I'm gonna be honest. When I first heard that singer Michelle Williams was going to do a reality show about her relationship with her fiancé and pastor Chad Johnson, the very first thing that came to my mind was, "Why do people do this to their relationships?" (Michelle and Chad actually touch on this very topic here).
Trying to make things work is hard enough without the relentlessness of social media trolls and blog commentators. Still, Michelle is a grown woman, so when she said that she wanted to tell her story herself, I took it for what it was.
Noel Vasquez/Getty Images
Fast forward to (literally) today and all you have to do is put "Michelle Williams" in Google and you're gonna see everyone and their grandma comment on her IG story announcement about breaking things off with her fiancé. Of course, we all have an opinion about it. Pardon the pun but, for better or for worse, we always do.
I watched the series, and as a marriage life coach, I must admit that I saw quite a few red flags. At the same time, when I read Michelle's break-up post, I couldn't help but say, "Good for y'all!" because, in my humble opinion, I believe it is far better to break-up with someone before jumping the broom than divorce them afterward.
A particular episode of A Different World, "Wedding Bells From Hell", breaks it down best. If you ever saw it, you probably recall that while Jalessa and Walter made it down the aisle, they didn't officially get married. During the ceremony, they realized that while they loved each other, the way they saw their future was not the same. In honor of that last-minute revelation, their wedding reception turned into an impromptu "Whew! Boy did we dodged a bullet or what?!" party.
And you know what? GOOD. FOR. THEM. Good for Michelle and Chad, too. I say that because I and my brother are products of unions where our parents wanted to call things off the night before (I know this for a fact, BTW) and didn't. All that did was lead to two miserable marriages, two divorces, and two children who are still healing from the fallout.
While some people may see Michelle ending her engagement as being an epic fail, I'm on the other side saying,
"How brave and beautiful it is to accept that what you initially thought was right for you, isn't. How much self-love you've got to have to not allow pressure, expectations, and even your feelings for another person cloud your discernment and better judgment."
That's why, in honor of Michelle's announcement – and also in remembrance of some premarital counseling sessions I've been in where I've said, "You two have NO BUSINESS getting married!" – here are five quick red flags that no engaged couple should ignore:
You Don't See Day-to-Day Life the Same Way.
While watching Chad Loves Michelle, things like race, how to handle Michelle's depression, as well as family issues, communication, and different views on gender roles definitely came up. Not because of the relationship per se, but due to the premarital counseling that was involved (if you're engaged, please make sure you get some!). What you got to see was, it's one thing to deeply care for someone. On the other hand, it's a whole 'nother ball game to try and build a life with them.
If you're engaged (or considering getting engaged in the near future) but your values, the way you see your future, and/or your lifestyle doesn't complement your significant other, you better believe it's a red flag.
There are a whole lot of good friends who would be straight-up enemies if they were roommates. The same thing applies for couples who are in love but don't see life the same way.
Your Motive Is Rooted in Fear.
For those who rock with the Bible, I John 4:18(NKJV) says, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love." There's a lot of ways to take this.
Love keeps you from having the fear of loving another individual. Love also keeps you from experiencing the fear of caring what people think should your relationship with someone come to an end.
There are so many dysfunctional relationships that are rooted in nothing more than fear—fear of being alone, fear of having to start over, fear of what the future holds without the other person in their lives. They're automatically dysfunctional because you can't relax and totally be yourself if you're fearful all of the time.
If you're staying with someone because you're fearful of what will happen if you got out of it, what you're saying is, you're afraid or overly anxious in your relationship. What sounds even remotely healthy about that?
You Spend More Time Convincing than Celebrating.
There's someone I know who had drama-on-top-of-drama in the days leading up to her wedding. It actually seemed like she spent more time trying to convince everyone that her fiancé was the best man for her than actually enjoying her season as an engaged woman.
She married him. They've been together for several years now. But she spends so much time wondering where he is, crying over their disconnection, and doing whatever she can to keep him interested (including sexually-attracted) that I can't help but wonder if she wishes she had heeded the warnings she was given on the front end.
I know folks think taking the Tupac approach to marriage (you know, "you and me against the world") is all romantic and everything, but there are folks who loved you before you ever met your fiancé. If ALL of them are like, "Hold up, now"…that is probably exactly what you should be doing. At least until you figure out why they feel the way that they do.
You're Rushing Things.
Once upon a time, I was a teen mom director for a non-profit. While in my sessions, I would ask the teen girls, "How long do I need to know you before I can borrow $50?" I would hear everything from "a year" to "10 years". I would immediately retort with, "OK. When it comes to the guys you've had sex with, how long did it take for them to know you before they got some?" Talk about crickets.
It's always been odd to me that we'll pressure a couple who's only known each other a year or two to get married but we'll think it's crazy for two individuals who just met six months ago to call each other best friends. My point? Mariah Carey said it best – "love takes time".
If you feel like you're moving faster than your mind, heart, or even budget says that you should, this is another indicator that you should pump the brakes. Marriage is supposed to last a lifetime. There's no rule that says you have to make the call to do it in 365 days or less (there's no million-dollar prize that comes from doing it either!).
You Lack Inner Peace.
There's a couple I know who, after going through six months of premarital counselingand passing with flying colors, ended up breaking off their engagement anyway. They said that it was the counseling that showed them some things about each other and their relationship that made them want to call things off. They're both happily married now – to other people. Talk about making a boss move. #dope
They are a great reminder to not get so caught up in butterflies in your stomach that you overlook the need for inner peace. Peace is about clarity. Peace is about calmness. Peace is about harmony—within yourself and with another individual (in that order, by the way).
If you don't have this at the very core of your being, do yourself and your significant other a favor and at least postpone the wedding. If a few months down the road you still don't have that inner peace, love both of you enough to call the engagement off.
Again, ending an engagement/calling off a wedding is not a bad thing. It ultimately means that you love yourself and them enough to make room for something better.
You've gotta respect anyone who has the courage to make a decision based on that.
Feature image by Noel Vasquez/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 email@example.com. 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.
An author by the name of Alexandra Katehakis once said this about orgasms: “Great spiritual teachers throughout the ages have stated that orgasm is the closest some people come to a spiritual experience because of the momentary loss of self. Why is this true? Because with spiritual sex, you move beyond orgasm into a connection with yourself, your partner, and the divine — recognizing them all as one.”
If it’s counterintuitive to what you’ve ever thought about orgasms, believe it or not, there are even pastors who have said that climaxing is the closest comprehension of heaven on this side of it: it is an extreme kind of bliss that is indescribable and is best experienced between two people who share a sacrificial kind of love for one another.
Although this might seem like a heavy way to intro this particular topic, because the O Method is an orgasm-achieving technique that centers around housing energy, embracing the mental practice of manifestation, and the attempt to achieve the best climaxes ever — it all works together pretty well if you ask me. If you want to take your orgasms to the next level, it’s important that you get out of yourself (to a certain extent), that you see the spiritual role that manifestation plays, and that you are open to trying new things. No doubt about it.
So, let’s learn more about what the O Method is all about and how it very well could be just what you’ve been looking for…even if you didn’t know it.
What Is the “O Method” All About?Giphy
Question: When’s the last time you’ve had an orgasm? Not just any orgasm — I mean a really mind-blowing one (I’ll give you a second to think about it). Now, what if you could manifest that experience to the point where it wasn’t a rare occurrence but something that happened almost every time that you and your partner had sex with each other? How absolutely awesome would that be?
That is pretty much what the O Method is all about — helping you achieve the kind of orgasms (and sexual pleasure, in general) that you desire through the practice of manifestation. And since your biggest sex organ is your brain, it would make perfect sense that even with all of the tips and techniques that you might learn to do as far as your body is concerned, honing in on what you think about is super imperative to sexual fulfillment, too. And that’s just where manifestation comes in.
What If You’ve Never “Manifested” Anything Before?Giphy
Before we get into a quick lesson on manifestation, I think it’s important to mention two things. One, for the cynics, there is a lot of truth in the fact that it’s got some solid spiritual basis to it because even the Good Book says that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). At the same time, that same Good Book tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). So, while it is always a good idea to focus on good, positive, and productive thoughts, just thinking about them isn’t enough — at some point, you’ve also gotta get out here and DO something (bookmark that).
Okay, with that mini-sermon out of the way, whether it’s in the bedroom or not, manifestation is basically about focusing on something tangible that you desire, harnessing your energy in such a way that your words and actions are directed towards that longing until what you want, well, manifests. For the record, aside from this having a spiritual backing to it, in many ways, science cosigns on manifesting, too. There is actually a scientific process known as neuroplasticity that consists of reframing your mind so that your actions ultimately end up aligning with your goals — and that is another way to look at manifestation.
So, what if you’re someone who has never set out to do a manifestation practice before? No worries. Something that’s awesome about it is there are several different approaches that you can take.
Some people manifest what they want in their lives via:
- Visualization/Creating vision boards
- Writing down their desires before going to bed (so that they can “download” them into their dream state)
- Creating mantras and affirmations
- Applying the 369 Manifestation Method (you can learn more about that here)
- Learning more about what you want to manifest (which brings forth clarity)
This is important to keep in mind because, when it comes to manifesting the types of orgasms that you want to have, as you can see, you can try different manifestation methods until you find one (or ones) that you are truly comfortable with. One that can ease you into the entire process rather smoothly is something known as sex journaling.
How Sex Journaling Can Actually Help You to Have an OrgasmGiphy
As a writer, I’m a big fan of journaling. Mostly because it’s a way to get out some of your deepest thoughts and feelings so that you’re able to really process what is happening inside of you in a private setting. And when it comes to sex journaling, specifically, it’s all about centering yourself on the things sexually that you want to “unpack,” get clarity on or come to some revelations about. For instance, if there’s only been one partner from your past who’s been able to help you achieve the type of orgasms that you wish to manifest, journaling about what makes him different from the other guys can provide you with some solid ah-ha moments.
Or if you need help getting as specific as possible about the sexual experiences that you’re after, journaling can help to make that happen for you — because one thing that manifesting reminds us all to do is be as specific as possible.
Yeah, simply saying, “I want to have better sex” isn’t detailed enough when you want to get your energy to match with your desires — instead, describe how all of your senses should feel in the experience, along with why, that can get you so much closer to achieving your goal. Once those things are documented, you can segue into creating mantras and/or meditation that are based on them. Yeah, sex journaling really is an underrated superpower on a lot of levels (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”).
5 Tips for Making the O Method Work for YouGiphy
Now that you know more about what the O Method is and how manifestation plays a direct role in its process, let’s talk about five ways to make the O Method truly effective in your own (sex) life.
1. Focus, FULLY, on your feminine energy. What do rose quartz, amethyst, moonstone (which is a Gemini birthstone as well; yes, I’m a Gemini), selenite, and rhodonite all have in common? They’re crystals that help you to go deeper into your divine feminine energy. Traits that are associated with this include compassion, creativity, kindness, gentleness, and sensuality (feminine energy is also accepting and forgiving). If you were to study energy from a biological standpoint, it’s about producing change, responding to stimuli, and having the ability to do what needs to be done (work). So, when it comes to manifesting the kind of orgasms or sexual experiences that you want, using things like your creativity and gentleness in your thoughts and actions can play a role in bringing balance to your partner’s masculinity, which can create a profound sense of pleasure — after all, opposites do attract.
2. Don’t hold back on what it is that you desire. Whenever I interview sex therapists, something that they all say is, a huge mistake that people make as far as sexual satisfaction is concerned is, they have walls up — not just with their partners but even within themselves. Sometimes, there is intimidation, fear, or even shame around what they really want to happen during sex to the point where they aren’t able to channel their energy fully in those directions in order to manifest what they want. For the O Method to work, you can’t let those types of negative emotions hinder you; the more you are able to articulate what you want and how you want it, the better chance you have of making it happen. So yes, get graphic. As graphic as possible.
3. Make manifestation a daily practice. Repetition is important when it comes to manifestation. That’s because the more you declare what you desire (a mantra), get still and think on it (meditation), or look at the “art” that you’ve created surrounding it (visualization), the quicker it becomes a part of you. So yes, make manifestation a daily practice. For instance, if one of your mantras is, “I am going to have intensely passionate orgasms, one right after the other,” don’t just state that 15 minutes before sex is going to happen. Wake up and declare it. Then say it on your lunch break. And again before turning in. The more your thoughts are “streamlined” in this way, the easier it will be for your body to follow suit.
4. Share this practice with your partner. If you were to do even more research on the O Method, one thing that most of the articles will mention is it’s a practice that you can do alone or with your partner. Indeed. However, I just want to make sure that you get into your psyche that great sex is, in part, about good communication. And so, the more comfortable you are sharing with your partner what you are doing as far as the O Method is concerned and what you ultimately want to happen as a result of the practice, the easier it will be for him to “match your energy” — both in and out of the bedroom. And when your partner is on the same page as you? That definitely increases the chances of attaining your sexual desires — exponentially so.
5. Stay in the moment. While I was reading one article on manifestation, I really appreciated something that the author said: manifestation isn’t some supernatural power. In other words, while it can be beneficial, it’s not like you can just think of something, and it instantly appears out of nowhere. Manifesting is a discipline, and it must be accompanied by action, consistency, and patience — this means that you must also practice mindfulness. Meaning, now that you know better what you’re looking to achieve as far as sex is concerned, every time that it transpires, maintain a level of positive energy, remember what your end goal is, and then determine in your mind to enjoy the moments as they come. Remember, manifestation isn’t to add stress…it’s to cultivate clarity.
At the end of the day, the O Method is simply a way of reminding you that your mind plays a huge role in your sexual pleasure, and when you channel it and your energy exactly where you want them both to go, you’ll be amazed what your body is capable of doing…and accomplishing.
So, what kind of orgasm are you wanting to achieve? You’ve got a tool to get you there. USE IT.
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Featured image by Giphy