Tag Archives: love

Single: the Rules, the Wait, & Reckless Love

Today, I write this article as an eligible Christian bachelorette dating  joyfully and faithfully – but that wasn’t always the case.  In 2014, I dated, believing that I was ready for marriage and thinking that it was the men who I dated who were the ones responsible for the failed relationships.  I came to realize, however, that I was the common denominator and responsible party when they went on to get married and engaged…lol. Life-Coaching And so, 2015 was all about working on myself in the context of relationships: learning how to be open-minded, empathetic, patient, gentle, slow-to-anger – ideally never-to-anger, and learning, simply, that the world does not revolve around Jeanette and everyone has a valid point-of-view that deserves consideration.  I learned how to be a better counterpart in all of my relationships and I grew by light years.  I owe this progress to my life coach, Patty – I call her my Patty in my pocket – she gave me new eyes and a new life. The Rules The_rulesAnd with those new eyes, I re-entered the dating pool.   I now knew how to be a good girlfriend – a gracious girlfriend.  I was excited.  And I achieved some success, but I still felt somewhat out of control – some guys worked out and some didn’t and I didn’t know why one way or the other.  I needed a game plan – and I was introduced to and read: the Rules.  Or rather, I inhaled the Rules.  I read every edition available, typically over 1-2 days each. I had hour-long discussions about it w/ my girlfriend who introduced them to me and we agreed to be “Rules friends,” reaching out to each other for “Rules support.” I marveled at how differently and wrongly I had been dating.  My entire approach to dating changed.  Time-wasters weeded themselves out as only those who were available, interested, and ready rose to the top.  And for the first time, I was enjoying dating.  I was having a blast, meeting great men, and enjoying fun dates.  Then, I finally met a guy who really rose to the top, making it to date 13.  He was treating me right, taking me out, respecting me, adoring me, and just being a wonderful man that I loved spending my time with.  But…he didn’t love the Lord.  He may have identified with Christianity, but he didn’t live for God – not the way I knew I wanted my future husband to.  What had happened? Reckless Love Reckless-Promo-Slide-01-1032x590In the midst of this dilemma, a friend of mine introduced me to a sermon series called Reckless Love that answered that question for me: I was idolizing marriage.  I was making finding the one more important than being content in God.  As a result, I was casting too wide of a net.  I was casting a net that would capture men who were ready, available, and interested, yes, but not necessarily men of God.  I was making having a relationship more important than having a Godly relationship! My friend divulged to me the difficulties of an unequally yoked relationship and I suddenly saw yield signs that forced me to slow down and pay attention.  After watching the Reckless Love sermon series, I re-prioritized my source of love to be God’s love over a man’s love.  Additionally, I gained a peace with and even an excitement over my singleness.  I saw the opportunity  in my single hood.  I put on the peace of God and the faith that He would bring my man to me in His best timing.  I decided to serve God in my single hood and trust Him with my future mate. And once again, I re-entered the dating scene with new eyes:  I dramatically changed my dating profile to reflect how important God was in my life and my future mate.  Personally, I vetted men with the criteria that they be, yes, ready, available, and interested, but alsomen of God.  As a result, my dating pool shrank dramatically in quantity and rose in quality. The Wait 51h0nPrNVzL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_During this time, I picked up Devon Franklin and Megan Good’s book: the Wait.  In them, I saw a couple who was hot and Hollywood and Christian and had found one another and written a book about waiting on sex and waiting in God and I wanted to hear what they had to say.  Reading that book affirmed everything that I had learned from Reckless Love – that our single hood is a wonderful time and we should maximize it to become incredible men and women of God and incredible partners for our future spouses.  The Wait affirmed believing in God’s provision of a mate and honoring God with our single, dating, engaged, and married lives.  Devon and Megan affirmed waiting until after marriage for sex and living together.  They affirmed the importance of a short engagement, getting to marriage, employing pre-marriage counseling, and a host of principles that I believe in.  And most importantly, they affirmed the beauty, joy, and fullness of doing it God’s way, as they believe that they are living God’s Plan A lives for them today as a result of their obedience and faith. With all of these tools, I am more open, more ready, more patient, more joyful, and more sure of what I’m looking for and able to offer than ever.  I marvel at what a journey it has been.  I’ve become an entirely different woman in this game of love and it’s been an evolution like none other.  I’m so grateful for all of these tools – they have all played a part in teaching me and I use parts of all of them as I navigate this adventure we call love. IdRatherChooseGodsBest If you’re struggling, scratching your head, or have even given up in love or life, the best advice that I can give is: keep the faith and don’t give up.  It’s in trying different tools, books, talks that we all aggregate what becomes our approach.  I do recommend all of the above that I mentioned, but it may not be the perfect fit or the full fit for you.  Regardless, keep trying, keep seeking, keep praying…keep the faith…and you’ll find your way! GodsBest

JEBR: “Love Without Limits” by Nick Vujicic

Nick Vujicic (pronounced ‘voy-chick’) is a remarkable human being.  To put it to you bluntly, he was born without limbs – no arms, no legs – just a torso, handsome face, and a little foot that he affectionately refers to as his “chicken wing.”  You might expect him to have taken the self-pity road in life because, well, he has every reason to be bitter, feel sorry, shortchanged in life, and down about himself.  Instead, however, Nick travels the world, inspiring, encouraging, and spreading God’s message to multitudes, all with a sense of humor, winning smile, and his special hug.
Nick Vujicic on tour
Nick Vujicic on tour
It might also be tempting to assume that Nick would be the poster child for a man of God destined to be single, being that he is a missionary and is, well – without limbs.  Once again, Nick defies the odds by not only getting married, but getting married and having a child with a beautiful full-bodied woman who admires him and sees his lack of limbs as only noticeable the way someone’s height or weight might be.
Nick and Kanae Vujicic
Nick and Kanae Vujicic
They write a book together telling both of their stories of their struggles through Christian single-hood, seeking to align God’s will with their hearts’ desires.  They then unfold their story, from their first meeting to their dating, marriage, and life as a family of three.  You can hear the joy and love in their individual voices as they share the telling of their story and their full satisfaction with God’s leading them to one another.  They are honest with their insecurities, blunders, and challenges as well.  Ultimately, they wrote this book as an encouragement to singles out there to “hold out for love” and after reading through all 242 pages of encouragement in one evening, their mission had been accomplished on me.
Nick, Kanae, & Kiyoshi
Nick, Kanae, & Kiyoshi
I’ll include the primary messages that Nick wants to share with everyone, whether they continue to read the book or not – because it will give you the best test of whether or not you want to read on and because even if you don’t, these messages are enough to lift your heart in these matters of the heart.
  • Never give up on love if love is what you want, because God planted that desire in your heart for a purpose
  • You are worthy of love because you are the creation of a loving Father
  • There is someone who could love you and share your life
  • A successful marriage requires reciprocal and unselfish love as well as shared, deep, and lasting commitment
  • Parenthood will test your marriage.  It will also strengthen your bonds of love, but only if you develop deep empathy and unwavering support for each other by putting your  family’s welfare above self interest.
  • The “work” of being married is mostly about giving up our naturally self-centered ways and learning day by day to put God first, our spouses and family second, and ourselves third.
  • Your marriage, your family, and your home should always be a safe, loving, caring, and comforting place – a refuge from the world and all of its challenges.
Nick Vujicic Quote
Nick Vujicic Quote
As a single Christian woman who desires to be married one day, the first three messages are the most relevant and I will store these in my heart and mind as weapons against discouragement and lies.  This is not necessarily the relationship book that I would say to “go out and get immediately!” but it is available for free from the NYPL and therefore probably most libraries.  It’s a light, easy read, and I simply am so in awe of this man, Nick Vujicic, and wanted to see what he had to offer.  It’s not available for purchase on Thriftbooks (my other go-to) his other books are and it is available on good ‘ol Amazon.  I’ve been reading up on Christian relationship books a lot lately…haha…guess why?!  So look out for more reviews soon.  Til then, stay in love with God and love!

Do you know your Love Language?

 
Are you speaking the same love language as your loved one?
Are you speaking the same love language as your loved one?
COULD YOU BE MISCOMMUNICATING YOUR LOVE? Isn’t it hard to communicate effectively with someone who speaks a different language?  The effectiveness of people communicating in two different languages to each other is not much.  Additionally, it’s usual laborious at best and excruciating at worst.  Now imagine if this was characteristic of the communication between you and your loved one!  It’s true – you may be communicating your love to your partner in a way that he/she is not receiving it and vice versa!  Your love language is the form through which you give and receive love.
the 5 love languages - which is yours?
the 5 love languages – which is yours?
LEARN YOUR LOVE LANGUAGE Gary Chapman has created the concept of there being 5 categories of love languages:
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Physical Touch
  • Gifts
  • Acts of Service
  • Quality Time
You may have a hunch as to what your love language is.  Some clues into your love language are what you find yourself doing most often for people as well as what you find yourself most often complaining for not having gotten.  (i.e.: If you’re always thinking about souvenirs for loved ones at some point in your trip or asking loved ones why they didn’t get you anything from their trip, your love language might be “gifts!”)  Take a guess as to what your primary and secondary love languages and take this 30-question  quiz to learn this valuable information about yourself! http://5lovelanguages.com  
the 5 Love Languages Book
the 5 Love Languages Book
REAL-LIFE EXAMPLES FROM THE BOOK: I would recommend picking up a copy of his book as well because there are just stunning examples after real-life staggering examples of the power of the love languages in action.  For example, Chapman worked with a couple who never fought, who didn’t have financial problems, but who simply “did not feel the love anymore.”  In actuality, the man and woman still loved each other, they just had been expressing it on their own languages rather than each other’s and so, they had essentially gone on for years without feeling loved! The husband’s love language was “Acts of Service,” and so, he was working hard at work, then coming home and fixing dinner and washing the dishes and doing the household chores.  The wife’s love language was “Quality Time,” and so while he was busy working, she was just waiting to be shown some attention and catch some quality time with him.  The effect of this was that the husband didn’t feel like his love was being appreciated and the wife like she wasn’t being loved at all! Once they learned each other’s love languages, the husband was free to do less chores and sit down with his wife and voila!, she felt loved and in turn started to show more affection for him and they filled each other’s love tanks and were happy and humming along again! PLAY THE LOVE-TANK GAME: Gary Chapman may have coined the phrase “the love tank,” but regardless, it’s a fantastic visual of how loved we feel.  The relationships in which both parties feel loved are more durable and fulfilling.  It is when love tanks are running on or close to empty that we are prone to bickering and fighting.  We are already in a state of resentment and bitterness and waiting to be set off.  We don’t have the confidence in our partner’s love to stave of the urge to lash out at one another.  Thus lies the importance of keeping each other’s love tanks full.  Don’t assume that simple saying “I love you,” is enough.  You must discover your loved ones love language in order to ensure that they are receiving what you’re expressing. Playing the game means simply asking one another, “How full is your love tank, on a scale from 1-10?”  Any answer less than 10 should then be followed up with the question, “How can I fill it?”  And everything given in response is information for you to implement and start filling your partner’s love tank with! holding-handsMY CHALLENGE TO YOU: So, I challenge you to take a moment to speculate about your love language and your partner’s love language.  Then go ahead and take the quiz.  This is information about yourself that will open your eyes about yourself and allow you to have more power in your relationships from here on out.  I’d love for you to pick up the book, of course, because in no way have I covered the breadth of it in this blog.  There is a love language book for: children, singles, etc…so there is no excuse to not get one!  But if nothing else, simply after knowing your love language, play the love tank game with your loved one on a weekly or at least regular basis.  It’s housekeeping on your relationship and the more often you do it, the less often you’ll have to do it.  And one day, you and your partner will simply being running around with love tanks on 10 everyday!

For Women Only: 7 revelations about your man that will change. the. game.

for-women-onlyThis book by Shaunti Feldhahn is A-Ma-Zing.  You will learn everything that you need to know to hack your relationship, demystify your man, and get what you want out of love.  I believe it.  I can’t say that I’m living proof.  Yet.  But I’m excited enough to share this with you because this book literally brought tears to my eyes as I learned everything that I had done wrong and everything I can do right to make it all work.  This book speaks truths, is Biblical, and hits the nail on the head so many times in such a conversational, page-turner voice that I truly recommend it to any woman.  Whether you are in a relationship, in between relationships, or something else, this book is a beautiful insight into these creatures that we seemingly can’t live with or without…men!  I’m sharing the first chapter with you because it was the most profound for me, and then I want you to buy it right here for less than $3.50…and that includes shipping and handling! Men Are Hired-Wired to need Respect and Affirmation When asked whether they would rather be “alone and unloved” or “inadequate and disrespected,” 74% of men chose the former.  This is how important respect is to them.  To men, respect and love are the same thing; they don’t differentiate between the two.  So, if a man feels disrespected, he feels unloved.  And if you want to love your man in the way he needs to be loved, then you need to ensure that he feels your respect above all else.

Women need love.  Men need respect.  The Bible says “Men, love your wives; women, respect your husbands.” (Eph 5)  Is that not amazing?!

In response to feeling unloved, women break down and cry.  In response to feeling disrespected, men get angry.  He won’t necessarily spell out “You’re disrespecting me!” but you can be pretty sure that if he’s angry at something and you don’t understand the cause, there’s a good chance that he is feeling the pain or humiliation of your disrespect. Unconditional Respectcouplesshot10 Just as you want the man in your life to give you unconditional love, your man needs you to demonstrate your respect for him regardless of whether he’s meeting your expectations at the moment.  It does tremendous things for your man to know that you are choosing to trust and honor him. It’s a Choice! Just as our men can choose to demonstrate love toward us even if they don’t feel it at the moment, we can and should choose to demonstrate respect. It has to be Shown! Feeling respect for our men, but not showing it is the same as their feeling love for us but not showing it.  It’s like that awful joke: “Why do I have to tell my wife I love her?  I told her that when we got married!” Now comes the million-dollar question: How do we demonstrate this respect?! Respect His Judgement Many men wished their mate wouldn’t question their decisions all the time; there’s a need for us to defer to them sometimes…yes, even in these liberated days!  Imagine your man feeling that his opinions and decisions were valued everywhere else but the home?!  Women run the risk of making their men feel stupid!  You don’t want that problem! couplesshot13Respect His Abilities Men want, and maybe even need to figure things out for themselves.  Let him fiddle with it for hours; they’ll feel like they’ve conquered something and are affirmed as men.  Sometimes, interfering because we really don’t  trust them demonstrates that distrust and will come back to bite us.  The lesson: let him drive around without asking for directions; choose to trust that he knows what he’s doing and will figure it out; it’s more important to have him feel trusted than get to that party on time. Respect in Communication Women hold an incredible power in the way we communicate with our men to build them up or tear them down, to encourage or to exasperate.  Some things just push a man’s buttons – even how we say it and where we say it. Example of hearing disrespect: A wife tells her husband, who wants to take a crack at fixing something, “Well, you’re not really the fix-it-type” and he feels so insulted.   Example or hearing disappointment: A wife reminds her husband that the kitchen wall still needed to be fixed.  The man sees it as nagging or an accusation of laziness or mistrust. Example of hearing attacks:  A woman asks “Do you know how to put together a romantic event…” and then switches it to “Suppose you had to plan an anniversary event…Do you know how…?”  Softening the approach changes everything! Let us make every effort to put on a “disrespect meter”  before letting words pass through our lips. couplesshot9Respect in Public Dozens of men confessed as to how painful it is when their wives criticize them in public, put them down, or even question their judgement in front of others.  Teasing can be torture.  Many of us have wondered why our men – normally so good natured – get so upset by a little public joking.  The only time a guy’s guard is completely down is with the woman he loves.  So she can pierce his heart like no one else. Be Respectful even when he’s Absent Complaining about your man to others, which perpetuates a dissatisfaction that affects him – we must kill this terrible habit! Showing Public Respect goes a long way Taking those little opportunities to honestly praise him or ask his opinion in front of others will build him up and he’ll think you’re the most wonderful woman in the world. “She has to make me feel respected so that I can command respect out there in the world.  If she defeats me emotionally, I can’t win the race and bring home the prize for her.” couplesshot2In Conclusion We as women hold incredible power – and responsibility – in our hands.  We have the ability to either build up or tear down our men.  We can either strengthen or hobble them in ways that go far beyond our relationship.  From now on, choose to demonstrate respect and choose not to demonstrate disrespect, starting with never humiliating them in public.  Take every opportunity, in private and in public, to demonstrate – through words and actions – how proud we are of our men and how much we trust them. Behind every man is a great woman  If a man’s wife is supportive and believes in him, he can conquer the world – or at least his corner of it.  He will do better at work, at home, everywhere.  By contrast, men can do well at work or at home if their wives make them feel inadequate. This concludes the first chapter of this book and only the first of seven incredible revelations about men.  You deserve to get this book!  I’ve learned so much and you will too.  Go on and git it!  Thank you Shaunti Feldhahn, for your gift to the world.

Raya – Ahava – Dod

Raya, Ahava, & Dod are three different Hebrew words that mean love.  There are, in total, 7 Hebrew words that mean love.  The language differentiates between the different types/levels of love, as opposed to the English language, in which love is used to describe one’s feelings for ice cream as well as Jesus Christ. RAYA: Friendship It’s not all about “she’s hot.”  Hell is hot.  Physical attraction will wane.  You want to be able to wake up next to your Raya, your friend, everyday, and know that you are loved just the same. AHAVA: Commitment Living together is a test drive.  Ahava is not about test drives.  It is about a ferocious love.  The I’m not going anywhere kind of love.  The I know that I’ll screw up and you’ll still be there for me kind of love.  It’s NOT I’ll be with you for as long as you make me feel good, but once you’re dull, etc, I’m out.  The Bible describes love as “suffering long…”  as opposed to the world that paints love as a picture of tingly, giddy feelings…for “the one.”  There is no “one”…that exists along with leprechauns, oompa loompas, and unicorns.  We’re all fixer-uppers.  Ahava anchors you down to the one you love. DOD: Intimacy… …When Raya and Ahava are present.  When they are not, that is when intimacy can go very wrong.  Dod is a source of comfort, connection, and pleasure.  Dod is a gift from God.

a “friend with benefits”…redefined.

(written while my mac was being “saved!”) Mon, 11/2/09, 12:18pm

Jada Pinkett says about her [in my opinion, wildly successful] relationship, “Be friends first…Will knows more about me than my girlfriends. Passion and fire come and go, but friendship lasts forever.”

How wise and how true, Ms. Pinkett! I’ve always fantasized about finding the Will to my inner Jada and coincidentally, have subscribed to this school of thought as well (see my entry: “Save the Sex.”) It’s soooo true, so true…and so unfortunate that the lot of us arrive at this pearl only so late in our love lives…and usually as a result of learning the hard way!

One of my friends, who has recently married her long-time love, says of her new hubby, [insert Rosie Perez accent] “Hoooneeey! He and I are just friends that “^&*$%!” Marry your best friend!”

Again. Advice that I know is tried and true.

During our less mature and usually more debaucherous years ,a “friend with benefits” was something shallow, possibly shameful, usually a bit awkward, and basically stemmed from a situation without enough substance to even deserve a definition! We would insert these people into our lives just enough to satisfy our needs [the benefit], but keep them far removed enough to discourage anything romantic [the friend.]

The word “friend” is also so sadly perverted in this context. I really don’t like it. It should have been coined “doormat with benefits” because usually, this person wasn’t a friend at all, meaning someone we would spend hours on the phone with, share secrets with, and invite out with our actual friends!” No, the suffix of this “friend” freed those involved of any true friend-like obligations and in my opinion, actually raped this sacred relationship of its redeeming benefits! But moving on. I’ll leave this with clever marketing kudos to whoever did coin it for taking the bite out of this dirty deed. =P

So, yes, these FWBs usually just complicated our lives because the relationship, at its core, contradicted all that is natural and good about human relationships. Unrestrained love and honesty and affection were tainted with games and insecurities and a free ticket to hurt another human being. Share your bed, but not your heart. Why did we think this was so genius?!

Well, let’s fast-forward to today and sanctify this phrase. Let us lift it up, dust it off, and breathe a shiny new life into it! Let us redefine a “friend with benefits” as someone whom we love as a friend with whom we share the rare benefit of romance. How do you practically apply this idea? Well, before diving into the benefits of a romantic relationship (the hand-holding, the heavy petting, the French kissing, etc), enjoy the core friendship (the hanging out, the laughing, the sharing, etc). Be sure that a friendship truly exists before complicating things with the benefits. Just as you cannot take advantage of the benefits of anything else in life without having to put in the work first, so should it be with relationships.

Imagine hastily finding a job, any job, just so you can get the benefit of health insurance. You couldn’t care less about whether you enjoy the job or not…dreams, schmeams! You just want to skip ahead to your free dental plan. So sure, you’ll get your wisdom teeth pulled for free, but in the end, you’re in an un gratifying job..every day. Wouldn’t it have been so much better to patiently search for a career in your true passion and then allow the benefits to reward you as icing on a cake?

Now, I know what you’re thinking. And it’s true. If you really want to get technical, it’s never recommended to be without health insurance, but there are ways to tide yourself over until you create that perfect scenario. There is government health care and self-pleasuring. (wink!)

And if you really want to strive for the gold, think about the probationary period of three months that most jobs impose before allowing you to take advantage of their benefits. Those three months are a time for you and your job to establish that you truly get along, are committed to each other, and are ready to be in it for the long haul…then you get the health and dental and 401K package! There’s a reason for that, and we can directly take this cue when dealing with our relationships.

So, let us go forth and take a true friend from our lives…and beautify that relationship…with the benefit…of romance. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to be that “friend with benefits” now! It is only in this place that we will have the remotest chance of finding our life partner.

Mission: “Redefine a ‘Friend with Benefits’” Check!