“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.
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.
Tell me the Secret to a Great Marriage
Tell me your secret. How do you have a great marriage? If this answer were to be given in a nutshell, many would not want to crack it open. After carefully observing that nut, one may deduce that it is too simple. Another may say that it is much more complex than what meets the eye. It is a mystery! Surely if it were straightforward, everyone would rise to the occasion and enjoy the bliss of marriage. The philosophical mind may say it is indeed simply complex.
What do I say?
I say it is simple!
Why? The components of a great marriage are not hidden and are not unreachable but rather available to all.
The truth we do not care to hear is that the marriage we want will cost us more than we are sometimes willing to pay.
What will it cost, you say?
Let’s consider just one aspect of marriage…your right to be right. Sometimes our ultimate goal in a fight is to prove that we were right. Soaking in that victory still does not give you the feeling you want. To be right at any cost will leave you making an enemy of your greatest ally. So, what should your goal be in a fight? Let’s face it! There will be fights, but you must learn to fight right.
Your goal in a fight must be for the marriage to win!! I can’t state this enough! It’s quite likely that we were not taught to do so at any point in our development. We have instead learnt to justify our reason for being right and provide evidence, as if in a courtroom, as to why the other person is wrong. We pull out every proof we can find to make it abundantly clear that we are right! Then we gloat and enjoy a short-lived moment of victory. While you’re winning, your marriage is losing. There is now a wedge that slides in between the two. The two who are supposed to become one, now have a greater challenge in operating as a unit. Over the years this practice creates a major dividing force that can eventually end in divorce.
Fighting right requires having the right motive in the first place and being willing to lay down the trophy of being right in order to understand the other person, while carefully protecting his or her heart. This translates to choosing the right tone, the right words and the right place and time to have this discussion.
Do you see why obtaining a flourishing marriage is within reach but many refuse to reach for it because it requires sacrifice?
So back to the question. How do you have a flourishing marriage? A flourishing marriage requires self-sacrifice on both sides.
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.”
“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.
“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.
“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?”
“Oh no! Just a minute.”
She motioned for Jala to get to the phone quickly while Abe whispered, “Who is it?”
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.
There are some inexplicable features in a person’s character that distinguishes them from others. It draws you in and makes them miss-able upon their departure. Something in you is magnetized to them and you come alive! But is a strong relationship much more than an attraction on various levels?
Many things that we like about people can change with the arrival of new circumstances and before long you are introduced to a brand-new person. Or is it? We’ve all heard of marriages that were dissolved because a person ‘changed.’ It could be that the person never did change but simply let down his/her guard.
the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual
What makes a person truly beautiful is their consistency of character. Character is found at the very core of a person. It’s what determines what they would sacrifice for and find great delight to do, even though the benefit to them may seem miniscule.
As a person engages in a relationship that has marriage as its end game, this notable personal feature must be prioritized.
You might say that’s hard. How do you know someone’s character?
The truth is that there is a myriad of activities in our world that can make a person look like “the one.” For example, romantic acts that he reads out of a play book or duplicated from a friend. It is wonderful that he made the effort to woo you, but the act is not the character.
There are some tell tale signs of a person’s character. Let’s start with a big one – Money. It’s not how much he/she makes. It’s how he/she spends it. “For where your treasure is there your heart is also.” Mat 6:21 Your use of money tells what you prioritize and what you value.
How you spend your Time does the same, along with displaying the order you keep or maintain in your life.
How you use your Words will eventually reveal your heart. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Mat 12:34
How you handle Disappointments or Pressure, great or small, indicate your heart posture and mindset.
How much he/she Sacrifices for you and the relationship, reveals its value to him/her.
These are heavy enough clues to help you identify the character of persons before investing of yourself deeply into a relationship.
Character makes a man who made a promise to a child, go out of his way to fulfill his word. Character makes a woman carve out time to visit with her aged parent, while resisting all the other seemingly greater demands. Character makes a person prioritize tithing, serving and fulfilling commitments in Church. Character makes a man whose testosterones are urging him to go further sexually, seek to protect the woman he’s with and honor the God he serves. Telltale signs of true character are all over your relationships.
Are you seeing enough character to persuade you that he/she is the one?
Visit taniacase.com to further learn how to build strong Kingdom relationships.
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!
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.
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.