October 31, 2014

Do great couples really look alike?

By Tatianah Green

Lance Gross and Rebecca Jefferson
I always thought it was interesting that couples tend to look alike or like each other over time. The physical features, as they age, start to reflect one another. Have you ever seen a couple, married or not, who just look like they belong together? 

I’ve noticed that in people I know and in celebrities. One example is actor/photographer Lance Gross and his fiancĂ© Rebecca Jefferson. They have different skin tones but their smiles are similar. Next time you see a couple, take a look at peoples’ facial frames, builds, smiles, eyes, etc. Obviously not all couples look alike physically, and just because someone looks like you does not mean that they are automatically your spouse. Looks may or may not be identical, but what matters most is beyond skin deep...

“’Let us make man in our image, in our likeness’…so God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created Him; male and female He created him.” (Genesis 1:26-27 NIV)

When God created human beings, His intention was to create us in His image and for His divine purpose. When we operate in our identity in God, we know who we are and don’t conform it for anyone, including a potential spouse. When God saw that Adam would need a helpmeet, He said He will make one suitable (appropriate, fitting) for Adam. God caused Adam to fall asleep and He formed Eve from one of Adam’s ribs. Already we can see that Adam and Eve was a couple that looked like one another because:

  1. They were made in the image of God and knew it since they fellowshiped with God in the Garden.
  2. Eve was formed from Adam so in the natural they had similarities or human qualities. He knew not to hook up with animals, lol.
  3. Adam and Eve were in God’s divine will to become one flesh in marriage covenant (Genesis 2:24).

Sure, there’s a chance that you will have similar physical features to your spouse. But will you have similar spiritual features? I pray we all will. You want someone to not just compliment you, but to complement you. Your purposes will complement one another’s and not clash. This person that God gives the okay for complements you in multiple facets in the spirit and in the natural. This may be why we see couples with similar builds and features; their lifestyles attracted one another. For instance, your love for health and fitness would not attract someone opposite of that; ideally you’d be attracting someone who took their health and fitness seriously but not obsessively.

Same goes with the light that God shines within us. The word tells us several times about the people in our lives. The right people will help you get closer to God. They will reflect godliness and so will you. How can two walk together unless they agree (Amos 3:3)? The couple may not look all too similar in their physical features, but the mission will be the same. I see it in evangelist couple Michael and Amanda Pittman, who shine for Christ individually and when they are together. I love to see that in couples both new and old.

The unity of a great couple will exude from their togetherness or oneness; you won’t be able to not see it. They flow together in the spirit of excellence and share a similar love for each other that reflects in their actions. It’s not about roles, rules, or superficial factors. It’s the reflection of God’s divine purpose for marriage in action on earth in the midst of His creation, marriages where He is welcomed, worshiped, and put first. Married& Young shares that marriage is an important covenant because it involves two individuals stirring each other to become more like Jesus.

Perhaps that’s why couples tend to look alike over time. They attract one another with what's already in them and continue to operate as one unit and not  as two individuals passing each other in their own home with their own agendas. I hope this makes sense! All this talk makes me wonder if I will look like my spouse in any way physically…but I am certain that our spirits will complement each other. Reminds me of this classic India Arie song called “The Truth;” enjoy it here:

October 28, 2014

10 don’ts guys do that get them in the Friendzone

By Tatianah Green

Sometimes what’s irritating to the opposite sex is not easily communicated. One example is the common complaint that my sisters and I have about men who approach us. Guys, I want to help you out because I want you to succeed in healthy relationships. 

That’s why it’s important for us ladies to share with our brothers and potential suitors how to treat women. Brothers, it’s not always the lady’s fault that you were put in the “friendzone.” The friendzone is an undesirable place to be when one or the other party wants to create something romantically, beyond friendship. Urban Dictionary defines it as: "What you attain after you fail to impress a woman you're attracted to."

In order to get better results in your love life, you need to be willing to make changes in thought, belief and behavior. Instead of paragraphs, I’ve listed several "don'ts" that guys do that will, or better yet should, put you in the friendzone. Take notes and next time you approach a woman, come correct for breakfast. These are turn-offs to women that are common behaviors that men do that put them in the friendzone:
  1. Basic text messaging, lack of quality conversation
  2. No respect for/challenging the woman’s boundaries
  3. Being vague about your interest and purpose for communicating with the woman
  4. Acting too comfortable with a woman who you don’t know yet
  5. Demanding or making vague statements instead of establishing and confirming plans/dates
  6. Asking/low-key ordering a woman to send you a picture over the phone
  7. Showing yourself to be immature in approaching a woman initially
  8. Wanting to “be friends” only after getting denied by the woman
  9. Not having a real, submitted relationship with Jesus
  10. Not having enough confidence in yourself or being overly defensive

If you feel any of these scenarios apply to you yet you still get left in the friendzone, it make be time to evaluate your so-called friendships. Brothers and sisters in Christ can help each other do better without the need for romantic interest. Fellas, are those women you call your friends honest with you and encourage you to be men of God? Do they hold you accountable of respecting them in your conversations and activities? What is the purpose for your friendship with this woman or these women?

Someone who is a friend will be honest with you about you and your relationship. Some of us are in “friendzones” but we’re really on a reject list or as The Cuffington Post calls it, the curve. A friend loves at all times, so if you want a friend, act like a friend—romantic interest or not. Go out in groups, don’t stay on the phone or social media for hours with them, keep and respect their boundaries. Plus, trust the Lord to reveal to you the purpose of this relationship. He might be saving you trouble down the road or introducing a new route on your journey to your destiny. Either way rely on God and not your friends or emotions: they will mess you up! We all really need to do better, but we won’t be able to until we know. 

What are your thoughts about the Friendzone? Have you ever been in one? 

October 21, 2014

Exposing the Love Lies: Interview with Relationships Mentor Debrena Jackson Gandy

By Tatianah Green

A couple of months ago I had the opportunity to connect with Debrena Jackson Gandy, a national best-selling author and love relationships mentor. Upon reading her book, The Love Lies, I was excited all over again to be hosting her in Chicago on October 25th. 

One of my favorite aspects of the book is that it allows the reader to do some self reflection and evaluation. With Gandy's personal testimony and experiences, she breaks down the love lies that women all over have believed over the years such as my favorite chapter "Having expectations gets me what I want from a man." She presents the love lie, dispels the lie with truth, and then offers exercises for self-work. This book is not just for single women, but for married women as well. We all have learning, relearning, detoxing and letting go to do. After finishing Gandy's book, I had to ask her a few questions...

TG: Which love lie seems to be the hardest for women to break? 

DJG: Love Lie #1: "Love is found." It is the most fundamental. The one on which all of the others are "built." It is the basis of our confusion about the nature of love itself. And then our confused, toxic unhealthy behaviors in love relationships are a reflection of this warped understanding of love.

TG: We are encouraged to be our sisters keeper. How can you help a friend who is operating "in her girl" to operate "in her woman"?  

DJG: The number one way is to get her a copy of the book. Second is to work on first making the shift yourself, and she begins to notice a different way of believing, thinking, talking and interacting from you. Thirdly would be to be accountability partners together in practicing and embodying the Love Truths presented in the book.

TG:Singles often complain about the lack of available women/men for them to date. You address this in the book, but what can you say to women and men who are single? 

DJG: Most females are operating from Love Lie #7, which addresses our traditional approach to dating, as we've done it. It has been about judging and assessing men, constantly and it doesn't work. There are plenty of available men to date, but our fantasy Requirements List, that not even we, personally, could fulfill, keep us being very judgmental and "rejection" oriented. We've bought into a major scarcity mindset that creates blinders, has us be very CLOSED, Pessimistic, resigned, bitter, and looking mean. Looking mean is the equivalent of a CLOSED sign to a man.

TG: What has been the most frequently seen love lie in 2014? 

DJG: Love Lie #4: "Self-love is optional." The pop culture around relationships tends to focus on the man as the object or target so we miss the connection between the critical significance of our primary relationship being based in love and our ability to Recognize it (VERSUS confuse it with lust, co-dependency, control, possession, etc.), know how love behaves when it is present and freed up within us, and thus how it behaves when experienced between two in a love relationship. 

When we're out of touch with the active experience of love in our primary human relationship - the one with ourselves - then we falsely believe it can be gotten, found or taken from another. FALSE! The relationship with self is what we extend and is reflected in a relationship with another. It is the very lens through which we perceive and also experience relationships with men, and even in our friendships with women.

There is a lot of helpful tools and wisdom for women to use to change the way that they see relationships. Do you have any relationship questions? You can submit them to bliss4singles@gmail.com and I will ask Debrena during our Exposing the Love Lies event

October 17, 2014

5 ways to be faithful to your future spouse

By Tatianah Green
“Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?” Proverbs 20:6 NIV
“Lots of people claim to be loyal and loving, but where on earth can you find one?” Proverbs 20: 6 MSG

In today’s world, finding a loyal or faithful person is hard to do. We see this all the time in TV shows, here it in music, watch it in movies and read it in books. There's even a post on 10 ways a married person is not faithful to their spouse. And of course it’s all up in the Bible. 

In dating and relationships, it’s difficult to find loyal people because there are so many factors that get in our way of being loyal, loving, and faithful to another human being. Shoot, we have those same hang-ups being faithful to God. But thankfully God is so faithful to us. In this time of singleness, we can actively wait on our spouses and better yet—be faithful to them before we even meet them. Here are 5 ways how:

Self-Love: Self-love or lack of it is the root of many people’s issues in singleness. I’ve had aha moments when I realized that my self esteem, self worth and value was too low and I was settling for the wrong men as a result. I was attracting my own kind, those who thought they had confidence but it was weaker than it should have been. In order for singles to become faithful and true to their future spouse, they must learn to love and be true to themselves. “To thine own self be true,” sounds like it’s in the Bible, but it’s actually a quote from a Shakespeare play *cues the “The More You Know” star wipe*

This comes from practicing to love yourself, celebrate you and be around people who love, support and speak life into you. You have to believe that you are God’s creation, fearfully and wonderfully made for His plans and glory. You have value because God said so. That’s one way of starting to love yourself and accept yourself. The more steps that you take to learning what God says about you and to not care what people say about you, the more you will have self love. Our book of the month"The Love Lies," mentions a lot on self care and self love as well for further reference.

Self Control: “Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self control.” Proverbs 25:28 NIV You can replace “man” with “person” in that text because both sexes have issues with self control. This is very important to tackle during your single season because this has much to do with discipline. No matter what age you’re in, self-control will get tested. We often tend to explore our boundaries are we leave home and create an independent life for ourselves. 

You have a lot more freedom per se, but that doesn’t mean you can handle it. Are you disciplined enough to keep your hands, lips and other body parts to yourself on a date or in a relationship? If the answer is no, you may have some self control issues. Wise people learn to control what they say, receive and do. For example, you can’t blame your hormones or the other person for sexual slip ups. You’re an adult, and at this point you have a responsibility to guard your heart and protect your temple. If you’re celibate but you drink heavily, smoke, cuss, etc. without making the effort to slow or stop those efforts, then self control/discipline is your area to work on.

Think about what are some bad habits for you that you want to change in relation to control. You can stop those habits and discipline yourself to do better. We are constantly being pruned and refined by God. You won’t meet your spouse a perfect person, but the effort that you make to be in control of your emotions, body, and actions, the better partner you will be to them. You will also be more equipped to handle the temptations and pressures that will come in the marriage. Pray for God to increase your patience, strength, perseverance, and understanding in times when your self control is tested. We all need more self control in the Church.

Read more of the ways you can be faithful to your future spouse in the Saved Singles Men and Saved Singles Women sections!

October 15, 2014

What love lies have you believed? [Video]

National Best-Selling Author and Love Relationships Mentor Debrena Jackson Gandy
is coming to Chicago on her nationwide book tour and
we have collaborated for an event for the single and married ladies! 

Her new book is called "The Love Lies: 10 Revelations that will Transform Your Relationships and Enrich Your Love Life." I'll be reading the book and posting a post-read Q&A with Debrena here next week. 

Ladies, you don't want to miss this event! Join me for a fun and inspirational ladies night out! Bring a friend and bring your questions for the Q&A portion!

Did I mention that it's my birthday weekend too?! 
Come celebrate with me and get some cake from My Bites & Delights

See you on October 25th, Chicago! 

*Media partnership with Prayze Cafe Radio 1570 AM* 

Bloggers note: In the midst of promoting this event, frequent posting has slowed down a little bit and for that I apologize. I don't want to just put anything out there for you. There will be a new blog post by Friday. Love you all!

October 8, 2014

When to stop giving potential a chance

By Tatianah Green

I have noticed that in the past couple of years, the term “potential” in the areas of dating seems to have transitioned into taboo land. I remember growing up watching Tyler Perry films and hearing from relationship experts back in the day (perhaps 10 years ago) to “give a chance to someone with potential.” That a man who’s got the potential to be the man you desire is better than not having a man at all. That women’s standards were too high or picky to attain the man that they desire with the Benz and six-figure and abs to match. That we as women had overlooked our brothas with potential like the blue collar worker with a dream in his heart. Ladies, do you remember these statements? I think even Steve Harvey mentioned that in his infamous book or film Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man.

Nowadays, it seems like the pendulum has swung in the opposite yet not-so-new direction in regards to our attitude with the word potential. I’ve seen many people state that you shouldn’t be with someone because they have “potential” to be something great or to be your spouse. This logic towards potential suggests that it might not be enough to start or keep the relationship. It’s advised for singles to accept the person for who they are in that moment not getting caught up in the ideas and hopes that you have of what they could be. Now these might not even be your ideas or hopes, they can be what the person told you that they were doing or aspiring to be. But here’s the thing: if you didn’t know this person previously, there’s a risk that they are lying to keep you in their potential trap.

Maybe they’re going back to school to get that degree, certificate or skill. Maybe they have this grand idea for a business and they told you about it and you feel special because you got the inside scoop into their dream.  Maybe they’re in between jobs and are looking for their breakthrough. Maybe they go to church but are unsure or immature about their walk with the Lord. 

At some point, you’re going to start seeing results of their work or not because potential that’s not active is not possible, it’s just unlikely. What will you find? As someone who has dated both lazy and ambitious young men, I can say that there needs to be evidence. If they’re just giving you lip service with no blue prints, long hours at work, effort, etc. then the potential is going to wane and you’re going to get frustrated. You called yourself being a good, non-judgmental Christian by seeing this person for more than what they are right now and tried to see what God sees in them, but did you see yourself in this journey of theirs? Let’s take it a little further...

Read more of this post in the Saved Singles Men or Saved Singles Women sections!

September 30, 2014

Must-Read Books: Fall 2014

By Tatianah Green

Hey everyone! As you know by now I love to read and I've been doing a lot of that this past summer, especially on my commute to and from work. Besides from the "Books of the Month" that I post on this website, I wanted to note the following books I've read this summer that I didn't get to share with you to check out this autumn. They are all available on Amazon or the author's sites for purchase (links in the book titles below). 
   There's something for everyone, so enjoy these reads as I have:

For the Ladies: "Dusty Crowns" by Heather Lindsey. This book is a great reminder for women both single and married to put God first and adjust their perspective in their personal relationship with Christ. It's a quick read, but an encouraging piece nonetheless. It's great for a weekend getaway or morning devotional time.

For the Singles: "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" by Joshua Harris. This book is a classic in the Christian relationships category. I read it all in a week and it definitely confirmed my thoughts and where God wants me to be in this season. Before you even consider talking to someone special, read the book and recommend it for them too!

For the Ambitious: "The Gatekeepers Are Gone" by Lamar Tyler. Lamar is like a mentor to me and his first book is like a well needed conversation on the changing times and technology have allowed us access to millions of people and potential consumers if we recognize our potential to grow our ideas. It's a must read for those who want to get started in blogging, media, music, film, etc. and want more information on how to get exposure without watering down your creativity. 

For the Single Ladies: "God Where is My Boaz?" By Stephan Labossiere. Stephan is a fellow writer for Black and Married with Kids and I had to check out his best seller. It's a great read for the ladies who are single and waiting for God to send their future husband. It's Christian-based and that's helpful inspiration and encouraging advice from a brother in Christ. 

For the Fiction Fan: "Tears of Kings" by Tanzy Alexis. This book is written by my sister in Christ and her first novel is a page turner. It's a fictional account of three men and their ups and downs in faith, life and love. This book is for men and women; it incorporates faith and fiction with no shortage of drama to keep you wanting more.

    Check out these books and if you've already done so, let me know what you thought of them! Be sure to get the book of the month for October: "The Love Lies..." by Debrena Jackson Gandy! Chicago, you  don't want to miss our book-signing event with Debrena Jackson-Gandy on October 25th. Get the details here or purchase tickets today!