Left For Dead

As young twenty-something, single mothers she and I were the only ones in our low-income apartment community to be college students. Our children were close in age. She was a mother of twins and I had a one-year old on my hip. Her family was disgruntled with her for being an unwed mother, but still peeped in with occasional support. My own family gave help, unwanted advice and the side-eye as I too struggled to raise my son alone.

We made sure each of us had gas money. We put our coins together to buy groceries. Weekends were spent going back and forth from our respective apartments. We would run go back and forth from the back door, from one house to the other. She had this silent way of speaking to you with her unyielding light brown eyes. When I first met her, I felt she was weird. Her stare. I didn’t know how to read it or what it meant. I came to learn it meant nothing other than, “I’m here with you.” Later, our friendship grew as  another Beloved Soul embraced our circle. For years, our struggle was real, but softened by the three of us.

Few could relate to being so broke, bougie at heart and down for long haul to get up out of that Section 8 housing! We stuck together like thieves cause the three of us understood the plan even when we didn’t really have one.

Over a span of 25 years, self-acceptance, grandchildren, 10-40 extra pounds, graduate degrees, weddings, more children, entrepreneurship, buying our first homes, our first divorces and loving our last fool passed over our lives. It was never planned or discussed, but two of us ended up as mental health therapists. She opened her own mental health agency with a partner. There were bumps in there, but she made it work for her. And we all lived our lives.

Like many, social media became the place to catch up, but we did. Her giggle! It comes in spurts and then closes with a smile! The spurts are like a water faucet struggling to let water flow, but nah…said the water spout!

Yesterday, she became locally famous, but I’m not proud of her.

I’m pissed actually. Yes, there will be lights, and crowds and hand holding and speeches to commemorate her, but I’m pissed. I don’t want her death to be her greatest achievement.
To see crowds of people who don’t know her water-spout laughter to stand in a public park stained with her blood and acknowledge her as a victim of domestic violence pisses me off. Hthe-benefits-of-anger-management-counseling-3.jpger life is so much more than the location of her last moment of knowing breath.

I’m pissed because an Ex not to have known to have ever struck her before allegedly stabbed her to death after threatening her for weeks. I’m pissed because he allegedly planned to enforce his death wish on her without any concern for those who loved her to life.

His anger for Alicia having left him couldn’t be killed so he chose to kill her.
Alicia was found leaning against her car in a public park. Alone. She bled to death. No one should die alone. What was she thinking? Were her thoughts comforting to your own soul? How does a dying mother tell her children goodbye when they don’t know your leaving them? My other friend, the Beloved Soul is helping Alicia’s young adult children navigate this tragedy, bury their mother and holding the hurt in her own heart simultaneously.

When the alleged attacker was arrested, it was reported his hands were bloody and cut up. I smiled. She fought back. That’s my girl.

BAE Watch

This is Bae! You know it. You can’t imagine disagreeing with this person. You feel like you’ve known this person your entire life. Your souls mesh. You laugh. In sync. Finally, you know what folks mean when they say, ‘My heart skipped a beat” and it isn’t due to heart disease! When Bae’s “oh-so-sweet-Bae-Like” Nastupidsmileme shows on your Iphone, you giggle for so long, you forget to answer. Oh…you’ve got it bad. Your friends can’t stand you! The feeling you get with Bae is like no other. Bae gets you & let’s you be you. The friendship takes no effort.

You have met THE ONE.

And one day, when your Bomb-Bae love story requires you to make joint decisions, requires transparency, requires you to talk about things you don’t want to talk about, requires both of you to pull back on your bad habits, requires you to admit you didn’t show the full you, including your halitosis, requires you to apologize and to forgive when you’re right… Bae can go Buh-bye! You never intended for Bae to have so many questions. How can this person be committed to you & doubt you?
When did Bae get to be so stubborn? This person acts like an apology is blasphemy.  What happened to the person who would always talk to you at night? Now, Bae scratches & falls asleep in front of the television. This cannot be what forever looks like!

The problem is you put so much emphasis on Bae, but what do you want in a relationship? What do you require for love? How do you want someone to talk to you when you’re angry or how do you want to be supported? Did Bae act out and offer those commitments to you or did Bae deliver feel-good fun for now?
Good people don’t make good relationships. You may meet a really good person, but it doesn’t mean you’ll have a wondermous relationship with them. Good people aren’t always the best person for you. clouds-forever-forever-love-heart-heart-Favim.com-500686.jpg
Good relationships make people better. Look for a person willing to give you the meaning of a good working relationship. Now, that’s Bae.

How To Avoid the High Costs of Meeting Someone Online: What Is Your Marriage Budget?

Before you marry, know your marriage budget. This isn’t about how much you can spend for a wedding, reception or for invitations. This marriage budget is about how much  your heart can afford to take or to lose. A heart is a sensitive resource and the cost of its repair requires a great deal of time, effort, tears, ice cream at 2 am and maybe even counseling. No one wants to pay this!

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We’re going to look at some basic requirements and actions needed when meeting someone online to reduce heart repair or damage!

1. Ask yourself, how much time and cash flow you have to invest to know if someone meets your criteria. If you cannot afford to travel to Timbuktu, quit following and liking the pics of the Timbuktu heart slayers on social media! If your Southwest Rapid Rewards will not let you be great enough to access Timbuktu love, then keep your love within a 2-block radius of what you have the capacity to do. Keep your love in your vicinity!

If your job does not allow you to take time off at this time to visit the Timbuktu Love Of Your Life, then consider local loves. Look a lil harder when you go to the grocery store. What about the man who always repairs your car? He’s kinda cute!

2. It only requires the cost of the internet or your already-paid cellphone bill to connect, to run game, to meet, to begin liking and to talk with someone online. A heart has much higher expenditures. In today’s technological world, you can virtually date someone in Turkey this Friday night and not speak Turkey-talk at all! However, your love language needs to be able to verbalize itself and to communicate correctly. Just because you can meet native Turkish citizens, Kemal and Ayse online, and talk for days, it does not mean your heart needs to invest in Tuonline_0.jpgrkish love. You don’t even have a passport! This contact will go no further than Instagram and Facebook. This isn’t fair to anyone at all.

It costs to do your due diligence to meet a person,  to see their home so you can know how a person lives, to meet their family and to go to the city the person resides in if she/he isn’t local to you. In addition, premarital counseling outranks many of the actions you can take to learn if this person is able to devote their life to paying the costs to loving you for life. Go HERE to get the help needed to make this happen. Wouldn’t it feel great to not only be in love, getting married, but to have a “shout-it-all-out” type of security about your partner? You can.

If you cannot afford the travel costs and time required to to court someone, OFFLINE, you cannot afford to marry this person.

Using your limited funds with cash and time as an excuse to not follow through with the basics for marriage means you exceeded your marriage budget. Stay within what you have the capacity to allow your time, money and heart to do.

Three Things Marriage Counseling Isn’t Meant To Do

 

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Many folks need counseling and even more folks who need it refuse to go. Within this pool of folks, there are couples who need major “Oh-Ma-Gawd” help for their marriages and relationships. Even less  will plunge into the deep end of marriage or couples counseling. A few couples may be brave enough to get their feet wet. These will be the ones who will attend counseling with “Games of Thrones-like” valor.

As we tell you what marriage counseling is not intended for, this first one is unique to us, Hasan and Naa’ila. Someone else may tell you the same thing, especially after we do, but for us, we insist upon operating with what we have laid out here.

  1. Marriage Counseling isn’t to be a place to mediate your problems each week. This is special and time-sensitive meetings with your counselors. Yes. COUNSELORS. with an “s”. With us, we tag team our couples counselings. You work with each of us. Counseling sessions aren’t a place to rehash or to retell the events, incidents, demographics, names and screenshots of history that got you in counseling. We do not want you to come to us to waste your time being storytellers and griots. After hearing about 2-3 incidents, we’ve got it. Indeed, we will never grasp the true depths of the pain and hurt the relationship or person has caused you. We don’t try to do so. We want to get a good glimpse of how you got there. Telling fifty-eleven stories that happened during the course of your 2, 12 or 22 year relationship will not ensure a deeper understanding of your overwhelming hurt. What it will do is cause us to consume the valuable time we have in our counseling sessions to help the two of you improve.If we didn’t care how long you remained in counseling, and sought to get your coins as long as we can, this would be ideal. This is not what we do this for. Our goal is to use old school wit and clinical interventions to get you and Bae where you want to be.
  2. Marriage Counseling isn’t to be a place to mediate problems weekly. Sure, there’ll be times when a couple comes to a counseling session with a bone to pick and meat stuck in between their teeth from the fight that began 2 days ago. We’re sympathetic to this and will gladly assist. Often, folks are in counseling due to their inability to resolve problems, old, new, past or current. These can be teachable moments. For us, each week, we plan for you to build onto the skill set we agree upon. Each session will increase your ability to practice this skill with Bae outside of sessions. We can’t do this if we’re putting out fires each week.
    Thus, you won’t find us beginning our sessions with the question, “So, what do you want to talk about this week?” We will have a plan for you.
  3. Marriage Counseling isn’t to be a whipping stick. There will be times one person will tell the other, “I don’t want to talk about this until we get to the counseling session!” Refer to Number 2. There will be arguments requiring you to table the issue until you get to us. However, using counseling sessions as a place to snitch or tattle tale on each other is not productive.
    When you give your partner the silent treatment until you get to counseling…or you won’t pay any bills until you get to counseling…or you have your nose stuck up in the air until you get to counseling…counseling begins to feel like a spanking over the knee.

You don’t have to fear coming to counseling and we don’t bite. Counseling will have scary moments and times of discomfort, but smooth waters don’t make good sailors.

This is how you grow and love better. Wouldn’t it feel good to be able to able to go to counseling and not be afraid of your name being tarnished? You can. How long will you wait for your problems to disappear by themselves? Cough…Cough…Not gonna happen! We know great things have happened for you in your life and God is a miracle worker, but even He looks for levels of effort.

Click here and ask an anonymous question to get rid of the anxiety you have about, “How much is all of this gonna cost me?”

Show your willing to put your money where your mouth is.

 

6 “Should Do’s” Before Saying, “I Do!”

Hmmm…So folks believe going to a member of the clergy before marriage, 1-3 times, is premarital counseling. Ohh…ok. 🤔  We’re surprised cause few actually get premarital counseling.
Truth be told…& we know you want the truth…most folks get premarital advice-not counseling. If we had a brick for every couple in marriage counseling with us who had been to “premarital counseling” with their pastor or imam, we could rebuild the yellow brick road!

premarital-counseling-todo-listHasan & I created & teach our own 6-week, State of Georgia-approved, premarital course covering eight “I-Didn’t-Even-Think-About-That” areas. 👌🏽  Don’t worry. Get happy! No need to doubt if your Bae is like #HurtBae or Romeo. Get our  Details  and tell your friends before another breakup or divorce is born! 👍🏽 But for right now, we’re gonna give you some premarital info to help you navigate these heart highways:

1. Don’t go to premarital counseling because you PLAN to marry. Use premarital counseling to decide if ya’ll SHOULD marry each other.

2. Don’t wait until you have a wedding date, cake & the giggles to set up premarital counseling. If you do, you want premarital advice, not premarital counseling. There’s a difference! You can get good advice from a member of the clergy, married mentor or an elder. With good premarital counseling, ya’ll may change or cancel that date!

3. Do not lie or embellish the truth to prevent heartache or out of fear someone won’t marry you if they know learn a previously unknown truth about you. Divorce causes more pain. 😔

4. Accept recommendations given by the premarital counselor. If you know you ain’t trying to hear it 🚫 & your mind is made up about getting married. Cool! Think through the what you want to get from premarital counseling.  Real talk…counseling is not meant to tell you what to do. You’re grown! However…a counselor isn’t there to lie to you because you paid them either. At least Hasan & I don’t…

5. Know you may learn surprising 😳😔😖 information about the other person in the premarital process. Use a counselor who provides individual sessions, for each of you, so you can recover from the shock attacks you may get on the heart highway!

6. Be open! Don’t limit your thinking. Limited thinking limits your options! You deserve a solid plan to begin your start for wedded bliss and not a wedded bummer!

Hasan & Naa’ila
“Ossie & Ruby Dee of Marriage Counseling”

How To Recognize An Unmarried Person

There are some fool-proof and signature differences between a single and unmarried person. We defined a single man in our last blog. Today, we’re gonna sniff out the unmarried person. An unmarried person may be single, divorced or widowed. They show up with all types of relationship history. The primary brand and seal you should seek on this person is that he or she desires a committed relationship. This person has a lifestyle that reeks commitment in some form or fashion in their life.

Tip No. 1: This person is committed to more than Jordans, their passport, car or designer bags.

For an unmarried person, commitment will peep out in ways such as a stable job history, an attachment to a program in the community or a long-standing relationship with a family member that extends bunmarriedeyond the mandated holidays, graduations and birthdays.

Tip No. 2: They slay, but it doesn’t get in the way.

An unmarried person has taken some personal inventory, but has also done some marriage preparation. They exude some self-awareness, but not an ego. An unmarried person may have a few coins saved or secured a few prized personal possessions, but this doesn’t interrupt who they are. This person understands they have a life, but an unmarried person seeks to add value to their existing life with meaningful companionship. Basically, they look good, and carry themselves well, but they aren’t stuck up.

Tip No. 3: They got baggage.

An unmarried person has been seeking marriage without success, and they ain’t happy about it. In the process of the search, shots were fired and they got hit! An unmarried person has been hurt, but this is where they will be different. They won’t lie about it. An unmarried person admits their dodo stinks, but will use some Febreeze for your smelling pleasure. Now, they won’t tell you err’thang, but their attempts at honesty will be genuine. You should also be able to ask questions and get the real deal from the folks in their life to be found in Tip No. 1. Her aunt, who she loves dearly, should be willing to talk to you at the door, one-on-one, after the family dinner. Talk to the people around this person. Ask a question. And then another question. If everyone tells you how great this unmarried person is, and nothing else, they don’t like you. Everyone has  flaws and someone should tell you the truth.

These three tips should help you better identify your target while single to shed the layers of your unmarried lifestyle. An unmarried person is more than single. This person has a life that is prepared for a husband or wife to make their entrance into their life.  There is a transition between being single and being unmarried. You don’t want to go into marriage as or with a single person. They will  learn to make the shift in the marriage. No one wants their husband or wife acting single! If you don’t have your affairs in order yet, start changing your habits to attract your future husband or wife.

Things To Do When Your Marriage Is Struggling

Everyone loves a quickie! Here are some hit-and-run love dovey’s you can do without too much effort.

You and marriage can look good very quickly with these 5 changes, but you have to do them. Simply reading them or trying to decide if you think they will work will not be enough! These small things go a long way to build trust & show gratitude.19059604_10155330887686303_8768946637038501587_n.jpg

1. Arrive when you say you will & call ahead when you won’t. Don’t call when you’re supposed to already be somewhere to announce your tardiness!

2. Do an extra chore around the house, including cleaning up after yourself danggone self! Pick up your dirty socks & get all your “woman stuff” from around the sink! The man can’t even brush his teeth for bumping into your facial products!

3. Reschedule a regular activity you normally do alone & arrange to hang out with your husband/wife. Don’t play basketball this Saturday. Cancel the pedicure appointment. Schedule in your spouse!

4. When you feel angry, just shut up & go pray. Don’t say nothing until you’ve prayed. Then, refer to #2. Sometimes, it really is that simple.

5. Greet each other with words and touch for at least 6 seconds after work or coming home. Make it a true welcome! Six seconds of touch or a hug has been proven to change lives. Start with your own life.

HERE’S A BONUS FOR THE MEN: When you go to the kitchen, think of her too! Bring her a beverage or a snack too. Please do not come back and sit next to her with nothing for her! This small gesture means so much!

Try one or more of them and let us know how quick the magic happens for you!