Time and Time Again

Well, there we go. We’ve fallen in love and can’t seem to get up. We spent so long chasing love and now it’s here, smack dab in front of your face. Everything’s great! Your love is perfect and there’s nothing else you could ask for. But what’s this? What is this feeling of apprehension buried deep in your heart? Could that be fear? Fear of losing someone? Fear of starting at square one all over again? But of course you don’t want to do that…

So what do you do?

As a human being, when we fear we may lose something, we try our hardest to hold on to it by any means. Even if our actions go far beyond what our heart and head tells us. But it’s SO important to listen to that voice coming from within. It’s our tendency to jump into thingssimply because it’s what we want to do. We lack the desire to think, to feel, we just DO. But having a successful and healthy relationship takes a certain level of thoughtfulness, skillfulness, and consideration. After all, nothing of value comes easily.

When we are building a relationship, we don’t jump from one stage to another, thinking “Well what could go wrong?” We’re (especially females) are so concerned with letting too much time go by, but have you really taken the time to cover all the bases in each stage of the relationship? The Bible says, “Let patience have its perfect work.” We must stop to think and ask ourselves, are we ready to move to the next level?

When the excitement of a new relationship fades away, what do you have? Did you take the time to build a foundation of commitment and trust? Did you furnish it with love? Did you decorate the walls with memories? Has their heart become your home?

Really taking your time is a difficult thing to do, especially when all you want is to find THE ONE. When you believe you have found that one person, take the time to strengthen your relationship. When you see something valuable, put in the work to get it. Once it’s yours, it’ll be guaranteed to be yours forever.

Listen to the Advice4Life podcast here.

Would You Marry You?

Would you marry you? Are you a you that you want to be? These are questions that we must constantly ask ourselves to keep us in check when we are in relationships with one another.

But why do we need to keep ourselves in check? Because we are in “the keeping”. When you’re in “the hunting”, you can make yourself out to be whoever you want to be, but when you’re working on keeping someone… are you really putting in that work?

When you decide to be in a relationship or a marriage, God has entrusted you with one of his most precious creatures – another human being. There’s a certain way we have to respond to this responsibility and it’s to accept this trust and respond with gratefulness. Why wouldn’t we be thankful for a lifelong companion?

But we have certain responsibilities when it comes to this acceptance. For starters, we have to show up in the relationship. We have to be present, be aware, be conscious of what’s going on, where and when. When we’re working on “keeping” another person, our biggest task is putting in effort. When you’re in the gym, do you not give it your all? Are you not pushing yourself to the limit, expanding your lungs, stretching your muscle to become a stronger person? It’s not different when you are in love with someone. You must constantly be in practice of pushing yourself and encouraging yourself to be better.

How do you make yourself better? Trace the behaviors of your relationship. What are you triggers? What are your feelings? What are you intentions? What are your expectations? Remember to keep all of these realistic and fair. Realistic for yourself and your partner. Fair to yourself and fair to your partner. Another important point to remember is the importance of dialogue. Is something bothering you? Say it. The Bible says, “Through assumption comes nothing but strife,” without dialogue comes nothing but trouble. Be simple, be clear, be succinct, be kind. Be a you that you would want to be with.

Listen to the Advice4Life podcast: http://advice4life.podbean.com/e/the-awareness-wheel-why-do-i-have-to-understand-how-my-feelings/

The Hunt Vs. The Keep

Look across that breakfast table…

Look at your partner, do you remember the first time they asked, “Want to hang out?”Remember the first time you smiled and said, “I’d like that.”?  That fluttery feeling, you felt, the smile that never seemed to leave your face even when they weren’t around, the constant thoughts of them that kept you distracted from your day to day activities. There was such magic in the air you could almost taste it.

Al and Aisha Laws address a very important topic that many couples have struggled with for decades… how do you keep that spark? The answer is very simple really, be conscious. Be conscious of how you feel, what you’re thinking, and what you’re doing. Be PRESENT in the relationship.

Now think back to that time your relationship was just budding. Ladies, remember the way you would take time to make sure  your makeup was perfect? Fellas, remember the way you made sure you were on your sweetest behavior? It’s important to bring those elements into your relationship regularly, even after years of being together. Being in a relationship is work and most of that work is remembering. Now I’m not just talking about remembering anniversary dates (which is also VERY important), but remembering how you felt in the very beginning. Remembering that this is the person that you prayed for each and every day. Remembering how you felt when you found out they wanted you too.

A great way to keep the spark is having regular date nights. It’s so easy to forget to manifest love when the time you’re spending with your partner is bogged down with talk of bills, what the kids are doing… or even planning a wedding! Setting aside the time to lay down agendas and just sit and be with each other is a powerful way to keep the magic alive. Aisha said it best, “Turn off the mommy and turn on the honey.” 

Now, there’s a common misconception that true love comes solely from the spiritual aspect. While spirituality is the most important component; when you’re in love, it’s a person’s holistic well being that must be your priority. This is why physical attributes also have an effect on the dynamic of the relationship. Take pride in how you look to your partner, but don’t let it overcome you. Every once in a while, take time to adorn yourself… making yourself just as beautiful as your partner believes you are on the inside. And when you see your partner making the effort to dress up or making healthy changes, appreciate it. We all know what hard work is, and saying no to a cheeseburger is the hardest of them all.

The point is, we expend so much energy in the hunt, but our focus and our love should be manifested in the keeping. Once you’re in the love relationship, that’s where the real work starts. Happy keeping!

Listen to the Advice4Life podcast here: http://advice4life.podbean.com/e/the-awareness-wheel-women-on-the-hunt-why-your-appearance-matter-in-your-present-relationship/

 

Responding To The Intentions

It’s hard to ignore the things people say and do to us. Especially if they were hurtful – intentionally or unintentionally. Those types of things stay with us forever and vice versa.

However, when we are in the process of healing and building relationships, we need to find ourselves in a place where we have the ability to look past people’s actions and behaviors and focus on what their intent truly was. This is where the Awareness Wheel comes in handy. It’s no coincidence that this model is in a circular shape – see, as human beings, we tend to operate in cycles. We have to learn how to identify the cycles we see ourselves in and be aware of how we respond. One of these natural cycles is the fight or flight response when we find ourselves in an argument. Again, we circle back to the hurtful words and actions that someone might have done to us. It’s very real to feel vulnerable and inadequate ; if you’re anything like me, those are the worst things to feel. We lack the skills and the ability to process these feelings as they are and don’t exactly know how to or want to express that this is how we are feeling. Most of us can’t admit we are hurt so we become angry.

Understand that we have the ability to separate our thoughts from our feelings. Place “peace” at the top of your priority list. Look past what was said and what was done and be aware of what the other’s true intention was. Look past what the person is offering you at face value and hone in on the real message they are trying to convey. Do not respond to the ACTION, but respond to the INTENTION.

Check out “Awareness Wheel Pt. 4” here.

The Responsibility of Love

Responsibility. We all know we have them. We have them at home, we have them at school, we have them at work, and we also have them… in our relationships. Sure, we hate taking out the trash, we don’t really feel like going to that morning meeting, we’re too tired to finish that homework. But what seems to be the hardest responsibility of all? It’s the basic responsibility to love someone else fully and wholeheartedly.

This essentially isn’t complicated at all. We see someone, we like them, we date them, we love them, and the rest is history. So how do we manage to botch this system up? We have these things called feelings. And in these feelings we have something called fear, hurt, mistrust. And there, ladies and gentlemen, is why we shy away from our primary responsibilities to one another.

This isn’t entirely our own fault. History and society has conditioned men and women to be a certain way and act a certain way – despite any emotion that is fighting its way to come out. Men have been conditioned to believe that it is an honor to have many women at their disposal. Women have been conditioned to be prepared for hurt. But in reality, men have a responsibility to honor the woman God has given them in their lives. Women have the responsibility to submit – submit their entire heart to the man she loves.

Of course, it doesn’t always pan out the way we planned. Someone is bound to hurt someone else and we carry those feelings with us whether we like to or not. So we shy away from our responsibilities in a relationship. Men put up a front and women put up a guard – doing an injustice to ourselves in prohibiting ourselves to experience the love God intends for us.

And here are just a few pointers if you’re thinking that all this responsibility isn’t really your thing:

You don’t have to think of this as a chore. When you choose to love someone, accept that you love them, you begin to respond naturally in love. Always choose a place of love.

If you fear vulnerability, think of giving yourself to God, rather than another person. When you truly believe that this is the life that God intends for you, your strength will come from Him in times of need. He will refortify any faltering faith you may have had in your partner.

Be committed to love, no matter how what your partner does. Don’t be quick to get angry, just as the Bible says. Always respond from a place of love.

Listen to the Advice4Life podcast here: http://advice4life.podbean.com/

copyright 2015 All Rights Reserved Al Laws Jr.

 

Passion vs. Purpose

Love is work. Love is sacrifice. Love isn’t easy.

And if you’re anything like me, the greatest sacrifice … is not getting my way.

This week’s Advice4Life show delves into a scenario that I don’t think is that uncommon to the radio audience… “What do you do when you and your partner are both used to getting your way?”

Al Laws and Gregg Harris puts it simply… what means more to you? Passion or purpose? In other words, what means more – the intensity of your feelings at that particular moment or your entire reason for being in the relationship in the first place?

Your entire reason for being in a relationship is to love. Your ultimate goal in a relationship is to be at peace. When you’re in a combative situation with your partner who also is accustomed to “winning”, it might be helpful to look past what he or she is doing and focus on what they are intending to do. At that point, you are saying to yourself, “I want to put down my desire to be right and focus on their intention.”

What’ll that do? The moment you say, “I understand…” opens up areas of healthy discussion. They can either agree or point you in the right direction. You might say, “I understand that you want to do this or you want to accomplish that…” and it’ll be up to your partner to confirm or say “No, what I want is…”

It’s a tough pill to swallow, but when we decide to love someone, we are making the decision to lay down our own personal interests for the well-being and happiness of someone else. While most of us readily make this commitment, others need a little more convincing. So think of it this way: Rather than sacrificing your chance to get your way or win an argument, the real sacrifice is simply making the decision to understand your partner. Sounds a little easier, right? Go ahead and try it today.

Listen to Advice4Life podcast here: http://advice4life.podbean.com/

Co-Dependency… What to Avoid

How many of us have sat and thought about what the perfect relationship entails? How many of us have “good communication” at the top of the list?

Now how many of us know what good communication really is?

Good communication is being able to share thoughts and feelings in a non-injurious way. Do we feel like we can truly do this in our relationships? Or do we take on the thoughts and feelings of our partner? Do we believe they are our own?

Beware of co-dependency in a relationship. Yes, when we decide to share our lives with someone we are making the decision to become one. But does that mean we should lay down our autonomy?

Co-dependent relationships can be categorized as group think. We don’t feel safe or empowered enough to share your own thoughts and feelings that you take on the thoughts and feelings of the partner who has the dominant personality.

Now when we are co-dependent, we are joining out partners around their feelings, but it’s at the expense of our own. On the other hand, the dominant figure believes they are saving or maintaining the partner because they feel that they are right. A lot of this is unintentional, but we still need to keep a watchful eye so as to avoid having our relationships morph.

Do not bring your relationship into a level of co-dependency. Do not accept excuses. Do not make up excuses for how individuals are or for what they do. Don’t feel like it is your duty to protect or save them. It is impossible for you to maintain your own life when you become someone else’s life thread. Independence in thought and your ability share in an effective way will be your true power.

Listen to the Advice4Life podcast here: http://advice4life.podbean.com/

Don’t Ignore Your Feelings

One of the most helpful and effective things you can do in a relationship is to address how you feel. We live in a world where we are almost forced to mask how we really feel. Whether it is in the workplace or at school, we are expected to hold ourselves together in a way that is acceptable to everyone else. But how does that affect you? How does that affect the people you’re close to?

We need to start getting in the practice of knowing what we feel and expressing it, without shame or fear of judgement. We are so conditioned to hold things in that we put ourselves in a compromising situation (we’re like a sponge, we can only hold so much in at a given time) as well as present our partners with a riddle we are forcing them to solve on their own.

When we are happy, don’t we want people to know we’re happy? So why wouldn’t we want people to understand when we are hurt? Lonely? Disappointed. When we are in a relationship, these emotions must be brought to light to be able to move forward or take the next step. We all know it’s impossible to stay 100% ecstatic about life all day every day, so we might as well be honest about what takes us away from that level.

When you address how you feel and communicate just that, you are opening a window to your partner. All of a sudden, they know why you lashed out or why you shut down. In turn, when feelings are being share with you, don’t discount them. Even if you don’t think that you were being defensive or degrading or whatever it may be, this is the feeling that your partner has. They owned that they were feeling hurt or betrayed, so you need to own what you did to get them there.

Feelings are powerful and they are an even more powerful tool. Don’t neglect the effect that they can have on the health of your relationship.

Listen to the Advice4Life podcast here: http://advice4life.podbean.com/e/the-awareness-wheel-understanding-your-process/

Be Social

We’ve probably never thought about this, but it’s important to be social. Now, I don’t mean that we need to go out and make friends with everyone we meet or going out to parties and being the center of attention. While those are fun and definitely being social, what I mean is to be social with your partner.

So many times we get stuck thinking about what’s not working and what’s making us upset about another person. If you ask me, that’s a pretty destructive way of thinking. Instead of talking about issues every day, why not talk about something fun? Each day, make it a point to talk to your partner about what makes you happy. Take time to laugh and joke. Take time to learn about interests, then go DO that. Do more of that. Relationships are a lot of work, but don’t forget to have fun.

When you take the time to be social rather than jump to the issues that you may have, you are telling your partner, “Hey, I’m patient enough to have this time with you.” You may not realize it, but taking that time speaks volumes in a relationship. While relationships aren’t all fun and games, it’s helpful to start on a light note before you get into the nitty gritty. That’s what reminds the both of you that love will always come first.

Listen to the Advice4Life podcast here: http://advice4life.podbean.com/

The Deception of Anger

It’s okay to be angry. The Bible even tells us so. But sometimes we think anger will do something that it won’t.

Let’s look at the reasons that we get angry in our relationships with other people. Can you think of the last time you were angry with someone you love? What happened? In other posts, we talked about the importance of being open and allowing yourself to be vulnerable to another person. This experience lends itself to a level of fear. Circling back to the Awareness Wheel, our intention may be to “protect”, because what we feel is “fear” and we will, oftentimes, behave in “anger”.

As human beings, we immediately default to being angry. We feel like it gives us some kind of upper hand or power. It’s what we go to when we can’t identify that we feel hurt, disappointed or afraid. But in reality, anger is a deceptive feeling. It doesn’t accomplish what we think it’s going to accomplish. To act out in anger is to take the easy way out.

So the next time we feel ourselves getting angry, take a minute to really figure out why we feel that way and how we got there in the first place. Once we’re able to understand ourselves, we can start to create a better outcome.

Listen to the Advice4Life podcast here: http://advice4life.podbean.com/