Here are six strategies for staying happy and healthy as you look for love.
Posted Sep 29, 2017
If you are looking for love, and your head is spinning, there’s good reason. The dating landscape has changed more in the last 15 years than in the previous 100. Love today comes with a seemingly endless number of options — how we seek love, whom we love, and how we define our love, to name just a few. Widely expanded choices bring new possibilities but also added confusion, as the rules of engagement are vague and idiosyncratic: What seems obvious to partner A may be a nonstarter for partner B.
Consider just a few of the complexities of loving today:
- Later age of entry into marriage.Today the average age of entry into marriage is 29 for men and 27 for women, versus 27 and 25, respectively, just 15 years ago. People spend more years as single or dating adults today than ever before. My friend and colleague, Esther Perel, calls this “sexual nomadism.”
- A lower rate of marriage. In 2012, 50.5 percent of adults were married. Compare that with 1960, when 72 percent of adults were married. It should be noted that even given this reduced rate of marriage, the majority of Americans continue to report that they want to get married.
- Changing gender and sexual norms. This includes greater visibility of members of the LGBTQIA community, as well as the fact that 40 percent of households today include a female breadwinner. Such seismic shifts in gender and sexual norms mean that once-rigid scripts for dating and mating are being rewritten.
- The integration of technology. According to research by Rosenfeld and Thomas (2012), more couples than ever are brought together by swiping right. In fact, “meeting online has not only become the predominant way that same-sex couples meet in the United States but meeting online is now dramatically more common among same-sex couples than any way of meeting has ever been for heterosexual or same-sex couples in the past.”
- The presence of new relationship statuses. Some of these are passively created ambiguous relationship statuses, like “friends with benefits” or “eff buddies.” Others, like consensual non-monogamy, are more intentional and increasing in visibility.
Lots of possibilities. Lots of confusion. Here are six suggestions to help you survive and thrive:
1. Transition from URL to IRL ASAP.
Loving in the age of technology brings the ever-present risk of getting stuck in a screen-to-screen romance. Think of your phone as a means to an end. Dating apps can help you with the search for love, but love needs face-to-face time if it is to take root so transition from screen-to-screen (URL) to in-real-life (IRL) as soon as possible.
2. Be present.
Love requires us to be willing to take some amount of risk, and it is helpful to develop a set of strategies to help you feel ready to put yourself out there. Think about what helps you feel courageous enough to show up for a date with an open mind and an open heart. And when you do show up, it’s important to really show up. Having practices and rituals before and during a date that help you stay present can go a long way toward increasing the chances of real connection.
- Do you need a mantra? (“I am open and ready to connect.”)
- Do you need to take dating and other apps off your phone temporarily to help you resist the urge to see what else is happening mid-date?
- Do you need to decide ahead of time how many drinks you’ll have?
- Do you need to remind yourself that chemistry takes time to unfold?
3. Watch for signs of burnout.
Just because you can go on five first dates in a week does not mean that you should. It’s important to check in with yourself to see whether you’re getting burned out. Symptoms can include:
- Feeling ho-hum before a date instead of nervous, excited, or open.
- Feeling pessimistic about love.
- Making sweeping generalizations about large groups of people (“Men are out for one thing,” “Women are high maintenance,” “People over 40 have too much baggage”).
If you’re feeling burned out, take a break and spend some time figuring out what will help you shift yourself from fried to curious.
4. Avoid assumptions.
As mentioned above, we live in a time of shifting relationship roles, especially regarding gender, which means that we cannot rely on traditional scripts (she waits to be asked out, he pays for everything). Remember the old saying, “When you assume, you make an ASS out of U and ME.” Avoid making assumptions about how a date “should” go, regarding, for example, who pays, where you go, how long the date lasts, and when/if/how physical intimacy should happen. If you have expectations, voice them. If those expectations do not align with your date’s, negotiate or go your separate ways. Intimate relationships need clear and direct communication, so you may as well start off on the right foot.
5. Keep the “me” in “we.”
In my book, I make the case that your best and most personalized guidebook for navigating this modern love landscape is relational self-awareness. This is a commitment to taking a curious and compassionate stance with yourself, so that you can view your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as data points in understanding who you are and what you need. It is really easy to get hyper-focused on what the other person is doing, feeling, and thinking. Start to notice when you are getting really focused on the other person, and remind yourself that every interaction is a combination of “the stuff I’m doing” and “the stuff you’re doing.” Instead of focusing on what the other person is doing or not doing, try this technique developed by my colleague and friend Eli Finkel: Tell the story of what’s happening from the perspective of a neutral third party who has both of your best interests at heart.
6. Align your intentions, your words, and your actions.
If you know that you are ready, willing, and able to be in a committed romantic relationship, do not agree to a friends-with-benefits situation thinking that it is the best you can do. Similarly, if you know that you are not interested in partnering with someone right now, do not string them along because it feels convenient or interesting. If you are not sure what you want, do not be afraid to say, “I’m not sure what I want, but I am excited to be here with you right now. Let’s see what’s possible!” Be the change you want to see in the dating world by standing in your integrity every step of the way.
Love has always been, and will always be, compelling, confusing, and magical. Love is powerful. It moves us, transforms us, and cracks us open. Whether we are talking about a first date or a lifelong love story, our best and bravest work is to understand and care for ourselves in such a way that we are able to make choices that honor each other and that respect love’s mysteries.
First time dating can be overwhelming and thrilling at the same time. The youngsters who mostly fall into this category might not understand what is happening around them. They are usually overexcited to find love for the first time, which leaves them vulnerable to many uncertainties.
Those who have been in love before find it difficult to trust people again, especially if they had a rough breakup in the past. Regardless of the reason for trying to be in love again, you have to be ready for it. Below are the tips to follow:
Love Yourself First
Before others can love you, it is prudent for you to fall in love with yourself. Before someone can propose to take you out for a date, take yourself for a vacation and get the best treatment. It is a great way to appreciate who you are and guide others on how to appreciate you. By the time you find a potential dating partner, you will not be desperate for love, and this will help you to take your time in choosing a perfect partner.
Let People Pursue You
This is the time to allow potential lovers to pursue you so that you have the time to choose a perfect match. Today, there are several ways of meeting new people. Online dating through reputable platforms is now a norm and you can use it to your benefit. You can browse this site to post your profile, which people will use to pursue you.
List the Qualities of Your Potential Dating Partner
Although it is recommended to be open for different dates, it is a must to list the qualities of the partner you would wish to have. This will be your checklist every time you go out with someone. The best thing about having a reference is that you avoid compromising on important qualities that would make you happy in the future. Though you may meet many who are interested in you, only start a dating relationship with one who holds the potential to love you and make you happy.
Practice Honesty in Relationships
When you find a potential relationship, it is good to be honest with your partner. Let them know that you have been in a relationship before and it did not work or that you have never dated anyone else before. Honesty is a virtue that builds strong relationships, particularly when you meet the right person. If you happen to lie and your partners find out that you did this in the future, the relationship is jeopardized.
Life is surrounded by challenges. Some affect the past, current, and future relationships that people engage in. In this case, it is better to look for solutions that will warrant happiness in your future relationships. Once you have these, then you are ready for a relationship.
As you can see, it is easy to be ready for dating when you have the right information. Follow these tips and you will not regret it since they have helped many others.
Now that “dating season” is just around the corner (my college roommates and I always seemed to think that the middle of the school year was always better for dating), my thoughts go to “why I am dating” and “what kind of person I’d like to date.”
Contrary to popular belief, I’ve found (in my very non-scientific research of friends and relatives and “Dr Phil” shows) that people date for different purposes. Yes, dating is a “dance ritual” that singles do to find a mate, but sometimes it’s done subconsciously to satisfy a deeper longing for something else.
Without writing a whole book on the subject, I think it’s safe to say that some people date to find a mate, while others date to curb loneliness or the fear of being alone. Some date to feel needed and wanted, and others to share their life through companionship and family.
Whatever the reason is and whenever you feel ready, at some point, we all need to address the question “what kind of person should I date?” I’ve had the privilege of being around many loving and successful relationships. I’ve watched how couples have interacted; I’ve seen qualities that I’ve admired; I’ve seen the things that worked and even a couple of things that didn’t.
From those observations, I’ve compiled my list of the 57 qualities that I’m now looking for in a person (and relationship), and then have compared them to my list of 18 personal qualities. And I’ve found a deficiency or imbalance in my “relational equilibrium.” In my defense, though, I’ve noticed that a lot of singles have the same imbalance, too.
In situations like this, I look to the Bible for examples of relationships in order to gain balance in my mind.
- Genesis 2:21-22 was created, and Eve was born from his rib.
- After he had killed a man and fled Egypt, Exodus 2:21 was given Zipporah, by her father.
- Genesis 41:45 was given Asenath by Pharoah.
- 2 Samuel 11 summoned for Bathsheba, committed adultery with her and had her husband killed before taking her as his wife.
- Ruth 2 met Ruth in his fields while she was picking up leftover sheaves of wheat.
- 1 Corinthians 7 stayed single his entire life.
That’s quite a list of role models! Nevertheless, in my slightly skewed wisdom, I can still pull some qualities from these men that are applicable to my life:
- None of them was perfect
- None of them was necessarily seeking a relationship
- None of them could have foreseen and planned the situation
- All of them stayed with their wives, and were men of God
From this, I realize that I don’t need to worry as much about the “when I will date” and the “where I will meet my future wife.” While pondering over the 57 qualities, a revelation came over me. It’s not so much the qualities that I’m looking for, but rather what qualities (or preferences) I’m willing to overlook.
A person must, in his own heart and mind alone, come to grips that no one or no relationship will ever have every one of those qualities that he’s looking for no matter how few are desired, and no matter how perfect the other person may seem. Each person must decide whether he is willing to accept that certain qualities or shortcomings of the other person don’t and won’t matter, until death do they part, or else move on.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be selective and just “settle” for the first person we go out with for a second date (for some that would be a great thing in itself!). During my moments when I feel that I’m being too selective, I’m reminded of a line from a movie I’ve “heard” about.
In “Sleepless in Seattle,” Walter, played by Bill Pullman, tells Annie, played by Meg Ryan: “I don’t want to be someone that you’re settling for. I don’t want to be someone that anyone settles for. Marriage is hard enough without bringing such low expectations into it.”
There are many things about people and in relationships on which we shouldn’t put as much emphasis. We should quit comparing a perspective mate to People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” and Sports Illustrated’s “Swimsuit Supermodels” and reflect upon who will share our goals, faith, values, beliefs, and interests.
As Christians, those should be the “non-negotiables” in our criteria. Tight abs and glutes are nice, but they don’t defy age and gravity.
I think a lot of singles, including myself (at times), think that the “57-quality person” is out there, while in reality, God knows that what we really need is more patience, more understanding, less selfishness, less societal input, and a 12-quality person.
It’s not about singles being made to “complete” one another so much as it is being as “complete” in yourself – and in the Lord – as possible when you meet another person.
So before you go and throw yourself into the “dating pool” this season, find out what you’re willing to give and what you’re willing to accept. It’ll save a lot of hardship on everyone involved.
Life. Are we ever aware of what might happen tomorrow? Do we know what will happen one year from now and where our lives will be? How about knowing what could happen in the blink of an eye?
The world we live in is constantly changing; things are always happening. Time is ticking, and we are growing older вЂ”В and, of course,В wiser вЂ”В every second of every minute of every hour of every day.
We are learning valuable lessons every single day and creating memories from the experiences weвЂ™ve been so lucky to have. We need to cherish every moment that speeds by us.
WouldnвЂ™t you agree that even the hardships youвЂ™ve been through have taught you a great amount and given you a background you can take to your next learning experience?
The reality is we simply donвЂ™t know what life may throw at us.
We can predict the future, but until we get to the bridge вЂ” that almighty bridge вЂ” we canвЂ™t really figure out how to cross it. One of my favorite clichГ© comments is, вЂњIвЂ™ll cross that bridge when I get to it.вЂќ
Yes, we need to be worried about the future, but we also need to plunge into the present and what is happening today. The present is what mattersВ most, right here and right now.
Often, we forget how quickly things can change in the blink of an eye. And, whatвЂ™s crazy is we likely didnвЂ™t even see it coming. Has this ever happened to you?
What it comes down to is that the unknown is inevitable, yet beautiful. Be prepared for the worst, but always have faith in the best.
Both amazing experiences and torturous experiences should be viewed in a positive light so we know what to do the next time a certain situation arises.
We need to be prepared to embrace whatever will happen, whether itвЂ™s good or bad, positive or negative, right or wrong. I promise, opening up your heart and being willing to embrace anything and everything imaginable will change your life in unheard of ways.
Here are seven reasons why embracing the unknown will guide you toward a path with flourishing success:
1. If you dig deep into the unknown, youвЂ™re bound to find treasure.
One word: research. Nowadays, information is at the tip of our fingers, literally.
The Internet of Things (IOT) is flooded with information given to us by simply clicking, tapping, or even touching a button. GIVEN, FOR FREE. Take advantage of the resources given to you.
If youвЂ™re curious about something, whatever it may be, research it. Learn about it. Study it. Become familiar with it. Embrace it. Embrace the fact that because of the Internet, life is a little bit easier in a sense.
Go out there and find out what youвЂ™ve always been wondering. Asking questions will lead to more questions that will eventually lead to some sort of conclusion.
Sometimes, you may not end up with a solid conclusion, but that right there, my friends, is the beauty of the unknown. You will surprise yourself, without a doubt.
2. It prepares you for the worst, the best and beyond.
Embracing the unknown will prepare you for anything. Think about it.
If you have enough confidence that you can handle any type of situation, whether your spouse just passed away or you just found out you won a million dollars, you will always feel secure and well-balanced.
Look at it this way: Embracing the unknown goes hand in hand with putting yourself in someone elseвЂ™s shoes.
You have to be open to viewing different perspectives from each and every end of the spectrum. Be aware of how badly a situation could turn out, but as I said before, believe the best will happen.
Embrace the possibilities that can sprout from even the most miserable of times.
3. You eventually realize you have no control over what happens.
Part of embracing lifeВ means accepting a lack of control over what will happen next. If we realize this at an early stage, we will live much happier lives.
Another valid point is that YOU cannot control somebody else. Do you dream about people changing in ways that will make YOU happier?
This is a bit selfish. We were all put on this earth to do different things; we are all unique from each other. Embrace what someone else wants to do with his or her life and support him or her.
No one in this world lacks the potential to do great things in life.
4. But, you do have control over your reactions.
We may not have control over other people or what will happen next; however, we do have control of how we choose to react to every situation brought before us.
If this is the only thing over which we have control, embrace it. Make your reactions infectious in a good way. Show people things can transpire when good intentions are present.
Be determined to show people there is good in this world in which we live.
5. It creates humbleness within.
Who doesnвЂ™t like humble people? When we allow ourselves to embrace the unknown, we also create the ability to be humble.
If we are presented with a tough situation and decide to literally embrace every situation and its consequences, the humble power within us shines.
Strive to be humble. You will appreciate the world in a different way вЂ” a very beautiful way.
6. It makes you fearless.
If we can learn to embrace the unknown and become equipped for anything and everything to happen, our fears will diminish. DonвЂ™t be afraid of the outcome.
DonвЂ™t be afraid of what might be. Let go of fear in order to embrace and master the things about which you know nothing. It will change your life.
7. Being fearless allows for fear to disappear.
Fear is the number one factor that stands in our way of turning dreams into realities. We tend to get so caught up in what society tells us to do or what society thinks we should do.
Our job is to think outside the box and to step far outside the norm. Letting go of fear allows us to dive into the unknown of our comfort zones. By stepping outside of our comfort zones, we are able to zoom in on our own realities and focus on our purposes in life.
We discover new things when we embrace the fear of being uncomfortable.
You can define success however you see fit, but just remember that embracing the unknown and making situations positive will gratify you. Most importantly, doing so will enlighten you.
Let’s face it, everyone wants to find someone special. We all want to share our magical journeys with someone we love, honor, and respect.
I don’t know about you, but it seems lately everyone I know is either getting engaged, married, or about to have children. Being a recently-single individual, it can be challenging at times. Personally, I believe there is more than one Mr. or Ms. Right out there for us, which increases the odds tenfold to find that someone special.
All of my clients who are single want to find someone special. But are they prepared? Preparing for love is an incredibly arduous journey of self-discovery, character building, and awareness. It is definitely the road less traveled, but so worthwhile in the end.
Here are five surefire ways to prepare for finding one of the loves of your life, known as the “READY” model:
1. Re-Learn Yourself
Have an honest conversation with yourself about your past relationships and your feelings toward love. Know what type of persons attract you and why. Are they naughty or nice? Or if they make you think twice?
Learning your patterns and behaviors within relationships is of vital importance. You must recognize your role(s), ground yourself in reality, and use this awareness when stepping forward into the unknown. Otherwise, you will fall into the same old patterns, continue to make the same old choices, and yield the same old results.
That’s why awareness is key. This time, it will be different.
2. Elevate the Space
Drama no more! That will be your new mantra, meditation, or positive self-talk.
Get rid of all the dirty laundry (aka exes) that is no longer serving you. Make the phone call. Have the final conversation. Accept your part of the responsibility. Get the closure you need. Honor your past relationship. Now, close your eyes, take three deep breaths, figuratively catapult them from your space, open your eyes, and move forward.
Before we can move onward to bigger and better pastures, we must take responsibility, forgive old trespassers, forgive ourselves, and do some crazy authentic work in order to forget prior mistakes.
Your intention to clear the space needs to be solid.
3. Ask for What You Want
Be specific. Be outrageous. Be confident in your choices. Whether it’s a stunning Pinterest board or a fantastic collage from magazine clippings over your nightstand, jot your thoughts down in a creative manner that speaks to you. Share with the world, your friends and family.
Now, visualize this person walking toward you when you wake up, when you are brushing your teeth after lunch, and when you lay down to sleep. Ask and you shall receive.
4. Decide to Put Yourself Out There
You must put yourself out there as much as possible, whether physically or virtually.
The most effective place to meet your new love will be at house parties, special events (e.g., weddings, bat mitzvahs, etc.), and fundraisers. At these events, everyone’s energy is open, generous, and giving. A true unspoken invitation for love.
Perhaps the second most effective way nowadays to meet your new love is online. From the comfort of your pajamas in your humble home, you can browse the sea of online individuals. Having heard mixed reviews, I still am unsure about the whole idea of “online dating,” but it’s a great way to start practicing the art of dating. Practice makes perfect, right?
Dating is not easy. Whether it’s Jdate, eHarmony, Match, or OneGoodLove, pick the one that speaks to you. Have fun and meet new people. You never know!
Then, there are bars! Enter at your own risk!
5. You Stay Fearless
Be patient. Be authentic. Be fearless. All good things to those who wait. The most challenging part will be the radio silence from time to time. It’s easy to become bitter and hopeless. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Keep your hope alive at every minute. When hope starts to fade, return to step three, visualize your new love walking toward you and repeat. It helps.
If you follow these steps, you will open the space for love. Simultaneously, you will also sharpen your character, build your confidence, discover your wants and desires, and tighten your awareness. Sounds like a win-win to me. Now, go prepare yourself for love!
For more by Seth Santoro, click here.
For more on relationships, click here.
1. You’d better be prepared to look at the world/movies/TV shows/everything more closely than you used to. There might be a movie that you really love that you never noticed was super-crazy sexist, and you need to at least be open to hearing her explain why it is and looking at it from another perspective. I dated a guy who hated when I would do this and you will never guess how quickly I dumped him because haha no.
2. If you don’t identify as a feminist already, you should figure out why that is before going for her. Do you think she should make less than you make for doing the exact same job? No? Then you’re a feminist. This is not difficult, Jeremy.
3. You’re not necessarily going to offend her because she’s a feminist and you paid for her tea. I had a guy buy me an iced tea once and he acted like he wasn’t sure whether to pat himself on the back for being such a good guy or apologize for acting like he owned me. My tea was $1.50, dude. Calm down. If you’re doing a nice thing because you want to do a nice thing, I will love that. Who wouldn’t?
4. Please at least know some basic women’s history. See: Leslie Knope being pissed Officer Dave didn’t know who Madeline Albright was or me being pissed that a guy doesn’t know what riot grrrl music is.
5. “So do you hate men?” is a “joke” she has heard about 5,000 times. And if you make it, I will think you are both uncreative and kind of a dick. Like, are you serious? It’s not 1962 (and let’s be honest, no one thought it was funny then either.)
6. She thinks she’s just as entitled to an orgasm as you are, which will make sex really fun if you’re good in bed or very confusing if you’re not. One time I literally sat on a hookup’s bed after they’d had an orgasm and said, “I didn’t come. I’m not leaving this room until I do,” and I waited. Ohhhh, I waited.
7. It’s fine if you hold the door for her. Just don’t act totally shocked when she’s equally as polite and holds it for you.
8. She will debate anyone she meets who says they aren’t a feminist or expresses anti-feminist sentiments. It might be your dumb-dumb friends, it might be a random guy who said something shitty at a bar we’re at, but it could happen. I never pick fights with anyone, but I’m also not afraid to calmly call someone out for saying something bigoted and frankly, you shouldn’t be either.
9. You’d better be aware of what male privilege is and that you have it. One time my guy friend said to me, “Oh man, male privilege sounds nice. Wish I had some of that. Haha,” and I almost threw him across the room. It’s real. If you’re a guy, you have it. Next topic.
10. Any lingering anti-feminist beliefs you may still have can and will be challenged. And rightfully so. Ideally, you’d just take an interest in feminism on your own because everyone should, but if you’re going to be dating me, I’m definitely going to call you on the bullshit you may knowingly or unknowingly still say from time to time. Thank her for this. She’s going to save you from making a horrible rape joke in public (aka making any rape joke in public.)
11. She’s happy to teach you about feminism if you’re happy to learn. If you think Beyoncé can’t dance in a revealing outfit and call herself a feminist, you are wrong, but I’m happy to explain to you why that is if you actually want to know. Why? Because I like you.
12. Never, ever, ever tell her about how men are discriminated against too. This isn’t a competition for which gender had been treated more unfairly, but if it were, women will win every time.
13. If you seriously believe we’re all equal and feminism is unnecessary, keep walking. Also, what are you even doing with your life? Clearly it is not “reading literally any news website.”
14. She really, truly believes in equality for all. Feminists are the most amazing people on the planet because we believe in equality for all genders, races, sexual orientations, you name it. Seriously, would you want to date someone who believed anything less? No? Then it’s good that you picked me.
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One of the most difficult things for teenagers is the transition from being completely dependent on their parents into the real world, where they need to act responsibly and maturely to be successful. Though much focus is on protecting our children as they grow up, we also must allow them to take calculated risks, learn to fail and do real-life problem solving.
We consulted speaker and author Tim Elmore, who specializes with what he calls “Generation iY” — current teenagers. He founded the international non-profit Growing Leaders to develop young leaders who will transform society. “The number one challenge students today face is what I call artificial maturity,” says Elmore. “This challenge stems from the fact that kids are consuming information far earlier than they are ready and gaining real life experience far later than they’re ready.”
Preparation for adulthood
Before teens enter the real world, we need to prepare them for what to expect. Otherwise, they will encounter many obstacles. By instilling moral values, responsible behavior and a strong work ethic in your teens, you will be doing all you can to prepare them for life after high school or college.
Respect and responsibility. We all know that you have to give respect to get respect. And this is an important lesson for kids of all ages. Teach your children as early as possible about the value of respect and responsibility. Hold them accountable for their actions with suitable consequences. Insist they participate in chores to keep the household running smoothly, and allow them to get a job to earn their own money.
Learn more about why you should teach responsibility >>
Money management. Make budgeting and money management a common topic in your household. Handing your child a credit card or giving them unlimited funds to purchase clothes, games and other entertainment isn’t doing your teen any favors. Educate your family about the need for comparison shopping, how to avoid money scams, the costs of regular expenses (such as cell phones) and the importance of budgeting.
Read more about how to raise a money-savvy teen >>
Community involvement. Successful people know and care about what’s going on in their community and around the world. Watch the news with your teens. Discuss politics regularly and get them involved in community activities and charity opportunities.
Find out how to help your child volunteer their time >>
Armed for success
Parents need to make an effort to put their children in the position to succeed in life. Elmore discusses how can parents help high schoolers capitalize on their strengths in order become successful leaders.
“Ultimately, people mature as both autonomy and responsibility are distributed evenly,” explains Elmore. “If a young person wants autonomy (to be free and independent), they must demonstrate an equal amount of responsibility to earn it. For instance, if my son wants the car keys, he cannot get them unless he agrees to buy the gas. It’s simple and life only works when the two go together. When autonomy comes without responsibility, parents are doing too much protecting and not enough preparing.
“When a student learns what their primary strengths are, they can build on them and consequently bolster authentic self-esteem, a clear sense of unique identity and even a work ethic, as they labor passionately in an area of their giftedness. While I am far from perfect as a dad and an educator, my two kids are realizing this today, at 19 and 23 years old. When young people find and invest themselves in their strength area, they are more intuitive, passionate, natural, confident, comfortable and influential in that area.”
Teens today multi-task more than any other population of children in modern history. Many parents and teachers wonder: Is this good for them or not? Does it increase their ability to take on more or does it simply dilute their focus?
“Thanks to the incredible brain research done over the last decade, we know more about the teen brain that’s still developing during these years. The effects this multitasking has on still-forming brains can be positive and negative,” says Elmore. Elmore claims the key is balance. Here are some of his ideas to achieve that balance.
- Help them balance screen time with face-to-face time with people. For every hour they spend in front of a screen, have them spend an hour with people.
- Help them balance connected time with disconnected time — ask them to disconnect from phones and computers for two hours and focus on one important goal.
- Help them balance sedentary time with active time. For each hour spent sitting still (often in front of a screen), engage them in physical activity.
- Help them to balance trivial time with meaningful time. Especially for teens, they need to engage in meaningful work that contributes to a cause larger than themselves.
- Help them balance passive stimulation time with personal creative time. Provide project objectives that force them to create ideas that come from within, not from an external source.
With some effort and preparation, we can help our teens enter the real world with a strong foundation and sense of direction.
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Okay, I know you are tired of hearing, “You need to know how to budget before you get married”, or anything with the word budget in it. This point is not about learning how to budget because honestly, I want you to be able to buy your Starbucks, go on that vacation, or purchase those new jeans. Budgeting could help you eventually attain it, but it would take a lot longer than just having the financial intelligence to create extra streams of revenue in order to have the freedom to make those purchases.
Yes, a monthly spending plan is essential for growth, but it means nothing if you do not have any intelligence on how to capitalize on your savings. Financial intelligence requires much reading and exposing yourself to great minds who have learned the rules of finance! Financial intelligence will benefit your spouse more than just having the ability to stick to a monthly budget. Before we jump into the how to of developing your financial intelligence, I want you to ask yourself this question. “What is my relationship with money?”
Here are 4 Important Ways to be Financially Prepared for Marriage
1. Develop the discipline of having a monthly spending plan
It is said that finances are one of the top causes of divorce today. Many think once they get married, money will eventually work itself out. WRONG! When you are single, it is easy to get away with a budget-less life, but once you are married it is one of the most necessary disciplines needed. I encourage you to start a budget now, and do some study on personal finances. Luke 14:28 states it so perfectly, “don’t begin to build until you have considered the cost.” If you can learn this concept while single, you will bypass many arguments during budget time and your spouse will thank you for it. By developing a discipline of having a monthly spending plan, you will then become consistent with putting money where it belongs. Your bills will be paid on time, you will give your tithes regular, and you will invest more into your future.
2. Give generously
Giving is the heart of the kingdom and reveals the heart of man. I believe with all my heart many of the blessings I received, such as having the majority of our wedding being paid for, never lacking financially, or God ordained opportunities for multiple streams of income all stem from the generous giving I did before I married and still do now being married.
Sowing and reaping is a biblical principle you can be sure God stands by, but He does not do it on your terms. I encourage you to develop the passion for giving generously to others and watch God work on your behalf. Second Corinthians 4:12 says that “whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have.”
3. Pay down debt
Making and sticking to a plan to pay down your debt is an act of love towards your future spouse. Even though when you marry your spouse, they also marry everything that comes with you. They should not be penalized for your lack of discipline to work as hard as possible to pay down debt. I do understand there are debts that takes years to eradicate i.e. school, car loans, etc. I am not saying you should not have any debt going into a marriage, but you should make it a priority before you marry to pay it down as much as possible.
Do not wait to marry someone with the plan to then, after marriage start paying down your debt. I have talked with a few unmarried women some with over $100,000 in school loans and another with a horrific credit history fearful of a potential husband being turned away due to their financial situation. This is a major issue for both men and women today due to the increase in need for school loans and a hard economy preventing the paying down of those loans. My encouragement is to learn how to manage your money wisely making way for you to become disciplined in your finances.
4. Pay your tithes
After watching my mom tithe my entire life, I was so excited to do it once I started making my own money. God has shown Himself faithful in this area of my life more times than I can count. I remember my first time seeing my older brother ride his bike without training wheels. It was so cool, and I instantly wanted to do the same. I jumped on it and crashed. My dad came over to me and said, “Jamal you need to learn how to ride on the training wheels before you move on to the big boy bike.” I would practice every day until I felt I was ready to do it again. This is the same with tithing. God has set up that the starting point is 10% of your income, but that is only training for where He truly desires to take you, which is giving over and above the minimum.
Second Corinthians 9:7 states, “You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” My goal was not to stay on the training wheels, but to one day be able to ride freely without any assistance. I believe with all of my heart the reason I have never lacked is because I have faithfully been a tither and giver. From full college scholarships, vehicles paid off, never not had a job, supernatural wedding, and much more have been the fruit of my, and now our, faithfulness. Have there been hard times? Absolutely. But, those hard times simply reminded us of who are source of joy is. Jesus. This is God’s heart for your tithe.
BMWK, Are you financially prepared for your marriage?