Masks Off: Disliked for Who You Are or Loved for Who You Are Not?

“Love takes off masks we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.” – James Baldwin

masks

Sadly, I believe that very few of us ever reach true intimacy. I believe most of us have enjoyed the temporary joys of dating and making out and other conventions of relationships. But so few of us will ever reach true intimacy. And the reason is simple. God has given each of us memories and emotions. And when those memories are painful and those emotions are hurt by people that we love, we make a decision – consciously or subconsciously – to never let anyone hurt us like that again. Unfortunately for us, making that decision does absolutely nothing to our stronger desire to connect with others.

After watching different movies about life in the penitentiary, I discovered that a man would rather be in general population where he is in danger of being shanked (stabbed) or violently sodomized against his will than to be locked up in solitary confinement. It is the worst punishment for even the most hardened criminal to be locked away from others – even though those others may have and may continue to hurt them. This goes to show that all humans were made for connection with other human beings despite how hurt they’ve been in times past.

So how do we cope with that cognitive dissonance? How do we love WITHOUT risking hurt? This post does not attempt to answer that question. The previous paragraph just goes to show that humans want connection in spite of pain. Yet despite our desperate need and desire to connect, why come so few of us achieve it?

I believe the reason we cannot achieve true intimacy is because our past hurts “force” us to put on masks. They don’t actually force us, but they terrify us enough to put them on because we fear what could happen if we do not don our masks. Our memories remind us how painful it was the last time we loved as we truly were. Maybe as a child, you reached out to Mommy for a hug and she pushed you away. Maybe you waited hours for Daddy to come home to show him a card you made just for him, only for him to wave you away and lock himself in his room without any greeting or acknowledgement. These simple examples represent profound experiences that shape us. They make us question ourselves as to why our parents don’t like or appreciate us as we are. So we try to alter our real, “unlovable” selves so as to prevent being rejected again for who we really are. We’d rather be loved for we are not than to face the pain of being rejected for who we are.

One thing about masks is that we continue to wear them because they work. If they didn’t work in getting us what we wanted, we would no longer wear them. So masks are effective in a sense. Another thing about masks is that they can be changed at any time – even several times in an hour. So if you meet four different people in an hour, you could act four different ways to make all of them pleased with them. If you felt your Mommy liked you smarter, skinnier, neater, and cuter, you worked on that mask and presented it to her. You saw it made her smile at, compliment, and hug you. If you felt that your Daddy liked you more accomplished, you worked on that mask and presented to your Dad a new you that was a star quarterback, a great tennis player, or a straight A student. And that made Daddy show you off and give you attention. While it is sad that some parents do not love their children unconditionally, it is a reality that must be accepted. And once you accept that you had demanding, perfectionistic parents, you have another choice to make.

You can choose to be disliked for who you are or loved for who you’re not.

And if you make the right decision, you will remove those masks and say, “HERE I AM! LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME, BUT I WILL NOT HIDE ANYMORE!”

Now let me explain some things. I am not suggesting that you don’t change anything negative about yourself and command others to love you as you are if who you are is abusive, offensive, and criminal. Don’t molest children, beat up people on the street, and call people outside of their names and then say, “Love me for who I am because I refuse to hide under my mask anymore!” By no means! But what I am saying is that you have to understand that if you are not intentionally hurting anyone, you do not have to change to make people except you.

Another disclaimer is that you also have to understand that people have expectations of adults. A newborn baby is expected to do absolutely nothing but eat, sleep, and poop. No one is disappointed in them for not knowing the alphabet. No one is shaking their head in shame because they are not walking. No one is scolding them for not changing their own diaper. So you must know that when you are an adult – especially a male – people expect you to work a job. Also, as an adult, people expect you to obey laws. Don’t be a lazy slob using welfare when you are able to work and then say, “Take me as I am!I refuse to work, and I will continue to rob and steal!” (If this is your attitude about not wearing a mask, I personally don’t expect anyone to like you.) But if you are a person who does not hurt others deliberately, who works a job to pay bills and whatnot, and who does not intentionally break laws or biblical commands, then you should not have to put on a mask to make people like you. Just doing those things makes you enough.

So back to what I was saying about intimacy. One cannot be intimate with a mask. You cannot feel someone’s face who is wearing a mask. You cannot know someone who is constantly lying to you. You cannot be intimate with someone who refuses to get close to you. That is because INTIMACY IS THE REMOVAL OF DISTANCE.

Think of intercourse. Intercourse is considered intimate because it is the removal of space between two physical bodies. In fact, not only is space removed outside of the body, but with the woman, the space inside is also removed. There is no distance between two people engaging in intercourse. The same goes for tongue kissing. There is no space left there. So it is intimate.

Well, that was speaking physically. Now let’s think emotionally. When you are truly intimate with someone, you remove all distance between their emotions for you and your emotions for them. They know how you feel about them, and you know how they feel about you. But if you hide your true feelings behind a mask, they do not truly know your emotions. So there is still distance. So there is no true intimacy.

Again, the reason we do not tell them our true feelings is because we fear they will stop loving us. But think of children and their parents. Younger children will tell their parent that their breath stinks because kids are brutally honest. But it doesn’t mean that they will stop loving the parent. We have to stop equating truth with abandonment. And if you do, just understand that those you were honest with who abandoned you were simply unwilling to be close to you. Doubtless, they’ve heard worse things from others that they continued to be in relationship with because they WANTED to be in relationship with them. But don’t let their rejection of you make you redefine the lovability of you. Just take their rejection as redirection to someone who WANTS relationship and intimacy with you.

We want so badly to be loved for who we are, but we learn to hate who we really are because who we really are – flawed – resulted in someone rejecting us. So we hate ourselves so much so that we forget who we are and begin to truly think this mask is the real us. But we must do the thing we think we cannot do. We must remove these masks and dare to be loved for who we truly are. The people who God has for us, will love us without them.

However, if you so decide that life with a mask is preferable to being loved as you are, carry on as you were. But just know that you are not in a real relationship. You are in a dance, an arrangement between a person and a mask.

mask

Advertisements

Unresolved Issues: Magnets Attracting What’s Wrong and Repelling What’s Right

Image

Ever wonder why you’re attracted to certain people and why certain people tend to be attracted to you? Also, have you ever wondered why some people are “repulsive” to you and why you also seem to be repelled by certain people? This doesn’t just have to apply to romantic partners, but it can also apply to friendships and even church membership. Have you ever stopped to think how you became drawn to or turned off to one person or group? While having one of my usual, unusual talks with God, the topic of MAGNETISM came up as an analogy to understand relationships. And this is what I discovered.

How we get into different types of relationships is kind of like how a refrigerator magnet is drawn to a refrigerator. The ONLY thing that draws them together is the Law of Magnetism. And what draws you to one individual over another individual can be considered a different kind of magnetism. I did a little research about how magnets are made. So as not to bore you with all the details, here is a very brief summary.

Magnets are made of a group of metals known as ferromagnetic metals. These are metals such as nickel, iron, cobalt, and gadolinium. Material contains several small magnetic fields known as “domains”. Most of these domains are independent of each other and so they face different directions. But when a strong magnetic field is nearby, it can be strong enough to cause all those domains to turn and face in the same direction so that they can align and make a larger, stronger magnetic field. All magnets are attracted to Iron and Nickel. There are temporary (soft) magnets and permanent (hard) magnets. Temporary magnets lose their magnetism over time as the domains revert to their original (individual) position. But permanent magnets continue to face the same direction permanently. The way to make a magnet is to have a ferromagnetic metal heated to or beyond their Curie temperature. To make it temporary, heat it (exactly) to its Curie temperature. Magnets do not only attract other things. They repel things as well. All magnets have a South and a North pole. If you try to connect the two North poles together or try to connect the two South poles together, they will repel/reject connection with one another. But if you try to connect the South pole with the other magnet’s North pole, they will connect/attract one another.

Image

When you think of your refrigerator magnets, you know that they will always be attracted to your refrigerator. So there must be something IN magnets and something IN refrigerator doors that draw them to each other. We can relate that to people as well. It reminds me of women who keep attracting abusive men/who are constantly attracted to abusive men. Even if these women do not know that these men are abusive, they still attract them for some reason.

When I consider my exes, I find it interesting how I was drawn to all of them because none of my two exes are very similar. And so since I was attracted to each of them, even though they are all so different, it shows me that I was changing as a person. It showed me that I was not the same type of person at the time I dated each of them. That leads me to the conclusion that WHO you are drawn to at any particular time can give you insight into WHO you were at the time you began speaking to them. And it also shows you what kind of person they were when they liked you. For example, if you liked a drug addict from 2005-2007, it shows me that you were either a drug addict or codependent person at that time. And if you dated a man who knew you were cheating on him from 2007-2009, it shows me that you were dating a man with poor self-esteem for those years. We attract certain people based on what is going on in our personal lives at the time. And I believe it was Dr. Henry Cloud who said that we attract into our lives what we are ready for. And so for me at least, an accurate appraisal of who I was at the time I began dating a person shows me what some of my unresolved issues were at the time. I noticed that when I consider all of my exes since freshmen year of college, that as God healed me of childhood issues throughout the years until this day that each subsequent ex seemed to be emotionally healthier than the last ex to mirror my emotional health level! Who I was dating at the time was a reflection of me at the time!

There are some women who only attract sex addicts, controlling men, abusive men, closeted homosexuals, philanderers, lazy men, secret pedophiles etc. And while I am not accusing these women of being the reason they are mistreated in relationships, we have to admit that the common denominator in 100% of her past relationships is her. I’m not saying that something about that woman turns normal men into abusers/addicts/cheaters/etc. But I am saying that something about her draws men who are already abusers/addicts/cheaters/etc.

Image

Some women may say, “Okay, well now that I am aware that my last 5 boyfriends have been abusive. I will dump the abuser I am with now, and I will begin to date loving men from here on out.” That sounds like a good plan, but according to what we know of magnets, that will be unlikely. Your refrigerator magnets can ONLY be attracted to the something that is common in all refrigerators. And some women have unresolved issues that keep them attracting the wrong partners. A great man can show interest in her and can ask her on a date, and that emotionally unhealthy woman will say, “He’s a nice guy, but I’m just not attracted to him. He’s too…NICE.” This woman’s unresolved issues REPEL what is good for her and ATTRACT what is wrong for her. Something about bad boys will make her swoon and something about good men will repulse her even though she knows and will admit that this should not be the case.

Magnets will ALWAYS be attracted to refrigerators. And just because a magnet has an epiphany one day that these refrigerators are not good for it, it does not mean the magnet can change itself or its attraction to refrigerators. Magnets can’t change themselves and neither can humans – without God’s help. Remember, there is something inherent in all magnets that draw them to refrigerators. There is something inherent in all women who are constantly drawn to unfaithful men. There is something inherent in all women who are constantly drawn to abusive men. There is something inherent in all women who are constantly drawn to men who have alcohol/drug addictions. And until these women find out what that unresolved issue of theirs is, they are helpless to change the problem and their attraction to problem men.

If you want to hinder what is drawing a magnet to something magnetic, you will first have to change the magnet. If you put liquid water on a dry sponge, the dry sponge WILL soak it up. That’s the only way things can go with wet water and dry sponges; it cannot be any other way. And magnets MUST be drawn to refrigerators. So you can know that you have a problem with attracting the wrong type of men and you can know you have a problem with being drawn to the wrong type of men, but YOU are helpless to change the situation. You can know the type of men you are supposed to be dating and marrying. You can know that you should not be repelling these good men just to accept bad men, but YOU are helpless to change the situation.

Image

But God.

But God can change whatever is in you that is attracting the wrong person. A woman named Liberty Savard wrote a book called, “Breaking the Power”. And this book enlightened me about what Liberty calls “unhealed hurts, unresolved issues, and unmet needs”. She talked about how many of our recurrent, troublesome life issues can basically be resolved if we ask and allow God to heal our unhealed hurts, resolve our unresolved issues, and meet our unmet needs usually sprouting from childhood.

In other words, God can remove whatever we are composed of that’s keeping us attracted to and dating the wrong people and that’s keeping us single by having us to refuse/repel the right people so that we can love freely as we should in a healthy way in a marriage. In keeping with the magnet lingo, God can “heat us BEYOND our “Curie temperature” so that we will PERMANENTLY be able to love and be loved. But this will never be possible if God does not meet the unmet need, heal the unhealed hurt, and resolve the unresolved issue.

Image

Remember that the unresolved issues that make you who you are also what ATTRACT the wrong people into your life in addition to you repelling the right people. So until God fixes that in you, you will always attract the wrong people. So while some of you may think that bumping into Mr. Right will fix all your issues, please know that UNTIL you allow God to fix some of your more serious intimacy, self-esteem issues, you will attract nothing BUT Mr. Wrong. Mr. Rights will only be attracted to Ms. Rights. And Ms. Wrongs will ONLY attract Mr. Wrongs not to mention they can only be attracted to Mr. Wrongs.

I can speak personally when I say that God will begin changing these “magnets” within you today if you surrender all and ask Him too. And don’t be discouraged if you don’t see changes right away. I’ve found God to work more behind the scenes than He does in front of the curtain. He begins working as soon as you ask Him to – if you’re not sabotaging by working against Him. While it has been a sometimes anxiety-provoking transformation that has taken a few years, this has been an amazing journey for me to be able to love freely and fearlessly. Please don’t let your unresolved issues let you miss out on something so worthwhile.

Lazy Lovin’: Getting In the Relationship Is Easy, But How Long Can You Keep It?

Image

What do you do when you’ve prayed and prayed and prayed, and God still has not stepped into your situation? You’ve prayed for a spouse, and no spouse showed up. You’ve prayed for a job, and no employers’ have called. You’ve prayed to get out of debt, and you’re yet still in debt. Is God being lazy?

No. YOU are the lazy one.

Christians have the motto, “Pray until something happens.” And many Christians believe that they should not make any moves until God does something. They believe it is the mark of the spiritually mature to be still and see the work of the Lord. And in many cases this is true. But in some cases, it is laziness for an adult Christian to sit around and do nothing and to blame the Lord for nothing taking place.

I’ve seen this same laziness in people who read horoscopes and who believe in zodiac signs. They can meet a great guy, but as soon as they find out that their signs are “incompatible”, they stop all efforts of trying to have a successful relationship with the guy. They say, “It’s not worth it! It’s not in the stars for us anyway. He’s a Cancer, and I’m a Gemini. It’ll never work!” That is relationship laziness.

Some people may even do this with birth order. I hear that birth order is the number one predictor of one’s personality. This is probably said because your family of orientation is the first relationship you’ve had with people of the opposite sex for many years. If you’ve been the middle child for 25 years, you’re going to have middle child tendencies. If you’ve been the baby of the family of 13 children for 18 years, you’re going to have much in common with other children who are the youngest in their large families. If you’ve been the eldest of five for 14 years, there will be some personality traits that you will share with most other oldest children. And if you’ve been the only child of your parents for 20 years, that will shape a lot about you too. And these traits will likely follow you throughout your life since you’ve been trained with them in a controlled environment for at least 18 years. But is that an excuse to never date a great woman you met who’s a middle child because a book said that you as an only child are very incompatible with middle children? That is laziness not to try!

Many Christians do this. Especially Christians who have fear of failure, fear of intimacy, and fear of commitment. When a person has a fear of being hurt, they can find creative ways to avoid being hurt. And when a Christian has a fear of being hurt, they find seemingly “Christian” ways to avoid being hurt.

I’ll speak from a personal experience. My little sister bought a book called “Marriability”. And this book was written by a married couple who wrote about things that keep us single without our knowing. And one blessed chapter was about Christians. It talked of how many Christian women who have fear of being hurt will sometimes lie to themselves and say something to the effect of, “I’m not going to be actively looking for a spouse. I’ll actually just sit here in my house/apartment until God sends somebody my way. If GOD wants me married, there is nothing that I can do to stop that from happening. It won’t matter if I’m sloppy-looking, dressed in rags, have poor hygiene, and am as mean as a rattlesnake. Can’t me or nobody else prevent the plan of God for my love life!”

How delusional! Not even God will override the desires and will of a man for what he desires in a woman. If men want women who care about that looks, you need to remember that if you want a spouse. I think some people who fear the risk of hurt that comes with dating are the same people who say, “I’ll just sit here until God sends my prince(ss) to me. Why go out and date when I can get hurt? I’ll just stay safe in my comfort zone where no one can hurt me. The person God sends me will never hurt me. And the relationship with them will be effortless.” That is not true. Even someone that God sends your way can hurt you by mistake because they are imperfect. Even in a relationship that God send you, you will still have to put in a lot of work too. Even if you and the spouse are doing everything to make the relationship successful, please understand and know that many other people and spiritual enemies will fight your relationship. So you have to be strong with regards to the two of you and then also you have to be strong with regards to attacks that will come from the others.

So if you’re too lazy to get out and make yourself available and eligible for a relationship, what makes you think that you will have the energy to keep a relationship going? Haters will fight it. Exes will fight. Skeptical church members, friends, and families will fight it. And if you’re a Christian, Satan and his arsenal of demons will sure enough fight it! So since you know this, you know you will have to give it your all every step of the way.

Relationships are hard work. They are not easy. I’ve never heard anyone say either in real life or in the movies that their relationship has been effortless. Even if you and the person are compatible as a Taurus and a Cancer. Even if you and the person are compatible in your birth order – he’s the eldest brother of all sisters and you’re the baby girl of all brothers. Even if you both are preacher’s kids from the same denomination. Even if you two have the same intelligence level, same good looks, same socioeconomic status, and the same friends. Even with the foundation being pretty good, a relationship will be hard work at best.

We have to get the root of relationship laziness. I know someone who’s been trying to help a friend get a job. But the unemployed friend is very lazy. And so even if the working friend helps the other friend get a job, the lazy friend will not keep the job for long because the friend does not have the work ethic for keeping a job for a long time. He lost the last job because he was lazy, and until he gets to the root of his work laziness, he will stay being fired. So just as he needs to find out WHY he can’t keep a job, we constantly single people need to find out WHY we keep staying single even when we are able-bodied, attractive adults.

Relationships take work. Marriages take work. And I feel that Satan especially fights Christian marriages because he knows that every time a Christian marriage fails, it reflects poorly on Christianity as a whole. So when you get married as a believer, you better get ready with the skills to make it last in spite of Satan’s relentless attacks. And because relationships take a lot of work – two imperfect, flawed, sinful people trying to come together for a lifetime – you need to stop being lazy. You cannot do a job successfully with laziness. You can only do a hard job successfully with consistently hard work.

Let me tell you what I would do. I would meet a great guy. I would like him for a while. And then the minute I ran into an “obstacle”, I would stop trying to work at it and I would let it go. And that lack of stick-to-it-ness is what caused the relationships to fail. It wasn’t the obstacle – perceived or actual – it was my laziness. If the guy and I didn’t agree on everything, I would say to self, “See! That’s a sign right there! I shouldn’t be dating this guy!” If he liked a singer I didn’t like, or a sport I didn’t like, or a preacher I didn’t like, I took that to mean that God didn’t send him to me. I took that as a red flag for me to give up. I think I’m very fortunate in that God has sent MANY great guys my way. No alcoholics, no addicts, no abusers, no cheaters, no bums, but good quality men. And yet even though we both were eligible bachelor and bachelorette, I still found some way not to make it work with them. I had the materials to make a successful relationship; I just did not have the relationship work ethic.

That’s one thing I realized about myself. I’ve never fought for anything all my life. If a coworker or employer or client annoyed me too much, I would quit the job. If a club I joined had lost its excitement, I’d drop out of it. If a goal I made for myself became too difficult, I would either make the goal too easy or just quit the goal altogether. If I was given a prophecy and I didn’t feel like I believed in it one day, I’d just stop working to get what God promised me. If I didn’t like the pastor of my church or something he said, I’d leave the church. If a friend or family member made me mad, I would cut them off. If a Twitter follower or a Facebook friend rudely disagreed with something I wrote, I would delete or block them. I was L A Z Y! And needless to say, I had little to show for myself. I could have had so many more friends, could have been further along in the ministry, could have been closer to my family members, could have led many loved ones to the Lord, could have had a graduate degree, could have been married by now, etc. But because of my laziness, I would give up on things.

Everything you want is just outside of your comfort zone. The love life you want is just outside of your fear of intimacy. The career you want is just outside of your work ethic and your educational comfort zone. The health you want is just outside of your exercise and eating comfort zone. You will never attain anything of great worth in this life within your comfort zone. The only thing you will attain is comfort and regrets. Regrets that you didn’t work harder at that marriage. That you didn’t try to get the Master’s. That you didn’t persevere a little more with your pastor. That you weren’t more patient with that family member.
Comfort zone is the breeding ground for regrets.

Who told you that you should give up on something because it got hard? Did Moses give up on heading to the promised land because the way got hard? Did Abraham give up on having a son with Sarah because it looked impossible? Did David give up on honoring King Saul because Saul made it hard on him? Did Jesus give up on the Cross because it was difficult? Did Paul give up preaching the gospel because it got hard? No one has attained anything of great value in the bible by giving up when it got hard. Things getting hard are NO excuse to stop trying. Stop being lazy. Keep working at the thing until you achieve the thing. It’ll never get any easier. It’ll only get harder with time. NOW is the time. Now is easier than then. For example, it’s easier to go to graduate school right after undergraduate. It’s easier to work out the day after you worked out rather than waiting a week to work out again. Keep going even if it was hard the first time because it only gets harder when you wait.

The Ugly Truth About What Men REALLY Think About Us Women

You'd be surprised of what men really think of some of us women!

This is one of the few posts that I will write on romantic relationships, but I’m sure the ladies will really be helped by this one. It might be offensive when you find out how men really think about things concerning us, but I think it’s important to know.

I read this book written by three men who tell women what men really think about some of the things we do. This book was so informative and enlightening to me! Keep in mind that this is not what I think. This is all information that I got from two books and one research study. Here are some of the more important points they mentioned.

Men are very fearful of rejection. This may cause them not to approach you even when they are really interested. If they feel that the risk of happiness is worth the risk of rejection, they may go for it. But usually, then will need some help on the woman’s end. She’ll have to smile at him. Give him a little eye contact. Have open body language. Then he will feel more comfortable approaching her. But if he feels even the slightest hint of disinterest on her behalf, he will balk. She may wonder, “What happened? I thought he liked me?” You may have given out a signal that you were not interested in him, so he decided to leave before he got his feelings hurt.

Men are admirable because they face a lot of rejection. Some men probably get turned down five times a day, and yet they keep going in order to find a girlfriend. Some women are so rude to men because they don’t know how much nerve it takes for the men to ask for her number or ask her out. Some men finally build up the nerve to approach the girl, and then she totally disses him by ignoring him or giving him a mean mug. Ladies, let’s play nice! If you’re not interested, treat him like you would like to be treated if you had approached an attractive man that you liked who was not interested in you. Every human deserves respect.

Men have a built-in “test” for women. They will sometimes try the girls they are interested in to see if they give them sex too soon. If the girl gives it up on the first night, they will immediately file her into the “party girl” folder. But if she doesn’t have sex with him, she’s still in the running to be their next girlfriend. The line women sometimes use, “I don’t always have sex on the first night,” doesn’t work for men. Even if it is true, men don’t believe it. Some men even have to hold in a chuckle because they expect women to say it right after they have sex on the first night. They know when that phrase is coming, so they wait on it, and sure enough comes, “I hope you don’t think I’m promiscuous. I don’t usually do this.” Men don’t believe that line even when it’s 100% true. You could be a virgin, and still most of them would not believe that line.

Men will try to preserve your “girlfriend potential” if they really like you and could see a long-term relationship with you. While many men are just looking for a good night, they always keep their radar on for the wifey-type chick. They may have sex with a different woman each night, but they’ll usually know a good one when they see her. If they are interested in her as a girlfriend, they will not even have sex with her (too soon) because they know that if she gives it up too soon, they won’t like her that much anymore. They figure, “I already got the prize, so why in the world should I pretend to care about her hobbies, dislikes, and career?” So if a guy who is claiming to like you pressures you for sex, he doesn’t see you as girlfriend potential. He may string you along to keep having sex with you, but he won’t ever make you his girlfriend. Ouch!

This is one of the more painful ones I read, but it said that most men are repulsed after having sex with a woman that they only wanted sex with. The book actually used the word repulsed. They said that even while many men are so exhausted after doing the deed, their physical exhaustion (which they might use as an excuse not to cuddle or talk after sex) may not exceed their mental disgust after having sex with a woman they never really liked in the first place. The book said that this is the reason why some men will leave right after sex with a woman. They have this overwhelming urge to get away from her which overpowers their strong desire to sleep.

Men don’t trust women who have sex too soon. Some men don’t trust women who have sex before marriage. They figure, “If she had sex with me after only two weeks, then I KNOW she had sex with her twelve exes after only two weeks too.” Men can be insecure sometimes, so they’ll always wonder how they measure up to your past loves. So, for example, if you don’t have sex with him until after five years, he’ll feel in his heart and head that you must have treated all exes similarly. And if you’ve only had a few boyfriends, he’ll feel more comfortable with that obviously.

Men are visual beings, so they want an attractive girlfriend. I realize this a lot when I go to different churches or have visiting pastors come to my church home. Even the “holiest” of men have the most beautiful wives. Their hair, nails, and make-up are always done well. They dress really nice. Some women think it’s shallow of men to be like this, but they were made visual beings by God. They can appreciate a beautiful woman or a woman who puts effort into her looks. They will, of course, pick the pretty girl who’s in shape over the homely girl who is not in shape all other things (personality, character, intelligence) being equal. Duh! So while every woman is not going to be a Halle Berry with enough money to have the best clothes and beautician, most women can try their best and men will notice and appreciate that.

Men do judge women negatively by the way we act and look. If you are a sloppy drunk, they will not pursue you because they find you embarrassing. The book said that men do not feel like watching you every minute at a party in hopes of preventing you from embarrassing them in front of their friends. Who wants the drunk for a girlfriend, fiancée, wife, or mother of their children? They may want to party with you and have sex with you because you’re fun, but it ends there. There is a double standard at play here, but men are conservative when it comes to their girlfriends. If the dude you are interested in is a nasty guy like Ice T is with his wife Coco, he may want you to show off all your assets and treat you like a whore in public. But if you want a respectable guy, he will, of course, want a respectable girl.

Also, if you have your breasts or legs out, they will forever and always see you as a party girl. If you get saved or something and they can tell the change in you, they can see you differently perhaps. But if you are still a party girl who just covers up more now, they’ll still see you that way. Sure, it’s not always fair to be judged by your appearance – especially something like clothes that will change every day – but it happens just like at a job interview. You could have graduated from Yale with honors, but if you are wearing a mini-skirt and a halter top, they will not hire you. It’s not that you’re not qualified; it’s just that they believe that it’s wise to judge a tree by its fruit. If you claim to be an intelligent and hard worker but didn’t think enough of them to dress appropriately for the interview, they will not believe you are that intelligent and hard worker you claim to be even if it’s on your resume. If you are claiming to be a “wifey” tree and yet all you produce are “party girl” fruit, they will use their brains and say that you are not a wifey tree, but are instead a party girl tree.

When men see a girl with her body exposed, they don’t see us as women. They see us as objects unless they know you from before they saw you dressed with less clothes. There was a study done where they had the little electrodes taped onto men’s heads. The study showed that the part of men’s brains that was activated when seeing a girl in a bikini was the same part of their brain that they used when using tools. That part of the brain works like, “I use. I pull. I push.” This is not what the men reported but based on their brain activity so you know it’s not biased on what the men thought they should say so as not to look like jerks or pervs. That part of the brain is also the same part where men think of homeless people and drug addicts. They see scantily-clad women, homeless people, and drug addicts as objects with no feelings. But when it came to women who were covered up, their brain saw the women as people with feelings. SHOCKING!

Men know up front whether they are attracted to you or not. Women are sometimes the other way; we may not be attracted initially, but later on, we can think, “I know he’s just a friend, but he could have potential to be more…” Men know in the first three seconds or less whether they would ever be romantically or physically attracted to you. There’s no use in trying to manipulate or change that by buying gifts, being flirty, etc. because it’ll never happen for you and him. There’s a built-in chemical effect that goes on between a man and a woman when they are attracted to each other, and you can’t affect that chemistry by tricks and gimmicks. It’s biological, so you can’t fool with it. It’s just the way it is.

I read in the other book that birth control pills can affect a woman’s biological chemistry. It said that birth control pills can have a negative affect on a woman’s chemistry because she will start to pick the wrong men based on the unnatural attraction. It said women on birth control usually pick a guy with similar biological chemistry as her so that relationship will rarely work. After they get married and she stops the birth control for them to have children, she realizes that their biological chemistry did not mix and that she was fooled by the birth control pill. When it comes to biological chemistry, opposites do attract. So if you are with a guy now, and you are on birth control pills, the book suggested that you get off of them for awhile to see if you really like this person and if he really likes you.

Of course, there are the exceptions to the rules. But those could be about 1 in about 200,000,000. You don’t want to make a lottery out of your romantic chances, so you should just take the advice from these three very honest men. In your case, it’ll probably be how the book said it will be unless a miracle occurs. Hope this helps, ladies!

Many Christians are against premarital sex for religious reasons, but amazingly, the secular material here is in support of that without even using the bible!

Cheap Love: When You Give/Get Too Much for Too Little Too Soon

Microwave Generation: I want what I want, and I want it NOW!

In many aspects of our life, me and my fellow members of the microwave generation get very frustrated when we don’t get EVERYTHING we want EXACTLY when we want it, for virtually NOTHING. There is actually something very wrong with that. Back in my grandmother’s day, if you wanted something of great value, you would work very hard to get the money for it over a period of time. And once you got all the money for it, you would go buy it and take pride in 100% owning it brand new. But in my mom’s and my generation, if we see something of great value, we swipe our credit card, take it home that day, and worry about making the payments and paying the interest on it. And by the time we actually own it 100%, it’s old and raggedy and we’re ready for a new one that costs even more money!

Ever wonder why God doesn’t give you everything you want right now as soon as you pray for it? Ever wonder why He seems to think it’s a bad idea? Why He seems to like to have us wait and pray over and over and over again for something we really want?

I have. Many times. It’s a mark of the new believer. They pray to God for their hearts’ desires and then wait for God to bring it to the door within a week. But God’s not going to do it that way. Not with that formula. The 2 Much 4 + 2 Little + 2 Soon formula = never ends well. So God doesn’t work that way because God knows that formula results in a bunch of immature, unappreciative, spoiled Christians. That is why we humans must be cautious not to let that formula govern how to relate to people – especially people we are in romantic relationships with. Let’s look at this formula through different examples to see how disastrous the results can be. I’ll begin with a personal example.

I used to date a guy back in my compromising, fence-straddling days.He quickly employed the 2M4+2L+2S formula to our relationship. Needless to say, I USED to date the guy. I could not tolerate him after I caught on to what was going on. I had the met the guy one night. He wanted to see me two days later (2 SOON) at his apartment. No date mind you (4 2 LITTLE). Just a free meet up at his apartment. I turned it down because I said I didn’t know him well enough to do something so risky. So he asked me to meet him at a park instead. That was free too, so he still got away with doing too little. We ended up kissing ON the FIRST DATE and later getting very physical about a month later (2 MUCH + 2 SOON). This young man got to use my body (2 MUCH) for pretty much nothing after only spending about 4 weeks with me. Do you think he appreciated me? Again I say, I USED to date him. This young man could not appreciate me and could not be expected to appreciate me since he used this 2m42L2s model. But let me tell you how it could have ended better (or continued on to this day perhaps).

Too Soon

Let’s say I met him and then I don’t let him take me out on a date until after a few weeks. The purpose would be for me to see over the phone if he’s even worth my time in person. And to be honest with you, had I just talked with him on the phone for a few days, I probably wouldn’t have even wanted to meet him because I would have found out some stuff about him that I didn’t like. But because I was so desperate at the time, I decided to meet up with him when I didn’t even know much about him! How foolish of me! I’m not saying it’s always a bad idea to go on a date with a guy a few days after you meet him, but I am saying the man will likely appreciate you more if he has to wait.

There is a tendency for humans to appreciate things they have to wait for. If you could get a medical degree in a week, you won’t appreciate it as much as you would had it taken you years to acquire. You appreciate a friend you’ve known for years more than you appreciate a friend you made in a day. Time makes things have more value in our eyes. There’s a reason there are such persons as starving artists. They may starve while alive, but many years after they die, people find millions of dollars of value in their paintings which were at first worthless to most people. Antiques were not worth much when they were first produced. But decades after they are made, they can be worth many thousands.

So I think I’ve proven that in different contexts, things have more value after they take time to acquire. The same goes for relationships. If a man has to wait weeks or months to get your phone number after he’s been hounding you for so long, he will really appreciate it when you take his number and call him or when you give him your number. So I should have maybe let the dude call me for a few weeks before I decided to meet up with him HAD I decided I even liked him and had he decided that he liked me enough to want to meet me.

For Too Little
The next factor that threw off the equation ending successfully in our relationship was that I let him get away with doing minimal work. He only had to do very little to win my time and affection. He didn’t have to chat me up for weeks to convince me to let him take me out on a date. He didn’t have to spend ANY money on the first date. He didn’t even dress up. He literally rolled out of bed in a t-shirt and basketball shorts that were sagging down showing his underwear and drove to the nearest park to meet me. It was not even a park with swings, slides, and monkey bars. He did not have to spend a single dime or spend any time preparing for this date. He got away with doing very little to win my time. Now don’t get me wrong, I can understand being broke. I can totally understand if the young man had no money the week he met me and could not afford to take me to a nice restaurant. And that is why I let him get away with too little because I didn’t know his financial situation. But if he was broke that week, he should have valued my presence enough to WAIT until he saved up enough money or at least until pay day! Heck, he could have even borrowed money from his friends to take me out IF he thought I was so special. But no, why would he? He had already gotten away with Too Soon.

Let’s discuss how he would have appreciated me more had I not let him get away with Too Little. Well, had I not let him get away with doing Too Little, one of two things would have happened. He could have either dipped out and showed that he was cheap or lazy. Or he could have stepped up to the occasion and showed that he was not cheap or lazy. But I would never know because I didn’t even “charge him”. How will you know how much someone is willing to pay unless you state the price? You’ll never know if a buyer is willing to pay $1 for a $5 object or $5 for a $5 object or even $5 for a $1 object. I had never charged him, so now I’ll never know what he was willing to pay on a first date. I’m not promoting golddiggerism, but I do promote knowing if a guy thinks you’re even worthy of a $10 meal at IHOP. Speaking of breakfast restaurants, the second time I was supposed to see him, he wanted me to meet him at the FREE park again, but my mom caught me as I was leaving the door and told me that I was better than free, so I let him take me to CK Coffee Shop. My mom – who is discerning of my worth – did not want her beloved, valuable daughter being treated to a free park in the dark, so she had me text him and tell him to take me somewhere to eat. Now I will admit that I suggested a fast food restaurant or CK because it was the halfway mark between where both of us lived, and I didn’t know his financial situation at the time. And because of fear of looking like a golddigger, I suggested cheap places. And of course, being a Too Little person, he accepted to lowest bid, the lowest offer to see me again. Had he appreciated me the first night, he would have said, “No, Mistye. Let me take you somewhere nice.” I’m getting mad just thinking about how much he did not appreciate me! But what could I expect when I had accepted it not to mention SUGGESTED it?

Too Much

Let’s get to the third factor. The Too Much factor. Just as we are with God in prayer when we want TOO MUCH when all we offer God is a lukewarm, fencestraddling form of holiness and a two-minute prayer, this young man wanted TOO MUCH for free and too soon. This next part kind of hurts me because I had planned on not kissing anybody else until my husband on our wedding day at the altar after our lifetime commitments had been made before our family, our friends, and our God. But this young man leaned in for a kiss on the FIRST DATE AND I MADE OUT WITH HIM! Unbelievable. I was willing to make the man who wanted to spend the rest of my life with me wait until after our wedding vows to kiss these lips but I let some guy I knew for two days kiss me without any commitment! Ridiculous! He had gotten too much from the kiss alone! He had gotten my future husbands lips. And as I said earlier, I ended up getting very physical with him about a month later. At this point he had spent at least some money on me, but still not much. Just a couple dinners and a couple of movies. And he got my entire body for four dates. Just thinking about that brings tears to my eyes that I would let that happen to me. Because of low self-esteem, loneliness, desperation, and hormones, I had given a guy my MOST precious possession (my body) for virtually nothing. He did want to marry me and did profess his love for me, but at that point, I was so disappointed in his trying to get everything for nothing that I was already done with him.

To add insult to injury, the young man would sometimes go several days without contacting me. Now before he got to play with the body, he would text or call throughout the day. But after he got 2M 4 2L 2S, it could be five days, seven days, or ten days with no contact from him. And then when he got lonely, he would send me a text saying “I miss you.” He did not miss me as he said because you reach out to folk you miss.

I actually told God that if He would give me another chance with another man, I would no longer live my life by the 2M42L2S model. The next guy will have to wait weeks to get my number. He will have to wait even more time to convince me to let him take me out. He will have to wait until after the proposal and wedding vows to even kiss me. That is perhaps the only way he will really appreciate me for the rest of our life together. I actually didn’t even want it to work out with the other guy because I knew that even if we married, he still would not appreciate me because of all the ways I compromised by sharing my body for no commitment and only after a few weeks! I don’t just want a cute, great guy to marry, but I want a cute, great guy WHO APPRECIATES ME to marry. Imagine living for decades with a man who hasn’t appreciated you since your first date? Now try again imagining a man who appreciated every time you played hard to get because it made the chase more fun? Men are like dogs, they chase/pursue things that run from them. Dogs chase cats and cars because they are hard to get. Dogs don’t have much interest in bushes and doors for the opposite reason!

I wrote this blog note because I made a big mistake that many other females make. We let our desperation make us forget that we need to be appreciated. I didn’t appreciate my salvation until I heard what it took to get it. The Supreme God and Creator of our very big universe coming down to earth to be born to live 33 sucky years in a human body only to be crucified and disrespected by some of the very people He was dying to save. Blood, sweat, and tears. Only then did I ascribe price and value and worth to salvation. Until a man has to put in hard work to get you all to himself, he will walk all over you or not appreciate you as I had been. It hurts ladies when you thought you were worth at least one text a day after being sexual with a guy and he still thinks he doesn’t have to contact you for a week afterwards if at all! Hurts! So don’t let it happen again. It’s time to close mouths and close legs ladies. You might not want to do the no kissing until the wedding day like I intend to, but seriously consider celibacy until after the wedding if you want your man to appreciate you. I’m not saying a man can’t LOVE you or won’t marry you if he has sex before marriage, but I do think it seriously decreases your value. It’s like cars. You’ll appreciate a new car you had to work hard to buy more than you will appreciate a used car your mom gave you for free. You can love them both and you can commit to them both, but you sure will appreciate one more than the other!

Let’s briefly discuss the word “appreciation”. The way I define appreciation is “ascribing or accrediting the appropriate price to a person or thing.” When I tell someone that I appreciate them or their gift or kind words, what I mean is that I discern the value in them or the gift or the kind words extended to me. I appreciate the worth of their person, words, or gift. Do men discern your value? Do they price your presence in their life appropriately?

Ladies, don’t you give another man your body when you know that man does not ascribe any worth to you. And the #1 way for man to ascribe worth to you and your body is to buy an engagement ring, send out invitations to all his closest family and friends, and tell you that he wants to the spend the rest of his life with your body whether your body gets too skinny or too fat, too sick, too old, too saggy, too wrinkly, etc. Don’t give your everything to man who gives you his nothing. Only give God and your husband your everything! This note is not just about sex, but since many American youth date that way, it’s important to apply this topic to sex.

Sex before commitment is the verbal way to say, “2M + 4 2L + 2S”. Make that man pay. Make that man wait. THEN give him everything.

Dating and Courtship: Should Christians Kiss Before Marriage?

Have you or will you kiss dating goodbye?

How do you feel about dating like the son Josh in the huge Duggar family dated?

You know, the courtship and not kissing until AFTER the marriage vows are made at the altar?

Imagine dating a guy or girl and not getting more than a hug even up to a year after you first start dating!

I wonder if the way they approach dating has anything to do with their respect for boundaries for themselves and others.

Everyone who’s been reading my posts lately knows I’m on this “boundary” tip. Basically it’s about knowing where you and your responsibility ends and where another person and their responsibilty begins. For example, knowing that your mother is responsible for her own disappointment if you decide not to come home for Christmas. It’s knowing how to let your boss know that you will not work overtime or come in early if you don’t want to. It’s about letting your roommate know that you will not always clean up her mess in the dorm room. Well, when it comes to dating, I wonder if people who go about dating like the Duggar family know that they are abiding to the boundary concept to an extent. Think about it.

I like to visualize boundaries as each and every person in the world having their own home and the accompanying front yard, backyard, and driveway. We are responsible for whatever goes on in that house, in the front yard, in the backyard, and sometimes in the driveway. (The reason I say sometimes in the driveway is because we know that people sometimes use stranger’s driveways to turn around and go the other direction if they realize they are heading the wrong way.) But as far as the front yard, backyard, and home are concerned, no one can get on those portions of your property without your permission. If they do get on them without your permission, they will be trespassing. I don’t know if you are required to have a sign that reads “No Trespassing” in your yard in order for it to be official trespassing, but you get my point. If they are stepping on your property without your permission (especially if you have let them know not to get on your property), then they are trespassers.

Now imagine this scenario. Suppose you have a next-door neighbor who dumps a large garbage can full of trash onto your front yard EVERY DAY at 12 pm. He doesn’t care if you are asleep or awake, at home or away, watching them or unaware. Every day they dumped a bunch of trash in your yard at noon. Every day you tell them to stop it, but all they do is avoid all eye contact, ignore you, and keep dumping it. Wouldn’t that just suck? You would more than likely say that he is rude because he is disrespecting your property. He is crossing over your property’s boundary lines. They have no right to put any of that trash in your yard! Now if YOU wanted to put trash in your yard, you would be well within your right to do so. I’m sure your neighbors wouldn’t be happy because of the eyesore it would be, but they’d just have to get over it.

And if you had a roommate who paid half the mortgage and bills, she also could dump trash in the front yard. You have the right, and he or she would have the right too. But no one else!

It would even be rude to some people if your next-door neighbor mowed your lawn every two weeks. Suppose you liked mowing the grass because it makes you feel like a man for your wife and kids. But before you can get up in the morning, here comes Jim with his lawn mower cutting your grass! Your wife thinks the world of him, and Jim is taking all the attention and praise away from you. It’s a very nice gesture that many people would appreciate, but wouldn’t it be great if he at least asked first? After all, it’s not his property. For all he knows, you might thoroughly enjoy and look forward to sitting in your new lawnmower and riding around cutting perfect lines in the yard. When you ask Jim why he keeps doing that without your permission, suppose he just said, “Well, it needed to be done and someone had to do it. My wife and I thought it needed to be done, so I did it. I just hopped over the fence, opened the gate to get the lawnmower in, and cut the grass.”

Now which is of more value to you? Your front yard or your body?

Perhaps people like the Duggars realize that the only people who have a right to their bodies are the person living in the body, God, and the spouse they get married to AFTER they get married. No one other than those three beings have any true right to that “property”or body. So if you wouldn’t let a total stranger dump trash in your front yard, then why would you let a total stranger touch your body during a one-night stand?

I wonder how I will behave with my future boyfriend. I wonder if we will just have a hug and hold relationship. That’s certainly not how I used to do it, but it’s what I’m considering now.

Some of you know that I used to work with abused children and plan on working with them again soon. I was taught to teach them that their bodies were their own and that no one had the right to touch them inappropriately – meaning sexual or physical abuse. I’ve know cases where boundaries were totally and disgustingly crossed to the point that the children no longer had boundaries. They didn’t feel as if they owned their bodies. Anyone could touch them, and they no longer said no because they learned early on that their no’s didn’t mean much of anything to certain people. Rape/being prostituted and murder are the biggest trespasses on others “property” in my opinion. Kidnap and molestation are a close second in my opinion, and assault & battery and groping are on the list also of course. No one has the right to touch your body. Even if you’re walking around buck-naked, it gives no one the right to touch your body or to rape you. Just because your lawn doesn’t have a fence or gate around it, it still does not mean anyone can just have a picnic in it or let their three dogs defecate (doo-doo) in your yard. We had to teach the children the motto, “MY BODY, MY CHOICE” in case another person tried to hit or molest them. The only times someone should touch an adult without their permission is if the adult is about to hurt their own body or someone else’s property and body. Children of course need a lot of touch and affection, but only appropriately.

So when that fortunate young man meets me, will I let him trespass all over my property? I love hugging, cuddling, holding hands and such, so I’ll want plenty of that. But I want to be respected. I am a very respectable young lady. I deserve good things and respect. So what should I do if on the third date, my date wants to grope my body and do other things? (When I used to club, it was no uncommon thing for a man to grab all over your property as you walked past or danced with them. They thought that because you dressed provocatively meant you were giving them permission without so many words.) When I read Joshua Harris’ book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, I was SHOCKED to hear that couples waited until their wedding date to kiss! I thought it was pure insanity. This is before I was “really saved”. I thought, “Imagine not making out with your boyfriend and fiance even until the honeymoon?!” At that age, I thought boyfriend and girlfriend relationships were all about getting as close to sin as you could get without touching the F word (fornication). I thought it was okay to do everything as long as you did not do intercourse. But I realized that if I would stop what I was doing if Jesus walked into the room, then I probably shouldn’t be doing it. Of course, it would even be weird being intimate with your husband or wife if Jesus walked in the room, but at least it would be spiritually “legal” because your husband and wife have that right to your body.

I Corinthians 7:4 – The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife.

Romans 12:1 – Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.

Song of Solomon 4:12-16 -You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride; you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain….Let my lover come into his garden and taste its choice fruits. (Could this mean that he appreciated the fact that she was abstinent until she met him and that he appreciates the fact that he’s the only guy who’s been allowed in her “front yard”?)

Song of Solomon 8:10 – I am a wall, and my breasts are like towers. Thus I have become in his eyes like one bringing contentment.

(Could this mean that she guarded her “property” until she met King Solomon, and because she guarded her body in such a way, she brought him contentment?)

Song of Solomon 8:4 (NLT – New Living Translation) – Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, not to awaken love until the time is right.

(Could this mean she is trying to warn us not to awaken the passionate, sexual aspect of love until after the wedding?)

If I remember correctly, this is how some other cultures do dating too in a sense. In some African cultures, the dad picks out the husband for the female, and they have no contact until the day of the wedding. And also in some Middle Eastern cultures (I believe), the women might not even see the man she’s going to spend the rest of her life with until they get married. I’M NOT SAYING I AGREE WITH THESE CUSTOMS, but I am mentioning them because they remind me of how the Duggar family does dating when it comes to bodily contact.

Only God knows if I’m going to kiss and cuddle with my future boyfriend/fiancee, but the heavy petting and sex will have to wait until the honeymoon. I’ve been down that road before, and it’s never ended well for either one of us. Maybe that’s why I’m single now…

This is not a post trying to make people be abstinent/celibate or stay virgins even though those are all great lifestyles until marriage. This post is just something to think about because I think it will help people to reevaluate their personal boundaries. For those of you who would confront the neighbor or file a civil suit against the neighbor for dumping trash in your yard, this should definitely be something you would think about.

Destroying Romantic Relationships with Manipulative Mind Games

So how well has your manipulation worked for your relationships?

Have you ever been “healthily in love”? Have you ever been in a romantic relationship that was not dysfunctional? Meaning, were there no games being played?

When I was in college, I had friends with whom I would come up with strategies, devices, schemes, plots, and plans to get and keep a relationship. Here’s a sample of how one of our many conversations on the topic of love would go:

“Girl, don’t call him! He’ll think you’re desperate. Let him call you. This is how it works. First, he calls you once, and then you let your voicemail pick up. Check his message and see if he sounds angry that you didn’t answer or if he sounds okay. If he sounds angry, then use that against him. Make it seem like you might be out somewhere with another guy. That’ll keep him in check. After he calls the second time, answer sounding calmly…”

There were so many tricks just to talk to the guy you love! I read a book by my favorite author – Dr. Henry Cloud – in which he said that adults ought to approach dating kind of like how children do in elementary school. He said that when two kids like each other, they don’t go about playing mind games to keep the “ball in their court”. They just let their feelings be known. Of course, little kids aren’t really in love, but they go about it the right, healthy, and nondysfunctional way. They get a piece of paper and write, “I like you. Do you like me? Check YES or NO. If the girl checks yes, they smile and hold hands. Simple as that. Both are happy for two weeks until the break up. Then they get over it quickly and start the process over again. When kids do this, it’s just practice for when they get older whether they know it or not, but adults should do this for serious.

Instead of doing the simple thing which is just admitting to a person that you like him or her and then seeing if the feelings are mutual, adults play this strange game instead:

A girl named Lisa sees a guy she likes at a party. She goes to the restroom to check her make-up and outfit. She flirts with his friend while giving the guy she’s actually interested in a glance every once and a while to see if he’s looking. Her friends told her in the restroom that guys are competitive and that if she flirts with his best friend, then he’ll compete for her. She thinks, “Jealousy is the way to a man’s heart.”

A guy named Mark sees a girl he thinks he might be interested in at work. He acts super-disinterested so that she will want him. His buddies told him in the break room that women love men that don’t show interest in them. He makes sure never to smile around her so that she won’t think he likes her. He thinks, “Lack of interest is the way to a woman’s heart.”

Ciara has a boyfriend that he has been dating for a year and a half. She ignores the phone half of the time he calls even though she’s been waiting for him to call. Her friends told her that men love women who are busy and not desperate, so she plays games by ignoring his calls. She figures, “Withholding communication is the way to a man’s heart.”

Now who in the world said that the way to a genuine, sincere (and if you’re a Christian – GODLY) relationship was jealousy, disinterest, and withholding of communication? Actually, to have a genuine, sincere relationship, just the opposite is the case!

Mind games in relationships do serve their purpose at times, however. And it is this: they serve the purpose of making unappealing people appear appealing. If your personality or attitude or perspective on love is unappealing or unattractive, mind games will temporarily make your personality, attitude or perspective on love appealing. For example, suppose you are desperate for connection with the guy you are dating. But suppose your friends tell you that women who call their man too often are unattractive. So if your group of friends tell you to call only once a day and then not to answer the phone the first three times he calls so as to make yourself appear busy and preoccupied, then for you to do what your friends suggest is to be playing a mind game. But it DID serve its purpose because it prevented you from running him off by appearing needy or too available. BUT BUT BUT if you ARE naturally a needy person, it will come out eventually. He WILL find out that you are needy or not that busy eventually!

So why postpone the inevitable?

When you play mind games like this, it’s proof that you are probably not ready for a relationship. If you have to manipulate your actions and words to get someone to like you or to stay with you, then you are being deceitful. Correction: the person is not actually dating YOU, but they are dating the fake mask of who you present to the world. And you will be found out eventually. You might be able to fool someone for 3 months, but if you are truly a desperate person or whatever else type of person that you play games to conceal, it will come out eventually. You can’t hide desperation in a 30 year marriage! And if your flaws are very serious, it may cause the person you are with to break up with or divorce you no matter how long the relationship has been going on for.

If you start building a relationship on a shaky foundation that is composed of games, then the more you build on the foundation, the harder and uglier the fall will be. What if I tried building the Sears Tower on a Jenga block foundation? It won’t last long. And if you happen to be more deceptive and sneakier than the average chick, you might get a few years down the road; but eventually your true nature will come out. Doesn’t it make more sense just to work on self before you get into a relationship?

Desperation/neediness/clinginess/insecurity can and probably should all be fixed while one is single. So many people have the biggest issues but yet want to wait until they get a girlfriend or boyfriend to fix themselves. Fix you now! And typically, if you’re the kind of person who plays a lot of mind games in love relationships, you will attract someone who is just as superficial. Here’s a very exaggerated example to get the point across:

If you’re a mind reader who can read people’s minds easily and everyone knows about this gift of yours, you will not be approached by ANY person who plays mind games in romantic relationships. They will fear that you will find out about all their schemes. But if you play mind games and know of a guy who is superficial and fake, you might pursue him because you know that he is not looking for a genuine, real relationship. Real recognizes real, and I think fake can also recognize fake!

I always compare a genuine relationship to a mother and a child and also to God’s relationship with us. A child with a loving mother tells his mother everything about himself – good, bad, and ugly. For example, a toddler won’t mind telling Mommy that he peed in the bed or that he misses her. I saw the cutest YouTube video clip of this two or three year-old whose Mommy told him, “I love you!” The toddler responded with, “I love you too, Mommy, but ONLY when you give me cookies. (then he repeated) Only when you give me cookies.” The mother just laughed! And the toddler knew that Mommy’s affection and feelings for him wouldn’t change just because he loved her less than she loved him. Had the mother treated her baby as some of us treat(ed) people that we date(d), she would have said, “Well, I don’t love you either then! I was just saying what I thought I should say! I never loved you!” But because normal mothers and babies have genuine relationships, they don’t try to conceal true feelings to “keep the ball in their court”.

Unlike this loving mother, a mind-game-player won’t dare tell her boyfriend that she misses him for fear of him thinking he “has her on lock” or “has her sprung”. So she’ll dodge him and ignore phone calls and texts so that he can miss her and then tell her that he misses her first. That is not a genuine relationship; that is a series of “chess moves” being made to see who wins. Relationships are partnerships of two people who are on “Team Us”. They want the relationship to succeed and win; he is not looking for him to “win” and neither is she looking for her to “win”. They want the relationship to win. If you’re in a relationship for you to “win” at being in control because the other person likes you more than you like him or her, wouldn’t it make more sense for you to just be single? A houses divided against itself cannot stand. Who joins a team to win as an individual? Why don’t you just be YOU against every other wo(man) in the world that you can make like you more than you like them?

And when you compare this to God’s relationship to us, God has no problem with us knowing how much He loves us. When I think of how much God loves me, it is mind-boggling. And I also love that He doesn’t even think twice about letting me know it. He doesn’t go about heaven thinking, “Why, why, why did I write John 3:16 in the Bible?! Now all of the humans are going to think they “got me”. I should have left them wondering all their lives how much or even IF I love them!” NO! That’s not how my God works. He wants us to know every day of our lives how much we mean to Him. So how come in dating relationships, we play this game of “withhold the love”?

That’s one reason why I stopped reading the Cosmopolitan and Redbook magazine and Ivillage internet articles on dating and romantic love tips. Me and my friends would read them religiously because they taught us great manipulation techniques and were very interesting and entertaining. But as I got more mature and wiser, I realized that all they do is teach you how to plot and scheme. You can’t plot and scheme yourself into a good relationship just as you can’t plot and scheme yourself into a good afterlife. It’ll have to be genuine. The next person I date is going to see and know exactly how I feel about him, and he will let me know exactly how he feels about me. We’ll be like two kiddies who hold nothing back. That’s how Jesus loves me. He puts all the cards on the table. He lets me know that He loves me, that He wants a personal relationship with me, and that He wants to spend eternity with me. Jesus doesn’t care if I reject Him, laugh at Him for being so honest and vulnerable, tell all my friends that I “got him sprung”, or even if I say yes to a relationship with Him and then later leave Him for an idol or Satan or for atheism. The offer of a loving relationship still stands until the moment I breathe my dying breath (unless of course I have blasphemed the Holy Ghost or have a reprobate mind). That’s genuine relationship, baby!

And so it will be with the guy I next get into a relationship with. Even if he rejects my confessed feelings for him, even if he laughs at my honesty and vulnerability, even if he tells all his friends that he “got me sprung”, and even if he says yes to pursuing a serious relationship with me and then later decides to dump me for a girl named Becky or Tasha, I can rest assured knowing that my love was true because I chose not to play games. Of course, I wouldn’t offer my heart to a person who I know is not seriously interested in me because that would be foolish. The Bible says to protect our hearts with all diligence for out of it flows the issues of life. But if I know that someone with good character and good potential likes me and that I like him too, then I will take that risk.

The benefits of being in love are SO worth that risk of heartbreak. Life is short, so I want to love BIG. If the relationship you are in or are pursuing does not turn out as you had hoped, and your heart gets broken, God will fix it. He specializes in things like that. It’s not the end of the world; it happens to the best of us. So while you can, think positive about it, date genuinely, stop the games, and dare to love!

“Work like you don’t need the money, LOVE LIKE YOU’LL NEVER GET HURT, and dance like nobody’s watching.”