Kwanzaa: A Pathway For Restoring Marriage In The Black Community?

Source: KwanzaaGuide.com

The current state of black male and female relationships demands attention and correction: declining marriage rates, increasing rates of single black women with children , 70 percent of all African-American births are out of wedlock, nearly 45 percent of Black men have never married and 42 percent of Black women have never married, and the increasing rate of divorce among black men and women (two thirds of all black marriages end in divorce).

Marriage is the basis for a stable and sustainable family life. Hence, the state of African Americans as a people is best measured by the state of the black family. The practice of Kwanzaa contributes both to strong marriages and stable families. Kwanzaa advances that the starting point and foundation for restoring healthy and lasting marriages among African Americans begins with its 7 Principles.

Principle One- Unity: the unity principle instructs that modes of communication and behavior among men and women in relationships or marriage should promote an atmosphere of harmony and togetherness. Joining two hearts as one requires self-conscience practice to build into the relationship perpetual sharing, empathy, dedication and commitment through daily practice. The 7 Principles advises that relationships or marriages fall apart day-by-day, not through one single argument or misguided act.

Principle Two- Self-determination: the self-determination principle assists couples in defining their relationship or marriage in terms that are in their own best interest, not that of others, practicing their own cultural values. This principle urges the setting of terms (e.g., no violence, no name calling, especially the “N” and “B” word, setting aside time each week for just the “two of us”), to avoiding misunderstanding and drift in the marriage.

Principle Three- Collective Work & Responsibility: the collective work and responsibility principle is straightforward: each person in the relationship is responsible and accountable for its success or failure. The principle is clear that blaming and finger-pointing have no place in a relationship. It is always about “us” and “we” not ‘I” and “my.”

Principle Four- Shared Resources: the shared resources principle obligates those in long-term relationships to support and care for each other and to see their interest tied together. It also suggests that all finances and financial responsibility are shared among mates. No one person is the “bread winner” or has total say over management of family finances. Even when only one person is employed, the other person is entitled to & should be fully involved in financial transactions.

Principle Five- Purpose: the purpose principle says to couples that one of their central goals in life is the building and developing of our relationships. For it is through the building of strong and lasting marriages that they contribute to stable families, the index of the strength and viability of a people. Further, the purpose principle instructs that mates find their social meaning and human identity in their union.

Principle Six- Creativity: the creativity principle renews the freshness, energy and excitement in relationships, especially marriages through the practice of continuous improvement. The principle says that couples should always seek to find new and better ways of enjoying each other, and of recreating the magic which first attracted them to each other.

Principle Seven- Faith: the faith principle is what sustains couples through difficult times and crisis. Equally important, the principle keeps couples hopeful. Influential philosopher and theologian Howard Thurman asserts: “Faith is the substance and spirit which makes “tired hearts refreshed and dead hopes stir with the nearness of life; faith is the “promise of tomorrow at the close of everyday, the triumph of life in the defiance of death, and the assurance that love is sturdier than fate, right is more confident than wrong, that good is more permanent than evil.”

Each month, couples should take inventory on what they have done to practice the seven principles, celebrating their successes, and recommitting themselves to practice in greater measure those areas which need attention or improvement.

At Kwanzaa time, December 26 through January 1, couples can assess how their relationship against the 7 Principles and celebrate their joy and happiness of their union.

Read Full Article HERE.

 

Be Patient With Your Process!

 

 

Family Meals Create Strong Children

By Ayize Ma’at

Recently I spoke for Men’s Day about the role and responsibilities men have to their wife and children. My children were in attendance and I wanted to see if they retained the lesson and grasped the significance of the principles that I spoke on…the principles of Ma’at. It’s so important that we take time to check in with our children, talk with them, make sure they’re listening and connecting to the important messages we want to make sure they’re getting. Be intentional with your kids. It makes a difference…

3 Really Important Lessons Being A Wife & Mommy Have Taught Me…

By Aiyana Ma’at

Life really is nothing but a big ol’ school with all kinds of classes to take and lessons to learn. I’ll admit that I looooove a lesson. I’ve always had an appreciation for the deeper hidden meaning and purpose underneath and behind things. Ask my husband and my kids. They’ll tell you my favorite question “What’s the lesson?!” 🙂  And while I can’t deny I’m a “Ooooh….what’s the lesson? ” lover I’m not always a fan of the lessons that I’m  learning or the ones that keep showing up because my resistant ass keeps refusing to learn it. Nevertheless…..I want to grow. I want know myself better. I want to understand and accept my weak places and cultivate and embrace my strong spaces. 

And what I know is that the only way I’ll do that is by looking for, searching for, listening for, yearning for…. yup, you know it….. the lesson! So, here are 3 lessons (just 3 for now….tee hee) I’ve learned (and am learning) in my life taught to me by none other than my wonderful husband and children. 😉

#1 It’s Ok to not have it all together. With the very busy life I lead….working a full time job, working with my husband in our business, counseling couples, running groups, speaking here and there, being a wife to my hubby and raising 5 kids……shiiiii…..ain’t nobody got time for trying to be (or look) perfect. I’m too old for that and fakery just ain’t my style.

#2 It’s important to admit when you’ve messed up and even more important to say you’re sorry. This is a lesson that kept escaping me early on in my marriage but I really have worked on it and make it a point to just say “I’m sorry” when I don’t do what I said I would, when I jump to conclusions and start judging my husband, when I mess up and lose my temper and yell a little too loud or perhaps am too harsh with the kids and I see in their eyes that I really hurt their feelings. I may not see it or do it right away—but I try my best to do it as much as possible. We have to remind ourselves that no one ever died of having a bruised ego and having to confess you were wrong….it’s good for us,  it’s good for strong marriages and its good for our children to see and experience with us.  Quick tip- If you can’t say it—write it. You gotta start somewhere and in this area something really is better than nothing.

#3 Having a family is a privilege and a special place to do my work. Look…I got issues. You do too. Who doesn’t? And when we have issues there are certain things, words, tones, people and places that will trigger us, set us up, or set us off.  And it doesn’t always matter that it’s your first born child you’re dealing with or your loving husband—-everyone and every thing is fair game to push your buttons and stretch you until you’re uncomfortable as hell. I am a work in progress and I say that with pure proud joy! Because I don’t have to be making progress. Pursuing progress and growth is a CHOICE! So, i never take it for granted that God has given me 6 other beautiful souls to live with, learn from, and grow with as we all make choices day to day, hour to hour and minute to minute to do our work (Pssst…..for those who’d like a little more explanation as to what “doing your work” means…..simply put it means cleaning up your emotional shit, owning your boo boo and flushing it down the toilet so you can heal and be whole!)

I’ve learned so much more than what I’ve shared here but this is what I wanted to share today. Below are some pics of my family….the folks who demand my growth!

#Groworgohome #Stopplayingstartpushing #Marriagematters #Familiesmatter #YOUmatter!

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He Criticizes Black Women & Christianity. Should We Marry?

One of our viewers wrote in and indicated that her man criticizes black women and Christianity and wanted to know if they should marry? Check out the video and let us know what you think….

I had been single for 10 years before meeting my current partner online. I wasn’t expecting to fall in love but just wanted to start talking to males again in a safe way before entering the dating game.  I was approached by this wonderful man and we clicked on so many levels. We have been in a relationship for 10 months and are seriously contemplating marriage.

I am a single mother of three children, he is a single father and plays an active role in his daughter’s life. I love his parenting, I love his work ethics, I love his level of intelligence, I love his caring nature, I love the fact that we speak every day, currently see each other probably weekly as we have decided to wait until marriage to sleep together. We advise each other on future work goals, discuss family goals, mortgages etc, we talk about everything and argue/debate about our differing opinions, we also laugh and enjoy each others company. My children and family love him. I have met his family a few times and we got on well.

Now for the problems: I am a born-again Christian – he identifies as Christian but is not born again and goes to church infrequently. My passion is in my faith – this has brought some conflict due to my religious beliefs. One example – he believes in evolution, I believe in creation (we have had intense debates on this – but have agreed to stop as its gets so heated). We have agreed that if we get married we will homeschool and teach our children both views. When he argues he swears A LOT and gets dirty with his words but has toned it down since I explained that I don’t like it. I am not used to it, my father never swore. I have tonned down the way I respond to him, which again has really worked.

The second problem is based on the way he talks about black women. He seems to have a low view of us based on what he has seen around him and has some deep hurts. We are both black!  He has a strong passion for the black community, wants to make a difference i.e build community centres, create documentaries on the issues within the community, wants to advise women not to wear weaves etc (I’m natural, wear braids occasionally but have no problem with weaves). I support a lot of what he wants to do but not all. This bitterness that he feels about black women / community, feeds through on his view of religion and he calls the bible that I enjoy ‘the white mans’ book.

He says I am different from many black women and he calls me a lady. But I still take offense with these two issues: it’s like we are both fire when they come up. I just want him to understand that I am a black women so when he talks negatively about black women it hurts. I am also a Christian, so when he talks negatively about Christianity it hurts. We have broken up twice because of this but we always feel like we can get through them as on ever other level we are soo good together. We both love each other but are anxious about the next disagreement……HELP!

With these two issues in mind! Do you think I am ignoring a deeper issue? Can we build a successful happy home?

Thank you! and I love watching you both! He hasn’t witnessed many strong black relationship in his town or on UK television and is convinced it is rare. Most people he knows are either single parents or in bi-racial relationship. Both our kids are biracial. I haven’t introduced him to your channel but I am hoping watch your response with him. Sorry its so long!!

How Are You Moving Through Your Meantime?


Getting through the discomfort….the meantime is hard. Especially when there’s so much expectancy, possibility, and becoming awaiting you on the other side. “Becoming” is all about pushing past the discomfort…..the difficulty and making a decision that you’re determined to have your destiny. Be intentional yall!

Believe Your Partner When They Show You Who They Are!

Why do we allow ourselves to deal with the same ish over and over again? Why do we ignore things we know we need to address? Why do we rationalize our partner’s behavior and tell ourselves lies? Do we think we can’t handle the truth? Do we really not want to know the truth? At the end of the day we need to believe our partner when they show us who they are.

Listen in for a little more….. and psssst….. ignore my swollen cheek….I had just had my wisdom tooth pulled! 😉

Are You Failing To Pay Attention To Your Partner?

Are you devoting all of your time and attention to what’s going on with reality t.v. and failing to pay attention to the reality of your relationship? 9 times ouf 10 when a relationship is on the brink of despair and at the door of no retuen and one partner claims to be totally surprised that they are even in this space it is because they simply weren’t paying attention. Never underestimate the value of concentrated time and attention and what it can do for your relationship. Listen in & let us know your thougths!

#Stopplayingstartpushing

The Fear Of Rejection Is A Major Issue In Relationships

By Margaret Paul, Ph.D.

The fear of rejection is a huge issue in relationships. For some, the fear is so huge that it stops them from being in a relationship. For others, it plagues them throughout their relationships and causes much anxiety.  Rejection is a part of life, and learning to lovingly manage it is very important to our wellbeing.

To help you learn to move beyond the fear of rejection, I would like to help you see who a person is rejecting when they reject you. Are they rejecting your wounded self or your core Self?

Your wounded self is the self you created when you were growing up to protect yourself from pain. This is the ego – the part of us filled with fear and false beliefs, and many ways of trying to get love and avoid pain. This is the part of us that gives ourselves up, or gets angry, blaming, or critical, or turns to various addictions, or is resistant, or is numbed out or withdrawn.

The wounded self in all of us is not lovable. No one falls in love with our wounded self. No one even really likes our wounded self.

Your core Self is who you really are – who GOD created rather than who YOU created. This is your true Self, your essence. This is the part of all of us that is inherently lovable and loving. This is who someone falls in love with.

When you have been rejected, which part of you is being rejected?

If you have been your wounded self a lot in a relationship – people-pleasing by giving yourself up, getting angry, judgmental and blaming, withdrawing, turning to various addictions, and/or being highly resistant, then it is very likely that you are being rejected for your wounded self. You are not being rejected for who you really are, but for choosing to be controlling rather than loving. We all need to accept that if we choose to be our wounded self most of the time in a relationship, there is a good possibility that we will be rejected.

However, if you have been your core Self for much of the relationship, then it is very important to not take rejection personally, as it is not about you at all – it is about the other person’s fear of intimacy.

In most relationships, two people get together at their common level of woundedness – i.e., they are equally in their wounded self, equally self-abandoning. If, at some point in the relationship, you open to learning and healing, and learn to take responsibility for yourself and be more in your core Self, your partner might be threatened by this. It is very important that if your partner rejects you for your growth, you not take this personally. This is not about anything being wrong with you – it is about your partner not wanting to learn and grow.

On the other hand, if your partner is the one learning and growing, and you choose not to learn and grow, and your partner leaves the relationship, it is not because there is anything inherently wrong with you. There is never anything wrong with the core Self. But if you choose to stay stuck in your wounded self and your partner leaves, it is because he or she is rejecting your wounded self, not your core Self, and your wounded self is NOT who you really are.

Next time you are rejected, look inside and see who is being rejected – your wounded self or your core Self? If someone reject you for your wounded self, then take it as an opportunity to learn and heal. If someone rejects you for your core Self, then good riddance! This person would never have supported you in being all that you are.

“LOVE” Won’t Help When “LIKE” Is What’s Needed

By Dr. Richard Nicastro

Why is it that we have no problem lounging around in our favorite sweatpants (with the hole in the knee) and our favorite threadbare T-shirt (with the rip in the sleeve) in front of our spouse/partner, but if our friends/co-workers were on the way over, we’d change into something “decent” in a quick hurry? Now I’m not suggesting we throw away our comfortable clothes (I love those sweatpants!), but I am suggesting we look at the curious differences between how hard we try to get most people to like us, and how many of us in long-term relationships have stopped trying that hard where our spouse/partner is concerned.

Part of the reason we might be comfortable “any old way” in front of our spouse/partner is due to that feeling of comfort we build after knowing that other person for a while, after feeling secure that they love us, “warts and all.” That’s a good thing, and should be celebrated. But let’s look at another reason we may not care so much about putting our best foot forward for our mate: we don’t feel we need to anymore.

Marriage help: Does your spouse/partner still like you?

When you were first dating, you weren’t only aware of desire for that special someone—you were aware of whether or not you liked him/her (and whether those feelings of like were returned). Like is a grossly overlooked aspect of long-term romantic relationships, and the missing ingredient for many couples who report they’ve “fallen out of love” with their partners or that they love their mate, but are no longer “in love” with them.

You have no trouble making sure your friends like you and want to hang out with you. Now how about maintaining that for your most important relationship, your intimate relationship?

When you stop liking your spouse/partner

When a marriage/relationship becomes distressed, it can feel as if you still love your spouse or partner but that you’re not “in love” with him/her any longer.  I’ve observed a pattern for some of these couples that might be summarized as:

“While I still may love you, I’m pretty sure I don’t like you anymore.”

Falling out of like with your spouse/partner can pose a significant challenge to your relationship. When you like someone, you want to be around that person and spend as much time as possible with him/her—and the opposite is true when you no longer like someone.

Couples who no longer like one another:

 1.  Avoid each other whenever possible;

2.  Experience more negative emotions when together;

3. Become less tolerant of each other’s foibles;

4. Pull back emotionally and stop sharing the deepest parts of themselves with one another;

5. Can begin to feel trapped in the marriage or relationship.

Commit to increasing your likability quotient

For many couples, continuing to act in ways that will keep like alive doesn’t fall under the commitment umbrella. This should change: after all, don’t you want your partner to continue to like you?

For a moment, think back to when you first starting dating your spouse/partner. In this “wooing” stage, you probably acted in ways to make your new love-interest like you (with the goal of capturing her/his love).  You understood the importance and power of getting your partner to like you.

Now it’s time to set up a Maintenance Likeability Plan.

Your plan should be to keep the likeability factor alive and well. This doesn’t have to be a complicated, exhausting process. In fact, the simpler, the better. To create a personalized likeability plan for your marriage or relationship, ask yourself the following:

What did you do early on in the relationship that helped you woo your partner?

What is your partner drawn to about you and does s/he still find these traits appealing? (If you’re uncertain about this, ask him/her).

Reflect on these questions—your responses will give you important information that can guide you. For instance, if one of the things your partner was drawn to was your sense of humor (and over the years of domesticity, this has been lost), then you can take necessary steps to bring humor back into the relationship mix.