thing I was sure of was that this guy loved me until he did not know what to do with himself. I was sorry for him. He would trip over his feet trying to get to me. Still, that was not enough.
On a spiritual level we soared together and had equal passion for GOD and His Word. It was our happy place – we enjoyed digging into the Bible and compare notes. Worship was another area in which we were super compatible. Still it was not enough.
We effortlessly enjoyed each other’s company and were genuine friends first and foremost. Physical attract came after awhile. Still that was not enough to make me commit to this guy for life, forsaking all others.
So how did I know that he was the one? Yes, all the factors mentioned above contributed to the big picture. The fact that he checked most, if not all of my boxes, which I had dutifully brought before GOD, was but a clue. Still, I wanted concrete evidence.
When I talked to GOD about him in the intimate place there was such a punctuated peace. As if to say, “Note this.” I was not anxious but confident that GOD had the right one for me. I didn’t want to twist GOD’s arm for Him to approve him. Instead, I was open to hear “yes” or “no.” So I had GOD’s peace, which was amazing, but I wanted further confirmation.
We both went to minister in praise and worship at a major event and in the middle of this sweet atmosphere, I felt the approval of GOD and had an understanding that this guy was home. I was never able to shake that feeling from then.
The sense of collective purpose was one of the most pronounced signs that “this is the guy!” We ignited around purpose. We knew this because we talked deeply and honestly about who we are what we felt GOD had called us to. We celebrated each other without an alteration plan. Admittedly, I was desperate to change how he dressed and I did.
Beyond your character checklist, you know he is the one because 1. God confirms it (this requires an intimate relationship with God).
2. Peace – he feels like home. 3. Strong sense of Collective Purpose.
Hint: These tell tale signs are much more detectable when sex is not a part of the relationship and you are both sober, free from soul ties, etc.
You can then know without a shadow of a doubt that he is the one.
Hint: If you have to jump through hurdles continuously to please him, he is likely not the one or an immature version of him…he needs more time to mature.
Hint: If you’re not better for being around him, he’s likely not the one. For example, if you have to tone down your Christianity – flashing red light.
There should be a beauty with you both going to your FATHER God together in prayer, knowing neither of you is an orphan.
The mother of wise King Lemuel warned him not to spend his strength on women who ruin kings. Who are these women who ruin kings? What are their attributes? How are they able to ruin Kings?
A king sits in a place of authority and power. His strong leadership position is coveted. Not every woman wants to partner with the high profile or purpose-laiden leader. Still, there are those women who only have appetite for kings…men in high esteem…powerful…visible and known. For some, they know it’s their GOD-given call to partner with such a man. Meanwhile others are sent to take them down. These women are equipped and strong in their craftiness, employing strategies their colleagues would blush at. They wield a power that is able to disarm any king who has his guard down. Rich in worldly wisdom, she has a way around such men.
Take Delilah for example…she was a strategist who the Philistine army knew had access in ways they never could. What an army could not do to trap Samson, Delilah could at the bat of a lash. She weakened the strongest man in the world by first tangling his heart and blinding his mind. Her charm disarmed Israel’s great warrior and made play-dough of his brain.
What did Delilah know? She knew how to gain his trust. She knew how to be a safe place for him. She knew how to sooth and affirm him. She had strategy as she played his heart as a harp….until she conquered him and thwarted his purpose. Solomon warned his son…
Women, you are powerful and are either under the influence of light or darkness. When rightly aligned to GOD you can fuel a man’s dreams and call forth his greatness. Your subtle encouragement can revive his passion for purpose. Why? You are given the power of influence. Not the influence that makes your body and beauty a tool of entrapment and manipulation, or your charm an overpowering force that arrests his will.
Lemuel’s mom in the same breath warned him about women and wine. Women and wine?
What do they have in common? Influence.
Before you turn on the charm again…consider whose influence you’re under. You’re not of those who ruin kings!