Why I’m Thankful For My Husband And Our Marriage

By Joni Tapp

When a friend suggested we write a post about what we love about our husbands, I confess I rolled my eyes. Who would want to read that?, I wondered. But over the past couple weeks, I’ve gained a lot of insight about the way I look at marriage and my husband. I’ve realized that I definitely do have a tendency to focus on the few things that are not so great in our marriage rather than the thousands of things that ARE great. I was walking around angry and frustrated, and one day God just kind of woke me up to the fact that I was being completely ungrateful for my husband, our marriage, and our life together. Sure, it’s not perfect and it never will be, but there is SO MUCH that is right. Most of all, I KNOW that our marriage was ordained and blessed by God, and since I know Him to be good and loving, then I know that His gift to me of the sweet man I married is a wonderful blessing. So that day I chose to start thinking of all the things I have to be thankful for in my husband, and I was actually shocked at how much of a difference it made in the way I perceive the few hard things. They’re not near as bad as I thought they were. All that to say, even if none of you want to read all of the things I’m thankful for about my husband and our marriage, it is essential not only for me to make this list, but to dwell on it every single day.

One of the most important things to me is that my husband is a good man. He has strong character and integrity. I never have to worry about him cheating on me or leaving me or abusing me. Just these few things, I think, put me in a small minority of women around the world who have a husband their hearts can trust in. For this, I am thankful.

Along the same vein, but I think deserving of its own bullet point, is that my husband has strong faith. The storms of life don’t shake him, for which all glory goes to the Christ who saved him. I am thankful to have a believing husband who prays with me every night and encourages me in perseverance.

He is very disciplined and hard-working. Sometimes this drives me crazy because his productivity and achievement make me look bad! However, it is a very good thing that God gave me a man who is disciplined and committed to things, because it spurs me on to action when my tendency would be toward laziness.

He is wise and rational. I never have to worry about the decisions he makes because I know they are well-thought-out. He often tempers my high-strung emotion by helping me to slow down, calm down, and think clearly about things.

He has a servant’s heart. He will often sacrifice his own comfort for mine. One example of this is, recognizing that I’m NOT a morning person, he gets up almost every single day to feed our early-rising son his breakfast and lets me get a few more Z’s. He often cooks me eggs for breakfast so they’re ready for me when I get up.

He is a GREAT DAD!!! I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen a better father than my husband is. He is so involved in our son’s life, spending so much time with him and investing deeply in his personal, physical, intellectual, and spiritual growth. I cannot wait to see how their relationship blossoms as our son grows!

He tries really hard to be a great husband. Transparency in communication doesn’t come naturally to my introverted husband, but he recognized how valuable it is to me and how important it is to our marriage, and so he tries. We’re both learning a lot about ourselves and about each other as we make this journey together, and I am thankful that we both want marriage to be a JOY and we recognize that is worth working for.

He trusts me. My husband and I are both frugal people who want to be wise stewards of our resources. Since he works full-time so that I can stay home with our son, that means I have more time than he does to be able to balance our checkbook and keep up with our budget. Knowing how important it is to him, it really means a lot to me that he trusts me completely with keeping our budget, and it makes me want to do a good job to honor his trust.

So I think that’s where I’ll end it for today, but I know there’s much more to be added… I should print this and post it on my wall so whenever I start feeling discouraged or resentful about something that isn’t going well, I can remember ALL I have to be thankful for.

Joni has been married to her best friend, Justin, since 2005, and together they have a 2-year-old son, Elias. Joni has always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, so it was such a blessing when God allowed her to do that when Elias came along. Joni is also a Pampered Chef Consultant, since she loves to cook and throw parties! Read more of Joni’s thoughts about being a Christian wife at muddymamas.net.

11 ‘Mundane’ Things Men Do That Turn Women On

By Sasha Brown-Worsham

If you believe romance novels, the only things that turn women on are long walks, moonlit meals, and sex by candlelight(Enya for the win!). In fact, women are so much more complicated than that.

A man may get turned on by the mere sight of his nude wife. Porn gets his engine revved in a hurry and, though many men also have unique turn-ons, we women tend to get fluffed about things that may SEEM mundane to the average eye.

If you have ever seen a joke book on “porn for women” that includes men in aprons cooking dinner, then you know what I mean. We ladies have a host of seemingly mundane turn-ons that really get us going. In that spirit, here is a list of 11 mundane things that men do to drive us wild:

  • Wash the dishes: This may be the ultimate female cliche, but it’s so true. When your man gets sudsy and does it without being asked, it does put a lady in the mood.
  • Take a work call: There is something about hearing my man talk all authoritatively that really does it for me. Maybe it’s because I rarely get to hear him talk that way, but I could listen to him take a conference call all day long.
  • Work out: There is something about him taking the time to care for his body that is just hot. Even more hot, though, is how he looks when he comes back all sweaty and manly. Sometimes my husband and I work out together and it always makes me want to pull him into the bathroom and kiss him.
  • Cook dinner or bake: There is something about a man who appreciates good food and who can make it as well. My husband and I always make our kids’ birthday cakes and watching him carefully ice and decorate them fills my heart (and other parts as well)
  • Drink whiskey straight-up: This is just MANLY. It’s beyond sexy. I like a man who can fix things or drink hard liquor or take a punch. It’s just that raw masculinity.
  • Drive standard: Much like whiskey, driving standard is kind of a man thing. If he can do that, what can he do to me?

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A Love Letter To Black Men…

By Lela

Dear Black Men,

I have never really been the type to write love letters because I was always told “when a word is spoken, you can feel the emotions in it” but today I woke up feeling very inspired, and what was the cause of this inspiration you ask? Black men; and by Black men I mean the descendants of the Nubians, Akans, Asantis,Igbos, Yorubas etc I mean Black men as in the descendants of those who navigated the planet thousands of years ago, I mean Black men who are the descendants of Hannibal, King Taharqa, King Ramses I, Imotep, Shaka Zulu etc, I mean Black men as in the ones who brought up heroes like Marcus Garvey and Patrice Lumumba, I mean Black men like the ones with the wisdom of Malcolm and the Genius of Huey P. Newton, I mean Black men like the descendants of the Africans who survived the middle passage and life on the plantations, I mean Black men like the millions of nameless and faceless heroes who fought for the freedom we enjoy today, I mean Black men like the ones who continue to struggle in this cruel world These are the Black men who inspired me this morning.

I didn’t really have a draft in mind so I am just writing this from my heart.

When I look around at the state many of my brothers are in- it upsets me not because I am angry at them but I am angry they have internalised the state they have been reduced to. When you know someone is better than something you would always encourage them to do better. I admit to being misguided with my methods at times, but the frustration I feel when a brother has no will to be the man he is destined to be is immense. It breaks my heart when I see some brothers degrade their ancestors for a slice of the devils pie, it breaks my heart that even some sisters feel the need to “give up” on their men, It breaks my heart when a Black man can look his mother in the eye and say he has “given up” on Black women. The very idea that we no longer see each other with respect and feel the need to downgrade each other in front of the world is saddening. I am happy for a brother if he finds love with any woman and can raise children who will be productive to not only society but will also have some pride in their father’s identity. After all, we have had revolutionary trailblazers who fought imperialism from all backgrounds – It’s about what’s in their heart. But today a deep rooted sense of misguided anger is used in the way we see each other – The black man and woman’s dialogue contains shaming language and anger fuelled by society. I haven’t always had the best relationships with Black men but I won’t give up on them because they are all I have – we should be able to scream, shout, yell, fight, argue but also be able to come together in times of struggle. I’m not going to make this letter negative so I am going to switch up the energy and talk about the things that have made me fall in love with Black men.

 1)Their smile –

When a Black man smiles at me, I feel warmth. I feel as if the melanin in his skin sends down a ray from the sun that blesses my skin. I feel as if God himself has taken me into his arms and given me comfort –this isn’t to say other men cannot be as amazing but the smile of a Black man is one of the best memories I have. My father never really smiled but when he did, it was so contagious that it would instantly make me smile. The smile a Black man has can warm your heart instantly and lovingly. It’s daring yet dangerous, cunning yet kind and beautiful yet bold.

 2)Their Confidence –

Whether it’s a brother in a suit or a brother in sportswear; nobody can deny an incredible amount of confidence is exuded by Black men. This confidence is what took Muhammad Ali to the top of his game, not only was he a heavyweight champion but he was a spokesman for his community. Confidence on a brother is like a scent – it lingers long after he is gone; this is why we still quote Malcolm, Lumumba, Garvey etc when a Black man is confident in himself and in his community -society attacks his image. I love a Black man’s confidence because it lets me know that whatever happens I can rely on my strong brothers to be by my side; I can lift him up and he can go forth into the world and carry on to inspire future generations to come.

 3)Their variety –

Black men range from Midnight Black to Chocolate to Caramel to sun kissed golden brown and all other shades in between. They are found in nearly every continent on the planet and have influenced every society. Whether it’s the African-Caribbean brothers with their Island rhythm or the African American brothers with their amazing accomplishments or our brothers in the motherland with their amazing strength or our spicy brothers in Latin America etc One thing you cannot deny is Black men come like a premium diamond – cut from pure finery. I have met so many Black men and I get so inspired and have the thirst to learn about their various cultures; that variety is a lot for a sister to keep up with lol but it’s worth it.

4) Their strength –

A Black man to me is the pillar of strength – no matter what biological or physical attack he has been faced with; he will always persevere. The strength of the Black man can be seen in some of the world largest economies that were built from his suffering, sweat, blood and tears. The amount of slave revolts and revolutionary activities Black men have carried on their backs over the past few centuries show that Black men are not willing to go down without a fight. The Black man’s strength led him to free Haiti from its French slave masters and it led the maroons to go against the British with no weapons. The strength of Black men has guided many of them to the path of what’s right, even when they had little to no support from others. The Black man’s strength is society’s greatest fear – this is why he is put down daily to remove the strength given to him by God. This strength is what I look for in a man; a man who I can one day be with who will protect me and together we can go forth into the world and spread the message of freedom. This is the strength so great that once showed makes a Black man a target; a Black man who exudes strength must be removed from the earth because this strength can change the power dynamic and the shape of our world – Patrice Lumumba, Malcolm X, Fred Hampton etc strong Black men who were permanently removed from the planet for showing strength and courage in the face of adversity. This is the strength I admire, keep it up my brother – wake up in the morning and go forth and do your thing.

5) The final thing I love about Black men is their love –

A black man’s love comes in all forms; father to child, Husband to wife, Partner to partner or leader to community. When you have experienced a Black man’s love; you could never hate him. The way he gets up every morning with the world on his shoulders but still manages to do what he can for those around him – when a Black man loves you, your world becomes clearer – you smile brighter, you dance better, you feel amazing and you do what you can to keep him. This love is pure; untainted and sanctioned by God himself. I was raised by a Black man’s love – the way my father would look at my mother and she would smile; it made me feel so happy. When my father would look me in the eye and call me his princess – I hope to one day have a husband who would love my daughter the same way my father loved me. A Black man’s love comes with protection against any worries. It’s the greatest feeling to be loved by a Black man – this is why all of our greatest sheroes were able to carry on the struggle even when their Black men were gone; because even in death, the Black man’s love will always give you the strength and confidence to carry on fighting.

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The One That Got Away (with driving me insane)

By Tracy R. Jolly

According to Albert Einstein, the definition of insanity is ‘doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results’. Sometimes you can’t see the crazy until the relationship is over and you’ve had time to reflect. This was not the case with me. Right in the middle of it, I could clearly see the insanity and even knew what to do about it. But because I let my feelings and emotions run rampant, I cultivated – and practiced – these five bad habits:
5. I took him back. Over and over, again and again. While I thought I was being patient and understanding, he thought he was getting over.
4. I made it too easy. We fought hard and made up almost effortlessly. We never dealt with the real issues which made it easy to ignore the root of the problems.
3. I ignored the signs. He was selfish, arrogant and spoiled. I spent way too much time excusing his behavior.
2. I pretended. That he was going to change. One day. For me.
1. I couldn’t let go of the past. I knew him long before he became the man he is today. The easygoing, witty, funny, gentle spirit is who I really wanted and kept waiting for.
Even with these major blemishes, I don’t regret this relationship because I learned a lot about myself. In spite of it all, the one thing I learned the most that continues to bless my life today is, always be ready to try something new. And so I did. I forgave him (and myself) and moved on. Sanity intact.
 Tracy R. Jolly is a freelance writer, author, blogger, (sometime) poet and budding entrepreneur. Her blog, Losing My Mind, Finding My Voice, is dedicated to inspiring and empowering women to find and utilize their own powerful voices. Tracy uses her experiences and God-inspired messages to deliver hope, support and encouragement.
 
Connect with Tracy on her blogFacebook and Twitter.
 

Is Marriage Worth It For Black Women? These Sista’s Say, ‘Yes!’

By Ama Lawson

Month after month black women are bombarded with articles surrounding the “black marriage crisis.”  On top of that, movies as old as Waiting to Exhale and as recent as Think Like A Man have provided wide screen images of beautiful and successful black women who are dying to have some man put a ring on it.  Most of this media production seems to assume that all black women want to get married.

But is this an accurate assumption?  The social research and anecdotal evidence regarding marriage would not necessarily lead to the conclusion that marriage is even desirable.

First, the fact that approximately half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce is certainly not encouraging. Certain statistics suggest that African-Americans are more likely to divorce than their white, Hispanic or Asian counterparts.

Second, while social research overwhelmingly suggest that men benefit from marriage through longer life spans, increased access to sex,  lower rates of physical disease and lower rates of depression, the jury is still out on whether marriage equally benefits women.  Some studies suggest that married women are less successful, more depressed and less healthy than their single sisters!

Third, the presumed economic benefits of marriage may also be diminishing for some women.  Withgeneral male unemployment exceeding female unemployment for both the general population and the black population, it appears as if many black women and non-black women believe that marrying men, including the fathers of their own children, presents economic and emotional burdens that are simply not commensurate with any potential rewards.

Sadly, women assessing this cold, hard fact may feel as though marrying a man would be like assuming the care of another child, because their potential mates would not provide additional earnings and would not engage in their fair share of domestic work such as cooking, cleaning and child-rearing. Perhaps it is for this reason that today — for women of ALL races — more than half of births to women under 30 are occurring outside the institution of marriage.

For women whose potential mates are gainfully employed, marriage may bring significant economic benefits as household bills are split in two and surplus cash may be used for nice family vacations, domestic help, private schools or piano lessons for the kids.

But still, a high-earning single woman or a single woman with family and a supportive social network should still be able to afford or gain access to child-care help, extra-curricular activities, and the other niceties (or necessities?) that go into raising productive little ones. Such a woman could presumably enjoy the company of family, good friends and an exciting sexual companion here and there — without the burden of housework and other inequalities that plague many women in their marriages.

So we ponder the question: is marriage worth it for black women?

With the odds being difficult that many black women will find a partner who matches them economically and socially, and the extreme length some are going through to get, keep, date, or even share a man, if you can take care of a child yourself — or don’t want children — some might wonder “what’s the point?”

Is there something to be said about marriage that transcends the allure of fulfilling the inner little girl’s dream of receiving dazzling jewels, wearing a stunning white gown and enjoying a kiss from someone dressed like prince at the wedding ball?  The vast majority of the single and married black women that I asked answered with a resounding “yes!”

Although Marie-Gabrielle Isidore, the twenty-something and single CEO and Co-Founder of Brand Haiti, concedes that marriage can appear scary because of discouraging statistics, she told theGrio, “Marriage is something that is extremely beautiful and I look forward to it one day.”  Marie-Gabrielle bemoans the negative media image of black women as not being worthy of love and protection from men and or society’s institutions. She feels that black people should work towards strengthening and empowering the institution, especially considering the ills of fatherlessness, which is linked to the poverty that severely impacts blacks.

Similarly, B. Araba Essien, the single thirty-something mother, artist and entrepreneur behind B. Araba Photography, agrees that marriage is worth it with all its pitfalls and risks.  However, she fears that some black women are not finding love because they are focusing on a potential mate’s height, titles and wealth instead of trying to foster a meaningful connection.  She elaborated, “marriage is worth it for black women, but we must keep our options, minds, as well as our hearts, truly open.”

I could not agree more with Araba’s determination to focus on establishing a meaningful connection.  As human beings we all long to feel loved by and deeply connected with other human beings. There is something unique about the love and connection that marriage provides because of its nature as a public commitment to engage in an exclusive relationship based on both sexual and emotional intimacy. This special intimacy often allows marriage to be a place where old wounds are exposed and current vulnerabilities emerge.

Spouses are called to be sources of love, healing and encouragement for one another.  It can be wonderful to wake up with a fellow adult and go to sleep with that same adult and to know that you have an earthly partner on this not-so easy journey called life.  Additionally, there may be an elevated sense of freedom in expressing and exploring your deepest of sexual desires with someone who has officially promised to love you for life.

Lurie Daniel-Favors, a married consumer rights attorney, mother and author of the upcoming book Afro State of Mind, Memoirs of a Nappy Headed Black Girl, embraces this idea of marriage being primarily about connection rather than a system of economic support or labor-sharing — which tends to be how the act is evaluated in recent reports.  “For the first time in modern history, marriage can be about two equals coming together to create a union between their personal and life visions.  Now that I no longer need a husband, I can truly enjoy the husband that I chose,” Lurie told theGrio.

Indeed, as a married woman I can truly say that my husband and child are sources of great enjoyment.  No, marriage is not easy and it may not agree with everyone.  Decision-making regarding financial obligations, household chores and child-rearing approaches can be contentious. Each spouse’s mood-swings, ego-trips, silent treatments or screaming fits can wreak emotional havoc on both partners. But in my experience, these negatives do not destroy the tremendous human value and joy of this age-old institution for any group of people, including black women.

Yes, when you look at the numbers, and weigh them against the alternative of permanent singledom, the struggle for marriage might seem pointless to many of us. But children and friends cannot replace real adult intimacy. It might be harder for us to find that real connection — regardless of whether you are gay, straight, or your “marriage” is more one of minds than on paper.

But don’t give up the fight or the dream based on statistics, if it’s something you want to make a reality.

Ama Yawson is a co-founder of Loveessence.com, a romantic networking site for black women who are ready for love and men of all races who are ready to love them in return. Ms. Yawson was inspired to create loveessence.com because of her own experiences in discovering romantic love. Ms. Yawson earned a BA from Harvard University, an MBA from the Wharton School and a JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son.


 

Why Are Many Experts Pushing Black Women To Date White Men…As If White Men Are The Answer To Issues In Black Relationships?

from NaturallyMoi.com

Sil lai Abrams, the relationship expert for Ebony.com, writes about the confused state of affairs in black relationships that leads to many experts pushing black women to date white men.  She says that the there is an entire industry that has been created by men making millions by giving flawed dating advice to black women, like megapastors selling prosperity gospel to help you pay the bills.  Abrams says the following:

 

Forgive me for saying this, but I have a hard time stomaching this trend. Just because you were raised in a family of women, or that you’ve slept with so many of us that you could start a national sorority comprised of your sexual conquests, doesn’t make you qualified to tell me how to increase my chances of getting married.  And let’s not forget that the statistics say that Black men aren’t buying into marriage either. Hello? That’s like Johnnie Cochran giving the State of California inside information to gain OJ Simpson’s conviction.  As commitmentphobic as Black men supposedly are, I think there’s a valid reason to say that this advice dispensing could be viewed as a serious conflict of interest.

 

Abrams then goes on to offer that it may be overly simplistic to assume that dating white men is going to be the catchall solution to challenges faced by black women in their dating lives.  As a woman who has dated men of all races, Abrams makes it clear that those who fantasize about white men somehow being able to raise the bar over the heads of black men are in for a rude awakening:

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This Is How I Made My Husband Love Me Again

By Leslie Cane

I’m sometimes contacted by wives and asked questions like: “My husband has made it very clear that he doesn’t love me anymore. He told me he is considering a divorce which I definitely don’t want. For the most part, we are compatible and don’t argue or fight. It’s not that we have huge issues to overcome. It’s just that he’s convinced himself that he no longer loves me. Is there any way that I can make him love me again? Because I feel sure that if he could get the feelings back then we could be very happy. But, for whatever reason, he now believes that he’s just not “in love” with me anymore. How can I change his mind?”

Of course, these are very loaded questions. The answers depend upon the people involved and the situation. However, there are very often common themes that come up time and time again in these situations. And many of these things can be worked out as long as one spouse is willing and able to make some very concentrated efforts to change and improve things. In the following article, I will discuss various ways that I’ve seen wives successfully make their husbands fall back in love with them. (It might be better to use the word encourage as the “make” sounds like you are forcing someone to do something.)

You Can Sometimes Make Your Husband Love You Again By Changing The Way That He Feels About Himself: I know that that phrase may sound a bit strange but please hear me out. Yes, when you are your husband met there was chemistry. Your personalities blended and there were things about you that he adored and vice verse. These things likely did not go away.

And consider this. When you first met and were “falling in love,” part of the reason that this happened was because you made each other feel special, loved, unique, and understood. In short, he made you feel as though you were a better person. He saw something special in you. The same is true for him. You made him feel desirable, heard, blessed, and adored. This can make you feel as though you on top of the world, which is why “falling in love” is absolute bliss.

That’s not to say that you don’t or didn’t have special qualities that matched up perfectly with his. You did. But a big part of what came out of this was the fact that the feelings between you made each person feel that much better about themselves. As a result, every one was on their best behavior because no one wanted to put a dent in what was happening. So, the good behavior, enhanced self esteem, and feeling special were all things that fed on themselves to continue the cycle.

But, after you have been married for a while, sometimes some part of life gets in the way of this cycle. And, as a result, the way that your husband feels about himself, his life, and the world around him might also change. As a result of all these things, he might perceive that his feelings about you have changed as well. But, what he hasn’t yet realized is that a huge part of this is that his feelings about himself have very drastically changed (which is often a big part of the problem.) He likely no longer feels as though he is on top of the world. He may no longer feel adored or special.

Many husbands tell me that they now feel like “providers” rather than “lovers.” They will often tell me things like: “I used to make my wife laugh like no one else. She used to listen to me for hours. Today, our conversations are about our house, our kids, and our jobs. Many of these things are related to chores and obligations, which doesn’t invoke nearly as much laughter. I miss it, but I’m afraid it’s gone for good.”

I believe that the real key in making him love you again is making your actions and your behaviors once again influence how he feels about himself. In this way, his feelings then transfer back to how he feels about you. So how do you do this? You change your focus and your priorities until you see some meaningful improvements. You return to that light hearted, flirty, funny, happy go lucky girl who always had time to listen to him, laugh with him, and to show him how much he meant to you. Wives often tell me that this is going to feel awkward and they think that it might be too late for this. But at least commit to giving this a try. What is the worst thing that can happen? What husband is not going to enjoy more attention and efforts?

With these things said though, you want to be able to act in a genuine way. Insincerity is insulting and will usually fall flat. If you get to a a point where you fear that you’re coming off as fake, back up just a little bit. This needs to be a gradual process anyway because you want for it to contribute to real and meaningful changes.

If You Don’t Love Yourself (And Conduct Yourself With Confidence And Respect,) Getting Your Husband To Love You Again May Be More Difficult: You know the old saying “you can’t give away what you don’t have?” Well, that saying is very relevant when you are trying to restore your husband’s love. The perceptions that you’re giving off right now are so important. If you even allude to the fact that you don’t think you’re lovable or good enough for him, then he is most certainly going to pick up on this.

You must portray quiet confidence that you are the right woman for him and that he will eventually come to know this, even if that means taking a break or backing off for a while. I know that it can be so tempting to repeatedly ask for reassurance or to ask what you might need to do get him to love you again, but all of these things can diminish your worth in his eyes and might only make the problem worse. Right now, you really need to take care of yourself and set it up so that you can in good faith put a smile on your face. If you have to fake this at first (until you gain more confidence) then consider doing so.

You need to portray the best, most confident and alluring version of yourself while you are focusing on the other part of the plan. Yes, I know that your circumstances have changed and that you don’t have the kind of free time that you used to have. But, I am fairly certain that your basic human needs have not changed. Always remember that husbands and wives really do want the same things. Everyone wants to feel loved. Everyone wants to feel heard and appreciated. And every one wants to feel special. If you can incorporate these basic needs into your actions, I strongly suspect you will see some drastic improvements.

The woman that he fell in love with hasn’t gone anywhere. She was probably staring back at you in the mirror this morning. She may be discouraged. She may be tired. She may be hurting. But, she’s still there. It’s just time to dust her off, pick her up, and reintroduce her to your husband.

It’s very easy to feel insecure, to worry, and to make finding a way to get him to love you again your sole purpose. But I strongly feel (from experience) that there’s a better way. It took me entirely too long too learn it, but I eventually did. And it helped me save my marriage. I was eventually able to restore my husband’s love and to not only save the marriage, but make it stronger. You can read a very personal story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com/
Leslie Cane’s blog is at http://isavedmymarriage.com.  She enjoys sharing the story of how she saved her own marriage to help others
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Black Folks, Double Consciousness, & The 4th Of July…What It All Means To Me

By Aiyana Ma’at

Growing up, the 4th of July wasn’t really a big deal in my house—but then again it kinda was. We weren’t flag saluting super patriotic folk. Don’t get me wrong most of my family and friends didn’t have to go to work so we often all got together at someone’s house for a BBQ or the women would sometimes take advantage of Independence Day sales and take off to the mall. Living in Maryland, right next door to the Nation’s Capital meant going down to the Mall in DC and watching the best fireworks you’ve ever seen in your life. We did this almost every year.  Playing with my cousins. Getting to spend time with my favorite Aunties. I can still smell the food, hear the voices of my family, and feel the warmth that comes from being connected to other people who look like you and love you too. Those were good times.

As I got older and went away to college (Ceeeeeeee–Aaaaaaaaa-U-U-U-U-U….had to rep for my alma mater!) I was exposed to some things—no, a lot of things that I had never really taken the time to pay attention to. I had the opportunity to truly study concepts and realities like slavery, Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome, racism, internalized oppression and so much more. One of the things I learned about that I really felt quite powerfully during that time (and for many years after college) in my life was the reality of Double Consciousness that W.E.B. Dubois so brilliantly and pointedly described and defined so many years ago. I was amazed at how true something could ring  for me as a young black woman when it was written in 1897. It absolutely moved and floored me. This had to mean that America had obviously changed a lot—and then again it hadn’t.

A little history

The term “double consciousness” originated from an 1897 Atlantic Monthly article of Du Bois’s titled “Strivings of the Negro People.” The term is used to describe an individual whose identity is divided into several facets. Double consciousness is an awareness of one’s self as well as an awareness of how others perceive that person. The danger of double consciousness resides in conforming and/or changing one’s identity to that of how others perceive the person.W. E. B. Du Bois used the term to describe the felt contradiction between social values and daily struggle faced by blacks in the United States. Being black, Du Bois argued, meant being deprived of a “true self?consciousness”. Blacks often perceived themselves through the generalized eyes of white America.

Du Bois referred to ‘double consciousness as “a world which yields him no true self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world. It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness,–an American, a Negro; two warring souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder”

This “two-ness” of being African and  American leads to psycho-social tensions in which individuals or groups are forced into identifying themselves into two social worlds and viewing themselves as insider and outsider refers to their split consciousness and disadvantageous social position. Du Bois said “the history of the American Negro is the history of this strife,—this longing to attain self-conscious (wo)manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self. In this merging he wishes neither of the older selves to be lost. He does not wish to Africanize America, for America has too much to teach the world and Africa. He wouldn’t bleach his Negro blood in a flood of white Americanism, for he knows that Negro blood has a message for the world. He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American without being cursed and spit upon by his fellows, without having the doors of opportunity closed roughly in his face.”

History lesson concluded 😉

Coming into knowledge like this was not only profoundly challenging and liberating for me but it was a necessary part of my evolution and maturation as a young African American woman. For many years my husband (well, back then he was my boyfriend) and I did not recognize the 4th–meaning we did not go to any celebrations and didn’t pretend to want to. We had our own Juneteenth cook outs, raised the red, black, and green in lieu of the red, white, and blue and dared someone to say something. Now, we didn’t go around talking about “The white man this or the white man that….” But, I was clear I didn’t want any part of this Double-Consciousness. I wanted one–which meant I picked my ancestors. I was of African descent. I was black and that was that.

Fast forward…… a marriage and 4 babies later….my boyfriend is now my husband and a leader to people, particularly men, everywhere. The intense anger I used to hear in his voice when he talked bout being black in America has evolved into a cool confident self-awareness that comes from taking the time to know and learn himself in ways that many of us do not. It comes from knowing that there are still many ills that this country needs to address but at the end of the day taking personal responsibility for your life , your destiny, and your future is where it’s really at. It comes from knowing that black men need to channel years of anger into action and DO something significant with their lives. It is their right and their responsibility.

As for me, I have a clearer understanding of who I am today. I am absolutely positive that the purpose of living is to move closer to the Creator. I believe we come into the world with particular issues that the Creator already has chosen for us to work out and lessons that we specifically came to learn. My having an on again off again father and learning how to forgive and trust him and other men was a part of my Divine assignment here on earth. My learning to love and accept myself  and not fear and create rejection in my life is a part of my Divine assignment here on earth…..and my being born African in America with a legacy of Kings and Queens and Masters and Slave Ships is a part of my Divine assignment here on earth. My blackness is a part of my human existence. It does not define me. It helps to teach me about who I really am. I am Spirit FIRST having an earthly experience.

And, I am so thankful that I am free and at ease today to say that I am black and proud. I am African and American. I rock the red, black, and green and honor the red, white and blue. I give thanks, honor, and respect to the land that my ancestors come from and at the same time wouldn’t want to be in any other place than in my country: The United States of America.

So, tonight as me and the fam are hanging with friends and loved ones at my girl’s 4th of July cook-out and watching the beautiful fireworks burst into the air I’ll be holding my hubby’s hand and sneaking peeks of  the awe in my children’s eyes as the sky lights up. I’ll be resting easy (as I imagine the President and his family will be too….smile) with a knowing in my heart that this is my 4th of July too.

Do Black Women Secretly Desire To Be Fat?

By Alice Randall

FOUR out of five black women are seriously overweight. One out of four middle-aged black women has diabetes. With $174 billion a year spent on diabetes-related illness in America and obesity quickly overtaking smoking as a cause of cancer deaths, it is past time to try something new.

What we need is a body-culture revolution in black America. Why? Because too many experts who are involved in the discussion of obesity don’t understand something crucial about black women and fat: many black women are fat because we want to be.

The black poet Lucille Clifton’s 1987 poem “Homage to My Hips” begins with the boast, “These hips are big hips.” She establishes big black hips as something a woman would want to have and a man would desire. She wasn’t the first or the only one to reflect this community knowledge. Twenty years before, in 1967, Joe Tex, a black Texan, dominated the radio airwaves across black America with a song he wrote and recorded, “Skinny Legs and All.” One of his lines haunts me to this day: “some man, somewhere who’ll take you baby, skinny legs and all.” For me, it still seems almost an impossibility.

Chemically, in its ability to promote disease, black fat may be the same as white fat. Culturally it is not.

How many white girls in the ’60s grew up praying for fat thighs? I know I did. I asked God to give me big thighs like my dancing teacher, Diane. There was no way I wanted to look like Twiggy, the white model whose boy-like build was the dream of white girls. Not with Joe Tex ringing in my ears.

How many middle-aged white women fear their husbands will find them less attractive if their weight drops to less than 200 pounds? I have yet to meet one.

But I know many black women whose sane, handsome, successful husbands worry when their women start losing weight. My lawyer husband is one.

Another friend, a woman of color who is a tenured professor, told me that her husband, also a tenured professor and of color, begged her not to lose “the sugar down below” when she embarked on a weight-loss program.

And it’s not only aesthetics that make black fat different. It’s politics too. To get a quick introduction to the politics of black fat, I recommend Andrea Elizabeth Shaw’s provocative book “The Embodiment of Disobedience: Fat Black Women’s Unruly Political Bodies.” Ms. Shaw argues that the fat black woman’s body “functions as a site of resistance to both gendered and racialized oppression.” By contextualizing fatness within the African diaspora, she invites us to notice that the fat black woman can be a rounded opposite of the fit black slave, that the fatness of black women has often functioned as both explicit political statement and active political resistance.

 CLICK HERE to read more.

Red Table Talks: Jada, Willow, And Mom

In a new web series, which she hopes other families will participate in, Jada Pinkett Smith sat down with her daughter Willow and mother Adrienne Banfield Jones for a very emotional and open conversation about family, failing as a mother, Willow regretting fame and more (no topic was off limits).

Just in time for Mother’s Day, Jada hopes other families across the country will sit and have “talks” to build better relationships and stronger families.  Watch the conversation inside….