Posts from the ‘eMotions’ Category

One Flesh

Hi all – I’m baaaack 🙂

As you may have read, I started this blog after completing one full year of marriage.  As I embarked on year two of martial bliss, I found that this year has been remarkably less ‘strenuous’ compared to year one of marriage.  Year one, in my humble opinion seemed to be the year where the concept of becoming “one flesh” is actually realized, physically. It moved from being a concept you have heard about in church, into a real tangible process.

The whole process of becoming “one flesh” is a painful one.  I mean think about it – two individual people turning into ONE flesh….exactly HOW is that supposed to occur without it being painful?

In case you’re not familiar with what I’m referencing – The term “one flesh” comes from the Genesis account of the creation of Eve. Genesis 2:21-24 describes the process by which God created Eve from a rib taken from Adam’s side as he slept. Adam recognized that Eve was part of him—they were in fact “one flesh.” The term “one flesh” means that just as our bodies are one whole entity and cannot be divided into pieces and still be a whole, so God intended it to be with the marriage relationship. There are no longer two entities (two individuals), but now there is one entity (a married couple).( http://www.gotquestions.org/one-flesh-marriage.html)

Eek! That is some serious stuff. Oh but wait, the article I referenced above goes further and explains: Emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, financially, and in every other way, the couple is to become one. Even as one part of the body cares for the other body parts (the stomach digests food for the body, the brain directs the body for the good of the whole, the hands work for the sake of the body, etc.), so each partner in the marriage is to care for the other.

This makes so much sense as to why year one me and my hubby were like, what the heck is this marriage thing???  I mean in theory, it sounds lovely, even romantic to become one flesh.  But in practice, taking two people, with different backgrounds, their own various baggage from previous relationships and each person’s ‘ideal’ of what marriage is, combined with the fact that you’ve been living life as an INDIVIDUAL for 20 or 30 (or more) plus years…there is nothing cute, lovely or romantic about making that all “work” as one.

So why am I writing this blog? To let you know how hard it was for me and my husband to become one?? Well…yes, kinda.  I want to tell you what I felt no one told me, candidly.  It is hard.  It takes work, compromise and it will even be a little painful.  I believe that’s how God intended it, in some form or fashion. I can’t say it any better than this:

This oneness and desire to benefit each other is not automatic, especially after mankind’s fall into sin. The man, in Genesis 2:24 (KJV), is told to “cleave” to his wife. This word has two ideas behind it. One is to be “glued” to his wife, a picture of how tight the marriage bond is to be. The other aspect is to “pursue hard after” the wife. This “pursuing hard after” is to go beyond the courtship leading to marriage, and is to continue throughout the marriage. The fleshly tendency is to “do what feels good to me” rather than to consider what will benefit the spouse. And this self-centeredness is the rut that marriages commonly fall into once the “honeymoon is over.” Instead of each spouse dwelling upon how his or her own needs are not being met, he or she is to remain focused on meeting the needs of the spouse.

It unnatural for our flesh to want to cooperate with the mandate God places on marriage. So you have to have something else lead you…the Spirit! What I have found is when you’re lead by the Spirit and not your flesh – it’s much easier to remain focused on meeting the needs of your spouse.  As a couple pursues serving Christ together, the joy which the Spirit gives will fill their marriage (Galatians 5:22-23). If God is central in a marriage today, there also will be joy. The sounds simple enough…but there is a deeper meaning.  Most people just simply view joy as joy…but what may not be evident is that in joy, there is strength (Nehemiah 8:10b – And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength)! Our marriages need joy in order to endure, to be strong.  Ultimately, without God, a true and full oneness is not possible.

The last and ultimate reason I wrote this is to also encourage you…it does get easier.  It may not necessarily be year two where you find your flow.  Marriage moves from season to season and I truly believe, achieving one flesh is a daily growth, not something that happens all at once.

So…be encouraged 🙂

Success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate, but through being the right mate.
– Barnett R. Brickner

 

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MarriageTruth – Husband’s Spiritual Leadership

Of course we all know that husbands should be the head of the household.  As much as us women are smart, articulate, money savvy and educated, according to the Word, the man should assume that leadership role as the head.  Of course, any smart man, knows when its time to defer to his wife…he DID marry us after all, and I think its safe to say, a man knows his wife’s area of expertise.  If he’s worth his salt, he also knows marriage is a partnership in many ways, and sometimes the best results are achieved when each person is allowed to exercise their strengths and cover the areas where the other is weak.

The area I want to talk about today is spiritual leadership in the household.  My husband and I both have grown up in the church, so we had a certain level of spiritual maturity entering the marriage.  However, I felt deep down that we both were not where we ought to be.

I don’t know what it is about marriage (or having kids, so I’ve heard) but I know that once you start getting older, it’s like you start seeing a relationship with God differently.  Its not a chore anymore especially when you have to pay a mortgage, or your marriage begins to hit a rough patch, or a friend’s parent passes away, or you begin to experience trouble at he workplace, and/or the economy enters a mini depression. You start to realize, church isn’t something that my mom or dad makes me go to everyday, its something I need.  I crave a relationship with God, otherwise…this life may just become too much to bear.  You start to pray more, worship more and really acknowledge God in all of your ways.

Growing up, I was blessed to have a strong man of God in my home.  I know many people, don’t get to experience that, so I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was truly blessed to have a father in my home.  Not only was my daddy there, he used to MAKE us have Bible study, outside of church.  And boooooooooooy, I hated it.  He sometimes would make us have Bible study during “TGIF” (yall remember that Friday night television line-up of Family Matters, Step by Step, and Full house?!)!!! I remember being sooo angry as he would make us read out of the Bible in the King James Version and translate what that meant in everyday language (no NIV or Message Bible here)!  Jerome Peters was (and still IS) the truth. I say all of that to say, I had a CLEAR image of what a man should look like as he leads his family in the ways of God.

I also knew my husband and I were young – we were just getting into this marriage thing and we didn’t have to be there, yet…right??!! WRONG.  Life came at my and me husband during our first year of marriage.  Don’t get me wrong, we did everything right, on paper.  We OFFICIALLY joined our church as soon as we got married (Shout Out to Jericho City of Praise!), we went to New Member Foundations classes on FRIDAY NIGHTS (lol, seriously, we did!), and we even went to a lot of Wednesday night bible studies.  Most people would read that and say – Good, what else do you need to do?

MORE….waaaaay more! I remember our pastor once said, you pray, fast and do whatever you need to go get a blessing/breakthrough.  Then once you get it, you stop.  He then went on to say, whatever you did to get to the blessing, you need to do 3 times more to sustain it! #truth!

My husband and I prayed, fasted, cried, and everything else in between while we were building our home and paying for our wedding, so everything would be in place when we got married.  Yet, once we got married, it was like we were cool with just maintaining…doing the bare minimum.

Things had to change. We started praying and seeking God OUTSIDE of church.  This thing isn’t just limited to Sundays, we both learned. We purchased three powerful books:  The Power to Change your Marriage and the Power of a Praying Wife/Husband all by Stormie Omartian.  These powerful little books were the stepping stone to change in our marriage. 

My husband is now SUCH a wonderful spiritual leader in our house.  He covers me in prayer and sends me daily scriptures.  We pray for each other and we pray, corporately together.  We still haven’t gotten to the Bible study where he makes me translate the KJV to plain English (LOL), but we’re on a clear path. 

I say this loooooooooong story to tell you, its never too late to start strengthening your marriage with prayer.  God will bring out the best in your husband and you will see him start to take a natural leadership role in your marriage.  It’s SUCH an awesome sight to see and I have to say, there is nothing more powerful, more touching, more endearing or SEXIER than a praying, power-filled man of GOD.

MMM MMMM MMM

#Marriagetruth

Marriage Truth – The 5 love languages

One of my sisterfriends introduced this book to me while I was dating my husband. Shortly thereafter, while I was engaged, my pastor did a study on “The 5 Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman and I was blown away by the information I found out.

If you aren’t familiar with the book:

After many years of counseling, Dr. Chapman noticed a pattern: everyone he had ever counseled had a “love language,” a primary way of expressing and interpreting love. He also discovered that, for whatever reason, people are usually drawn to those who speak a different love language than their own.

 The Five Love Languages are –

• Words of Affirmation

Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.

 • Quality Time

In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.

• Receiving Gifts

Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.

 • Acts of Service

 Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most wants to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.

• Physical Touch

This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.

 http://www.5lovelanguages.com/learn-the-languages/the-five-love-languages/

Terence and I took the assessment and found out we were both bilingual and we shared one language. I was primarily Word of Affirmation, then Physical Touch (I swear he converted me to this language, LOL) and he was primarily Physical Touch, then Acts of Service. It was interesting to note that we shared a language and that’s why I believe, even when we’re arguing and all else fails, he can reach out and grab my hand, or pull me close and hug me and almost everything is instantly better. And since we’re both share the language of physical touch, we don’t have to THINK about communicating that way. BUT (you know it was coming), I’m not always in touch with my other language and neither is Terence. There are times were we don’t want to touch (okay, I don’t want to touch – he pretty much ALWAYS wants to touch! see last week’s post, LOL) I want to be talked to and he can’t understand WHY I didn’t make up the bed this morning (Acts of Service) and I’m looking at him like he’s got three horns coming out of his head.

 I can sit here right now and tell you, ‘why yes my husband and I took the assessment and we’re bilingual, blah blah blah” but in the midst of an argument aka “intense fellowship” the last thing you’re thinking about is what love language you’re communicating in! So then, what do you do when you get into those moments of disagreements and no one is talking in a way the other can understand?

That’s a hard question and I don’t have an easy answer. The long answer is – you have to try to remember these types of things when things are going good. You won’t always be perfect…Lord knows I’m not, but I’m waaay better than I used to be. My thing is, I try to remember at least ONE thing/characteristic of my husband’s languages and show him that ONE thing, every day of the week. For him, it’s small as making up the bed everyday, or unplugging my flat iron or putting a new toilet paper roll on the metal thingy when I use it up (I cannot make this stuff up – these have been serious arguments in the Gibson household). For me – it’s TALKING to me. Terence, fortunately, got this really early on (I think it’s from growing up with two women in his household). He ALWAYS tells me he loves me everyday, tells me I’m beautiful most days, and shares something that affirms my soul, spirit and mind on a constant basis.

The funny thing is, it’s crazy how these two VERY opposite things = love to both of us. Terence feels most loved when I’m doing some act of service that benefits him or the household and I feel most loved when he tells me over and over again in different ways. And we both speak the same language when it comes to touch, hugs, and kisses. The main thing you have to keep in mind is, just because that doesn’t mean love to YOU, doesn’t mean it doesn’t mean love to your spouse. If you do it enough – so it will become easier and you won’t have to think “how can I say this in a way that he/she will understand and appreciate” so much. It will become more natural. After a year plus, I’ve finally started putting the toilet paper on the roll, 3 times outta 5. He knows I’m trying…so he tends to ignore the other 2 times I forget 🙂

Marriage Truth – The way to your man’s heart

Yes….it’s food.  And. Sex. 

Actually, it’s mostly sex…

In fact – let’s just say, IT’S JUST SEX!

That sounds primitive, I know, but I’ve found it to be so true.  While sex isn’t the ONLY way to your husband’s heart, this is one of the most important.

I will be honest and say I had a hard time with the level of IMPORTANCE my husband placed on sex.  As a woman who grew up in the church, sex is an issue that is usually rarely addressed in the pulpit.  If, it is ever addressed, its rarely talked about as good (unless you’re at a marriage conference, something where most single people aren’t really invited).  We’re told over and over again, to abstain, not to fornicate, etc.

One article says, “Growing up, sex wasn’t talked about very much. Not at home, not with family, and certainly not in church! There, the very mention of the word would have turned ears to scarlet and had the deacons popping antacid pills. Sure, every year the youth group did a “True Love Waits” program, but we never got down to the real nitty-gritty. We dutifully signed cards and pledged to “wait for true love and marriage” – whatever that meant.  Many Christian youth today are in the same rapidly sinking boat. They have plenty of questions, but not enough people willing to give answers. Or worse, the wrong kind of people are giving the wrong kind of answers.  For those getting no answers, sex turns into “This Great Mystery.” (http://www.crosswalk.com/marriage/11532504/)

Then you DO get married and its like, you’ve never been taught EXPLICITLY, from a Biblical perspective the place of sex in your marriage.  And since its such a hush-hush topic, a lot of times you never know how much it connects you to your mate.

The same article stated it well – “After the wedding, one of the hardest things for young Christian couples to adjust to is the fact that sex is suddenly – okay! All the years of silence on the “forbidden topic,” all the years of feeling guilty for asking questions, all the years of wondering and dreaming, all the years of thinking sex as a “four letter word,” suddenly diminish. Sex is expected, allowed, and not only that, but – gasp – it’s a part of God’s plan! ” (http://www.crosswalk.com/marriage/11532504/)

Fortunately for me, my husband and I began attending a great church (shout out Jericho City of Praise!!) together when we were engaged and throughout our first year of marriage that constantly talks about the subject of sex, especially within the marriage, the way God intended it.  Even being under all of that great teaching and instruction, I STILL had to shed all of my previous notions of sex and now approach it as something that’s enjoyable, something that brings me and my husband closer together and something that we can constantly improve and explore 😉

I was reading the “Power of a Praying Wife” by Stormie Omartain and she was saying that a wife’s ministry of sex is extremely important to her husband’s BEING.  I was completely blown away when she put it that.  Sure, sex is nice and it feels good, but being important to his BEING??? That was amazing to me. Eye-opening honestly. I never knew it meant THAT much to them (men).  She said that often, if the wife isn’t ministering to her husband sexually, it can affect his ability to think clearly at work, his decision-making etc.

Even as my husband JUST leaned over and said, “what are you typing about today babe” and I said, “sex in a marriage and how important it is!” He states, “well I’m here, if you need to research…I mean, I’m here, ready..” and starts to laugh (only he’s NOT joking)! This is something that I had really to learn and appreciate about my husband.  He LOVES to express himself with me intimately.  Instead of me saying, “I’m sleepy, ” or “AGAIN??,” or “I’m writing baby,” I’ve learned to love this fact about him and relish our moments of intimacy we have together. 

Not that it was an easy road.  One of the challenges that many young married couples will face is getting on the ‘page’ with the frequency of sex you’re having.  If I can be frank, sometimes he wants it 3 times a DAY and you want it more like 3 times a WEEK!  This is where communication has to be paramount! You have to clearly compromise with each other.  Both the husband and wife should aim to try to please each other more than themselves.  It sounds hard, but it works out so well – because sometimes he’ll give or you’ll give and you can have a sex life where you’re both getting your needs met.

Also, from a women’s perspective, do something to make yourself feel beautiful! I’ve found that when I’m feeling gorgeous, beautiful, pretty, cute, sexy, sassy, etc. I’m much more prone to have a good time with my hubby in a way he can appreciate. 

Lastly, be honest with each other and work on it.  You’re level of intimacy can ALWAYS be improved.  I’ve learned the little things really go a long way.  Once you begin to give to each other, you will see such a change in your couple dynamic and level of closeness. 

I really could go on and on and on…but I will end with this SEX IN YOUR MARRIAGE IS GREAT and it’s really important to your hubby (and you too).  Increase your level of intimacy and watch the results! #marriagetruth

MarriageTruths – The EdotPizzle Relaunch

DO YOU KNOW WHAT TODAY ISSSSSSSSSSSS? It’s our ANNIVERSARY  ::singing at the top of my lungs in my best Raphael Saadiq/Tony Toni Tone voice::

In so many ways I can’t believe today is here. The number one question everyone asks me is, “Does it feel like it’s been one year already?” The answer, I’ve found, has been a combination of “No” and “Yes!”

How, you ask? Well, because there were some nights, some arguments, some disagreements, some hard times where I was like, OMG…has it ONLY been 6 months? Or 8 months?

And then there were all of the good times that far outweigh the bad ones where I feel like this year has been a cloud and floated by, almost effortlessly. So it’s been fast and its been slow…all in one.

Despite the tricky combination that I described above – we MADE it! Through what many people consider that hardest year of marriage. Or at least one of the major milestones of the marriage anniversaries…

 During this year, I feel as thought I’ve uncovered some #marriagetruths and busted some #marriagemyths and I felt the need to share how we’ve struggled, overcome and all that came in between.

So…in that vain, I’ve decided to start over…and create a marriage blog.

I created this blog because I felt that there needed to be a voice for young, black married couples. In today’s world we see so much negative emphasis on marriage, fidelity, and even attacks on the ability for black unions to form, much less stay together. I noticed, that even in my peer group, images of young black marriages were present, but we had no place to share and relate. So I figured, why not create that space?! A space where we can glean information from other like-minded couples who face the same struggles we do. I heard that the first year of marriage is one of the hardest and now that I’ve successfully completed my first year, I can give you my take on how to make it through the first year (and beyond) and what I learned along the way.

But I’d be stupid to think I have it all…so I solicited the help of several couples I’ve seen making it work in their early years of marriage. I plan on sharing resources I’ve found and highlighting couples who have made it work for a long time and couples who are just starting out, like my husband and I. I pray this will become a place of inspiration, guidance and refuge – as I HONESTLY share my journey and the journey of others with you!

For those who are new to E DOT PIZZLE:

Who am I?

Hi, I’m Erika and I’m a 27 year old married woman. I’ve been married to Terence for 1

whole spanking year.  Our anniversary is TODAY (09/26/09)!

Terence and I met in February 2008 and were introduced by mutual friends.  We dated for 6 months and Terence’s proposed on August 23, 2008 in front of all of our family and friends at his aunt’s home.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIgHu7Z78E0

We were engaged for 13 months before getting married.  In the midst of this, we bought a home, one month before we got married. 

https://edotpizzle.wordpress.com/2009/07/30/we-closed-on-our-first-home-yesterday/

 To say the least 2008 and 2009 were two VERY eventful years.  We accomplished so much in so little time and 2010 was honestly the first year we got to BREATH!

 Even in our “breathing,” our first year of marriage was jammed packed with vacations, family obligations, tons of activities with friends and hectic work schedules. 

I will share  some of those in this blog.  Terence will give you his perspective, from the “Man Cave” from time to time, and I will attempt to give you the good, the bad, the ugly and the AWESOME. 

Before I sign off for today, one thing I will leave you with….marriage is hard work, but it’s so so rewarding once you figure out the right rhythm and the correct principles to stand on.  The #1 #marriagetruth © that I’ve learned this year is to KEEP GOD FIRST IN YOUR MARRIAGE!

 Stay tuned…there’s so much more to come!

Mission Reciprocity – Aborted

Here’s why….

“Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” – Luke 6:28

I got the message 😉 Thanks God!

Who wears wood earrings anymore, anyways?

The quote may seem a bit random, but it inspired me to blog. And let’s face it, I haven’t written anything in almost a month, so whatever gets me writing, I’m going with it!  My sister said that to me the other day and it struck me. Mostly because I was insulted…LOL. She was commenting on some earrings I was about to wear.  Saying that “metallics” are in style and she didn’t understand why I attempted to put on wood earrings in the first place. 

First of all, I like MY wood earrings.  They are cute.  While I agree, most wood earrings should be left in 2000 (circa Jill Scott, Let’s take a Long Walk era), that doesn’t change the fact that, if I stumble upon a cute pair of wood earrings, I will still wear them.  Cute is cute, regardless of the trends. **Humph!**

But this spoke louder to other things going on in my life.  I’m trying to establish my personal style…when it comes to being married. 

Our marriage like it a blank sheet of paper…and its up to me and my husband to define its personal style.  Develop our rhythm.  Find our space. Decide what’s important to us…do we travel? Are we foodies? Are we passionate? Do we like PDAs? Are we social? Do we invite people over?  More importantly, how to we communicate? Do we make up after big arguments? How do we comfort one another? Do we address the uncomfortable topics? How do we relate when we’re stressed? How often do we kiss?

Sometime our answers aren’t going to be what’s trendy…the metallic earrings of life, (or at least in 2010). But as long as I can put on our love, look in the mirror and feel confident and pretty and pulled together, like I do in my wood earrings…I’m sure we’re making it fit, just for us 🙂