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IT ONLY TAKES ONE PERSON TO CHANGE A RELATIONSHIP. PERIOD.

It takes two to tango. A good relationship is 50/50. You do your part and your partner has to do theirs, right? At least that’s what’s been said and touted in the relationship world since well…..forever. But, today you’ve come across this article to unlearn that thinking and discover a very different truth. And, by the way we don’t believe anything happens on accident so you are right where you are supposed to be reading what you are supposed to be reading in this moment.

So, what actually is the truth of this matter? Let’s start with some foundational knowledge that will be essential to your understanding what we’re dropping here and critical to your changing and saving your relationship. The truth is that YOUR RELATIONSHIP MIRRORS YOUR INNER WORLD. Your relationship with your partner is mirroring your beliefs, attitudes and actions back to yourself. So, just what does this mean? We often talk about how two people can experience the very same set of circumstances, identical conditions and the same exact challenges and yet can perceive the same exact thing very differently.

Same Challenge….different outcome

One easy to understand example is when you have two children growing up in the same family–let’s just say it’s a dysfunctional environment where little love is shown and expressed with an alcoholic mother and an absentee father who’s never around. The parents fight all the time and there is emotional and physical abuse that is witnessed by the children along with significant emotional neglect as the 2 children literally have to find ways to take care of themselves in this chaotic family. Those 2 kids eventually grow up. One of them leads a life of struggling in his relationships not understanding why he keeps having the same issues with different women, he meanders through his life feeling no sense of real purpose and a nagging feeling of emptiness that he’s developed the habit of masking and covering up with alcohol. On the other hand the other kid becomes a high achieving medical doctor who gets married, has children, a few solid brothers he can turn to when he’s feeling overwhelmed or having a tough time, decides to never touch alcohol based on what he experienced and attributes his success to his faith and family as motivators to create the kind of life he never had. By the way the second brother spent some very intentional time in therapy and doing individual personal development work as well.

This “experiencing the same thing” yet having very different perceptions and outcomes is the same for our relationships! Do you think that what you’re going through in your relationship is super unique? We can tell you with 100% certainty—that it is not. Why are some couples able to get through and build during difficulty while other couples are crushed by the difficult times? It all comes down to the individual experiences of the people in the relationship. And all that matters is YOU and what YOU are doing in the midst of the hard moments.

You attract who you are.

In a relationship in which your partner treats you with love and support you will find that the basis for his or her love is the love you have towards yourself and subsequently towards others. When you trust yourself you attract a trustworthy partner. When you believe in yourself you will also have a partner who shows up believing in you too. When you are intentionally kind, loving and truly considerate of yourself you automatically begin extending that kind, loving consideration to others—especially your partner—and in turn this is what you will begin to see coming back to you from your boo.

Let’s be clear–THIS IS NOT ABOUT BLAMING YOURSELF OR REMOVING RESPONSIBILITY FROM YOUR PARTNER. This is about putting the ball in your court & gaining new personal insight because you are endeavoring to get to know yourself on a completely different level. It’s about developing your capacity to understand and make room for the sore spots, mishaps and mess ups of your partner by recognizing in yourself where and how you may at times experience similar feelings, concerns, defenses or fears. The bottom line? Once YOU change your relationship will mirror that change. Remember, your relationship (all relationships in fact–not just the one with your sweetie) mirrors you–not your partner.

The Shift Starts With You.

So, what will happen once YOU change? Simply put, Once you change your relationship will mirror that change.

You’ll begin to shift those habitual thoughts, beliefs and ways of acting with your partner and in response to them and your relationship will begin to transform in a way you’ve never ever experienced.

If you are serious about doing your work and you keep putting one foot in front of the other with steady persistence, change will come and your partner will begin to shift and all of those negative things that you dislike about your partner will begin to disappear…..they will begin to change! Oh wait, or will it be that you’ve changed and you will be looking through new eyes? Hmmmm…..it’s both. 😉

To see the behavior of someone else transform in direct response to your transformation will amaze you. When all is said and done, one of two things will happen–#1 your partner will begin to positively shift in response to your transformation and you all will begin going to new heights together OR your partner will be released from your life and you will have a completely new set of tools to utilize as you navigate your relationships along with crystal clear clarity on who you are and how to have an amazing relationship with the right one.

Remember, any attempt to change someone else without 1st changing yourself will not be effective because the image being reflected back at you will not have changed. Why? Say it with us: Your relationship mirrors you, not your partner.

Hang Out With Ayize & Aiyana & Learn How To Turn Up The Love & Sex In Your Relationship! JAN. 12TH @ 9PM.

By Ayize & Aiyana Ma’at

Hey Fam! We are soooo excited and pleased to announce our new Relationship Renovation series that will be kicking off in January 2014!

As we sat and talked and evaluated how 2013 has been for us and what our goals for 2014 should be we kept coming back to the idea that we want to connect more, help more, and do more. Yes, that’s what we said—In 2014 we want to:

CONNECT MORE…..to you

HELP MORE……for you and

DO MORE……with you  🙂

We said “How can we be the most helpful and make the most impact?” We asked you on Facebook and Twitter and via our other social media platforms and YOU ANSWERED. You said you wanted to talk with us more about very important topics that so many of you are dealing with in your relationships. We received such great feedback and so many different topics that we decided to begin a Bi-Weekly Relationship Renovation Series. 

  •  This is where we will discuss important, juicy, fun, and fundamental issues that are relevant to relationships of all kinds.
  •  This is where you will have the opportunity to participate!  How? You can be “on” with us to share your story or ask a question as it relates to the theme of the Hangout. You can also share by asking questions when we have our “Ask Us Anything”Hangouts. And, of course you can chat with us during the Hangout as well.
  •  This is where you can come every 2 weeks to “go to school” and get insight and answers on all things relationships!

So, save the date for AYIZE & AIYANA’S  FIRST RELATIONSHIP RENOVATION HANGOUT WHERE WE WILL TALK ABOUT HOW TO TURN UP THE LOVE & SEX  IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP!

WHEN: THURSDAY, JAN 12, 2014

WHAT TIME: 9PM

WHERE: https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/115322807699470470126/events/cpei4jicmq9at68295i830fcil8

For our first Hangout–We’re looking for singles or couples that would like to be featured on the Hangout. You should be willing to either share your story around sex and intimacy and/or ask a question. No questions are off limits. Any issue you have when it comes to sex and intimacy in your relationship(s)–past or present—BRING IT. We want to hear it!

Interested? Send an email with your issue or question to askus@bintentional.com or by clicking here: http://www.blackloveandmarriage.com/ask-the-maats/
***ATTENTION*** YOU MUST PUT THE WORDS GOOGLE HANGOUT SOME WHERE IN THE SUBJECT LINE OR IN THE BODY OF THE EMAIL PLEASE!!! REMEMBER, WE DO ADVICE VIDEOS ON YOUTUBE AND IF YOU DON’T LET US KNOW THAT YOU’RE RESPONDING TO THE GOOGLE HANGOUT CALL FOR PARTICIPANTS THEN YOUR EMAIL WILL GO TO THE BACK OF A VERY LONG WAITLIST OF FOLKS WAITING FOR US TO ANSWER THEIR VIDEOS ON YOUTUBE.

TO JOIN THE HANGOUT ENTER BELOW:

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8 Harmful Relationship Patterns: Do You Have One?

By Aiyana Ma’at

How many times in your life have you paused to take a look at yourself and how you tend to think and act in your relationships? Have you ever considered that the ways you tend to feel, think, and act in any given relationship situation can be pretty predictable and easy to call? Why?  As children we learned to take on “roles” and act out certain behaviors that helped us in some ways and hurt us in other ways.

So, it should make sense that as adults we actually take on a role in our relationship that is either the “parent”, “child”, or “adult”. The “parent role” tends to dictate or take control of a relationship; the “child role” often is looking to be taken care of or can act somewhat irresponsible. When a partner takes on either of these roles, often the partner steps into the opposite role and this dynamic can cause a dysfunctional relationship.

When both folks challenge themselves to both stay in the ADULT role it gives both the opportunity to step their game up and go to the next level in their relationship.

Here are some examples of behavior patterns that you may have learned from your parents or used as a child that just don’t work well in adult relationships (….but you’re still acting out these patterns!)

1. If something uncomfortable happens you tend to go off on your own and not want to speak with your partner.

2. You take life too seriously when some playfulness would really help the situation.

3. You make light of serious issues in your relationship that deserve thoughtful and deliberate consideration.

4. You pretend you’re fine when asking for what you need would be much more appropriate.

5. You keep “trying harder” to make the relationship work, even though everything is telling you that your “trying” is not very productive and you should be open to a new way.

6. You  sometimes lose your temper and regret it later.

6. You tend to withdraw, shut down, and not share your feelings.

7. You pout and wait for your partner to come rescue you from being upset instead of taking responsibility for your own happiness.

8. You act as if your opinion is the truth and the light and anything outside of that is just, well, retarded. (Anyone know of any little ones who think the world revolves around them???)

These are just a few. Until we start owning our part in the breakdown of relationships we can’t begin to change to make things better. Instead, we put the problem onto the other person and blame them for the relationship not succeeding. When we blame the other person we never have the opportunity to learn the lessons that the relationship offered and we then don’t know what we need to change to make our future interactions and relationships better.

At some point, we all have to take a good honest look at ourselves and stop playing and start pushing.

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 CLICK HERE for INDIVIDUAL or COUPLES COACHING

CLICK HERE to get your RELATIONSHIP ASSESSMENT

CLICK HERE to learn how to COMMUNICATE BETTER IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP

CLICK HERE to learn how to improve the quality of your SEX & INTIMACY

6 Ways You Can Make Your Sensual & Sexual Relationship A Priority

Many couples have a happy relationship but like a lot of other couples are having sex rarely—once or twice a month if they are lucky (as they put it) When they have sex they say it goes pretty well—both of them are getting aroused, having orgasms, and feeling connected.

However, many couples still feel as if they’ve come to a point where they have lost the creative aspect in their lovemaking and tend to do the same thing over and over again. This is a common concern in relationships and not necessarily some major sexual issue or dysfunction. But, for many couples, if they feel that something is not quite right or that something is limited about their physical relationship, one or both partners can make the mistake of wondering if something more serious is going on: Do they really love each other? Are they still really attracted to each other? This kind of thinking makes a relatively common situation turn into a dangerous one.

So, if this sounds familiar to you—stop worrying. You just need to focus more time and attention to this area of your relationship and it can be sooo fun! 😉 Here are 6 ways to bring a more romantic spirit back to your lovemaking:

1) Focus on being romantic and sensual ( send flowers, romantic e-mails, whisper suggestive desires, during dinner, touch his or her leg under the table). We know that talking as friends and sharing fun times are aphrodisiacs. We hear this often from women but we know it’s also true for men.

2)Do not focus on orgasms or other outcomes. Pressure is not an aphrodisiac.

3) Focus on wooing your partner–as opposed to taking his or her love for granted (i.e., stop being lazy).

4)Be sensitive to your partner’s rhythms, needs, and wishes. For example, many couples say they don’t have sex because one is a night person and the other is a morning person. If that’s the case, push yourself to be sensual during your partner’s times.

5) Be imaginative and creative. Let your partner know you care and are attracted to her and that you want her–but do it in a variety of ways. The possibilities are endless. You might be driving to work together and passing a motel, and could say, “Let’s be an hour late.” Even if the rendezvous isn’t possible that day, the message is that you are attracted to him and want him. You can do it some other time if not now…

6) Take risks by initiating lovemaking at unexpected times and places. Research suggests that a couple’s love life is best when both the man and the woman initiate, rather than when only one person typically initiates—flexibility is a good thing!

Thanksgiving Cooking Planning: Start At Your Desk, NOT Your Stove

By Chef Todd Mohr

Are you anticipating holiday cooking stress already? Is Thanksgiving cooking planning getting you down? I fully understand, because even as a professional chef who has prepared food for thousands, I still feel the anxiety of cooking for family in my own home.

 

Planning, shopping, preparing, cooking, serving, wrapping leftovers, not to mention straightening your house are worthy of your worry when you don’t have a good plan. While I can’t help you with house cleaning, I can help turn holidays cooking stress into Thanksgiving cooking success this year with a few simple tips.

 

First, have a written plan for your menu, grocery shopping, and preparation. Don’t just “eye-ball” it at the grocery store, checking to see if that “looks” like enough potatoes. You’ll wind up at the end of the meal forcing people to eat more for fear of it “going to waste”. If it’s not consumed, then you’ve got more time in wrapping leftovers, only to discard them a few days later anyway.

 

Thanksgiving cooking should start with a calculator and multiply a standard portion of 5 ounces of protein, 4 ounces of starch, 3 ounces of vegetables, by the number of people you’re serving, your shopping and cooking will be more cost effective, efficient, and less wasteful. Use any number for your portion estimates, but adhere to your plan when you start shopping.

 

Next, have a plan for your oven space, refrigerator space, and serving vessels and utensils. You’ll have more food stored, prepared, cooked, and served than you do the rest of the year, so proper prior planning will again save last minute indecision, wasting time and increasing your stress.

 

“Potatoes in Grandma’s china flower dish”, “green beans in glass casserole with serving tongs” are notes you can make next to your menu plan. Estimate what can be purchased, prepared or cooked before other items. Not all Thanksgiving cooking needs to take place on Thanksgiving. You can buy things like onions or potatoes well in advance of salad greens. Buy them and cook them ahead of time for simple re-heating.

 

You may also want to keep an iced-down large drink cooler in your garage for the overflow that your refrigerator may not handle. Certainly, bottles and cans can go in the cooler. Ziplock or vacuum bags of mashed potatoes or butternut squash soup can be kept on ice to save fridge space for the turkey.

 

Lastly, consider doing “plate-up” this year. Instead of a large buffet where people’s eyes are much larger than their plates, present everyone’s first plate to them, like a restaurant. This way, you can control the initial portion, eliminating much waste, and keeping to your original portion plan. You can still have a buffet set for those that want second portions, but preparing the first plate will save time, food, and money. Perhaps you’ll do less Thanksgiving cooking this way.

 

Chef Todd Mohr has freed thousands of people from the frustration of written recipes with his online cooking classes. The Chef’s cooking DVD series “Burn Your Recipes” empowers people to cook with basic methods and the ingredients they desire. Visit him at webcookingclasses.com.

The 4th of July Belongs To Us Too…

There are a lot of folks who would have you and I believe that the 4th of July does not truly belong to black folks. While we understand the perspective—it’s not a complete perspective—it just isn’t. We love how Ronda Racha Penrice attacks this issue from a straight up historical and fact based position. She recently wrote this piece on Why the 4th truly does belong to all of us and we respect and salute her for it. Read on….

From TheGrio.com

“The Fourth [of] July is yours, not mine,” Frederick Douglass said in his famous 1852 address “What to the slave is the 4th of July?”

More accurately, the celebration of the Fourth of July, of American freedom in particular, may have then belonged to white Americans but Douglass was mistaken in his assertion that the Fourth of July did not belong to African-Americans. The critical role African-Americans played in establishing the nation is not brought up enough.

There was a time, even during slavery, when it was hard to ignore the fact that Crispus Attucks, a fugitive slave, served as a key catalyst to the American Revolution. When British soldiers fired upon the colonists in 1770, in what is now immortalized as the “Boston Massacre,” Attucks was the first to die.

How ironic that a black man, once enslaved but defying the law that deemed him a slave to take his freedom, would become the martyr for freedom and equality to those who denied him the same dignity?

An estimated 5,000 African-Americans fought in the American Revolution so Frederick Douglass was not correct when he declared that “The Fourth [of] July is yours, not mine.” In fact, it’s this continued oversight of history that plagues us to this day. When Tea Party supporters and others intimate that African-Americans are somehow less American than others, they are dead wrong. It has been argued time and time again that African-Americans are, in many ways, more patriotic than other Americans.

Despite being held in bondage and suffering Jim Crow and other miscarriages of justices, African-Americans have never given up on the great promise of freedom captured in the spirit of the Declaration of Independence. In fact, the greatness of leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. is that they dared to remind this nation that it was not living up to its potential.

In his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, King, whose national monument will be unveiled on August 28, nearly 50 years after the historic 1963 March on Washington, spoke of the “bad check” America had given black Americans while also revealing the hope that African-Americans have generally held on to despite enduring the worst of times. “But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt,” he said. “We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.”

As with every war, including the ones currently being fought, African-Americans have served this nation nobly. So, when it comes to celebrating the Fourth of July, we have just as much right as any other American whose investment in this nation extends back to its very foundation.

Read the full article here.

I Hope You Feel Bad On Father’s Day

By Ayize Ma’at

You’re probably thinking WTF!!??!  Like my wife, you may be thinking why would you hope someone feels bad on Father’s Day? As co-owner of this site she expressed that she didn’t like “the energy” of this post on a day like Father’s Day. But, it’s my day and I’m gonna keep it 100. To be honest…. Your recklessness, abandonment, and shameful acts of irresponsibility have become my problem.  Yes…when you don’t do what you are supposed to (i.e. teach your children) someone else does.  What man allows another man to carry his own weight?

As a father raising four children I find myself shielding and protecting my children from a chaotic world that exists in our community because of your negligence.  Boys disrespecting girls in our community exists because of YOU.  High out of wedlock birthrates exists because of YOU.  Bullying exists because of YOU.  Teen pregnancy exists because of YOU. Identity confusion exists because of YOU.  Low self esteem exists because of YOU.  Angry black boys in an assembly line to prison exists because of YOU. Low academic achievement exists because of YOU.

Yes, the aforementioned statements are sweeping generalizations void of the panoramic perspective needed to examine black fathers.  Yes, there are plenty of socio-economic variables that contribute to the host of social issues previously mentioned.  Although I recognize the plethora of contributing factors, today I’ve chosen to focus exclusively on the communal impact of absent black fathers because they need to hear real talk and feel the real pain of neglected children and disappointed black men who have “manned up” because they’ve decided to “man down”.

For many of you the instinctive reaction is to turn toward your “baby’s mama” and say she’s the reason why you are not in your child’s life.  I hear you.  I believe she may have made it difficult for you.  I know you probably hate her.  But guess what champ…..GET OVER IT!  IT AIN’T ABOUT HER.  IT AIN’T ABOUT YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH HER.  IT IS ABOUT YOUR CHILD.  It may be hard as hell to get back in your child’s life.  But isn’t your child worth going to hell and back?

Today, tomorrow, next week, next year when I’m walking down the street holding my sons hands or holding my daughters hands and I notice the furtive glances of children who have no father in their life…I WILL BE REMINDED OF YOU.  Their eyes tell a story of disappointment, frustration, anguish, and abandonment.  So yes…I hope you feel bad on Father’s Day…..  because your absence has caused your children to feel bad EVERYDAY.

VIDEO: The FAILED Proposal–When A Woman’s Self-Worth Trumps Her Desire To Be Married

By Team BLAM

VIDEO: Marriage is a beautiful thing. Marriage is a wonderful thing. In fact, we believe marriage is an essential weapon for black folks to use against the epidemics of poverty, homelessness, crime, and poor education in our community. Simply put, marriage rocks.

However, we never want you to get our fundamental bottom line message twisted— more than anything we are advocates for healthy relationships.

How many of us know that there are a whole lot of people out here who are married in title only. They are doing anything and everything but acting like they are married. They are focused on themselves and not each other. They were invested in the wedding day and couldn’t give a damn about the actual marriage. A great deal of folks just didn’t know what this marriage thing was all about in the first place–so they eagerly got married but were ill-equipped to handle the responsibilities that come with being married.

So, again marriage is wonderful—but healthy relationships are where it’s really at. Relationships where the two people involved are serious about doing the personal work to be the best they can for themselves and each other.

Far too often we see folks (women more often than men) who are desperate and I mean DESPERATE to have somebody they can call “husband” that they will ignore all the warning signs, pretend that requirements have been met that never were, excuse behaviors that are a No-No, and basically drop their expectations because they just want to be married.

Well,  the lesson of the day? DON’T DO THAT WOMEN!!! VALUE yourself. LOVE yourself. RESPECT yourself. SET STANDARDS for yourself. PROTECT yourself. BE HONEST with yourself. Marriage is serious business–for grown folks only and grown folks know how to make the difficult decision to walk away when necessary. Hats off to this sista who had the courage despite all of the pressure to just say NO.

Marriage & Respect: One Can Not Live Without The Other

By Team BLAM

Think back to when you were first falling in love with your spouse. Do you remember hiding your faults? Don’t feel too bad, he or she was doing the same. Do you also remember ignoring his or her faults or viewing them in a positive light? Looking back now, you might have a better idea why they say love is blind.

One positive by-product of how you acted was that your level of respect grew. As we notice all the good things about people, our level of respect for them increases.

As our respect grows for a person, we find it easier to listen, talk in a respectful tone of voice and treat him or her in a respectful manner.

After your wedding day you probably started to let your guard down a little. You no longer tried so hard to hide your faults. At the same time your spouse was doing the same thing. It became much easier for you to notice his or her faults rather than overlook them.  As you begin focusing on your spouse’s faults, your level of respect began to erode. You may have noticed the side effects in how you spoke, listened, and treated him or her.

As respect erodes, contempt grows. Contempt will poison your marriage and bring with it pain and misery. Both respect and contempt are built up by what YOU choose to dwell on.

People who dwell on the faults of their spouse often try to force their spouse to change to meet their own expectations. Ultimately, this route is met with bitter disappointment and frustration as each attempt creates more resistance and ultimately fails.

Some folks choose to politely ask their spouse to work on their fault. If their spouse does not change they work on becoming used to their spouse’s fault. In essence, they accept the things they cannot change.

The reality is no one is perfect. The sooner we learn to recognize and accept the faults that are not going to change, the more content and happier we will be in our marriage.

Should we learn to tolerate all faults? Of course not. Physical/verbal violence, not contributing financially, and refusing to communicate or compromise are all examples of fault that should not be tolerated but instead must be addressed directly.

When you focus on your spouse’s positive traits and exercise tolerance with his or her faults, your respect for him or her will grow. You will find it easier to listen, speak, and treat them respectfully.

Here’s an Action Plan to get you started in the right direction: For the next 3 weeks make a list each day of 10 positive things your spouse did. You can also take a trip down memory lane and include things they did in the past. Each night share a few items on your list with your spouse. Better yet, ask your spouse to participate with you in this exercise. Whether you do it alone or together with your boo you will definitely be on the right track toward increasing your attitude of gratitude. 😉

Adapted from the National Healthy Marriage Institute