Six Tips to the Dating Man

Get ya money right: If you’re dating then hopefully it’s someone you can see yourself with long term. If this is the case, you should really start preparing financially. Although I had an inkling about the importance about financial planning and stewardship, I didn’t understand how much it impacts every area of your life. You don’t have to have a certain dollar amount, or earn a certain income, however you should seriously seek financial guidance. Check out these resources: Dave Ramsey and DFree 

“You don’t have to have a certain dollar amount, or earn a certain income…”

Don’t be scurred: OMGoodness! If I had a dollar for every fearful brother I met,  I’d be rich! I talk to so many men who try to over-spiritualize their insecurity, anxiety, uneasiness, uncertainty and downright fear! A woman doesn’t expect you to be made of iron, she just wants you to be real. I know scurred single brothers and I know scurred “involved” brothers.  I know guys who will meet an incredible woman, know for certain they want to marry her, but postpone “putting a ring on it” simply because they’re afraid of commitment or they wrestle with the idea of not measuring up. Let me help you: YOU NEVER WILL! Move on and put a ring on it anyway. When start stalling because of your overly-amplified, idiosyncrasies and fears you make the relationship all about you. This, at its root is selfish, narcissistic and an inability to walk in faith. I’m not advocating rushing into anything, especially something as serious as marriage; equally I don’t advocate fearful living.  

Take the lead: You don’t have to wait on the heavens to open up and hear a James Earlish voice before you make faith steps. If you like a woman, tell her. If you want to date or court (depending on how you define the process) her then be upfront and be unafraid of possible rejection. There should not be any point in your relationship where your woman has to guess or assume your relationship status. You should have the courage to initiate important conversations, including defining the relationship. Your relationship should progressively move towards the future, even if you realize along the way it’s not with each other.


“Believe it or not, being emotionally vulnerable takes tremendous strength…”



Communication isn’t key, it’s the whole door: If you’re like most guys on the planet, this will probably be the hardest for you. Learning to talk about feelings and emotions isn’t an area in which most of us have proficiency. Believe it or not, being emotionally vulnerable takes tremendous strength, and communicates to your mate you’re willing to grow and you care. This also involves learning the art of listening.

Set boundaries: If you haven’t made a commitment for life, then you’re dating someone else’s wife. I don’t care how spiritual you are, how much you pray and how many accountability friends you have, all is forgotten when you’re turned on.  Nothing functions properly except one thing and it will get you into trouble. Despite what we have been taught by popular culture, media, and music, taking a test drive, having taste tests, using free samples and 30 day trial periods are not real measures of a relationship’s durability or long-term potential. All of these ideologies are MANufactured and don’t consider the very real and costly implications of diverting from God’s original intent for sexual intimacy. Condoms can cover body parts, but they cannot cover hearts. Ideally, in a dating relationship, the man sets the physical and emotional boundaries, not the woman. Not the woman. As a man you lay the foundation in the relationship. She’s looking to you to lead her well and trusts you with her heart and body. Don’t abuse her trust, its’ not worth it. When the purpose of something is unknown, abuse is inevitable. Know what God’s word says about his daughters.

 

“Condoms can cover body parts, but they cannot cover hearts.”



Get some help: I recommend every couple have another couple, preferably older and more experienced, as a support system. You can’t go somewhere you’ve never been without directions so ask for help. Take their advice. Don’t be afraid to allow trustworthy people to get all up in your business. That’s called good leadership and accountability.

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Brother to Sister: Seven Tips to the Single Woman

1. Singapore_Road_Signs_-_Warning_Sign_-_Danger.svgBelieve What You See: When you see who or what a person is, please, please, please believe it. I beseech you therefore sisteren, do not try to rationalize, over-spiritualize or trivialize what is right in front of you. Whomever you’re getting acquainted with will be the person you are with: the good, bad, and indifferent. What a man says is what he believes. What a man does is what he values. If you see incredible aspects of a Godly man you can envision yourself with long-term, great! Likewise, if you see legitimate warning signs, believe them!

2. You’re Not Marrying The Man You Want; You’re Marrying The Man You’re With: I talk with so many women who suffer from Mother Theresa Syndrome, MTS for short. They try to fix, repair, and mold a man, believing he will magically become amazing and they will live happily ever after. Believing the best for someone doesn’t mean living oblivious to reality. Sometimes you can have a great guy, but he’s not your great guy. Trusting the in the Lord’s prevailing purpose will enable you to develop an open-palm philosophy: you’re open to receive and open to have it taken away.

“Believing the best for someone doesn’t mean living oblivious to reality.”

3. Pray For Him: Don’t underestimate the power of prayer. Sometimes God will use prayer to give us wisdom about the decisions we need to make. Don’t pray your man will change for your sake; pray he will change for God’s sake.

4. Don’t Try To Change Him: I don’t care how many times you’ve heard it, inevitably some women will still try to do it. I have a friend who really wants the man she’s with to become more spiritually mature. He doesn’t initiate his spiritual development so she often sends him Christian articles, bible verses and other materials to read. This is a NO NO! When a man senses someone is trying to change him, he will do one of two things: rebel or recluse. Neither is good. Whomever or whatever your man wants to be has to first start with him.

“If a person hasn’t shown significant change for a consistent amount of time, he or she will likely repeat the past.”

5. Get Some Counsel: You wouldn’t get in a car and drive to a place you’ve never been without directions would you? Why would you do so with your future? I’ve heard people say, “I don’t have anyone I can trust”, or “I’m not that close to many people.” Well, find someone, some books, workshops, or something to guide you. Just like driving in a car, ultimately, you are responsible for where you end. Ignorance doesn’t alleviate responsibility or nullify the consequences of bad decisions.  
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6. Past Performance Predicts Future Behavior: If you’re looking to hire someone, you ask for a resume. They show an employer what skills a candidate already possesses, not the ones he aspires to possess. Employers don’t hire based on aspiration; it’s based on experience. A dating relationship is like an interview, and each person should assess their candidate’s resume. This is why open and truthful communication is vital. I don’t advocate casting judgement based on past mistakes, however if a person hasn’t shown significant change for a consistent amount of time, he or she will likely repeat the past.

“A good man, with good guidance will ensure he initiates communication…”


7. Keep Your Eyes On The Road, But Don’t Drive The Car: There’s a balance between having good communication about the relationship and trying to forcefully steer its direction. It’s perfectly ok to question or initiate conversations about the status of a relationship. A good man, with good guidance will ensure he initiates communication about the relationship, as well as progressively steer it towards healthy development. However, sometimes women find themselves with a man that falls asleep at the wheel. Consequently, the relationship falls into a “pending verification” phase while the man gets himself together. You’re not obligated to stay in the car while he joy rides, but before you get out, it’s very appropriate to question- with elegance and wisdom-where the two of you are going. If he’s serious about moving forward he will step up. If he’s not, he won’t. In this event, consider yourself blessed. Sometimes the hardest lessons produce the biggest blessings.

Brother to Brother: 10 Types of Women You Shouldn’t Date

In one of my recent posts, I gave women ten types of men to avoid, and although lots of women enjoyed the insight, the brothers felt left out. So, what about all the good brothers out there? The ones who love God, have common sense, are hard-working, and have a vision? Where do they find love? Although it’s arguable who has it worse, the fact is, for some men it’s very difficult to find a lady who is attractive, spiritual, (but not spooky), and isn’t loco.  As you’re in pursuit, watch out for these of women.

Thirsty Thelma: She’s always looking for man, and will do whatever it takes to get anyone that somewhat resembles a man. Her self-worth is predicated on her relationship status, and unfortunately this makes her vulnerable to scrubs, thugs, and bedbugs. Her Facebook status affirms her. Not God, her uniqueness or creativity. Not even the man she’s with. It’s simply the satisfaction of knowing she has a man.

Freaky Felicia: Self-explanatory right? She’s the kind of  vixen open more than your local Walmart. She’s open for business for anyone…and I mean anyone. You don’t know where she’s been, or with whom she’s been with. Bye Felicia.

byefelicia
Sleeping Sasha: She’s the main character in a story that’s all about her rescue from the perils of singlehood.  She’s stuck in a Disney movie, waiting for her handsome prince to ride in on a stallion, take her hand, and whisk her away to an enchanted land where love lives forever. A woman waiting on a man to become who she is destined to be is a woman out of touch with reality. These women will put unrealistic expectations on men and often play the victim instead of living victoriously.

Kangaroo Katie: She jumps in and out of relationships. Every time you see her she has a new man. She changes men like handbags. Usually, these types of women have issues they may or may not be aware of, and are looking for someone else to help fix. Sometimes they will superimpose unrealistic standards NO MAN is able to meet. They can search for minuscule, insignificant reasons to break up, and it’s on to the next one. She may even try to “build-a-boo”, by having two, three or five men on the side, each embodying a characteristic she desires.

Holy Heather: Ever met someone so spiritual they were out of touch with reality? Well fellas, this is Heather. She’s disconnected from the universe and masks genuine emotions, desires, and ideas-the ones God gives us-with spirituality. She is the, “Jesus is my boyfriend”, and “I’m just waiting on the Lord” kind of woman. She doesn’t know where she wants to go, what kind of man she’s looking for, or what qualities make her unique because, “The Lord ain’t revealed it yet.” She’s a bystander in life, and in relationships.

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Insecure Ida: Every person deals with insecurities, idiosyncrasies and issues, but Ida is unreasonably insecure. She frequently speaks and behaves in ways to seek attention or affirmation. Initially, it can be cute or attractive to think you’re genuinely needed by her, but it’s fool’s gold. Trying to love an insecure person is like trying to cut down a redwood with a razor blade. You will never say enough, do enough, or be enough to give her what she needs: real self-love that comes from above.

Wonder Woman Wanda: It’s her way or the highway. She runs a strict dictatorship, and being with her is a privilege, or so she thinks. She makes the rules, the money, and tells subjects lucky enough to be under her rule what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. She feels the need to be in control and refuses to relinquish her Queendom. Frequently, people like this are deeply insecure and feel the need to overcompensate in areas where they may feel out of control. It’s a means of security. With her, “don’t you ever for a second get to thinking you’re irreplaceable.”

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Krazy Keisha:  Just like Krazy Kevin, she gets hotter than the pavement in Arizona. She screams, cries, manipulates, and is emotionally unstable. One minute everything is fine, and the next, it’s like a scene out of, The Exorcist. She can also get physically violent, and best believe will slash tires and bust the windows out your car.

Cash-in Candace: I ain’t sayin’ she’s a gold-digger, but she ain’t messing with no broke… well, you know the song. If she’s overly-concerned about cheddar, then your life will not be better.  It’s all about the money… dollar, dollar bill y’all.  Her concept of manhood and womanhood may be rooted in false and erroneous ideologies that she will inevitably project on you.

Gold_Digger

Heartbroken Haley: Sometimes she walks in circles.  She’s been broken so many times she has built walls taller than Jericho and you ain’t getting through brother. She may have an emotional and spiritual  deficit that may require professional counseling. She’s the younger sister of Wonder Woman Wanda, and without a real intervention, will grow up to be just like her.

It’s tempting to be Billy Graham and go on a crusade to try save a woman from herself, but trust me, you cannot do it. When hurting people hurt people, and are in need of healing, the first step is to recognize the problem. The next is getting the appropriate help. After God made the first woman, that job became obsolete. We cannot make ourselves a wife; we must allow Him to present her to us. This means, like Eve, God makes her. He never told us to fall in love, he told us to walk in it, and sometimes walking in love means knowing what paths to avoid.

 

Brother to Sister: 10 Types of Men You Shouldn’t Date

All my single ladies… all my single ladies… now put your hands up… and pray! Yes, pray. That’s exactly what you need to do if you’re looking for a good man in today’s times. We are living in a hypersexual, pseudo-romantic and superficial society that continually narrates the old and fictitious tale of guy meets girl, the two fall in love, then they live happily ever after. Well, it’s just not true; it’s possible, just not highly probable. Sometimes it’s hard to find a good man and I want to help you as you’re waiting on Mr. Right or looking for him. I want to help you spot the NOTs so you don’t waste time trying to warm a fire that was never meant to burn. Here are several types of men you need to avoid:

 

Casanova Carl He treats his women like Lays Potato Chips: he can’t have just one. The most important thing you need to know about Carl is stay away. Although he may not sleep around with many women, he likes his “friends” a little too much and doesn’t know how to appropriately detach. He craves feminine attention and affirmation and may not know how to relate to men. He may be  good to hang out with, but keep him in the friend zone.

Krazy Kevin: Here’s Kevin! Run! Get out the way! This is the, “I called you 10 times in one hour because I can’t live without you.” The, “I went looking for you because you were gone more than 30 minutes” kind of brother. He’s unpredictable, controlling, overly critical, sensitive and abnormally attached. He can be verbally and physically abusive. He is literally crazy. A couple of red flags: (1) He tries to get too close way too soon, (2) He show signs of aggressive pursuit too early without knowing anything about you, (3) He is a ticking time bomb. Anything can set him off.  He has so many issues you could fill two landfills and still have more room. These relationships are highly flammable and have a high propensity to turn dangerous. Please stay away.

Krazy Kevin

Wild Wendall: When you see this man please move. NOW! Like, right now! He exhibits unreasonable anger, doesn’t like authority, rules or boundaries. He wants what he wants and when he wants it, including you. Initially, his character deficiencies can be masqueraded by emotional authenticity and admirable drive but buyer beware! Quite often this type of behavior is rooted in insecurity, privilege, and a host of deep fractures. It may also reveal some deeper issues you’re not the person to help fix. I repeat, you’re not the person to help fix. Marriage is a magnifier for who we really are. If he can’t control his habits, sexuality, anger and emotions now it won’t change later.

Passive Paul He doesn’t breathe unless he gets permission first. He waits for you to make the first move for everything. He waits for you to express interest. He doesn’t initiate important conversations, is overly fearful of rejection, and incapable of making decisions and sticking to them. He likes whatever you like and goes wherever you lead. He avoids conflict and seldom steps up, speaks up or stands up.

Passive Paul

Selfie Santiago Simply put, it’s all about him. He spends more time in the mirror than you and everything is about him. His looks, his feelings, his ideas, his dreams, his life! He’s vain and overly focused on appearance: yours and his. Do yourself a favor: take one last picture then crop yourself out.

Brandon the Baby Two words: mama’s boy. Unfortunately, we live in a society where a lot of our boys were raised by single mothers. Historically, this has negatively interrupted our men’s identity development, sense of independence, and unfortunately, you have to deal with it. This guy still lives at home, doesn’t work nor looks for work and still depends on his mama for basic survival. He is a lot like Passive Paul in the sense he doesn’t control his life and waits for others to guide him through it. He will sometimes compare you to his mama and will criticize when you don’t measure up. If you’re not looking to be a mama then leave him alone.

Brandon the Baby

Lukewarm Larry This guy loves his freedom and doesn’t want to be confined to any religion, world doctrine, or anything that requires commitment. He lives by a smorgasbord of religious, philosophical, and self-derived principles. Essentially, he’s confused. Although he may be intellectually astute and a great conversationalist, unfortunately he stands for nothing. Larry might not lead you down a path of wickedness, death, or destruction but equally he cannot lead you to a place of indisputable truth.

Superman Sean This brother has so much on his plate he bought another one just to make room for everything. He’s the ultra-busy, “sorry, I’ve been too busy to call you back” guy.  He has too many things to do. He habitually returns your calls unreasonably late, misses the appointments you and he set, and puts you at the bottom of his to-do list. He’s not ready for a relationship; he’s just looking for another trophy to add to his mantle.

Superman Sean

Blind Bernard: Bernard is visually impaired and has no vision. He is unable to plan long-term and suffers from nearsightedness.  Don’t get me wrong, he doesn’t have to present a ten year plan, but he does have to have a clue about life. He doesn’t know, nor has ever thought about his life passions, the legacy he wants to leave, or your future together. He is often vocationally, educationally, and spiritually complacent. He lacks motivation and frequently exhibits a “good enough” attitude. That is to say, regardless of opportunities and how they potentially impact he and his family; he does just enough to get by.  Not too little and not too much: just enough. Buy him some prescription lenses and leave them at his doorstep.

Nathan Nonbeliever: If you and he don’t spiritually agree, then chances are it ain’t meant to be.  Need I say more? I don’t care how fine, strong, funny, charming, spiritual, articulate, good to his mama and granny he is. If he is not wholeheartedly committed to his relationship with Christ you are going to have trouble. This is not to say if you marry him all hell will break loose. This is to say marriage is a sacred covenant between two people for expanding God’s work on earth. Yes, it can be fun and nice to have someone to lay beside, but if you two don’t have a basic reference point for life then there will be trouble. The price tag of settling for less than God’s best can be very, very expensive and sometimes you need the courage to say goodbye.

 

If you find yourself becoming frustrated and overwhelmed by the perceived lack of good men, be patient. In your singleness try investing in the lives of others and learning more about yourself. We unfailingly find ourselves in broken relationships because one or both of us started as broken people looking for someone to fix us. If you’re single keep an eye out for these men. If you’re currently in a relationship with one of these men and you aren’t married, you may want to seriously consider ending it. You don’t want to spend precious years trying to water and nurture something that was never supposed to grow. Stand in courageous faith, trust fiercely and keep hope alive until God brings you someone.     

 

Books I Recommend:

Too Close Too Soon

101 Questions to Ask Before You Get Engaged

Young, Married and BROKE: 5 essentials for cash-deficient newlyweds

If you’re like me it seems like the moment when you stand across from the person you’ll spend the rest of your life with will never come. You spend countless hours daydreaming, making preference lists, praying and even secretly social media profiling (aka Facebook stalking) potentials. After you finally meet the person, it’s like nothing matters and together you’re inseparable. No obstacle is unconquerable and life is all around good. You spend months making decisions about flowers, friends and center pieces. Then, just as quickly as it takes you to say, “I Do” the day goes. You’re left crazy in love, and often times insanely in debt. So what do you do now? Here are five essentials if you find yourself young, married and broke.

Talk to a good financial counselor: Just because you’re currently broke doesn’t mean you’ll always be that way so it’s good to start getting advice.  That means strategic planning with real numbers, real people about real life circumstances. As comforting as the “love conquers all” ideology is, it will not prove profitable if you’re facing foreclosure or sitting in the dark because of an unpaid utility bill. Having an objective perspective will give you the reality check necessary to understand and realistically assess the challenges faced by young, broke newlyweds. You can also attend classes on financial literacy and planning (see suggestions below).

Spend time discussing personal philosophy on money: I’m blessed to have a wife that shares the same fundamental beliefs about money, stewardship and its purpose in our lives. We both hold the central value that God gives us money as a resource, but it’s not THE source. Differences in opinion about how money is spent, how much and when it’s spent can create tension if not discussed in depth. Simple things like whether or not you will tithe, and or give can be the beginning of big disagreements if not talked about beforehand.

Volunteer: Martin Luther King Jr. once stated, “We must remember intelligence is not enough. Intelligence, plus character-that is the true goal of education.” There’s no better way of developing character than by serving others, and the great thing is there is no shortage of need. By serving others and volunteering, not only do you take the spotlight off your situation, you can also develop relationships that may or may not lead to great opportunities. Sincere service will inevitably enhance your capacity to lead, develop your leadership potential and help cultivate marketable experiences.

Start your own business: Starting your own business can be a very intimidating process, but it’s also very rewarding. There are many reasons why some people start their own business. Some want more time freedom, while others may seek financial freedom and more income. Depending on the nature of your business the payback for your investment can be immediate. There are numerous networking marketing opportunities that require a start-up fee, but give you access to great training and the potential to grow a lucrative business. There are also tax advantages to owning a business and you’ll be able to develop new skills and meet new people. Be wise and research smart to ensure you select the right opportunity for you. Home-based businesses can provide additional income and be a productive use of time in between landing a big gig.   

Avoid moving in with your family: I know for some of you this one may be too late, but it’s ok. There’s still time to get out. This can sometimes be a sensitive subject, especially if you’re young, married, broke and running out of options. The reason I say avoid this is because as newlyweds you need time to learn and discover each other without the added pressures and expectations of family members. Leaving and cleaving is what bonds you together. If you leave, cleave and return, often times you get burned. The normal pressures of trying to create together time, facilitate conflict management and decision making can easily become exacerbated by well-intentioned, but boundary-crossing family members. If possible avoid it at all cost.

The wedding is only a day, but marriage is a lifetime. Unfortunately, seldom do young and madly in love folks invest as much time preparing for the marriage as they do for the ceremony. There are lots of things to think about after you say I do and you don’t want to find yourself making every major life decision based on your financial position. It’s not a pleasant way to live and ultimately creates an uncomfortable and tense environment in your marriage. Plan right, practice smart, listen to wise counsel and trust God. For more resources, please visit the following links: 

Some of my most used financial resources come from Dave Ramsey and Crown Financial.Image