Category Archives: Relationships

How I Was Slowly, (un)Knowingly Killing Myself

It’s safe to say that 2016 was a horrible year for almost everyone.

Last year saw the deaths of numerous icons and loved ones – which any year that brings death can leave the living somber, just it was really bad last year.  

Last year, brought out the worst in people during elections, people who a person would least expect. Maybe I should just let this sit right here for a moment……

Last year, babies, children, and teens, were attacked just to get followers on social media.

Last year saw senseless racially motivated assaults and murders by people who, already having it hard to gain the trust, highlighted the worse, untrained, and racist among this group. It was a whirlwind, where a person didn’t know what to believe.

Last year saw multiple groups of people screamed at, terrorized, and bullied, all in attempt to silence their voices.

Last year saw MANY who, may not have been called hypocritical, but perhaps self-reflection and alone time, may tell them otherwise.

       “But what does that have to do with killing yourself!” you may have asked by (if you’ve read this far.)

Well, I was drinking shots of arsenic.

arsenic

In all reality, due to how one can be poisoned by actual arsenic, this is more real than you may think, and if you go through symptoms, you could be victim, too.  Consider this as a public service announcement.  (More information on how and the symptoms later mentioned.) For the sake of this article, I’m going to cover my arsenic poisoning figuratively speaking, (but I really do believe I’ve been literally ingesting it, too.)

Last year, I grieved reading about ALL attacks, murders, deaths – and only had an emoji to resort to, to express that.

Last year, friends, who I thought celebrated people’s various journeys, either cussed me out for not thinking like them or ‘indirectly’ made accusations based on my multi-cultural family.  My only option was to disengage on social media (which was actually refreshing!)

Last year, I took Bob to mediation, ready to sign divorce papers. Not for cheating, abusing me, or anything like that, but because he was so tired when he came home from work, we didn’t go out on dates like other couples.

Last year, I was battling guilty feelings for wanting my daughter to be self-sufficient and stop following me everywhere.

Last year, we hosted two teen aged students from China. One stopped talking to us because our choice in vaccination for our daughter, the other, who we spent more than required, still didn’t have enough to satisfy her material demands and to be her driver.

Last year, I made career moves that saw my business come to a complete stand still and my own colleagues negating my abilities.

Last year saw a client specifically name me in Yelp, as someone who did her harm, only to discover she really wanted the owner to call her back to get free sessions.

Last year saw me battling depression and anxiety to the Nth degree, to the point I was actually verbally abusive to Bob – for not being as discontent as I was feeling.

And the more I internalized the hurt, the more shots of arsenic I took.  That, and my diet consisted of arsenic.

eblind-eye

Jump to 2017.

The hope of a new year and new beginnings seemed to extend to everyone.

I was referred to a teaching position. Very new to me, and a bit exciting.

Bob had forgiven me and I, him and we’re closer now than ever.  

I limited my time on Facebook, blocked those that added nothing to my life, or changed the settings…

(it was slowly creeping back)

I read on the history of my culture and internally shook my fist at the injustice.  And was told to be silent in the healing process (personally, I think emotional healing shouldn’t be publicly announced during the process.)

This included the daily reading of the injustices happening everywhere on this planet, and realizing there were instigators who actually enjoyed riling people up.

(it was starting again.)

And now, I was starting to find it my duty to correct those who were forcing their personal ideologies on faith, government mandates, life choices down my throat – if they weren’t expecting it in return.  And to do that, meant that once again I was feeling a part of me die.

Jump to June 2017,

I had to have an emergency appendectomy due to the gangrene and inflammation coming from my appendix. The gangrene was spreading to my colon. It’s gone now, but I feel even more pain now.  Upon returning to the surgeon for a follow-up, (keep in mind, I was about to ask him something outside his scope of practice – which was surgery -which he did beautifully), why I was feeling this way if the “original” problem was gone. He could answer within his scope – there may be an abscess or the gangrene is spreading – and that I’d have to return immediately for another CT scan.  To remove more of my insides.

You see, I was raised loving people.  I couldn’t fathom how a person could just fester a hatred toward anyone. (And I’ll be honest and add something extremely unlike the Jesus I follow); especially if it wasn’t warranted by some direct heinous action of that person.  With every shot I took with my empathy, and wanting to prove myself – which, funny enough, was always online to people who were essentially just “letting off steam.” I wonder, if I actually met these same people face-to-face, actually had conversations, would the same entitlement be apparent.

I believe the body can heal itself, if given the right environment. With all my heart I believe that. I believe our thoughts shape our healing. If I don’t believe I’ll get better, or don’t know that the whole body acts upon itself, my actions will align with that. I would be fixing the symptoms and not the cause.   I physically could feel my body getting pinged.  

I believe in and follow Jesus. I love God and know he has no favorites. He loves us all. That’s why I believe He was showing the “arsenic” I was drinking.  Arsenic that bared the names, “Bitterness,” “Envy,” “Unforgiveness,” “Anger,” “Vanity,” and “Jealousy.”

Yes, I am currently doing alternative therapies to solve my problem, to add circulation to the areas internally lacking. But I am also throwing out my arsenic. (And though this won’t relate to some of you, my choice is leaving it at the Cross, and try really hard not to pick it up again.)

So, be honest, are you consuming arsenic? Do you feel depressed, fear, anxiety, caught up in the anger and vitriol (a word I learned last year)?  What needs to happen in your life to get you to throw it out?  Click here to see the symptoms of arsenic poison – which could very well be happening to you.

 

2017 ain’t over…..

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How I Was Slowly, (un)Knowingly Killing Myself

It’s safe to say that 2016 was a horrible year for almost everyone.

Last year saw the deaths of numerous icons and loved ones – which any year that brings death can leave the living somber, just it was really bad last year.  

Last year, brought out the worst in people during elections, people who a person would least expect. Maybe I should just let this sit right here for a moment……

Last year, babies, children, and teens, were attacked just to get followers on social media.

Last year saw senseless racially motivated assaults and murders by people who, already having it hard to gain the trust, highlighted the worse, untrained, and racist among this group. It was a whirlwind, where a person didn’t know what to believe.

Last year saw multiple groups of people screamed at, terrorized, and bullied, all in attempt to silence their voices.

Last year saw MANY who, may not have been called hypocritical, but perhaps self-reflection and alone time, may tell them otherwise.

       “But what does that have to do with killing yourself!” you may have asked by (if you’ve read this far.)

Well, I was drinking shots of arsenic.

arsenic

In all reality, due to how one can be poisoned by actual arsenic, this is more real than you may think, and if you go through symptoms, you could be victim, too.  Consider this as a public service announcement.  (More information on how and the symptoms later mentioned.) For the sake of this article, I’m going to cover my arsenic poisoning figuratively speaking, (but I really do believe I’ve been literally ingesting it, too.)

Last year, I grieved reading about ALL attacks, murders, deaths – and only had an emoji to resort to, to express that.

Last year, friends, who I thought celebrated people’s various journeys, either cussed me out for not thinking like them or ‘indirectly’ made accusations based on my multi-cultural family.  My only option was to disengage on social media (which was actually refreshing!)

Last year, I took Bob to mediation, ready to sign divorce papers. Not for cheating, abusing me, or anything like that, but because he was so tired when he came home from work, we didn’t go out on dates like other couples.

Last year, I was battling guilty feelings for wanting my daughter to be self-sufficient and stop following me everywhere.

Last year, we hosted two teen aged students from China. One stopped talking to us because our choice in vaccination for our daughter, the other, who we spent more than required, still didn’t have enough to satisfy her material demands and to be her driver.

Last year, I made career moves that saw my business come to a complete stand still and my own colleagues negating my abilities.

Last year saw a client specifically name me in Yelp, as someone who did her harm, only to discover she really wanted the owner to call her back to get free sessions.

Last year saw me battling depression and anxiety to the Nth degree, to the point I was actually verbally abusive to Bob – for not being as discontent as I was feeling.

And the more I internalized the hurt, the more shots of arsenic I took.  That, and my diet consisted of arsenic.

eblind-eye

Jump to 2017.

The hope of a new year and new beginnings seemed to extend to everyone.

I was referred to a teaching position. Very new to me, and a bit exciting.

Bob had forgiven me and I, him and we’re closer now than ever.  

I limited my time on Facebook, blocked those that added nothing to my life, or changed the settings…

(it was slowly creeping back)

I read on the history of my culture and internally shook my fist at the injustice.  And was told to be silent in the healing process (personally, I think emotional healing shouldn’t be publicly announced during the process.)

This included the daily reading of the injustices happening everywhere on this planet, and realizing there were instigators who actually enjoyed riling people up.

(it was starting again.)

And now, I was starting to find it my duty to correct those who were forcing their personal ideologies on faith, government mandates, life choices down my throat – if they weren’t expecting it in return.  And to do that, meant that once again I was feeling a part of me die.

Jump to June 2017,

I had to have an emergency appendectomy due to the gangrene and inflammation coming from my appendix. The gangrene was spreading to my colon. It’s gone now, but I feel even more pain now.  Upon returning to the surgeon for a follow-up, (keep in mind, I was about to ask him something outside his scope of practice – which was surgery -which he did beautifully), why I was feeling this way if the “original” problem was gone. He could answer within his scope – there may be an abscess or the gangrene is spreading – and that I’d have to return immediately for another CT scan.  To remove more of my insides.

You see, I was raised loving people.  I couldn’t fathom how a person could just fester a hatred toward anyone. (And I’ll be honest and add something extremely unlike the Jesus I follow); especially if it wasn’t warranted by some direct heinous action of that person.  With every shot I took with my empathy, and wanting to prove myself – which, funny enough, was always online to people who were essentially just “letting off steam.” I wonder, if I actually met these same people face-to-face, actually had conversations, would the same entitlement be apparent.

I believe the body can heal itself, if given the right environment. With all my heart I believe that. I believe our thoughts shape our healing. If I don’t believe I’ll get better, or don’t know that the whole body acts upon itself, my actions will align with that. I would be fixing the symptoms and not the cause.   I physically could feel my body getting pinged.  

I believe in and follow Jesus. I love God and know he has no favorites. He loves us all. That’s why I believe He was showing the “arsenic” I was drinking.  Arsenic that bared the names, “Bitterness,” “Envy,” “Unforgiveness,” “Anger,” “Vanity,” and “Jealousy.”

Yes, I am currently doing alternative therapies to solve my problem, to add circulation to the areas internally lacking. But I am also throwing out my arsenic. (And though this won’t relate to some of you, my choice is leaving it at the Cross, and try really hard not to pick it up again.)

So, be honest, are you consuming arsenic? Do you feel depressed, fear, anxiety, caught up in the anger and vitriol (a word I learned last year)?  What needs to happen in your life to get you to throw it out?  Click here to see the symptoms of arsenic poison – which could very well be happening to you.

 

2017 ain’t over…..

3d-waterfall-live-wallpaper.jpg

 

FWB ????

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Recently, I’ve been helping match a male client out in Oshkosh, WI – which hasn’t been easy especially since more and more eligible women who make known they are looking, say they don’t want anything serious (especially since some are already married), but they are advertising themselves to be a ‘friend with benefits.’

Help me out, What’s the benefit, here?

  1. Sex, where money isn’t directly exchanging hands
  2. Companionship, where the money may not exchange hands, but better make many, many appearances.
  3. Secrecy (out of guilt or shame if exposed)
  4. More of a risk (in ways) because the person can’t commit
  5. They’re advertising, for crying out loud
  6. Perhaps addiction is prevalent? (sexual or relationship)

And why were people scared, appalled, and even suicidal when the Ashley Madison site was hacked? What’s the difference?  Weren’t they a ‘friend with <the above listed> benefit?’

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But why are the sayings, ‘there aren’t any good (men/women) out there to love,’ and ‘Love is meaningless’ a surprise? Why do these same people want someone who is kind, patient (with them), loyal, self-controlled in many areas, and ‘non-judgemental’ (towards their actions)?

These are truths that only the individual can answer, but I wanted to look a bit further about the ‘Friends with Benefit,’ scenario.

  1. As exciting as the sex is the first two and half months, by the third month, you will want one of two things;
    1. more of a relationship and not a be a booty call – (but the other ‘friend’ won’t,) or
    2. To End it
  2. The person will be unavailable or just not able to love you the way you feel loved, when you really want to give more of yourself intimately with someone you trust.
  3. The Trust Factor will be tested
  4. You assume that the person would be careful to not catch an STD, since you’re not the only ‘friend’ having ‘benefits’ with the person
  5. You assume the person would at least tell you BEFORE you ever have sex (and be honest with you) that they don’t have an STD
  6. You assume this ‘friend’ wouldn’t selfishly sleep with you when they knowingly have an STD.
  7. The friend wouldn’t be available when you want him/her because they’re out ‘not being tied down to you or any relationship, but making new ‘friends.’
  8. More expectations will be demanded of you, or the ‘friend’ that neither are able or willing to reach
  9. The hope of finding something more worthwhile with someone is slowly being chipped away.

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Wow..Now what’s the difference in benefits between this and just paying for prostitutes?

reflections_i98

Even though the future also sees more people moving towards simulated/robotic ‘friends,’ I can assure you, when a person starts being a person that they would want to share their forever with, their eyes will be opened in the sense of not wasting time with those who offer ‘benefits,’ because they will have the real thing.

The full loathes honey, but to the poor, even what is bitter tastes sweet.

A counselor I went to one time told me this old proverb. After seeing the puzzled look on my face, he further explained:

“Those who were filled up with love when they were children and given a sense of who they are, don’t need the sweet talking words of someone will come along and ‘charm them.’ But those who lacked this and was always yearning to fill that void, if they walk past a construction site and get whistled, that fulfills some inner void of acceptance within them that wasn’t filled.”

Yep, I was offended, because I was ‘the poor.’

But the only way I could change that was to start with my truth (I wanted love and was willing to accept anything just to feel loveable) so I could get to the truth (Because I have a God who loves me more than I can imagine, I deserve more than the insecure, non-commitment losers who only wanted to have sex with me and nothing more. He showed me I was worth dying for, and the plans laid out for my life are to prosper me and give me a hope and future.)

And while it’s easy to say, ‘whatever works for you,’ believe me, I’ll take the comfort of knowing that my FRIEND stands by his vow to love in sickness, health, and in good days, and days when my deep ugly inside show. And that I can kiss on the mouth without hesitation, and have cuddle moments, and have our times when we just say, “You know, I’m so proud/grateful of/for all you do. I love you so much!”

I invite you to reconsider, just food for thought, that a FWB is really a SWD (sucka with drama).

Why don’t you contact us here to help you find your one?  Each applicant is regarded with respect on a case by case basis. Feel free to share on Facebook to those you think this can help – according to the recent bug, I get lots of views, but even more is better! 😉

Exhale.

For your Peace of Mind,

Your Relationship Coach

If He Couldn’t Perform Sexually, I’d Have a Problem…

Unhappy young couple with problem in bedroom
Unhappy young couple with problem in bedroom

A client sought me out over the phone, for my matchmaking services.  She said she was ready to marry to find the one and had been too busy to get out there.

She is an upstanding, financially responsible, 50 year old woman seeking a mutually mature, financially responsible male. After our introduction, I explained that the next step is to take the questionnaire, which covers most topics of conflicts within a relationship and gets to the core values of the individual.

Everything she answered showed her to be a woman of high standards, and easily qualified her to attain a mutual solid relationship with a man of equal values and standards.

When the questions involving sexual activity expectations came about, her ‘truth’ in the answers revealed something about herself that she wasn’t aware of:

Question:  If he couldn’t perform sexually, I’d ________     Her answer: (have a problem with that.)

Question:  If I couldn’t perform sexually, I’d want him to ________  Her answer: (assist me and help overcome it)

Dont-ask-me-to-do-something-for-you-that-you-wouldnt-do-for-me

Forget the fact that there are various issues, including medical or hormonal reasons, especially within that age bracket, where sexual activity is impacted to the point where patience and loving support is crucial. Those two questions actually cross over into other areas of the relationship and how a person deals with relationship issues.

There are so many singles (who do not want to be single – obviously I’m not referring to the happy and single individuals) who are entering the dating world with this, “the other person better be qualified, but when I falter, that person has to provide a safe place for me to be vulnerable.”

What would happen if we all had an attitude of providing a safe place to the other person?  In my experience, it is, by nature, impossible, because we naturally are ingrained to self-preserve, through selfishness.

reflections_i98

In my experience, and many, upon many successful individuals in mutually loving and solid relationships, there is usually a foundation from which that stems.  Those individuals that are able to respect the God within another person, project a respect that finds another, the right one for that individual, to become couples that respect and provide a safe place for each other to be vulnerable.

01de361acf0214a3edb945b50b1715c5 choosing-a-spouse

For example, a couple of nights ago, I dreamt I was out on a date (still married) with an (unknown to me) man who was not my husband, but who was also married.  A the end of the date, I initiated a passionate kiss with this man to which although later he protested, he returned the kiss.  After that, I guess some time passed because the next thing I knew I was in front husband, who bent down to kiss me.  I looked over is shoulder and saw the other guy make a grimaced face and motioned to me to I should have washed my mouth before kissing him.

When I woke up, I texted my husband I loved him and apologized.  Let me explain.

I woke up that morning to help him out by making sandwiches for him for work. However, when I looked around the kitchen, I just instantly got ticked at the ‘mess.’  I was raised where chores were done at night, and I expected him to do his ‘share.’  Nevermind the fact, the man, even as I write this post, is working his seventh day at a laborious job.  Nevermind the fact that he wakes at 4:30/5am, gets home @ 4/5:30pm and I need him to watch our almost three year-old because I have to go to a meeting, audition, have computer time, etc.  Fill in the blank.  Whatever you choose, I neglected to provide a safe place for him to feel comfortable to relax, refresh, be vulnerable, whatever.

I took the dream as a warning that to get my needs met, if I don’t watch my attitude, I will cheat and deceive my husband – not necessarily involving another person, but definitely in a way that does NOT support the vows I made to him before God.

Anyway, I shared the dream with him.  I didn’t even get a chance to share all that, but you know what he did when he heard it?  He smiled and held me.  He joked and said, “let me know when you see him so I can punch his lights out.”  I told him, “But I did the initiating.”  He said, “So what? I’ll have to punch someone!”  and then we laughed.  He made it safe for me share that, and later when I was able to tell him what I thought the Holy Spirit was warning me, I emphasized to him that I wanted him to feel safe.

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I only know that from my own personal relationship to Jesus and what true intimacy is really about.

Friends, unless you can provide that or be that for someone, you’ll always find that you’ll have a problem.

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Happy Dating with Love and the REAL PEACE,

Arikah, Relationship Coach and Founder, Two Hearts Offline Matchmaking

Want to take the questionnaire to find your own match?  Need consultation to find out what could be holding you back from finding your love?  It’s easy, confidential, and affordable and in your area. Email us at two.hearts2share@gmail.com.

Follow our Comedy Love Support Youtube channel here

Is This Growing Trend in Marriage Working?

hyop

Yesterday, while driving home listening to the radio, the DJ mentioned that there is a growing trend on married couples nowadays – happily, living apart from each other. Like thousands of miles apart.  The couple he referred to had one living in New Zealand, the other in the United Kingdom and she was happily pregnant. He didn’t say anything about the duration of time apart, but, from how he was segueing into the topic, the couple each had a home, signed a contract, and figuratively speaking, happily went their separate ways.  My mind, almost automatically, went first to, “Is it his?” to, “Is he military?” and then, was searching for a way this equaled happiness among married couples.  I had arrived home by then, and didn’t stay to hear the listeners’ call-in response, so this is a question still left unanswered to me.

This morning, I tuned into a preacher’s sermon and he mentioned how he had been told by fellow believers and members in his congregation, that God had given these individuals “signs” to prove that they needed to get a divorce.  He emphatically stated, “Let me be clear, God is NOT giving anyone signs for divorce…”

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Different Strokes for different folks, yes, I get that, but I guess why I’m having a hard time understanding the choices the above individuals are making, is because I have come to the understanding that marriage is an outward display to show others what patience, kindness, encouragement, trustworthiness, is supposed to look like towards another human being. All relationships do this in some way, but this is one where a stranger, not joined by blood, must connect with another and be these things to each other. I have personally watched and (unbeknownst to them) studied couples, (when I didn’t believe in marriage and what it represented,) and have seen them, not be envious, but supportive, protective, and bring out the best in each other.  They were the ones who gave me a shred of hope.

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You see, whether or not a person likes it, they’re being watched (I’m not even talking about Big Brother or Alien Life Forms here), I’m saying closer to home.   A person may think that when they finally decide to be exclusive to another person, it is based on their personal happiness, but it’s not.  I think there’s a part inside each of us that watches and hopes that person, those two people who seem so happy at the moment,  has this “love thing” figured out to give us hope.  And every time a marriage ends, a little part of our hope dies.

selective-image

During the days when I was an unbeliever in marriage, Bruce Willis and Demi Moore were my hope that even Hollywood could have stars maintain a healthy marriage.  To say I was crushed to see the tabloids at the checkout line, of their breakup, was an understatement.  I thought to myself, if they couldn’t do it, and they seem like two really nice people, why try?

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After that, I saw the trend.

Every time Hollywood gets too involved in a married couple’s business, (or, a married couple are a little too out there in their marriage), I’ve noticed that it adds another chink in their armor.  The armor they vowed each other to protect, regardless if they mentioned God, or not.  It is implied that, in all the world, this one person standing next to you will be one who you can proudly and confidently say, “we finally found each other!” as the definitive statement and not a question.

I lovingly put these questions out there, not just to the readers, but to myself; when inside, I’m gnawing with frustration toward my own husband; sometimes audaciously, other times legitimately – What is it that you want? When will you ever be satisfied? And, why must the other person “get it,” but you expect to have grace when you mess up and fall short? Ugh..

I’m glad to say that my eyes at that point began shifting upward.  I began to understand that there were two school of thoughts about the human definition of “love” (regardless of language). Of course, there’s eros (sexual, physical love) , phileo (brotherly love)  and agape (unconditional love), but in regards to our heart, we want agape.  We know we want and deserve someone who is forgiving and patient with us.  We know when we’re misunderstood by that one person, we feel a million miles apart from our own heart.  We know how it’s suppose to feel – because when we don’t get it, we notice.  But how is it suppose to look?  It’s so rare, and we feel as though we’re the only ones struggling to get it right. Perhaps that’s why we look at other relationships so closely.

When You Can't Feel God

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possible

WontGiveUp

That’s why I am passionate about helping others find peace within themselves so they will seek out relationships that have the foundations set to mutually be solid, loving, peaceful, and lasting. And in the same the home. Consider this a sign to be encouraged.
Want to see if you and your honey are truly compatible, or find areas to work on?  Contact us here.

Love, Peace, Hugs, and Respect,

Arikah

I Will MAKE Him Become What I Want in a Husband!

Woman-Chasing-Man

Yep, me, over here.

I knew as a daughter of God, I would live happily ever after – I truly believed and trusted that concept. Only my actions weren’t adding up.  In fact, I found myself in relationships where, in my heart I knew it wouldn’t happen or where my behavior proved I didn’t believe it was ever going to happen.  In each of these relationships, I believed if I just did something more, or if I just prayed hard enough to get him to change his ways, or if he saw my pious ways then he’d convert and we’d be champions for God! Ughh!

A friend asked me recently why I thought I got myself in these situations and why we argue with our husbands and all I could tell her was I wanted a guy who could be sensitive and sympathetic like a woman without being a woman, but be a man.

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I’m so glad there is clearly a Divine sense of humor. And grace. Lots and lots of grace in thinking how much of a “b–” I was.  (Side note: And why some women seek to reach that level on a daily basis, and then complain of relationships not working for them, I’ll never understand,) but anyway…

This topic, though seemingly simplistic, is one that stupes many of us women who are or were seeking.  What is it about that guy that has us to both, agree to exchange nuptials and simultaneously draws us ever more into wanting to change him? Why?

man-in-love

We can spend forever asking why, but all I can say is that it is so important to make sure you are not falling in this mindset. That’s what makes each of us a wonderful, comical mystery to unravel and discover and appreciate. If you are doing this, and don’t like the contents inside, staying ‘for the sake of not hurting his feelings doesn’t work. If you’re finding that you’ve shared your heart and intimacy and he wants to change you, or you feel compelled to compromise yourself, or lose yourself in his wants, to be who he wants, it’s safe to say unless you prefer to not think for yourself, you will never be satisfied.

So where are you in your relationship?

Ready to take the profile questionnaire?  Find out if you are truly compatible matches, or see what you need to work on by contacting us here.

When Marriage Became More Than Paper to Me – Part 1

Tiana-on-Dreams-Wishing-1

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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