Tag Archives: couples

Is This Growing Trend in Marriage Working?

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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.

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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.

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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

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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How to Know When You’re Ready to Date

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Up until now, I would hope you have been following the common thread each post carries – in order to find the relationship you’re looking for, you’ve got to be clear-minded and healthy in your own mind to be able to recognize the best fit for you.

It’s important to bring your heart out last when building the relationship because, as the saying goes, love is blind. “Love” or strong feelings brought about by coddling the ego, or eros, makes the woman make excuses for the man who is, not just wrong for her, but toxic in nature. “Love” is what makes the guy believing that the girl who says he’s just too nice for her holding on to hope that one day, she’ll come around and see him as that great guy.

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I’ve met many people who say they are ready to date, yet digging deeper and listening to them, many times they have unrealistic expectations set on the potential person – should that person ever decides to come forward.  And all that is really covering a fear of the unknown, a bit of hopelessness, and impatience while looking at their proverbial inner clock.

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So how does one know that he or she is ready to date?

Well, for starters:

1.) Do you feel comfortable enough to approach someone on your own and striking up a conversation to actually get to know the person, or are you mentally qualifying them in your mind? (p.s. ladies, this goes for you, too!)

2.) Do you feel your breathing get more rapid when you think about going out for the date?

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3.) Have you let yourself go in appearance, with the mistaken attitude, of “love me like this, or leave me!” ? (p.s. really, if you don’t expect to consider someone when they have let themselves go from being their best self to sub-par, stop with the double standard!)

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4.) Does it feel like work for you to enjoy being in the company of others?

5.) Are you involve in extra-curricular activities to meet people – where you can shine?

6.) Are you polite to those who serve you? (side note, a friend of mine ended up marrying the waiter who served her when she was out with her friend for lunch.)

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7.) Can you honestly say if you been “picky,”  which can be, without you realizing it be either snobby, judgemental, or unapproachable (i.e. would you be able to play the main character of, “The Taming of the Shrew?”)

8.) Can you go on dates and just enjoy it for what it is, or are you already interrogating them in your mind? (sidenote; MOST marriage minded people do, which puts them in a mindset of really not enjoying the moment)

9.) Are you polite enough to thank them for their time or are you thinking of how to get to kiss or sleep with the person.

10.) Can you flirt without being a tease or making sexual connotations? (hint: a smile can mean all the difference)

11.) Can you wear clothes for the first few dates that are modest enough to where the person does not have to be staring at your body all night, but actually hear what you’re saying, to allow them to get to you for you, or do you feel your body is what will keep the person coming back? (Classy, not trashy – that goes for both men and women)

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12.) Can you allow yourself to make mistakes and flub up the date and extend the same grace for the other person?

Well if so, you’re on your way.  Even if you’re shy, feel awkward, or have too much of a hectic schedule, you can still meet have amazing dates that will lead you to your “one.”

Ready to set up a complimentary 15 minute consultation appointment?  Go here.

The Right Way and Wrong Way to Chase Him

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True story.

A long time ago, I had a very good friend who found Jesus the same time I did.  We understood heartaches, trauma, and overcoming.  We were like peas in a pod and really didn’t think of looking at each other in any other way but  through a platonic friendship.

But one evening, when we were sitting in his car after a bible group meeting, I remember (vaguely, but I do remember some things), crying about feeling unloved and unattractive to men.  I poured my heart out to him and being the good friend he was, he listened.

Then he said , “Shakira, one day you’re going to find a man and he’s going to be lucky to have you. He’s going to love you and you’ll see you’re worth it!”

Well, and if you didn’t know where I was going with this, I immediately thought he was talking about himself, so suddenly, the “scales fell from my eyes” and I started to like him. A lot.  I mean…… – a lot.  And unfortunately, it was one sided. Yep, I took words from a friend and made them – no, molded and forced them to be something they werent.

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As a matter of fact,  I told everyone in church he was going to marry me and be mine.  I told God (bwahah) that he was husband and to go ahead and make it happen.  I remember calling him in the middle of night one night to say something (important to me, but really drama!) and hearing him say, “Shakira, you’re scaring me. Are you drunk?”

UGHHHH!

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“OH, he WILL marry me one day!”

Ok, lesson learned – friendship forever ruined.  WRONG WAY – FAIL! Bye Felicia! …

A few years later, I went to live on the other coast and attended the singles group.   All the women were very close knit and comfortable and secure with the men to go out on dates, hang out and just be friends.  A new guy came in to the mix and all us women were checking him out.  He was sweet and attractive and fun.  He and I went out on a date which was at the gymnasium he taught at and it consisted of jumping in a pit of foam balls. IT WAS CRAZY FUN!!  But I didn’t really pursue him. In fact, another friend of ours in the group had her eyes on him and in so many words made clear that she was going after him.  I don’t remember her carrying on like I did, but I do remember it just being implied.  I think because we all loved each other, the women rallied around her to encourage it to happen. We prayed over her (and him unbeknownst).  I remember her doing little things for him, giving baked gifts to him.  They went out on a few dates and during that time I moved again.  The next thing I knew there were wedding announcements.  They are still together with two kids and are strong for each other.

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Both of us women are Christians, but I believe her maturity spiritually, socially, and mentally allowed her to not speak about her conquest before getting counsel, prayers, and confirmation.  I simply stated what I wanted and set about to loudly make him love me – which is why I put that picture above. That’s probably how I came across.  My friend, on the other hand, was able to control her emotions enough to not question him, but get to know him and stay in prayer.  Her friends, who she trusted, gave her great advice and served as her sounding board.

Many women over 28 – no, 35… no 43,… ok 50, swing in the pendulum of all or nothing.  Either there are no guys around to consider, (many times meaning there’s a bit of loner-ism to them) or they settle for the worst possible choice.

I even had a client who enjoyed her online dating experience because although she did want to marry one day, she wanted to enjoy herself out on a date.  When she finally did meet the man she would later marry, she made the comments of why they were waiting to exchange nuptials.  She proposed to him! Five years later, they’re still married strong.

Why not get a little bold – with self-control?

Yes, I was humiliated, but the awesome news is we’re all married to our chosen ones, without regrets.  Although the friend and I no longer speak, I’m so incredibly grateful he wasn’t the one.  As my own marriage grows and my husband and I get to know each other each day, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Is there anyone you’ve had your eyes on?

Some have resorted to this .   Click and find out if this works for you.

If you want my services go here to go to the site and let me help you find love today!

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Like Attracts Like vs. Opposites Attract

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I wasn’t exactly sure which of the topics to choose as February proved to be a very busy month for me, I think it’s best to continue to talk about developing a healthy relationship.

After speaking with a few clients, a common thread I came across often was being asked the questions about being attracted to an “opposite” person versus finding someone who “too much like them.”

“Should I find someone who is unlike me?”

“Maybe we’re too much alike and won’t get along.”

In all fairness, though, it’s important to know what IS your opposite.

It’s also important to keep in mind that ‘opposites that attract,’ on a deep core level, never guarantee that they will stay together.

I usually answer this question by describing to them, that those that share the same core values – down to how they believe communication between them as a couple should be conducted – is one that promises a lasting, thriving relationship.

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Only on a superficial level. That’s it…
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I know this is Aluna George, I just thought the pic was fitting.

It’s common to find relationships that start with frustration occur because one is ‘healthy’ (in terms of giving and receiving love) and the other is lost, confused, and toxic – but is attractive or alluring enough to convince the healthy person that they are capable of love (which usually only amounts to carnal, erotic lust).

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However, I am seeing more of a trend with singles – Christian and otherwise – who are desperately looking for love, so much so that they don’t even realize they’ve lost the joy of just dating.  I reminded one of my clients that interrogating a date on the first two dates is too soon to put them in the category as a prospect.  Until that person has proven themselves – in the little things you’ve noticed (when they don’t know you’re watching – but not staring) those things that you truly admire, relate to, understand, and allows for a safe, trusting atmosphere where both of you can be vulnerable, open and intimate with before sex is brought into the picture, then and only then will you understand and be grateful that like attracts like.  Does that makes sense?  You will attract the best version of yourself.  If you are attracted to bad boys, and by bad, I mean the philanderer, the one with rage, abusive, disrespectful – if that is your cup of tea, understand what you are reflecting is also toxic, and you will never change him.

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If you’re attracted the women who seem like they are the ‘damsel in distress’ (pretty much victim-minded), you will find that you will be in competition with herself and her reasoning as to why she doesn’t deserve you, how she likes the bad boys, and how not only how she has done many things, but more than that, how many people have tortured her.  I’m not in any way belittling anyone who has been victimized and hurt by the actions of others, I’m simply saying that those same women are not for you because they are not at their best self.  And regardless of what they say, if this describes them, they will never fully reach their best self in a relationship.  Is that the opposite you’re referring to? I had to remind another inquirer that, until she can appreciate the love he was wanting and ready to give, she hasn’t earned the place in his heart to be wondering if she is the one and asking what he should do.

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I know that no one wants to be alone.  I think, however, many times people make up excuses to be with the ‘wrong for them person that they don’t realize at the time’ just to fulfill sexual desires and cover the void they may feel, and so these ‘opposites attract’ sayings give rise.  It’s only after the person is hurt deeply from their choices that they finally understand that maybe they should rethink that saying.

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THIS is the ONLY TRUE time when like does not attract like

Remember these points to find your “like”

  1. RELAX – You’ll never really know if you two are in sync until you realize to just allow a date to just be a date. Don’t be quick to qualify the person.
  2. Smile.
  3. Start small conversation with others
  4. GO OUT.  If it’s to the park, a coffee shop, the library, anywhere there is people,
  5. Be intentional to at least try to converse and compliment two people of the opposite gender (regardless your preference). This will get you out of your shell and go beyond ‘just prowling’ or waiting to be picked up.
  6. Practice asking people out for a quick lunch or coffee
  7. DO NOT SINGLE OUT ANY ONE PERSON as THE one until
    1. You are able to do something that would guard their heart from being hurt from rushing too quickly into a relationship with you, i.e. if you go out on dates and you know the other does not be honest and share in the beginning.
    2. It is absolutely apparent not only to you on a deep gut level but this person has openly shared they want to exclusively be with you.
  8. Before moving on to the exclusivity, it is DIRELY recommended that both of you take a ‘Dating Gauge’ type test.  I offer this service to clients where both take a confidential compatibility date to make sure both of you have the same goals and intentions for the relationship.  I cannot stress enough how much this has helped from potential disasters from happening.   Email anyone on staff at two.hearts2share@gmail.com or me personally at arikahnash@gmail.com.  “Like” us at http://www.facebook.com/twoheartsmatchmaking

Happy Dating!!!!

Love and Peace,

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

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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

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Ok, this had me laughing out loud…

Trouble in Paradise – Amen for Grace

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I wanted to stop and write this during the midst of my own personal storm.   Especially as being a relationship coach, I’m not sure how else to share the authenticity of real relationships and that every one has its storms, but survival is foundationally based on the decisions made long before the relationship is ever in existence.

My husband and I, are right now at the writing of this blog, not seeing eye to eye.  So much so, that he is at one end of the house and I at the other and not speaking.  I can honestly tell you, both of us are hurt.  Both of us had our well-intentioned words or actions we thought would make things better, but they didn’t help.

My natural “normal’ (in terms of how everyone else seems to solve this problem) self wants to throw in the towel, because, hey, why go through drama? Life is too short, right? I could get a nice, quiet divorce, take our daughter, move in with my mom until I get my own place and just go through the visitation process.  I mean, I was so mad today I couldn’t even look at him.  I wanted nothing to do with him.  That’s how mad I was.  And yet, he was also giving exasperated sighs and movements of frustration that I can only imagine he felt the same.  In the midst of it, our two-year old was happily running around the house saying, “hi mom!, hi da-dee!” 20141225_143728_resized

However, friends, I made a vow.  And I made it before the God I believe is the glue between us.

You see, I had a person who emailed me a while back who was considering my services, tell me that my questions seemed too Christian. She said she was not religious but spiritual and wondered if she should considered my service.

But I asked her, what is she basing her core values and beliefs on?  What if she and her partner could not see eye to eye, on grounds will she go on to have the relationship she so desires?  What was it she was looking for in a partner?

I’m not religious either. As a matter of fact, it boggles my mind why people want to fight over trivial things and think that an All-powerful God is going to care – ….well, I’ll just say whatever would make there be six different churches in a two block area, yet still all proclaim to worship God…..I don’t get it.

However, having said, I did, at least came to know of God in a church. Actually, I learned more about Jesus and how he was definitely out of the box.  And that He was God.  And that He died for me, not when I got it right, or when I wasn’t doing the sinning anymore.  He was there with me protecting me from harm as I smoked from the bong.  He protected me when I was stranded in the desert – twice and yelled out at him for being a sadistic god.  He was there continually pouring out Grace and Forgiveness when I showed Him no respect, all the way to today.  He is here with me now as my heart continually gets heavy at the anguish of suffering in the world around me.

Yet, He made me to be a fighter. Call me a rebel, call me weird, but normal just isn’t making it anymore* ( this was from this evening’s service http://www.echochurchnashville.com. Thank you, Brian! Hey, I’ll still share because I don’t know who needs it!) I’m choosing to honor the vow I made to the Lord (first) and then my husband.

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What that means is, no matter what –

– Divorce is not an option – (we both are solid on that)

– Being in control of my emotions and actions will always be before the Lord

– I will invite the Lord into my heart and actions

– even if my husband and I are not seeing eye to eye, I will respect him and his role as head of the household

– I will fight for the sanctity of our marriage and not let anyone, including our child, come in-between us. (we both agree)

You see when we (collectively as people) are like this, it’s important to go back to what you (individually) believe and who you believe.  Just as I believe in an All-Powerful God, I believe He has an enemy of evil.  Yep, I believe there is a devil.  And I believe that whatever God creates, the devil seeks to destroy.  He only seeks it because he has no real power, unless …. well, for now I will say, unless I give him power.

That power is given to him if I heed to his whispering in my ear, “what about you? he doesn’t appreciate you? you know all women has to go through this. If God really loved you, he would’ve given you a man who really knew how to do his role. You do so much. You’re getting bags under your eyes sacrificing for your family, you deserve more.”

Nope. I’m a fighter.  “Never let the culture define your identity,”  and “Never let the devil have the last move.”* (per this morning’s service, http://www.fourthavenuechurch.org, thank you Patrick!)

“Reclaim your identity.”

That cycle of divorce and broken marriages stops with me.  My daughter will benefit from watching two people love each other and know and experience her da-dee’s love in the same household.  She will see how a husband is to love a wife, but even if he isn’t, which he does, she will watch a wife take full responsibility of her part of the vows that she made.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I looked pretty in my dress, but that day means more to me than looking regal.  I am choosing to be regal.

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I am choosing to, wake him up and give him the biggest hug because regardless, I love him.  I am choosing to love him even when I don’t feel like it. Not because of him. I’m not going to stay with him for the sake of our daughter – (ughhh! That’s an annoying excuse – my opinion, though)  I’m going to stay with him and love him because I made a vow before God.  And when it gets tough, when I feel like I can’t give anymore, I’m choosing to make sure God’s Spirit is right there giving me that extra boost to kill my pride and apologize and love my husband. My posting of our happy pictures is to only remind me of the love I have for him and the gratitude that he is one that I don’t have to question his love for me.

For the upcoming blog, I’ll still write of the core value questions so that you can answer them on your own.  They won’t be right or wrong, they’ll be what you truly believe, and then there will be a scale to measure if you are ready for a healthy relationship, will you be able to recognize, attract, and maintain it.

Love you all and thanks for reading.

Love, Peace, and Happy Dating!

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