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Letter to My Younger Married Self – Maiden vs. Married

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Dear 28-year-old Diana,

It’s happened…you’s a married girl (ala The Color Purple)! Your teenage dream of finding the right man and being dressed in white to walk down the aisle to meet “the one” Cory  A. Jones happened. I am currently 42 years old and have so much to tell you that will give you peace in your heart and mind about what to expect about marriage.

Remember when you conceived at age 15 and had a son at age 16? Remember when you thought your life was over when his father left him? Remember when you thought you were unlovable because who would love a girl who had a baby? Well, you met THE ONE who dispelled all those lies. You met THE ONE who gave you value and worth. You met THE ONE who gave you purpose. You met THE ONE who has great plans, gives hope and a future. You met JESUS! He is THE ONE who has never failed you, never left you and never forsaken you.

It’s because of Him, that you started to know who you were as a woman, mother and a potential wife. He’s the one that made the connection between you and Cory A. Jones, your now husband who you met at the worst job you two ever had. He knew who you would need to be beside you and be the father and step father of your children. He would also be the one to dispel the lies about what men do. You know. Those thoughts about past experiences that men will leave, men cheat, men are selfish, men leave their children, and on and on. He’s a good one, D. He will represent sacrificial love to you in good times and bad. He is generous and will shower you with gifts and heartfelt cards of encouragement (even though gifts aren’t your primary love language, you like it 😀). You’ll know that he’s the one not on day one but as years pass and good times and trials come, Cory will show you that he is not what your father did and he is not what your exes have done. He becomes a Godly man who yearns to grow in the Lord and seeks His wisdom on how to lead himself and his family. You should learn to accept that early on.

You’ll learn that marriage isn’t easy. It will take daily work of prayer, reading, counsel, and introspective analysis to continue to heal from past wounds of your father and past relationships so you two could conquer the future together.

When the going gets tough…

⁃    Keep fighting
⁃    Keep praying
⁃    Keep worshipping
⁃    Keep speaking life over yourselves
⁃    Keep loving
⁃    Keep the faith
⁃    Keep learning

Love,
42-year-old Diana

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Letter To My Younger Married Self – Love Overcomes!

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Dear 28 year-old Cory,

I know you’re dating Diana J. Novoa right now, and you will soon propose to her. Spoiler alert, she will say yes but the words coming out her mouth will be delayed for some reason (lol). Your Princess from Queens will in fact become your Queen from Queens (NY), your best friend and the love of your life. There’s some things you should know
before you say “I Do” and I hope you’re sitting down…lol.

In all seriousness…you’ve picked a winner. When you lose your job after the tragic events of 9- 11 and the financial company you work for lays off a great number of you’ll, your lady will stand strong. Although you’ll were planning and saving up for a wedding, her faith and commitment to helping you get back on your feet did not waiver. When you decided to take a low paying assistant job at a record company instead of focusing on the level of pay you were accustomed to, your woman did not flinch. She just found a way to make it work. She knew your desire to break into the music business and was totally on board. You married a strong women of faith. Which is one of her best qualities. She assesses a situation and tries to figure it out. She’s a real team player and it will teach you that she can be trusted to battle adversity, she will not fold when things don’t go exactly as planned. I know that’s one of your concerns. You want a battle tested warrior chick. You’ve seen what your mother had to endure and toughness is a quality
you really appreciate. Diana has a “can do/will do/by any means necessary” attitude.

During the first 15 years of your marriage the bond just continued to grow stronger. You guys have a, we’ll figure it out, lets see what the Lord has to say about attitude and your marriage received many compliments over the years as one that looks really strong and united.

Honesty is huge for you. I know you cling to the fact that your mother was a super hero on the outside and was tormented on the inside. There were so many things you didn’t and couldn’t understand growing up. Your mother dealt with a lot of pain, heartbreak, unmet expectations and a general lack of love and support being the youngest of three. So as time went on and the armor started to crack, it was a real emotional roller-coaster for you. One that manifested itself into not trusting women. In not trusting women, you would leave any relationship at the first sight of difficulty. But establishing a friendship with Diana, you were able to get to know who she really was minus the pressure of dating, which I refer to as the dating hoax. The dating hoax is when you put on your “best face/image/mask” for the interview. Dating can seem like a series of intimate interviews. But since you started out as friends with Diana, you established a
foundation of truth, because no one was ever trying to impress the other. There was no need to, we had no ulterior motives. We laughed, gave each advice and genuinely wished each other well. Rest assured you guys are still friends, you like being around each other and you’ll focus on being honest (not mean) and appreciative of how God wired each of you. You’ve grown to appreciate Diana’s love of family and being around people. She even convinced you to open your home to hosting a life group (bible study) and marriage mentoring group. You’re not antisocial but you do appreciate a quiet night of watching a movie over hosting families and their children, cooking, cleaning, facilitating a bible study which requires hours of study before your guest arrive. But you learned to love hosting, I know, I’m surprised as well.

Love will stretch you Cory, because when done right, it’s not easy. You will find that Love is not what you want to give, it’s giving what the other needs, but in a sacrificial way. You will have some problems in this area until you read, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman as well as studying the word of God, specifically 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

Biblically, love is patient and kind. You’re kind but not particularly patient. That’s the New York City in you.

Love is not jealous, boastful, proud or rude. You struggle with the proud part, you will have to be more vulnerable. Keeping stuff in won’t work. The “tough guy/whatever/it’s all good” thing in marriage is a trait you must lose.

You’re not jealous, certainly not boastful and not knowingly rude. That pride is a deal breaker though; and I know where it comes from. You needed a certain swagger to keep your head up in your childhood to preserver. But as a born again Christian you are a new creation.

Love does not demand its own way. You certainly expect your own way, you will feel at times because of what you do, you expect to get your own way. You will have to work through that and not be so presumptuous.

Love is not irritable and keeps no records of being wronged. That is and has not been easy for you. You’re a score keeper, that’s why you love sports so much. Cory, you will sometimes keep score and that will cause you to believe and expect returns on your investment, for lack of a better word. It doesn’t work that way young brother.

Don’t forget the sacrificial aspect of Love. Love does not rejoice at injustice but
rejoices when truth wins out. That’s easy enough for you. You’re a fair man.

Love never gives up, never loses hope or faith and wins out in every circumstance. You’re not one to give up, you will be someone that’s open to marriage counseling, talks with other successful couples that’s been at it longer than you guys, visiting marriage conferences for tune-ups, reading books on marriage and speaking to your pastors when issues arise. You wind up doing pretty good my dude. Your wife feels like she’s the apple of your eye and second to no one, you have been able to prioritize really well. Even your kids know they must respect your bride at all times.

Overall, you’re doing pretty well 15 years in. But, it is a never ending effort. The minute you take your foot off the gas you literally roll backward. You must continually look to show how much you love and appreciate your spouse. And not in a job way, in a we’re not guaranteed tomorrow way.

Sincerely,

44 year old, Cory

 

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Letter to My Younger Married Self – Faith Prevails.

Dear 28 year-old Aileen,
Today you stand before a judge and commit to love, honor, cherish, and support Lazarus Dempsey, as his wife until death do you part. Right now, you do not understand what this all means. You have seen movie after movie of fairy tale romances and amazing weddings and I would love to tell you that your marriage will be just as romantic and storybook, but honestly it will not.

Your determination not to fail will keep you in this marriage at times when you feel like you want to leave. Coming from a broken home, and listening to your mother tell you that you will never have a good relationship with a man because her marriage fell apart changes you. You vow to never allow this to happen to your marriage and future family. You remember saying to your mother “Just because your marriage didn’t work, doesn’t mean mine won’t, just because your marriage ended after 13 years doesn’t mean mine will”. However, what happens is that you now put a microscope on the men you date. You look for extraordinary signs of love and devotion from your relationships, you constantly look for proof that this man will be the one that will remain with you for life and if these signs did not show up within a specific frame in time, you ended the relationship. In trying to control this process you added countless years of heartache to your relationship life. You turned cold to relationships all together and focused on work. But you learned, you could not have found him on your own, your tests were not the determining factor it had to be God. Well young sis, You Made It, here we are at 16 years of marriage and you are having fun!

House Keeping

Lazarus is from another country and therefore there will be some cultural differences that will creep up from time to time to challenge your view on his commitment level and his love for you. When this happens, I urge you to remember the phone calls that he made to you every morning at 9am to wish you a wonderful day and to pray for you. Remember all the hours he waited for you on a Friday just to walk you to the train station because that was the only time you would allow him before you were married. Then pause and remember that those things did not stop once he said “I Do”.

You are used to doing everything on your own because that is how you lived your entire life before your husband came into the picture. You will have a tough time letting this go but over time you will learn that you have to let go of some of it in order for the relationship to mature and for him to grow as a husband and a father and you as a wife and mother.

Lazarus has never said a disparaging remark towards you and your character, although you will have said many towards him that you will later regret. Remember that this is frustration and that you really can’t live without him.

Here are a few things you can look forward to over the next 16 years.

His unshakeable Faith

Your husband has a strong faith in God and is diligent in prayer and forgiveness. You will question his faith constantly. You will do this to mask your lack of faith and your loose relationship with God. Things have happened in your life that turned you from the word of God and at times seeing his faith in action will make you feel guilty and lost. Just remember that the Bible tells us we are to lead by example and that the husband is the leader of his home in Faith and Family.

Your Anger is Hurtful

When you get angry you hold it in until you can no longer do so and you lash out. Your husband is the brunt of all of this and it is not fair. Remember that you are not the only one that gets angry, you are not the only one with fears and disappointments. Lazarus will help you see this, as his approach to these scenarios is calm, cool, and collected. You secretly admire this about him but your silly pride will not let you acknowledge it. Remember to breathe during the storm and then speak, your words cut like double-edged blades and the wounds you inflict are deep. Don’t make him bleed for the things that were done to you and the people who made you bleed.

His humor is your balance

Aileen, you have so much love, laughter, and compassion for others and you rarely give yourself credit. You feel like you have to keep up this strong wall all the time because you don’t want to let anyone in. Your husband will make you laugh at yourself during times when you want to cry. He has a way of making you tear down the wall, if only for a moment. Laugh during these times and cherish them. These times will shape your marriage for years to come. You will come to look forward to these goofy moments with him because they really are saving your life.

The greatest gifts HE gave you through your husband

Four years into your marriage you will sit y our husband down and tell him the following:

“Laz, I may never be able to give you children. Things that were done to me in my past may have made this impossible. I know how important having children is to you and I do not want to stand in your way. I will understand if you want to leave me, in fact, I encourage you to go and find a woman who is able to bear children. I will hurt, I will miss you and I may be alone for a long time, but I will be able to live with all of that because you will have the children that I cannot provide.

His amazing response to you is as follows:

“Aileen, these doctors are not God and by the way they have spoken to you, I question if they even know God. We will have children in God’s time because God’s time is the best time. Do you agree?

You say:

Yes, but secretly you have a little doubt. However, true to our God and his amazing timing your daughter was conceived that night in January 2005. Your second child, yes, a second child will come in March of 2007.

Look at these wonderful gifts and their character and you will see the face of your husband, the strength of your marriage and the love your husband has for you. Your selflessness, as shown in this tough conversation, is one of the things he loves most about you.

Embrace Love

Throughout the years to come you will convince yourself that you do not deserve to be loved as deeply and unconditionally as others. You will tell yourself that because of your past you deserve less. I need you to open your eyes and realize that with Lazarus, you have gotten and will receive more than some people will ever feel in their lives. You are blessed, you are loved and you are amazing.

Your husband will call you “Dumb Dumb” from time to time to put out your fuse. This is a long running inside joke and it makes you laugh every time. Remember that communication, something you thought you were great at but have learned through marriage, is the key to your marriage. Remember your father told you “You met your match with this one”. Overall, you cannot see living this life without him and the family you share. He makes you possible!

Although your marriage had an unconventional start, your marriage is storybook, it is romantic and it is the most important relationship you will ever have. Looking forward to the next 16 years and the years to come. Continue to laugh, and allow yourself to be loved and give love every day.

44-year old Aileen

mrandmrs44-year-old Aileen

 

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Happy New Year! When are you going to Change?

Happy New Year! I know some of you may have been wondering what I have been doing for the last 30 days. Why no inspiring words to kick-off 2012. One of the things I felt that I needed to do was take some time off for some self-relection, and prayer to figure out what direction I wanted the blog to go for 2012.

This might be important for some of you, especially if your life is a constant treadmill, roller coaster. Sometimes you need a little break to figure where you life is going; where you relationship is going.

I believe in empowerment when it comes to marriages and relationships. I would like to see more people get married, especially in the black community. According to a New York Times article (December 10, 2011) 2009 data from the Census Bureau states 70.5 percent of black women in the United States between the ages of 25 and 73.1 percent of black men between the ages of 25 and 29 have never been married.

So this year, I am going to devote a day to my single friends. Empowering them to go on that date, make a personal change in order to move those statistics in a better direction, so Ralph Richard Banks, a Stanford law professor,who wrote, “Is Marriage for White People?” will have a new story to tell.

Another change is I will dedicate a column that will focus on faith in marriage. Marriage takes a certain amount of faith and belief in each other to make it work. So why not write about it.

I hope you like the new changes and let other people know what we are trying to do at Strivetwosucceed. I appreciate all of you that read this blog.

Let’s make it a great 2012.

Coach Keith

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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