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.
***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…
Everyday living carries with it a fair amount of revelations.
(Parading its proud self down the runway void of applause.) Here is…
“How could you get that from what I just said?”
“That’s not what I was trying to say.”
“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!
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!
I get it! You are not a “mealist!” Right? Me-ology could never be a part of your theology! After all, you love people and enjoy doing things for people. As a matter of fact you go out of your way to let your friends know that you care for them. There is not a selfish bone in your body!
Great! Now that we have that out of the way, you can relax. We are going to talk about your friends now, so gather all the information you can so you can help them.
You would admit that there is no way of knowing how good a friend you are until you have faithfully walked your friend through good and testing times and remain a true friend. Likewise you don’t truly know that you are unselfish unless you have had opportunity to deny yourself for others. Ironically, a me-alist or me-ologist can truly be helpful to others, but within a set constraint define only by him or her. If only life was this tidy!
It’s been a long time since you have had the feeling that someone gets you like this does. Face it, he is Mr. Fantastic! But Sis…Could your years of “doing you” make it difficult to do “us?”
The early stages of relationships make little sacrificial demand on a person and besides, both are intrigued by the mystery of the other. The consideration is whether or not he checks your boxes and you his. In between the laughter and compliments, you’re wondering if he is the one. Any me-alistic tendency is well under wraps and your cutest side is always what is seen and heard. You can see that this guy really likes you and you are over the moon. He fills your thoughts and you both cannot stop talking. Your primary focus is making each other happy and this force of “nice-ness” pulls you to conclude that your relationship must step it up to the next level of commitment.
“We are like, really serious about each other. He said he wants to spend his life loving me!”
Attraction is a strong force!
You might think that being selfish is just not sharing your things and money with others. However, a deeper level of selfishness is engrained in the heart and expresses itself through control, silence, inexplicable limits as well as self imposed irrational rules. Ouch!
A deeper bond is being formed, but with it comes greater expectations. These expectations are like spirits, present but unseen or heard. They are driving your relationship and you don’t know it. You reason that since he has gotten so many things right, the rest should be breeze. As expectation rises, so does the demand to sacrifice your set ways. The greatest goal is no longer to show my best side but to protect my turf. While the heart is intensely devoted, there is discomfort caused by this person who wants to pull the me-alist from her comfort zone.
Mood: “I literally don’t talk to people when I feel like this.” “No I don’t need your help with this – I must do it alone.” “You know there are certain vulnerabilities we avoid sharing.” “This is the way I do life!” “This is my space!” “It’s hard to keep up with your emotional demands. You know I’m not the affectionate type. I told you how I was…why did you expect something else, though.“
Compounding the problem: The closer you get to him, the more visible his flaws.
All of us have a tendency to be selfish and self-focused. As mentioned in the original me-ology blog, there is a greater propensity for women who have been single for a long time and live alone. This person has had a lot of experience thinking, planning for, taking care of herself. It’s a huge adjustment to let someone in all the way.
Relationships end unnecessarily simply because the level of adjustment for a me-ologist seem insurmountable and sacrifice too much! It may even appear that this fellow is asking for too much!
You might think that this person should satisfy you and make you happy, but that is a tall order for any man to fill. As a matter of fact, he can’t even make himself happy. That God-size void can only be filled by the one who gave you the desire for LOVE. He, Himself is LOVE.
What if we can help you understand that you may just have some me-alistic blind spots that you can work through. Whether the guy is in view or not, begin to check yourself. If you do have a tried, tested and proven friend, ask if there are blind spots that you should work on so that your relationships can be healthy.
Authentic relationships require sacrifice. Sacrifice means it’s inconvenient and sometimes goes beyond what you were ready to give. You don’t have to get it right! However, you have to commit to advancing toward it.
We all have some measure of Me-ology, but we’re after spotting it and making the adjustments. If you’re like me, I could share anything with you but my unprocessed thoughts. You can imagine that this is particularly annoying when I’m clearly displeased but process the problem over a three day period, while the person is waiting for a response. This is unfair and selfish! What does the person do in the meantime? Self-doubt, question the viability of the relationship, fear offending you, decide to withhold from you as well? If we are not careful, we can make a little god of ourselves, which we expect people to worship.
Compromise merges two entities in a relationship. If we are maturing we will realize that there are many ways that things can be done, even unfamiliar ways. Sis…and yes Bruh, don’t get so caught up with you that the ones closest to to are ignored and hurt.
Me-ology is toxic and can kill relationships! Spot it in your relationship and yourself and remove quickly!
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.