Are You Being Guarded or Are You Guarding Your Heart?

BY: - 3 Mar '15 | Relationships

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In life we often exercise preventative measures and avoiding risk. This is definitely the case when it comes to the heart in love relationships. Whether single or well into a relationship, we have a decision to make almost daily to guard our heart or be guarded.

Guarding your heart says: “I’m doing what’s best for me.”

Being guarded says: “I’m defending myself against anything that could potentially harm me!”

There is a difference between the two. The first means that you are aware of yourself, your wants and needs and in tune with your spirit. Being guarded however, is when you are defending yourself from getting hurt, meanwhile not doing anything to let that heart heal. We’ve all been there before. You may have had a broken heart, broken relationship, toxic relationship that left you feeling broken, bitter, hurt, angry, and defensive. At that point you’d do anything to protect it, so you put up walls, cut people off prematurely, jump to conclusions when things don’t go the way you want them to. All of these are signs of being guarded, and what a limited life that is to lead.

Why is guarding your heart important?

Guarding your heart is important, because not everyone you meet is meant to have access to it. Your heart is “the wellspring [source] of life” (Proverbs 4:23 MSG); a driving source for what you do. One who guards their heart applies God’s wisdom to the situation. They lean not to their emotions but to the words of wisdom stored up in them to seek knowledge, weigh their answers, and respond confidently with sound judgment. It requires a determination to remove anything or anyone’s influence that can taint you and take you off that focus. For example, when we give our heart to someone without wisdom, you run the risk of getting hurt. If your heart is full of hurt from unhealthy relationships, negative feelings, bitterness or unforgiveness, you won’t have proper room for giving and receiving real love, a.k.a. you’re unfocused.

Unfortunately, some of us are acting guarded while calling it guarding our hearts. Guarding your heart involves recognizing risk and reward, exercising right judgment when it comes to make a decision in your love life. Being guarded is only focused on “survival mode,” remaining stuck in the past hurt, as if the next opportunity for love will be like the last. Perhaps your next relationship or dating/courting experience will turn out the way you desire, but if you’re stuck being guarded, how will you ever know?

Being guarded is rooted in one thing!

Being guarded is simply rooted in this one thing: fear. Fear that you’ll make a mistake, fear that you’ll disappoint yourself, your family, or God once again. It’s the fear that you’ll get hurt again and a list of other feelings. But guarding your heart involves courage and discipline. It includes being able to say no, being bold enough to stand for what you believe is right and best for you, and being content in being alone instead of compromising for company. It also includes being brave to open your heart to others, but only those who deserve it. Guarding your heart means that you love yourself! Our bodies, minds and spirit all need protection in order to be healthy and whole. Leaving any part of you hurt out of fear is not giving room for love.

Whether you’ve realized you’re guarding your heart or being guarded, make room in your heart for God’s peace. He knows your heart more than anyone and He’s the only one to heal, sustain, and protect it. I’ll leave you with Philippians 4:6-7: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

BMWK Fam, do you notice when you’re being guarded and when you’re guarding your heart?

About the author

Tatianah Green wrote 77 articles on this blog.

Tatianah Green is a multimedia content creator and editor with a passion for writing. In 2012 she launched the blog BLISSforSingles.com {Black Love & Inspiration for Saved Singles} to encourage singles in faith and love. She is also a contributing writer for several other websites including Culture and God, Single Matters, and The Wire Hanger By Winnie. She recently published her first book entitled Journey to 30: A Single Woman's Guide to Living Unapologetically Without Deadlines. As she embraces her thirties, Tatianah works, plays and lives unapologetically for Christ in Chicago. Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram at @tfortrendsetta

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  1. Pingback: 3 Times It’s OK to Let Your Guards Down and Be Vulnerable in a New Relationship – Cafe Mocha Radio

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Do You Believe Men Actually Mature Around this Age?

BY: - 3 Mar '15 | Marriage

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Hi Dr. Buckingham,

Hope you are doing well. I’m writing you for some advice. My husband and I have been together for 4 years and have been married for 8 months. We have an 8 month old and have been separated for 4 months. He has problems with everything including my sister and cousin staying with us. I have a five-bed room house and he pays all the bills. I told him that my sister and cousin will move out after they get their taxes. He is not happy. Besides this issue, my husband also has trust issues. His mother chose a man over him and his dad is a recovering addict. He never had great role models.

We both grew up poor in low-income housing in Baltimore, but my parents are still together. Because of his life experiences, he does not really value marriage. He told me marriage did not mean that much to him. He said that he would have never gotten married if I did not marry him. I do not know what to do because he is a great father and step dad. I’m confused by all of his tactics. We still have sexual relations, but when he feels like it. He is still paying the bills, but I am not sure about our future. My father told me that men don’t grow up until they reach the age of 35. I need advice. Is there hope for my marriage? When Do Men Mature and Embrace Marriage?

Lonely Lady,

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Dear Lonely Lady,

I am sorry to tell you this, but your marital problems are not solely due to immaturity. Mature men realize that the world does not revolve around them. In contrast, immature men expect their needs to get met without demonstrating much empathy or consideration for others. Besides maturity challenges, your husband appears to have some unresolved psychological problems that require intervention.

Without good role models and/or intervention, some people go through life trying to figure things out the best way they know how. They often do what is common to them. According to you, your husband did not grow up in stable and loving household, so he might not be familiar with how to sustain a healthy marriage. You mentioned that your husband does not value marriage and only got married because of you. This is obviously concerning for you and is a sign of immaturity on your husband’s behalf.

Men mature at different rates than women and chronological age is not a determining factor for marital readiness. A man’s readiness for marriage can best be assessed by his ability to deal with anger, disappointment and conflict in an effective manger. Learning these skills do not occur without some form of commitment to change and growth. Also, a man’s ability to embrace marriage can be determined by his desire and belief about marriage. If he believes in marriage, he will embrace it.

Men mature and embrace marriage when they learn to accept responsibility for themselves and others. Marriage is a partnership with two people having different, but equally important roles in the relationship. Concern for others is a true mark of maturity, especially in marriage. Expressing concern for others and demonstrating empathy are qualities that indicate that a man is ready for marriage. Through professional counseling your husband can learn what it means to delay personal pleasures for marital pleasures. With the right kind of guidance and support, your marriage can survive and thrive. Your husband will mature and embrace marriage when he shifts from pleasure-centeredness and selfishness to purpose-centeredness and selflessness. Simply stated, men mature and embrace marriage when they put in work.

Best regards,

Dr. Buckingham

If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please send an email to askdrbuckingham@gmail.com

Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.

About the author

Dwayne Buckingham wrote 216 articles on this blog.

Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham, author of Qualified, yet Single: Why Good Men Remain Single and Unconditional Love: What Every Woman and Man Desires in a Relationship, is a highly acclaimed international clinical psychotherapist, life coach, relationship and resiliency expert, motivational speaker and corporate consultant. He is also the President and Chief Executive Officer of R.E.A.L. Horizons Consulting Service, located in Silver Spring, Maryland. To learn more about Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham visit his website at www.DrBuckingham.com.

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