September is here! It is the last month in Quarter 3 of 2022 and I already feel a special blessing and weight on this month. We have some amazing virtual events planned this month all on the topic of Marriage Pillars: Keys to Developing a Strong, Healthy Marriage.
5th – Corporate Fast
Time: September 4th, 7:00 p.m. to September 5th, 12:00 p.m.
August is going to be a bit of a quiet month for us. The team is resting and enjoying quality time with loved ones so we have scaled back the calendar. There will be no Core Team Chat or HER Corner session this month, and much of the focus will be our first face-to-face event since the pandemic began: Weary Wives Conference.
It has been said that “the most common component to achieving any type of intimacy is effective communication skills” (Marriage Team Coaching Manual). Prayer is essentially communicating with God; therefore, through prayer (i.e. direct communication with God) we build intimacy with Him. That is generally not a hard point to grasp. What many do fail to realize is that praying to God can be a means of developing intimacy with your spouse.
Teddy and Tina Campbell, in a recent interview for Young Married Christian, shared how prayer did just that. After Teddy’s infidelity, Tina wanted nothing to do with him sexually, even after making a decision to work on their marriage. After being mentored by a trusted Christian couple, the two decided to try prayer. They interceded individually and corporately for each other and their marriage, and something beautiful happened. Tina found her heart changing towards her spouse. She recounts, “When we were praying I saw a good man who made a bad choice…I saw a man who loved his family and loved his God and did not want to be what he was…I believe I saw him through God’s lens when we were in prayer, and that made him very attractive to me.”
If that wasn’t enough to make you believe in the intimacy-building power of prayer, here are 6 key ways prayer can build intimacy with your significant other.
1. Prayer builds trust.
When you know your spouse has your best interests at heart, it helps to build trust with one another. One of our followers wrote, “[My husband praying for me] makes me trust that he’ll always have my back and it makes me feel like he loves me just like how the Father does.”
2. Prayer makes you feel loved.
Knowing that someone is talking to God about you and seeking God on your behalf is deeply comforting and reassuring. It makes you feel cared for in a deeply personal way.
A follower wrote, “Knowing that he covers me, especially in sickness, makes me feel protected, loved and cared for even more.”
Another wife added, “When my husband prays for me I feel loved and protected so it builds emotional intimacy. And when either of us prayers specifically about the sex act, that encounter tends to be [amazing].”
3. Prayer builds your spiritual bond.
The Word says, “How can two walk together unless they agree?” When you come together in prayer you voice your agreement before the Father, which strengthens your bond. Listening to each other’s prayers is also empowering and faith-building.
One wife wrote, “I feels like it strengthens our spiritual bond and builds trust between us.”
4. Prayer helps you see them as God sees them.
You can’t be mad at someone you are praying for. It just won’t work. Overtime your heart will soften towards them as you begin to see them through God’s eyes. Praying for your spouse keeps your heart sensitive towards them and makes it easier to forgive. This means that all the pent up issues that can slowly destroy a marriage dissipate as you extend grace to each other.
5. Prayer builds security.
Security is defined as “the state of being free from danger or threat.” Prayer is a protective measure that guards your marriage and protects your family, especially when your prayers are directed in this manner. One wife writes, “Prayer builds intimacy and it also builds security (mostly for the woman) knowing that her man has her covered naturally and spiritually.”
Another wife writes, “When my husband prays for me I feel like I have a double armor on.” Now that’s protection!
6. Prayer is attractive.
There is nothing like seeing your husband surrendered to the Lord. It makes it much easier to submit to, respect and love a man like that.
Here is what two wives had to say:
“It’s a major turn on too…makes me want to jump him!”
“It builds intimacy and makes me feel more attracted to him that he’ll make time to cover me in prayer. It makes me want to have this man’s baby!”
Watch the full video with Teddy and Tiny Campbell here:
Often, the opinions of others, even those close to us, challenge our beliefs, values, morals, experience and competence. These challenges, disagreements and misunderstandings can lead to full-blown fallouts, hurt feelings and severed relationships. Tempers flare, feathers are ruffled and blood pressure rises. But this doesn’t have to be the case. You can avoid escalations, and you can do so without feeling silenced or walked over.
An age-old proverbs says, “Prevention is better than cure.” You can’t take back words that are spoken in the heat of the moment, so why not avoid arguing entirely? Here are 10 tips you can apply (starting today!) to avoid arguments, even when you fundamentally disagree.
Check Your Motives
Before you begin to belabour your point, consider your why.
Am I trying to be understood or prove them wrong?
Am I trying to enlighten them or belittle them?
Am I trying to gain from the discussion or prove my knowledge?
Am I trying to prove they are idiotic or learn from their point-of-view?
Motives matter, check your heart before you begin to speak. The purpose of communicating should be positive: to enlighten, educate, understand, instruct, connect, and so on. If you are using your words to tear down, pierce or destroy, then you have entered the danger zone.
Proverbs 18:2 reads, “Fools find no pleasure in understanding, but delight in airing their own opinions.” It is a fact: some people argue just to argue. They argue for arguing sake. They are simply argumentative. Avoid interactions with such people. It is not worth the rise in blood pressure.
Active listening means listening to understand, not to respond. While the individual is speaking use the time to listen and understand their point of view, not to plan and mentally rehearse your rebuttal.
As you feel yourself starting to become annoyed or angry, pause and think. This will be the hardest tip to remember in times of conflict but it is key. Think before you speak. You could be saving egos, your job, your relationship. A great scripture to keep in mind to hammer this point is James 1:19, “…be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.“
Watch Your Pride
There will be times when you are wrong and they are right. Do not allow your pride and the fact that “you don’t back down” to cause unnecessary strife. Give honor where honor is due. If they are right, acknowledge so.
Perhaps the statement is a matter of opinion and not fact, and you do, in fact, disagree. Fine. You do not have to shoot them down verbally. Instead, you can softly disagree. Here are examples.
“That is a fair point, but I have to say I disagree…”
“I see your point, but…”
“I’m not sure about that.”
“I understand what you are saying, but…”
“I’m sorry but I don’t agree.”
“That is an interesting point, here is another way to look at it.”
In more informal settings you can say something like, “I beg to differ, but okay.” That’s it. An argumentative person may pull you in further, but you can end the discussion there.
Avoid Being Dismissive
Occasionally when I would share my opinion on a matter to my husband, he would respond “No…” then carry on with his point. This would make me feel small and insignificant as to me it read, “Your opinion does not matter.” Of course this was not his intent, but often we can be dismissive without even realizing it.
In the example I just shared, instead of leading with “No…” you can say,
“That’s a good point, but…”
“Yes, that is true and also…”
“I hear you. Here’s what I think…”
Watch Your Tone
It is not always what you say, but how you say it. In person this means watch your attitude, volume and pitch.Via text, this means avoid the use of ALL CAPITALS (which comes across as shouting), and be careful how you use exclamation marks, emojis, gifs and memes.
Mind Your Mannerisms
Slamming a door can cause World World III to erupt in your home. The same with hanging up the phone, looking someone up and down, cutting your eyes, rolling your eyes, sucking your teeth, and you know the rest.
If you want to avoid conflict, don’t provoke with your words or actions.
Search Your Heart
Have you ever stopped to think why what so and so said bothered you so much? Did their comment unearth old wounds? Did they touch a sore point? The Lord may be revealing areas of your heart that still need healing or He may be planting a seed of advocacy in you.
These are Zemi’s notes from the teaching on May 5th. Unfortunately, we forgot to record the session for external posting, but it is available in the Facebook group.
Our Focus of the Month is Conflict Resolution and our scripture for the month is Proverbs 15:1, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Throughout the month of May we will focus on different types of conflict, conflict resolution strategies and conflict resolution examples found in everyday life and in the Bible.
This post will focus on a biblical example: Abigail’s handling of conflict. But first let’s define conflict and more specifically, interpersonal conflict.
conflict (n.): discord of action, feeling, or effect; antagonism or opposition, as of interests or principles
conflict (v.): to fight or content; to come into collision or disagreement; be contradictory, at variance, or in opposition; clash
interpersonal conflict (n.): conflict that involves two or more people; interpersonal conflict may be expressed verbally or non-verbally from rolling the eyes and giving the “cold shoulder” to the more obvious blowout
Note, that interpersonal conflict differs from interpersonal violence, which goes beyond communication to include abuse.
Note also that conflict is not always negative or unproductive. In fact, research has shown that the quantity of conflicts (i.e. the number of times you butt heads) is not as important as how the conflict is handled.
Now that we have a general understanding of conflict, let’s jump into today’s message.
Today’s reading is1 Samuel 25:2-42. The opposing parties in this narrative are David and his men (angry and hungry) and Nabal (foolish and arrogant).
I have pulled out an excerpt for you to reflect on, but please do read the entire chapter.
4b When David heard in the wilderness that Nabal was shearing his sheep, 5 David sent ten young men; and David said to the young men, “Go up to Carmel, go to Nabal, and greet him in my name. 6 And thus you shall say to him who lives in prosperity: ‘Peace be to you, peace to your house, and peace to all that you have! 7 Now I have heard that you have shearers. Your shepherds were with us, and we did not hurt them, nor was there anything missing from them all the while they were in Carmel. 8 Ask your young men, and they will tell you. Therefore [a]let my young men find favor in your eyes, for we come on a feast day. Please give whatever comes to your hand to your servants and to your son David.’ ”
9 So when David’s young men came, they spoke to Nabal according to all these words in the name of David, and waited.
10 Then Nabal answered David’s servants, and said, “Who is David, and who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants nowadays who break away each one from his master. 11 Shall I then take my bread and my water and my [b]meat that I have killed for my shearers, and give it to men when I do not know where they are from?”
12 So David’s young men turned on their heels and went back; and they came and told him all these words. 13 Then David said to his men, “Every man gird on his sword.” So every man girded on his sword, and David also girded on his sword. And about four hundred men went with David, and two hundred stayed with the supplies.
14 Now one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, saying, “Look, David sent messengers from the wilderness to greet our master; and he [c]reviled them. 15 But the men were very good to us, and we were not hurt, nor did we miss anything as long as we accompanied them, when we were in the fields. 16 They were a wall to us both by night and day, all the time we were with them keeping the sheep. 17 Now therefore, know and consider what you will do, for harm is determined against our master and against all his household. For he is such a scoundrel[d] that one cannot speak to him.”
18 Then Abigail made haste and took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep already dressed, five seahs of roasted grain, one hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and loaded them on donkeys. 19 And she said to her servants, “Go on before me; see, I am coming after you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal.
How did Abigail handle the situation?
Abigail acted as a mediator. Verse 18 says, “Abigail acted quickly!” She took provisions and immediately went to see about the problem because this was a matter of life or death!
What do we see here?
She acted swiftly. She knew it was a life or death situation
She showed honor with gifts
She met a need
She solved the original problem which was the hunger
She used wisdom!
Abigail & David
Now let’s move to her interaction with David, party number one.
23 Now when Abigail saw David, she dismounted quickly from the donkey, fell on her face before David, and bowed down to the ground. 24 So she fell at his feet and said: “On me, my lord, on me let this iniquity be! And please let your maidservant [e]speak in your ears, and hear the words of your maidservant. 25 Please, let not my lord [f]regard this scoundrel Nabal. For as his name is, so is he: [g]Nabal is his name, and folly is with him! But I, your maidservant, did not see the young men of my lord whom you sent. 26 Now therefore, my lord, as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, since the Lord has held you back from coming to bloodshed and from avenging[h] yourself with your own hand, now then, let your enemies and those who seek harm for my lord be as Nabal. 27 And now this present which your maidservant has brought to my lord, let it be given to the young men who follow my lord. 28 Please forgive the trespass of your maidservant. For the Lord will certainly make for my lord an enduring house, because my lord fights the battles of the Lord, and evil is not found in you throughout your days. 29 Yet a man has risen to pursue you and seek your life, but the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living with the Lord your God; and the lives of your enemies He shall sling out, as from the pocket of a sling. 30 And it shall come to pass, when the Lord has done for my lord according to all the good that He has spoken concerning you, and has appointed you ruler over Israel, 31 that this will be no grief to you, nor offense of heart to my lord, either that you have shed blood without cause, or that my lord has avenged himself. But when the Lord has dealt well with my lord, then remember your maidservant.”
What do we see here?
She acknowledged the problem/root cause
She offered the gifts/showed honor and respect
She offered praise and affirmation to calm the situation
And what was the result? Her words were heard and her gifts were accepted. Problem solved! And…best part?! No one died…well not yet anyway…spoiler alert!
Abigail & Nabal
Now let’s move to Abigail’s interaction with her husband Nabal, party number two.
36 Now Abigail went to Nabal, and there he was, holding a feast in his house, like the feast of a king. And Nabal’s heart was merry within him, for he was very drunk; therefore she told him nothing, little or much, until morning light. 37 So it was, in the morning, when the wine had gone from Nabal, and his wife had told him these things, that his heart died within him, and he became like a stone. 38 Then it happened, after about ten days, that the Lord struck Nabal, and he died.
Abigail’s actions here also required wisdom. She waited until her husband was sober to tell him what had taken place as, in his drunken state, he may have been incoherent or forgotten/dismissed her words.
What do we see here?
Abigail tailored her response to each individual. She actively listened to the man who told her about the issue, calmed and met the needs of David and his men, and carefully timed her communication with her spouse.
Every situation and each individual will require changes in approach. The exact strategy implemented is dependent upon person, timing, environment, etc.
How did Nabal handle conflict?
Nabal had a hand to play in the threat that was coming for him and even in his eventual death. Proverbs 18:6 says, “The lips of fools bring them strife, and their mouths invite beating.” Nabal’s name literally means “fool”. Let’s read the verse again, with Nabal’s name inserted for emphasis, “The lips of Nabal brought him strife and his mouth invited a beating.”
If only Nabal had accepted David’s proclamation of long life and had provided the men with an offering of thanksgiving for watching over his flock. If only!
Ladies, Nabal’s life is a warning to use your words with care and to show honor and respect where it is due.
There are several key takeaways from this example of conflict management and resolution.
Use wisdom. Pray to be Holy Spirit led, not self or flesh led. The flesh can ignite a conflict while the Spirit will give you wisdom to avoid a conflict.
Act swiftly. The word says, “Do not let the sun go down on your anger” (Ephesians 4:25). As far as possible, swiftly resolve conflicts. Do not allow them to fester.
Acknowledge the problem/root cause. Do not ignore or avoid the underlying issue as you try to put out fires (i.e. what I call addressing “fruit issues”). It is possible to address both the root and fruit issues.
Solve the problem(s). Abigail used praise and affirmation to calm David and his men and to avoid a blood bath. She solved the fruit issue. She also solved the root issue by providing them with gifts and food, which met their original request for provisions.
Consider timing. In some instances you must act swiftly, and in others you must apply patience.
Adjust approach as necessary. Each person and situation is unique. Do not use one standard method or approach. Tailor to the party and their needs, personality, etc.
Show honor. Do not be thankless. Give cheerfully out of the abundance God has blessed you with.
Earlier this year we learned another key verse in Proverbs, “A wise woman builds…” (Proverbs 14:1). I pray that you will be wise women who build!
Lord, we pray that:
Conflict may draw together families, spouses, friends, work families, churches, etc.
We would be equipped with strategies for handling conflict
We would use the wisdom of Solomon when handling disputes
We may be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry (James 1:19)
Lord, we pray for:
self control (Proverbs 16:32)
softened heart (Ezekiel 36:26 & Ezekiel 11:19)
wisdom in matters of communication (written, spoken, and non-verbal)
In a recent Wife HER! Live, guest speaker Harrison Thompson shared powerful insights on rejection sensitivity in men and how we – the women who love them – may be, knowing or unknowingly, causing relationship trauma.
The one hour conversation began with Thompson exploring how societal norms and stereotypes can shape a man’s identity – leaving him feeling like he has none. #ThatPartThough
Thompson cautioned that emotional issues cannot be dealt with intellectually – as is often the approach – but instead must be dealt with emotionally. He also noted that our actions aren’t necessarily what is most damaging in relationships. Instead, it is our ignorance and lack of sensitivity towards how are actions are perceived that cause the most damage.
Women often value and insist upon emotional expression and validation without care for a man’s need to pause and think. We #reject his need for time to pause while showing preference for our own needs over his.
Thompson noted that the goal should not be “Happy wife, happy life!” but “Happy spouse, happy house!” Selfishness is exhibited in the former, while care and love is exhibited in the latter.
By forcing “our way” upon our men, we can unknowingly transform them into our rival verses our partner. They will default to combat mode thinking they must constantly defend themselves in interactions with us. #OuchHarrison
Our small ways to motivate and help our spouses or boyfriends may not be internalized as helpful. They could actually be adding burden to the relationship and diminishing intimacy.
Thompson proposes that women should not consume themselves with trying to change the men in our lives, but instead focus on where we have been ASKED to help, in the way we have been ASKED to help.
Rejection for men can manifest in two types of problems: situational rejection or character rejection. Thompson proposes that the latter is the greatest issue for intimate relationships. The “tiny” ways in which we reject men can pile up into a full on explosion.
Character rejection takes place over a period of time and involves the pattern of rejection being interpreted / believed by one’s self to be a character flaw. Men can begin to feel like failures because of repeated patterns of rejection. Thompson notes that this is not the kind of rejection that you can just love away. Love won’t cut it in this zone!
For other great nuggets from this session, watch the replay below.
On Sunday, as part of Sundays with Zemi, I released this word to the Hannah’s. These are my notes. I pray this word blesses you.
Call forth your Samuel; Samuel meaning your answered prayer.
During FOCUSFAST, as some of you may recall, I asked for all of the Ann’s to speak up. The Lord dropped the name Ann in my spirit so I requested everyone with a derivative of the name Ann to speak: DeAndra, Joanna, etc. I thought it ended there. As days passed the Holy Spirit revealed to me that just as we were talking about Jael and Deborah for the 2021 FOCUSFAST, we would be talking about Prophetess Anna in 2022.
In Luke 2, we read that Anna, in her old age, saw the Messiah and declared to all how He would redeem Jerusalem. I therefore titled the year “The Year of Anna” and declared the theme for the 2022 FOCUSFAST, “Witnessing the Promise.”
Jesus is God’s promise fulfilled.
We will spend a lot of time in Luke 2 in December so today I want to tell you what God has been saying to the Hannahs.
The Year Of Anna
The Biblical meaning of Anna is ‘gracious; one who gives’.
Anna is also the Latin version of the Hebrew name Hannah.
Anna we encounter in the New Testament, and Hannah we encounter in the Old Testament.
Hannah stems from the Hebrew name Channah (shout out to our Singles Team Lead who has the same name) and it means: ‘favor; grace’.
Together: one who gives favor and grace.
We declared 2022 as The Year of Anna – the year to witness the promise -so, by extension, it is also The Year of Hannah – the year of the answered prayer.
We encounter Hannah in 1 Samuel. We know that Hannah was barren and married to a man with two wives, the second wife being Peninnah who taunted Hannah for being unable to conceive.
Hannah was so overcome with grief and despair that she wept and refused to eat. She was in deep anguish – so much so that when she went to the temple to pray, she couldn’t even get the worlds out fully. Eli, the priest, thought she was drunk.
After Hannah explained herself to Eli, he said to her, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of Him.”
She replied, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.”
Afterwards, she went home, ate and no longer looked downcast. She worshipped the next day, went home to Ramah and made love to her husband. In the course of time, she became pregnant with Samuel.
Step 1: Lift Up Your Countenance
This past week as I was praying for someone who was approaching 40 without a child, the Lord gave an instruction, “Lift up your countenance!” As I recited it I could literally feel my chest lift and back straighten as I adjusted my posture.
It wasn’t until FOCUSFAST 2021 that I learned how much God cares about our posture and our countenance. These are outward manifestations of our emotions. Our posture and facial expressions express to others what our emotional state is.
When you are sad, you may hunch over, be sullen, frown.
When you are embarrassed, you blush, you may duck or hide your face.
When you are scared, it shows in your face, you may cower or look shocked and afraid.
Posture and countenance – the look of our face – say a lot about our emotional state.
And I want you to know that God cares about your posture and your facial expressions. He cares about them because He cares about your heart and your mind and your soul.
Psalms 42:5, Psalms 42:11 and Psalms 43:5 are similar: “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”
Proverbs 15:13: “A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.”
When we are fasting we are told to wash our faces and anoint our heads so that we don’t appear outwardly to be fasting but so that the Lord who sees in secret will take record. Countenance matters to God because it is an outward expression of the heart.
In Nehemiah 2:2, the King was able to tell Nehemiah was sad because of his countenance. In Genesis 4:5 Cain saw that his offering was rejected and his countenance fell, because he was ashamed/embarrassed.
Now back to Hannah. In 1 Samuel 1:18 it reads, “So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.”
The very same thing that firstchanged for Hannah must be the first thing that changes for you: your countenance. Lift up your countenance Hannah! Be no longer downcast. Be no longer disquieted / disturbed in your soul. Lift up your countenance!
Bahamians will get this right away because our national anthem says, “Lift up your head to the rising sun.” Lift up your head my sisters.
Numbers 6:26 says, “ The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” Lifting up your countenance is a sign of favor. Hannah’s name means what? Favor.
It’s time to lift up your head.
A hymnist writes,
“Lift up your countenance
All ye saints of God
Lift up your countenance
for the victory is won
Lift up your countenance
Ang give the glory to the Holy one”
We don’t do it much anymore – though we should – but people would literally bow and lay on their faces in the presence of God. (Genesis 17:3: “Abram fell on his face and God talked with him.”) Again I say, posture matters to God.
Lift up your countenance, change your facial expression and adjust your posture.
Victory is won.
Step 2: Call Them Forth
Later during the week, I was praying for another woman and the Lord said to call the children forth. I am also in the wait for children and I have never done this myself, but the Lord’s instruction was to call the children forth. Petition for the release of your promise.
Hannah petitioned the Lord and just as Eli said to her I say it to you, “Go in peace and may God grant you what you have asked of Him.”
May the Lord remember you.
1 Samuel 1:19-20: “And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the LORD, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the LORD remembered her. Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD.”
Genesis 30: 22-23: “And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach”
In the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying “Because I asked the Lord for him.”
Samuel means GOD HAS HEARD. Call your children forth. Call, that God may hear you.
Step 3: Prepare for the Promise
As God has confirmed the promise is on the way, get ready. Take your prenatal vitamins – not all make you feel sick, find one that works for you. Get your finances together. If you don’t have healthcare, seek out an insurance plan. Watch your diet. Discuss parenting styles with your husband. Prepare.
Now you may not be in the wait for a baby but this message still applies to you. No matter what you may be in the wait for: lift up your head, adjust your countenance, call it forth in prayer, trust that God has heard you and prepare for your promise.
Ever since I eloped two years ago, people have been asking me, “What made you do it?” There have also been tons of women that said they wished they’d done the same. I’ve been amazed at how ‘popping up married’ has inspired such awe in conversations with other women. When I was asked to write about this topic, I began to wonder what it was about popping up married that appeals to so many women and, at the same time, what makes so many do the exact opposite instead. The only word that I could think of that answers both questions is Guilt.
All brides-to-be deal with guilt. I was no different. Let me give you a snapshot of what that looked like for me.
Initially, I entertained a small wedding service. My husband and I both have large families. We gave ourselves about 50 people each to invite to the wedding. I couldn’t even narrow my family down to 50 people. So that meant either all family, no friends or big family problems. Eventually, that small list began to expand. I began pulling names from my past of people that I felt should be at the wedding. I was convincing myself that they would be upset if they weren’t invited. I’m sure they weren’t even remotely concerned, but this is the trap I was falling into.
It got to a place where the more I thought about the wedding the more anxious I became. Having a mother who plans weddings as her career of choice was not easy to deal with either! There were so many things to consider: colour scheme, seating arrangements, location, accommodations, transportation, décor, bridal party selection, guest list finalization, and the list goes on! It was just all ballooning way out of hand.
When I looked up, there was a price tag that I could not afford. At this point, my mother was willing to pay for the reception. I wasn’t willing to let her. Eventually, I told myself I wasn’t going to let guilt have me go searching for money I didn’t have to spend.
This thought is the thought that sparked it all. It became my mantra: “I’m not gonna let Guilt make me!” I said that sentence to myself in many different ways: “I am not going to let the guilt of someone’s entitlement to be in this moment with me define how this moment will look for me.” This was another one of the sentences I repeated.
Guilt wasn’t enough to get me to change my mind. That tagline was my saving grace.
But what’s yours?
If you’re a bride-to-be that wants to pop up married do not allow yourself to be bullied and guilted into a wedding you nor your future husband desires. Putting your feet in the solid ground of eloping or popping up married is not hard, but it does take resolve. Once I stopped the back and forth with the idea of having a small wedding, and committed to the decision of Me + Hubby + 2 Witnesses it was smooth sailing.
We were able to set ourselves up financially for the first two years of our marriage without a hassle. That was huge for both of us. We knew we didn’t want to spend much on our wedding, but we did want to make sure the home we were making for ourselves was one where our marriage could thrive.
Popping up married was one of the best decisions we made for ourselves. And guess what? No one was upset. They may have been surprised, but there was no one weeping over not seeing us at the altar or dancing all night. Instead, there were tons of joyful phone calls and intimate dinners where people prayed over us, advised us, celebrated us, and poured out love into our marriage.
For those of you thinking about popping up married my advice is let go of the guilt of how other people will feel. Guilt is not a reason compelling enough to have a wedding you don’t want.
Send out a wedding announcement instead.
Light & Love Yasmin Glinton Poitier Married May 2020
It’s been 3 years since we met. We both work in the same area, so we’d been watching each other for a while. He’d probably give you a slightly different story, but I saw him watching me, too! He’s a tall guy, well-dressed, and real easy on the eyes, so he’s hard to miss. I had seen him a couple times in passing and he always had a very serious face. I think that’s what initially intrigued me about him – I was curious about what was under the stony exterior.
So, I did what any single woman would do, right?! I prayed about him. I said God, “I don’t know why I’m so captivated by this stranger, but I’m telling You about him. If he means me no good, let him keep it pushing.”
Two weeks later, as I’m sitting in my car getting ready to leave work for the day, he walks straight up to my window, serious face and all, and asks me how I’m doing, and if he could get my number to talk a little more. For as much as I liked to admire this man from afar, and had already prayed about him, this encounter caught me way off guard! In that moment, I had already stopped breathing, so it was only by the Grace of God that words audibly uttered from my lips!
After a brief few minutes, I finally knew his name and exactly where he worked. To top it off, he smiled! And it was such a nice smile!
The next day, we had our very first date, and we’ve been dating ever since.
What stood out about him that makes him different?
Well, initially, his physical appearance is what stood out. He’s really hard to miss and will stand out in just about any crowd, but after getting to know him a bit and dating for as long as we have, it’s his love for family, commitment to always bettering himself in some way, and his consistency that stands out.
He’s a family guy, and that’s one of my favorite things about him. It’s a plus that he’s gelled so well with my (huge) family from the very beginning – admittedly a little shy and reserved at first, but everybody is great with him now.
From Day 1, he has been consistent with the way he’s treated me. We have definitely had disagreements along the way, and have had to express our likes and dislikes, but I have never had someone be so consistent in their love and stick around when it wasn’t easy or didn’t feel good.
Very early on in our relationship, some things happened in my life that could have very well been mere coincidence, but for one situation in particular, I chose to believe for years that this one thing that I struggled so badly to complete, would change when the right person came into my life. Sure enough, only months after this man came along, my situation turned around and I was finally able to close that chapter. Little does he know, a lot of it had to do with a simple declaration he unknowingly spoke over me.
I don’t necessarily believe in luck, but I absolutely believe in divine purpose, and I knew he came into my life with a special purpose. He challenges me in ways that make me better and forces me to introspect every day of my life just by being the person he is.
If I’m being completely honest, he didn’t turn out to be the fairytale I managed to concoct in the beginning. I think a lot of women imagine a perfect guy in their minds and assume once you get the right one, a smooth relationship is inevitable (especially after having so many “situationships” end badly), but that is definitely not how it works. It takes work. Every meaningful relationship requires time and effort from both parties. He’s not exactly what I imagined he’d be but he’s what I needed, and I thank him always for loving me the way he does.
What personality traits are important in a man and to you specifically?
Someone who believes in God, is morally grounded and kind-hearted, family oriented, and has vision/direction.
In the beginning of our relationship, I’ll admit that I wasn’t entirely sold on the latter point. I am the textbook definition of “independent woman” and had been on my own and completely self-sufficient for a long time, so I was used to things being organized, well planned out and moving at my pace – on time. My boyfriend, however, is quite the opposite – he’s not a planner, he’s very relaxed when it comes to timeframes for a lot of things and is more of a ‘go with the flow’ kind of person.
As I’m sure you can imagine, we have had our share of clashes because of this, but we’re learning ways to work together. This isn’t just my show, so when I remove my need to have things go my way and simply be the help or extra push he needs, I can see that he is, in fact, a great leader and I trust that he will do an excellent job at heading our family one day. This also means that if I’m in charge of planning any event we’re attending, I know to give him the start time at least 30 minutes to an hour ahead, along with constant reminders leading up to the date in order to maintain my sanity and avoid ruining the entire day because I’m completely annoyed. It’s all a work in progress.
How has the relationship changed you / is changing you?
This relationship has certainly been a mirror for me, and to tell you the truth, I don’t always like the reflection I see because it very clearly highlights areas of my life that I still need to work on. It gets uncomfortable at times, but it’s necessary. He challenges me every single day – to the point where I’m sometimes annoyed – but I’m grateful for all of it.
What have you learned through the dating process?
Our relationship has been tested a couple times – one time in particular, was during this pandemic. Because of the industry I work in, and nature of my company, my job has been notably impacted since the onset of COVID-19. More specifically, I’ve only been getting a portion of my salary for the past 14 months. Listen to me, never in all my 33 years of life could I have imagined being in such a situation… for so long! It’s been frustrating, depressing, and irritating to say the least, but this man has stuck with me through it all, buying me groceries and anything else I fell short on, dealing with my mood swings, and supporting every business idea that I created to make extra cash.
At one point, we decided it would be nice to stay together since we were locked down for so long, so I invited him over. Listen, the fact that our relationship still stands is a testament to the goodness of God! Sure, we’d already been dating for about 2 years, but this was absolutely next level!
Again, I had this fairytale of what it would be like – pure bliss and cuddles all day and night. Because why not, right?! LOL, sisssss, did I get my bubble burst! First of all, let me just say that I’m a professional chef at this point, because I’ve seriously never cooked so much in all my life! Secondly, he brought his PlayStation. For the ladies that know, this point needs no elaboration, I’m sure.
The biggest lesson we learned was that communication is key! I know how cliché this sounds, but it has neverrrrr been more real to us than during our time together during lockdown.
Things I assumed: I’d have all his attention and he’d absolutely love love loooovveee being stuck in the house, cuddling with me all day; he’d automatically do everything the way I wanted and did things in my house; he knew my financial situation so he automatically knew that I needed stuff and some of his money should have been prioritized for my needs.
Reality: He still had to leave to go to work and get extra work done at home some days; he still had a family that was of equal priority to him; I’m naturally a homebody, he’s not, so being cooped up all day sometimes was a lottttt to adjust to (even with the one you love); I said it was okay to bring the PlayStation so I had to expect that he’d actually play it sometimes; he had every right to spend his money how he saw fit; he has his own way of doing things that doesn’t make them wrong; he literally won’t know exactly what I need or how I’m feeling unless I open my mouth and say it… and well, it wasn’t all about me.
Whew! No one told me serious relationships would be this ghettoooooo!
I had to accept that as much as we love each other, we are not the same person! We do things very differently, but that doesn’t make either of our preferences right or wrong. I’ve had to learn to tone my controlling habits all the way down, to communicate when and why I’m bothered, what I need, what I expect, and accept that he won’t agree to all of my ‘rules’ because (as he likes to tell me) he’s not a robot.
Tips for dating during the pandemic
Communicate: You literally cannot hear this enough times. Being locked down in a pandemic has brought on lots of emotions and new experiences, so be open to communicating how you feel and what you need to and from your significant other… and while you’re doing that, bear in mind that your tone and body language matters!
Do what you love: As restrictions are easing, get back to doing things you loved doing together before. You can even create new traditions! Getting out of the house and enjoying safe environments is necessary for your sanity.
Be gentle: Be gentle with yourself and your significant other. Navigating this new normal can be challenging, so give each other the grace needed to adjust.
Pray together: My boyfriend isn’t a super spiritual/religious person (for reference, he’s Catholic and I grew up Methodist/Non-Denominational), but the first time he initiated a prayer together I blushed so hard! It was by far one of the most impressive things he’d ever done, and I still blush a little every time he does it.
Have devotions: During the lockdown, we started doing devotions together. I’ll admit that I was a little hesitant to suggest it at first because I wasn’t sure how it would be received, but he agreed, and although we have moments where we get busy and fall off the routine, it’s something we’ve been doing ever since. It gives both of us a chance to understand each other’s individual interpretations of scripture, and leads to necessary discussions about how we intend to use God’s word to prepare for life together.
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