BMWK’s Top 10 Relationship Articles of 2012

BY: - 31 Dec '12 | Home

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As we roll full steam into 2013 we want to take a moment to reflect on the top ten articles that we ran over the past year. These articles have helped countless singles, wives and husbands gain a better understanding of how to navigate relationships and marriage. Below you’ll find our top ten articles of 2012 based on popularity. After you check each one out let us know which is your favorite.

1) Preparing To Become A Wife: 10 Tips For Single Women

Excerpt:

Most women have an idea of what age they will be when Mr. Right asks her to spend the rest of her life with him. She has the colors picked out, the ideal season, the wedding party and even the guest list! To many women, the wedding day is the turning point in her life that will lead to her happily ever after. Many of us have focused (let’s be honest) so much time and thought on the wedding and the marriage that we have never spent enough time and energy on the most important part”…preparing to become a wife!

As a woman involved in a courtship, I have obtained the counsel of women that have been married for 10+ years. I ask two questions that I believe will help prepare me to be the best wife that I can be. The first question is, “What are some things that you wish you would have done to prepare for marriage differently?” The other question is, “What advice would you give that would help me to be the wife that God calls women to be?” I have received great wisdom and advice from Godly women who have been married for close to 40 years! I would like to share that advice with other single women.

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2) 5 Types Of Men Who Make Great Husbands

Excerpt:

In my line of work, I meet a lot of great husbands and the wives who adore them. Over time, it’s not hard to pick up on a pattern among these men “” especially when I chat with other wives about why they chose the men they’ve married and what qualities in their husbands have most shaped their marriage. For all those single women out there who often wonder what type of man they should marry, or how they will know if he’s The One they’re meant to spend forever with, this list is 100-percent for you. It has been prepared with love and careful consideration. It’s based on my own personal experience as a wife, those of the many wives I’ve encountered throughout my career as a Weddings and Relationships Editor, and the observations I’ve made about the great husbands I’ve met or bumped into over the years. It doesn’t have all the answers, but I promise you, it will at least have some of those you seek. Read on, ladies.

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3) Preparing To Become A Husband – 10 Tips For Single Men

Excerpt:

Last week’s article,  Preparing To Become A Wife 10 Tips For Single Women, gave great tips for wives-to-be and inspired me to sit down and write out my thoughts on being a great husband. In no way am I proclaiming perfection in any of these areas, but like any relationship you have to work hard on the positives in order to become an ideal partner.

Prior to my marriage I would’ve never been able to construct a list like this and I hope my experiences can influence someone to develop positive habits prior to saying “I do.”

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4) 20 Questions To Ask A Potential Spouse

Excerpt:

Now that I have a daughter, I can see myself questioning her male friends when they come to the house to date her. When I was a teenager, I didn’t like it when my dad and brothers did it, and I am sure my daughter will be embarrassed when her father and I subject her dates to similar scrutiny. But 20 questions shouldn’t end once she matures into adulthood and can date whomever she chooses. As my single friends testify, “You have to be careful these days because there is so much stuff going around.” And this isn’t just from a woman’s perspective. Men need to be careful too. Asking 20 questions doesn’t sound so weird or embarrassing when your health, sanity, and livelihood are at stake.

So, here are 20 questions to ask a potential spouse. These are just suggestions, and by no means should all of them be asked on a first date. If a question doesn’t feel right to you, then don’t ask it. Or, just replace it with one that is not on the list. The point is to get singles who desire to be married to think carefully about what’s important to them and then to have open communication about these issuesbefore marriage. There are plenty of married and divorced people who wish they had asked the tough questions before saying “I do.”

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5) 10 Things Grown Women Shouldn’t Do – Part One

Excerpt:

I turned 26 a month or so ago. And now that I’m closer to 30 than I am to 20, I’m feeling some kind of way about the behaviors I exhibit and my reactions to every day events. Somehow I feel like I’m supposed to be wiser, calmer, more she’s-got-her-life-together than I really am. Some days I wake up and I’m like, “Crap, I’m an adult? Like, really? Wasn’t I just leaving the spring dance in a huff after having yet another argument with my high school boyfriend?”

And guess what? I’m 26 and the madness hasn’t been worked out. But I guess now I’m “wise” enough to know that the madness won’t ever be worked out. This is just life.

But going along with my 26th birthday, I told myself I would write a post, something for me to look back on as I turn 30, and then 35 and then 40, to see how my womanhood journey was going. Here’s what I got so far:

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6) 4 Must-Have Conversations Before You Get Married

Excerpt:

A while back I did an interview where I mentioned that you needed to have a plan before going into a marriage. They asked me to elaborate and I went into a few things but wanted to talk about it more here. Some people I’ve talked to that are experiencing real relationships problems seem to have those issues due to lack of a clear plan up front. You know the old saying, “If you fail to plan, you can plan to fail”.

When you enter into a relationship with that other person   you’re coming from two different backgrounds, two different histories and two totally different points of view. Before your heart takes you away you need to sit down and have a discussion to make sure the plan you have is the same one or similar to what they are thinking. Here are a few things I think you should talk about with your plan:

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7) 7 Things Your Spouse Needs To Hear (More Often)

Excerpt:

In some marriages, although the positive outweighs the negative, what is most often highlighted and discussed is the negative. It is easy to focus on socks left on the bathroom floor, a dirty dish in the living room or even our partner’s failure to communicate as often or as effective as we would like. Yes, all of the items above could drive a person crazy if repeated too often and should absolutely be addressed. However, in the midst of those few bad behaviors, there are quite a few characteristics that sometimes go unnoticed, which if mentioned more often, would not only uplift our spouse, but also improve the health of a marriage.

Whether married or single, people normally respond positively to words and actions that build them up, rather than complaints and those that tear them down. Part of being in a committed partnership is knowing our mate. We are aware of what makes them feel good and boosts their ego. There are specific words that our spouses must hear frequently. If you are not sure, allow me to share a few:

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8) You Won’t Be Married Long If You…

Excerpt:

Most of the married couples in my family get married and (the most important part) they stay married. I’ve got more than a handful of 30-year-plus marriages to draw inspiration and lessons from. Here are some of the best lessons I’ve learned from watching these marriages up close:

You won’t be married long if you…

…decide you will only care as much as your spouse cares. Marriage requires us to be selfless. And this can be scary, I’ll admit. This requires a vulnerability that can unnerve even the most loving spouse.

…decide that being introspective is a waste of time. Marriage is a partnership. Each person is supposed to bring their best to the relationship for the benefit of all. Problems erupt once the blame for everything (lackluster sex life, piss-poor attempts at quality time, upside finances, etc) get pushed onto your spouse. Acknowledging the role that you play in certain situations is crucial to a marriage that is balanced and fair.

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9) The #1 Reason That Couples Get Divorced

Excerpt:

Since launching BlackandMarriedWithKids.com in December 2007, we’ve talked to thousands of couples in one form or another. We’ve communicated via email and Facebook. We’ve also met couples and singles face to face at our film screenings. When the topic of divorce comes up (and yes it comes up often from those who have faced divorce or have overcome it) I see a common pattern.

If more couples knew what the primary cause for divorce was (from my observation), then I think they could avoid it.   I know that you may be thinking that the primary cause for divorce is infidelity, communication,   or financial issues.   But it isn’t. The #1 reason that I see marriages failing is because one or both members of the marriage refuses to do what’s required to keep the relationship together.

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10) Another Type of Sex to Add to Your List

I’m sure you’ve heard of make-up sex, honeymoon sex, morning sex, and lunch break sex. But have you heard of after-worship sex? Yes, you read it correctly. After-worship sex.

I didn’t make it up. God did.

As I’ve written before in “The Blessing of Marital Sex,” God wants husbands and wives to experience ultimate pleasure with each other. Sex is a gift that should be opened and used regularly. And, because it’s done in the context of holy matrimony, as opposed to a non-covenant relationship, God blesses it.

Worship blesses a couple’s sex life, too. For some women, seeing their husbands pray, preach, or praise God just does something to them. I’ve been told, and experienced for myself, wanting to make love more, feeling more attracted and free. I’m not sure if it is the same for men, but there is a definite connection between worship and sex. Sounds weird, doesn’t it?   That’s what I thought until I read God’s word for myself. Check out 1 Samuel 1:19.

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About the author

Lamar Tyler wrote 2218 articles on this blog.

Lamar Tyler is co-creator BlackandMarriedWithKids.com. He also is the co-producer of the films Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage, You Saved Me, Men Ain't Boys and Still Standing.

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The Single Life: Seven Dating Resolutions That Lead to Marriage

BY: - 1 Jan '13 | Home

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Photo Credit: Heather Hopson

Photo Credit: Gary Antoine

Recently, I made a resolution to break up with someone. Well, we weren’t technically together. He said we were dating, but our relationship didn’t exactly fit the definition. He was friendly, funny and fine, but beyond that, I didn’t think we had much in common.  And for the first time, I lowered my expectations to avoid loneliness during the holidays. My friends encouraged me to “keep it casual” and “have fun”. After all, this was one of the first people I went out with after breaking up with my daughter’s dad. I followed their advice for the first few weeks, but as time ticked on, I started to set expectations and seek substance. It’s hard to “keep it casual” when humans and feelings are involved. I didn’t see this man as “marriage material,” but I still expected him to act like a future husband or perhaps just a boyfriend.

I know relationships develop overtime. Nonetheless, I wanted him to be something, someone he wasn’t. I wanted more than what he could give. And that wasn’t fair for either of us. So I told him I didn’t think we should pursue anything further. He said he was sorry I felt that way and wished me good luck–but not in a do well way, rather a good luck searching for someone in the club way. There are a lot more details to the story, but I won’t reveal too much information, because like I said, he is a cool person. He’s just not the person for me. In a reflective New Year’s Eve mood, I came up with dating resolutions to lead to marriage. I didn’t write a long list of what I was doing wrong as that could lead to depression,,, not empowerment. Instead, I focused on what I was doing right. We often look for a potential mate to possess a long list of qualities when we should first look within to make sure we’re marriage material.

 1. Become Spiritually Strong

Most of my friends and family members who have strong marriages also have strong spiritual foundations. God is at the center of their union, which anchors their marriage when a storm hits. Having a close relationship with God allows me to have close relationships with others. When I pray or study scriptures, I am more patient, more loving and more kind. Until I meet my mate, I can strive to be the Proverbs 31 woman. I can turn to the Bible instead of society to determine what marriage means and trust God to deliver a mate.

 2. Heal From Past Heartbreaks

After my daughter’s dad dumped me, I didn’t date anyone for a year and a half. I needed that time to heal from heartache, learn from mistakes and move on mentally. I refuse to take baggage packed with anger or envy into a new relationship. Also, I analyzed my other relationships. What went wrong? What went right? What did I learn from my experiences? What qualities do I want in a significant other? What won’t I tolerate? Although people don’t usually change, they can improve. Yes, some things are personality traits, habits you’ve developed over the years. But if you examine yourself, there may be negative behaviors you can work on.

 3. Love Me First

In order to love someone else, I love myself first. Sounds selfish but in reality, it’s the best wedding gift I can give my husband. He won’t be required to fill a void, because I don’t need to be half of a couple to be a complete person. Although I feel insecure at times, those times don’t last long. I am comfortable in my skin. Loving myself means I am less likely to be jealous, desperate or needy in a relationship. Often, I hear single women say, I can do bad by myself. I would like to change that and say, I can do good by myself.

 4. Be a Blushing Bridesmaid

More than 80% of my close friends are married. I’ve been a guest, a hostess or a bridesmaid at more than a dozen weddings over the past decade. I never envied the brides. I was always happy to be a part of their marital bliss. I spent hours helping to plan some of these events and the pre-party festivities, but they put in even more work after they jumped the broom. They’ve taught me what it takes to be a good wife and to build a happy home. And their husbands give great dating advice from a male’s perspective. I’ve also observed the marriages within my family as well. My parents recently celebrated their 45th anniversary, and before my grandparents passed away, they lived longer as husband and wife than they did as individuals. They married at 16 and lived well into their 80s. They are marriage mentors.

 5. Realize Not Everyone I Meet is My Husband

I try not to look at every man I meet as my future spouse. That’s a lot of pressure to put on someone and myself. I can like someone or even love someone, but that someone may not be my husband. I can’t force something to happen or rush into a relationship. In my thirties, I date differently. I don’t compromise my non-negotiables, my authentic self or my values. I developed views on children, religion, money, sex, commitment and divorce and seek someone with a similar marriage mindset.

 6. Determine Why I Want to Get Married

When the movie Why Did I Get Married? hit the silver screen, I was one of the first people in line to buy a ticket. At the time, marriage wasn’t on my mind. My ex was. I went to the prom with actor Lamman Rucker who played Troy, and when he appeared in the movie shirtless, I giggled at the women swooning in the audience. Lamman and I took public transportation to our first date and were more friends than lovers. Still, everyone asked why we weren’t together as if I would marry him just because he made it to Hollywood–leaving his bus pass behind I’m sure. The movie made me examine issues such as commitment, betrayal and forgiveness. And for the first time in my life, I began to determine why I wanted to get married. I want stability and security, for better or for worse. I want to be selfless and supportive. I want my strengths and weaknesses to balance someone else’s and vice versa. I want to love someone like 1 Corinthians 13 and get that love in return from my mate.

 7. Be Marriage Material

This is the toughest point of all. I had to honestly evaluate my life to find out if I was really marriage material. I must be kind, giving, compassionate, trustworthy, nurturing, respectful, discerning, discreet and God-fearing. Although I am independent, I don’t have a problem adopting traditional gender roles. I don’t mind cooking, cleaning and caring for the kids. I must admit that I don’t do this for every man I meet. But I can’t expect a man to do everything for me when I do nothing in return. Before I’m married or even engaged, I work to be financially and emotionally stable.

Hey BMWK family, what would you add to the list? What should someone do to become marriage material?

About the author

Heather Hopson wrote 59 articles on this blog.

Not long ago, Heather Hopson was an award-winning television host in the Cayman Islands. Today, she's writing a different kind of story as a new mom. She gives readers the key to her diary and shares personal stories about single parenting, dating, transitioning to motherhood and her obsession with being what her family calls an "activity mom." The site features celebrity interviews, parent spotlights and confessional videos. Follow her journey through motherhood on Twitter @dearmomdiary.

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