#expectations

How Will I Know If He Really Loves Me?

“There are three things that are too amazing for me,

    four that I do not understand:

19 the way of an eagle in the sky,

    the way of a snake on a rock,

the way of a ship on the high seas,

    and the way of a man with a young woman.

Prov 30:18-19

Mystified…the writer of this Proverb, Agur, admitted that he could not understand the way of a man around a woman.  I can imagine him watching the excited young man carefully carrying out his plan of wooing the lady.

It was a mystery to him, and he is not alone. 

I’ve got good news! Not to worry!  Read along…there are plenty of ways to decode the actions and words of the man and find out if he really loves you.

Are you even ready to know, though?

1.     Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks Lk 6:45

With the strong lead we could ascertain what’s in his heart from what he regularly speaks about or how he speaks to you.  What is it that he is saying?  Still, this is not enough to hang your heart on, since many men are known to be lyricists and can find the exact words to tickle your ears, creep into your heart and convince you.

We’ll have to do better…

2.     Where a man’s treasure is, there is heart is also. Mt 6:21

What does he do with his money and his time? Does he withhold them from you while using them for others? (Please note:  If you are not his wife, your bills are still your bills)

Giving is one of the most natural expressions of love in any relationship.  A man who loves you delights in giving from whatever he has.

3.     Speaking of treasures, does he discern your value? 

He that finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favour from the Lord.

It is your value that he perceives and therefore resolves that you are good for him.  When he knows how valuable you are, his treatment of you will reflect it.  Don’t settle for less than that.

4.     Sacrifice… John 15:13  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…Eph 5:25

So you are now armed with information to help you discern the heart of a man who proposes that he really loves you. 

“He Makes Me Happy!”

I thought he’d make me happy. We have such a chemistry.  Finishing each other’s sentence makes us know we were meant to be together.  It’s this…you know sweet connection, where he gets me and I so get him!  Everybody marvels at how we just…you know…connect!  It doesn’t hurt that he is so gorgeous and thinks I’m his perfect match.  He’s the hero who rescues me when I’m having an off day and makes everything just right!

There are times when I realize that he wants something different from what I want but…with a little persuasion…he comes right around.  He allows me to charm him way to easily, though.  I just love him!

Recently, I felt like something was wrong.  The wedding was literally everything I wanted and he looked amazing in his tailored royal blue suit.  It’s the look he had in his eyes as he watched me saunter down the aisle…it was as if I was the most beautiful creation he had ever laid eyes on.  I couldn’t help blushing repeatedly. 

His smile…

A rare occurrence lately.

We’re only a few months married, and he seems more meditative and removed.  I’m not sure what’s wrong, but I don’t feel happy. Why isn’t he making me happy?

To be honest, I too have become quiet to hide my disappointment.  We still laugh together but I don’t feel his effort to do everything in his power to make me happy.

What’s wrong in this story? I’m sure you saw some red flags. Here is one.

No one should carry the heavy weight of responsibility of making you happy.  They cannot bear it and they will eventually fail you.  Your true satisfaction comes from GOD.  He fills every void and makes you a joy-giver.  Without a real relationship with Jesus, you will seek to fill that void and be frustrated by man’s inability to do so.  The one who made you has everything you need and is more than willing to pour His perfect love into you when you sincerely ask.  Then you will be your best self in relationships, giving and receiving love. 

“Never place the gravity of marriage on the fickle frame of feelings.”

Church Girl Series #2

Chari had the bad habit of knocking while attempting to open Jala’s apartment door. 

“Jala!  You knew if you didn’t answer the phone I’d be coming over.” She knocked again impatiently and twisted the doorknob.

Eventually, Jala came to the door not saying a word.  Chari came in with food in hand and proceeded to the kitchen counter to share it out.

“I stopped by benevolence after work, and they said you didn’t come by…Sunday you slipped out just before church ended.  What’s going on, Jala?”

“I’m just trying to lay low and get these folks off my back.  Ever since the gas station explosion and Ephraim helped me out of the building, I can’t get these people off my back! I wouldn’t be surprised if they were planning our wedding.”

“You take things too seriously, Jala. I would not care one iota if it were me.  No! None of them would have anything to say to me.  I would play with them and give them something to talk about when I turn my back.”

Chari laughed as she created scenarios to provoke the nosy church folks.

The two friends sat eating at Jala’s small round dining table.  A flowery pendant light hung just above their heads.  Chari knew her favourite Chinese dishes and sought to use food to get pass Jala’s walls.  Canton Kitchen served the best kung pao chicken and noodles and they were near Jala’s apartment.

“On a serious note, though Jala, I think you are still reacting to the embarrassing situation you went through with Jonathan almost four years ago.”

“Oh no, you don’t! Chari, is that what you’ve come here for, to drag up my past and make me a counselling case?”

“Relax! We’ve been best friends longer than you and I can remember, so I think I should be able to point out a little trauma in my bestie’s life.  Jonathon was a colossal mess!  With his high tenor voice and pretentiousness, he had half the ladies in the church convinced he only had eyes for them.  He sounds like one of the beasts in Revelation with eyes everywhere.  He lured you into his web!”

“Ok, I was an idiot!

“No way!  You’ve got to let that go and forgive yourself.  The guy was like Solomon without the wisdom.  Many women fell for him.”

“Why couldn’t I see that he was not interested in me? I was an idiot! A man who does not want to be seen in public with you, ignores you at church but calls you the moment you reach home to express his undying love, should raise many red flags. But, not to me he didn’t.  I was smitten despite your caution.  Well, no need to repeat that situation!  I’ll make sure of that.”

“Girl, at the sound of things, you are not about to let any other man in.”

“Look at you!  You’re a genius!” exclaimed Jala finally laughing.  She felt empowered and in control.

“Oh, speaking of not letting another man in…guess who I saw when I stopped by the benevolence room?  Ephraim. He was asking me for you.”

“Pastor Pruit must have let him in to work.  I was so into my selfish slump I didn’t remember I was supposed to open up for him.

Jala suddenly stopped and looked at her friend.  “You weren’t thinking that I had interest in Ephraim too?”

“Oh, no!” snapped Chari with both hands in the air. “I would never assume that you would even consider a handsome, mannerly carpenter of a man!  No doubt he has no degree!”

Chari continued with great sarcasm.  “After all, of what use is a man like that!”

“Firstly, I don’t know a thing about him.

“Secondly, even if did, I would not like to be in a relationship.

Thirdly, I could not take a carpenter home to meet my mom! So, let that set your mind at ease.”

 “Jala, I knew all your numbers from one to three already. We’ve been here many times.  I know…he’s a pleasant guy though.”

“Yea, I agree.”

“By the way, I gave him your number.”

“What?”

“You said he was a nice guy!  He wanted to check up on you and find out how your ankle was doing.  He said from he dropped you off that night he never heard another word from you even though he gave you his number for you to call if you needed help.

“Precisely, I didn’t need help! I still don’t!”

“Ooooo, so edgy Jala!”

Jala sighs and admitted that poor Ephraim was not deserving of this harshness nor this situation in which he was involuntarily placed.

“To be honest, Jala, Ephraim is a wonderful human and we had a great time chatting.  I can see us being good friends.”

“Wow, that’s big of you!  We know he wouldn’t make it to the husband list because he’s a carpenter. Still, I’m impressed that he is worthy of friendship.”

There’s a knock on the door and Chari wastes no time parting Jala’s damask patterned curtains to see who’s outside.

“Speaking of forever friend zone,” she whispered loudly to Jala.  “Hello Abe!”

 Jala dramatically flung the door open freezing in a grinning pose.

“Oh, I forgot you live here.  Hi Jala,” he said, passing Chari to hug Jala.

“Hey Abe.  Why didn’t you tell me you were coming by?”

“Jala, you don’t answer your phone and besides, you may say no.  What are friends for!”

“Indeed, what are some friends for?” chimed Chari looking at Abe. Their friendship has been much like this. 

“So where is your new friend, Jala?” inquired Abe, who is known for his blunt and unfiltered communication.

“You know about Ephraim too?”

“Of course, not because I play the drums mean I don’t hear what’s going on.  I hear that you and him have been an item for some time now.  I’m just wondering how I didn’t hear about him as your dear friend who you love, by the way!”

“Here we go!” shouted Jala jumping from her chair. 

Chari’s eyes opened wide. “Do tell Abe!”   

“Do tell what! You already know the truth.  I met the guy moments before the gas station explosion.  That’s what you get when you go to a small church and everybody knows everybody and tries to marry you to anybody!”

“What does this remind you of? This was what happened when Jonathan was found out after leading all these young ladies on…including our dear Jala,” added Abe.”

“That is what it feels like! People nosing into my business and assuming a lot.  That’s why I keep myself to myself.  I hope God gives me a husband who is from a different church! 

No one calls to find out the truth but continues to talk and build lies.”

As if on cue, Jala’s phone rings.

Jala sighs.

“It’s condescending Connie from core.

“Hi Connie, how are you?”

“Hi Jala, I didn’t see you at core yesterday so I just call to check on you.”

“Actually Connie, I’ve been missing core for almost a month, but thanks for calling I’m fine.

Yes, I did hurt my ankle, but the swelling went down.”

Yes…It was lovely of the gentleman to help.”

Both Chari and Abe were laughing uncontrollably at Jala, who was trying to maintain her cool.

No soon as Jala came off the phone with eyes rolling.  It rang again.

“Seriously Connie!”

“Let me answer her,” shouted Chari.

Jala looked down at her phone wondering who was calling.

“Let me answer!” Chari snatched the phone from Jala.

“You’ve reached the number of Jala McKnight, how can I help you?”

“Aaah…Jala?”

“Oh no! Just a minute.”

She motioned for Jala to get to the phone quickly while Abe whispered, “Who is it?”

“Hello Ephraim?”

The story began in Part 1 of the Church Girl Series. Look out for Part 3 soon. Find out how Jala confronts her deep rooted issues…including the meddling saints.

#youngwifelife

***A SPECIAL FOR YOUNG WIVES…BUT A SNEAK PEAK FOR SINGLES.***

The wedding was a major accomplishment! The outstanding and exquisite moments of the day stays on replay in your thoughts. The honeymoon felt like a dream that takes you into a whole new world together. Finally together without restraint. Returning to a home made for the establishment of this union, has many sweet spots. Although life’s demands barge in, the honeymoon continues, except for a few punctuated moments…

“Clearly we are one!”

Everyday living carries with it a fair amount of revelations.

Enters….conflict!

(Parading its proud self down the runway void of applause.) Here is…

Mis-Communication

“How could you get that from what I just said?”

Mis-Understanding

“That’s not what I was trying to say.”

Mis- Takes

“Why are you taking offense at that little thing?”

Each conflict is accompanied by fear. It would do each person a lot of good to identify the fear found in the conflict and confront it in one’s self. Early conflicts in marriage can feel overwhelming and daunting since they are not planned for or even foreseen. The thought comes to mind in the moment, that this situation is permanent and you’re stuck!

Calm….

What you are encountering is common to man and woman. Now you understand how different your backgrounds are and how also different your expectations. The same misplaced issues can benefit you greatly depending on how you handle them.

Communicate not to win the argument but for the union to win. This takes practice and maturity to put aside selfishness.

Understanding that this person you just married loves you and does not have the motive of hurting you, lessens the weight of offense. Motive matters.

Take time to learn each other as a student studies a new subject and understand that there will be a lot of give and takes in the process of the two becoming one.

You are both in a period of great adjustments and this requires giving each other the space to be imperfect but loved. Ladies, he may have a different concept of clean – be patient. Remember not to hyper-correct all things that defy your marital expectations.

Don’t even entertain the thought of going home, you are home!

Welcome to Marriage!

It’s a wonderful work!

Can I Follow His Lead?

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. 

It’s a matter of trust earned.

“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!”

“Wow!”

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!

Put in the Work Now!

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!

My Expectations….

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.

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