In a previous post, I touched on the life of Ruth as relates to Naomi & Boaz. According to Jewish customs, she wasn’t supposed to be with Naomi as a daughter-in-law having herself been a Moabite Woman, nor should she have been “suitable” for Boaz. The difference is that Ruth was the “exception to the rule” imposed by legalism just to accomplish God’s plan. She was also unexpected-which means Boaz was already familiar with his other gleaning maidens. Pause right there and re-read that. “Boaz was already familiar with his other gleaning maidens.” Is it possible that his familiarity with those maidens he instructed her to go glean with and behind he already “knew?” For many reasons Ruth stood out. Quite naturally she didn’t look like anyone else; she wasn’t from there. She stood out without standing out. It is very important to understand what that means. In my previous post, if you read it, you’ll notice the phrase “Seek Not to be Sought.” This ‘exception to the rule Ruth’ didn’t catch Boaz’s eyes because she was fine and working. She caught his eye because she was focused on serving and she was different. The Bible does not record how many times Boaz “may have happened upon Ruth” unawares. Which tells me that she could have been there a long time & he didn’t even notice her. Two things stand out about this unexpected one: Favor and Humility. So, when Boaz saw her, he didn’t just see fine. He saw fine and humble. She didn’t have to announce herself or her pedigree. His servants did that. Just by mentioning where she was from, (her past and all that came with it) Boaz could have dismissed her-but he didn’t.
As single women and wives in waiting one of the things I would caution you about is to seek not to be sought. Many times we are told to “put ourselves in position” so that the man of our dreams can find us. The church sometimes teaches falsely about the story of Ruth & Boaz which leads many single women to declare: “I’m waiting on my Boaz.” This is an errant decree. Boaz, nor Ruth had each other on their minds. Ruth was busy clinging to her heart-broken mother-in-law, Naomi; and Boaz was about his business-that thing that God called him to do. Ruth was in a position yes, but not on a platform, nor was she seeking one. She was in a position of serving Naomi a wise woman. Ruth was smart enough to know that with all Naomi had been through, she still had enough courage and strength to go back home, to her people, to her God. And Ruth was determined to follow her.
The problem that single women often make is that in looking for Boaz it’s easy to bypass the Naomi’s in our lives. Naomi had been through some things, as had Ruth. It’s disheartening to see this “Modern Day Ruth” take all of what she’s been through, and refuse to seek wise counsel from a woman, a wife, that has been there, done that, had the therapy and the hat. These single women forego instruction, due to impatience and often rebellion to just “get the man” whatever it takes. Hurt. Heart-broken. Disillusioned. Angry. Confused. Empty. All of these things no doubt Ruth was feeling and we at some point have felt them too. Rather than being still and finding a mentor in a strong woman and/or wife, you carry these bags into a new relationship completely blind sighting “Boaz.” He had no idea that not only was there broken baggage, but that you used bandages in broken places, just to get him to notice you. Here is the problem single ladies: eventually that man that you positioned yourself in front of will peel back the layers and see the wounds (and the warfare) you refused to give God space and time to deliver and heal.
As a wife in waiting, your job is to know who you are first: The Good, The Bad & the Ugly. Not what other people say about you, or to you- but what God says about you. He made you for the man. You may be the most beautiful and gifted woman in the world-but if you haven’t healed, the voids are still there and they leave you vulnerable to attacks you can’t even fathom. You have to begin to be honest with The Lord. Ask Him to show you how He sees you. When He does, ask Him to help you fix what is broken. And He will. Jesus came to bind-up the broken hearted. Whether you’re dealing with low self-esteem, abandonment, absence or lack of parenting, or not being fully aware of your purpose, those are major things that only God can fulfill.
One thing I know about God as a single woman, a wife in waiting, is that He is your covering, your Husband if you will. When you’re alone, lonely, and tired of waiting, get in the Word and in prayer. If you want to secure your future marriage with a man, you must have a firm grasp on your relationship with God. If you want to know what your husband is looking for, it’s the same things that Christ is looking for. I can promise you this, haven been single for 12 years, until you develop a deep and intimate relationship with Christ, yearning for Him every day, spending quiet “cuddle” time with Him, you will always be in the “relationship gone wrong” circus. A husband as “King” wants a “Queen,” without the excess drama.
If you are engaged, and even if you are still in the dating process, use this time to understand who God created you to be for the man you’re preparing to marry. A woman has been gifted with great discernment, something that every husband needs. The more you press into prayer, the more you’ll begin to understand his need for your gift. Are you a peaceful woman? Men require respect, yes, but all men appreciate peace. Are your emotions all over the place? You need to spend time in God’s presence to tap into and obtain that peace that only He gives and that Jesus left as an inheritance. Men go through enough hell every day that you may not hear about because it is in their nature to fix things. They don’t want to come home to hell. Begin to find a way through prayer, study of the Word and if need be, counseling to be at peace with who you are, have enough discernment to know when your future husband needs peace and find ways to create that peace for him. He should never sit in the driveway on the phone with someone else who is more peaceable than you. A wise woman builds her home but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands. You, without insecurities, without manipulation, without anything ungodly, have within you everything you need to be “The Good Wife.” That which you do not have, God will provide. Often women quote: “A woman should be so hidden in Christ that a man should have to seek Him to find her.” That is true. Here is the problem: Don’t “hide in Christ” hoping he’ll find you. What I mean by that is: Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. If you haven’t reached a certain level of spiritual maturity, be honest. Don’t put on an appearance that you’re a woman of God “hiding in the Word” when you’re using that as a mask hiding behind it.
A man will appreciate you more if you are honest about where you are in God. They may even help you get closer to Him–BUT, don’t use that as a means to get close to the man or God. You have to want God for God Himself. He alone knows your purpose and He alone has your peace. There is so much to be learned if you will do as Mary, and just sit at His feet. There will be “Martha Days” where you are just busy. But ask yourself, “If what I am doing now is just keeping me busy but not producing results, how will that augment what my future husband may be doing?” You may be surprised to find out that what you’re doing now may take a back-seat to what he has been called to do. Ultimately, I believe every man knows who his wife is. If he is connected to God and not chasing every skirt in the country then he knows who you are. Adam knew Eve was his before he “knew” her. He will find you, if he’s a real man. When he does, sex before marriage will not be the first or most pressing thing on his mind. You are some man’s favor, when he finds out that God has given you that missing key, He’ll come. You won’t have to say a word.
Related: Should a Woman Ask a Man For a Date?
Should single women date different men? In my opinion, no. That goes back to my 1st statement: Seek not to be sought. Unfortunately, men see this as you being whorish and ladies listen, some men gossip worse than little girls and you definitely don’t want to end up with one of them. You have enough estrogen. Take this time to discover God again, and in finding Him, when you least expect it, your husband will find you. Keep your standards high. Maintain a level of discretion and mystery about yourself but don’t play games. Men study patterns as much as they study sports. Someone, somewhere is studying you and the right man for you won’t write you off without first getting to know the fullness of you. That means he has to dig for you. Every invitation you don’t have to accept. They watch you in public, private and your social interactions. The ones who know you, know you. The ones who assume they know you, aren’t the ones, and the ones who don’t know you will either inquire as Boaz did or fall off the horse. Find yourself, love yourself and be good with yourself. Change happens progressively. Don’t rush the process, just enjoy the journey!
Natasha Stevens is first a woman of faith. She is a writer who has ghostwritten books for many leaders in both English and Spanish. She oversees a full service translation company as well as The Perceptive Media Group, a division of Stevens Consulting International-a private firm started by her parents. Having traveled and lived abroad for study and missions, she has garnered the respect of some of the top Universities and Prep Schools both in the United States and abroad, as well as Outreach Ministries. She is the Executive Content Acquisitions Director for www.pitch2me.org where she assists current and aspiring filmmakers in procuring financing for faith and family based film and television projects. She serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors for Infinite Hope, a non-profit organization for displaced women, men and children who are in need of shelter, food, clothing and counseling alongside her Spiritual Mother of over 20 years, Pastor Nellie Blain. Her Pastor and First Lady are Elder Terrell and Lady Sheree Fletcher of the City of Hope International at Faith Chapel, San Diego. She attends and worships with Bishop and Lady Malinda Blue of the Door of Hope Christian Church in Marion, SC and Real Life Church, under the leadership of Pastors Frank and Merry Beth Policastro located in Myrtle Beach, SC. Natasha has a heart for women’s ministry as well as youth education and counseling and is currently a guest on National Radio where she is called upon to speak about real life issues and the current state of affairs of the Church and Community. She has 3 book releases forthcoming along with several events for her organization FYGO™ For Young Girls Only, a mentoring and empowerment organization for young girls ages 13-24 founded in 2010. Follow Natasha on Twitter @1NatashaStevens
A proper understanding of what love is necessary before entering into a romantic relationship. Not having a good understanding of what love is and looks like, has us placing ourselves in hurtful situations, time and time again. This therefore gives the enemy a foothold in our lives to destruct our relationships (and friendships).
I went to look into the definition of love (both in the dictionary and in the Strong’s concordance) to get into this a little deeper. (Side-note: try to never assume you know everything about a thing when going into studying, especially Gods word since He is a multifaceted God. This leaves plenty room for Him to pour into our spirits and grow.) So although some of you may be thinking to yourselves, ‘yeah I know what love is. What’s your point?’ My point is this: to show the conflicting perception the world has of what love is and how the world’s view has infiltrated many Christian’s views of love, versus the truth about love.
Now this post may seem mundane or simple to some who have heard similar teachings, sermons, or discussions on this. Nevertheless it seems to be a reoccurring issue within the Church or Kingdom of God. God’s children should be upholding themselves better and maintaining a proper representation of who Christ is in the earth. So I’m using this as an opportunity to go over some of the most basics fundamentals for a Holy Spirit led, faith-based relationship.
PAUSE. You might not have had pre-marital sex at all or you’ve maintained abstinence for quite some time. Just sit tight. I’ll be addressing various issues and insight on relationships here.
Merriam Webster’s definition of love is this: (n)
: a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person
: attraction that includes sexual desire : the strong affection felt by people who have a romantic relationship
: a person you love in a romantic way
Okay, I don’t know about you all but the fact that love’s definition is intertwined with a sexual desire for another is disturbing to me. I’m definitely not saying there’s anything wrong with desiring someone in a sexual manner. The problem lies within this being the sole or main reason why we consider ourselves “in love” or loving someone. If anything this should be on the back burner of what we are concerned with when entering into a relationship. Anyone with an ounce of wisdom will confirm to you that sex OUTSIDE MARRIAGE ruins a relationship. There’s a reason why sex was meant to be made between a man and woman, in a marriage. The effects that sex has on us is deep! This is why people have emotional and mental issues and insecurities when they have engaged in sex outside marriage. Sex was meant as a means to SEAL the exchange of wedding vows, not only symbolically becoming one with the other but spiritually becoming one in spirit. Our spirits and souls spiritually become one once we lay with another. So when people engage in this outside of marriage, the after effects are damaging. Allowing ourselves to become one with someone we are not married to induces insecurities that mess with us mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Not to mention that if we are truly Christians, as I’m assuming most of you are reading this, then we would concern ourselves more with protecting the purity of our significant other, instead of devising a plan to bring them down. When I say it like that it sounds bad but let’s be honest. That’s the frame of mind some of us are on. Too many are calling themselves Christians and are sexually attracted to their boyfriend/girlfriend but their flesh is out of control. So they are led by their flesh’s desires instead of being Spirit led. This is always a recipe for failure in a relationship. This is probably one of the quickest ways to push a true Christian away. Approaching them in a lustful manner will always get shut down with them. Lets strive to not offend those that are actually good for us and make us better by edifying us in the things of God, by dying daily to our flesh and spending quality time with God.
Sex before marriage is nothing short of a distraction and only sets us back in our walk with God among other things, by getting our focus on someone other than Christ and most likely with someone He never intended us to be with in the first place.
Find someone who strives to protect their purity. They will in turn help you protect yours.
Love trusts and respects others. I plainly put trust and respect separately due to the fact that some assume they are not trusting the other when they are RIGHTLY concerned about an issue. As you all know, some trust issues are based off insecurities and past experiences and failed relationships. But are some things that are in dire need of checking. For Christians, we are expected to fellowship with our brothers and sisters. There are boundaries for even this though. For an example: I’ve had married men or those in relationships try to fellowship with me through exchanging numbers and texting/talking. And I’ve always turned down my brothers during those times. It’s not because I don’t love them, cause God knows I care about them. But I also care about their relationship and marriages. How would I feel if my husband was in another’s woman’s inbox or DM’s, trying to get her number for “fellowship purposes”? What would I think or feel if a mutual female friend came to me, asking if I knew that my husband or boyfriend was asking her for her number? Or how would I respond if a woman asked if it was alright to text/talk to my husband? These thoughts begin to trigger and create insecurities that were not a problem before or if they had been a problem, are even more of an issue. It can be conflicting when we try to go over in our minds without seeking godly counsel or praying on situations like this. One one hand we want to show we trust our significant other, especially if we say we’re Christians and have a brotherly love for one another. And other the other hand, you’re not okay with some of their actions. You don’t want to come off as though you have issues from your past still and yet, there is a nag in your spirit on some things. And since you can’t come to a conclusion on what it is, you settle on the idea that you’re at fault instead of even bringing up the situation to the other for discussion.
Trust is not the issue here. It’s respect of one another. Let’s not be so naive to the fact that the accuser of the brethren is searching for those he might catch in a compromising situation, and throw mud on. The word of God says “Let not then your good be evil spoken of” Romans 14:16. Simply put, this means we are not to place ourselves in predicaments or situations where we (who are doing good as Ambassadors of Christ, would look bad). Now I can just hear some of yalls thoughts while reading that, ‘ Who cares what others think?’. Not to the extent that you allow others people’s opinions and thoughts of you to rule over you, but in regards to ensuring the enemy cannot go and find fault in any area of your life. So yes, Your Father in Heaven cares. Your spouse or girlfriend/boyfriend cares. And that’s why we should allow love to treat others with the utmost respect. In what we do and don’t do. Our actions should always be a reflection of our respect for others. Lets strive to be more considerate of others feelings.
Submit is defined in the Free Dictionary as: (n) To yield or surrender (oneself) to the will or authority of another.
Something a few of my friends and I have discussed before is males and females not knowing their role in their relationships. This causes major loopholes in which necessary needs and requirements are not being met. If we’re playing baseball and the catcher doesn’t know what his purpose is in the game, he may find himself wandering the field instead of taking his proper position behind the home plate. Now although the catcher has signed up for this position and is ready to play the game and win (as every athlete is ready to do), he is ignorant to the fact that if he does not align himself with his proper role, he will continue to aid in the team losing their games. And if he continues to aid in his team losing, over time it will cause his team mates to become bitter and angry with him.
We have men playing the role of females and females playing the roles of males. What this does is have a person that was created for a specific purpose in a relationship, playing another role he was never intended to operate in. So although the person might accomplish some things playing in a role not for him, it will be drastically limited, leaving himself and his counterpart feeling unfulfilled in some way. And keep in mind, when there is any feelings of unfulfillment we tend to seek outside that which is for us, to fill that void. We flourish and bloom best when we operate in those positions we’ve been called to though. There are certain things a man must feel in order to feel like the man he is. And there are things a woman must feel in order to feel like the woman she is. And yes, both are important. As someone who is striving to have successful relationships, everyone should be willing to do this.
It’s necessary to understand that men and woman operate differently in their wants and needs. But this principle helps us to better please one other in relationships. We can’t want something from our significant other but not be willing to give them what they want. That’s a selfish and childish mindset.
Example of not submitting to one another in marriage:
· Wife has been continuously refusing to sleep with her husband (for various reasons) and therefore has caused her husband to drift away and he might not be so inclined to protect or comfort her on bad days. Not saying that either result is justified but this is cause and effect here. When one feels their needs aren’t met (and yes ladies, sex is a need for men), they feel unfulfilled. And with the wife seeing her need to feel protected is not being fulfilled, there causes greater distention. A man needs to have that physical connection with his wife intimately.
· Husband isn’t strong in his decisions and motivated in leading the household (for whatever reason) and therefore has caused the wife to move into the leadership role (which isn’t hers) and puts a strain on her to carry a burden that is not for her shoulders. She’s now over stressed, over worked mentally and spiritually. A woman needs to feel protected and provided for (not necessarily financially but spiritually and emotionally).
Love is prayer.
A relationship without prayer leaves so many breaches in the walls that were meant to protect and secure it. Issues are bound to arise throughout the time we spend with our significant others (this includes friendships). How will you deal with them when they do? Communication and discussion of issues only goes so far. Too many have given up on their relationships and marriages without fighting for them the right way. You can’t say you’ve done all that you can, until you’ve fought in prayer. We’ll always have flaws and weaknesses as we progress in God. Don’t criticize your significant other when you realize theirs though. You’re at an advantage to make powerful intercession on their behalf. If you see him/her struggling in an area, go get in your prayer closet and back them properly in prayer. Pray with them. Read and study the word with them. But whatever you do, don’t put them down. Adding to a person negatively can bridge a gap and create bitterness that no matter how sorry you are, it just isn’t enough. Don’t become an enemy to your significant other.
Love is good.
Some might think this should go without saying but the reality is, is that people are still getting caught up in bad relationships. All while thinking it’s “love” that bounds/ties them to that person. Yes, we will always have problems, issues, and obstacles to overcome with our significant other but that doesn’t mean the relationship is “bad’. What makes a bad relationship is when two people enter into one, with two different ideas/motives or a completely wrong motive in their hearts. It messes us all up when we get into relationships, even friendships or partnerships, etc, with others who have completely different common grounds, values, morals, and mindsets. After time has been invested and that “love effect” has worn off, it’s become evident how very wrong the other person is for you. So put this simply; a bad relationship is one that is unequally yoked. This is why it’s so important to ensure you’re equally yoked with those you open yourself up to. We all know that its dangerous to follow our hearts rather than allow ourselves to be Spirit led, understanding God won’t lead us astray but that our hearts definitely will. Feelings can be based off appearances and appearances lie. But the Spirit of God leads and directs off of what is true and right. God meant for love to be a blessing to us, to minister to us, to heal us and make us whole. It’s when we give our hearts to those who God never said it was okay, that we get ourselves in trouble. Then we turn and ask God why is this happening to us, when we are the ones that open the door to the enemy, by not being obedient. God will always come to our rescue when we humble ourselves, repent, and ask for forgiveness but should we really have to test Him, by being disobedient in the first place? Use your word, friends. Apply it It’s a guideline that will for sure never, ever lead you astray.
Love is wise.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. – James 1:5
In all areas of our lives God offers wisdom when we humble ourselves before Him to ask for this. It’s not different for relationships and this goes for all relationships in our lives, not just the romantic ones. No one can tell you everything that you’ll encounter in a relationship or marriage. But your go-to should always be prayer and seeking godly counsel, for those times it’s not too clear what Gods Will is on a thing. I am by no means an expert on relationships. And even though I have yet to find the man God has for me, God has given me an insight and wisdom on these things as I have sought him on the matter. I want to ensure my next will be my last. In order for that to happen, I have to be honest with myself. I asked God to show me what are my faults, weaknesses, struggles, etc. I don’t want any step backs based on my unresolved issues. I refuse to be a hindrance instead of a help to my husband. That requires that I work on me now while I’m waiting but all throughout my relationship and marriage with him. My mindset wasn’t always like this. It wasn’t until I spent quality time with God and God led me to fellowship with some good men who love Christ above all, that I was inspired and enlightened with what was most important in a man who would one day lead me and my household. I became to change how I prayed. More about God revealing what I needed work and less about what I want in a man. God knows what I need and want. What He gives me is exactly what is necessary and nothing short of. When I came into that understanding, it was a game changer for me.
I know some of you must be wondering why am I posting about relationships when I don’t have one. But I do. My relationship is with Christ. Any other relationship and marriage is modeled after this most important relationship. It’s through us seeking God , spending time in His presence, and aligning our lives with His Will that we become more like Him and less like the world. It’s important to reflect Gods nature and character to walk in successful relationships and everything else He has for us. So although I’m single, God has given me wisdom that I don’t need to endure a failed relationship in order to know what NOT to do. He’s given me the wisdom that comes from spending time in His presence. God’s given me the wisdom that if I am not prepared before I’m married, the chances of a failed marriage are extremely high. So some of what I’ve shared here is apart of my preparation for what’s to come. It’s Gods desire that we all enter into successful relationships that last. If we are patient and look to the example He’s left us in His word, we will find solutions and guidelines to doing so. Without having to go through the bad to know what good looks like. Don’t get me wrong. Hard times will come even when you’re with the person God has for you. What makes the difference is how well you’re equipped for those times and if you’ve acquired the wisdom to see those hard times through with your significant other.
When we follow Gods order of life we will always encounter His blessings and favor. His blessings and favor are a confirmation that we are on the right track. But when we are disobedient we encounter unnecessary hardship and heartache. Anything done outside of Gods Will and order of things, will always cause negative effects. Noone is free of these effects regardless if a person believes in God and His Word, or not. Truth is not relative. With that in mind we see how so many are led astray by a false perception and idea of what love is, ignorant to the fact that they are entertaining the enemy and his tactics to keep Gods children off track, backsliding, and in bondage. The enemy knows if he can keep us off track, by following our hearts and our own false perceptions of what love is, we’ll continue in these vicious cycles without him ever having to lift a finger. Ignorance is our fault though. This is why knowledge is power. It empowers us to do what is right so we can do better and get better.
It’s time for a change.
This gives us insight as to why so many keep following a certain path, only to end up at a dead-end. And continuously. Too many have become broken-hearted chasing waterfalls *TLC flow* lol jk, but yall know where I’m getting at with this. These vicious cycles have got to stop. We’re out here getting defeated by the enemy cause we’re too busy fighting the man/woman in the mirror, with these negative mindsets and false understandings of life. No, we are definitely not victims. In order to be a victim would imply you have no control over your situation and all responsibility for the current state you’re in is on another. And that is not the case. God has given us all the ability and means to rise up out of whatever negative or ungodly situations we may be in.
Advice for the singles:
Not being able to find anyone good is not an excuse for settling. Ever. Let’s keep in mind that those that are “good” are drawn to others that are also. You want to attract good people to you, so you have to display your good fruit. Words can easily paint a beautiful picture of someone’s character but if their actions do not align up with those words, BELIEVE IT. Do not make excuses for why they are this or that. It’s Gods job to heal and make us whole. It’s never a man or woman’s place to do so. Although I do believe they can aid in the healing, unless it’s God ordained it will not work out. Remember, you can never go wrong by working on you before meeting someone special. What you don’t want to happen is when you finally meet someone worth getting to know, you blow it because you have unresolved issues with your past or bad experiences. Bringing baggage into a relationship always multiplies the amount of pressure and obstacles you both will have to go through. A successful relationship is a team effort. And a good team has players that have been practicing and building themselves up before even joining a team. So don’t wait until you find someone to start working on you. Start today and now.
1 Corinthians 13 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Connect with Jenny on Twitter @j_solovely
One of the biggest mistakes we can make in life is to compare ourselves to others. Don’t fall into the comparison trap! I know it’s almost natural to think about “why don’t I have what he/she have and we’re the same age?” Or wonder why our best friend is married and we’re single when we he/she slept with more people than we did prior to marriage. Just some of these thoughts can drive us crazy and it’s a slow burn until it consumes us and our heart is nothing but ashes from the fire.
Definition of Compare: to say that (something) is similar to something else. To look at (two or more things) closely in order to see what is similar or different about them or in order to decide which one is better
I remember I started relationship coaching back in 2008. Although I knew this was my calling and I was good at it, I wondered why I wasn’t attracting the clients like those before me. I thought since God anointed me to do this the people will come by the hundreds. Wrong! It was a very slow and painful process that took years for clients to come. Looking back now I see that God have people on different paths and He knows what it takes to mature and grow us. (We started Never Again in 2008 and didn’t really see any fruit until 2010) Never assume someone “have it all together” because they are where we want to be. If the truth be told the one you compare yourself to is still learning as well. Anywhere worth going in life is a process and will cost you something. Are you willing to pay the price?
As I stated earlier God have us all on different paths. He made us all unique from our fingerprints to our likes and dislikes. To compare yourself to a friend or next door neighbor is telling God “I don’t like the way you made me, I want what they have!” I’ll be honest I’ve struggled with it before but over time it drains you emotionally. I learned to be grateful for what I have with the gifts and talents He entrusted me. Society and the culture will have you stressed because there’s always something to attain so you can be with the “in crowd.” So what your neighbor has a brand new car. It looks good and you see it everyday in the driveway but have you considered how much they pay for the car note?
Since relationships is what I do, here are two ways not to compare yourself with others:
If you’re single don’t compare yourself with a friend who has a girlfriend or boyfriend. Believe it or not the both of you are still single! The definition of single is not married. The one who’s in a relationship isn’t better than you just because they have a significant other. In some cases they wish they were in your place. I’ve seen some people miserable in relationships but were afraid to break it off for a fear of being alone. One of the greatest tricks of the enemy is discontent.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want -Phil. 4:12
If you’re married don’t compare your marriage to another’s. Don’t lust over another’s spouse. Yes he might make more money than your husband, but you don’t know what he has to go through to make the money. He might work plenty of overtime while you don’t want to work overtime. Yes her shape is near perfect but you don’t know what she has to go through to keep the shape. Maybe she’s in the gym five days a week on a consistent basis. While she’s in the gym you don’t feel like going so you stay at home. Yes I know their house is bigger than yours but you don’t want to pay the electric bill they get every month. Next time you start to compare yourself with someone else ask yourself “am I willing to pay the price?”
1. I am a Christian, and I firmly believe in the Bible. Hebrews 13:4, NKJV states: “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” I know it’s considered ancient, outdated and very “Cleaverish” to believe in or to practice celibacy based on the Bible, but I also have other reasons which are listed below.
2. I don’t have to live in fear of picking up a STD or getting pregnant unexpectedly. I know there are “precautions” that we can use and many of them work well when used properly, but there are MANY people who thought they were safe and were still “caught”. As one of my social media friends pointed out recently, we save a LOT of money when we don’t have to purchase birth control or condoms or take frequent tests to ensure that we did not pick up a disease. I don’t think the 15 minutes of pleasure is worth the angst that follows thereafter.
3. My heart is free. The issue of soul ties where we are intimately connected to everyone we’ve ever slept with is REAL. Having to untangle my heart and my soul from several men is, thankfully, something I am not struggling with at this time. I had to work through that issue when my divorce was finalized, which was a tough situation. With healing comes the realization that I don’t want to go down that path again unnecessarily (or EVER).
4. My conscience is clear. It is human nature to rationalize what we want to accept, whether it is the right thing to do or not. I’m very hard on myself in many areas of life because I want to reach higher and grow wiser and stronger in Christ. If I need to justify my behavior to feel good about myself even at the expense of my testimony and my relationship with God, I think I would lose that fight. Because God created marriage as the context for intimacy and procreation, as a single woman I have asked Him to help me honor my vow to live out His Word.
5. I’m setting an example for my son and for others to follow. We can live fulfilled, pleasurable and productive lives without sex (which includes masturbation and viewing pornography). We are free to pursue our purpose when we are not focusing all our energies on satiating our feelings and desires.
Are there challenges in maintaining celibacy? Of course! I’m human and I was married before, so I know what intimacy is like. Even before I was married (I was a virgin on my wedding day) I still struggled to maintain my virginity up to the age of 25.
Some of us have asked why has God given us these urges if we weren’t supposed to act on them. I think of it in this way: We are given appetites for food, for sex and for other things. If we act on our appetites inappropriately, we reap the consequences of those actions. If we eat at the wrong times (e.g. too late at night) or if we eat the wrong foods OR too much food, we will experience weight and health issues. If we eat in the proper context (eating to live versus living to eat), we maintain a healthy weight with fewer health issues. In that same way, practicing restraint in sexual activities and keeping it within the context that God created it for (which is marriage) makes it fun and a GOOD thing! When children are conceived in a healthy marriage there is a secure nuclear unit, which is the ideal home environment for them.
I am determined to keep the big picture always in the forefront. I am willing to sacrifice a momentary pleasure that has the ability to derail the rest of my life and I am choosing instead to WAIT until God sends Mr. Right in my direction.
Michelle Cameron is an avid writer since the age of 15 with recent features on the “Black and Married with Kids” website and Armed Magazine (online), and released her first book, “It’s My Life and I Live Here: One Woman’s Story” in 2011. As a former Toastmaster and soloist, Michelle is honing the art of public speaking and also using the vehicle of song to inspire and uplift women with her testimony. Michelle currently resides in New Jersey and is the mother of one son. Connect with Michelle’s official blog at “Life, Love and Other Topics: My Commentary.
The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife. Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control -1 Cor. 7:3-5
If you read the scripture above then you got your answer. However, there is practicality that goes with it. I don’t want my women readers to think that men are barbaric and she should “give it up” upon his request. That kind of behavior is not Christ-like at all and whoever teaches that, shame on him. A husband should be considerate of his wife feelings and what state of mind she’s in. The wife whose aware of her husband needs take time to initiate sex with her husband and is fully involved during intercourse.
As we know women are like spaghetti and men like waffles so if she has a lot on her plate (mentally) then she might not be ready to have sex with her husband in an instant. Like spaghetti everything is intertwined from the noodles to the meat and sauce. So if your wife is burdened down with children, bills, her job and the other cares of this life it will be tough for her to be sexually present in the bedroom. Now this varies from woman to woman depending on what she can handle mentally. Some women can carry a full plate with dessert and other women can only handle one thing at a time. As a husband it’s imperative to know what your wife can handle
Now in defense of the husband: since he can’t be with anyone else sexually for the rest of his life but you, you should be available as much as possible. Telling your husband “no, not tonight” over an extended amount of time can be a quick turn off for him and maybe have him looking elsewhere. Regardless if she continue to tell her husband no he’s still to remain faithful, no matter the circumstances. I know this isn’t popular teaching but you made a covenant before God to remain faithful.
Think about it this way wives, what if your husband shut you down when you just want to talk? What about when you just want to be held without sex being involved and he says “not now I’m busy.” How will you feel? Think about it like this wives: if you muster enough strength and really get into it sexually, it shouldn’t take him that long!
Here are some legit reason why a husband should be considerate of his wife not wanting sex:
- Menstrual Cycle
-If she’s dealing with past sexual abuse and trying to recover
Why a wife should be available to her husband:
-God made him sexual (read Gen. 2:24)
-He can’t have sex with anyone but his wife
-According to Psychology Today men think about sex 34.2 times a week. See why he needs sex from his wife on a regular basis?
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength -Mark 12:30
What a wonderful feeling knowing you found the right one and its time to make a lifelong commitment in marriage! You have the engagement ring, both families are excited and everyone making plans for the wedding and reception. She’s telling all her girlfriends how perfect he is and he’s telling all his friends it’s time for him to settle down because he found the right one. This is the stage where we only see him/her through “The rose-colored glasses” (where your significant other can do no wrong. Everything about him/her is perfect) we have in mind the perfect life once married. We think this person will alleviate all our past problems (or current ones) after the honeymoon.
Contrary to popular belief, the one you marry cannot fill the void in your life. I believe this is one reason why the divorce rates high because of the aforementioned statement. Let’s get some clarity about the statement “filling the void.” First of all let’s not get it confused your spouse does play a big part in loving, providing, protecting, speaking words of encouragement, meeting your physical needs and doing the best they can to honor you. However they can’t be your everything: meaning they can’t fill the void in your life from your past or whatever you might be dealing with currently. No one can carry that type of responsibility.
For example: There is a loss in the family (it can be a parent or child, your home or job) and there is nothing you can do to fill the void. Sure we can hold our spouse, pray with him/her, and offer words of encouragement. The pain is still there after we done all we can. What if our health fails us? As a spouse we can’t nurse them back to health. It’s times like these we realize our frailties and this is where Jesus fills the void and we can depend on Him to get us through. Our greatest dependency on Jesus isn’t when things are going well, but in times of adversity.
Here are two reasons why your spouse can’t fill the void:
1) We are finite:
yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes -James 4:14
Let’s admit it, we are all needy people. One reason we marry is for security….or ask the person who’s divorced. One day we’re up and the next day we’re down, one day we feel loved and the next day we feel lonely. Try to be consistent as you can, even when your spouse is in the wrong. If we can’t extend grace and mercy to our spouse the divorce rates continue to rise. Once we get the proper perspective of marriage from God’s point of view we can become more like Him making marriage more enjoyable.
2) Jesus wouldn’t make marriage more fulfilling than Himself:
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me -John 14:6
If marriage was more fulfilling than Him, why would we need Jesus in the first place? Marriage will make you draw closer to Him because your spouse has shortcomings (and the other way around) and we need to know how to handle them with care. Marriages become more healthier when we know our spouse is not the one responsible for our happiness.
As a man, what comes to your mind when you hear the words Priest? Provider? Protector? Do they make you want to try harder in these three areas or make you throw your hands up and quit? As I think about men in the Bible who showed these traits like Moses, Abraham, Jacob, and David it gives us huge shoes to fill. Jesus says we are to do “greater works” (John 14:12) so fulfilling all three traits should be easy right?
Since we live in a fallen world there will be sickness, unemployment, and divorce. These are real circumstances that happen. How does a man feel when he loses his job, get a bad report from the doctor on his health or stop praying because he feels as if God is ignoring him? I don’t blame the church for this next statement but we hear it from pulpits across the country how important it is for a man to keep these traits throughout his life without any setbacks. I totally agree but what happens when the man fall short in one of these areas? What if he’s failing in two areas, what about all three? After years of studying my bible and giving advice to men, here are some of my personal definitions of priest, provider, and protector
Priest: One who prays for himself and his family on the regular. He prays first before complaining and reads his bible daily.
Provider: One who provides financially for his family. Not only financially but provides love, leadership and hospitality.
Protector: One who protects his family from hurt and danger. He also protects his family being faithful (protecting her emotionally) to his wife and keeping his word (protecting them from heartbreak) with his children
This blog is in no way to have a pity party for men. However men get the bad rap for common sayings like “just suck it up” or “take it like a man” that most forget men have feelings, struggles, and doubts. To any woman that’s reading this in a relationship take time to listen to what he’s saying and what’s going on in his world if he’s willing to trust you with discussing his fears. Most men refuse to ask for help when things are falling apart and I believe most of it comes from being looked at as a “failure” or “lazy” when in some circumstances those terms are far from the truth. Then we have the fear of being judged by those we are close to because their struggle is different from ours.
How can we relieve some of this pressure? Here are some helpful and proven tips:
swallow your pride and ask for help: I know this is a tough one for most men. The Bible says “He opposes the proud but give grace to the humble” we have to reach out for help in times of need. God made us interdependent, not independent. We are taught “every man for himself” and “only the strong survive” so what about those who are close to us struggling? I been in the struggle myself and during the good times thought myself to be self-sufficient but God has a way of getting our attention, no matter how rich or strong we think we are.
pull on the grace of God: We have all fallen short in one of the three areas as priest, provider, and protector. Continue to live in repentance and ask God to help you along the way. God told the apostle Paul that “His grace is sufficient” after Paul kept asking God to remove the thorn from his flesh. (2 Cor. 12:7-9) When we come to the realization that life is fragile and we have limitations, we can bask in the grace of God.
support group/accountability partner: I know this sounds somewhat elementary but don’t count this one out. We need men in our life who build us up, yet be firm. I have a good friend and a mentor who I can be transparent to about my weaknesses and failures. Yet they help build me up during tough seasons of life. It’s important for a man to have a wife who will be there and listen to him, but some things I believe a man need to talk to another man about some of life situations.
I remember as a teenager learning from the guys in my neighborhood how to “be a player” and be smooth with the ladies. As I write this blog (and even somewhat embarrassed about my past) one thing I was taught that it’s easier to get women who didn’t have a father in the home. At the time I didn’t fully understand why but since I seen my peers and older guys “win” with the ladies, I would follow their advice.
As I got older and had some “women under my belt” I got better with wooing the ladies. I became so good that the women I dated mothers thought I was the perfect gentleman! Actually I was the wolf in sheep clothing who wanted to have MY way with women. I was working, had my own car, apartment and no children. Once the women I dated told their mothers about me and my status, they automatically thought I was the right one for their daughter after I met her mother in person. I would show up to their home with flowers for my date and her mother. I stayed well-groomed and neat in appearance. There was a pattern I became all to familiar with: since the women I dated mothers liked me, they would ask me for advice about their current relationship because the mothers still had man issues and in some way wish their boyfriends was somewhat like me.
One day I met my match. I dated a girl whose Father was present in the home. I really liked her and she invited me over for thanksgiving dinner. It was the challenge of my young adult life! Her father would ask me questions like “Do you have a five-year plan? Where do you work? Do you plan on marrying my daughter?” He put me in my place that night and made me see how important a father’s presence is in his daughter’s life. Come to find out later on that he was her stepfather! (that’s another message on blended families) He protected her from guys like me because he automatically knew my intentions with his daughter.
I tell you this story to make a point. When a father is present in the home, it make guys think twice about stepping foot on his property to ask his daughter on a date. A father is a protector and not easily swayed by his emotions. When he plays an active role in his daughter life it makes all the difference how she view men. Let me give you three reasons why a father should be his daughter first date:
-It Will Show Her What to Expect During a Date.
When he takes his daughter on a date, he want her to dress respectfully, take her to a classy restaurant, open her car door, pull out her seat at the table and let her order whatever she want. Then they will have good conversation and he will pick up the bill. Once they return home he will let her know that if anyone don’t treat her like the way he did tonight, he’s not worth your time
-It Will Show Her Worth.
As I showed above in the first step why wouldn’t she feel valuable? She has someone who loves her (dad) set the example. We always chase what makes us feel good, so that is what she will look for. Unfortunately too many of our young women don’t have that example so they are vulnerable to a man and the way he treat her on a date
-It Forces Him (her date) to Come Right or Don’t Come at All
His daughter now see what to expect on a date so she won’t settle for less. If her date pulls up honking his horn and fifteen minutes late, she will send him back home!