Updated: Apr 24, 2021
Before I get into the meat and potatoes of why we are ALL here, it is relevant to understand my personal life experiences. To answer your first question of reservation, "but are you married though?" Yes. I am married. In fact, I met my husband on a dating app called "Plenty of Fish." Most people may know it as "POF." But before meeting my husband, I went on over 20 different dates with 20 different men and had sex with none of them. Everything that I am sharing with you- I have done myself. The low-key, I am also somewhat of a matchmaker amongst family and friends who are in established relationships or even getting married. Therefore, this makes me qualified to share these quick tips.
1.Pray. Everything should start and end with prayer and/or meditation. Everyone wants what Ciara has, but the reality is, are you just saying you are going to pray for it, or are you really praying? In this moment of wanting guidance, your guidance ultimately comes from God and/or your higher power of who HE has for YOU. You can ask him for what you desire, but if you don't get it- it doesn't mean that he doesn't want you to have it. He may want you to have MORE than what you are asking for.
2.Get yourself in order! What you have been doing is NOT WORKING. The moment you grasp this concept and surrender to change and/or growth, it will make more sense that your ex wasn't the only one with the problem. If you are shallow and frowning upon others like your sheesh, don't stink, then you are part of the problem. If you are angry, bitter, jealous, or just downright nasty & negative- then the best answer for you is to attend therapy to assess why you are really feeling this way. Take responsibility for where you are in your life rather than complaining about the ish.
3. No Sex Until.... you honestly feel like it is the right time for you. I cannot tell you to wait to have sex until marriage because I did not wait until marriage to have sex. Even though I did not wait until marriage, I did abstain from sex with the men I was dating until I got into a committed relationship. That does not mean that I was not having sex. It just means that it wasn't with anyone that I was dating; It wasn't anyone new; there was consistency. Seriously though. I am not telling you what to do- I am telling you what I did. I DO NOT condone anyone settling their morals, values, or religious beliefs to have sex with anyone. It is no guarantee that having sex will get you a ring, but it will get you a baby.
4.Don't listen to your friends, especially if they are all single. If they are all married, then yes, they may be onto something positive. HOWEVER comma (thanks, pam) still does not give them the authority to decide who you should ultimately be with, or in some instances, even break up with. Even in a marriage, you have your good seasons and bad seasons, so you never truly know their intentions when giving you unsolicited advice. Their marriage could be on the rocks, and because they are currently unhappy- they may be on a negative streak of "no one is good enough" for you or them, for that matter.
5.Keep your family out of it! Single or married- the rule remains the same. Nothing perfect comes from disclosing your relationship or marital affairs. There is nothing wrong with sharing that you are finally in a long-term relationship or that you are about to get engaged, married, or purchase a home together- but dassit! Once you share the negative about your relationship or marriage, generally, that is all that they will remember. They tend to forget the positive things about that person. Your name or your partner's name will then become, i.e., "Dahnisha who is lazy."
6. Make a list of your must-haves or compromises in a partner. This list will help you gather information about the person you are dating; since that is the meaning behind dating. This will keep you grounded in what you desire as opposed to settling for what sounds good. This is one of the reasons why I really disliked the question on a date, " Well, what are you looking for in a partner?" That question allows them to conform to what you said you are looking for. No love. Just be you. That is what I want. Now, we must be reasonable with our list. Your must-haves list would consist of: 1) A career, 2) A car, 3) A place to live (not with family), 4) Wanting children or not wanting children. Compromises could be: 1) Height 2) Weight 3) Type of car. Self-check moment! Be sure to remember when creating your list; you request what you already have. Don't ask for them to have their own place if you don't. Don't say that your prospective partner cannot already have a child when you do. Be realistic in your expectations!
7. Dating vs. Exclusively Dating. Understanding the difference, friend saves you a lot of time in the long run. Dating is the initial phase of you finding Mr. or Mrs. Right. It allows you to meet and aggregate a variety of people without any commitments. Dating means that you are allowed to date multiple people simultaneously as long as you are honest about it. Know that you really do not owe anyone an explanation, but it is the respectful thing to tell them upfront. If they cannot handle your honesty and give you some reverse psychology like, "I don't want to compete for you," that is not the person. Exclusively dating is just you and that other person working together towards marriage. Understanding if you are exclusively dating someone requires communication. If both people have mutually agreed to date one another and no one else exclusively, then it is time to disable your dating apps and cut off your other candidates, with communication, of course.
8. Relationship Contract. I know this sounds crazy, but it is essential. I am not saying that you have to do this for your relationship to succeed, but I am saying that this could be beneficial to the foundation of your relationship for the long term. I created a relationship contract to discuss and agree upon expectations in our relationship for our future; more of a preference than anything. Some of the items that were in our relationship contract consisted of 1) We agree to commit to attending church regularly together 2) We promise to be engaged to one another before moving in together/ across the country for one another. 3) We promise to allow each other access to one another's heart, be vulnerable with one another, gentle, and show consideration for the other person's feelings. Oh yes, there was more than that in our contract, but you get the gist of what I am saying. Essentially, the contract was more for accountability purposes so that no one could say that we never discussed those important items.
9. Pre-marital Counseling. I am a HUGE advocate for therapy. If you and your partner are seriously considering marriage, then this is a must. Pre-marital counseling and/or therapy helps to dissect a person and is a preventative measure to help address potential issues soon. My husband and I enrolled in our pre-marital sessions before even getting engaged. We chose to do this because we felt we needed to understand who our partner really was true. In our sessions, we took an individualized assessment that shared our characteristics and our compatibility. Our therapist discussed our strengths and weaknesses with us together and gave us homework to improve our weaknesses. Our therapist also had us complete a worksheet individually titled, "Our unmet childhood needs." These two assignments alone helped me learn who my partner was and allowed us to have more compassion for one another. Some couples are hesitant about therapy because they are set in their ways; they don't think anything is wrong with them or tear their relationship apart. Suppose that is the case- good. That saves you a lot of wasted time, energy, emotions, and money at a wedding. Lol In all seriousness, though, you don't want to be with anyone who is not open to giving something new a try. In marriage, they're many opportunities to explore something new together and many moments to create and grow together- how you build your foundation starts here.