December 22, 2014

Awkward! Asking the what if’s in relationships


By Tatianah Green

From The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl
I was having a conversation with one of my friends recently and we talked about hypothetical what ifs in relationships. It started off with “what if the guy you’re courting asks you to not wear tight fitting clothes around him?” I told him I’d need to have an explanation why, because I’d want to know his intentions behind the request. 

So in this hypothetical situation, my beau was tempted when I wore  fitted leggings around him or something along the lines of that. My response:  “If that was the reason, then sure I'd make more conservative choices around him.” We brought up other what if topics and discussed responses. It seemed like my responses would have been way different several years ago. There may be some awkward moments in your dating and/or courting season in which you address "what ifs" with your mate for the first time. 

Here are some examples of topics that may eventually be brought up:

  • God is leading me to withhold kissing until my wedding day, are you okay with that?
  • How will I know what my partner likes sexually?
  • I’d like my future spouse to get tested for any STDs or STIs before we get married
  • What do you feel about prenuptial agreements?
  • Where will our church home be when we get married?
  • If one of us has an ailing parent, would you be comfortable with them living in our home?
  • When should we start a family after we get married?
  • I have this (insert limit or boundary specific to you); will you accept that while we are courting?
  • What are your thoughts about my opposite sex friendships?

The list can go on but you get the gist. We are all individuals with different experiences and wisdom that have shaped our thoughts, opinions and actions. But what happens when you have to bring up your wonderful opinion on the important yet awkward questions with someone you plan on spending your life with?

I personally think that it’s a good idea to bring these questions up if they apply, but to do so at the right time. Please don’t ask about someone’s sexual history on date one. Better yet, refrain from talking about the sex topic too much or too soon; it could steer focus away from really getting to know each other, or give your date the wrong idea about you, them or the subject. Some questions won’t be asked of dates; some are more reserved for someone you’re in a courtship with or engaged to. I’d also recommend pre-marital counseling with a godly, married counselor who can create a safe and comfortable space for you and your partner to address these issues without any confusion or misunderstandings.

If you’re single, this is a good time to evaluate your boundaries and if they are new boundaries, go over how you’re going to set your boundaries and standards on dates and in the relationships. For example, if you’re on a date, and your date is fine AND tempting (there’s always that one), how are you going to respond to an unwanted advance? They may want a nightcap or talk about something that won’t sit right with your spirit. How are you going to respond? Remember Joseph had to run from Potiphar’s wife because she wanted him. He could have stayed and sleep with her, but he had standards that he was living with and didn’t want to sin/compromise when they came into question.

You don’t have to have a full blown script, but it’s important to not get so caught up in the feelings of being on a date or in a relationship that you compromise what you promised to God you’d do when you were single. Compromise is one of the many mistakes we as singles make because it threatens the very essence of who we really are. Don’t compromise your standards for someone who you’re not married to. You want to be with one person who will accept you and respect your standards as they line up with the will of the Lord, and not some crazy standard or wall you’ve built up because you’re defending yourself. Make sure what you want is what you want to happen. No matter the awkwardness of the  what ifs, you have to address them and be real when they come.

What if you get a funny look or your mate misunderstands or disagrees with you? Do your best to explain your position and don’t budge. Some people will test you on your boundaries. There are also those who are not aware of the Word like others, so it would be a good idea to bring up a scripture to support your beliefs and if you two are equally yoked, then it should not be a difficult conversation to have moving forward. Be sure to talk to a mentor, accountability partner or spiritual leader in your life about the issue as well so as to not fight this battle between the flesh and spirit by yourself.

To end this post, if my future husband or beau asked me to change my wardrobe for the sake of holiness, I’d have to confirm that was the reason and it was not a control issue, and then go forward with doing what I could to not tempt him. We are accountable to each other, so we have to do our part in helping each other stay in holiness and respect, reflecting godly choices in thought, speech and action.

What are some other awkward topics or what ifs that get asked in dating/relationships? Share with me below:

December 17, 2014

Pep Post: Have a Mary Christmas


By Tatianah Green

I was thinking about the verse of the week and in the spirit of the Christmas season, I was inspired to go back to Luke in which we get Mary's encounter with an angel that would change the course of her life forever. In a nutshell, a young virgin named Mary finds out that she will become pregnant and give birth to Jesus, Son of God. Can you imagine what was going through her mind when the angel of the Lord told her this? 

In Luke 1 she wonders asking how that could be, since she is a virgin and is engaged to her husband to be Joseph. The angel breaks it down for her and then says "For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment. Then Mary said, Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord; let it be done to me according to what you have said. And the angel left her" (verses 37-38).

So, you mean to tell me that an angel of the Lord came down and told you that you were going to carry and birth the Messiah? I'm pretty sure she got those kind of questions after that encounter and during her pregnancy. It wasn't the easiest news for Joseph to take either, for he was going to break up with her until he too received a divine intervention. But what I wanted to note was the exchange between Mary and this angel. 

He reminded her of who she was in God and who she serves. Mary understands that her life purpose is confirmed and she accepts it. She doesn't run away, she doesn't cuss the angel out for interrupting her marital plans with Joseph. Mary submits to the will of the Father, humbly acknowledging herself as a servant and ready for what is to come next. That part also reminded me of Jesus in Gethsemane when He told the Lord "Not my will but Yours be done" (Luke 22:42). 

We as Christians don't worship Mary, but we gotta give her props. She is a blessed woman and believer who we today can look to as an example of those who chose to say yes to the Lord. When you serve like David, Daniel, Abraham, Ruth, Mary, Jesus, and the countless others in the Bible, you will be used in great ways for the Lord's purposes. 

We are all called for something greater than our personal agenda. I at times feel like this blog will become bigger than I think it will and I just submit it to the Lord and do my part to put the content out there. What we as singles should consider in this season and around Christmas time is the precious gift of grace that started from a yes. When He comes to you with a plan, let yours go and embrace the journey. That's one of the beauties of being single because that's easier to do than when you're married. When you say yes to God, He can use you completely to carry out some crazy stuff. Crazy as in the "foolish things that confound the wise" (1 Corinthians 1:27). God is too creative to be boring! He will use your past to create a future you never thought you'd have despite what the world says you can't have. 

If anyone likes a challenge, it's definitely our Father. He gets the most glory when there's absolutely no other way to explain a phenomenon. So perhaps that's one of the reasons He in His infinite wisdom chose Mary. And best believe that God has a creative, unique and divinely destined plan for you. Just say yes and see God work in your favor and for His glory. If you're not in the Christmas spirit as you may have been years before, remember the promises of God and let Him use you in this season. We are His children, and it's an honor to serve the Lord with simply saying yes. May you have a Mary kind of Christmas!

December 12, 2014

Modern dating vs. modern courtship


By Debrena Jackson Gandy
It’s time to leave dating behind and trade it in for an upgraded, much needed and relevant version of modern courtship.  Our relationships track record in this country is paltry at best, with the highest divorce rate world-wide, and soaring dissatisfaction rates, even with access to greater quantities of potential mates through so-called on-line dating sites. 

Traditionally, dating has been the pre-cursor to “being in a relationship,” so that means that a positive overhaul of how we “do” relationships requires that we also examine how we’ve been “doing” dating.

As I share in my new book, The Love Lies, our current approach is based on a flawed and dysfunctional set of core beliefs or female Love Lies that we have been “fed” since the tender young ages of three and four.  We are failing miserably at knowing how to engage and relate in our love relationships and marriages in a way that creates on-going deep satisfaction and fulfillment for us. These female Love Lies include faulty beliefs such as A Man Completes Me, the myth of Sole Soul Mate, He Should Already Know, and Dating is How I Really Get to Know Him, to name a few.

We may make the claim that “dating is how I get to know a man/guy,” but in actuality and in practice, getting to know him is far from what’s really happening in our current approach to dating.   More accurately, as I explain in The Love Lies, modern dating is a “judging and assessing, sorting and rejecting” regimen where a guy is held up to an internal list of requirements, and boxes are literally checked off in our minds as we perceive him as fulfilling on our mental list of requirements or not – a damaging process that I call “scorecarding,” one that reduces men to objects (something we hate when the shoe is on the other foot) and casts them as commodities.

And the trend that is most disturbing in our modern dating paradigm is us opening our legs to sex by the third date. Too many of us are giving guys entrance into our bodies, our most sacred real estate on the planet, and we might not yet even so much as know his middle name!  

So how do we elevate beyond so-called dating?  The answer is modern courtship, an effective alternative to dating that slows down the pace, has a different motive, puts less emphasis on sex; and better achieves the claim of getting to know a guy.

However, before modern courtship can be carried out, there are several “truths” that a female must first embrace and recognize.  You first must recognize:

  • As the female, you naturally are the one that is setting the tone and pace of how you two engage and relate
  • Men/Guys respond to the tone and pace that we set. They follow our lead when it comes to courtship
  • There’s no rush
Once you “get” these three truths, you can move forward with applying my basic principles of modern courtship. We’re going to start with the first two.

Principle #1 replaces the emphasis on the guy “showing you a good time” to the emphasis is on you learning how to be a great date.  As I teach in my Love Academy 101 Courses, being a great date starts with the fundamental of being “in your radiance.”  This means that your inner light” is ON.  This light is your natural feminine radiance, your feminine glow. When it’s “on,” you know it because others (both men and women) comment on your glow.  And Principle #2 is about being fascinated (yes, being fascinated instead of the typical dating advice that has us obsess over being fascinating).  These are a start.  So how do you know when you’re a great date?  A guy will let you know. He’ll say so. There is no need to guess or presume.  

And lastly, there are some basic guidelines for modern courtship:  

1) Start with a Day Date, for no more than one hour. One hour for a first-time get-together with a guy is plenty of time to determine whether or not there’s a “click” and whether or not you both desire to be in each other’s company again. You can then progress from there, gradually. 

2) Stay out of each other’s homes or personal living spaces for dates. This means not going to his place or he coming to your place to watch videos, “hang out” or for dinner.  This guideline supports wisely managing the sexual attraction so that sex is not entering the picture or hijacking the early stages of getting to know him.

Debrena Jackson Gandy’s new book, The Love Lies, can be found at all major booksellers, or purchased on-line through Amazon.com or BN.com

December 9, 2014

Transitions are necessary


By Tatianah Green


Me, Shaunte and Travon, 1/2 of my moving crew
Transitioning from house to an apartment on my own has been a smooth yet laboring experience. There were so many memories made in the home I left behind. Good moments, bad moments, and everything else in between were left there for the last time. 

I am officially on my own, a single young woman in the city I've come to know, but in a region I’m not familiar with at all. In reality I see it as the best of both worlds: I get to have an out-of-town living experience while staying close enough to family and friends without racking up my frequent flyer miles. 

I remember when I was trying to move to Indiana to be closer to my school during my graduate years. I had a plan, a potential roommate and everything, but my plans halted after my grandfather passed away. I then realized that it was more important to stay in Chicago and look after my grandmother in the home she had once shared with her husband. I became a member of the household and did what I could to take care of her before her fluctuating health issues brought the family to the conclusion that she had to stay at a senior supportive living home. 

It was prophesied to me earlier this year that I will be leaving my house. I was somewhat nervous about hearing that word because I thought it would be on circumstances regarding my grandmother and her condition. I prayed on it and then began to write a list of features that I wanted in the apartment. For months I wrestled with the mystery of what and when things were going to manifest. I was open to the option of buying a home, living in a condo or apartment, live in the suburbs (again), stay in the city, and then where in the city?

Fast forward to the week of my birthday (late October) I get a call from my dad saying that the house I was living in was being purchased. I was relieved that the when part was finally answered, but now it was time to discover the what and where. In retrospect, I recall asking the Lord for a new home by my birthday. It came a little late this year, but I was not denied! It only took a full week to find my new place: an apartment with plenty of space for me and my things as well as room for what I wanted. 

Sitting in my mini dining room looking upon three days of moving, unpacking, and organizing, I can finally say that I am at home. It feels weird to say that. For so long I’ve been under someone else’s roof, rules and responsibility. With a familiar feeling of uncertainty but determination, the crutches are off and now it’s time for me to truly be responsible for how I live. Transitions like these are necessary for all of us to go through. Not like I didn’t want a roommate, it just never presented itself. I feel that this season is a time for me to be with God in new ways that will stretch me and provide a lot of moments for learning about myself and walking into my purpose, which I’m still seeking clarity on.

Transitions are necessary. It may be a smooth path or a rough start, but when God says it’s time to transition, you must prepare yourself. I look forward to sharing lessons from my new chapter. Best believe I’ve already been “harassed” by my mom about having an apartment but not yet a husband. It comes with the territory when you’re single I guess. But this is the first time in a while that I’ve been confident in being single. There have been moments when I’ve denied being lonely, which a great topic I’ll cover another time. I just know that God doesn’t do things without a plan. He is always at work, and my job in this situation is to trust Him with my life now and my life later. 

There are benefits to being single in your transition season/moment. You’re in a place of uncertainty or if you do know what’s going on, a relationship is not going to get all of the focus it needs. Being a single adult comes with many responsibilities as well as freedoms. If you’re singe in this season, it’s for a purpose, it has meaning. There’s no telling when your transitional moment will happen for you, or what it will look like. Transitions guarantee that nothing is guaranteed. Transitions reveal who you are in the midst of inevitable or necessary change. Transitions tell you to let things you don't need go. Transition brings forth favor. Transition is a part of life that we as singles can handle much easier than other people. Here’s to another season of life lessons, growth, and hope for a promised future.  

November 28, 2014

Blackout Black Friday businesses to support


By Tatianah Green

This Black Friday and holiday shopping season, I’m encouraging you to shop small businesses and minority-owned businesses in solidarity of the #BlackoutBlackFriday movement. It’s also a great thing to shop small businesses to support the entrepreneurs in your communities. 

Below is a list of businesses I either know or submitted businesses who were interested to being listed here. If you’d like to share your business, please email us at bliss4singles@gmail.com

Fashion: 

Hair and Body Care:


Miscellaneous:

Share your favorite small and minority-owned businesses with us on Twitter and Facebook. Shop smart and shop in solidarity!

November 24, 2014

Toure' and Sarah Jakes Roberts get married! Blending family and ministry


By Tatianah Green

Toure' and Sarah [Jakes] Roberts
Congratulations to Pastor Toure' Roberts of One Church L.A. and his bride and First Lady Sarah Jakes Roberts who were married over the weekend. Their love story is an inspirational one, especially for singles who have gone through long-term relationships or marriages that did not last. 

God can get the glory out of any situation if you let him. Their relationship is an example that love covers a multitude of sins, mistakes, and pain from the past. You are not your past; you are who God has destined you to be. It’s also a contemporary example of the blended family, as both have children from previous relationships. Toure Roberts’ book, Purpose Awakening, is our November book of the month!

Roberts wedding family portrait
In a special service at their church in October, the couple interviewed each other and shared their story and wisdom with the congregation and those all across the world. Check out the full video; the interview is at 1:00:59 but feel free to enjoy the great worship music beforehand.  Below are some takeaways from the presentation:
  • How they met and connected, please note how he gave his response and how she gave hers, lol!
  • Discussing their previous relationships on the first date, which is a big no in most cases, but in pursuing the opportunity to go on a date by the leading of the Holy Spirit, it was necessary to get to the point.
  • Have you heard Pastor Toure’s message on 5 Keys to Identify Your Soulmate? View Here
  • Vulnerability in giving and receiving love after past relationships
  • “I wanted to protect him from the broken parts of me, the parts that weren’t quite healed yet”- SJR
  • The costs of love is really making a commitment to yourself and God
  • Don’t abandon your truth and be yourself
  • When you’re in love with someone you give them the power to hurt you and distract you, but be with someone who will distract you with things that will construct you in a positive way
  • God can give you a word, but sometimes you have to grow up into that word. Don’t rush the timing for it.
  • How to handle challenges and disagreements; protecting your marriage/relationship
  • There’s a grace for the blended family

View their interview below:




November 17, 2014

6 reasons why Solange's wedding "fixed the Internet"


By Tatianah Green

First things first, congratulations to Solange Knowles and her new husband Alan Ferguson on their nuptials over the weekend in New Orleans on November 16th. Pictures flooded the Internet Sunday afternoon of the 28 year old artist and her groom decked out in white and cream looks from the rehearsal to the wedding reception. I just wanted to make a few quick notes about how this news has possibly fixed the Internet--well at least ‘til we move on to a more sensational story or viral video. 

  1. Solange confirmed her independence from Beyonce’ and you can see it in the wedding images. For Bey to step aside from her own level in stardom to support her sis and let her get
    Source
    the shine allows  your eyes to automatically focus on the bride. Solange has been doing her own thing for quite some time now, and it’s great that the social media hashtags were positive and giving her shine. Granted it’s her day, Solange’s older sis Bey was there in tow with her husband Jay Z and their daughter Blue Ivy and mother Tina Knowles. I’m not sure whether her father Matthew Knowles was invited to this occasion, but it’s a beautiful thing for family to get together and to see what looked like a loving and peaceful day.

  2. Natural hairstyles were winning! Solange rocked a big and free fro and her niece Blue Ivy followed suit. Solange has been a natural hair inspiration to many over the years, and to see the movement solidified in the celebrity/artist community is a great look for African Americans. We need to love ourselves and celebrate our hair in any style, but natural is the essence of us. To see a Black bride with a fro is refreshing, unique, and this is true to who Solange is. We need more images of this expressed in the media to promote the diversity and uniqueness that Black beauty upholds. Shout out to Alan as well for his amazingly manly beard too. Solange wasn't the only natural bride this year, poet Janette...ikz also rocked a fro with color in her August wedding.

  3. Modest fashion was winning! In a world that has Kim Kardashian setting out to “break the Internet” with her bare nakedness, we see Solange as a polar opposite and I’m here for it. Solange donned a few looks over her wedding weekend in a range of bright shades of white and ivory. One of her wedding looks features a full length gown with a cape, covered arms with gold bracelet accents. It’s so simple, clean, and feminine, plus she’s covered up! It’s an awe-inspiring piece that only so many would dare to pull off. She bares a little more skin in an ivory pantsuit with a plunging neckline; she also wears a cut-out cape with this look with a signature red lip to complete her look. Again these looks show that you don’t have to bare it all to be considered powerful, feminine, strong or sexy. Your confidence, godly radiance and embracing you exudes from within you and that makes you most respectful and appealing.

  4. Solange is an artist even in her wedding.  When she takes photos, it may be posed but it’s
    Source
    artistic and inspiring. When others take pics (here’s talking about Kim K-West again) it’s more so for selfish gain. When Solange’s photos of her wedding and wedding party were released, they were praised for the minimalist style and bold focus on the subject. Wedding photos can get pretty routine with how they are set up usually, so to see a shot of the bride and groom with their hands closed, standing side by side, yet oddly apart inside what looked to be a warehouse-style loft was art. It didn't take days or weeks to retouch, it was simply done and shared with the audience at large.

  5. White bikes! The newlyweds took to the streets of New Orleans riding white bikes with
    Source
    flowers for perhaps another photo op. This is a special touch to the young and care-free spirit that Solange tends to exude in her public life. It’s different from cars or horse-drawn carriage. Solange is our urban hipster and we can’t be mad at her for doing what she likes for her day. This can get people to think: What would you have for your wedding that’s unique to you?

  6. This is not the first go-round for Solange. She was married before at 17 to her son Daniel Julez's father, but their marriage did not work out. Solange is married again to a man she has come to know for a long time so it’s a blessing to see that she gave marriage another chance. It’s not too late for you if you want to be married, whether the first or second time. Her husband, video director Alan Ferguson, is 51 years old, which goes to show you that marital age doesn't have a cap. There’s still hope for these older brothers who are single as well, so don’t count out Hill Harper and Laz Alonso  just yet so there's still hope y'all.  Don’t rush marriage because of your age, let God continue to write your story and develop your character for the one He will bring into that special chapter in your life.

Any thoughts about Solange’s wedding? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter or Facebook!