There should be a name for the time frame prior to marriage and before an engagement. We use the term premarital, but it is only in reference to counseling or a form of consultation. If we don’t use this formal service, then what is it called? Typically, the general label is “single.” However, when a person gets into a relationship, this becomes problematic. You aren’t single anymore, but you aren’t married. Yet, a commitment has been made and it has expectations and standards.

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You see…People get married and continue to live as though they are single. We promote it by calling it protection, stability or ensuring independence. When someone says,”I want to get married, but I plan to keep my apartment just in case”, it is considered praiseworthy.  It is seen as a smart move because you could marry a fool and end up homeless! Few suggest more intent be given to the proper selection of a spouse, which is the ideal remedy. Or, you may hear, “We can marry, but I want separate accounts to protect my money…My wife doesn’t need to know how much I earn…I own a home and I am not selling it or renting it when I get married…” These beliefs promote a single lifestyle, which is great when a person has no plans to marry. If you do, at some point, the mindset needs to shift.

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You will need to see your daily life as a partnership with another person to consider and to accommodate. When you marry, you assume your role and responsibility for your part of the relationship. Continuing to maintain independence in areas of your life where co-dependency should occur is problematic. Marriage is a healthy interconnected union. A person will need to begin to make this mental transition prior to marriage.

There’s divorce and then there is the period prior to the divorce. This is when a couple typically has not redefined any terms for their new relationship. It is hard to be married, and not be married. Kinda weird….

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For men, they express feeling exhausted by the emotional pull to reunite, feelings of guilt for leaving the children and being angry about another man being around his family. A soon-to-be-Ex-wife may not be quite prepared for the nuances of single parenting and desires another attempt “to make it right.” You’re not there and don’t want to be! It sucks when friends and family inform you of the somber faces of your children due to your absence. No one wants to hear their mother tell them how sad her “grambabies” are because “Ya’ll grown folks can’t seem to get it together…I didn’t raise you like this.”

And most importantly, when choosing to leave the family home, nothing prepares a man to see another man sitting in his favorite chair when he drops off his children. Yes, your wife may begin another relationship prior to the finalization of the divorce. You can choose to do the same, but it often doesn’t work out well for many. We don’t have too many understood or unwritten rules for this scenario. People make them up as they go along and it often goes badly!  All of these scenarios are difficult to accept. These are also matters we do not consider when agreeing to divorce. When doing so, we agree to all the issues, planned and unplanned, which accompany it.

For women, very often, an abuser increases his abuse. How do you leave a man and he acts worse than he did when you lived with him? It happens! He feels he has lost control so he seeks ways to influence your life. This is a man you were not able to have a marriage or family life with. Yet, if you have children, he is family! You have to create amicable relations with him when you know you can’t stand him! And the feeling is mutual!
The verbal and emotional abuse intensifies. When he calls, you feel the same level of anxiety as you did when you lived together. He continues to make requests of you and expects you to do it! It can be difficult to establish boundaries, especially if he continues to provide a form of financial support. In his eyes, divorced or not, until you remarry, you’re his wife!
In addition, a woman may now have to adapt to being a single mother. It can be hard to watch your Ex live the lifestyle of a single man while you remain at home with his children, without help. It adds to any resentment, hurt and feelings of low-worth you picked up from the marital problems. The last thing you need is another reason not to like him and his way-too-happy-to-be-single-life!
In between these inconsistent, emotional and unstable times, frequently we have to find ways to co-parent, to resolve financial matters, to inform family and friends, to create new lives and to forgive. Be honest with yourself about feelings and thoughts. Do not act impulsively. Definitely do not use divorce court to get even for the argument after your best friend’s wedding in 2005. And know, you have time, even after the divorce papers have been signed, to be polite to one another. It doesn’t have to be for the sake of children. It can be for the sake of your own sanity.

We all look for and speak of the joys of marriage. There are many of them. Ok…Done talking about those for the day!

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When we are honest about human behavior and expectations, we can be better prepared for the realistic moments that arise. For example…Wait! This isn’t an example. This is the real ISH no one talks about unless they want to be honest with you. Now, back to the example, which really is a real life scenario married couples experience!

Marriage brings out, displays and is a perfect stage for character flaws. You love this person immensely. Your marriage is great until all hell breaks lose at random intervals in life.  Many people admire your husband or wife, but you see and know behaviors, habits and incidents you’ve shared with no one, with the exception of a Marriage Counselor or Member of the Clergy, if it has gone this far. And you didn’t tell them everything! The great husband is also the man who had emotional affairs online until your first child was born. You knew the name “Honey Baked” was not about ham because he’s been vegan for years. He isn’t even good at not being the great guy others believe him to be! She “stretches the truth” about how you monitor her spending, to your disadvantage, to save face in front of others. You suck it up, keep your eyes on the bank account and her debit card.   Your lovely wife is the same woman who can’t balance a soccer ball or a budget and caused you to file for bankruptcy. Your spouse has an awful temperament when angry, which they save for you, and only you! A gift you would gladly decline if given the chance.

You continue to live with this person and to increase in love over the years. If this were a colleague, business partner or friend, you would reconsider the relationship, implement distance between you or dissolve contact. Marriage isn’t designed for this option. It requires us to look at the totality of the person and forgive them. We make excuses for character flaws and look for that which we like that helps to sustain the marriage, parenting and family.

Consider the events and habits you overlook in your relationships. Name a few in the comments. Share ways  you continue to find benefit in creating a life with this person.

 

“Don't worry about a thing,every little thing is gonna be alright” (1)

When your heart hurts, the things that come out of your mouth, may not make sense. You may even say downright painful things, such as, “If he would take me, I would go back…I know he wasn’t good for me, but I want to be with him.”

What causes someone to consent to this type of pain? Who consciously seeks to hurt this way again and again? How does a friend help you through this.  It is hard to hear someone talk about the mistakes they made in a relationship where they have just been dragged through the mud and then rolled in dust! Very often, as a loving buddy, we become angry, and try to “Un-bish slap” our girlfriends back to existence! It may not work when a heart is broken, because other parts are also broken. People showed up to the relationship with a bunch of unaddressed, unspoken and unresolved hurt. Somehow, this new beau was going to love it away. It didn’t matter that the new beau was incapable of giving, or being a receptacle, of love.

What has happened is a life event, a relationship with a man, has filled in the gaps of an unmet need. The aim was to be self-serving and to use this gap to for selfish motives, for his own gain. But can we get mad at him? Sure! As long as we look at out own contribution to the situation. He did what you allowed him to do. He appeared because you showed up broken, empty and unrepaired. You have a responsibility to yourself to work on your stuff. No one requires perfection, and those who do, we have a few choice labels for them also! Normal folks enjoy the entertainment a quirk or two brings to a relationship!

Until you learn to select good people around you, versus settling for whatever or whomever presents themselves, this will be your pattern. You will write the script for this scene again. The names will change. You will continue being a character, a minute one, in your own life. Thus sucks! No one should have a minor supporting role in their own life. A black woman can get more than this at the Oscars!
Own your life and look for correction, spiritual guidance and the counsel of elders.

Regal Relationship Reminders…from “A Couple of Conversations”- A blog to connect with you.

1. It feels good to give. Blessings and rewards are in it! Sometimes, you do it because you feel good about it. Yet, doing things for another person does not mean it is balanced and fair when we do it with ulterior motives. For example, folks say, “I give because it feels good to me!”. In truth, we give so we can keep a tally! We give because it feels like a “Boss Move” and in control! Giving and receiving should not have any conditions attached to it. It should be done freely and reciprocated. If not, you will feel taken advantage of and begin to feel resentful of the other person. Begin with good mutual intent or it will backfire on you!

2. The way you love yourself will be reflected in the love you give, select and choose to have in your life. When you love you well, you select good people around you. Healthy folks don’t go around with the intent to harm others. When sighted, and in a good place, you will withdraw from this. If you find yourself in the midst of it, it is never too late to recover! It will be about your willingness to follow through on putting up distance or setting limits. Love for you will get you through it.

3. Know your non-negotiables! Everything cannot be a deal breaker! Your spouse will annoy you…may not always use good manners…may be a dreamer…has different values regarding family…makes poor choices with money. Does this change who you are as a person? How much does this behavior abuse the marriage? Or, is it that it frustrates you, over and over again? There is a difference between being irritated and defiled or mistreated, repeatedly, by another. Define your boundaries.

THE HIM Hasan Clay MBA, ABD and Naaila Moumaris-Clay, MS, NCC
© 2016
www.hasanandnaaila.com
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MR RIGHT

I often hear, “I am waiting for Mr./Mrs. Right-For-Me…I want the perfect one…I don’t want to be divorced.”

No one will be rightly perfect, including you. Ahhh… Yeah you, with the imperfections. Find someone workable and who does not have non-negotiable traits such as addiction, domestic violence and poor ethics. These symptoms kill marriage.

Don’t allow hints at personality quirks to give a false perception. What you see could be a benefit for you. We tend to run from things disrupting our comfort zone, even for our own good.

Divorce won’t happen if you don’t participate in it. Sadly, it can be inevitable. Take your time now.
In the meantime, make room in the closet for your future spouse and their toothbrush. Consider where his/her favorite drinks will go in the fridge. Remove papers from your bed. It is not an office!

Mentally and physically transition yourself for a spouse. They may move in!

Question: I struggle with the influences and students around my son at school. He was suspended last year. I want to stay a step ahead of him. What can I do to make sure he does not become completely lost and misguided by his friends?

Answer: The long-term goal is to teach your son to make healthy networks. Teens make connections between self & friends. If you make judgments about friends or criticize, it may feel like a personal attack. Keep it to yourself! Also, if you argue with your son often, he becomes argumentative & develops like-minded relationships. He does it with you. Why not choose friends who do also? Don’t model this role.

Invite his friends to your house or to an activity. Yes, it may mean an afternoon with 14-yr olds. It won’t hurt long! Allow them to feel comfortable. See beyond their style of dress or use of slang. This is still someone’s child. Get to know them. You are not to be a friend, but you can be a “cool” authority figure!

Beyond the school setting, ensure your son has directed social choices. You can choose which football team he plays or the amount of time spent at the bowling alley or theater. It seems small, but time-limitations can reduce the level of trouble. If he knows he only has 2 hrs, he may be less inclined to waste it breaking rules. He may prefer 2 hrs of fun.

The actual goal is for him to learn how to create productive relationships, to be trustworthy and to maneuver through peer pressure. He can’t learn if you tightly restrict social movement or make him avoid certain people. Negative influences live & breathe daily. As long as you do also, it can be combated.
Next, monitor your own friendships! Ensure your own natural circle displays the values you want him to have. If not, you lose credibility with him. And as always, trust yourself!Coupleofconversations

If we want to save money, we create a budget. We may skip Starbucks or another pair of shoes & take lunch to work versus eating out. We use coupons. We sacrifice. We may get a financial planner or accountant.

Your lying, lack of faith, gossiping, fornication, depression, infidelity, abuse & low esteem need a budget! How will you skip on reducing your lying? How will you end a sinful relationship that feels good physically & emotionally? How many prayers do you need to increase your faith? Can you stop buying things & buy into you? How will you save yourself from mistreating your husband or wife?

Get a behavior budget! Plan it out! Get counseling. Talk to an elder. Seek spiritual advice also. Be mindful, if you need help with money, you don’t ask your imam for strategy. Request prayer but you have to do the work, which may include professional help.

How much heaven or hell do you want to invest into? Your behavior budget determines the costs!
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..Coupleofconversations

1. Preparing a man’s plate for him is a big deal!

2. There are specific things required to maintain a ‪#‎marriage‬. Specific things also destroy it. People pick which one to play or to fight with regularly. Choose wisely.

3. Married couples easily ignore how much their marriage influences their children.

4. People convince themselves if no one knows their issue then no issue exists. ((FALSE!!))

5. Men use your “man card” gently. Pulling rank incorrectly causes you to lose your marital connection.

6. A long marriage does NOT mean a good marriage.

7. Don’t forget to be an individual with your own life, interests and purpose. Resentment will build if you don’t.

THE HIM and Naa’ila