#marriageexpectations

“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.”

Secrets to a Great Marriage

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.

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!

‘Me-ology’ Meets a Man

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 Meeting….

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!”

Break….

Attraction is a strong force!

The Meshing…

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!

Going My WAY!

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!

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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