Home & Garden

Building Your Home With Your Kids in Mind

Building a home is an exciting experience that many couples dream of. As children arrive and a family grows, many aspects of life change, including your home needs. Since building a home is an expensive (and stressful!) endeavor, avoid dissatisfaction and rework down the line by considering family needs upfront.

Consider Your Children

If you have or plan to have children, you need to consider them in the entire process from property location to interior and exterior home design.

Potential considerations may be:

  • Is the neighborhood safe and child-friendly (e.g. playground close by, low-traffic street)?
  • Is the property close to great schools?
  • Are we close to their playmates and/or family? (Think babysitters and socialization opportunities.)
  • Will we designate a place for them to do homework quietly?
  • Is there an area of the home designated for play and/or toy storage?
  • Will the home office or bedroom be located sufficiently close or away from the kids area?
  • Will we have a pool? How will we protect our young children from wondering near the pool?
  • Will the children share rooms or have separate rooms?
  • Are there sufficient bathrooms? Will the kids share a bathroom?
anonymous kid in helmet riding run bike on pavement in countryside
Neighborhood safety is an important consideration for a growing family. Photo by Tatiana Syrikova on

Consider Life Once Your Children Move Out

I know it may seem like 18 (or 20 or 30!) years is a long time, but you will also find that it flies by in a blink! The rooms in your home, once designated for your toddlers, then teens, will be vacated as children move out or go off to college. What will you do?

Designer Lyndira Fowler suggests repurposing those rooms. For example, turn a vacant bedroom into a home office, home gym and so on. She also suggests these considerations be made up front so that parents aren’t caught off guard when they become empty nesters. That is, do we really need a room for each child or can they share?

Make It Child-Friendly

Imagine this. You spend thousands on high-end wallpaper and relish in its beauty each time you pass by. One day, you notice a little person admiring the wallpaper with a marker in hand. Your beautiful, expensive wallpaper is now the canvas for your toddler’s art. Wooooo sahhh!

girl painting cardboard house
To safeguard against children painting on the walls, provide them with a kid-friendly area to explore their inner Amos Ferguson. Photo by Tatiana Syrikova on

Kid friendly design elements include:

  • Washable sofa covers (or darker colored sofas)
  • Vinyl flooring or carpet tiles
  • Semi-gloss paint (marker, crayon and chalk wash off easily)
  • Rounded furniture (to avoid bumps and bruises)
  • Closed storage areas (to hide toys away)
  • Kids’ counters (for home work or crafts)
  • Smudge-proof stainless steel appliances

Related Content: Marriage or mortgage?

Remember to keep glass elements out of reach and to secure large items such as televisions, large mirrors and dressers. These can be potentially hazardous for children.

focused mother working on laptop near disturbing daughter
Purchase furniture with children in mind. Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on

Consider Your Lifestyle

Do you enjoy watching movies together as a family? If so, you may want to prioritize a large living room with sight lines to the kitchen. Do your children love to chat with you as you cook? Consider a large kitchen island with stools. Is an open concept floor plan better suited to your family style or do you prefer compartmentalized?

One of our recent panelists, Dr. Sentra Johnson-Jordan shared on a recent Wife HER! Live that one of the mistakes she made was failing to put a door on her home office given she is working from home and has a teenager who loves to play music and video games. She cautioned home builders to think about their daily lifestyle and family structure and design with this in mind.

Be Practical

Purchase furniture that can work in both child and adult spaces and high quality pieces that can last for generations or at least a few years.

Note: If you think your children are going to destroy the furniture in a couple of years regardless of the price or quality, opt for inexpensive furniture. You know your family better than anyone!

Purchase furniture that will grow with your child like this convertible crib by Pottery Barn Kids. Image credit Pottery Barn Kids

We hope that you enjoy your home ownership journey and that you create a sanctuary for your family that will be filled with love, laughter and happy memories for years to come.

Wife HER! Live panelist Dr. Senetra Johnson-Jordan and her family on the site of their new home. Image credit Dr. Senetra Johnson-Jordan

The #Homeownership Video Series:

Branding & Social Media

How to Leverage the Clubhouse App for My Business or Brand

First of all, you may be wondering, “What is the Clubhouse app and why do people keep talking about it?!” Clubhouse is social media app that is audio-only. It allows people to listen to or actively participate in live discussions, similar to an actual teleconference with people from all walks of life all over the world.

Nothing is recorded on Clubhouse. When the room ends, that conversion is gone forever. Some users liken it to a never ending, free conference or masterclass and keep their notebook and pen handy.

If you’re not on #clubhouse you need to join. The exposure and access to great minds here at home & from around the…

Posted by Earlene Camielle on Monday, January 11, 2021

A few days ago, we sat down with Clubhouse etiquette expert Desiree Mondesir and discussed the features of Clubhouse, why it’s worth the hype and how it can be leveraged by entrepreneurs, influencers and small business owners. Desiree compared Clubhouse (often shortened to CH or “the club”) to a Country Club or dinner party where you have the opportunity to rub shoulders with the higher echelons of society. She noted that connections matter, and that it is important to put your best foot forward on the app starting with a professional photo and detailed bio.

The Importance of Your Bio

Desiree noted that your bio should clearly articulate the following:

  • Who are you?
  • What have you done?
  • What do you do?
  • What is your purpose for using Clubhouse?
  • How are you [re]presenting yourself on Clubhouse?

We love this example by serial entrepreneur Courtney Adeleye below.

With bio in hand, you can begin to leverage Clubhouse in various ways from marketing and insights to dating and mentorship, but first here are a few tips Desiree provided to position yourself for success on the app:

  1. Strategically follow.
  2. Strategically choose your rooms.
  3. Learn the lingo.
  4. Be a listener and a speaker.

Clubhouse is the only app where you gain followers by being a good listener.

Desiree Mondesir

We asked Desiree to provide tips on how to leverage Clubhouse as an entrepreneur or business owner from the following perspectives:

  •  the gleaner – gaining business insights
  • audience builder – growing your following
  • marketer – marketing your business, products or services and
  • direct monetization / cultivating your niche – e.g. charging to edit bios or to moderate a room.

The Gleaner

With so many rooms and experts to choose from, Clubhouse is a literal free university, free masterclass or free coaching session. As you move from room to room, Desiree suggests the following:

  1. Go where you want to glean.
  2. Listen well.
  3. Add value to the room.
  4. Connect professionally.
  5. Properly steward connections.

The Audience Builder

Desiree explained that you can speak in a room or moderate a room on Clubhouse and literally gain hundreds of followers across your linked platforms (e.g. Instagram or Twitter) overnight. She provided the below tips for those seeking to expand their reach using Clubhouse:

  1. Be intentional about the rooms you visit.
  2. Be strategic about the rooms you create.
  3. Govern your room well.

How do I govern the room well?

Desiree provided the following tips for effective room management:

  • Set the room. Note that once you start a Clubhouse room, you can’t edit or change the room’s title or description so be considerate of that as you are setting up the room.
  • Reset/refresh the room in the event the room goes off topic.
  • Lead and pay attention to the direction of the conversation.
  • Be selective about co-moderators:
    • Don’t accept every invite to moderate a room. Be intentional.
    • Don’t invite just anyone to co-moderate a room. Make it make sense.
    • Sometimes good speakers should be upgraded to moderators.
    • If it’s not your room, don’t lean into your moderator position unless you’re asked to.
  • Everyone doesn’t have to speak.
  • Just because they raise their hand doesn’t mean they have a right to speak.
    • How long have they been in the room?
    • Are they a good addition?
    • Are they a troublemaker?
  • End your own room.
    • Unless it’s just a fun, chill room, it is most professional to end your own room unless you hand things over to a trusted co-moderator.
    • Sometimes you have to end your room to end the drama.

The Marketer

Have a business, products, services or resources that you really want people to benefit from? Market on Clubhouse! Desiree provides the following tips to do so:

  1. Be consistent about the theme of the rooms you create.
  2. Create/apply for a club.
  3. Host rooms with titles similar to your club name.
  4. Always title your rooms.
  5. Moderate rooms that align with your brand and what you’re marketing.
  6. Create healthy room collaborations.
  7. Be consistent!

Direct Monetization on Clubhouse

Desiree suggests that you seek opportunities to monetize Clubhouse based on offerings, skills or talents you already have. Have a course? Launch one on Clubhouse. Host events? Be a paid Clubhouse moderator. Have books? Talk about them on Clubhouse or host book launches or live readings on the app! Here are Desiree’s other tips:

  1. Books
  2. Workshops
  3. Courses & Schools
  4. Mentorships
  5. Free consultations
  6. Paid consultations
  7. Closed room conferences
  8. Hybrid conferences
  9. Paid collaborations
  10. Paid moderating

Desiree also highlighted the personal benefits of participating on the Clubhouse app which deeply resonated with many of our listeners. She explained that you can leverage Clubhouse to showcase sides of yourself that don’t come across well on other apps, to speak out on topics you aren’t normally able to (e.g. Desiree is known for religious topics but has relished the opportunity to speak on relationships in Clubhouse) and even to reinvent yourself in ways that would be difficult given the expectations of your following on other apps. So what are you waiting for?! Join Clubhouse today (by asking an actual personal friend of yours for an invite) and follow Desiree when you get on.

Want to learn more about Clubhouse but missed the IG Live? You can listen to our full conversation here:

Want to learn more about Desiree? Follow her on Instagram here. We’ve also linked one of her books below.

Don’t miss our next event! Up next is this live YouTube session with Teneisha Grimes:

Pregnancy & Parenting

Keys to the Healthy Development of Parent/Child Relationships

Believe it or not, most of the challenges that impact youth of today are not a secret or a surprise to adults. Perhaps, some of the intricacies of these challenges may have changed overtime, but developmental struggles remain relatively the same over the years. According to Erkison’s stages of Psychosocial development, ages 6 – 12, children are going through a stage of industry versus inferiority. Children begin to compare themselves to their peers and if they don’t feel they measure up, then feelings of inferiority begin to be realized. For children ages 12 -18, Erikson highlights the stage of identity versus role confusion. Again a sense of self for
adolescents needs to be realized or they struggle with figuring out the role they should occupy in society.

cheerful girls having fun during pe class
Between the ages of 6 – 12 children begin to compare themselves to their peers and if they don’t feel they measure up, then feelings of inferiority begin to be realized

Self-esteem, confidence, sense of identity and belonging, building relationships and establishing early goals for the future are common areas of struggle for youth. Moreover, the expecations that adults place on their children or teachers on students further amplify the daily developmental challenges of youth. Why do we force our kids to determine what they want to do before they even discover who they are? Why is there a persistent focus on material learning without first emphasizing character development and how to foster healthy relationships?

This leads to one of the paramount dilemmas families have – unhealthy relationships or weak ties and connections with each other. Children and adolescents often feel disconnected from parents or the adults in their life. Communication is often disjointed and limited, especially as children develop to adolescents. Children often have unrealistic expectations of their parents and teachers and parents and teachers have unrealistic expectations of their children and students. The humor is that rarely does either party articulate their expectations of the other. Only when frank and open communication occurs between both children and adults in their life, does holistic growth occur, of not only future generations, but adults begin to heal from past hurt, trauma and current fears for their offspring (further discussion on this for another time).

Children often have unrealistic expectations of their parents and teachers and parents and teachers have unrealistic expectations of their children and students. The humor is that rarely does either party articulate their expectations of the other.

– Kandra Knowles, LMSW

In my experience as a mental health provider and a social emotional support to children and adolescents, I have learned that when adults model vulnerability children and adolescents feel more connected to that adult. When trust is built, communication is easier and healthy and successful young adults are formed. Yet, as we know it is not as easy as it sounds. In a society built on fear and relationships fostered are predicated on position or status, it is a challenge for genuine connections to exist.

[When] adults model vulnerability children and adolescents feel more connected to that adult. When trust is built, communication is easier and healthy and successful young adults are formed.

– Kandra Knowles, LMSW

My belief is that the first step is to break the idea that a child should only “listen” to an adult because of their age. If effective communication is not modelled by adults, it is no wonder why our children and teens do not “talk” or share as they were trained to “be quiet”. Parents and teachers much practice listening to understand, not just to react or respond.

There is definitely not a one solution that fits all, but based on experience and study, the journey to supporting the holistic development of children and adolescents starts with adults modeling vulnerability and effective communication – listening to understand, not respond.

Will you practice the art of active listening, beginning today? What are your thoughts on building relationships with children? Let us know in the comments below!

Guest writer, Kandra Knowles is currently pursuing a Doctorate degree from Fordham University in Social Work and partners with the Urban Assembly in NYC for research on social emotional learning in New York Public Schools. She obtained an undergraduate degree from Bard College in Annandale-on- Hudson in Psychology and Latin American and Iberian Studies, and pursued her Masters in Social Work from New York University. She is a former school counselor in The Bahamas and has been a Licensed Social Worker in the State of New York for
the past six years.

Wealth, Money & Finances

Why We Plan to Save $10,000 in 2021

A financial plan is an essential component of an adult life. In fact, some may say you’re not effectively adulting without one. According to Nerd Wallet, “A financial plan is a comprehensive picture of your current finances, your financial goals and any strategies you’ve set to achieve those goals. Good financial planning should include details about your cash flow, savings, debt, investments, insurance and any other elements of your financial life.”

During the month of March, we will focus on Personal Finances: saving, investing, wise borrowing, estate planning, etc. However, well ahead of then, I released our corporate savings goal for the year 2021: $10,000.

Why do you ask? Because I wanted you to have time to consider what you were committing to in light of your current income, goals and debts, as well as to formulate an action plan to accomplish the goal of $10K saved at the end of 2021.

Tonight, on a live Instagram session (reposted below), Life Coach Katherine Coakley shared on Gold Setting, and essentially proposed that the goal is not enough. Instead, we must attach each goal to a why or a cause. For example, saving a dollar amount is okay on it’s own, but it is golden when we consider that saving can strengthen our discipline, get us closer to a home down payment and, for some, may be a way of telling the enemy we are tackling and eradicating “poverty mindset” from our bloodline.

To help you develop your why, I wanted to propose a few reasons for saving this amount that you may likely need to cling to in order to stay inspired throughout the year. But before we jump into the why, note that $10K is $833.33 per month or $192.31 per week. This is an aggressive goal for many of us so it will require budgeting and, for most, foregoing certain items and/or experiences.

Our Why

  1. Emergency Buffer – Saving $10K will strengthen your emergency fund and allow you to withstand what could otherwise be a financial disaster: a broken down car, home repairs, injury, loss of a job, etc.
  2. Short-term Expense – You may desire to purchase a car out-of-pocket or work towards a down payment for a home or property. I know some women who are saving towards IVF or for the birth of their child. Each of these are important whys that will keep you focused.
  3. Retirement – Retirement is an abstract concept to many of us as we may be at the very start of our careers or a little over a decade in; still, the reality that one day we will no longer be working is just that, a reality. Saving towards retirement is a great goal and one your older, future self will thank you for.
  4. Reducing A Large Debt – The money that you save this year can be applied to a large debt such as a home mortgage or high interest debt such as credit card payments. Reducing your debt burden will bring you more peace and is definitely a great goal to work towards.
  5. Peace of Mind – Imagine a life where the end of the month is approaching and you have enough to both live and take care of bills; a life where you are no longer living paycheck to paycheck. Saving can put you in this position. It allows you to adequately plan ahead as opposed to being a step or more behind.
  6. Eradicating Poverty Mindset – Poverty mindset is the belief that you will never have enough money. It is driven by fear, childhood experiences and often, but not always, poor financial literacy. Saving money can help you to take action to overcome this mindset. It will help you get used to seeing greater than 10s or 100s (or negatives, if we’re real) in your bank account and make seeing 1000s and even 10,000s a more common reality. We will talk more about this in later blogs because the fear that led to poverty mindset could cause you to make poor financial decisions in terms of how you or if you invest.
  7. Obtaining Abundance Mindset – The opposite of poverty mindset is an abundance mindset. An abundance mindset is a belief that there’s plenty of everything for everyone and lots of time to get it. There is enough money in this world for the Joneses to be rich and for you to be rich too! Scarcity mindset will keep you in the hamster wheel while abundance mindset will help you break out of the cage! To make saving a permanent part of our lives, we have to shift our mindset.
  8. Building Discipline – In order to succeed with this goal discipline is required. In fact, you will find that discipline is a free byproduct of almost any goal that forces us outside of our comfort zone: working out, eating healthily, etc. As you practice delayed or deferred gratification (i.e. saying no to lavish trips, impulse purchases, and unnecessary wants) you will undoubtedly strengthen your self control and discipline.

$10,000 is a significant goal. It is attainable but may require significant lifestyle adjustments. That said, if you’d feel more comfortable with a smaller goal like $1,000 or $5,000 then start there. No matter what dollar value you choose, develop a game plan, approach or strategy and determine your why. We’re gold setting after all.

What is your savings goal for 2021 and what is your why? We’d love to hear in the comments below!

P.S. Our goal for 2021 is 1000 subscribers to our YouTube channel. Please subscribe if you haven’t already and take a browse of our great content. We’ve got great plans like the upcoming event below!

I love you all and I’m always rooting and praying for you!


Zemi Stewart, Founder of Wife HER!

Pregnancy & Parenting

Preparing to Be a Mom: Mind, Body & Marriage

Tamika Taylor is a wife, worship leader, former elementary school teacher and mother to a lovely ten year-old girl named Tarua. The title of mother is one that Tamika cherishes greatly and prepared for long before her daughter’s arrival. In fact, even during her season of singleness she was preparing to be the best mother that she could be. Tamika was mindful of various decisions she made within her personal life because she knew that each of those decisions would affect her parenting skills to some degree. Through observing the lives of her former students and those around her she took note of what she should and shouldn’t do as a parent and today she and her husband Trevante are proud to steward the life of their daughter. Here are Tamika’s top tips on preparing for motherhood.

Tip #1 Be intentional.

Before conceiving, Tamika and her husband desired to be intentional about preparing to start a family. She shared that she wanted to “show God that I can be a good steward in another area by preparing myself.” Tamika embarked on this new journey by equipping herself with knowledge. She began following a variety of social media pages that shared content about parenting skills, she read various books surrounding the topic on parenting such as Conception, Pregnancy, & Birth by Dr. Miriam Stoppard and What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel and prepared her body through diet choices.

During this season, a useful resource she came across was, a website that guides you through the process of preparing for a baby physiologically, so it discusses topics such as fertility and ovulation. It also describes to you how a normal baby would develop each month after conception.

Tamika ensured that she was getting enough rest and improved her eating habits. Moreover, she believed that it was important for her and her husband to plan when a baby would be added to their family, and decided not to cave-in to outside pressures that suggested having a child early on in their marriage. They believed that it was best to be properly prepared for the arrival of a baby.

Tip #2 Have hard conversations with your spouse about how your child will be reared.

You and your spouse should discuss things like the type of disciplinary methods you both would like to use, the type of home environment you both would like to develop, and the type of relationship you both would like to display within the household. All of these areas will determine if your home has a loving atmosphere where the child is able to flourish and is free to be his or herself.  You and your spouse should also determine the values, principles and skills that you wish to be instilled in your child. For example, Tamika and her husband discussed that they wanted their daughter to be kind, honest, obedient, a critical thinker, loving, respectful, well-exposed to a variety of experiences including travel and the arts, along with having a heart for God.

Tip #3 Plan what you’re going to do to help the child excel.

Now that you have both determined the kind of values, principles, and skills you would like your child to have, you should now devise various plans to build your child in each area. Tamika also knew that she wanted her daughter to be bright, so she started reading to her very early on. Tamika also started her daughter on “My Baby Can Read” at the age of six months. This allowed Tarua’s verbal skills to develop so well that she was able to speak words and short sentences at the age of ten months.

In the area of exposure, Tamika and Trevante knew they wanted their daughter to be well-exposed so they ensured that she travelled and attended events such as musicals and cultural festivities. You can devise a budget to determine how much money you may be able to allocate for travel and entertainment.

Tamika was also very big on ensuring that her daughter was well-mannered so she frequently encouraged her to use words like “yes ma’am“, “no ma’am“, “please“, and “thank you“.

To develop her daughter spiritually Tamika taught her daughter Bible verses, she also condensed them to make it easier for the toddler to learn. For example one of her daughter’s first memory verses was Acts 5:29 which states “Peter and the other apostles replied: we must obey God rather than human beings”. This verse was simply condensed to “obey God” to make it easier for the two year-old to recite.

Tamika further advised that as a parent you should capitalize on teachable moments. Teachable moments are moments where you can instill specific principles or concepts into a child because of something that has occurred. Capitalizing on these moments is extremely important to Tamika because she wants to equip her daughter with the necessary skills and tools that will be needed when the time comes for her daughter to make decisions on her own.

Tamika also suggested that as you guide and develop your child, be careful not to suppress their identity as an individual. You should also affirm your children, congratulate them when they excel or when they’re doing a good job, and try to develop an environment where they feel free to discuss anything.

Happy Parenting!

For more inspiration from Tamika, follow her on Instagram @tamikataylor.

Which one of Tamika’s tips stood out to you?

Let us know in the comments!

Love & Relationships

Life Lessons from Basketball

One day God and I were talking about my marriage and God told me that I need to pray offensively. My mind immediately went to basketball and the fact that I never quite understood the difference between offense and defense. This thought came to mind because in that moment, I wasn’t sure what God meant by pray offensively.

So, I decided to do some basketball research. And then I had a basketball chat with my husband to make sure what I gleaned from my research was accurate. What follows is a valuable lesson God provided through basketball. I should confess that I am not a sport enthusiast and I’ve only watched basketball to hang out with a cute guy or check out the cute guys on the court.

Basketball and the Christian Life

Offense would be a team’s attempt to score in any way, whether through passing, dribbling, or shooting. Defense, however, would be a team’s attempt to stop the other team from scoring (e.g. standing in front of player with ball, contesting shots, forcing turnovers). Simply put, the team with possession of the ball is always on offense.

Christians have the ball – Father, Son, Holy Spirit – and the opportunity to score – win souls for the Kingdom.

Satan is always playing defense because he never has the ball. His mission is to steal the ball (our direct connection to God) from us. Two of his tactics are to:

  1. convince us that we don’t have the ball and the win in the bag
  2. distract us from the ball and our purpose for being on the court i.e. alive

Applying Basketball to Kingdom Life

Team – Kingdom of God
Ball – Triune God
Passing – Kingdom collaboration
Dribbling – standing in the gap, journeying with believers and nonbelievers
Shooting – direct evangelism/invitation to salvation
Score – win soul(s) for the Kingdom

It is a FIXED GAME. Salvation gives us the ball. Sanctification ensures continuous scoring. Focusing on the target – more team members having access to the ball – ensures we achieve team success.

When we marry, husbands and wives are meant to be on the same team. For Believers, the mini husband-wife team is also on the bigger Team together. Therefore, we do not allow division between us.

The primary goal of a Kingdom marriage is to work together to advance God’s Kingdom (Team). The husband helps the wife score souls for the Team. The wife helps the husband score souls for the Team. No matter who is at play (working, ministering, tending to household needs) at any given moment, the team wins. Thus, there should be no competition. When one scores, i.e. advances the Kingdom, the Team wins. If one gives up the ball, i.e. turns away from God, it affects the Team.

Therefore, each should cover the other against attacks from the opposing team (satan).

Protecting Your Team

Offensive prayers are based on the Truth that victory is assured. So, we pray in agreement with God’s already established successful outcome. This means speaking and praying for the positive that is already promised or encouraged in the Word. This should be our approach to praying for ourselves, our husbands, our marriages, and everyone and everything connected to us.

Below are some verses to guide us in our offensive prayers. I like to take a verse and personalize it by using “I”/”we” or my/our name(s) wherever possible.

Isaiah 32:17
Matthew 6:33
1 Corinthians 10:13
1 Corinthians 13
1 Corinthians 15:33
2 Corinthians 12:9
Ephesians 1:17-19
Philippians 1:9-11
Philippians 4:7-8
Colossians 1:9-12
Colossians 3:13
Colossians 4:6
3 John 2

Did you enjoy this blog? Let us know in the comments below.

© Carol G. Griffiths 06/14/2020

Love & Relationships

Takeaways from the Watts Family Murders

If you watched the Netflix documentary “American Murder: The Family Next Door”, images of the Watts family may be triggering for you.

Shannan and Chris Watts with daughters Celeste and Bella.

Back in August 2018, Chris Watts, then 33, murdered his pregnant wife Shannan and two daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste, and discarded their bodies at his oil work site. The murders were premeditated and linked (we think!) to his desire to restart life afresh with his mistress.

The term for family annihilation is “familicide”. According to studies, it typically takes place in August, by white fathers in their 30s often with no criminal background. Family annihilators are usually triggered by: sudden loss of access to their children (remember Chris said Shannan said “You’ll never see your children again!” — though it appears he considered the murders well before she made this statement); financial stress; shame surrounding financial failure; belief that they are committing “mercy killings”; the desire to extricate themselves from a family life that they can’t tolerate or inspiration to kill by psychotic delusion or hallucination. Though the family filed for bankruptcy 3 years earlier, researchers feel Chris’ primary motivator was his desire to rid himself of his family and spend time with his mistress. Many feel the evidence points to Chris being a narcissist.

See: Chris Watts Killed His Family After Weeks of Planning. Does That Make Him a Typical Family Annihilator? and Family Annihilators: The Psychology Behind Familicide

As October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month #DVAM, I wanted to share some points that stood out to me as I watched the documentary.

1. Don’t date when you’re vulnerable.

Shannan let Chris in at what she described as being one of the lowest points in her life: “Because of my health challenges, because I got so sick [with Lupus] I let him in. He knew me at my worst and accepted me.”

Many victims of abuse met their abusers when they were vulnerable: lonely, depressed, sick, disabled, elderly, etc. It is important to be aware of your vulnerability for abuse and to not seek or allow romantic partnerships during low points. And if you do, do so with wisdom, prayer and wise counsel.

2. Do not ignore your intuition.

Shannan knew that something was off in her relationship. Chris was not as affectionate, he did not seek to call her or initiate sex with her, all of which appeared out of character. If you have a feeling that something is off, it probably is.

Now how could knowing this have saved her life? We’re not sure. Knowing someone is cheating on you is entirely different from knowing someone is about to harm you or take your life, but if you sense or see red flags do not ignore them.

3. Persistence isn’t always a good thing.

Shannan stated, “I’m so grateful to you for hanging around after pushing you away in the beginning.”

Facebook post by Shannan Watts

That may have seemed cute in the beginning, but Chris’ behavior could also have demonstrated that he did not respect boundaries. According to the blog Narc Wise:

“Using your boundaries through love bombing and hoovering, are how the pathological narcissist entraps you.

Your initial addiction to them is created by delivering on all your needs, wants and desires, and mindfully avoiding the opposite.

This is how they open the door and get you to step into their world of make-believe.”

(Narc Wise, 2018)

Perhaps Chris persistence more so linked to his characterization as a narcissist.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence could include violence between a husband and a wife, a girlfriend and boyfriend, or gay or lesbian partners. It could be violence between parents and children, adult children and elderly parents, or we could meet it between siblings (Rakavec-Felser, 2014).

The abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, verbal or financial, and although women between age 16-24 are more vulnerable, abuse can impact anyone (Swanson, 2019).

According to Swanson (2019), early signs of an abusive partner include:

  • Controlling / manipulative
  • Guilt trips
  • Threats
  • Intimidation
  • Isolation
  • Jealousy
  • Name-calling
  • Explosive temper
  • Mood swings
  • Throwing objects
  • Checking phone or email without permission

If you are considering leaving an abusive relationship, it is suggested that you end the relationship at a distance. While the abuser is at work or travelling, leave the premises and break up via text or email. Continue to maintain distance between you both as much as possible. If you do break up in person, do it in a public place. Have a trusted friend or family member wait nearby and bring a cell phone with you if you can. For more details on how to break up with an abuser, click here.


Narc Wise (2018): Narcissists Love Boundaries: Exposing the Truth

Swanson, S. (2019): Chris Watts confesses to killing daughters for first time: ‘I didn’t want to do this, but I did it’

Rakovec-Felser Z. (2014). Domestic Violence and Abuse in Intimate Relationship from Public Health Perspective. Health psychology research2(3), 1821.

Love & Relationships

Ways Wives Unknowingly Disrespect Their Husbands and How to Pivot

As part of our recent Respect Series, Lathyra Ranger shared on ways women commonly disrespect their husbands and how they can pivot or adjust their behaviors for a better long-term result.

Lathyra is a loving wife, caring mother, a lifestyle influencer, mom blogger and founder of MommentsNetwork. She is known for the advice and encouragement she shares on her instagram page @lathyraranger.

Before we begin, let me tell you now…Lathyra came for everyone’s edges!

As women, we often think we’re doing everything right. Well, Lathyra burst our bubbles and pointed out our toxic and disrespectful behaviors with the quickness!

Disrespect can be defined as the feeling that a person is beneath consideration or, alternatively, to be rude, to disregard or to ridicule.

Lathyra shared 15 ways wives unknowingly disrespect their husbands.

1. Focusing on his weakness

Expectations of who your husband should be when he hasn’t yet walked into who God has called him to be may cause you to focus on his weaknesses. Women tend to nitpick at their husband’s weaknesses. Constant nitpicking tears your husband down.  Focusing on his weakness strips him of his power and determination to pursue his goals. Proverbs 24:3 instructs us to build up our house. We build our house by building up our husband. He is the head so by building him up, we build our house.

We build our house by building up our husband.

-Lathyra Ranger

How to pivot? Acknowledge his strengths. Celebrate what he is doing right and what made you marry him. Celebrate the progress he is making in the things that you’ve discussed he should work on.

2. Undermining him

You undermine his ability to make good decisions. You question his decision-making. This is seen through you being too independent and wanting to be in control. You become so accustomed to making your own decisions that you want to be in the driver’s seat. This is considered belittling your husband. Undermining his decision tells him that you don’t trust him. Men need to feel like you trust them.

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.”

Ephesians 5:22

How to pivot? Acknowledge his leadership and support his decisions while still giving him suggestions in a loving way. Do not push your desires onto him as the right thing to do. Relinquish your control.

3. Telling him how to do tasks

It is important to understand that your husband is not going to do things the way you want them to be done.

How to pivot? Give him room to express himself in what he does. Allow him to do things how he wants to. Give him room to make mistakes.

4. Not acknowledging him when he arrives home

Sometimes women use their hormones as an excuse to not be affectionate with their husband. This lack of affection makes him feel unappreciated.

How to pivot? Greet him at the door with a hug and kiss when he arrives home.

5. Callous Tone

We may bring different attitudes from our environment into our marriage. Our tone and words may be callous. When our tone is callous, it may come across as condescending. Condescending remarks can destroy your husband’s leadership skills.

How to pivot? Ensure that whatever you say edifies your husband.  Make sure your tone does not disrespect him. When you talk to your husband, touch him lovingly. It may cause him to open up to you more. Use a gentle voice when speaking to him.

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”

Ephesians 4:29

6. Criticism

This is one of the top ways to disrespect your husband. This tears him down. It makes him feel like he is not enough. Disrespect will either cause your husband to crumble or rebel. Your criticism will cause your husband to have a deaf ear to anything you say.

Your prayers can do more than your lips can.

-Lathyra Ranger

How to pivot? Praise and support your husband. He is going to make mistakes. In his imperfection, he still needs love. He needs your encouragement.

7. Discussing past relationships

Constantly discussing past relationships makes him feel like he needs to compete.

How to pivot? It is better to be general than to bring up examples from your past relationships.

8. Oversharing

Certain things about your marriage should not be shared with others. Some things should stay between you and your husband. Oversharing will make you susceptible to attacks.

How to pivot? Discuss with your husband what is okay to share and what’s not okay. If your husband shares something personal, do not share it because he will feel betrayed and it will impact his trust.

“Set a guard over my mouth, Lord;  keep watch over the door of my lips.”

Psalm 141:3

9. Bringing up divorce

Do not threaten to leave every time things get hard. This indicates that you are not loyal to him which causes him not to trust you. It will affect his security in your marriage. Men need a sense of security just like women do. You are to be loyal to your husband. Telling your husband you want a divorce disrespects the authority of God because you made a vow to your husband and to God.

How to pivot? Support him. Let him know that you love him. Be honest about your expectations and disappointments.

10. Making decisions without his input

Your husband was anointed by God with authority when you got married to be the leader of the home. When you make decisions without him it shows that you think he is incompetent. He needs your belief in him in order to strive in his leadership.

How to pivot? Offer suggestions. Allow him to lead and he will give you the permission to go ahead with your suggestion. He needs you to believe in him so that he can thrive in his leadership.

11. Lack of appreciation

When you focus on his weaknesses, you end up not showing him appreciation. You are called to respect your husband.

However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Ephesians 5:33

How to pivot? Show him that you appreciate him. Show him appreciation for his devotion and the things that he is doing. Compliment him.

12. Distrust

Believe that your husband will be faithful. Men thrive on praise. He wants to do more of what you praise him for.

How to pivot? Trust your husband and his leadership. Trust him to be faithful and devoted.

Trust the God in him.

-Lathyra Ranger

13. Expectation of him to be perfect in every season

Not supporting your husband will result in him becoming stagnant. Don’t expect him to be perfect all the time.

Pivot- Be gracious in the valley season. For more on respecting him in the valley season, read How to Love and Respect Your Man Through His Trauma. Allow him the grace to grieve. Support who he is becoming. Remove the expectations and allow God to move.

14. Mothering him

Do you constantly tell your husband what he should and should not do? This indicates that you do not trust him and it tells him that he is incompetent and/or unable to perform tasks on his own.

Your husband is not your son.

– Lathyra Ranger

How to pivot? Leave the mothering words and cleave to your husband. Cleave with grace. Allow him to make his own decisions and support those decisions.

15. Overspiritualizing everything

Do not be super spiritual all of the time. It is important to be vigilant about what comes into your home, but everything shouldn’t be overspiritualized. Also, just because your husband’s relationship with God differs from yours doesn’t mean he does not have one.

How to pivot? Leave room for grace. Let God convict. Give suggestions lovingly.

Respect Assignment:

  1. Create a marriage vision and family vision. Once you create the vision place it somewhere in your home and ensure that your actions are aligned with your vision for your marriage.
  2. Implement marriage meetings in your routine. This allows you to discuss what’s going on in your marriage. Meet every week if you’re going through difficult times in your marriage. Meet every month if things are going okay.

Lathyra came with a whole word. If you missed Lathyra’s talk, check out the Youtube replay here:

You can follow Lathyra for more inspirational content on Instagram @lathyraranger.

Catch up on the other sessions in the Respect series you may have missed by watching the replay or reading the blog recap.

Which trait are you guilty of and what steps will you implement from Lathyra’s talk? Let us know in the comments below!

More from The Respect Series:

HER Stories

After the Storm: Two Hurricane Dorian Survivors Share Their Stories

One year ago, September 1, 2019, tragedy and devastation struck when Hurricane Dorian, a Category 5 hurricane (some would even say Category 6) made landfall in the northern islands of The Bahamas, mainly Abaco and Grand Bahama. When Dorian struck, it lingered over the beautiful islands of The Bahamas for what seemed like forever (at one point moving at 2 mph), taking aim at everything in its path. After the hurricane passed, death, heartache and tragedy became synonymous with the word Dorian for Bahamians.

As survivors are left to pick up the pieces of their lives, the trauma left by Hurricane Dorian still remains prominent today. Just last month, Tropical Storm Isaias threatened to rummage through the islands of The Bahamas, as it quickly upgraded to a hurricane. While Isaias did not leave much damage, Bahamians couldn’t help but to panic in preparation for Isaias to make landfall. PTSD kicked in for Hurricane Dorian survivors, as they prayed to God not to relive the horrid experience of another devastating hurricane.

A lot has changed for the survivors in the year that has passed, from having to live without loved ones to having to relocate. Nothing can replace what was lost but still, hope remains.

Two survivors of the monster storm took the time to share their story with us.



Precious is an educator who was teaching in Abaco at Patrick J. Bethel High School before Hurricane Dorian struck. Precious is very active in her community. While in Abaco, she served as an Advisor for the Abaco Youth Empowerment Program and she was a member of her local Toastmasters Club.


Precious: “At first, everyone was rushing about to complete last minute preparations; the shops were crowded, the water depots were sold out and some left the island. We were filled with anxiety but no one could have been prepared for what was to come. I was quite calm in the beginning, as I was supposedly fully prepared and was staying with my fiance’s family, so I was around persons for the experience.”


Precious: “As the winds picked up, I started to become alarmed. Having just found out that I was pregnant a week before, I was quite afraid for my unborn child. I heard debris flying around outside. The walls started to crack, the roof caved in and water filled the house. All we could have done was pray and cry out to God for deliverance and safety. Thank God I had Aliv, so I was able to reach out to family who called a few good Samaritans to rescue us some 9 hours later.

It was easily the most terrifying experience of my life. We went to a shelter where EVERYONE was. Fear and worry was in the air. It was hot, smelly and clustered so I preferred to go back to the caved in roof until we were able to get off of the island.”


Precious: “The saddest thing for me was seeing all of the homes that were compromised and hearing of the lives that were lost, including my student, Jendaya Edgecombe and two young children that I knew. I also saw 5 dead bodies on the side of the street. Sighs.”


Precious: “Life has been extremely different since Hurricane Dorian passed. I had to start over from scratch. My fiance’ and I had to relocate as we lost our home and had to find an apartment and car to get from point A to point B. Also, being pregnant was extremely difficult.  My biggest difficulty due to Dorian was the fact that I was an asue holder. I have lost over $20,000 after having also lost my home due to persons not paying.

One positive thing that came after Dorian was my greatest blessing, a healthy, beautiful baby girl so I give God thanks.”

Precious baby
Precious’ beautiful baby girl, Kariea

After Hurricane Dorian, Precious was nominated for an award at the National Youth Awards.

Precious at the National Youth Awards 2019 Nomination Ceremony


Grand Bahama Survivor: Edwina Waldron


Edwina is a 26 year old Grand Bahama native who had just come back home from law school when Hurricane Dorian hit.


Edwina: “We were shocked when we found out the hurricane had upgraded to a Category 5 because we had just endured Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and our economy had still yet to recover. Grand Bahamians did their best to heed to evacuation protocols and preparing for the hurricane (grocery shopping, securing homes), because we had an idea of what we were up against and we prepared based on the last hurricane.”


Edwina:My family and I lived on the outskirts of the island, roughly 2 minutes away from the beach, and in close proximity to the Harbour and completely surrounded by water. We were told to evacuate because a surge was expected.

“We moved to higher ground in The Chesapeake  area with my uncle and aunt and her children and grand children. As you can imagine, the apartment was packed but we made the best of it in the circumstances. At first, it was all fun telling stories and cracking jokes, watching movies and just spending quality time with family. But it all suddenly changed when the power and water went off. Luckily, we had charged all of our devices and portable chargers, we filled buckets and countless jugs of water. We purchased a portable gas stove and gas cans prior so we were able to have cooked food.

“When the ordeal started, the winds were extremely strong and loud. There was a lot of rain and water settled everywhere. We lost signal on the radio and at one point we were unable to reach anyone. The area I was in began to flood, but luckily it was on a slope. When the water began to rise, the hurricane had already subsided. I was worried about the reports I got from my brother who was a part of the rescue/search team with regard to the amount of people that were in danger, drowned or missing. It definitely hit home when friends and relatives started to reach out for help and there was nothing I could do except call for help and pray that they got the help they needed.”


Edwina: “The saddest thing for me after the hurricane was driving around and seeing the damage that was done and the host of people that were missing or had passed away as a result of the hurricane. It was unbelievable. I have never experienced anything like that in my entire life, nor is it something I want to I re-live. As we were driving, we constantly had to the turn around or make different pathways because some areas were completely flooded. Just looking at the state of the island after nearly 3 years of repairing and gradual recovery traumatized me. I just thought, When will we ever get a break?.

“About  2/3 days after the storm, various organizations gathered to distribute food and clothes, household items and medical supplies to families that were in need. The lines were extremely long and discouraging at times due to having to stand hours to wait for assistance, but we all had no choice. The water was also off for some time so people fetched water from Polymers and used fresh drinking water to bathe, cook or for sanitary purposes. A lot of people did not have vehicles to get the assistance they needed or had signal to reach out for help, so my family and I did our best to drive around and assist families with water and groceries.”


Edwina: “The hurricane came about two weekends before I was about to embark on a new journey at Eugene Dupuch Law School in Nassau. As you could imagine there was absolutely no drive or motivation left in me after going through the hurricane. In fact, I opted to start in 2020 instead because I was not in the mental state to start Bar school which was already challenging coupled with mental and now financial instability but with the strength of God and encouragement from family members, I began my law school journey in Nassau.”

Edwina on her first day of Eugene Dupuch Law School

Edwina: “I was set to graduate three weeks after the Hurricane (October) with my Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) Degree from the University of the West Indies in Barbados. As a result of the Hurricane, none of my family members were able to attend as planned. I felt as though I had no business celebrating my accomplishments in these circumstances, and again, I opted not to go. However, with the support of my family and friends I was encouraged to go alone and celebrate my achievements and I was grateful to still have the opportunity to graduate!”


Life is precious, make the most of it.

Never trivialize hurricanes, they are deadly.

Be your brother’s keeper.

There is power in prayer and UNITY!

Hurricane Dorian survivors continue to rebuild their lives. As Lyrically Blessed said, “We’ll be stronger, we’ll be better than ever before after the storm… We will rise again.”

Continue to keep Precious, Edwina and the other hurricane Dorian survivors in your prayers as they continue to deal with the aftermath of the storm.

What inspired you from these ladies’ stories? Let us know in the comments!

Love & Relationships

How to Love & Respect Your Man Through His Trauma

Wife HER! founder and certified life coach, Zemi Stewart, recently presented on “Giving Him Room to Grow: Respecting Him While In the Valley”. As many of these valley moments have their roots in trauma, Zemi discussed seven ways wives can create a safe place for their husbands to heal and grow.

Below are her talking points, written in her own voice.

What Is Trauma?

Many of the characteristics of the valley moments our husbands experience such as low self-esteem, addictive behaviors, alcoholism, pornography, masturbation, habitual lying, low libido, hypersexual behavior, excessively rough sex, flashbacks, panic attacks, avoidance, and the list goes on, have their roots in trauma. I call these characteristics the “leaves and branches”.

Trauma is defined as an emotional wound or shock that creates substantial, lasting damage to the psychological development of a person. Examples include: childhood abuse or neglect, relationship or betrayal trauma, gang violence, a car accident, the sudden death of a loved one, an assault or attempted assault, and the list goes on.

Trauma & Marriage

It is important as wives that we realize that our husbands are human. Many men enter into marriage feeling fine and in control with no idea of what lay dormant under the surface, but the good – though sometimes painful – thing about marriage is that it is a mirror, a revealer, a truth exposer. It shines a light on many of the things we’ve carefully hidden from the world.

“The good, though sometimes painful, thing about marriage is that marriage is a mirror, revealer, truth exposer.

– Zemi Stewart

Some may be wondering, Shouldn’t I have known about his trauma before marriage so that I:

  • could have prepared myself or
  • avoided this man altogether?

Ideally, you should know beforehand, but many wives find out after marriage for a variety of reasons:

  • He blacked out the memories
  • He was afraid to lose you
  • He thought he could handle it / didn’t see it as a problem
  • He feels ashamed

It could also be that you failed to ask the right questions pre-marriage; however, in my experience, the right questions are often asked but the truth does not manifest until later.

Typically, the first response after learning of his trauma (or it’s “leaves and branches”), is to feel betrayed and angry, but it’s important to note that God may have allowed you to walk in “blindly” to teach you, heal you both and reveal His glory. You can take time to throw a pity party or you can move forward in purpose.

You can move beyond the valley and hopefully this conversation will be the nudge you need to get moving. Not everyone who enters a valley leaves with their marriage intact, but it is possible, and if you are reading this, that is my prayer for you.

7 Tips for Wives

Disclaimer: These tips are helpful for men who have undergone trauma. If you feel your husband may be suffering from a mental illness, please seek professional help for both you and him. If you are being physically or verbally abused, please seek the help of a professional.

1. Recognize the root

Look beyond what your eyes see and try to get to the heart of the matter. This comes through prayer, heart to heart conversations, divine revelation, reading and research.

Men who have suffered trauma quite often display self-limiting beliefs: they tell themselves they are flawed, broken, unworthy of love, not good enough, etc.  

You don’t have to search phones and devices in secret to get to the root, the truth is revealed over time.

You don’t have to search phones and devices in secret, the truth is revealed over time.

– Zemi Stewart

2. Respect his version of events

Let’s say you found out that your husband was neglected as a child and the way this manifested as an adult is him finding his identity in possessions and the opinions of others, so he would purchase things for this woman, that woman, etc. and it got out of control. A lot, yes a lot…buttt he wants to heal, he wants to stop his behavior and he wants to save his marriage.

It is important that you listen and believe his version of the events without trying to fill in gaps and breaks in the timeline. This is especially true of men who are victims of sexual abuse (and that number is incredibly high!) – it’s 1 in every 6 men in the US and likely 1 in every 3 in The Bahamas (if not more!).

Victims of trauma fear not being believed and being blamed for what they went through. Not only that but trauma can interfere with the memory causing certain situations to be blacked out. He may not remember the age he was when his abuse started or ended. He may not remember when he was first exposed to pornography, etc. It’s hard but you have to accept this and continue to allow the truth to be revealed over time.

Vocalize your belief in him, and not just his interpretation of the events but also in the effects. If he feels X led him to become Y, then accept that as his truth.

Remember we’re creating a safe place for his healing and, as he heals and becomes more and more naked with you, true intimacy develops.

Vocalize your belief in him, and not just in his interpretation of the events, but also in the effects.

– Zemi Stewart

3. Respect his healing process

Healing is not a linear process and it looks different for everyone. His healing process won’t always mimic the blogs you read or YouTube videos you watch, and that is okay.

  • Therapy is recommended but it should not be forced
  • Keep communication lines open both with him and with God
  • Understand / be aware of his triggers and also what triggers you in the process as you heal as well
  • Don’t take things personally

4. Respect his privacy while providing accountability

Resist the urge to search his phone and devices. This breeds mistrust and may cause him to withdraw or create new wounds.

If he requests accountability, and it is important that he agree to this even if it is your suggestion first, then have his password and look through his phone only with his permission. You can also allow technology to work for you and use sites like Covenant Eyes, if pornography is an issue.

Related: The Truth About Your Man’s Porn Habit

The key things to ask for are honesty, openness, no secured or private folders, and a commitment to faithfulness. You can ask for accountability, but you also need to agree to the measures put in place. You should not force change or force healing as that will backfire.

You should not force change or force healing as that will backfire.

– Zemi Stewart

5. Respect his boundaries

If he’s not ready for therapy, accept it. If he does not want to share all of the details of his trauma, accept it and don’t push him to reveal what he’s not ready to relive. Some men distance themselves for a time to collect their thoughts; give him the freedom to do this. Note: This period of separation should be short term. If extended, e.g. longer than a day or weekend, prioritize him coming home safely.

Don’t push him to reveal what he’s not ready to relive.

– Zemi Stewart

6. Resist the urge to become Mrs. Fix It

Jada Smith ended up in a whole entanglement because of her desire to be Mrs. Fix It. Sis, your husband is not your project!

Your husband is not your project. He first and foremost belongs to GOD. It’s natural to want to fix him, help him and make everything alright, but you cannot love away trauma.

You can’t love away someone’s trauma, but you can create a loving environment that is conducive for his or her healing.

You cannot love away someone’s trauma. Instead, listen to him, validate his feelings, be present, be an active listener, confirm your support and take the conditions off of your love.

6. Remember to take care of you

Uncovering his traumas and the chain of events that led to the uncovering, can lead to your own betrayal or relationship trauma. You may feel a range of emotions: sadness, anger, hopelessness, love, etc. It’s important that you find support whether that is therapy, a support group and/or a trusted friend.

Be sure to funnel your thoughts and refocus your mind. You can’t erase what you replay so try not to replay the events: the cheating, the pornographic images, his remarks, his lies, etc. Instead, focus on your well-being and creating a safe place for mutual healing.

You can’t erase what you replay so try not to replay the events.

– Zemi Stewart

Missed the session? Be sure to catch the replay below.

The Focus of The Month for August is Relationships: Respecting Your Husband. You can check out this month’s focus Bible text and video here.

Make sure you’re tuned in this week for another insightful discussion on Respect. Join the Wife HER Facebook group so that you can stay updated.

For more inspiration from Zemi, follow her on Instagram @zemiregine.

More from The Respect Series: