Relationship Uncategorized

The bedroom

In continuing the saga of this month’s theme reflecting on marriage, I wanted to touch on marriage and Jesus’ death and resurrection. I know, odd, but as believers, we are greatly connected to the death and resurrection of Jesus in our earthly marriage. The whole idea of Easter is great but I’d like to pose that the concept of Easter and the celebration of Jesus’ victory should be something we celebrate daily. While there’s a great opportunity for the lost to come to know Christ during the Easter holiday, for those of us who have chosen to walk the path of salvation, we should daily live with the Easter/Resurrection Sunday attitude. Our hearts should bleed the reality of what Christ did on the cross and the joy of knowing that death and hell are overcome by a man who became sin itself in order that we may find freedom. In this freedom we can daily walk in victory despite what comes our way. We have access to God and should carry this in our marriage. Jesus gave us this access.

Jarrod and I have had plenty of funny moments in marriage. We’ve laughed until our tummy hurts and we’ve cried and grieved in prayer with one another. Without going into much detail, in the early months of marriage bliss, Jarrod and I found ourselves on our knees crying out to Jesus. Before that, I only saw Jarrod cry a handful of times. I mean, I could count on one hand and two of those times were on our wedding day. The tears we cried this day were different. We both groaned before the Lord, he more than I for someone we love. We cried out to Jesus and begged for an answer. While we didn’t get an answer we got something greater. We got peace. These were moments we stored in our core memory as forever cherished. This was an intimate moment in our bedroom between Jarrod, myself, and God. A moment that reminded me of Jesus’ death, and resurrection.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus cried out to his Father (Matthew 26:36-56). We can read that Jesus was filled with anguish and maybe even dread as to what was about to happen. Here Jesus is more human than He’s ever been throughout the gospel retelling of Jesus’ time on earth. In this garden, on his knees, in the dark, and under the shelter of an olive tree, Jesus cries out in prayer,

“My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

There is much great symbolism to Jesus’ retreat to the Garden of Gethsemane, but there’s two, in particular, I want to hone in on. The meaning of Gethsemane is “oil press.” It is said in the Garden of Gethsemane is where olives were pressed into oil. We know that oil is significant and symbolic of the atonement of Jesus Christ. In the synoptic gospels, we read the extreme pressure of Jesus’ suffering for all of us. His blood poured out for us and literally bled from His pores. Interestingly, when olives are pressed to make what we know as Olive Oil, they likewise go through extreme pressure and olives ooze out of their pores in blood-red droplets of oil.

Another important thing to note is that Jesus was under an Olive Tree in the Garden of Gethsemane. One of the first accounts of an Olive Tree or Olive Leaf is in the story of Noah and the Ark in Genesis chapter 8. Noah released a dove who later returned to Noah’s ark carrying an olive branch in its beak. This was a sign of God’s promise being fulfilled and a symbol of peace to the world.

During Jesus’ time in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus was most vulnerable with His Father. He was oil pressed, and in the grief He found great peace. In marriage, I’ve found our bedroom to be our Garden of Gethsemane. It’s the place where Jarrod and I have been most vulnerable with each other. It’s the place where we’ve cried out to our Father and it’s the place we find the most peace. While the comparison is by no means one to downplay the magnitude of what Jesus endured and the awesome wonder of the death and resurrection, Jesus did illustrate to us how we should live here on earth, and in our imitation of Jesus, we often neglect the ugly or gruesome side of this journey. We like the pretty. We enjoy and desire the easy road. But there will be hardships, there will be difficulties, and there will be times when you and your spouse will need to cry out to Jesus in your Gethsemane.

After Jarrod and I got done praying we felt tremendous peace. We didn’t immediately receive an answer or miracle but we did feel a peace that Jesus will work the miracle on behalf of our loved ones. We cried our war cry tears and stretch our arms out clinging to the one who saved us and continues to save us. That night we went to bed with our last words being, may your will be done. We slept in peace. Our circumstance didn’t change, but our hearts did.

When we give up our way for God’s way we often battle with what our hearts desire. Jesus exemplified that obedience is greater than sacrifice. Jesus’ obedience to death on the cross bearing on sin for you and I allows us to live in freedom today. It’s the reason we can have peace in the midst of a storm. It’s the reason we have second chances. It’s the reason we will be able to spend eternity in paradise if we choose the road of salvation. Jesus’ obedience took the posture of not personal will but rather the will of God. My question to you is simple. When you are in your Gethsemane, will it be your will or God’s?


I’m not prideful. I’m confident.

Honeymooning has come to an end, and it’s back to what the world calls “real life.” Let me tell you, we had a blast. Deets on that will come later. In the meantime, let me share with you something I learned during my one week of being married to my lovely husband, Jarrod. If you’re the type of person that waits the very last minute to ask for help, don’t quit reading. This is for you. I am not the type to ask for help. In fact, I rarely ever do. It’s not that I don’t appreciate help. I just have a hard time asking for it. Asking for help and confidence go hand-in-hand with it each other. Or you can put it this way, help and humility go hand-in-hand. Contrary to popular belief, asking for help is a sign of strength, humility and confidence.

One of my brothers recently told me pride can sometimes deceivingly look like independence. Independence and confidence look similar, but they do have distinctive differences. Independence defined is freedom from outside control or support. Independence says “I got this,” “I’ll do it on my own.” Confidence on the other hand is, assurance and certainty in one’s belief coupled with firm trust in the ability to rely on others when needed. Unlike independence, confidence says “I got this, but I need you by my side.”

Often times, those who struggle with pride view themselves as confident. We much rather walk around pretending we have our lives put together and seemingly perfect rather than ask for help. We much rather fail over and over again rather than admit we are in need of a helping hand. While not always, pride is the root as to why we lack the ability to ask for help.

Growing up, one of my favorite pastimes was building or constructing LEGO projects. My parents were never big on toys, but LEGO sets were their way to keep us busy . On Friday and Saturday nights especially we would pass the time watching VeggieTales and building new LEGO sets. I had a hard time asking for help. My brothers often would offer a helping hand, but I refused. I enjoy the satisfaction of knowing I did it all by myself. Come to find out, growing up that’s not the attitude to have. The likelihood of success is slim if that’s the approach on life. It’s hard to get by in this world without help. No wonder why there’s so many people in the world. If we were supposed to thrive by independently living and doing life on our own then I suppose we would be all on our lonesome on our own planet. But that’s not how God designed the world isn’t it? Whether you believe in God or not, someone created the world. I believe that it’s God. The one true God that is. He designed the world for us to coexist. He created people. People who we have the choice to choose to live with, lean and depend on — or not. The relationships we have, how we coexist and our dependence on one another is a direct reflection of our relationship with God. A lot of times we blame the world and everyone around us for how miserable our lives are. I’ve learned though that if everyone else is the issue and you’re the common denominator, then the issue really isn’t everyone else. It’s y o u.

During my one week of marriage the pride in me creeped out. I’ve been having issues with my wrist and hand as of late and have been sleeping with a stent brace. I failed to pack my wrist brace so we ended up buying medical wrap gaze to hold me over. Jarrod was busy eating a late night snack. Cheese cake actually. Him and I have very different definitions of “late night snacks”, but that’s besides the point. I got in bed and started wrapping my wrist. At least I was attempting to. Jarrod happened to take a break from his cheesecake and turned around only to see his wife, the struggle bus. Immediately Jarrod said, “Honey! Let me help you.” Naturally, I said “I got this!” He didn’t take no for an answer. After my response, Jarrod proceeded to say, “Vashti. Ask for help! You don’t need to do everything on your own. I’m your husband and I am here to help you. We were not meant to do life alone.”

Jarrod and I ended up having a conversation shortly after about why I feel the need to things on my own. Personality has a lot to do with it, but also pride. The satisfaction knowing I can do things on my own gives me great satisfaction. Sadly, it’s not the way to live and not the attitude to have. For those of you who follow the Christian faith you know that dependence on God is important. Your faith walk will lack luster and fail without depending on God. Similarly our walk in this world will fail if we feel and believe that life can be done independently. This does not mean being independent is wrong or a sin. Absolutely not. But when we live life on a pedestal of “I know it all and can do it all” we are bound to fall flat on our face.

I don’t know all about marriage. I’ve been married for going on 12 days now. But what I have learned so far, I hope helps you out. Whether married or not. Asking for help is a character trait we need. Humility is key. Let’s face it, you are going to fail if you believe you’re going to be able to do life all on your own. Some of you know what I’m talking about. Others, if humility isn’t implemented, unfortunately, you will find out soon enough. I promise, I don’t mean that negatively. I’m just telling you from experience. Here’s the thing, independence is great. But when we begin to feel that life can be done all in our lonesome, that’s when we’ve missed it. Life is meant to be done together. Life is meant to be done with people.

How have you allowed pride to look like independence? How can you ask for help today? Who can you ask for help from?


I called it quits!

It took me a while, but I finally got to the point where I just couldn’t take it anymore. It wore me out. It greatly stressed Jarrod and put a strain on our relationship. Rather than building our relationship on a solid foundation, it was built crumbling through the thoughts I allowed to consume me. I called it quits, on comparison.

To conclude this months topic on relationships, I want to cover the dangers in comparison. While there’s lots to cover in relationships, I wanted to target this topic specifically. I believe there are many of us that struggle with this and are either aware or unaware that we do. Comparison is not just damaging, but it is dangerous. No matter the relationship, it can never uplift. Rather it tears down and destroys both you and your significant other. We compare ourselves with others in a number of ways. We compare how we look, what we have and we compare who we are.

In dating relationships, comparison is similar. We compare how our relationship looks to those we deem as perfect. We compare what others give and do in their relationship compared to what our significant other gives and does. Lastly, we compare who our significant other is to those we’ve placed on the pedestal of perfection and judge whether they measure up.

If there’s anything you need to know, it’s this. No one is perfect. Absolutely no one. Besides Jesus who lived on earth, that is. With that, there is absolutely no such thing as a “perfect relationship.” Instagram shows the cookie cutter version of who we are. It shows the highlight and the glorified moments we live for. It doesn’t show the bad and ugly.

When Jarrod and I first started dating, I had a bad habit of comparing our relationship with friends, acquaintances and influencers who I thought had the picture perfect relationship. If I saw someone posted about their girlfriend, I’d mention that to Jarrod. If I saw a friends boyfriend bought them a charm, I’d mention that to Jarrod. If an influencer post that their significant other wrote them a song, then I’d mention that to Jarrod and by golly expect him to do the same for me. I was so focused on what others were doing that I failed to see the man that was endlessly in pursuit doing whatever it takes to make me happy.

If you are comparing your relationship with someone else’s, you first need to realize that there is an underlying issue of insecurity stemmed from poor self-esteem and self-worth. We compare because we lack the confidence in self and lack the ability to see good in oneself and in those around us. People who have low self-esteem never can see good in self and others. Rather, they always seem to find a fault. Here me out, there’s nothing wrong with setting high standards, but not to the extent that it tears down self and those we claim we love. Standards and expectations are not the same as comparison. We’ll talk about those some other time.

Jarrod called out on my insecurities pretty quickly in our relationship. I constantly compared who we were as a couple with those who I thought were in perfect dating relationships. I thought we had to be perfect because perfection is what was advertised on all social media platforms. So when we weren’t perfect, I thought we were failing at the whole “relationship thing.” If everyone else was attending an event, then that means we had to be there. If other couples dressed a certain way, then we had to do likewise otherwise, we wouldn’t be “looking” the part. If other couples got each other specific gifts, then we had to do the same in order to show we loved each other just as every other perfect couple marketed their love.

Let me tell you, no relationship is perfect! While there are glorified moments we live for, reality is, relationships are messy. They are fun, rewarding and full of hope, but also includes messy moments that require patients, mercy, compassion, forgiveness and unconditional love. Jarrod showed me just that when I battled with comparison. I wanted to perfect. He loved me through it by pointing it out and addressing the root cause of comparison. And we prayed. We prayed for healing in my heart and his.

So why do you compare? For you, it may be a childhood trauma. It may be feeling you are of no worth because you were told that all your life. It may be due to being bullied. If you’re like me, it may be because you are the epitome of perfectionism who thrives in all things “Type A.” Want to know a secret on the whole type A, perfectionism concept? That is pride. I’d dare to say comparison is a form of pride likewise. It also has jealousy and envy rapped right in it. No one likes to admit these things, but the truth of the matter is the reason so many of us try our best to appear to be perfect is because we are too prideful to let others see our flaws. We’ve become too consumed by what others may think and say that we can’t even admit to ourselves we need help. Rather, we point out everyone else’s flaws in hopes that if our surroundings change and mimics perfection then we are perfect.

I called it quits on comparison. It really wasn’t helping me nor my relationship. I was trying to make Jarrod into an godlike figure. That for one can never be done. If I truly love someone, then I will pursue them. In areas where there is need for work and improvement, then we work towards that, not because someone else said so or because others are doing it, rather because we truly want to become a better version of ourself.

If you are comparing your relationship with someone else’s one, STOP! Sweet friend, you are doing damage. A lot of times if we just think about it, the person that needs to change is not the one we are trying to change, it’s ourself. The work begins in us first. I had to realize that about myself. And the work required, is targeting the need to be perfect.

If you are comparing your relationship with someone else’s one, QUIT! Make an effort to admit where you went wrong and quit the comparison game. If there’s an area in your relationship you believe needs improvement, mention that, not with accusation, jealousy and envy, rather with hope towards growth.

So how to you stop and quit comparison? A practical step is watching our tongues. We compare through our lips. We verbalize what others are doing which puts down and dismisses the efforts made by our significant other. To the one battling comparison, we are saying, “Do better!” To the one receiving the brunt of comparison, they are hearing “You are not good enough and never will be.” That’s just not okay.

Another step to take that is necessary in quitting the comparison game is addressing the root cause of comparison. Do some soul searching for yourself. Why is nothing ever done good enough? Why do you want the picture perfect image? Why do you keep comparing? After you’ve figured out your why make it your priority to shift your why of negativity towards gratitude. Here’s what the Bible says about this in Philippians 2:3-4,

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

We compare because we secretly are envious and jealous. Because we are prideful. The opposite of these is humility. I’m not perfect and you’re not perfect. Those of us who claim perfection and compare in order to be the most perfect, we need a humbling of the heart. Let’s quit expecting others to be something they are not. Rather, let’s uplift those who we love and motivate them to be the best version of themselves. Our interest should shift from selfishness to selflessness. If you truly love someone, your goal should be to do just that. The way we love is more than action. A lot of that is found in the words be speak to them and about them. I will conclude with this, remember, before you go wanting to change someone else, try starting the change in you.

How can you begin breaking the cycle of comparison? What areas require work? Work on that, friend! You got this.


We’re just friends…

If you are in a loving relationship, there’s no such thing as “we’re just friends.” No, I am not talking about you and your significant other. I am talking about friendships you have with the opposite sex outside of your relationship with your significant other. If you disagree, don’t quit reading. Hear me out for a second. Friendships with the opposite sex is fine to a certain degree. By saying that, I mean you can have “buddies,” but never to the extent of texting one on one, private phone conversations, inside jokes, and especially driving alone together. It just doesn’t work. The moment you begin having relationships with the opposite sex beyond surface level is the moment you allow a third party in your personal relationship. No longer is it a boyfriend/girlfriend, fiancé/fiancée, husband/wife relationship. The third person becomes a stumbling block that can lead to a myriad of issues. No it’s not jealousy and no, it’s not being controlling. It’s the principle of honoring the relationship you are choosing to pursue.

I am naturally a friendly person. I grew up in a family that is no stranger to man. Growing up our home was always open. It was open to every and anyone. Whether it was family, church friends, work friends or school friends, my parents welcomed all. At times we even hosted missionary groups months on end. My parents are huge believers of being a friend to all. I took that very literally and did not realize how detrimental it could be in a loving relationship. As a female who is in a loving relationship, having a male friend outside of the one I am pursuing was not something I ever considered. Besides, I did not know all that comes with being in a committed relationship. With dating Jarrod, I had some learning to do. We both did. A lot of what I share are personal and serious learning on my part. Don’t get the wrong idea. Jarrod, my fiancé, whenever issues come up that require some learning on my end, he’s been amazing at not blowing up on me or get all crazy. He’s had some learning on his own too. We quickly had to understand that we are both learning and in that, there has to be grace. Back to the topic of having friends of the opposite sex. Let’s just say I almost allowed someone to become a third party. A place they had no right having. I bet you’re thinking wild here. Let me just give you the inside scoop.

Before Jarrod and I got engaged, in the early stage of our dating, a guy came along that needed help with his homeless ministry. Let’s call him Pete. I love helping people. And as mentioned above, I was raised to be a friend to all, so naturally I said, yes. It didn’t take long for Pete to ask for my number for “ministry purposes.” Texts quickly turned into phone calls. All along, Jarrod gently asked me to be very careful. Naturally, I thought Jarrod was being jealous and paranoid. Besides, Pete and I, well – “we’re just friends.” Boy oh boy was I wrong. While our texts and phone calls were centered around the happenings in “ministry,” I started noticing they became increasingly more frequent and longer.

The tipping point was when Pete asked me to go grab lunch with him after one of our ministry meetings [one on one]. It was then Vashti’s eyes were open to the reality of what was going on. What seemed harmless in the beginning led to someone that had created ties with me I had no intentions creating. I had to admit something to myself that Jarrod had told me from the start, Pete liked me. He knew I was dating Jarrod, but that didn’t stop him. Jarrod always tells me,

People don’t care if you’re in a relationship or not. If someone likes you, they will be there and their “being there” is simply a means to take the seat of the one that’s currently occupying it.

They are waiting for their moment and they will patiently wait until you put in place boundaries and remove the means for them to wait. It starts small only to have a snowball effect. You get to choose that snowball effect. After this whole ordeal, Jarrod and I had a hard sit down conversation.

Something I thoroughly love about Jarrod is that in hard conversations, he always makes clear, he loves me. Whatever we are discussing does not remove or change the foundation of love. Let me tell you, that conversation was not easy for this non-confrontational girl. But it needed to happen. We created boundaries in a number of areas of our relationship, but one of them we did not cover was that of having friends of the opposite sex. The one thing we did cover in that aspect was never driving alone with the opposite sex outside of immediate family, but outside of that, not much. Before I get into that, I bet you’re curious to know if I grabbed lunch with Pete. I did, but clever Vashti found a way to make this one on one lunch into a whole group event. We all carpooled and I made sure to take the backseat as to not be paired up next to Pete. On the way to lunch I humbly texted Jarrod, “You were right. I am so sorry!”

Two people cannot simply be friends. One will always end up growing some type of feeling for the other. Don’t believe me? Ask someone who’s been through some type of infidelity. I have no place speaking for friends and family who I’ve witness having gone through a separation or divorce. That’s their story to tell, but what I will say is, the common denominator is one party thinking “we’re just friends” which led to emotional and physical cheating. Jarrod was gracious with me. Sometimes I think he is a little to gracious as I am learning the ways around being in a loving relationship. You can say I grew up a tad bit sheltered. What I viewed as a harmless friendship, was an entry way for something that could have ruined the trust built between Jarrod and I.

So what did Jarrod and I agree on? In our conversation I found out something eye opening. Other than his female family members, Jarrod doesn’t text any other females. On occasions, if it’s to surprise me then he’ll text my sister in laws and my closest friends. Outside of that, Jarrod firmly believes he has no place texting any other female. To say I felt pretty crappy is an understatement. He didn’t tell me that to make me feel bad about myself. Jarrod shared his heart to make clear his priorities and his top was to honor God and then me. His way of honoring me was never creating a space that I would lose his trust.

Now don’t get the wrong idea about me here. It’s not like I have boys on end texting me. That’s not it at all, but the ones that did have my contact information, I had to put a firm line between me and them. Currently, I work with mostly men. Married and unmarried, and to protect all hearts I’ve implemented Jarrods example of honoring me. If it’s not work related, there’s no place for texting/calling. After 5pm, if it’s not an emergency, then it can wait. My priority is first God and then Jarrod. In honoring, I had to set boundaries that will protect what’s sacred.

Here’s the thing, if you need to have friends with the opposite sex while in a committed relationship, you’re in the wrong relationship. One of my sister-in-law’s has this saying, “it’s you and your spouse against the world.” You choose to make your significant other the priority. That doesn’t begin in marriage. If you are dating just to date, that’s a whole other issue. But if you are seriously dating with the intent to marry, create healthy habits of boundaries with the opposite sex. It’s not control. It’s not trust issues. It’s not even jealousy. It’s removing any means to create distrust, dishonor, and infidelity of any sort.

I will conclude with this, some things we’ve implemented in terms of opposite sex relationships that we’ve held strong and firm on are:

  • No driving alone with the opposite sex outside of immediate family.
  • If it’s not work related or an emergency, there’s no place to have a text/phone conversation with the opposite sex.
  • For our friends that are married, if there’s a need to text one of them, we form a group message for that. This is to honor our friends marriage.
  • (this one is important) NEVER confide in friends of the opposite sex. The moment there’s secrecy, trust between you and your signifiant other becomes questionable.

Don’t create a room where emotional or physical cheating can creep in. Protect what’s sacred and always remember that it’s you and your significant other against the world. There’s no such thing as “we’re just friends.” Someone always ends up creating a tie/connectedness.

Do you have “we’re just friends” of the opposite sex that you text and call outside of your loving relationship? Has that created issues in your personal relationship? Figure out what your priority is. If you cant, then you probably shouldn’t be in a relationship.


Don’t talk to me.

Continuing on the theme of relationships, let’s talk “Communication.” I can go on forever on this, but in order to not transform this blog into a book I’ll get right to the point. Communication is key in any relationship, but more so in dating/marriage relationship. As important as it is, communication may not be important to everyone and by that I mean, it was not important to me. Odd being I enjoy communicating through words.

The first year of dating, Jarrod and I had a hard time because I found it extremely difficult to communicate. A lot of that stems from my upbringing. We are the way we are based on how we were raised and the example that was before us. Don’t get me wrong, my parents did an awesome job, but no one is perfect. No marriage is perfect. That is why it is so very important that if there are things you saw growing up that were not done well, when you start a family your job is to break history’s cycle. Don’t continue bad family traits. The excuse of “that’s the way we do things” is not only selfish, but a weak excuse that stuns character development and growth.

Jarrod is the type of person that wants to immediately address the problem. I on the other hand, would much rather wait things out or forget about it entirely. It goes as far as I’d tell Jarrod, “don’t talk to me” as means to avoid the conflict entirely. Sometimes it got even wild as I’d avoid him entirely so as to not have to address the problem at hand. Jarrod always teases that for someone with such small stature, I can be a fireball. Trust, me I am not proud of that side of me. Confrontation is not my cup of tea. Not in the slightest. I just hate addressing issues. I’d much rather sulk in my hurt than address the issue and move on. With our difference in personalities in how we address problems, we bucked heads quite a bit. Naturally so. It can be the simplest most basic miscommunication, I’d much rather avoid rather than talk out what would take less than five minutes to resolve. With our unique approach in how we address miscommunication and problems, we had to work through a number of issues early on. All because one party wanted to deal with things in the moment and other didn’t.

Want to know a secret? Well, it really is no secret since we’ve told those who asked advice on communication. Here it is, we went to counseling. We finally got enough of it and went to our Pastor seeking guidance. We didn’t want to call things quit because of communication. Besides communication issues, we were doing just fine. We did however, did not want to keep bad habits throughout our relationship. The inability to communicate was not grounds to walk our separate ways. After talking to our Pastor, we decided on bi-weekly counseling sessions using the Prepare Enrich couples assessment tool. This tool was primarily used in the church for marriage counseling. We didn’t want to wait until marriage to work out issues and figure out how to communicate. Pastor thought it was a brilliant idea and so counseling was in session.

Through counseling, I found out a lot about myself. We both did. We realized, we both wanted the same thing. We wanted peace and understanding. The difficulty was we showed that to each other very differently. Jarrod’s version of peace is squashing there and now in order to not deal with a grumpy [at the time] girlfriend. My version of peace is moving on and forgetting about it. Neither approach is correct. Our intents while may seem pure to one party or the other was really stemmed from selfishness. I selfishly wanted to get over it and so did Jarrod. We expressed this differently.

The goal of communication and conflict resolution is not merely “getting over things.” It is healing a wound. Whether big or small, a wound remains a wound unless addressed to heal. Left unresolved, the wound only get’s bigger until you have an infected and poisoned heart. That’s where bitterness comes from [a discussion for another day]. Healing is found in proper communication. Through counseling we were able to develop tools that we use today and probably will continue to do so through the length of our relationship. We have not and will not always get it right, but we’ve implemented these tools time and time as issues come up. Interestingly, issues became increasing less as understanding between our different communication styles were addressed and grasped by the party.

Here’s one tip I will leave with you. If you are struggling to communicate with your significant other, figure out your different communication styles and choose to meet in the middle. I cannot instantaneously process like Jarrod can. He knows how he feels and means what he says and can confront with no issue within the moment conflict arises. My personality requires time. I need to process, formulate my thoughts and understand exactly how I feel. If rushed I will say things I will eventually regret and cannot take back. The words that come out of my mouth when hurt and angry cuts deeper than actual wounds. In order to avoid being placed in that position, we had to learn to meet in the middle. Jarrod had to understand the importance of giving time, while I had to develop a habit of condensing the processing time. It wasn’t easy at first, but the more we implemented, the better we got. If an issues comes up, I give Jarrod a reasonable time that I would be ready to talk and we would decide mutually if that was too long drawn out or reasonable. Today, I can proudly say that rather than taking hours to get over things, within a couple minutes we can resolve, heal and move forward. Bigger issues can extend to an hour or so, but for the most part, we were able to resolve. Most importantly, we were able to heal whatever hurt was present rather than simply getting over things.

I will leave you with this. While I am a huge believer of counseling for those who are struggling in their relationship, if you choose not to, here are a couple things to keep in mind:

  • It’s always better to resolve the differences you have with those that hurt or offend you.
  • Understand forgiveness is for you, not them.
  • You are not always right.
  • The goal of communication is never to prove a point, rather to hear the heart of those that are hurting.
  • Conflict resolution requires give and take.
  • Never use “name calling.”
  • Never bring up the past.
  • Give each other grace
  • Most importantly, remember to love.

Are you in conflict with a loved one or friend? How can you make things right today?


More than “sex before marriage”

If you didn’t know, it’s wedding month which means why not center this months blogs around all things relationship. My fiancé Jarrod and I have been engaged for 9 months and this month, on April 29th, we will become husband and wife. Our relationship has not been easy. It’s taken quite a bit of work. Now, we most definitely do not know it all, but we have learned a lot throughout our 8 months of courting, 2 years of dating and 9 months of engagement. One thing we’ve found is that the church does an awful job at helping young Christian couples who want to do things right, do things right. Reality is, we just don’t talk about it. Growing up, the fear of God was drilled into my heart that I knew sex before marriage was a no go. Why? Because it is sinful (what I was told). Don’t get me wrong, I completely agree but, can we just be real here… there is way more that can be done before marriage that is outside of “sex” that is also sinful which defiles the marriage bed. 

So what is sex? 

Sex can be talked about in two forms. The first is considered a person’s gender. This can be male or female with the basis stemming from chromosome in the human body. From my vague memory of biology in high school, males have Y chromosome and females have XY chromosome. That is the very basic generalization of sex.

The second form of sex is when a man and a woman joins together to become one (the joining of male and female sex organs). Our bodies were uniquely created to fit into each other. Neat huh? But why is this so important in Christian living? Why do we stay away from having sex before marriage? From joining with one another…

From a biblical perspective, Old Testament writers hammered on the issues of sexual immorality. Let’s start from the beginning. Genesis 2:24-25 states

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” 

Jarrod and I both have never had sex. We’ve both chosen to wait prior to dating each other. But I will say this, we sure have been tempted. Naturally so. When you love someone you want to share your life with them, but there is a place and a time for that and marriage is that time and place. Besides the act of sex, we’ve discovered we’ve had to be very careful because there are things that can easily lead to the trap hole of sexual immorality. You can defile the marriage bed and join with each other outside of the act of sex. That’s what I want to talk about. The church says, “DON’T HAVE SEX” and that’s that, but what about:

  • Wandering Hands
  • Sexting
  • Lustful thoughts
  • Masterbation
  • Pornography

I’m sure there are others out there that I am unaware of, but just to name a few, those are a form of sex that defiles the marriage bed and can hurt any relationship. Entertaining any of those can lead you down a trap that is very difficult to escape. While Jarrod and I managed to not fall down the rabbit hole, we sure were tempted and when we were, learned to step back, seek God, and allowed those who are in our corner to speak truth, wisdom and perspective.

I have some dear friends that have shared the battle of sex they’ve dealt with prior to marriage and in marriage. Both Christians and non-Christian alike. The common theme shared from their struggle is the shame that sex outside of marriage brings. Interesting how the Bible says “they were not ashamed” in Genesis. Whether it is the act of intercourse or wandering hands, sexting, lustful thoughts, masterbation, or pornography. This shame comes about because of the vulnerability it requires and the human body designed to know and understand good from evil. Shame is not present when the union is done within the right context.

Look, no one teaches a 5 year old how to lie, but they know it’s wrong. Hence the guilt on their face when addressed. The difference between good and evil is engraved in human nature. The reason we struggle is not because we do not know. Rather, it is because we reject the knowledge we do know. Sin in dating comes in all shapes and forms. We know right from wrong. The issue is, we don’t talk about it. Rather, we pretend the only sin in dating is the act of sex, when the steps leading to that are left unaddressed.

Imagine you had $1Million in an account. Someone comes to you and say they have $1Million likewise and would like to join accounts. You’d probably say no because that’s a complete stranger. But if it’s someone you know and love like a significant other you are pursuing then, you’d be more inclined to do so. Joining accounts means, you have access to their money and they has access to yours. That’s intense vulnerability right there. But can you really trust this person with your money? As much as you love them, what if they run away after accounts are joined? What if they spend it all? You would probably experience quite a bit of shame, guilt and regret, right? It would be different if you had a binding contract. A contract built on trust, truth and honesty that is willing to stand the test of time.

Similarly, sex was designed to be under a covenant (contract). From a biblical perspective, a covenant is an undertaking of legal contract built on a promise of faithfulness, committedness and love between God, man and woman. Under God’s covenant there’s Gods promise to protect and bless. Overtime, the court of law adapted the role of a covenant to a contact with similar principles. Sex is an exchange of self. Beyond loving someone, sex is an act of ultimate vulnerability and trust. This my friend is why I believe our creator, God, designed it in the first place. He knew that man and woman sharing such intimacy would require a covenant under His blessing.  

That is by no means saying, once you lose it you lose it. Mistakes happen. Awful things happen in this world, but there is grace. There is forgiveness. And above all, God is such a good God that he is able to redeem. The secret is not simply saying “no more.” It is no secret honestly. Whether you believe in Jesus or not, if you are ashamed of your past or are struggling to remain pure in your relationship, God is your answer. If you cringed at that, I get it. The “God” card upsets me at times too, but that was and still is the answer for Jarrod and I. Thankfully, both of us had the same goal in mind. We both wanted to honor God with our bodies and as difficult as it got, we always resorted back to Gods word. Remaining pure is more than the act of sex. Remaining pure has to do with your mind, heart, soul and body. Lack of attention and discipline in keeping your mind, heart and soul pure makes it very easy to give your body away. The key is keeping the innermost part of your body pure with Gods word and truth.

For my readers who have had sex before marriage and is carrying shame. You are not your mistakes and you most certainly are not meant to carry that scar. I’ve seen Jesus do some pretty amazing things through friends and family and have redeemed what was broken. Seek His name and seek His love. Don’t know how, send me a message. I’d love to connect.

For my readers in a dating relationship and you’re tempted to mess up or have messed up. Now’s your time to take action. Tempted to sit another 20mins in the car alone together? Don’t. Tempted to visit each other’s apartment alone for “just a movie night”? Don’t. You and your significant other need to be on the same page. If you are not in agreement, then you are dating the wrong person. If they are not willing to respect your body, then it’s time to call it quits. You have to agree that wandering hands, lustful thoughts, sexting, masturbation and pornography are off the board, completely (inside and outside of marriage). It not only dishonors each other, but as a follower of Christ, it dishonors who God has called you to be.

If it means not driving together. Do that! If it means setting a curfew. Do that! If it means finding an accountability to track you’re coming and going. Do that! If it means writing a sticky note in your car that says “I will wait!” Do that! Extreme measures often times proves great results. All those ‘do that’s” are exactly what Jarrod and I did when the love between the two of us began growing. We both agreed on honoring each other, and in order to do so we had to take some extreme measures. But most importantly we made it a priority to keep the innermost parts of us pure. The wait is worth it. As April 29th quickly approaches I am realizing more and more, how beautiful the wait has been. Sex (all that it entails) is a wonderful picture of redeeming love, of giving up self, the wants of each other, putting it aside in reverence to God and each other.

Singles out there, honor yourself and your future spouse by becoming the person you hope they will be. Let’s get this straight though, chastity is not a superiority card. It is a choice. You got this!

Make waiting more than the act of intercourse. How can you make a step towards purity of mind, heart soul and body?