Category Archives: Mental Health

When Marriage Became More Than Paper to Me – Part 1

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The fairy tales that ended with “and they lived happily ever after,” represented some sort of cruel, sick joke to me once I reached my late teenage years.  All around me, and I mean in the tabloids and media, I was seeing people getting divorced for reasons varying from “falling out of love,” financial gain/loss, just not in agreement, and finally infidelity, that I truly didn’t see the point of why two people would even want to commit themselves to each other.

I saw it as a way to further muffle the woman’s voice, who was supposed to be helpless, unassuming, and a domestic demi-goddess to be able to look good and handle the household without complaining.  And since there were always several kids in this kind of family, she was always ready to have sex because she wanted more and more kids. If she was called “self-sacrificing,” that meant she was a martyr that was everything to everyone, whenever and however they needed her.

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I saw it this way until I wanted a relationship.

In the deep abyss of my mind, I, at least, knew the concept of marriage meant a vow to be with the other person for rest of each other’s lives;  to have each other’s backs, and as much as I opposed marriage, I wanted someone to want to vow to be with me for the rest our lives.

As crazy and as wild as my life was, one thing stood true – as I kept chasing after unconditional love in all the wrong places and the wrong people, I really didn’t know how to give the kind of love I wanted, because I didn’t know how to receive it.

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I don’t mean this in other people, because yes, there were some wrong choices there, but there were also some great people out there who cared deeply for me. (That didn’t mean they were “the one”).

In fact, I remember qualifying candidates as “the one” because we got along great and they seemed nice, but until I realized me own pattern, within 3 months, we hit turmoil and usually quickly it was over.

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No, when I say I didn’t know how to receive it, I mean, in a Higher Power kind of way.  (Now before I lose you, let me explain!)

I knew there existed a Higher Power who ‘loved’ me, but in this world, I felt I had to fend for myself.  I had to make a way for myself, provide for myself (even when I was sleeping in my car and eating mayo/sprouts sandwiches), and I definitely had to figure out who can love and accept me with all my imperfections, and many a night I spent in the arms of a new lover trying to find it.  However, I was still quietly suffering from bouts of depression and suicidal thoughts. I was raped several times.  I compromised my own dignity in order to have a relationship, more than once. And although I wanted this ‘imaginary perfect person,’ my own measuring stick of qualifying candidates ranged from making excuses for them (saying things like, ‘who am I to judge?’) to they better love me, warts and all – but be easy for me to love.

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Somewhere in there, in my search, I bypassed all the people who were telling me what I should do and I decided to delve further into my knowledge of God – mind you though, that was by happenstance because really I had just prayed, “Ok, God, I have nothing to show for my life, so you can take it now!” (which, by the way means something totally and wonderfully different to God, I believe!) Without meaning to, after being graced with “cords of human kindness,” who wanted to help me without return of favor but out of sheer joy and even protected my dignity, who extended help without my having to perform or just be “on,” but because it was it was on their hearts, really, it was too much for me during this humbling time.  I even prayed that God stop it because I didn’t know how to handle “so much love,” I prayed.  These were people who first showed a love that was one of respect and integrity.  The romantic love had to be on hold during this time, because honestly, I was a mess and still didn’t understand or recognize a love that meant respect for another being in a selfless way. More than that, I didn’t know why anyone would want to do things for the sheer joy of helping someone else.  I was still doing things for others because 1.) It made me feel good in a way where I was a good person to help someone else, meaning that eventually, I would be thanked or recognized in some way – if even cosmically; 2.) I felt I had to and with everyone being a part of a charity, not only could I get a tax break, but be called a philanthropist and 3.) somewhere in me I felt I should do it.  But more times than not, I never intentionally went out of my way to help or love others. And once I became a Christian, Heaven help those that didn’t ‘agree’ with my understanding of God. Regardless, I had enough problems of my own, and didn’t want to involve myself with others – yet, I still wanted a relationship.

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So, in reflecting how marriage became more to me, I believe it came somewhat in this order:

1.) I had to understand the type of Love I wanted – even more than that, the Source, and who really set the standard of the type of Love I yearned for;

2.) I had to demonstrate that love in a way where I did not expect to have it reciprocal, but because I was willing to do so for the sheer joy of it;

3.) I had to learn about boundaries – mine and others, and learn how to respect those.

4.) I had to be open to the concept of forever be forgiving of others and take responsibility without feeling shame when I asked for forgiveness

5.) I studied again the dictionary definition of the word ‘love’ and what the biblical standard of ‘Love’ if, and than set out to see if I could see it demonstrated on a consistent basis between two people who professed their love for each other.

Let me just add, I DID see it! I saw so many husbands loving their wives, while still being ‘men,’ and fathers to their children. I saw their wives stand majestically beside them, respecting them and encouraging them.  I saw it over and over again. I saw how when they were apart from each other, that wasn’t their time to rip apart their spouse and complain of their spouse’s shortcomings. I saw the mutual respect they had for each other to strengthen each other.  I saw them show respect for the vows they made to each other and before God. I witnessed them growing together in their walks with God to impact and encourage others.  Their children were polite and loving.  Trust me, for a moment I thought I was in a bizarro world, but it was right there in Los Angeles – of all places, and then again in Franklin, Tennessee.  Only because I saw it over and again did I believe it was achievable. So I made up my mind that I was going to have that.

(to be continued) – Forcing My Dreams of Marriage to Match My Vision – Part 2

Hugs, Peace, and truly love,

Arikah, Founder, Two Hearts Offline Matchmaking (www.facebook.com/twoheartsmatchmaking)

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Can you relate to this apology video?

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“I’m Ready to Marry, But My “Type” Doesn’t Exist”

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There was a post on Facebook from one of my friends that stated, “Your ‘type’ may be the reason you aren’t with your soulmate.”  While many of the comments agreed, one pointed out that going outside your race as a reason.  Hmm?

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After being matched for the “chemical attraction/first meeting,” I arranged for two people whose questionnaire showed that they valued the same things and held the similar temperament, both agreed that they thoroughly enjoyed themselves.  He continued by saying that he was attracted to her and really enjoyed himself.  She mentioned that she had a great time and enjoyed the meeting, “however.”

“However, what?” I asked.

“Well, I don’t know how you determine chemical attraction but I wasn’t,” she said.

In my experience, I have heard more women – married women who are deeply in love with their husbands, start by saying that at first, they were not attracted to the man who would later become their husbands.  They all admit that although they would snub these men, there was something about them that they could see that God was definitely working on their hearts and what they needed, instead of what they wanted, and after the consistency, the stable-mindedness, and decisiveness of their suitors, they were in love and ready to devote their lives in matrimony.

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For my male clients, I help them in the process of letting go of the women who they personally pursued and still cannot let go.  When I ask them to tell me a quality of these women that they believe is marriage-worthy, they stutter and stammer.

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Ughhhh…..please..

My point in addressing the male’s situation, the female’s version of no chemical attraction, and the erroneous picture above is that I truly believe there is a mix up of people’s idea looking for dates and seeking marriage-worthy individuals.

One of the ways I match couples, is to give an extensive and in-depth questionnaire to truly understand what it is the person is looking for.  What they don’t know is that on the other side, there is a match for them.  I don’t tell them anything about the other person because I do not want the intention of the answers to change.  It’s important to screen the health and mindset of the person to be sure they are ready to begin a mutually loving relationship.  The individuals never see the pictures of the other person until the meeting, (but is sometimes within the boundaries of the what the individual is open to.) So, the individual based on the answers they give, will never know that if their potential is within reach.

Am I keeping them from meeting? You better believe it, in regards to my business, as I seek to match healthy-minded people with others; but I am not preventing them from meeting.  My mindset is if it is meant to be, they will find each other. It’s just sad when you can actually witness that it will take time for the person to evolve to place where they can give and receive a respectful, loving relationship.  I can’t stress enough, though, once it’s found, there is no other mutual devotion on earth, stronger and appreciated.

Couple enjoying coffee at Sidewalk Cafe --- Image by © Artiga Photo/Corbis
Couple enjoying coffee at Sidewalk Cafe — Image by © Artiga Photo/Corbis

What I’m saying is that looking for marriage minded individuals is much different than simply looking for attractive people who can hold a conversation.

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Today’s singles are collectively saying that they are single by choice, but that their “type” doesn’t exist – which means they’re looking.  They’re saying that their career comes first, however, says in the same breath that they wish even options or other perspectives, can talk to them.  And soon their pickiness becomes either bitterness or wishy-washiness. And for those who are wanting at marriage for another chance, many times, they haven’t learned the important signals that happen beforehand that create turmoil in their relationship, and so, the cycle begins again – Heaven forbid children are now involved.

It reminds me of a middle school dance, that awkward event (probably not so much today’s middle schooler, but you know what I mean) where although hormones are racing, no one has confidence to go up and ask out someone for the dance – or, is able to be open enough to be approachable to be asked. For the dance, mind you.

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I don’t know how else to illustrate that your “type” is there, I promise. However, if your old methods for finding dates are not working for you, is it that you’re using the wrong methods?  Are you using a superficial checklist that doesn’t even cover questions that prove the person would be loyal to you or has the ability to see you value the same thing?  Is it just based on looks, conversation, job status, or children status?

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Please note, when you are ready to find a spouse, your filter MUST be specific – but in the right ways. It is not based on whether his Bible (which he probably got from his grandma) is highlighted.  It’s not based on if she shares the same political views. It’s not based on definition of his pectoral muscles or whether or not he has facial hair.  It’s not based on whether she has a few extra pounds.

The ONE thing singles miss in their search, in the opinion of this professional dating coach and matchmaker, is the level of integrity they can honestly say they have seen consistently enough to even have a person qualified.  Integrity is what makes the beauty/handsome.  And that is something that is not shown in just words.  It’s not something that is can be determined after a few encounters. That takes time. Time, where neither party is manipulating the outcome, but is respectful, direct, and decisive.

So many, though, do not even know what integrity means.  Integrity is one where a person does what they say they’re going to do.  They respect themselves in a way that spills out for respect for others.  The person doesn’t call out on an appointment, or work, even (there’s a lot of that going on in the workforce) at the last minute because they don’t feel like coming in.  The person doesn’t make promises and breaks them. They respect themselves enough to not get in the situation if they think they can’t do it.  They help others without seeking to please others, or say the popular thing they think others want to hear.  They believe in loyalty and walk in that.  They vibrate on a completely different level – where it seems as though they are eccentric, but it’s only because they are surrounded by people who act entitled;, wanting the same things in a loving relationship, yet believe the other person must come in perfect to fit some unrealistic mold they’ve crafted that goes to serve them and their egos.

So then, I ask you, do you still think you’re type isn’t there?

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When It’s Ok to Post Your Relationship Drama on Facebook

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This is just a quick interruption to share this ideology about the “being in a committed relationship where the word “love” is passed around and then posting when that same person makes you angry,” syndrome.

Someone very close to me did just this.  Posted her wedding pictures last year, professed to love this woman with her soul -the woman doing the same – and yesterday, she posted a few posts about how although she “knows hate is a strong word, she’s beginning to hate this woman” and then in another post listing a lengthy paragraph of how this woman had no right to involve her facebook friends and so because she did, she would, in turn post her business on her wall.

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She may read this (and to protect her identity, from my readers) and unfriend me, but hopefully not before reading this short post.

Regardless of views, lifestyles, or opinions, in any relationship where the word “love” is exchanged between each person, there has to be an understanding of what respect means.

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We are all human, and we all, not only make mistakes, but naturally, are selfish – which means others will be hurt by our actions, lack of action, and decisions, and/or our indifference, many, many times within our lives (you know, the exact reason Jesus died – oops compelled to throw that in there, since I do believe Jesus died for us when we were at our worst so that we may have a chance to see and be with him in eternity).  We have to work to be the qualities we want from others (kind, patient, gentle, respectful, not envious, etc).

Anyway, back to my… example.  Keeping in mind that we will hurt one another within a committed relationship, it is NEVER helpful to post your drama on Facebook. Ever.

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Yes, I am very emphatic about that.

My mantra is about establishing mutual trust and respect to have a long-lasting loving relationship.   Posting about the dynamics of your relationship so that your ‘friends’ have the opportunity to ‘side’ with you, or fuel the angst, only adds more separation between the very one you claimed to love. (Luckily, enough of her fb friends were urging her to delete the post, but how often do you hear that?)

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This really does seem like common sense, but I’m guessing in the heat of the moment, that’s the only ‘out’ the uncontrolled posting person has.

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A few posts back I posted about the disagreement my husband and I had and how angry we were.  My doing so was intentional – I’m a relationship coach and wanted to share – in the heat of the moment, there will be points when we all have a decision at the fork in the road when we are angry at our significant other, and the choices we make will either build up or slowly chip away at the foundation the couple vowed to have.   I hoped that it helped my readers. Notice that I never posted what the problem was (because I don’t remember!)

There’s so much more I can say on this, but it may drone on for those who will see this as obvious.  PLEASE, for the love of everything good and wonderful, do NOT post your anger or feelings on facebook if you profess to love the other person.

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Here is a free idea for what you can do instead:  Create an email account, when you’re upset, post your anger there.  if you need the reassurance or comments, email me at two.hearts2share@gmail.com, or go to the Two Hearts Offline Matchmaking (www.facebook.com/twoheartsmatchmaking)  and request to be put in the secret call group – created specifically for those who need encouragement when they want to vent online about relationship woes.  (Hey, who knows what the Super Bowl parties will bring? Being prepared to maintain your own respect, if not the respect of the one you claim to love, will go further when you’re prepared and not deflated….ok, sorry for that one.)

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Based on the above research no one wants to know your business – and it makes you look like an immature, unstable, angry maniac who is incapable of keeping and maintaining a relationship past the superficial niceties. (p.s. I would never tell my clients that directly – I’ll just save it for here.)

Happy Dating!

S. Arikah Nash Baly-Jensen, Founder, Two Hearts Offline Matchmaking

Ok, this had me giggling...
Ok, this had me laughing out loud…

How to NOT Make the Holidays Lonely as a Single Person

The Holidays don't have to be lonely with proper planning.
The Holidays don’t have to be lonely with proper planning.

The Holidays; usually a time of peace and love and good-will towards man, but can often be the most loneliest time of the year for some.  However!

(there’s always that Ray of Hope that I intend to always shine on my readers, as my own selfish pleasure!)

With the proper planning, YOU do not have to be caught off-guard feeling that hole in your chest.  The first part is properly managing your SEROTONIN levels.

1.)  Very important, how are your vitamin D levels?  It’s no secret that in the winter, the sun’s hiding has made many people suffer from seasonal depression.  Many times, the difference between smiling and not is just a boost to your levels.  Your physician can check them out.  If you’re like me, who doesn’t really have a physician, per se, I simply only had to monitor my dietary intake to know that I needed an increase in Vitamin D.

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2.)  As your workload/hours increase, plan on a way to have a definitive down time.  Many, many people find that their workload is in crunch time as more consumers are spending in various industries.  It is just as important to have a set and scheduled time to take a deep breath and relax.  Think of it this way, you are only the best YOU you can be when your cortisol levels are lowered (the adrenaline that helps you kick in it into high gear).  Things that I do (being a work from home mother of an active toddler, 2 active businesses, business meetings, serving clients, and then making sure to be the wife I’m need to be);   I have a 20 minute Epsom soak bath for myself once per week, I workout in my living room, and make sure to have a massage session at least once per month.

3.) Sleep PatternsIt’s all about the Serotonin-  Again, for many people during the winter season and holidays, because there is a slight dip in serotonin,  many people find that they are more prone to either sleep more (due to depression from the low serotonin levels), chronic fatigue syndrome or suffer the other extreme – insomnia.  During this time, not only does the correct dietary intake positively affect the levels, but positive mantra-type chants as affirmations prove to be more than just words, but actually changing your thought patterns.

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4.) Extend kindness –  Here’s something worthy of comment: If you deal with the public in your business in any way, planning on quenching the fires of angry customers is the definition of true kindness. Anyone can be nice to someone who is nice to him/her.  And you already know customers will be testy. Planning on “killing them with kindness” will put you at ease and prep you when their heads and fingers wag in your face.

'...I'm lookin' for the book 'How to Win Friends and Influence People'!'

5.) Plan and set appointments for yourself for 15 minutes of laughter DAILY.  Although I don’t think explanation is needed here, just see above at the first 4 reasons why (hint: it starts with a “sero” and ends with “tonin.”)

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6.)  Time with Friends  – Time with NEW friends here, or those who you don’t get the opportunity to hang with, but mean to.  And do different things! Ice skating, skiing, Specialty International food dining, or just hot cocoa and a brisk walk can do wonders for yourself and the other person

7.) Make gifts – don’t buy a thing!  – Whoa, what?  Yep, I said it.  Save your pocketbook and the temptation to overspend and perhaps make candles, soaps, knit, scarves, etc. for gifts and start passing them out.  Just a hint;  Many, million-dollar businesses have started with simply crafts. Just saying..

8.)  Plan on having change for the Salvation Army Bell Ringers- Even seeing these volunteers, we tend to be callous and desensitized to the fact that they are people and they are choosing to stand in the cold for a cause. Having change in your pocket to give when you go out will surprisingly make you feel good to know you are making a difference.

9.) When you are out in public, SMILE! Make eye contact and Smile!  If misery loves company, why on earth would anyone want to share company with a miserable person?  Aren’t you attracted to people who smile (it doesn’t mean that you have to marry the person or ask the person to birth your children), but for someone to actually smile… That’s usually the first way a fulfilling love can happen.

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Now, here’s my heart for you and something I want you to truly take to heart :  You ARE Worthy.  You are Precious. You are Valuable.  Your life DOES matter.  In the good times and when you go through changes or struggles, you STILL matter. Your Overcoming is Inspiring.  You have already been through so much, and yet you keep going.  THAT’s Inspiring.

And though you may not feel worthy, priceless, or inspirational, that doesn’t mean it is true.  With or without your feeling these things, there is a Lord who professes this fact. A Lord of order and Peace and not one to bash, belittle, or demean, but to encourage, strengthen, and show favor upon.  I have been witness to many things; horrible marriages, abusive relationships and the such, even when they mistaken do this in the name of the lord. I used a small “l” because that’s not the Lord.  I have seen the Power of a strong, lasting, loving marriage whose bond, or glue rather, is the Lord the couple made the vows before.  I have seen, and now personally experiencing, how each person in the marriage resolve conflict.

Many times, this enlightened person started with alone times during the Holidays, and fervent prayer not for their Dream Guy/Girl be sent to them randomly, but instead praying over the very person they will be with; praying over his/her day, etc.  This isn’t fantasy.  This is actively preparing yourself to not only be in love and receive it, but to give it.

So on that note,

number 10.) Pray for your unseen mate and the day that he/she may be having, and that wherever in the world you are, you both are able to recognize each other when you do meet.

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Love, Peace, and Smiles to You,

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Shakira ‘Arikah Nash’ Baly-Jensen, Founder Two Hearts Offline Matchmaking

We are taking pre-order subscriptions for the App, Two Ships.  Go to the http://www.facebook.com/twoheartsmatchmaking and like the page to be given the invitation and instructions.  Beta-testers wanted.

Also, if you would like to try out our services, give us a call at 615.422.5079 or email us at two.hearts2share@gmail.com.  Trust me – you can afford it!

P.s.  I don’t know much, but I do know this…..th (2)