Discover Your Sweetie’s Personality Style–Part 3

My mom and I have a veHigh Sry unique relationship. I am her only child, and she has never been married. You can probably imagine the tight bond that the two of us share, and this is where the conflict comes in for us at times. I am and will always be her baby. At the age of 34, being your mama’s baby and pretty much the closest person in her life is a blessing and a challenge at the same time. Sometimes, it’s just hard for her to let go, and I never fully understood that until I learned more about her personality.

What’s ironic is we look just alike, but as far as personalities go, I must have taken that after my dad. My mom is the type of person who is so sweet, but is easily offended. She is friendly and personable, but lacks assertiveness in certain areas. She likes to be appreciated for her work and efforts, but doesn’t like a big fuss about it. People like her fall into the High S personality type. High S’s tend to be creative and imaginative, happiest with family and friends, and sensitive and compassionate. If things don’t go their way the result is hurt feelings. I don’t want to give away the contents of my next post, which holds details of my personality, but I can tell you that while we’re both pretty reserved individuals, we handle things and approach issues totally different and we have different needs.

The secret fuel for the High S is peace and harmony. They like to exist with minimal conflict, which means they don’t like to stir up confusion. Now if they’re involved in someone else’s confusion, they will be affected by it. They’re not very confrontational, so generally only those closest to them will know about it. The down side of their non-confrontational nature is the tendency to be considered a sucker, meaning they can easily be taken advantage of because they’re so nice and shy. Here are some strategies for those of us in relationships with High S’s to both help ourselves and them.

1. Show concern for their feelings and empathize with their problems. All High S’s really need is a listening ear and someone to justify their feelings. Talking about the issues of the day to those closest to them can be therapeutic since they tend to internalize so much. Those of us who fall into that category should be more sensitive to this need by taking the time to actually listen, ask them how their day went, try to refrain from dismissing their feelings (even when you do think they’re overreacting), and try not to offer solutions. A little empathy will go a long way in making the High S feel loved and supported.

2. Help them develop decision making, goal setting, and assertiveness skills. This is so important because if you don’t help them with this, they will really depend on you to help them with a lot of things that you might think should come naturally, like asking questions and talking to people. I’ve had to encourage my mom to do this as a way to advocate for herself. Here’s a word of caution with this though. Encourage them to be more assertive, but make sure you do it in a loving, “I’m on your side” kind of way. If you come off too harshly or sounding critical, they will shut down. The next strategy explains why.

3. Remember that criticism is taken personally, even when unintended. You could have the best, most harmless intentions when attempting to help the High S with decision making, goal setting, and assertiveness, but it may not be received as such. Adjusting your tone of voice and coming at it from a different angle may help. The term “sugar coat” is a good way to describe this technique. High S’s are more likely to be drawn with honey than with vinegar (the cold hard truth). Make no mistake about it. The truth should still be shared with them. I’m just suggesting that the truth will be better received if spoken in love and consideration of their feelings.

4. Appreciate their work and efforts. Like High I’s, High S’s like for others to acknowledge and appreciate what they do. The difference is they prefer for it to be done in private without all the hoopla that High I’s enjoy. When considering a gift for them, a nice meaningful card or other heartfelt token of appreciation that actually tells them what you appreciate about them is a good idea. For my mom, simply telling her that you enjoy her cooking puts a smile on her face. Another good idea is to relieve them of a household chore that they normally do and acknowledge that you’re giving them a break because you noticed how hard they’ve been working. It doesn’t take much, but please indulge them on this if you want to show them some love.

If you are a High S feel free to leave a comment to let me know if I’ve nailed it or NOT. I welcome your feedback. Stay tuned for the next post on the High C, which is my personality style. 🙂

Discover Your Sweetie’s Personality Style

high dMy husband and I get along great. We rarely argue and we laugh a lot together, but there are times when I just don’t get him. Truth be told, there are times when he does things that drive me absolutely nuts, and I oftentimes return the favor. For example, I don’t get why he jokes around so much when I’m being serious, and he doesn’t get why I ask him the same questions over and over again until I get a satisfactory answer. Talk about things that make you go hmmm… Well now I have an idea why, and it involves our differing personalities.

Recently I had a very eye opening experience at a professional conference that gave me a better understanding on not only my husband, but also on some other very important people in my life (ie. mother and best friend.) I learned what makes them tick. You might be saying that this is something I should already know, having been around them for years, but sometimes the tendencies of others near and dear to us have a way of remaining a mystery after years of time spent together and eluding even the most perceptive of people. The light bulb clicked on for me when I learned the four personality styles according to the DISC profile–a personal assessment tool used to improve work productivity, teamwork, and communication. And since February is the time set aside to celebrate love and relationships, I thought I’d share them in these next series of posts to help you better relate with your mate or anybody else with whom you just can’t seem to communicate.

The first personality style is the High D personality, which I will refer to as simply the High D. This person is dominant, direct, demanding, decisive, determined, and a doer. The High D tends to be high in energy, busy and productive, strong-willed and persistent. Basically, these people take charge, and if they don’t get what they want they get mad. Their blind spot, or personality flaw is that they can be quite bossy (as if you couldn’t tell). Know anybody like this? I sure do, and since I am the total opposite of this, I found myself wondering why the High D in my life was this way. You may be wondering this also, but here are a few strategies to help you deal with the High D in your life.

1. Remain cool and calm and avoid power struggles. This may be difficult to do (especially if you’re a High D yourself), but trust me, going at it tit for tat will not work out in your favor with this one. It would be to your advantage to try an alternate route to get your point across like agreeing to disagree or restating your point to sound less confrontational.

2. Be consistent and fair. The key word is consistency. If you’re not consistent with them or fail to keep your word, prepare to be dismissed. Now that I think about it, I’ve heard my High D person complain about the inconsistent folk in her life on several occasions. I guess because they’re so consistent themselves, it’s kind of difficult to deal with those who aren’t.

3. Be direct and to the point. Don’t go beating around the bush with them. They won’t waste time beating around the bush with you. If you have something to say, say it. They are too dominant to be intimidated by your opinion. They might actually appreciate your use of backbone.

4. Remember that their secret fuel is getting results. Score! If you can keep this in mind, it will make your life and relationship much easier. All the High D wants to know is that results are being achieved and progress is being made. Do that and they’re happy. Don’t do that and they’re pissed, to put it nicely. 😉

Now I don’t want anyone thinking that I am dissing the High D’s out there. I actually admire some of these character traits and wish I had more of them myself like the ability to be more direct and decisive. (If you’ve ever gone to a restaurant with me you’d know why). It’s also very cool that High D’s make great leaders who lead from the front. Having said that, here’s a word of caution for men who are married to High D women: you are still the man of the house who is responsible for leading the family. Deep down inside, your woman wants you to take charge. Again, it is very important to her that she see the results of your leadership. If she doesn’t see any results, she very well may try to take over. I’m not saying that she should take over, I’m just saying that her personality may cause her to try to in the absence of a stronger leader. If you’re a High D woman married to a non-High D man, realize that your man may resent your bossiness and make the necessary adjustments to get the love you want and still show love and respect to him in return.

If your personality type is High D, feel free to let me know if I’ve nailed it or not. I welcome your feedback. Tomorrow I will share the High I personality with you, so stay tuned.

3 Reasons Women Like to Be in Control

I like to be in conwoman-in-controltrol just as much as the next woman. Blame it on my upbringing. I grew up an only child and always liked having my way. Or blame it on the fact that I married in my 30’s after doing things my way for so long. Blame it on my unregenerated flesh that fights every day to have its way. No matter what is to blame though, I have to admit that trying to be in control in my relationship has put me in uncomfortable positions a few times because well, that’s not my position according to God’s plan for marriage.

I know, I know. Not everyone agrees that a woman should submit to her husband. Besides, we have the ability and intelligence to make our own decisions. But I have to qualify any further comments by saying that the guidelines by which I order my life (the Word of God) say otherwise.

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” Ephesians. 5:22

In my almost four year marriage I’ve learned that the need for control is counterproductive to my relationship. I don’t know about you, but I need my marriage to be productive in every way, which is why I’m willing to work on me and allow the Holy Spirit to do His thing in my life. Here are the reasons I think women (myself included) like to be in control and why we should let that attitude go in our marriages.

1. We believe that if we want something done right we’ve got to do it ourselves. Sometimes women lack confidence in others, especially when their track record has proven to be sub-par. I’ve seen many powerful and influential women who instead of delegating responsibility to others in a task, will take on all of the responsibility themselves or micromanage the entire process to ensure that it’s done the right way–or their way. I’m guilty of this too. In my ten years of being in a leadership position in my church I’ve discovered the error of my ways. Hoarding all the responsibility is a sign of distrust. We are saying, although unintentionally, that “I don’t trust that you will get the job done correctly, so I will do it instead.” Well, my sister, in a relationship, that can communicate a message that you may not want to communicate:  “I don’t need you.” A man needs to feel needed or he will search for a place where he is needed and valued. I ask you, if you never give your man an opportunity to rise to the occasion and be the leader he has been called to be in your home, how can you not expect him to fall into mediocrity? If you do his job because you think he is doing it incorrectly, what is he supposed to do? My guess is that the both of you will begin to resent the other. To combat this we need to raise our expectations.

This makes me think about the teaching profession. According to educational theory, a teacher’s high expectations for students increases achievement. On the other hand a teacher’s low expectations decreases achievement. I believe the same is true with men. If you raise your expectations for your husband to be the leader of your family, he will work hard to fill that role. However, if you have low expectations and always do everything for him or tell him what to think and what to do all the time, he will never take the initiative to think or act for himself. What’s the point, if you always shut him down? Will he do everything perfectly? No. But neither do you. Allow him to lead and even make mistakes in the process. He will learn what to do differently the next time. I am not saying that we as wives don’t have a voice in our marriage because we most certainly do. But again, there is a right and a wrong way to handle these situations. Here’s what Candace Cameron Bure has to say about the issue.

“My husband is not a dictator. We work together but I don’t want to dig my heels in and I have no aspirations to be the ruler of my family. We are two equal people but I love my husband and I want him to lead. With big picture issues such as where we live or what schools the kids attend, if he feels strongly about something and I think our family would benefit from it, I am going to share my thoughts. But ultimately, I trust that my husband has our family’s best interests at heart, so I wouldn’t fight him on that. And when I feel strongly about something, he agrees with me. It goes both ways.”

2. We are convinced that we are right and our ideas are the best. It is true that men and women think differently, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. So what if he drives a mile further than you would have if you were driving? The important thing is arriving at your destination, right? Don’t get me wrong sometimes our ideas really are good ideas, but that doesn’t mean that your ideas are the only ideas or your way is the only way. And get this, your right way may be the wrong thing to do at that particular time. Sometimes we just have to bite our tongues and wait it out for a more appropriate time to express our grand ideas and opinions. But I find that to be true in situations outside the home too. You wouldn’t challenge your boss about a new initiative as he or she is presenting it to the company, would you? Depending on the type of boss you have, he or she may not take too kindly to insubordination. Your boss might appreciate you giving your helpful feedback in a less challenging way, like in private and given as a suggestion not a mandate. Even if your boss chooses not to accept your ideas at this time, they have been heard. And as the leader he or she knows in which direction the company should go. Should the bosses ideas turn out to be a wash, you don’t have to worry because you are not the one being held accountable for the success or failure of the project. It takes a load of pressure off of me to know that as the wife, God is not holding me accountable to lead my family. That responsibility belongs to my husband. What He is holding me accountable for is to help my family get where we need to go under my husband’s leadership.

3. We are used to being independent and in control. That I.N.D.E.P.E.N.D.E.N.T spirit has run rampant among the female population. At 25 years of age I bought my first house. I owned my own car, and I had job to support myself financially. I didn’t need a man to do those things for me. But that was then and this is now, and nobody forced me down that aisle. I went willingly. So now that I am married I do need and depend on my husband because we are ONE! That is God’s design for marriage. Two people coming together as one. How can we be one if we are divided against each other? If we can’t let down our guards and be vulnerable with our own husbands who can we be vulnerable with? An inability or unwillingness to be vulnerable with your spouse may be a symptom of a deeper issue. But I digress. Independence has no place in a marriage relationship. If it’s independence you want, then stay single. When you are married, your life is not your own anymore. It is shared with another, and every decision you make affects the entire family. If you think about it, when you are saved, your life is not your own anymore. You then belong to God, and every decision you make should be made with His approval first and affects others. As I state in my book “Wait on God” …marriage is just an extension of our relationship with Him.

4. We can be too daggum bossy. I really meant to stop at three reasons, but I just had to throw this one in. Assertiveness in a woman can be a good quality. It can also be a really destructive quality, especially when it means pushing an issue too far with your husband in an effort to be in control and prove how right you think you are. That is a recipe for disaster, disfunction, dis-ease, and displeasure. As children of God, we are called to be preservers of peace and not confusion.

“Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.” Psalms 34:14

“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” Romans 12:18

Instead of pursuing to be in control in your home, pursue to live in peace with your man. If you insist on standing your ground in your home this may happen. To the outside world you look like a woman in control–getting attention for your clever arguments and ideas, putting everybody in their place with lots of don’t-mess-with-me attitude–but inside you are an emotional wreck. And giving out orders to be in control is not worth falling out with your husband or worst, ending up divorced. Life may not be perfect, but your peace through Christ can be.

I want to challenge you to join me in learning to relinquish control and think about these things the next time you are faced with the decision to follow your husband’s lead or your own.

 

 

 

 

When Marriage Trumps Shopping

I love to shop. Even mIMG_0045ore than that I love to find killer outfits for a bargain. With all the options and my extreme indecisive nature, my search for THE perfect dress at THE perfect price for my launch party has been a challenge. But this post is not so much about the dress as it is about what occurred today as I was on the hunt for it.

I decided to travel about an hour away from home to look for a dress today at my favorite discount department store–Ross. Mind you, I had already purchased a dress last week from a different Ross that was nice, but I didn’t quite get the feeling that it was THE ONE, so the search continued. I perused the racks for all of the viable options (I found about eight) and headed to the dressing room. One after one I tried them on. Not all of them were in the running for launch party dress, but they were on sale so the shopaholic in me couldn’t resist giving them a try.

Then the indecisive me kicked in. I narrowed it down to two possibilities, but couldn’t decide which one said what I wanted it to say. I’m sure the women out there understand what I mean when I say my clothes should talk. They should speak to me and to everyone who sees me in them. The way I know that a dress is perfect for me is if it says “Girl, you look good! Buy me!” What it should say to others depends on the occasion and the look I’m trying to achieve. For my launch party I’m going for classy sexy, you know something that screams “sophisticated author” . Since I couldn’t interpret the language of these particular selections, I asked someone else’s opinion, which is not unusual for me. The salesperson seemed friendly and accommodating enough so I modeled for her. I walked out in the first dress, which was a red lacy sheath dress.

“Ok. Turn around and let me see the back,” the salesperson said emotionless.

I turned around in a circle to let her take in the entire look, pausing to get some indication of her opinion.

“Next,” she said.

Obviously that one was either too quiet or mute.

“How about this one?” I asked as I came out in my other choice, a red and black A-line dress with a satin bottom.

“Now that is the one!” she said. There was the emotion and enthusiasm. “It fits perfectly and looks very classy,” she went on–and on. It was equally obvious that this was speaking her language.  I can admit that it did say part of what I wanted it to say, which is classy, but the sexy part was still lacking in my opinion.

At that point I went on and bought the second dress anyway since it got such rave reviews from the salesperson and a few onlookers, but I wasn’t completely sold. As I was leaving the store a thought popped into my head. Maybe I can go back to the other Ross and find something better.  Surely they’ve gotten in a new shipment of dresses since the last time I was there. Not knowing how to get there from this location, I consulted Siri. The distance was 74 miles and would take 1 hour and 45 minutes. Yikes! I was already out later than I had originally planned, and I told my husband that I would be back home shortly. Besides, he wouldn’t quite understand my need to keep searching for the perfect dress, especially if it meant traveling a much further distance and being gone all day. Then for a split second I missed my single life.        

You see, if I was still single I would have taken that trip with no reservations. I’d drive that nearly two hours with no guarantee of finding the coveted perfect dress and think about it later. But since I’m married I have to think about things from a married woman’s perspective. My husband would not like it very much if I came home after dark with yet another dress without considering him, and honestly speaking I wouldn’t like it if he did something without considering me. The shopaholic in me tried to justify my desire to keep looking by saying I could just pick up dinner on the way home, but the wife in me knew better. Then the Holy Spirit reminded me of my responsibility as a wife. It’s not all about me anymore. My responsibility is now to another, and that’s alright with me. It’s the life I chose and it is a blessing to me just as being single is to the single woman.The blessing for me is being married keeps me grounded. More specifically, being married to my husband keeps me grounded and rational when I’m sometimes irrational. So I drove past the exit to the other store and headed home to my husband. The funny thing is, I received a text from my husband on my way back asking me to bring home dinner and peach tea. I knew it was the Holy Spirit who advised me to go home, and I’m glad I listened. Besides, Ross will be there tomorrow. 🙂

***Look for future blog posts on http://www.BrianaGWhitaker.com.

Relinquishing Control–A Success Story

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Russell and I at the Salsa Cabana. Our eyes look crazy because the flash blinded us.

Usually I don’t dish about dates with my husband, but since I promised an update on how I handled giving up complete control to be totally surprised, I’ll share. I say totally surprised, but I actually knew that we were going to dinner. I just didn’t know where and what we’d do afterwards. And I say give up complete control, but that’s actually not completely true. Since I didn’t know the dress code for the restaurant, I consulted with my husband to find out what I should wear.

“Wear something semi-formal with comfortable shoes,” he suggested.

“Comfortable shoes?  You mean like teacher shoes that I would wear to work?” I inquired. Teacher shoes are the flat orthopedic-like shoes that are comfortable for hours of standing and walking.

“I can’t be cute with a dress and teacher shoes!” Every dress I pulled out of the closet was shut down as an option because they were either too dressy or not dressy enough. So I told him to pick. While I was in the shower he took it upon himself to choose what he thought was the perfect outfit for me.  When I saw it I regretted putting him in charge of that decision. He chose a brown and green combination that included a skirt from a suit, a button down cotton shirt and casual knee boots. It was sweet of him, but I refused to wear it because it wasn’t my style. Who am I kidding? I thought it was ugly. I wanted to feel and look good on my birthday, so I had to take control back just a little.

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The lovely view of downtown Columbia from Al’s Upstairs italian restaurant.

After I picked an outfit, we drove to Columbia (an hour away from home). During the drive we shared the things about each other that we are thankful for (my suggestion). We were supposed to do this on Thanksgiving Day but the food, sleep, football games, and black Friday shopping took over. It was off the cuff too. We were supposed to write them down each day in November, but we both forgot to do it. Despite the impromptu nature of it, I still felt special. I should say that I had to navigate this trip even though I didn’t know the name of the destination since my husband’s sense of direction is not something I’m thankful for. He only told me the address, but I got us near enough to the vicinity to find it. We arrived at this small but elegant italian restaurant with a beautiful 2nd-floor view of downtown Columbia. It’s called Al’s Upstairs.  The atmosphere of this place was very intimate and romantic–dimmed lights, candles, soft music, and of course that killer view.

“How did you find this place?” I asked.

“A man never reveals his secrets,” he said, but I persisted. I told him I kind of thought he was going to take me to the last restaurant we had gone to because he knew I liked it.

“That wouldn’t be original,” he explained. Good answer.

“So how’d you find out about it?” I asked again. It turns out he asked around and a coworker recommended this place. I’m glad he listened. Next we ordered our food and while we waited we continued our thankful qualities list. A few laughs later, our food arrived. It was delicious! The service was equally pleasing too. So far I was delightfully surprised with my birthday celebration. I wanted to know what was next. Again, he had to tell me something because he needed me to give him directions. We were going salsa dancing–something we had only done once while we were dating but was loads of fun.

Although I had to literally pull him to the dance floor, we got in a few good dance moves–the salsa, merengue, bachata, and the best latin dance of all, the wobble. My shoe choice ended up being perfect for dancing. We laughed some more, acted silly, and just enjoyed each other’s company into the early morning. A birthday well spent.

It turns out my husband had put a lot of thought into planning a fun birthday date that we both enjoyed, without my help. What I learned is that he actually knows me better than I give him credit for and that I can trust his judgement when it comes to gift giving while I relax and enjoy the ride (or give directions on the way). 🙂

Marital Skills that Build

wedding ringsIt is true that marriages are made in Heaven, but maintained here on earth.  It is also true that all marriages will have their share of challenges, but many of those challenges can be prevented with a little TLC.  I’m not referring to the commonly used term Tender Loving Care.  That’s important too, but I’m talking about another set of skills:  Truthfulness, Listening to Learn, and Collaboration.  Yes.  I said skills.  Being successfully married requires skill.  I haven’t been married for very long, but in our 3 1/2 years together my husband and I have picked up a few that have helped us along the way.

Truthfulness:  But you want complete honesty, so teach me true wisdom. (Psalms 51:6 CEV)

My husband and I tell each other everything.  Seriously.  You ladies may not like this, but I even tell my husband every time I go shopping.  No hiding outfits in the trunk for me, which is what a lot of women do to spend money in peace.  I’ve never been good at hiding things anyway, but it just seems counterproductive to me.  How can we expect our spouses to trust us when we practice covering up the truth?  If you have to hide something you probably shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.  My husband doesn’t always see the need for my purchases, but at least he can trust that I’m not doing it behind his back.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’ve been tempted to do it, but it just didn’t seem worth it.  And I had to realize that I would not like it if he started hiding things from me.  What about you?  Would you like it if your husband hid the text messages and phone calls of another woman from you?  You may not think shopping and secret communication from the opposite sex are comparable, but they are.  Money problems can damage a marriage just as much as affair problems can.  What is more, both are birthed from the seed of a lie, and you know who the father of lies is.  Yep.  Satan.  If you allow him to enter your marriage through one lie, he’ll try to stay there and fill your relationship with more lies.

Listening to Learn:  The wise also will hear and increase in learning, and the person of understanding will acquire skill and attain to sound counsel [so that he may be able to steer his course rightly]—” (Proverbs 1:5 AMP)

When I first got married, I was teased by both married and single friends about how much time I was spending with my husband.  I didn’t want to go anywhere without him, and every free moment I had I wanted to be with him.  Well, duh!  It was all new for me.  We were spending all that time getting to know each other.  You can’t learn all there is to know about a person while dating, no matter how long you date.  It’s only when you live under the same roof, sharing everything, and I mean everything, that you get to see those interesting quirks.  That’s when the real person comes out. You can’t hide who you really are 24/7.  Anyone can put on a front for a few hours a few times a week for a date.  But forever is a long time to keep up a charade.  That being said, marriage is a life-long learning process that requires lots of listening (well, there’s another L for you). Here’s an example of how important listening and learning is to a marriage.  Since being married, I have learned through trial and several errors that my husband hates being late and that he doesn’t like to talk when he’s upset.  He’s learned that sometimes I’m a little tardy and that I need to talk when misunderstandings occur.  Here’s what happened.  One Friday afternoon I went to the gym as usual to work out.  Later on that night my husband and I were to attend an out of town church service.  Well, by the time I got home from the gym (and I hadn’t brought home any food for dinner), it was almost time for us to leave if we were going to be on time.  I walked in like nothing was wrong (well, there wasn’t anything wrong with me), and when I went to greet Russell, he gave me the not just cold but icy shoulder.  “What’s wrong, honey?”  “Is everything ok?  I implored, but to no avail.  All I got were short answers and lots of silence.  If he was going to treat me this way I wanted to know what exactly I had done wrong.  Anyway, I went ahead and rushed to get dressed.  Lo and behold, we were still able to leave the house on time.  I figured that would be the end of it.  We’re not late, so he has no reason to be mad now, I thought.  Surely, he’s ready to talk about it now.  I was wrong.  “Why were you mad at me, honey?”  I asked.  “I’m not mad, and I don’t want to talk about it.”  he replied as cool as a cucumber.  Now I was getting mad at him for getting mad at me, not apologizing for being mad at me for nothing, refusing to talk about it, and for having a don’t care attitude.  Needless to say we did not talk the rest of the night. It wasn’t until the next evening that I brought it up again.  “Are you ready to talk now?” I asked, tired of the series of silence.  He was still being his nonchalant self, but agreed to finally talk.  We concluded that the next time he didn’t feel like talking, he’d let me know that up front, but that he had to reassure me that we would in fact talk later.  That was our compromise.  We learned that about each other in that moment.  Now that we know these things, our goal is to apply them to avoid another 24-hour period of silence or worst, unresolved bitterness and resentment in our marriage.

Collaboration: “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7 KJV)

A marriage is only as good as the two people involved make it.  It’s not something you can put on autopilot and cruise through.  It takes work, and it takes working together.  Before I got married I was very independent.  I had my own house and car.  I had my own career and could take care of myself financially.  Was everything perfect for me?  No, but I could handle things.  I had also been raised by a single mother, so that spirit of I.N.D.E.P.E.N.D.E.N.C.E was all up and through me.  So, when I married Russell lots changed for me.  I had to learn to submit (still working on this) to him when I was used to doing what I wanted to do, making my own decisions, and spending my money the way I wanted to.  It took me a while to learn that it was no longer “I”, but “US”.  No longer “Mine” but “Ours”.  And while I was doing my thing and making things happen as a single woman, I’ve discovered that we are better together.  My spending habits have improved because I have someone besides myself to think about now.   Attempting to be a one-woman show in a two-person marriage is harmful to the relationship.  A woman I met shared her story with me on how her selfish tendencies (spending money, making decisions without her husband’s input, and just having a plain ole’ all-about-me attitude) contributed to her husband’s infidelity.  She didn’t say that her tendencies caused his cheating because that was completely his decision, but that in retrospect she can see that her behavior did not help the situation.  It is so vital that each person focus on what they need to do as individuals to please their spouse.  If each one would focus on his or her job, the relationship would be more productive.  But when one person tries to do the other person’s job and please themselves, you have a deficit and overall low relationship performance.

The skills of truthfulness, listening to learn, and collaboration are not automatic.  They must be taught and practiced again and again until mastered.  Luckily, you have the best teacher–the Holy Spirit, and if you ask for wisdom to improve your marital skills, He will give it to you in great supply.

I’m not judgin’.  I’m just sayin’.

Ladies and gents, what are your thoughts?  What are other skills that are needed to make a marriage work?

I Love Olivia Pope, Flaws and All–NOT!

scandal

I just saw Kerry Washington’s interview on The View, and I was pleased.  Pleased with her response to women who say that they want to be like Olivia Pope.  She said it’s fine if you want to talk like her or dress like her, but not if you’re talking about sleeping with married men and drinking wine all day.  So true.  I admit that I do love her wardrobe (the Scandal clothing line is in The Limited now by the way), but I recognize that her relationship with the POTUS is indeed a character flaw for obvious reasons.  It’s not a trait to be desired or applauded.  No one likes a home wrecker.  In fact I’m rooting for one of two things to happen by the end of this show–Mellie to defeat Liv in the battle for her marriage (with Fitz being all in of course) or for Mellie to move on and be happy with someone else while leaving Fitz alone to lament the loss of his wife, who was the best woman for him, and the loss of his lover.  That’s right.  I said A-lone.  My idea of a happy ending does NOT include Liv and Fitz riding off into the sunset together or standing in the sun together for that matter.  It involves true reconciliation of a covenant relationship ordained by God, which is marriage between a man and a woman.  If I can’t get that then I’ll settle for Fitz paying dearly for the heck he’s put his wife through because of another woman.  He should not be rewarded for his indiscretions by getting to live happily ever after with his mistress.  I know, I know.  It’s just a television show, and you’re probably thinking that it’s not that serious.  But I happen to like the show, and I happen to have strong feelings about this one key piece of the plot puzzle as all respectable, God-fearing women should.  Besides, I would hate for the enemy, satan, to subtly deceive you into thinking that this behavior is acceptable through an innocent woman crush on Olivia Pope.  First Lady Michelle Obama and I agree.

michelle

I love this!

lol.  I’m just sayin’.

I wonder what all y’all Scandal fans are thinking.  What is your prediction of Olivia and the Prez’s future?

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