Not too long ago, I watched a video featuring relationship coach Stephan Labossiere. The topic was "A Lot of Women Will Run from Being with a Great Man" (indeed!) and his initial point was this: "A lot of times when you see these relationships be dysfunctional and people say that love just didn't win? No, it's because love was never there…love isn't what was driving your relationship, so that's why it failed."
"Love can conquer all, it really can, but it has to be real…people aren't operating in love. They are operating in infatuation, they are operating in fear…there are women who say they want that great man, but don't think they deserve that great man."
To me, when two people make the decision to have the title "boyfriend and girlfriend", a big part of the purpose of that time in the relationship is to see if love—rather than infatuation, fear or even just the obsession with being in some type of relationship rather than none at all—is really there.
At the same time, the reason why so many break-ups tend to be so brutal (to the point of sometimes being just as traumatizing as a divorce) is because folks assume that just because someone is great to date, they automatically are wonderful to marry. NOPE.
Listen, if the word "boyfriend" was a synonym for husband, there would be no need for the word in the first place. A dating relationship is very different from a marriage (just ask anyone who's married!). And as I'm about to share with you, it can be very easy to have a boyfriend who is all-of-that-and-then-some who would totally suck as your partner for life.
How is that even possible? You'd be surprised.
His Values Don’t Line up with Yours
When you're dating someone, while it would be cool if you both were on the same page when it came to things like religion, politics and family, it doesn't have to be a deal breaker if you're not. If anything, not seeing things that same way can make for some riveting conversation and debates.
But when you're married, sharing core values is pretty important. What are both of your views on money? What are both of your expectations when it comes to needs in a relationship? Do both of you value intimacy the same way? What are both of your personal goals? How do you both want to use your gifts and talents? Does family matter a lot or a little? Are you both civil rights-minded and community service-oriented or not? Is God the top priority in both of your lives?
Be careful. These things may not seem like a big deal now, but a whole lot of people are in divorce court over not being able to get on the same wavelength when it comes to core value issues.
He Has Poor Boundaries with Family and FriendsGiphy
This. One. Right. Here. Shoot, even the Bible says that people should "leave and cleave" once they get married (Genesis 2:18-25), yet it's insane how many men are mama's boys and how many women still expect their daddy to buy them stuff (or financially bail them out of things).
When someone is just your boyfriend, you might not even know that half of his income goes to taking care of his immature and totally toxic family members. Then you marry the guy and your own heat isn't on because he's still making his family a bigger priority than his marriage.
While I'm not saying that you should automatically dismiss a man for having poor family (and friend) boundaries, I do recommend that you pay attention to how he moves when it comes to them. Oh, and that you gift him with the book Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life. If he doesn't set limits now, you'll both live to regret it…later.
He Doesn’t Plan Ahead
Ask most relationship experts and they'll tell you that a clear sign of a commitment-phobe is he doesn't like to plan ahead. I'm pretty sure you can see where I'm going with this point, right? If you're dating someone who breaks out into hives at the very thought of setting a date more than three days in advance, you might want to look further into why that's such a problem for him. Unless he has the kind of profession that makes it difficult to stick to a schedule, it really shouldn't be that big of a deal.
Although a man who doesn't plan may seem all sexy and spontaneous when you're dating 1) if he doesn't plan dates, I'm not so sure he has plans for your relationship and 2) if he's not in the habit of being a planner, if you do somehow end up married to him, you're setting yourself up to always be in an unpredictable headspace right along with him.
How are we gonna pay the mortgage? No plan.
Are we going to your parents or mine this Christmas? No plan.
I'm ready to leave your no-planning-butt. Now what? Still, no plan.
He Isn’t Proactively Supportive of Your Goals
If I could name one thing that I don't think single people think about nearly enough when it comes to choosing a spouse, it would be underestimating how important it is to have someone who sees you as a life partner and team member; someone who is truly interested in what your purpose in life is and personal goals and aspirations are.
If you've always wanted to be a book author, it might be hard to detect if your boyfriend cares one way or another because, unless you live with him, you can separate your writing time from the time you spend with him. But if you and this same guy don't discuss your vision and desires for your life before saying "I do", you could discover that, not only is he not the most supportive cat on the planet, his expectations may actually compete with what you want to do when it comes to time and resources.
Pay attention now to how much (or little) your boyfriend proactively rallies around your life plans. If he isn't doing it much now, you're setting yourself up for a real let-down if you think that somehow he's going to miraculously change once you become his wife.
His Lifestyle Is TOTALLY DIFFERENT Than Yours
You like to travel. He's a homebody. He works out religiously. You can't recall the last time you set foot inside of a gym. You're vegan. He's a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy. You're eco-friendly. He thinks recycling is being tedious. He's mad frugal with cash. You've got $200 in your savings account. He goes to church three days a week. You're more into lay activities at home. He likes the country. You're a city girl.
The cool thing about dating someone who has a totally different lifestyle than you is they can help to expand your perspective on things. But if you marry someone with these same lifestyle variances and neither of you are open to compromise, the same differences that were such a turn-on can become the very things that make both of you uncomfortable and resentful, just months into your union.
Hey, I'm not saying that opposites don't attract. I'm simply saying that you need more than attraction to make a marriage work. You need some symmetry and harmony up in there too.
If you were to ask me right now to provide you with a list of five things that I wish I had required in my past relationship, chile, consistency would be mentioned twice! One of my favorite definitions of the word is "constantly adhering to the same principles, course, form, etc." When a man is consistent, he makes you feel like you can trust him. Like he's got a strong sense of character and integrity. Like his word truly is his bond.
When you're only dating someone, you might not interact with him enough to know how consistent (or inconsistent) he is about things—things like paying bills, showing up to events on time or remembering things that you mentioned were important to you. Or, if he does drop the ball, you might not think it's that big of a deal.
Ask any wife whose husband puts them on the roller coaster ride of inconsistency and they'll tell you to not overlook this blaring red flag. It's hard to sleep well at night when you don't know if a man is gonna do what he said—or not.
He Doesn’t Bring Up Marriage. Like at All. EVER.
Le sigh. As hard as it may be to hear—and I know about this point better than most—some men make great boyfriends and bad husbands because they never intended to become more than a boyfriend. Although they like the idea of being in an exclusive relationship, what they want to avoid is the legalities of having an actual spouse. To them, that feels too locked in and permanent.
A while back, I penned a piece about the fact that if a man is truly husband material, he's gonna be someone who desires to be married. Not in maybe-someday-like-15-years-up kind of way. I mean the "It is a priority to find my wife and commit to her in the next couple of years" kind of way.
If you've been seeing someone for several months now and he hasn't said a single solitary word about marriage, it could be because he enjoys being no more than your boyfriend. If you're cool with that, cool. If not, don't feel the least bit guilty or pushy for asking him if—as Boris Kodjoe's character in Brown Sugar so cornily rapped—marriage is on his menu.
If he gives you a blank stare or tries to change the subject, the answer is probably "no". If you stay and then dish out ultimatums up the road, he very well could marry you, but if he wasn't ready (and a man can only get truly ready on his own), well, the title for this piece could end up being quite fitting—and super infuriating too.
Featured image by Getty Images.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
2023 has become the year of celebrity breakups with headlines breaking left and right about celebs filing for divorce or ending high-profile relationships. The latest couple to announce their dissolution? British actress Jodie Turner-Smith. TMZ reported that Jodie has filed for a divorce from her husband, Dawson Creek alum Joshua Jackson.
As far as her reason for calling it quits, Jodie cited "irreconcilable differences," according to TMZ, and has requested joint custody of the couple's daughter, Juno Rose Diana Jackson. Late last year there were rumblings of there being "trouble in paradise" for the couple after the media realized they were no longer following each other on Instagram.
Those rumors were more than laid to rest when Jodie and Joshua went to the 2023 Oscars together earlier this year, and even more recently, when they celebrated her birthday together last month during the September unveiling of the Lotus Emeya.
Jodie Turner-Smith celebrates her birthday with husband Joshua Jackson at the unveiling of the new fully-electric Lotus Emeya on September 07, 2023 in New York City.
Brian Ach/Getty Images for Lotus
Despite seeming particularly happy and in love, perhaps the writing was already written on the wall even then. In the past, Jodie has been very celebratory publicly about her love for her estranged husband, even boldly recounting their love story for the books in a 2021 interview with Seth Meyers.
When Jodie and Joshua met, it was while at his birthday party in 2018. Their relationship was hot and heavy from the start, with Jodie openly noting that they began as a "one-night stand." During her 2021 interview with Seth Meyers, she jokingly referred to their love story as a "three-year one-night stand." She shared:
"First of all, I saw him before he saw me and when I saw him, I was like, 'I want that.' And then when he saw me, I just pretended like I didn't see him. He had to yell across the room to me, and I was wearing this T-shirt from a movie called Sorry to Bother You and [actress] Tessa Thompson plays a character called Detroit, and she has this T-shirt that says, 'The Future Is Female Ejaculation.'
"And so, he shouts across the room, 'Detroit!' He comes over and… does this really cute, charming thing that he does and just all night -- he just basically followed me around the party."
The couple were together from that moment forth, and even made things "Instagram official" less than two weeks later while on a dinner date. Joshua would later clarify to Insider that the night they met in 2018 was not a 'one-night stand' or a 'three-year one-night stand' like his then-wife joked but instead, it was "technically a three-night stand."
"It was sealed with a kiss that night and then we didn't leave each other's sides for, well, three years now," Joshua continued at the time.
In a July 2021 interview with Jimmy Fallon, Joshua dropped more details about the why behind getting married. He revealed that he didn't know he wanted to get married to Jodie until "the moment she asked me."
"She asked me on New Year's Eve. We were in Nicaragua. It was very beautiful, incredibly romantic, we were walking down the beach and she asked me to marry her."
He added, "I did not know [she would propose], but she was quite adamant and she was right. This is the best choice I ever made."
Joshua Jackson Reveals Jodie Turner-Smith Proposed To Him
Jodie received quite a bit of flack for proposing to Joshua because it goes against tradition and what society sees as acceptable for a woman to do to a man, and proposing isn't one of them. No matter how much time has passed, the viewpoints around who should do the proposing and who should be proposed to are still very traditional.
After being on the receiving end of such backlash, Joshua would later clarify to the media in a separate interview that it wasn't just Jodie's proposal to him that sealed the deal of them getting married, he proposed to her too. She might have initiated it, but Joshua followed through.
"I accidentally threw my wife under the bus because that story was told quickly and it didn't give the full context and holy Jesus, the internet is racist and misogynist," he explained to Refinery29 that same year. "We were in Nicaragua on a beautiful moonlit night, it could not possibly have been more romantic."
David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images
He continued, "And yes, my wife did propose to me and yes, I did say yes, but what I didn't say in that interview was there was a caveat, which is that I'm still old school enough that I said, 'This is a yes, but you have to give me the opportunity [to do it too].'"
"She has a biological father and a stepdad, who's the man who raised her. [I said], 'You have to give me the opportunity to ask both of those men for your hand in marriage.' And then, 'I would like the opportunity to re-propose to you and do it the old-fashioned way down on bended knee.' So, that's actually how the story ended up."
Joshua and Jodie would eventually marry in December 2019. Shortly thereafter, Jodie gave birth to the couple's first child, Janie, in 2020.
In a recent interview with Elle UK, Jodie shared the ways becoming a mother to Juno helped to heal her of her wounds from colorism she experienced in the past. "It's interesting because I had a lot of resistance to becoming a mother and, throughout my life, I always said if I were to have children, I wanted to have Black, Black babies so that I could affirm them as children with the love that I felt I needed to have been affirmed with by the outside world," Jodie shared with the outlet.
She continued, "Then I fell in love with my husband and we talked about having kids. I did have this mini pause, where I was like, 'She's going to be walking through the world not only having an experience that I did not have, but looking like people that, in a way, I'd always felt a little bit tormented by.' Now that I've got this little, tiny, light-skinned boss, I feel like it’s the universe teaching me lessons. I've been given a daughter who looks this way to heal my own conversations around colorism."
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Featured image by Amy Sussman/Getty Images