8 Tips To Protect Your Marriage From An Emotional Affair

About.com defines emotional affair as: An emotional affair is a secret relationship that involves intimate sharings with some one other than a spouse. If a person is no longer confiding thoughts and feelings with his/her spouse, the individual is either in an emotional affair or ready for one.
 
 
I wanted to write about emotional affairs, a topic that is not often discussed. There are many married people who would never consider having a physical affair but they find themselves in an emotional affair with a coworker, neighbor or church member etc. Focus On The Family (http://focusonthefamily.com) has an awesome article on their website about emotional affairs. I found the article to be very helpful and truthful. I wanted to share it with my husband and my single and married readers. It’s important for all of us to be prayed up, wise and set boundaries with the opposite sex to set our relationships and marriages up for success.  If you’re wondering whether your current “friendship” is going down an inappropriate road, see the checklist below. For tips on how to protect your marriage from an emotional affair, review the 8 tips.  To read the article in full, please see the link to the website. http://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/divorce_and_infidelity/affairs_and_adultery/emotional_affairs.aspx
 
10 questions to ask yourself about your “friendship” with an opposite sex friend.

1. Do your conversations with your friends include things that should be kept between you and your spouse?

2. Do you find yourself daydreaming about your friend?

3. Have you found yourself withdrawing from your spouse emotionally or physically?

4. Do you look for excuses to see or talk to your friend?

5. Do you share thoughts, feelings or problems with your friend instead of your spouse?

6. Are you convinced that your friend understands you better than your spouse?

7. Is there flirting or sexual tension between you and your friend?

8. Do you look for “legal” ways to touch your friend (brush lint off his jacket, help her with her coat)?

9. Do you find yourself paying attention to how you look before you see your friend?

10. Is there any secrecy about your relationship (how much time you spend together, what you do together, what you talk about)

Protect Your Marriage

No marriage is affair proof. We are all at risk of losing our focus and being swept into an emotional affair. But you can do several things to safeguard your marriage:

1. Stay honest with yourself and with your spouse. If you find yourself attracted to someone, admit it quickly to yourself and to your spouse. Honest is the key to preventing a relationship from escalating into an affair.

2. Avoid magazines, movies and other forms of entertainment that can increase your tolerance of affairs.

3. Try to see your relationship from your spouses perspective. What would your spouse be comfortable with? How would he or sh feel about what you are doing?

4. Do not flirt. Most affairs begin with what’s considered “innocent flirting,” but there’s no such thing! Flirting is not a part of friendship.

5. Keep your marriage as your No. 1 priority. Make sure you are working to meet your spouse’s most important needs.  If you’re not sure what those are, ask.

6. Grow together spiritually. Pray with each other and for each other.

7. Set boundaries about how you will interact with the opposite sex. For instance, you and your spouse may decided that either of you will be alone with someone of the opposite sex, even for business lunches or late nights at work.

8. Surround yourself with happily married couples who don’t believe in fooling around.

I’m happy to say that my husband and I talked about many of the tips on this list before we got married and we work hard to implement these tips now. We aren’t perfect and our marriage is still new, only three years, but we are trying our best to affair proof our marriage. We believe that marriage is forever, therefore we know that honesty is a must. If your marriage needs support, I encourage you to seek a marriage counselor and learn how to start trusting and communicating with one another again.

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Learning When To Shut Up And When To Speak

This week on Facebook I noticed a few women post the same status entitled: I AM A HANDFUL. While the status maybe harmless words to some, I thought the confession of being a handful and out of control at times was a sad and irresponsible confession to make. I am  what the Word of God says that I am. Not what the world says I am, or what my flesh wants to say, do or be. Read the status and then we will discuss it further.

I AM A HANDFUL- Unfortunately most women WON’T post this but I’m strong willed, independent, a bit outspoken and I tell it like it is. I make mistakes and I’m sometimes out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve to handle me at my best. If you’re a HANDFUL repost! I dare you…

Sometimes as women, we feel we have the “right” to say and do what we want. If we feel like going off on someone we will, if we feel like tearing down our husband, friends or coworkers at any given moment, we will, not stopping to think about the consequences. Women know how they want to be treated but often they don’t give others the same respect. We don’t want people gossiping about us and spreading rumors but we do it to others. We don’t want others to go off on us because they feel like letting their tongue get out of control, but we think it’s ok to self proclaim that we are verbally out of control??

The bible talks a lot about the power of the tongue and how we are to guard our words. Dr. Dale A. Robbins wrote an article entitled “Is Your Tongue Out of Control.” I found the article to be helpful and reminding me what the word of God says about  the tongue and why I need to keep it under control. http://www.victorious.org/tongue.htm

It has been said that the “tongue” is one of the most exercised muscles of our body. It has been estimated that in a typical week, the average person will speak enough words to fill a 500 page book! However, for the Christian, the use of the tongue must be a matter of careful forethought and discipline. The Bible warns that believers who do not bring restraint to their tongue and speech have been deceived — and without such control over their words, their religious acts are worthless and hypocritical. “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless” (James 1:26). It is a deception for any of us to think that Jesus can be Lord over our life, without also becoming Lord over our tongue.

Elsewhere, James gave a warning of the evil poison of the tongue. He described some who try to use their tongue as praise and blessing to God, then turn around to use their tongue to speak evil of one another. “With it we bless our God and Father, and with it rue curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so” (James 3:9-10). We cannot use our tongue to curse and bad-mouth our brethren, then continue “business as usual” with our relationship with God. The Bible says that such tongue behavior is characteristic of hypocrites. “The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor… “(Prov. 11:9).

 “I will guard my ways, Lest I sin with my tongue; I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle, While the wicked are before me” (Psalms 39:1).

“What right do you have to use your mouth to declare my word and promises? You have used your mouth for evil and deceitfulness, to bad-mouth and slander your brethren” (Psa. 50:16-22).

The Bible teaches that they who desire to dwell in the presence of God, to experience His blessings, are those who will live righteously and who will not backbite or badmouth their neighbor. “LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle a Who may dwell in Your holy hill? He who walks uprightly, And works righteousness, And speaks the truth in his heart; He who does not backbite with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend” (Psa. 15:1-3). Furthermore, God promises a long, blessed life to those who keep their tongue from evil. “Who is the man who desires life, And loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil, And your lips from speaking deceit” (Psa. 34:12-13).

Obscenities, profanity, cursing, dirty jokes, or making fun of others is not something that should ever be found in the mouth of a believer. “Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving” (Eph. 5:4 NIV).

If you realize that your tongue is out of control, seek His forgiveness and allow Him to change the attitude of your heart and your mouth, so they will be pleasing to Him. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, 0 LORD, my strength and my Redeemer” (Psa. 19:14). 

The No Wedding No Womb Campaign

I recently discovered the No Wedding No Womb Campaign and I have much respect for the message that Christelyn D Karazin is promoting to the black community. Ms. Karazin is the founder and organizer of No Wedding No Womb! (NWNW) an online initiative to address and find solutions for the 72 percent out-of-wedlock birthrate in the African American community.

As a social worker supervisor, daily I work with my staff to teach life skills and parenting skills to single mothers. Our clients are getting younger and younger and it saddens me to see a 21 year old woman with four children; the mom doesn’t have an education or a job, she doesn’t receive any child support from the fathers and limited family support. I believe that majority of women today do NOT know their value or their worth. If women knew that they were MORE than baby makers, they would have standards, take pride in their lifestyle and know that they deserve to be happy, healthy successful and loved, not hurt, angry and abandoned to raise babies on their own. The cycle must stop!!

I have a lot of respect for the NWNW campaign because their trying to educate the black community and break the cycle of black children continuing to be born into single parent homes. We must teach people about the importance of healthy relationships, monogamy, marriage and planning to have children. Gone needs to be the days of hooking up with people and shortly afterwards discovering that your pregnant. That behavior is dangerous, irresponsible and unfair to the children that continue to be born into broken homes. I am not saying that all children born into single parent homes are neglected, but studies show that children benefit from two parent homes. Every relationship/marriage doesn’t work out as planned but at least some people try to make those relationships work, even though they fail.

Here is a little information about NWNW:

  • What Is No Wedding No Womb?

No Wedding No Womb is a primary call directed to the black community to take action against the rampant births of children who are born without physical, financial and emotional protection.  It is a call for accountability for both MEN and WOMEN to be mindful of the huge responsibility and privilege they have when bringing a child into the world.

NWNW is a double entendre.  The phrase has two meanings.  The primary meaning of “wedding and wedded”, of course, is the marriage ceremony.  The secondary definition means “devotion.”  I chose “womb,” because that is the life source of children, it is the place that feeds, protects and nurtures the child.

  • Does No Wedding No Womb Seek to Bash Single Mothers?
  • Absolutely not.  NWNW calls for both MEN and WOMEN to put the needs of children first, and advocates that couples abstain from having children until they are emotionally, physically and financially able to care for them.
  • What gives you the right to do this?

I’m a baby mamma’ LISTEN TO MY MISSION: 65535 NO WEDDING NO WOMB-2.’  I do this for my daughter, and my daughter’s daughter, and all the children of our future.

To read more about NWNW and discover the answers to the questions below, please checkout the campaigns website

http://www.noweddingnowomb.com/

  • When you say, NWNW, are you saying that everyone should get married?
  • Is this just another abstinence program?
  • Are you bashing black men?
  • When you say, “No Wedding No Womb!” are you advocating that women get abortions?
  • Aren’t you being  judgmental?

**QUESTION** What do you think about the campaign? What do you agree of disagree with? Do you think the campaign will be affective?

If you enjoyed this blog post, I encourage you to subscribe to receive emails regarding future post. The subscribe button is located at the top left corner of the blog. Once you enter your email and hit “sign me up,” you will have to open your email and confirm the subscription. Thank you in advance for your support. Also please email the blog link to other ladies https://joannawillis.wordpress.com

Does Counseling=Crazy? NO! 10 Reasons To Sit On The Couch

 Many of us (African Americans) think you have to be “touched” or “crazy” to go to therapy.” While it’s true that some people with mental health issues seek therapy, it’s really a service for anyone. Therapy is a paid service that connects you with a trained professional who provides you with the support you need to live a healthier and happier life.

Read more: http://www.articlesbase.com/mental-health-articles/why-dont-africanamericans-go-to-therapy-604938.html#ixzz13VzcgfXb
 

In 2002, I saw a counselor for 6 months and that 6 months transformed my life. I was finally ready to confront the pain that I had held onto for two years following the rape in 2000. I was so scared about starting counseling and talking to a complete stranger, that I cancelled my first appointment.  The next week, I was  nervous as I drove to the agency but once I got there and met my counsellor, I felt more at ease. My counselor was compassionate, patient, professional but down to earth, knowledgeable, open-minded and understanding. While she was friendly towards me, she kept professional boundaries and she never self disclosed anything about herself. She challenged me when I was afraid, she encouraged me when I didn’t think I could talk about the hurtful memories and she cheered me on when I had victories! Now that I have my Masters in Counseling and understand what attributes counselors should have, I now understand how truly awesome of a counselor she was.
 
I went into counseling prepared to work towards getting better. I read every book and did every homework assignment. I was on time and I shared honestly from the heart during every session. Outside of counseling, I was developing my relationship with God and I had an active prayer life. I combined the natural with the spiritual and I worked hard. At the end of the 6 months, I was no longer afraid of the classmate who raped me. He still went to my school and I had to be brave enough to not allow his presence to run me off campus. My confidence and self-esteem was high because I knew who I was in Christ; I knew how Christ saw me. I knew that I was not a victim, I was/am a strong, bold, completely healed and free woman of God. I learned to change my thinking, to love myself, to forgive, to trust God, to rely on my support system, to walk in love and to let go of anger and hate.
 
I would strongly recommend anyone who is or has gone through something difficult to seek the help of a counselor. Whether your suffering from past or present abuse/trauma, trying to get over a bad relationship/failed marriage, lost your job, having trouble with your kids, finances or just plan old need to talk to someone about how to reach your goals and make decisons in life, I strongly encourage you to seek the help of a counselor. Counseling is a blessing and it works!! I’m living proof!
 
Positivelypresent.com wrote a great article about why people should seek counseling. Here’s 10 reasons to sit on the couch:

1. You have time set aside just to talk about YOU. 
 

2. You create a safe haven where you can be completely honest. 
 

3. You learn new things about yourself every week (very cool!).

4. You find ways to better relate to the people around you. 

5. You figure out why you do the (sometimes stupid) things you do.

6. You explore the past, which leads to a better present.

7. You open your mind to new ideas and ways of thinking.

8. You accept and love yourself for who you are, flaws included.

9. You deal with the hard stuff you normally avoid like the plague.

10. You wake up one morning and realize, “Finally, I’m really living.”
http://www.positivelypresent.com/2009/04/ive-been-in-therapy—-really-been-in-it—-for-about-six-months-now-this-is-my-fourth-therapist-and-the-only-one-ive-actual.html

Why Spouses Should NOT Hide Money From Each Other

I had a debate with my friends on FB about spouses hiding money from their mate and needing to “have their own” in case their spouse leaves them. It all started from a conversation that I witnessed while watching the Oprah Show. Oprah was saying that women need to have their own house, money, bills in their name and not combined them with their significant other. I don’t believe that married people should sneak around and stash money away just in case things go sour. Yes we should have our complete trust in God alone, yes we all have individual purposes to be on the earth and we need to pursue our careers, ministries and business. I believe that couples should have their own identities BUT when you get married, you need to find balance because you and your spouse have become one!!

I know that marriage is hard and nothing is guaranteed BUT the word of God is true and it does not change. My God promises me that I can have the desires of my heart. The word of God gives detailed instructions about marriage and the roles of husbands and wives. I believe that if couples keep Christ at the center always, are quick to forgive, communicate their needs and concerns, stay hooked up to one another, forsaking all others, they WILL have long-lasting happy, healthy and hot marriages!!

4 Reasons Why Spouses Should Not Hide Money From Each Other

1. In marriage you must trust each other 100%. Without trust you have nothing. If you can’t trust someone with your money, body, goals/dreams, children or your life, what’s the point of dating or marrying them?

2. Honesty and communication is a must. What if you found out that your spouse was hiding money from you in case he/she felt like leaving you one day? Instead of hiding money for a rainy day, be open and honest about what makes you unsure about the relationship so that you can both fight to stay in it, not plan your escape to get out of it.

3. Marriage is forever and if you don’t believe that, save yourself the money and time (both of which you could never get back) and JUST DON’T GET MARRIED! By saying that you have to put a little money aside each check in case your spouse leaves you or you get tired of him/her, means you never made up in your mind that marriage is for life. Yes things happen, people change and sometimes get divorced, but know that divorce doesn’t have to be  a word used in your house. Date for a good period of time, go to premarital counseling, seek God before you say I do, study what the bible says about marriage, husbands and wives, and if you think your ready, go ahead and jump the broom.

4. Before you get married, seek God and wise counsel regarding healing that you may need from past negative relationships. If you are still hurting from past exboyfriends cheating, abusing you, lying to you or even watching your father/mother do these things to your parent, you MUST get restored from that hurt BEFORE you get married. It’s not fair to sleep with one eye open on a spouse who hasn’t done anything to not be trusted. Don’t push your issues on him. Seek help and get whole so that you can be happy, healthy and free.

Sistas Positively Affecting Sistas

Many women in the African American community are struggling. Struggling to know their purpose, their value/worth, to understand what real love is,  to be accepted and live productive lives. Many AA women have made celebrities and the women in the videos their role models and this much change. I went to visit a 22-year-old single mom with four kids. She had a few female friends over and all the ladies had their hair done, gold around their necks and designer clothes on. The family lives in poverty. I am not saying that people with low-income can not have nice things, but often times AA women spend more money on hair, nails, jewelry, clothes, shoes and make up than anything else. This must change. Our value should never be in how cute we look or what possessions we have. Our value isn’t in how great our bodies look or how many men are following us around. Our value is who are we in Christ; that we are healthy mind, body and soul, that we’re happy, determined and successful. We are more than just baby makers or women with big butts. We are creative,  smart, worthy of love and healthy relationships. We are strong, survivors, teachers, lawyers, doctors, social workers, stay at home mothers, business owners, ministers of the gospel etc.

To my Christian sistas, the next time you see that same prostitute that passes by your job everyday, the young girl in your neighborhood that dresses too fast, a single mother on your job that you know is struggling to raise her six children all alone, your aunt who struggles with drug addiction, your girl who fell away from church or your sister who just dropped out of school, pray and follow the Holy Spirit as to how to love on that woman. Give her a smile, some encouraging words, a hug, tell her Jesus loves her, you love her, it will be ok, ask if you can pray with her, invite her to church, treat her to lunch and just be a listening ear, whatever Holy Spirit tells you to do.

Christians are the salt of the earth. The bible says the world will know we are Christians by our love. We must love on those around us. We must let our light shine. We must live a sold out for Christ lifestyle so that the women around us can know that they too can have peace, joy, a great life in Christ. I give  God ALL the glory that my life is a positive example to others. I am blessed to be a 29-year-old black woman who loves the Lord, has a husband who loves the Lord, we serve at our church together, we have a happy marriage, we were blessed to plan our pregnancy, we own a home in the suburbs, I have two college degrees and we both have careers that we love. Ask me if ten years ago I would have thought I would be this blessed, no! God is good and when I completely surrender my life to Him, He restored me and continues to mold me into the woman who He has called me to be. I want my life to encourage others. To let them know that if God did it for me, He will do that and more for them.

Ladies today’s message is to walk in love, be led as to how the Holy Ghost wants you to mentor and reach out to those around you and to let your lifestyle be a witness of God’s goodness and faithfulness to others. The world needs us. We can’t afford to be half stepping, fake, worthless Christians. Our families need us, our coworkers, neighbors and those that we come into contact with daily on Facebook and Twitter. People all over need hope and we know the one who has all that they need, JESUS!!!

If you enjoyed this blog post, I encourage you to subscribe to receive emails regarding future post. The subscribe button is located at the top left corner of the blog. Once you enter your email and hit “sign me up,” you will have to open your email and confirm the subscription. Thank you in advance for your support. Also please email the blog link to other ladies https://joannawillis.wordpress.com

A Testimony of Overcoming The Aftermath of Abortion

To continue the theme of restoration week, I wanted to share a woman’s powerful testimony of overcoming the shame of having an abortion at a young age. I like to change the names of the testimonies that I share from others because it’s not about who I’m talking about but the awesome things God did for them. I will call today’s woman Sarah. 

If you or someone you is suffering from an abortion, please seek counsel and guidance from a local church and/or pro-life center near you. They will counsel you, pray with you and provide you with resources such as support groups for women who desire healing from abortion.

When Sarah found herself pregnant as a freshman in college, she panicked. She was afraid of what her parents would say and how a baby would affect her future plans. She and her boyfriend did not grow up in Christian homes but they knew deep down that abortion was wrong. The couple reluctantly went through with the procedure, not know ing that their lives would never be the same.

Sarah and her partner got saved shortly after the abortion. They started going to church and learning about God together. The couple ended up getting married and began their new life in Christ together, but the past still haunted them, especially Sarah. Sarah often wondered how God could truly love her because she had killed her innocent baby. Sarah found herself feeling depressed, ashamed and unworthy of love often. It pained her husband to see what she was going through and therefore he often prayed for her and supported her the best ways he knew how.

Sarah continued to go to church and learn about God’s mercy, grace, love and forgiveness. She knew that she needed to forgive herself because God had long ago forgiven her because she had repented of her sin. Sarah knew that she was not walking in God’s peace and joy and she was only punishing herself, which was not God’s will. Sarah felt as though one of the first steps to forgiving herself was confessing her sin to some of her close family members. After sharing with them what she had done and how God was healing her, Sarah felt a weight lift from her shoulders and her healing process was truly able to start.

To help release the negative feelings of shame, Sarah went on a personal mission to share her testimony with some of the young girls at her church who were considering becoming sexually active, were currently active or who found themselves pregnant and scared. Sarah also joined a Christian support group for women who wanted healing from past abortions. The group met for a few weeks and reviewed home work assignments about restoration from abortion, they reviewed what the bible says about forgiveness, comfort, God’s love and mercy. The ladies also supported each other by talking through their past experiences. Sarah found great comfort and restoration through attending the group, so much so that she became a group counselor after she completed the sessions.

Sarah story is definitely a But God story. The devil thought he had her, BUT GOD! The after effects of the abortion could have ruined her self-esteem, her relationships, robbed her of her joy, peace, self-respect to the point that she could have ruined her own life because of her inner turmoil. But God sent someone to witness to her and her husband, they got saved, married, hooked up with a church and they began receiving the life changing word of God. She began sharing her testimony with her family and church members as a way to stump on the devils head and she even located a support group to help seal the deal on her restoration. Now whenever the devil tries to get in her ear and speak negativity in doubt, she kicks him off her shoulder and stumps on his head because she knows who she is and whose she is! A RESTORED CHILD OF THE KING!!!!!!!

If you enjoyed this blog post, I encourage you to subscribe to receive emails regarding future post. The subscribe button is located at the top left corner of the blog. Once you enter your email and hit “sign me up,” you will have to open your email and confirm the subscription. Thank you in advance for your support. Also please email the blog link to other ladies https://joannawillis.wordpress.com