7) Many lie to one another about things the other do that get them angry. They sometimes enjoy the friendship and hide feelings about opinions and often tell the other that they are always right.
I did live a lie.
I lived as others, lived as the world
I drank and ate like no tomorrow
I lived on my steps, lived on my plans
I followed the way that pleased me
Went with the people that pleased me
Covered in masks, we all lived a lie
Smiling but never happy
We lived a life like a lie
Almost three decades and yet unhappy
We now must seek for the soul satisfier
Seek for the one who hates our mask
Seek for the one who gives true happiness
Seek for the one who has a better plan
Seek for the one who gives ultimate peace
As the masks we have on, exists only for others to see
And never can reveal our utmost conflict.
Yolanda Jordan* remembers the moment she decided to have sex for the first time. She was 27, fresh out of grad school, in a committed relationship—and horny. She was also raised in the Baptist church and had taken a vow of abstinence. “I was curious,” says Jordan, now 34, a graphic designer in Columbus, Ohio. “My mind was telling me one thing, my body another. I was grown [and] longing to be touched. I am not perfect; I struggle with sin. I strive to live a righteous life. Just because I have a Bible on my night stand and condoms in the drawer doesn’t mean I love God any less or that He doesn’t love me.”
Many Christian youths who signed abstinence pledges or wore purity rings reach a crossroad as young adults. They are faced with upholding Biblical principles against sex outside of marriage during an era when the average age of first marriage creeps toward 30. Celibacy may be even tougher for singles who have splashed around in the pool of fornication long before dedicating their lives to Christ. More are asking, “Am I really condemning my soul to eternal damnation by getting my freak on Saturday night and praising the Lord on Sunday morning?” As many as 80 percent of young unmarried Christians have had sex, according to Relevant, a magazine for Christians aged 18 to 30.
Even as they uphold abstinence as ideal, religious leaders can no longer ignore the elephant in the sanctuary. From a newsletter published by pastor Creflo Dollar: “There was a time when … marriage was honored and respected … and sexual relationships outside of marriage were certainly not accepted as the norm. However, times have changed … values have moved away from the standard of God’s Word because of selfishness.” Last year’s Jumping the Broom, produced by Bishop T.D. Jakes, opened with Paula Patton’s character regretting her decision to have casual sex the night before. The romcom portrays her finding true love and deciding with her fiancé to abstain until their wedding day. It was Jakes’ decision to include the morning-after scene, Patton told The Christian Post. “We make mistakes, but the goal is to become better [people].”
But finding a Christian man who is actually willing to wait may be easier onscreen. Single father John Fitzgerald, 29, acknowledges the difficulty in putting faith before flesh and has even ended relationships because of the woman’s decision to remain abstinent. “Yes, it’s wrong, [but] I’m still doing it,” he says. “It’s something I struggle with in my personal relationship with God. People say, ‘Don’t make sex such a big deal,’ but for a lot of people, it’s a deal breaker.”
”Just because I have a Bible on my night stand and condoms in the drawer doesn’t mean I love God any less or that He doesn’t love me.”
The Bible is clear that you should not have sex outside of marriage, but that is not the reality of what’s going on,” says Sophia Nelson, award-winning author of Black Woman Redefined: Dispelling Myths and Discovering Fulfillment in the Age of Michelle Obama (BenBella Books). She cites the finding that more than 50 percent of single, churchgoing women admit to having sex. With U.S. Census data showing that nearly 40 percent of Black women do not marry until age 35 and more than 45 percent of African-Americans older than 14 have never been married, Black Christians face a long road of chastity.
The shoulder of that road is cluttered with breakdowns and those who have run out of gas: Almost three quarters of Black children are born out of wedlock. “It is unrealistic in the 21st century to expect celibacy until marriage. We live in a sexualized society and [during] a time [when] people marry much later,” says Nelson. She points to a double standard among Christian men—who face little judgment for indulging in pleasure and promiscuity—as a reason some sisters “pray for a husband,” but find themselves over 40, celibate and bitter.
What’s a sex-deprived saint to do? Teresa Jones, 38, leader of the Singles Ministry at New Birth Christian Ministries in Columbus, a divorcée who has been celibate since 2007, contends: “[Abstinence] is a struggle because we’re resisting our flesh. You [must] have frank conversations with your partner. You [must] know your weaknesses.”
Nelson maintains that abstinence is a personal choice. Currently in a relationship and celibate, she says Christians should not avoid intimacy for fear of breaking their vow of abstinence with God. “A lot of people take a hard-line position and won’t even allow themselves to be touched,” she says.
Ultimately, for many who are single and saved, the struggle then becomes where to draw the line when not going “all the way.” Jones cautions Christians not to pardon their actions with the mantra that all people sin. “If you are comfortable with sinning, that’s a problem. When you really love God you don’t willingly do anything that would make Him upset.”
“If a key dimension of sexuality is that of drawing us toward others so we experience the life-giving affirmation of being loved and known, then we are sexual whether or not we are having sex,” note the authors of The Theology of Sex, published by the National Association of Evangelicals. They advise singles to stay the course and be “transparent” and “accountable” to others in their faith community.
*Name has been changed.
Courtesy Ebony: This article originally appeared in the May 2012 issue of EBONY.
Originally posted on Stories without Border:
It was the fourth time Nkem was calling in one day and my battery was soon running down with no no electricity to recharge it.
She was in the middle of an outburst when I cautioned her to be strong.
She reminded me of our dreams and aspirations back then at the university.
We had got very close in our final year. We were best friends and people called me her sister from another tribe because we spoke different languages; my mother tongue is Yoruba while she spoke Igbo. However, after almost four years in the Igbo speaking region, I had picked enough words to express myself . Yet, most of our daily communications remained in English, as we were studying to master the language
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I love you for everything you are (unknown love)
I love your physic (sex in the making)
I love your smile (attraction)
I love you, let’s get married (anxiety, maturity)
I love you, you make me laugh ( attentive love)
I love you, you are smart ( intelligence attraction)
I love you, you have money (daring love)
I love you, you are different (best friends)
I love you, I just had to let you know (ex lovers, admirers)
I love you, I can’t do without you (new love)
I love you, you have what am looking for ( prey love)
I love you, you always look good ( mutual love)
I love you, I will tell you the truth (motherly love)
I love you, I died for you (God)
I love you, you mean more than you know ( lovers)
I love you, let’s do this together (friends, best lovers)
I love you, just do this for me (convenient love)
I love you, I love you, I love you.
Dear Mr. Manners: When my fiancée and I were dating, his occasional snoring didn’t bother me—or maybe I just didn’t notice as much because we weren’t together every night. Now we’re married, and I’m at my wit’s end with his honking, which gets going about 30 seconds after he falls asleep and goes on an on. Last night, when the snoring began, I elbowed him (gently), but he got angry and told me to leave him alone. I have two questions: Isn’t it okay for me to wake him up to stop the snoring? And if it comes to the point where someone needs to sleep in the guest bed, which one of us should it be?–Sleepless in San Diego
A: Before I get into the etiquette of poking and prodding your snorer of a husband, I want to make sure you know that while snoring is generally considered a minor “social” problem (though a major marital one), it can also be a serious health issue. It’s correlated with a heightened risk of both heart attack (snorers have a 34 percent greater chance of having one) and stroke (67 percent). Other problems include sleep apnea, drowsiness, irritability, lack of focus and decreased libido. In short, it’s important for your husband to determine why he’s snoring so much and the most helpful thing you can do is push him into making an appointment with a specialist for asleep study.
Now onto the snoring etiquette!
When I posted your question on my Facebook page, my readers came through with loads of practical advice that was clearly based on extensive experience:
*.“Many a marriage has been saved with separate bedrooms (and a two-sink bathroom).”
*.“The one who’s having anger issues should sleep in a different bed. Why do couples feel they must share a bed every night? My partner and I have separate bedrooms, we cuddle before we go to sleep in one bed or the other, then sleep separately most nights. It’s okay–really!”
*.“Instead of pushing, shoving & elbowing I tickle the hair lightly by the neck, knee or other area so he thinks it’s an itch. This makes him change breathing patterns. And then he stops snoring long enough for me to fall to sleep.”
Here’s my own advice for snorers:
1.Make sure your snoring has been properly diagnosed and you are following a treatment plan—which may include sleeping on more pillows, taking a decongestant, foregoing the nightcap and/or losing some weight.
2.Provide earplugs for bedmates.
3.Try “snore strips” such as Breath Right.
4.Tell your sleeping companion that it’s okay to wake you up when your snoring gets too loud.
5.If it takes more than two or three prods to stop your snoring, your sleep mate deserves the bed to him- or herself.
And here’s my advice for anyone sharing a bed with a snorer:
1.Remember that snoring is a medical condition, not a personal failing. Don’t exacerbate your sleeplessness with an outburst of anger.
2.If “occasional” snoring has become nightly, consider together whether there have been any changes in a partner’s health or behaviour that could contribute to the increase. Regardless, be gentle with your spouse and discuss this in a non-confrontational manner—and not when you both are trying to get some zzzs.
4.If the snoring continues to bother you, consider sleeping separately.
As one Facebook poster put it: “I’ve been sleeping in our guest bed on and off for 22 years. Just before he wakes up I slip back into our bed to give him a kiss to start our day.”I would only add this: Occasional prodding and poking are fine, but if you’re counting on a long and happy marriage, beware the resentment and shoving. Get to the heart of the matter as quickly as you can.
Originally posted on A Holistic Journey:
I learned not to expect anything from anyone – not even friends – but to give. Not because I don’t have amazing friends but because people are busy, have their own burden. I am grateful that anyone should stop to think of me in some way. Wish I had known earlier not to impose standards in my relationships, to free people in their weakness. Free God to grow them.
It was the decade I fell in love twice. With the man I agreed to marry and the baby boy I found myself cradling. I realized my guys have been my 30s. With an I.V. needling sustenance into my broken body on my 30th birthday, I had yet to imagine I would meet my husband the following year – on the dance floor. While some of the most excruciating trials darken this period of my history, these 10 years have been…
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