April 16, 2015

Can't afford to get married? Then don't date

By Tatianah Green

There was an article that one of my sisters shared with me this week about 70% of men under age 34 are not marrying in this day and age because "they have sense." The author states: “Many good men WANT to be married, but if a man’s financial situation is not RIGHT (by his standards), then he will NOT seriously entertain the idea of getting hitched.” I agree with that sentiment to an extent, but if we apply that current knowledge to this man's argument, then it seems that the 70% of men under 34 should not be dating. It sounds extreme but hear me out. Here are a few reasons to consider:

The money struggle is real for all of us

Let's consider that men who desire to be married one day are currently working at an underpaid job, looking for better paying job, pursuing entrepreneurship, and/or have massive amounts of debt, which the author suggests most have. One study says that the average college grad owed $28,400 in student loan debt in 2013. These are logical, realistic even, reasons for a man to feel like he's not able or ready for marriage. But don’t take all the pressure on yourself to provide. Today's financial circumstances are tough but the women of today are working hard and smart to bring something to the table in marriage to build and contribute to a home you’d both want together. If you continue to chase money that's what you'll always be going after--you'll never be satisfied. If you chase after God and yield to His will, best believe He can turn around anyone’s situation for the better.

Dating is expensive too!

Another article lists major cities in the United States and how much the average modern date costs. Some places are over $100 a date. Please note that the 21st century woman also works or has some kind of income for herself, so if she has a mature mindset, she would not expect you to provide all her needs in a dating relationship. But if you men, who take the initiative to ask ladies out in the first place, really like this woman, you’re going to be consistently spending money to woo her. There are always transportation costs, food, entertainment, and other costs that arise when you date.

Sure, there are plenty of ways to have free or cheap dates. You can be creative and smart with your money, and that takes effort, not just having a cheap mentality. The time you're spending also to get to know that special lady requires a sacrifice of time that you could be spending to build your financial future. Fellas, you have the option to date a woman and spend money or you can save money for later on when you’re ready. As another (male) blogger states plainly: "if you’re worried about the cost, you shouldn’t be dating."

What are you really dating her for?

Most, not all, women by age 34 desire to be married and start a family. With that in mind, ask yourself honestly why you want to date. Is it for female companionship? There are friends and family for that. Is it for affection, attention or sexual gratification? Many men, if they're honest, are not willing to wait ‘til marriage to have sex, including many men of God. That is a huge deal breaker for women of God who are abstaining ‘til marriage. This is to all men: don't say you can't afford to get married but engage in premarital sex because the reality is that you could get a woman pregnant. And raising a child can cost you up to $145,000 or more depending on where you live. So instead of saving up your coins and preparing for a future you say you want, you run the risk of paying so much more now because of your temporal decisions.

Consider more than financial costs

If you're saying no to marriage right now, are you letting the woman you're dating know this? Don't treat women as a layaway plan; you either commit or you don’t. I just ask that you be men who say what you want up front and give the women you decide to date a fair shot at deciding what they are going to do next. Best believe women who are ready and desire to be married don't have two or three years for you to make more money in your standards. Don't delay her opportunity to be a wife to someone who is more ready or suitable for her. I know this sounds a bit harsh, but I'm addressing this angle because accountability is vital for our growth. It's not to say you shouldn't date at all if you're not married, but it's to get you to really think about your priorities young men of God. The Lord won't entrust you with a godly wife if you're not a good steward over your current responsibilities. Think about your spending and saving habits, how you're taking care of debt, what your plans are for your future if any. This is the time to consider and work on all of those things and take it seriously. 

Brothers, remember that who and what God has for you is for you. Don’t let these socio-economic times put more pressure, stress and fear into your mind and spirit. You have a Father who provides your every need according to His riches and glory so don’t be discouraged; just be focused and diligent in your work and trust God to provide for you what He has already promised you. When you believe that, you’ll have peace about where you are in this season. And that, my brothers, is having sense.

I really want to know your thoughts on this topic, feel free to comment below or hit me up on Twitter @BLISS_BCS

For more check out: "When to stop giving potential a chance"

April 13, 2015

Pep post: You are not alone

With friends Tanesha and Russelyn on Saturday!
By Tatianah Green

It's Monday, a new work or school week for most, and already I've run into people who have 
seemed to have a not so good start on today. I just want to share a pep post to help you for this week: You are not alone. In this world that seems so huge and crowded, you may feel like you're forgotten or have to navigate in your day on your own, but God sends you reminders on the way that He is always there. 

I must testify how God just provides a way for me to be covered, protected, and with comfort. Over the weekend He has allowed me to go places that I at first thought I would be alone, but I soon found out that friends or people I knew were in the same place. Friday morning, ran into an acquaintance and neighbor, so I'm not "alone" in my neighborhood. Another friend of mine recently moved 15 minutes away from me this past week. After work that day I had it in mind to go downtown to buy some shoes, and my sister from church was shopping in the same area! We shopped and fellowshipped together. I was filled in my spirit with that quality time--my primary Love Language
I don't see it as coincidence at all, but God's promise to be with me always.

Saturday was blessed as well. I went to a True Voices Chicago poetry showcase to support one of my brothers in Christ. Though I arrived by myself I was able to sit with friends who I didn't know were there. When they left early, another two had just arrived to the event and sat next to me. On Sunday I went to another church to hear a sermon by a brother in Christ and was able to sit with his girlfriend and father. Again what are the odds? But I don't call it coincidence. I went to my home church afterwards and felt like family as I received hugs and texts asking if I was okay. My church is big on making you feel like family! It was a blessing to know that in the midst of whatever I am concerned about or begin to worry about, God sees me and shows me through others that He’s here and He cares.

This week I want to encourage you to expect God to look out for you. Don’t let discouragement take away the opportunity for God to get the glory in moments when you are on your own. In the moments in which I am by myself, I am going to ask the Lord for His peace. Him showing through the presence of my brothers and sisters in Christ gives me a blessed assurance that I'm not forgotten, overlooked or alone. I love the Lord for making everything happen according to His will and timing. You are not alone; let the Lord show you that you’re not.

"Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand.Psalm 73:23 NKJV 
"Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.Deuteronomy 31:6 NKJV

April 9, 2015

30 is the new 20…in the dating world that is

By Andrea Geneise Grant
Me and Tatianah on my 30th Birthday trip in Vegas!

When it comes to age, we all want to seem younger than what we are. I'm sure we all know the phrase “30 is the new 20,” and some critics would strongly disagree with that statement. However, in this new world of dating, 30 really is the new 20. 

Think about it. How many early to mid-20 year olds do you know that are married with kids, a home and a career? Not many, right? The fact of the matter is, people don’t start achieving these things until their late 20s and early 30s. Let’s look at some facts.

In 1960, 72% of all adults ages 18 and older were married; today the number is just 51% of adults. In the same year, the average first time marriage age for a woman was 21 and for a man it was 24. Fifty years later in 2010, the age was 26 for women and 28 for men--major difference! In the 1960’s women were expected to go to college and find a husband but not to get a degree, especially in the south. And even if a woman did finish college, she more than likely got married while in college, or shortly after finishing, and became a housewife.

With a change in the times comes a change in mentalities. Think about it-- how many of us know at least one man who has said "I'm not settling down until I'm 30 or 40"? I do, and a lot of it comes from men being taught to sow their wild oats before they get married. But some of it comes from men wanting to get established in their lives so that they can provide for a family. 

Women have the same mentality as well. Most women want to go to college, get a degree, get established in a career, and have a nice life set up for themselves before they marry Mr. Right and have kids. And don't even get me started on how competitive the workforce is nowadays. It may take a person years to get fully established in a career that they want which means marriage and kids may not come until their late 30s or early 40s.

I know some of us dreamed, even planned on being married with kids by the time we were 30. Shoot, according to my 12 year old self, I'm waaay behind schedule; but it's okay because I know that God's timing is perfect, and in due season I shall reap if I faint not. So don't get discouraged if you are nearing or in your 30s and marriage isn't on the horizon, that just means that God is still perfecting that perfect person just for you, and they will come soon. Plus you're still only "20," well, technically speaking that is. 

What do you think, are 30s really the new 20s? 

In case you missed it: Singles: Are you Afraid of your 30s? 

Andrea Geneise Grant is young single woman of God exploring her 30s and living to help others. She is an up and coming makeup artist in the Chicagoland area. If you are in need of makeup services, visit her page: Geneise the Makeup Artist

April 6, 2015

What's the True Definition of a Friend?


I am excited to share this link with you all today about a radio show that I was part of recently with Jay Mayo, host of the Right to R.E.A.L. Love online podcast. We had a Skype chat about true friendship and great conversation ensued. There are other guests on the podcast as well, so please take a listen and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

If you haven't heard of his show before, Right to R.E.A.L. Love gives a conversational and real approach to topics in dating, singleness, relationships, and more for young people of faith. I admire Jay's professionalism with the whole recording process and I definitely recommend listening in to his show when you are either on iTunes or Stitcher.

Enjoy the podcast and be sure to check out his website for more great episodes! 

Listen here: The True Definition of a Friend

April 2, 2015

Are you what your future spouse is praying for?

By Tatianah Green

This is a new series taking on the popular #RelationshipGoals trend that we see in social media today. It’s more than the humor, passion and materialism that should be on your goals list, but substantial things that will carry you both on God’s plan for your current or future relationship if it leads to marriage.

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded [required]; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke 12:48b NIV

We all pray and wait patiently (and anxiously at times) for the one that God has for us to marry. We pray that they will treat us right, complement us, and have genuine love for us and others. Before entering a serious commitment, it’s important to evaluate whether you and your mate are equally yoked and suitable for one another in areas that are important to you. It’s just as important to ask yourself if you are willing to meeting this person’s needs. It’s one thing to be able to care for them, support them, and love them, but are you willing to take on the responsibilities involved with who God entrusts you with?

It’s an honor to bring God glory with your spouse, and with that there is great responsibility. Marriage is not all about romance, there is a lot of work, sacrifice and dying to self for the sake of the other person and the relationship. This is why it’s important to take your time and examine your partner and their heart in the beginning and know them enough before saying “I do.”

In Proverbs 31 we are told of this amazing woman who has set the tone for a godly wife today. Verses 11-12 say: “Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.” The Proverbs 31 woman, which many Christian women draw inspiration from, is described as a “wife of noble character.” In Proverbs 12:4 we are confirmed that this kind of wife “is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay to his bones.” Ladies, if we aspire to be the women our future husbands prayed for, we have to develop a noble character.

It starts with how you see yourself. Are you whole, believe and work to live in holiness and righteousness? These are the basics of noble character for both men and women, and it’s very important to live it genuinely in your life in all seasons. For instance, if one goes into their marriage not whole, they will run the risk of leaning on their spouse to fill a void that only God can fill. This can cause stress and strain on the marriage that the enemy will try to take advantage of. You are better equipped to meet your spouse’s needs in the relationship when you are not in confusion about who you are and when your voids are filled with God.

The men are called to high standards as well when it comes to meeting their spouse’s needs. We see it time and time again in today’s society as proven in Ephesians 5:28 “He who loves his wife loves himself.” There are marriages that break up due to infidelity or abuse, and unfortunately those are rooted in either one or both parties not loving themselves. When dating or courting, you’ll notice if the person loves themselves or not by how they treat themselves, others, and you.

Proverbs also has rich wisdom and instruction for men of God, especially regarding the contents of their heart. “A good man obtains favor from the Lord…” (12:2), “A man of perverse heart does not prosper,” (17:20), and “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord” (18:22). Fellas-- are you leading the woman on or are you leading her to Christ? Do you have pure motives and intentions with the woman you are interested in or dating? Ask the Lord to reveal any parts within your heart that need work. Take the time to answer for yourself am I what God would consider to be a good man? Let the word of God lead you in that journey of self evaluation.

I could definitely expand more on this, but I wanted to briefly touch on the concept of being what your future spouse will need with emphasis on your character. Are you dealing with personal or spiritual issues that could bring harm to the relationship and marriage? Are you a single person of noble character? We won’t go into marriage perfect people, but the more personal growth and issues that you can handle now in your single season, the better you'll treat your spouse and the more peaceful your future marriage can be.

March 27, 2015

Love lessons at the Black Women's Expo 2015

By Tatianah Green

The annual Black Women's Expo returns to Chicago from March 27-29, 2015. If you've never been, it's an expo that caters to the African American/Black woman from health, business, spirituality to hair care, all under the roof of the McCormick Place Convention Center in downtown Chicago. Every year they bring big names to the expo to give us the latest in what's new and information to help women in their personal and professional lives. There are also plenty of vendors and entrepreneurs to network with and support.

For the full list of this year's events and speakers CLICK HERE

I plan on attending the Black Women's Expo on Sunday afternoon, let me know if you make it by sending me a tweet at @TforTrendsetta or @BLISS_BCSHere are some highlighted events that revolve around love and healthy relationships that you may want to check out:


HerStory: An Intimate Discussion with Yanni Brown
1:00-2:30 p.m.

Every woman has a story. Who we are today is deeply rooted in who we were and is entangled in who we will become. As women we struggle with love, sisterhood, being good enough, knowing when enough is enough and finding balance within being a woman somewhere in between. Join author, blogger & relationship expert Yanni Brown in an interactive workshop to inspire our BWe “Women” to see themselves on a journey to becoming the women they are destined to be, sharing HerStory!

The Love Guide: Steps to Becoming The Best Lover
5:00 - 6:30 p.m.

Moderator: Yanni Brown | Speakers: Ashanti Pettiway; Brandon Jackson; Dr. TaMara Griffin; Jennifer Bridgeforth; Dr. Terre Holmes
Are you looking for love? Tired of starting your relationship life from scratch?  Join our panel of relationship experts as they give advice on becoming a better person for your future mate.  From Love & Sex to Hate & Forgiveness, our co-ed panel will provide BWe attendees with the ultimate Love Guide of 2015.

Taking Back Our Health: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT Living a HEALTHY Lifestyle
5:00-6:30 p.m.

Moderator: Larry Brown | Speakers: Self Love Expert, Toni; Spiritual Expert, Lady Latasha; Financial Fitness Expert, Ed; Nutrition & Fitness Expert, Coach KENYA
Everything you need to know for a healthy lifestyle, regarding love, spirituality, finance, nutrition and fitness.

Saturday & Sunday (Times are the same for both days)
Online Dating/Offline Mating: How to Navigate the 21st Century Dating Revolution
4:00 - 5:30 p.m.

Speakers: Tina Swain LPC; Melody Byrd; Atty. Marcellus Moore; Arnell Bradshaw
This panel will educate BWe attendees about online dating and how it differs from years ago, recognize intuition and its usefulness in dating, how to make dating a fun experience rather than a dreaded disaster, the benefit of adapting a new dating mindset, discussion of personal experiences and how the past can affect and infect current and new relationships.  

Rules For A Successful Relationship
4:00 - 5:30 p.m.

Speaker: Dr. James Ford Jr. 
Join Dr. James Ford Jr. in a spiritual conversation about relationships, as he breaks down different mistakes and obstacles to avoid that are not conducive for a successful relationship.  

Self-Care and Self-Love for African American Women
4:00 - 5:30 p.m.

Speakers: Versandra Kennebrew; Kimle Nailer; Marguerite Wright; Jacqueline V. Carson
African American women are nurturers, caring for children, spouses and our communities. But what happens when our cup is empty? This self-care panel brings years of personal development expertise to show you why self-love is essential to well-being and why primary foods like relationships, physical activity and spirituality feed us, filling our cups so love overflows, allowing us to support others from our surplus instead of our reserve.

March 23, 2015

Recap: Tony Gaskins' Real Love Tour Chicago 2015

By Tatianah Green

Life and relationship coach Tony Gaskins returned to Chicago for his Real Love Tour 2015, this time on the campus of Loyola University. The brisk spring evening was filled with real talk and confirmation for many and affirmation for all in attendance. I attended last year’s event in Chicago and was so encouraged I had to come back and have a ticket giveaway for a few ladies who hopefully made it (shout out to Melvina N.)!

There were so many nuggets of wisdom and confirmation for myself and many of us at the tour stop. Here are just some of the many words of advice shared with the audience last night: 

We live and operate in our current relationships based off of our past pain. This is especially true if you haven’t taken the time to heal from the past hurts or forgiven and released the ones who have done you wrong.  “We take this pain [with us] and when we meet someone who wants to love us right, we often sabotage that relationship because of that pain,” said Tony.  

He also touched on how to cut soul ties. He said that you have to think about what the person did to hurt you, see what that situation taught you, and make the corrections in your life to not make the same mistakes again. He suggests cutting all contact with an ex, especially if there are no kids involved, is necessary for healing; and that may include their family members who you keep in touch with. Cut off their number, your access to their social media profiles so you can move on, with Tony emphasizing “You've got to heal and prepare for real love.

Tony shared with us that love is not pain, which most of us have heard and can agree with. The problem is that we often accept the pain, abuse and controlling behaviors from those we are in a relationship with because we are lacking the self love and self respect needed to walk away. 

Me and Pinky Promise Chicago sister Ashley!
He emphasized that when you’re in the process of healing, you’re replacing the old negative thoughts about yourself with new knowledge and positive thoughts about you. In addition, a Christian single who is working on being healed from past hurts combats every lie from the enemy with a promise or truth from the Word of God. 

Tony shares that the new knowledge of self leads to confidence and self love, allowing you to focus on what you were called to do, your passions, and building a fruitful life as a single without the mate yet. “When you are 100% happy being single, you are ready for a relationship. A relationship would have to be a pretty good one to interrupt all the great things you are enjoying as a single.” Tony wrote the book “Single Is Not a Curse,” which is an encouraging read for anyone who questions the purpose of their single season. 

Read more from the Real Love Tour Chicago 2015 and what my favorite discussion topics were in the Saved Singles Men and Saved Singles Women sections! For more photos, quotes from the event, visit us on Twitter and view our posts, as well as explore the hashtags: #RealLoveTour #TonyGaskins