Relationships Archive

Thursday

18

June 2015

0

COMMENTS

#TBT – Lessons From My Father

Written by , Posted in Relationships

Based on a Black and Married with Kids (BMWK) article from 2010.

African American father helping son with homework

 

June was a good month for my father. Both of his children were home for Father’s Day and he celebrated a birthday shortly thereafter. While our relationship has had its fair share of mountains and valleys, my father has taught me many life lessons that have had a lasting impact on me as I have matured. While applicable to many different types of relationships, I hope to remember these nuggets of wisdom if I am fortunate enough to become a father.

1. Play D

As a young man, I often wished I had some of the freedoms of my peers. I wasn’t allowed to go to parties or many other social events like other kids in high school. My father also made sure that I contributed more to the household than consuming food and electricity. At that time, I didn’t enjoy living in a strict and structured household but I have come to appreciate the discipline he instilled in me as I’ve matured. The Bible says that a father disciplines a child that he loves, whereas an unloved, unclaimed child is allowed to do whatever he/she pleases. Ultimately, when children don’t feel loved at home they search for love in other places, often with negative consequences.

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Thursday

18

June 2015

0

COMMENTS

Is Change Always Progress?

Written by , Posted in Culture, Politics, Relationships

Love, marriage, then baby carriage? Not for some millennials.

Millennial Families1_custom-2eb3fa527729e50b1c9a0f9005bf7eced05526de-s4-c85

 

It’s no surprise that more millennials are forgoing marriage but the logic behind the decision by many couples to have kids before marriage is quite…interesting. It’s hard to  trying to understand how a couple that feels it is financially unprepared for marriage could think it has the capacity to support a child. And to be clear, a couple, and that term should be applied loosely to some relationships, that is having sex but not taking steps to prevent pregnancy can’t claim that a baby is “unplanned”. That’s not the way it works. If you’re not preventing pregnancy, you’re inviting it.

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Thursday

11

June 2015

0

COMMENTS

#TBT – 5 Things Every Woman Should Know Before She Gets Married

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Based on a Black and Married with Kids (BMWK) article from 2014.

Married

 

My last article highlighted five things I thought every man should know before getting married. I think it’s important for men to direct most of their relationship advice to other men because we don’t have many outlets to learn about what it takes to have healthy relationships. I also know it takes two to create a successful marriage so I wanted to make a similar list for women. Here are five things I think every woman should know before saying “I do”:

1. You can live a fulfilled life without getting married

I think it’s important to start here because sometimes people talk about women and marriage as if a woman’s life is incomplete or unfulfilled if she doesn’t get married. I don’t agree with that line of thinking. Some women have no desire to get married and others may believe they haven’t found the right person. Either way, it is possible to have companionship, experience love, and find fulfillment without a husband. In fact, an extended period of singleness can help you in your process of self-discovery. Another reason to use this as a starting point is because a woman who feels she must get married at all costs might be more prone to making choices that are motivated by fear and desperation or compromising her standards–especially as she ages and feels like the pool of marriageable men is dwindling. We often say that something is better than nothing but linking yourself to the wrong person can be worse than not being linked to anyone at all.

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Thursday

28

May 2015

0

COMMENTS

#TBT – 5 Things Every Man Needs to Learn Before He Gets Married

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Wedding season is in full swing. This 2014 article is for the men interested in being married one day.

TNM5ThingsManBeforeMarried-588x260

 

I’ve been married for almost two years, but I still feel compelled at times to share bits of wisdom I’ve collected over the years with singles that have intentions of being married some day. I think it’s especially important for married men to share with single men because so much of what we have all been taught about being a man is counterproductive to having a good marriage. I hope current husbands will also find this list useful because sometimes we don’t realize we’ve brought some unhealthy beliefs into our relationship until after we’re married. That said, here’s a simple list of five things every man should know before tying the knot.

 1. Women are people, not objects

Seems obvious, right? Unfortunately too many men have grown up believing women are objects to be collected or challenges to be conquered. This is a global problem, but this first lesson is especially important for the millions of black men who grew up hearing men that look like them casually refer to women as “bitches” and “hoes” in their music, in movies, and on TV shows. Understanding this fact will impact every interaction you have with a woman, whether as a single man on the dating scene or a married man at work. Most men will give lip service to how precious women are when they are talking about their own mother, aunts, grandmother, or daughters. Sadly, some of the same men who talk about their love for mom will leave their mother’s house and harass the first woman they see on the street. Your future wife will have her own thoughts, desires, ambitions, and feelings, but it will be hard for you to receive them and value them if you don’t see her as your equal. Always remember, “objects are collected, people are respected”.

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Thursday

16

April 2015

0

COMMENTS

#TBT – Who Sets the Tone for Your Relationship?

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Based on a Black and Married with Kids (BMWK) article from 2010.

Anyone who has ever taken salsa lessons should know that men are traditionally responsible for taking the lead on the dance floor. This is true regardless of whether the man happens to be a better or more experienced dancer than his female dance partner. This concept reminds me of a conversation I had recently at a friend’s birthday barbecue in which I stated that a man should set the tone for his relationship; I likened the dynamic between a man and woman to that of a thermostat and thermometer. For example, a man who is overly excited about the woman he’s dating might have the relationship temperature up a few degrees too high, and her response (e.g. avoiding phone calls) should be an indicator that he needs to cool things down a bit. Likewise, a woman who expresses her disappointment in the lack of interest or effort on the man’s part is a signal that the temperature might need to be turned up a few degrees. Unsurprisingly, everyone did not share my view on this subject. One person felt that women should set the tone by creating an environment that makes a man comfortable being himself. In her view, women should take the initiative to set the course for the relationship.

To be clear, the conversation wasn’t meant to be an argument about who holds a more important role in a relationship or an attempt to draw battle lines in a fruitless power struggle. I firmly believe that both parties in a relationship must put forth effort if it is to be successful; my point was simply that a man who takes initiative serves as an antidote to the well-worn perception of men being passive participants in relationships. Our culture has taught us that generally speaking, a woman’s natural inclination is to seek stability while men have a propensity to seek variety. Therefore, without initiative on a man’s part a woman might think that she is just his “flavor of the month”. To be clear, the initiative I’m referencing here is not the superficial gestures that some men use as a means to an end (i.e. sex). I am talking about men who take the initiative to do what’s necessary to build a strong relationship foundation. This includes spending quality time, articulating feelings about the woman and the relationship at the appropriate time, and ensuring that one’s words and deeds are in alignment. I believe these types of  actions  take the adversarial nature and senseless game playing  out of dating, courtship, and even marriage. All of these activities communicate to a woman that her mate is in the relationship because he wants to be there, not because of coercion, convenience, or comfort.

Relationships often suffer because of a lack of clarity so a man who clearly articulates his vision or desires for the relationship goes a long way to removing some of the doubt and insecurity that can erode the relationship’s foundation. This is not to say that men don’t need to feel secure in their relationships. I once had a girlfriend tell me she was taking a break from the relationship to figure out whether she wanted to be with me or one of her close male friends who had previously expressed a romantic interest. Needless to say, that experience left me feeling less secure about my place in the relationship. The insecurity I reference here is not in relation to body image issues, the residue of past hurts in prior relationships, or some of the other internal issues that must be resolved on an individual basis. The insecurities to which I am referring are the feelings that arise when there is uncertainty about the status and direction of the relationship itself. Ultimately, both men and women must contribute to the growth and development of a relationship but similarly to dancing, someone must take the lead. Hopefully we won’t step on each other’s toes too many times in the process.

Who do you think should set the tone for the relationship? Does a man who takes initiative create a greater sense of security in the relationship?

*Original article can be found on Black and Married with Kids. 

Thursday

9

April 2015

0

COMMENTS

#TBT – Are You Sabotaging Your Own Relationship?

Written by , Posted in Relationships

 

Based on a Black and Married with Kids (BMWK) article from 2010.

What comes to mind when you hear the word “intimacy”? Do you think of marriage, sex, friendship, affection, familiarity, or something else altogether? Regardless of what words you associate with intimacy, close relationships require it to truly be authentic. Unfortunately, we often block intimacy with our own actions, words, and thoughts. It is easy to see how verbal or physical abuse, poor communication, dishonesty, and selfishness would drive two people apart, but there are also individual habits that undermine attempts to build intimacy. This latter group of “intimacy-killers” are incubated internally but manifested externally. They do a great deal of damage if left unchecked and can counteract the peace and contentment we seek in our relationships. While my list of five intimacy-killers is certainly not exhaustive, it should prompt us all to examine ourselves to determine whether we are subconsciously sabotaging our own relationships.

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Thursday

26

March 2015

0

COMMENTS

#TBT – What Makes a Man Husband Material?

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Based on a Black and Married with Kids (BMWK) article from 2011.

According to Urban Dictionary the term “wifey material” is a phrase used to describe a woman who possesses certain qualities that would make her a model wife. I’m sure many men would describe this type of woman as a perfect mix of style, substance, sass, and love””or at least respect””for sports. Aside from that, men appreciate her kindness, supportiveness,  and caring nature. She’s the type of woman who could turn a serial player into a one-woman man.

Urban Dictionary has no such definition for “hubby material,” however, and the definition for “husband material”, a guy you would consider perfect enough to marry one day, is so self-explanatory it’s almost laughable. Generally speaking, there’s relatively little dialogue about what makes a man husband material, aside from the standard responses that include some combination of appearance, stable employment and steady income.

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Thursday

19

March 2015

0

COMMENTS

#TBT – Are You Really Ready For A Relationship?

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Based on a Black and Married with Kids (BMWK) article from 2011.

keep-calm-i-m-not-available

I recently had a conversation at a friend’s birthday get-together that I felt I just had to share. It started when one of the women there responded to a compliment on her outfit by saying, “Well, that’s one of the perks of having a cheating boyfriend.”

As you could imagine, I was curious to know why she would say something like that. She said that her boyfriend was a serial cheater, but his six-figure income and lavish gifts helped her look past his indiscretions. While she admitted that she had also been unfaithful, she certainly didn’t seem satisfied with her situation and talked about her desire to be in a relationship with someone who actually treated her the way she felt she should be treated. Her statement didn’t come as a surprise, but that entire conversation revealed something about her that is true of many people who say they want to be in a relationship: She. Was. Not. Ready.

Our culture suggests that relationship-readiness is determined by some combination of education, job security, and physical attractiveness. Those factors are indeed important, but they are only one piece of the puzzle. There are many other aspects to being ready for a relationship, and I believe every person should ask themself  the following four questions to determine whether they are really ready.

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Thursday

12

March 2015

0

COMMENTS

#TBT – On Interracial Dating

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Race-Manners-Interracial-Couple.jpg

Today’s #tbt is based on a article I wrote for Black and Married with Kids in 2010.

I was involved in a recent convo on FB that started when one person stated that some successful black men have to date outside the race because black women don’t them. It’s a line I’ve heard in the past and is often accompanied by the charge that black women aren’t interested in the clean-cut studious guy and instead want a ’round-the-way roughneck. I made the point that some of the guys who feel they’ve been slighted probably overestimate their value on the dating market. Given the familiar stats on young black men when it comes to h.s. graduation, unemployment, incarceration, it’s easy to be a black man with a college education and a stable job, to look at your peers and inflate your sense of self. You look in the mirror and think that any sane black woman should jump at the chance to date you. And while being financially stable is a very good thing, it doesn’t replace your need for personality and charisma, both of which impact chemistry. So when you run up on a sister and she’s unimpressed with your degrees and job (probably because she has her own), you might jump to the conclusion that she’s looking for a roughneck when in fact she just wants a guy who can make her laugh.

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Monday

9

March 2015

1

COMMENTS

Pilot

Written by , Posted in Culture, Politics, Race, Relationships

 

For years I felt something was missing from the political discourse and social commentary I heard on a regular basis. Guests on shows were much too predictable, more likely to parrot talking points than acknowledge the complicated nature of serious social and political issues. Then two years ago I saw a segment on one of my favorite shows that eventually led me to start this blog.

Allow me to set the scene.

President Obama went to Chicago in February 2013 to to deliver a speech on strengthening the economy for middle-class Americans. His address came shortly after Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old girl from Chicago, was shot and killed one week after performing at the president’s second inauguration. What was supposed to be a speech on the economy ended up being remembered by many for what the president said about gun violence, marriage, and strong communities. POTUS stated that no law or set of laws can prevent senseless acts of violence and talked about the shared responsibility communities have to love and support their children. Then the president went a little deeper. (more…)