Are you pregnant yet?

My least favorite question. It makes me cringe and it places unnecessary pressure to get to the next phase of adulthood. While I understand the intentions are mostly pure, that question can trigger harsh emotions for many women. 

A group of friends and I were hanging out and the topic of children came up. Of the group of us, one was a new mom and another was on her second. We were all enjoying the company of the baby in our midst and naturally, the topic of motherhood and childbearing came up. Each married woman chimed in on when they are planning if they are trying and their hopeful timeline. I kept silent mainly due to the food crammed in my mouth enjoying the conversation at hand and the hearts of that sharing. Then I got directed to a question: 

“Are you interested in having children Vash?” 

I was caught off guard and choked on the chips and guac in my mouth. I wasn’t upset or applauded by the question, but rather intrigued by the way the question was phrased. Never before was I asked if I was interested in having children. It was always “WHEN are you having children.” Before answering the question I asked my friend why she phrased the question the way she did. Her response overwhelmed my heart with conviction and with great appreciation for her sensitive heart. In a nutshell, she revealed that at a family event, a family member of hers was being bombarded by the older parents and grandparents about when she and her husband would have children. Seeing the pain in her eyes, my friend shut the whole group up and told them to quit asking. Later she found out that her family member and husband were actually trying for some years now and had not been able to conceive. That’s when she realized how powerful the word “WHEN” is and how much pain it can bring to someone who’s silently hurting over the pressures of others and longing to conceive while others judge the lack of offspring. 

I was convicted because I too have asked the question using the word “when.” While my intentions are pure much like many others, we have no clue what is happening behind closed doors of the woman the question is being directed at. She may have been trying for years. She has had a couple of miscarriages. She may not be able to have children due to genetics or medical conditions. Whatever her story is, that question poses pressure and deep pain for many women. 

“Are you interested…” approaches the topic of childbearing with grace. At least for me, it did. I didn’t feel pressured to give a response that would suit the room. I  didn’t feel guilty for not being a mom as yet. I responded with confidence that my husband and I aren’t quite ready yet and we don’t plan to start trying until a couple more years. The power was shifted to me. My sweet friend gave me the power to respond in confidence. No pressure, no shame, and no guilt. Rather, confidence. 

My challenge to you is to approach the topic of childbearing with more sensitivity. Newly married couples do not need to be pressured to move on to the next phase of life. Let that happen in God’s timing. Couples who have been married for a couple of years do not need to feel guilt and shame for not being parents “yet.” You don’t know their story. Instead, pray for them. 

I will end with this. Be kind to those around you. Love those that are hurting and remember to think before you speak. 

“Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.”

Proverbs 19:2


All my friends are married… what now?

Finally! You are in a relationship. You’re no longer the single one. You proudly hold the title of girlfriend/boyfriend. You’re not the third wheel. You have someone to do life with hopefully forever, however, all you’re friends are married now. They can do married things and while you’re just getting used to holding hands with who you believe will be your spouse someday, you don’t want to rush things. You want to enjoy the dating season, but how can you when everyone else is married and enjoying the wonders of married life? Your friends are going on couples trips and attending marriage classes and seminars while you’re new to the dating scene. Wonderful isn’t it? You got your answered prayer only for everyone else to keep moving on with their lives while you’re just starting yours (dating life that is). 

When Jarrod and I started dating I had to pinch myself often. It felt like a dream. Having a boyfriend was a big deal. For those of you who know our story, you understand. Getting into my family is no walk in the park. There was lots of waiting and lots of trying again and again until Dad and three brothers said yes. Pretty intense, but Jarrod was the guy to push through. He didn’t give up when the criticism came. He didn’t give up when dad said “not yet.” He didn’t give up when my very protective brothers drilled him. He also didn’t give up when I gave him a hard time or times for that matter. Jarrods persistence along with the Lord’s leading, subtle nudge, and peace made everything align just perfectly. I couldn’t be more excited for what the future held, but I also wasn’t ready to be a wife. Looking back, had Jarrod and I dated when he first asked my dad for permission we would have failed to represent the heart of God in more ways than one. We just weren’t ready yet. When we started dating I felt a shift in my heart and God began to stir new areas of growth that could only be done in the walk of dating. 

The first 6 months of dating were amazing. All the new things and the new adventures. We talked a bunch. There was just so much to learn about each other. As our friends started getting married, however, I started feeling that maybe we should get married too. Silly me. We were in no place to get married. I had to remind myself something my grandma use to tell my siblings and me while growing up, “Paciencia, nene…” From a child I was impatient. Impatient waiting for food. Impatient while I ate and impatient to move on to the next activity of the day. I haven’t changed much honestly. My husband often tells me I am the worst at being patient. I don’t get wild fuming, I just get whatever needs to be done, done rather than waiting for him. I really don’t recommend doing that, but if you’re like me, you’re not alone. I am working on it, and can proudly say my husband has noticed I’ve gotten a TAD BIT better at it. Now back to me wanting to get married 6 months into dating. Yes, I was eager.

Poor reasons to get married:

  • Because everyone else is married
  • In order to please your significant other
  • For selfish reasons

Everyone else was married and in my juvenile and immature mind, I thought that if we got married then I wouldn’t feel so left out or behind. I thought this whole love thing was a race and I needed to be in the first place. I didn’t vocalize this to Jarrod. I wouldn’t dare. I would have probably scared him, after all, he went through trying to get a “yes” from my family to even date me. He needed time to recoup before he asked permission for the marriage.

I think he knew I was wrestling because he would often remind me to enjoy where we were at. At a year in I realized how fun it was to be dating and at a year and a half, we discovered new things and boy did things get even sweeter. We slowly introduced holding hands and sweet kisses. Jarrod had my heart and I was beginning to understand what love is. As we approached the two-year mark there was a shift in my heart that longed to serve Jarrod. I longed to submit under him and I knew I was ready to be married. But I couldn’t rush things. Even though Jarrod and I had the talk about marriage, I had to keep waiting. I didn’t dare rush. I knew it was coming soon and I ensured every day I was his girlfriend I enjoyed every moment of it because until then I realized that seasons do shift pretty quickly and if our focus is solely on getting to the next, we miss what’s happening right before us. 

Things to do while dating: 

  • Get to know each other (ask the tough questions, share the good and, not so good and ugly)
  • Branch out of your circle of friends and don’t neglect your single ones
  • Travel with your married friends and have them keep you accountable
  • Travel with your girlfriends and guy friends 
  • Serve together and serve individually 
  • Become a better you

If you are in the dating season, don’t rush it. I’d even loup the engagement season in that too. It’s a wonderful season that goes before your eyes as fast as you can blink. Judah and the Lion wrote the song Landslide which perfectly illustrates how quickly life can transition from one season to another. 

“I climbed a mountain, then I turned around

And I saw my reflection in the snow-covered hills

‘Til the landslide brought me down”

Before you know it your reflection is a part of history. A history we can either choose to be a part of or only have vague memories of. The writer King Solomon knew this all too well. He advises readers in Proverbs 19:2

“Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.”

What we often desire we know nothing of. We desire to love and know not how to love. We desire companionship and have been poor friends to those around us. We desire grand things when we’ve been a slob at living (ouch). Take some time, clear your mind, and truly evaluate why you desire what you’re desiring. If it’s simply to gratify want and flesh, run. Run far from it. The best source for wisdom and understanding is the book that is founded on it. That’s the Bible. Don’t rush the season you’re in. Enjoy where you are at and truly live a life with no regrets. 


All my friends are dating… what now?

Oh, the joys of singlehood. I truly mean that. Singlehood was one of my favorite seasons. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed dating and I am thriving in all things married life, but there’s just some special about singlehood. 

I remember when my friends started dating it seemed as if everyone got the memo but me. I was in college. I had not dated before and I really wasn’t planning on dating. I was convinced that I would be single for the rest of my life and in my late 20s I would eventually adopt all the babies that didn’t have a home. While my heart longed to love and be loved, dating just didn’t seem to be a part of the cards. I also saw many friends go through heartaches from one relationship to another which aided in my disinterest in dating. I can also give credit to Robin Jones Gunn. If you’ve ever read the Christy Miller Series you’d understand. I prayed for my Todd. I even wrote letters to my future husband. In my heart, however, I just felt that being in a relationship was just too far out of reach. 

I eventually became the only single girl in my friend group. It felt pretty pathetic honestly. I was always the third wheel, the last to be invited, and often felt as if the invite was mostly out of pity than want. I wasn’t upset. I understood entirely. I applaud my friends who had the courage to invite me in my singleness. It was probably awkward knowing I would show up without a plus one. Nonetheless, the single era was one of my absolute favorites. Honestly, as each season transitioned into another they became my favorite, but singlehood was something special. As I am reflecting I can see the tremendous beauty in it. I was able to grow, form deep and meaningful relationships, branch out of my circle of friends, travel, and try new things. I was even able to heal in areas that I dared not venture to explore and become “the me” and I wanted to marry someday. 

Did I long to be in a relationship? Absolutely. I experienced many lonely days. However, whenever that longing to be in a relationship crept in I truly had to examine myself. Why did I want to be in a relationship? I knew I wasn’t ready and I knew my desire to be in a relationship was simply rooted in my need to fit in with the rest of my friends. Those are both poor reasons to be in a relationship.

Poor reasons to be in a relationship:

  • Because you’re lonely
  • Feeling left out
  • Someone is convenient 

The idea of having a boyfriend sounded great, but I knew deep down it just wasn’t time. Had I been in a relationship because someone was convenient and wanted to take the title of boyfriend, I could have done plenty of damage. I would have ended up hurting the person and myself. That desperation does no one any good. Too often we become focused on having the title of being in a relationship than actually pursuing someone with the right intentions. In singleness, I learned what was important during that time of my life. 

Things to do in singlehood: 

  • Form deep and meaningful relationships
  • Branch out of my circle of friends
  • Travel
  • Try new things
  • Become a better you

While singleness can be lonely, I’d dare to say that it is only lonely if we choose to make it lonely. Rather than depending on your friends who are in a relationship to find time for you, put yourself out there. Find new friend groups, new circles, and new communities. Find a friend who also is the only single one in their friend group. Form your own P.O. Box Club. That’s P for Pals and O for Only (another Christy Miller Series reference). Be friends with guys, and form bonds and relationships with people you wouldn’t have. Travel the world with your girlfriends. Try new things and explore all of God’s wonder. Most of all, become the person you want to marry. If you’re not great at money management, become great. If you’re not great at listening, giving support, fitness, healthy eating, volunteering, investing, being dependable, trustworthy, clean and the list goes on, become great at those things. Those are not just great traits to have, but they are a part of Christian living. I am sure your plan is not to settle, correct? Well, don’t give others the ability to say that whoever you end up dating settled by dating you. 

All in all, have fun while you are single. Watch cheesy Hallmark romantic movies and cry if you have to, but don’t dwell in the rut of singlehood. Get up, get out there and live. You are in your prime. Believe me, singlehood is wonderful. Everything about it is great. Pray for your future spouse. Write letters to them and ask God to not rush this season you are in, but in His timing, open the door wide and big!

“Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.”

Proverbs 19:2

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Mouth Wars

One of the most difficult things I’ve learned to do in marriage is tame my tongue. While I don’t quite have that figured out, I’ve been stretched tremendously since April 29th, 2021. Marriage reveals a lot about who we really are and can I tell you, Vashti LOVES to say what’s on her mind. Interestingly, I lean more towards the introverted side. I am mostly quiet unless I need to be social. Despite my “chill” and “laid-back” personality, I do have a hard time taming my tongue, especially in heated conversations. It gets cutthroat pretty quickly with a mouth war that leaves both parties defeated, wounded, and broken.

I mentioned this many blogs ago about Jarrod and I’s premarital counseling and the session we did on conflict resolution. If you missed those blogs, here’s an inside on how we tend to approach resolving conflict. Jarrod is the immediate resolver. I tend to linger, dwell and simmer on the situation. I don’t like to resolve instantly. In premarital counseling, we were advised to meet in the middle. I needed to communicate that I needed time and Jarrod and I both had to agree on a reasonable middle ground time that gives me enough time to blow off steam but also does not drag the conflict out longer than it needs to be. Learning and receiving tools and tips for marriage is easy. Implementing what’s learned when conflict arises is difficult.

In our almost one year of marriage Jarrod and I have had 3 “major” arguments. We do banter from time to time, but these 3 “major” arguments required us to implement what we learned. In last week’s blog, I shared that the root of these arguments stemmed from my disconnect with Christ. You see, often we expose what’s in our hearts when life gets heated. My lack of daily devotion to Christ revealed what was in my heart when Jarrod and I didn’t meet eye to eye.

Looking back, both of us agree that our “major” arguments could have been avoided and downright petty on both of our parts. Funny how in the moment all we want is to be right failing to see we are the same team and should be working together rather than against each other. Our arguments ended up being mouth wars that wounded the heart of the other and stirred insecurities as hurtful words often do.

There are plenty of verses in the Bible that touches on the importance of taming our tongues. King Solomon writes in Proverbs 21:23 that “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.” The Apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” James wrote in James 3:10, “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” Lastly, Matthew writes in Matthew 12:36, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak…” Again these are just a few I handpicked for this specific blog. If you’re curious about what more the Bible has to say about taming the tongue I challenge you to google it. It won’t take too long for you to be convicted.

While James was very clear that we cannot tame our tongues (James 3:8), he did encourage followers of Christ to seek purity of speech. In seeking purity of speech we seek the One who is pure and righteous. It boils down to the whole concept of you produce what you are plugged into or you are what you eat. If you consume good and practice good, you are more likely to release good whenever you’re faced with trying times. While I have not mastered this, Jarrod and I do try out best to seek purity of speech when mouth wars desires greatly to take over. We will never master this, but that does not stop us from trying to practice speaking from a pure heart.

Reality is, communicating can be difficult. Choosing our words especially when we’re heated is often strenuous. It’s easy to simply say what’s on our mind, bring up the past or throw dart words that wound and crush the heart. That’s easy. What’s difficult is choosing righteousness and holy speech. In choose this route however, you save you and your spouse/significant other the time it takes to apologize for your degrading and negative choice words. You also avoid an even bigger argument as choice words often stirs the pot and increases the heat of conflict.

You will only respond in purity if what you consume is pure. I have learned and is continuing to learn that my response is directly related to what I have been consuming on a daily basis. Whenever I snap, it is probably due to my lack of responsibility submitting my temperate to Christ. I need to daily surrender the parts of my heart I know easily stirs strife. You know what you struggle with. You know what areas in your heart that needs daily surrendering. Let me tell you, we can avoid plenty petty mouth wars if we learn to daily surrender the dirty parts of us that enjoys being right and having things our way. It is important to understand though, that while you may still not meet eye to eye, you are still on each others team. You are still rooting for the other. You are still one!

In wrapping up this weeks blog I want to encourage you. If you struggle with your speech, here are a couple things to remember when conflict stirs in your relationships or marriage:

  1. You are working together not against each other.
  2. Fight the urge to bring up the past – speak on what “fits the occasion.”
  3. Give each other grace and time to communicate.
  4. Practice praying about your response rather than stewing in your rightness.
  5. Fight the urge to use words that degrade, demean and that which can break the confidence of your spouse.
  6. Hug and kiss it out! (if you’re married)
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29 


Marriage Neglect

This time last year Jarrod and I were prepping for the biggest and best day of our lives. It was wedding month which meant lots of last-minute finalizing. I don’t remember the month of April being particularly crazy. We were more excited than anything else. The day before the wedding, however, is when everything hit me like a train. I got to the rehearsal dinner super late with traffic jams and lack of gas. The reality of showing up someplace late and the pressure I felt overwhelmed me that I had a breakdown for the century. I may be exaggerating a tad, but the Type A in me just could not come to terms with the fact that I had people waiting on me for over an hour. But we made it. We got through that hump and my heart eventually settled. I believe my emotions hit me like a storm because I knew my life was drastically going to change. While I was excited and sure about this change, I never took the moment to cry and embrace the change. My stubborn, got-to-be-strong personality couldn’t hold out any longer and the night before my wedding day is when my emotions got the best of me. I cried and let myself cry. I cried with excitement for what was to come, I cried overwhelmed by how far God had brought me and I cried with assurance trusting an unknown future to a known God. This is just one of the few stories I will share this month as Jarrod and I celebrate our one-year anniversary on April 29th. This month’s blog will be particularly fun sharing the things I’ve learned coupled with things Jarrod has learned in our one year of marriage. Now, the first thing I learned is that in the first three months of marriage I neglected God.

Marriage has been the sweetest. It has its moments but on a whole, I’ve loved everything about it. I didn’t know I could fall in love with someone so deeply. It’s crazy how you think you love someone until you both give each other everything and you fall deeper in love with one another. I’ve come to learn that all true love relationships become both harder and richer the more they grow. This year of marriage was one of growth for both Jarrod and me, and my relationship with Christ. Every year is a year of growth, but this particular year proved the rotten nature to neglect God when life is sweet.

G. Michael Hopf, an author of a post-apocalyptic novel is quoted saying,

Hard times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times create weak men, and weak men create hard times.

G. Michael Hopf

This is said to sum up a stunningly pervasive cyclical vision of history. I’d also say this sums up day-to-day humans and their relationship with Christ. When life is difficult, it’s easy to depend on God. It’s fairly easy to pray and seek God’s truth. In hard times we depend on and lean on Him as our last hope. In these hard times, we often become a lot stronger and in our dependence on Christ, we see the fruit of devotion to Him. We call these the good/sweet times. In the good and sweet times, we often become weak in our walk. Because life is so sweet we don’t pray as often, read God’s word as often, praise as often, or remain quiet as often. The first few months of marriage are when I realized I was so focused on the sweet times of marriage that I lacked my intense devotion to Christ. While I still attended church I was not daily praying, daily reading, daily worshiping, or daily in stillness. I simply got around to spending time with God whenever I had time and I became quite okay with it. It wasn’t until Jarrod and I signed up for a course at our church did I realize that I had neglected God. No, Jarrod isn’t to blame because he was still devout to Christ and daily seeking. The only person to blame is me. I was entirely wrapped up with the good that I failed to nurture the fire of growth.

On our wedding day, I made a covenant with God, Jarrod and I. Often I believe we view the marriage day as a covenant between man and woman. We fail to factor Christ in the equation. If you are a young couple or you are going through a season of sweet/good times, I urge you to fight the urge of neglecting Christ. It’s easy to neglect God in the good times and it is easy to depend on God in the bad times. Seek Christ in all times and in all things. While I am thankful I bounced back fairly quickly and my marriage neglect of Christ didn’t drag on too long, it doesn’t remove the fact that I did neglect. Don’t let the history of the Old Testament repeat in your hearts.

In Deuteronomy 32, Moses exhorts the new generation of Israelites to live as God’s obedient people in the promised land and to neglect not. We learn that faith is not automatic nor is it mechanical. Faith is personal and active and can only spring from a living relationship with God. Our faith walk becomes personal when we devout ourselves to God in the good and not-so-great times. My challenge to you is the same as Moses’ challenge to the Israelites. He challenged the people to faithfully obey the Lord and reject all forms of idolatry. He called on the new generation to formally renew the earlier covenant with God that their parents had broken. He challenged you and I to, love the Lord your God with all your hearts and with all your souls and all your strength.

Marriage can easily become your idolatry that you neglect the one who got you there. As beautiful as marriage is, it can only remain beautiful and sweet if we allow the one that designed it to remain at the center. Don’t neglect Christ in your marriage. Don’t neglect your spouse. Don’t neglect yourself. The covenant you made on your wedding day was never with one, rather it’s with you, your spouse and God.

You deserted the Rock, who fathered you;
    you forgot the God who gave you birth.
Deuteronomy 32:18

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.


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?