Love, Love, Love Series, Marriage, Relationships, Sex

The Reality of Relationships

“Because God created this organic union of the two sexes, no one should desecrate his art by cutting them apart.” Mark 10:9 MSG

Relationships bring out the root of our character. Whether it’s spiritual, marital, familial, or friendship, our character is often what determines the depth to these relationships. This past weekend my husband and I went to a marriage conference entitled, “Weekend to Remember.” We witnessed so many couples, even ourselves, having breakthroughs and becoming free because they understood what a true relationship with their spouse or future spouse should entail. Unfortunately, society, secular culture, media, and our imaginations have tainted the true meaning of the love shared between a husband and wife. When I was dating, I had so many misconceptions and unrealistic expectations about marriage. It caused a lot of frustration during my dating years and rifts when I married. Today I want to EMPOWER you to step outside of what you “think” is healthy for the marriage you have or the one you are preparing for, and look to God as the source of abundance and joy in your relationship.

Common Myths that Skew Singles and Murder Marriages:

  1. Difficulties mean we have a bad marriage: It’s not the difficulty that rates your marriage, but the way you respond to difficulties. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.” (1 Corinthians 7:28 NIV) Work as a team to face ALL troubles.
  2. I have to make my point: When you respond to your mate, do you use honey or vinegar? The Bible tells us to speak in a way that encourages: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29 NIV) I’ve learned over the years that my husband does not respond to nagging (the equivalent of being nibbled to death by a duck). But he responds to TIMELY conversations that encourage him.
  3. Children first, then our marriage: God designed the marriage relationship as the priority relationship of the family. Our marriages should mirror God’s image of love. The speaker at our conference gave some astounding advice. He said children don’t necessarily “need” quality or quantity time the most. They need mom and dad to have it together! This is so true because it breeds security in the home. Children are sensitive and can pick up on tension in the home.
  4. Love has to be earned: The anchor to your love for your spouse or future spouse should not be based on how well he cooks, acts, works, dresses, or interacts with other people. That’s what makes you “like” him. Love is based on the principle of agape love. It’s patience (not forcing him to change or slapping resume` builders in his face), kindness (saying “good morning” or sending a text message that says “I love you”), void of envy (you are not his competitor), non-boasting (refrain from “I cook, clean, AND work! What do you do?”), honor (opposed to punking him in public or acting like his mom), selflessness (opposed to manipulating the finances in secret), self-control (opposed to being quick to get angry), and it’s based on forgiveness (instead of keeping a record, tally, score sheet, note-book, or spreadsheet of his wrongdoings in your brain and heart or reminding him of them.)
  5. Marriage should be blissful: Did you know that some things are not solvable? You cannot change your spouse and he cannot change you. Some disagreements have to end in compromise.
  6. I can fix him: Your husband is not your project! Pick another hobby! Your man has attributes that are indicative of him. God can make the situation work, but when you make it your business to “fix it” on your own, that becomes day one of destruction. Trying to change him means that I do not accept the masterpiece God designed for me.
  7. Sex is not necessary: Did you know that both of you should be “satisfied” during sex in your marriage? I just learned of a story of a woman of 12 children that never experienced an orgasm. She began to pray over her marriage bed and soon, her husband prayed with her. He took on the responsibility of trying to make sex enjoyable for her as well. God filled them with ways of intimacy to encourage oneness in their marriage. Healthy sex encourages oneness.
  8. I don’t need a man to complete me: You should definitely be complete in your decision for Christ before you marry. However, a marriage is a companionship. When there is not a “need” for a companion, your husband cannot see where he fits in. Men have a “need” to complete and fix. If he can’t complete your desire for companionship, he doesn’t see where he’s needed.
  9. Conferences, counseling, and marriage books are only for broken marriages: My husband said something astounding the other day. He said we study for our degrees so we can “know” our fields, but we don’t “study” our marriage. I was blown away because he was right. I know his personality, but I don’t know what it means to be “married” unless I look at two other people that are NOT he and I. Whether it’s your Bible, talks with your mate about your marriage, retreats, books, etc, your marriage needs to be an “intended” focus, not just another feather in your hat.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for bringing some things to the fore front. Father, please help us not to taint our minds and imaginations with selfish ideas and worldly expectations of marriage. Lord, I pray that every wife reading this message is able to demonstrate oneness. Lord, I pray that she sees to it that she prays for her husband on a consistent basis, whether he is a believer or not. Lord, I ask that the Holy Spirit guide our prayers so that they are not selfish. Lord, I pray for every Lady in Waiting and every Wife, that You encourage her to realize that the focus before and during marriage should be You because You give her provisions, joy, happiness, and fulfillment, regardless of circumstance. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you today to love your man with Godly love. Relationships are wonderful, but we can’t encourage worldly expectations if we want a Godly relationship. I listed the myths above to help free you to lavish in the abundance of love. Your husband is neither your enemy nor your competitor. There is nothing worse for a man to fail outside the home and then come home to someone that reaffirms it. God designed us as helpers. The term helper means to assist someone that is not adequate to handle it by themselves; it does not mean slave! Love on him in God’s way and He will move like never before.

Comment on our Facebook Wall or Tweet us and tell us ways you encourage your healthy relationship.

  We continue our celebration of Whitney with her hit, “All The Man That I Need”:

As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is College Biology Instructor. She is also currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Higher Ed and Community College Leadership. Khalilah is passionate about her faith journey and uses this key scripture as her inspiration: “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 KJV) She teaches Young Adult Bible Study and Sunday School and also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for various events for women and Christian empowerment. Khalilah resides in Millbrook, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their energetic three-year old daughter. They attend Vaughn Forest Church in Montgomery, Alabama. Check out Khalilah’s Christian weight loss blog here

Relationships, Sex, Singleness, Soul Ties

Are You Settling?

In that day seven women will take hold of one man and say, “We will eat our own food and provide our own clothes; only let us be called by your name. Take away our disgrace!” Isaiah 4:1 NIV

As a single woman, I think it is imperative to do self-assessments, especially when you keep having troubled relationship experiences. Like the women in Isaiah’s time, what are you willing to provide in order for this man to “take away your disgrace”? Look at that text carefully; seven women will take hold of one man. Are you currently in a “relationship” with a man that you know is sleeping with or has several other women?? Let’s be real. We all know the “main chick” attitude. You know exactly what I mean: “Well, as long as he comes home to me, it doesn’t matter who he is out with.”  Even worse, are you in a non-relationship “relationship”? The relationship where a man is getting all the benefits (you know what I’m talking about), yet he won’t even give you the girlfriend title, not to mention the wife moniker?

Let me tell you a secret: I have been that woman, the woman I said I would never be. You know the woman who is in a relationship with a man, but it’s all in her own head. I thought a woman had to be the most gullible chick in the world to ever entertain such a thought. That is, until I became her. We all have been there, caught up in lust masquerading as love. And maybe for you it has developed into love, but for him it is still lust.

This is why God tells us in His Word, “But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. (I Corinthians 7:2-3 NIV). Sex is meant to bond you to a man. If you are not his wife, you are setting yourself up for heartache.  

Women of God, you are beautiful, you are matchless. The God of Heaven and Earth sacrificed His Son for you. He pursues you with an everlasting love. Why are you giving yourself to a man that does not value who you are? You are a princess from a line of royalty. You must not live like the unsaved women of the world. Do not sacrifice your spirit for a temporary situation. If that man is using you up and he is not planning (and showing action) of sharing a future with you, then why are you staying? 

If you are in a “relationship”, that has you stressed, worried, crying, and depressed, leave! And like the angel told Lot and His family “DON’T look back”.  As the writer in Song of Solomon cautions: Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires (Song Of Solomon 8:4 NIV). Don’t rush into a relationship or a so-called “relationship” because you no longer want to be single. Be patient and let God provide.  Don’t settle for less than what God has promised you!

Dear Daddy,

Please forgive me for losing focus of Your place in my life. Help me to do as Your Word says and, “Above all else guard my heart, for it is the well spring of life. (Proverbs 4:23) I thank You in advance for hearing and working on my behalf. Help me to show Your Love to other women who find themselves in this situation. Help me to not judge them Lord, but pray for wisdom, peace and Your perfect love in their lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Lovely Ladies of God, I EMPOWER you to take back your life from those who mean you no good. Ask the Lover of your Soul to heal and mend your broken heart. Even after years of settling, you can move on; you don’t have to look like the hell he’s put you through!

Ms. Renee` N. Chaffin is a single mother who has a heart for helping those less fortunate. She has been active in the non-profit sector, whether through volunteerism or professionally, for the past six years.  She is passionate about sharing the love of God, her testimony and empowering people to discover their true potential that was bestowed on them by King of the Universe. Renee` is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Administration. While on her pursuit of higher education, she is on a seven year journey to challenge God to do ‘exceedingly and abundantly above all she can imagine’ in seven areas over the next seven years. Check out her journey at http://radical7even.wordpress.com. Her favorite scripture is I Peter 5:6: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”

Marriage, Spiritual Warfare

Don’t Be Divided!

A conversation with self on 12/29/11:

“I’m angry with my husband. I don’t want to follow today. I don’t want to submit. I’m frustrated with my life and the path chosen for me. My heart is numb. I don’t want to love. My vision is dull. I can’t see the purpose in my promised future. Every area of my life seems to be falling apart. Relationships are not the same; provisions are desolate; there’s constant opposition on the job; I’m not resting while I’m sleep. I thought my husband was supposed to provide for me, fight my battles, and protect me from being hurt and lied on, but what’s happening?! I love Him but I can’t help the way I’m feeling. I’m “feeling” alone on life’s battlefield and it “seems” my enemy is getting the best of me. I WANT OUT!”

Have the pressures of life been so tough that they have made you consider divorcing your husband? Not that husband! The Lord, your SPIRITUAL HUSBAND!

Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: Jeremiah 3:14 KJV

Yes, this is the conversation one has with self when going through in a natural marriage, but what happens if this is your dialogue about your spiritual marriage? What if this is the way you are feeling toward your husband, Christ? (The One who died so you can live; the One who emptied Himself of His privileges so He can be tested in every measure you’re tested; your King) This is usually unhealthy self talk when the pressures of life consume us.

Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name.  Psalms 142:7 KJV

When life’s situations begin to pile on us, our soul (mind, will, and emotions) is in captivity and this prevents us from praising God! This keeps our focus on the problems opposed to the Problem Solver and before we know it, we are internally screaming divorce! Our soul screams divorce but the spirit shouts press into His presence. This internal battle creates a spiritual war that if we are not careful and hold onto the things we’ve learned, the outcome can be devastating!

And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation: and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand. Matthew 12:25 KJV

KINGDOM-You are a king with dominion. HOUSE-Your body is the home of the Holy Spirit. DIVISION-NOT AN OPTION! Please do not choose to be divided from your King! Satan’s desire and goal is for you to be divided within because he knows the outcome. If your soul drags you in one direction while the spirit of the living God is telling you different, I BESEECH YOU SISTEREN, to press!!!!

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14 KJV

Dear Daddy,

I thank You for being a great husband. Even in my times of considering divorce, your love still remains the same. I thank You this day that I am as faithful to You as You are to me. I thank You Father for causing me to realize I have purpose and helping me to stand on Your word and promises. Father, I bind the spirit of defeat, double-mindedness, and discouragement and command them to loose me now in the name of Jesus! I thank You that I am victorious, I have the mind of Christ, and You are my hope in hopeless situations! I thank You for Your delivering power in the name of Jesus! I decree and declare I am the tree planted by the river and I bear fruit in all seasons. I glorify You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to look adversity and opposition in the eye and tell them to be thou removed and be thou cast into the sea because you will not retreat from your purpose! I decree and declare you SHALL press towards greatness, your destiny, and your pre-ordained end in Christ!

Ms. Rodnisha L. Anderson resides in Chicago, IL and serves as an elder at Life Redeeming Ministries. She works diligently with the Singles and Intercessory ministries. She is married to the Lord and becomes whatever she needs to become to reach the people for the building of God’s kingdom. Rodnisha truly desires to witness successful single women thriving in the kingdom of God.  Her favorite scripture is 1 Timothy 4:12: “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”

Adultery, Forgiveness, God's Love, God's Mercy, Growth/Maturity, Self Forgiveness

Get Back Up Again

I have attempted to write this EmpowerMoment before but could not.  However, while reading a daily devotional by Joel Osteen, I became inspired to try again.

My grandmother brought me up in the church. So, at an early age I learned to both fear and rely on God.  However, it wasn’t until after college that I learned about Jesus.  Of course, I had heard of Him.  I had often heard my elders thank Him but I never knew Him personally.  After being baptized at 13, my relationship with Jesus began to flourish…and so did my journey into self-righteousness. The more I learned about Jesus, the more I was determined to do right and to be righteous.  For me, there was no gray area, only black or white.  In my learning, I knew that you shouldn’t judge, yet I was very judgmental. I was unaware of my profound state of self-righteousness until it was brought to my attention by my best friend. You see, it had taken him two years to reveal to me that he was gay, and he said that it was because of my views. The truth is I really didn’t mean any harm to anyone. It was simply about how I thought God felt about things. But it was true, I was very self-righteous.  However, that is who I was before my Big Mistake–I fell in love with a married man.

It was never my intention.  I, like every woman, wanted and desired a man of my own but I did not guard my heart. “Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23) All I could think was that I was a woman of God. How could this have happened to me?  To say that this was one of the biggest mistakes of my life is an understatement.  At the time I was going through that profound tribulation, I was asking God for mercy constantly, and I was remembering all of the times I had looked down on other women who had allowed themselves to fall in love with married men.  I was going through a very humbling experience, a look at you now, oh, woe is me experience.  But it happened and I survived. After deliverance and repentance, I got back up again.

There were several lessons that I learned during this tumultuous time in my life:

Lesson #1: I learned what God truly meant when He said what He has put together let no man set asunder. (Mark 10:9)  Ladies, if a man is already married there is NO way, that he can or will ever be your husband. If you are lying and cheating to be together, then it is not of God. For the scripture says, “Every good and perfect gift comes from the Lord.” (James 1:17 NIV)

Lesson #2: I learned that my actions not only affected me but also an entire group of people. The pain runs deep not only for you but for his family, and his wife’s family.  There are so many ties and bonds involved in the make up of a family and when you come in as an intruder and abruptly sever those bonds and ties, the ripple is felt by everyone who loves them.

Lesson #3: I learned how truly forgiving God is. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NKJV) When I asked to be set free of the relationship, God released me and when I asked Him to forgive me, He did just that. In a dream I was told to read Psalm 32. The very first line states, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven.” Further down in the passage it reads,

“I asked for forgiveness- I acknowledged my sin to you and my iniquity I have not hidden.  I said, I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah.” (Psalm 32:5) Despite how huge my mistake was, God had completely forgiven me.

After asking God to forgive me, I also asked the person whom I had hurt the most for forgiveness–his wife. Confess your trespasses to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. (James 5:16 NKJV)

I have no defense for my actions. I only have a confession and a testimony that God will never leave you nor forsake you and He has divine power to deliver you from evil. I know this to be true.

Dear Daddy,

I come to You today thanking You for Your love, mercy, grace and forgiveness. Your love is so wonderful that it uplifts rather than condemns even when we make life altering mistakes. Father, there is another young lady out there experiencing the same mistake of falling in love with a married man.  Lord, I am asking You to help her right now. Help her to understand that You are a perfect God and that you do not make mistakes. Lord, help her to be patient because You will give her the desires of her heart in Your time. Lift her up, and fill her with confidence. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to learn from my lessons.  You may have made a huge mistake in your past but it does not have to end for you there. Remove yourself from the negative situation and ask God to forgive you…and then forgive yourself! Move forward knowing that God is with you and when it seems as if we have made the worst mistake of our lives, with God we can get back up again!

Encourage someone with  your story of coming back from what seemed like the most unpardonable sin. Share it on our Facebook page or on Twitter.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: The Mostaccioli Massacre

Beverly Gordon is a graduate of Gonzaga School of Law (Spokane, WA) and currently works as an Executive Assistant and Director of Compliance.  She is a devoted mother, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin and friend who believes in the importance of teaching children the power of prayer.  In her journey of loving and leaning on the Lord she meditates on Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” She resides in Tuscaloosa, Alabama with her beautiful daughter and is an active member of the Springfield United Methodist Church.

Best of 2011 Series, Sex

Best of 2011: #2 — Between the Sheets

We are featuring our top EmpowerMoments of 2011. They made us laugh and they made us cry. They comforted us during troubled times and made us uncomfortable in our mess. But most important, they EMPOWERED us to be greater women all around! We are better wives, mothers, daughters, friends, servants and employees. We have been EMPOWERED to love harder, forgive more and listen better. We thank God for EmpowerMoments! Enjoy the Best of Series!

Disclaimer: Today’s EmpowerMoment is for the MATURE and MARRIED folks! We are going to discuss something that rarely gets any pulpit time…

Over a year ago I attended a women’s retreat with my church. I’ve been to several retreats in the past, but nothing as amazing as that purging, life changing experience.  During one of the sessions, the facilitators gave us a packet to fill out. The questionnaire was for not for anyone else to review, rather it was a chance for us to really examine what was at the core of a lot of our issues. (There is something very cathartic about pouring your heart out on paper.) The packet started off with basic questions like your name, age, Christian experience, etc. I was breezing through the questions thinking, “This is a piece of cake!” Then the questions started to get a little more intense asking things about our past…you know those “have you ever” questions that anyone with a checkered past dreads so much! But even those questions were easy to answer as most of it I had already discussed at one time or another. It was until around page 8 that I got a little stuck. The question read, “Are you sexually frigid?” Honestly, I wasn’t even sure what the question meant so I skipped over it to come back to it later. After all, that’s what we were taught in regards to our standardized tests, right? After completing the rest of the packet, I returned to that question and pondered it for a while. I was still drawing a blank. I knew what sexually meant and I knew what frigid meant, but what exactly did they mean together? At that moment, my heart began pounding fast and my throat tightened. That was a clear indication that I NEEDED to know what this question meant. I raised my hand and asked for clarification…

“What does this mean” pointing to the page 8? “Sexually frigid means being cold in bed…ummm kind of acting like you really don’t want to be there.”  Maybe my facial expression said guilty as charged or maybe God moved her spirit, but she instantly slipped into a profound prayer. I’m convinced it was the latter because the things that she prayed only He would have known. Page number 8 forever changed my life and marriage…

The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife. Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control.  (1 Corinthians 7:3-5 NLT)

Yes, I was indeed guilty of being sexually frigid. Sex was a pawn that I used to get what I wanted and when things didn’t go my way, I withdrew. Sometimes I would only engage because I knew what 1 Corinthians said and wanted to act like I was obeying it. But it was just as if I was disobeying God because my heart and mind were not engaging with my body.

In her book, For Women Only, Shaunti Feldhahn explains that men need fulfilling sex to feel loved, desired and confident.  It is important that we give the kings in our lives the boost they need to face the challenges that they meet on a daily basis. I once read this quote that I replay anytime the enemy is trying to convince me that I don’t want or need to satisfy my husband: “satan loves marriage without sex just as much as he loves sex without marriage.” In essence, fornication and withholding in marriage have the same detrimental effect and leave no one happy but the devil! Page number 8 changed my life and marriage in more ways than one. I implore you to take my advice and change yours!

Dear Daddy,

Please forgive me for the times that I didn’t do what you commanded me as a wife to do. Remind me daily that my body is not my own. Give me burning desire for the man who You created just for me! Thank You for the wonderful gift of sex! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER to you get BETWEEN THE SHEETS! EMPOWER your husband’s confidence by giving him what he needs to face the world. EMPOWER your marriage by vowing to have a healthy, active and happy sex life!

P.S. Visit our friends over at Christian Nymphos if you need some ideas!

Read another marriage EmpowerMoment: Who Do You Think You Married?

Mrs. Kristen Harris is a wife, mother, entrepreneur and dedicated servant.  She is extremely passionate about women’s spiritual advancement, hence the founding of EmpowerMoments.  As an avid reader, Kristen enjoys reading the Bible and other non-fiction pieces. Her driving inspiration is when God says to her: “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  (Jeremiah 29:11) She currently resides outside of Chicago, Illinois with her wonderful husband and two lovely daughters where she is an active member of New Life Covenant Church.

Career, Marriage, Prayer, Singleness

Is This What I REALLY Want?

I’ve had several personal requests before the Lord lately.  There are three specifically that God dealt with me about this week.   1) I want to be financially comfortable to the point that I am able to sow into other people and also help others in need 2) I want a challenge in my professional life 3)  I want the Lord to continue to keep me content in my season of singleness but PLEASE LORD PLEASE, only let it be a SEASON!!  My greatest desire is to be a wife and mother.

“…Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6 NIV)

God has really been dealing with me this week on these requests in particular.  First, I got a call from an acquaintance. He was telling me  about his latest financial shortcoming and I found myself rolling my eyes on the phone and thinking, Lord please don’t let him ask me for no money! RIGHT THERE, it hit me “Is this what I REALLY want?”

Second, I facilitated a professional development workshop and the saying is true that teachers are the WORST students! Again in my mind I said, “Oh they can have this foolishness!” RIGHT THERE again…“Is this what I REALLY want?”

Third, my married Godsister and I were talking and somehow we got on the subject of marriage.  She gave me a PROFOUND analogy of the reality of marriage.  That thing FLOORED me and when I got off the phone AGAIN…”Is this what I REALLY want?”

We have a habit of making requests to God and then having in our minds exactly how we want the answered prayer to look.  I want to personally like everyone God uses me to bless.   I don’t want to have to deal with the challenge of trying to motivate my colleagues; I want a challenge that I can achieve without having to deal with them.  Oh and yes, I want a husband and children but I don’t want to have to sacrifice anything or change my ways and habits.  We must understand God does NOT operate this way!

“…from everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked…” (Luke 12:48b)

Much what? More of what you ask?  More PRAYER, More FASTING, More GRACE, More MERCY, More GIVING, More WARFARE!!!!  So for those of you who have requests before God I ask, “Is this what you REALLY want?”

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for granting me the privilege of making my requests known to You.  Help me submit to Your will even as I present the desires of my heart to You.  Give me wisdom, peace, and strength knowing that, “…You know the way that I take and when You have tested me, I will come forth as gold…” (Job 23:10 NIV) In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to TALK TO YOUR HEAVENLY DADDY!! Thank Him for all that He’s done, who He is, and who He has been in your life, but also BE HONEST with Him and make your requests known to Him.  But remember, “…To whom much is given, much is required..” (Philippians 4:6 KJV) and really ask yourself, “Is this what I REALLY want. Am I ready for what I’m asking for? “  I pray that your answer will be YES!!

Read a related EmpowerMoment: The Long Eyed Lesson

Ms. Katrina Richard is an up and coming professional residing in Chicago, Illinois.  She strives to incorporate knowledge and life-skills to teenagers in her profession as a high school history teacher.  Katrina is very active in her church community where she serves in the prayer ministry as well as in the nursery.  She has a passion for serving in the lesser known areas of ministry because she believes every facet of ministry is important to kingdom building and spiritual development of the believers. Her favorite scripture is Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Attitude, Growth/Maturity, Love, Marriage, Patience

Who Do You Think You Married?

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”  I Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV

I went into our marriage with preconceived notions and unrealistic hopes and aspirations. My husband and I joke about it now, but during my enlightenment it wasn’t so funny. I remember distinctively, during marriage maintenance prior to our wedding, our first session was about our family structure around marriage. My parents were divorced when I was 10 or so, so all of my “ideas” of marriage came from television. Yep, that’s right; I looked at the Huxtables for my marital pattern.  If not them movies that showed cute and fun marriages that had facial expressions that meant a thousand words and TV shows that featured older couples that laughed, joked, and “complimented” each other ALL THE TIME. I have to give credit where credit is due; my husband’s views were more realistic, so I am grateful for his patience while I came into the reality of what defined our marriage, but it took me a few years.

I came into our marriage with expectations that my husband was not designed to fulfill by MY prompting.  Unbeknownst to me he could only fulfill them in God’s timing. I was stressing him with internal pressure that started to turn us into opponents. Not enemies, but opponents. He was supposed to have me laughing hysterically like my Dad. He was supposed to be comically romantic like Bill Cosby. I expected him to pray ferociously over me like that Pastor and First Lady I saw at that conference. We were supposed to be able to have inside jokes and laugh out loud like the couple I saw at the restaurant. He was supposed to be overprotective of my well-being since I lacked that growing up.

After I faced all of these issues through years of “adjusting to each other”,  I realized I was not being fair. I gave my husband the problems instead of asking for God to heal them. Not only was I not being fair, I was not cherishing the man God gave to me. I would ask God sometimes, “Lord, I prayed over this marriage and you said go forward, why do I feel so forced and so ‘fake’?  Why am I chasing after the ‘ideal’ marriage?” At one point God took me to a low point in my “wifeyhood.” This was when I learned that marriage is NOT for punks. God showed me that with every “expectation” and every “insinuation”, not only was I disrespecting the head of my house, but I was infringing upon the ego, soul, and purpose of my husband. I was poisoning the blessings God gave me.  I was “trampling” over my husband’s character. My notions and actions emitted an arrogance of “you aren’t good enough.” I never “said” it, but my aura exhibited it.

When I was fully convicted of this and prompted to change, God took me through a series of mirrors. He showed me how my husband is the only person on this earth that can be as patient and delicate with me. He is the only tangible being that can show me myself and how to correct it in love. He showed me that my mouth was speaking death over his efforts and the fruits of my marriage…because “I knew everything.” I went through a period of “hush and heed”.  I hushed and just watched my husband and heeded to the prompts of the Holy Spirit. I took a back seat, slowed down, and allowed God to take the steering wheel. God began to reveal to me my husband’s core of strength and integrity. Watching his natural swagger made my heart go pitter patter and I fell in a new love with him. God showed me the error of my ways. I was so unfair to my husband. How could I try to compare him to fictitious TV? Now my husband jokes and says, “You thought you were in a marriage like the Cosby’s.” I’m still appalled at how he even knew those were my motives. But in my defense, that was all I knew.

We’ll be the first to say our marriage is far from perfect. We both have issues that we deal with daily. We even joke with new couples sometimes and tell them DON’T GET MARRIED!! Not because we don’t cherish ours, but it really shows you who you are and it is a task, yet a labor of love. Through years (well, not that many) of checks and balances and trial and error, I laugh when I catch us laughing hysterically in OUR OWN WAY at each other or when we have family Bible studies or prayer in OUR OWN WAY or when he unconsciously grabs my hand to guide me when we are in crowds, when we sit in silence, yet our flirts are so loud, or even when we fight and just look at each other and say “this is petty.fight’s over.” There’s no foot rub make-up or jazz dances like the Cosby’s, but it’s in OUR OWN WAY that we love  and forgive, and it has become the fabric of the muscles within my heart.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for sparing the quality things in my life until I was able to handle and appreciate them. Thank You for placing these treasures in my life that build me and make me stronger. Lord, I pray for every marriage out there, mine included. Whether it is under attack, in a rough patch, or cruising in marital bliss, Lord I plead Your covering of protection, cooperation, and communication. As wives, Lord please teach us how to be pleasing and a doer of Your Word so that we may be able to fulfill our roles in the marriage. Lord bless every husband, especially the ones with “know it all wives”, to be patient and to love her with patience and kindness until she gets it right. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, whether you are married or on the way, I EMPOWER you to remove any ideas out of your head of other marriages and trying to mimic those. Allow God to steer, ordain, and orchestrate the ideals within your marriage. It’s good to say, “I want to have great communication like the Johnsons.” But saying, “I want my husband to communicate with me the way Bob Johnson communicates with Shana” is dangerous. Trust God, and He will teach you how to trust your husband. Love God and He will teach you how to love your husband. Therefore, what God has put together let no one separate (Mark 10:9 NIV)….even if it is YOU.

For more on marriage, read: Must We Do Everything Together?

As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is College Biology Instructor. She is also currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Higher Ed and Community College Leadership. Khalilah is passionate about her faith journey and uses this key scripture as her inspiration: “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 KJV) She teaches Young Adult Bible Study and Sunday School and also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for various events for women and Christian empowerment. Khalilah resides in Millbrook, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their energetic three-year old daughter. They attend St. Luke Christian Church. Check out Khalilah’s Christian weight loss blog here.