If there’s one thing that none of us can avoid (because we’re technically doing it right at this second), it’s aging. When it comes to longevity and having time to accomplish more things, that’s a blessing. The flip side to this coin is a lot of things that we took for granted in our 20s, we have to become proactive about continuing in our 30s, 40s, and beyond — one of those things is taking really good care of our skin and hair so that we don’t end up looking older than we are…or should. Because as much as I know, we like to say that “Black doesn’t crack,” having more melanin doesn’t automatically or necessarily mean that things like our diet can’t still jack us up.
How is that? The reality is, with every year that blow candles out on our birthday cake, we lose nutrients. Along with that, an uptick in oxidative stress transpires. The combination of both of these things can lead to not only our organs aging but us aging on the outside, too.
One way to prevent this from happening is to spend less time in drive-thrus (processed foods actually age our cells). Another is to take a vitamin supplement that is high in vitamins A, B12, and C, calcium, fiber, iron, and protein (since these are the nutrients that aging bodies reportedly need most). Still, another is to check out the following 12 foods — ones that are good for you on a myriad of levels and ones that can keep your skin and hair at a place where people will constantly be asking you if you’re 5-10 years younger than you actually are.
If you want to get a good source of vitamin C into your system on a daily basis, without taking a supplement, snack on some papaya; it’s got well over 100 percent of that nutrient in it, along with a solid amount of antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, folate and potassium. That’s probably why it’s been linked to being highly beneficial as it relates to strengthening your heart, improving digestion, and fighting bodily inflammation. Also, if you’re looking for a fruit that can help to keep prostate cancer at bay for your bae, this fruit will help to take care of that as well as give both of you an immunity boost at the same time.
As far as your skin goes, between the vitamin C and organic compound lycopene that papaya contains, your skin will experience fewer free radicals that can lead to fine lines and wrinkles. Papaya also has properties that can help to deeply moisturize your skin and clear up the kind of hyperpigmentation that is oftentimes associated with getting older.
If being regular is a struggle for you, blueberries are a sweet way to change that. The reason why is it contains over three grams of fiber per serving. It’s also the type of berry that has vitamin C, K, and manganese in it. Your body will also adore this fruit because it’s able to do everything from regulate your blood sugar levels and keep your eyesight in good shape to protect your muscles from experiencing extensive damage while you work out and keep your blood pressure right where it needs to be. Something else that’s awesome about blueberries is they’re good for maintaining your memory and cognitive function (two things we all care about as we get older).
When it comes to fighting signs of aging on the external tip, blueberries are great at fighting against damaging UV rays and other skin pollutants. Not only that, but blueberries improve blood circulation to your skin. They can give the collagen levels in your system a much-needed boost, and some studies say that they help with naturally treating eczema and psoriasis, too.
Something that I’ve personally been getting more and more into is golden milk (check out “Why You Really Should Be Drinking Golden Milk”). Why is that relevant to this article? Because one of the main ingredients in it is turmeric. Turmeric is a spice that, when it contains the compound known as curcumin, can help to fight inflammation, soothe symptoms that are related to arthritis, reduce exercise-induced muscle discomfort, decrease anxiety and depression, speed up the healing process of respiratory infections, and even help to treat certain types of allergies.
Since dark circles underneath the eyes can oftentimes come with getting older, turmeric is effective in that department because it contains properties that can naturally help to brighten up your skin.
4. Black Rice
Some backstory on black rice: it’s rice that used to only be consumed by wealthy folks; for everyone else, it was “forbidden.” Chile, that reason alone should make you want to run out and get some as soon as possible (elitist be damned)! Anyway, black rice (which is also known as purple rice) gets its color from anthocyanin; it’s a pigment that has a ton of antioxidants in it — so, we can start there when it comes to why black rice is so good for you.
As far as the antioxidants are concerned, they are the kind that are anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer, all of which are highly beneficial. People who are looking to lose weight in a gluten-free way will appreciate this kind of rice. It’s also another food that’s good for maintaining your vision.
Black rice also contains iron, and iron not only helps to keep your skin healthy, but it also can help to prevent hair loss as you get older, those are two solid reasons why it made this particular anti-aging list.
Tomatoes are a fruit that has a good amount of fiber, folate, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, and plant compounds in them. If you want to keep your heart in good shape and cancer at bay while also fighting the early signs of dementia, adding them to your diet is a really smart move.
Something else that tomatoes have in them is what’s known as chlorogenic acid. Since it helps your body to produce collagen and collagen can definitely help to slow down the appearance of aging, if you want your hair, skin, and nails to look bright and youthful, cutting some tomatoes into your salad tonight is, without question, a very smart decision.
You know what one of my favorite facts about honey is? It’s one of the very few foods that never goes bad. Not ever. The reason why is because it's hygroscopic which means it has barely any moisture or bacteria in it, so it’s incapable of expiring. Pretty cool, right? And what a sweet food it is, literally; one that is high in antioxidants and has potent anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antidiabetic properties. One that, believe it or not, helps with stabilizing your blood sugar levels. One that helps to suppress coughing (especially in young children). One that supports your gut, serves as an all-natural antidepressant and can even help you to shed a few pounds. One that can also improve your quality of sleep.
Dermatologists sing the praises of honey because it not only is a great spot treatment for breakouts and a proven way to treat skin conditions like psoriasis, but also deeply moisturizes and removes dead skin cells — it’s a way to keep your skin looking young and radiant without applying chemicals that come with a lot of popular commercial brands.
(A few years back, I actually wrote several beauty benefits that come with manuka honey. Check out “Manuka Honey Is The Ultimate Beauty Find” when you’ve got a sec.)
Next to cashews, almonds are probably my favorite kind of nut. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you can get a ton of protein from these bad boys. They’re a good source of vitamin E as well. A lot of people who work out snack on almonds because of their ability to build muscle fibers. Almonds are also dope because they can protect against cell damage, raise your good cholesterol levels, lower your blood pressure, and get some prebiotics into your system.
As I was doing some reading and research on how almonds are helpful as it specifically relates to slowing down the appearance of aging, an organization called the Almond Board of California shared that new research has revealed that almonds have the ability to smooth out the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while also improving your skin tone over time. The more you know, the more you freakin’ know.
8. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
At the end of the day, extra virgin olive oil is the kind of olive oil that is the least processed; this means that you can get the most nutrients out of it. And what that means is, if you’re someone who likes to cook with it, you can feel confident about the fact that you are being proactive about preventing heart disease and strokes, reducing your type 2 diabetes risk, and treating rheumatoid arthritis. Extra virgin olive oil also has a lot of antibacterial properties in it too.
Since skin experts credit this type of oil with being a great hydrator, fighting against any environmental damage, and also slowing down premature aging (due to the vitamins A, D, K, and E that it has), the more extra virgin olive oil that you consume, the better.
9. Fatty Fish
If there’s one food that I think I could eat, almost on a daily basis, it’s salmon. It’s quick to fix. It’s pretty filling. And I like the taste. And I definitely feel good about eating it since I know that salmon is a huge source of potassium while also containing a good amount of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, antioxidants, vitamin D (which a lot of us could stand to get more into our bodies) and even some vitamin B12. Other fatty fish like swordfish, tuna, trout, anchovies, and Atlantic mackerel also have similar nutrients in them that can assist with cognitive development, helping to heal asthma in young children, protecting your memory abilities, and reducing the chances of being diagnosed with breast cancer.
As far as aging goes, many fatty fish have a compound in them called astaxanthin. Science says that it aids in preventing wrinkles, adding elasticity to your skin, and preventing cell damage to your skin — all things that can make you look older faster.
Basil is a member of the mint family and, as someone who really likes to cook, I enjoy it because it makes for some hellified pesto. Aside from that, it helps to reduce oxidative stress, regulate your blood sugar, prevent respiratory and urinary infections, reduce the effects of memory loss, increase mental alertness, keep your arteries open — and a host of other things. Yeah, basil really is that one. In fact, if you’re pregnant and battling morning sickness, basil also has a reputation for treating nausea and vomiting. Plus, it can boost your immunity, protect your liver, and reduce your stress levels.
If one of the things that you are trying to avoid about aging or you’re currently experiencing is premature graying, basil is also an all-natural treatment for that. Applied topically, some say that it can help to rejuvenate hair follicles to prevent thinning hair as well.
11. White Tea
If you’ve ever wondered where white tea gets its name from, apparently, the Camellia sinensis plant that it comes from has small white hairs on it (hmm…). Anyway, it’s good for you because it has a lot of plant-based antioxidants in it; ones that can fight off free radicals, help you to lose weight, aid in preventing heart disease and cancer, and even give pushback to insulin resistance. Some other cool things about this kind of tea are it can help to strengthen your bones (which can become more fragile after menopause) and improve your cognitive function.
On the aging tip, teeth age (check out “Teeth Do Age. This Is What You Can Do About It.”) and, as I’ve already mentioned, hair has the potential to become thinner (which could be due to hormonal shifts and/or genetics). The properties of white tea can help to prevent both of these things from causing you to look older due to both of these factors.
12. Dark Chocolate
How wonderful is dark chocolate? Check out “12 Ways Dark Chocolate Can Benefit Your Body From Head To Toe” and count the ways. As I wind this up, I’ll just add to the article by saying that the more your skin is protected from sun damage, the more that it has more blood flowing to it, and the less that it experiences stress, the better off it will be. Just make sure that the chocolate is not your favorite candy bar. Word on the street is, that in order to get all of what dark chocolate has to offer, you might want the kind of bar that is made up of no less than 75 percent cacao.
And now that you know how to slow down the aging cycle, which foods are you gonna treat yourself to when you get off work? All of these? All delicious. All nutritious. All anti-aging. Enjoy, sis. Enjoy!
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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. ;)
In xoNecole's series Dope Abodes, we tour the living spaces of millennial women, where they dwell, how they live, and the things they choose to adorn and share their spaces with.
Annisa LiMara has called this space her home for two years. Her Atlanta sanctuary, which she aimed to give the look and feel of something you'd see in the glossy pages of Architectural Digest, embodies her vision of "stunning, yet functional and cozy."
"My home is a reflection of my brand, The Creative Peach Studios, and I am the 'Creative Peach,'" Annisa explains. "It was so easy to reflect who I am and my personal story in my space. When you walk into my home, you know that it is Annisa’s home. I’m so proud of that. So grateful."
On the journey to becoming a homeowner, Annisa looks back on her experience as a "rough one," detailing that she officially started house hunting in March 2020. It had become so expensive to rent, and the 30-something lifestyle influencer decided she would rather invest the money she spent renting into owning a home. However, nine days into house hunting, her search was put on hold for a year. The following year, in 2021, the process of finding the right home and going under contract took a total of four months.
"The resell route didn’t work out, so my realtor suggested a new construction home, which turned out to be the better option," she tells xoNecole of her experience. "Although it requires more patience, it turned out to be a much easier process and a lot easier to maintain since it’s brand new."
As it turns out, the open floor plan three-bedroom two-and-half-bath would prove to be a blank canvas for Annisa to flex her creativity and design skills.
As a new construction, she watched the townhome get built from the ground up, and due to the "cookie-cutter" nature of new builds, Annisa knew immediately that she would change everything about it. The best part about it? All of her updates were cosmetic, so transformation could occur without having to do major renovations to achieve the look and feel she desired.
"The first things I updated were all the lighting, adding built-ins around my fireplace, and installing wallpaper in my bedroom, office, and dining room! I also had board and batten installed in the upstairs loft to make a statement and the kitchen island," Annisa details.
"Lastly, we painted the loft a soft blush pink, the kitchen island is a gorgeous terracotta, and added contrast with black on the doors, fireplace, and stairwell banisters."
In total, she spent $15K in renovations (plus the cost of furniture and decor). And although she says the second level of her home is a "work-in-progress," two years in, she considers the transformation nearly done.
Annisa defines her decor style as "organic modern meets midcentury modern with a touch of boho," and with thoughtfully placed touches like plants, warm tones, and organic textures, her perspective can be felt throughout. "I found my point of view as a designer in my work and as I worked on my home, so it all came together organically based on what I was naturally drawn to."
"The organic modern meets midcentury modern with a touch of boho' is definitely my signature style. You’ll always see greenery, warm tones, brass, and rattan or wicker in just about every room. My color story is based on my brand [The Creative Peach Studios] colors: blush pink, ivory, olive and sage green, terracotta, and nudes," she adds.
It was her brand colors that would be the jumping-off point for her approach to decorating and styling her space. That, and a picture she had of what would become her sofa from Albany Park. She recalled her decor decisions, "It was their olive Park Sectional Sofa, and I knew instantly I wanted it, and it aligned with my brand colors naturally, so it was a no-brainer."
By drawing inspiration from Pinterest, favorite design brands like CB2, Arhaus, and Souk Bohemian, and through her work, Annisa allowed herself to be guided by her signature style as well as her instincts when making decor and color choices for her own home. "Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason; it just feels right."
Some of the aspects of her home that she regards as her favorites include her bedroom and its little nook where her bed is positioned, the open upstairs loft, and the open concept because "it really allows you to see all of the details I put into the design all at once." Another of her favorite finds is a purchase she copped from the thrift store years ago.
"I have this little brown and gold chair that I picked up for $6 at a thrift store in Jersey six years ago. I couldn’t afford much in my little studio, but the chair was beautiful and unlike anything I had ever seen."
In addition to accent walls featuring blush pink and terracotta tones throughout the space, her gallery wall is another element that immediately draws the eye of any guest who enters. Annisa recalled a fond memory of a fine art piece she purchased from a Black woman artist when she first moved to Atlanta that she now prominently features in her living room. "It was a Black villager from her travels in Africa, and I fell in love with it because it felt like an ancestor I never met. I later found out that she was the sister of one of my very first design clients two years later," she shares. "Talk about a full-circle moment!"
Cultivating a space takes time and patience, and that is a sentiment Annisa echoes when advising people who are looking to infuse more of themselves into their own dope abodes through design. "It is not a race, and you’ll spend more money if you rush into designing without really being intentional about the vision for your space," Annisa concludes. "You just need creativity and patience to do it! And most of all, make sure you feel like it’s an oasis for you!"
For more of Annisa, follow her on Instagram @annisalimara.
Tour Interior Designer Annisa LiMara's Modern Meets Midcentury ATL Home | Dope Abodes
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Charge it to the fact that I am such a fan of music, but whenever I’m out shopping, I tend to pay attention to what stores are playing. And if there’s one song that seems to show up just about everywhere, it’s a light rock classic by Don Henley and Patty Smyth entitled “Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough.” I promise, even if you don’t know it by the title, you’ve heard it yourself, at least a dozen times in your lifetime — and whether that kind of music is your “scene” or not, the reality is that the words are true.
Even now, in real time, I’m dealing with two clients who love each other very much, and still…they are gearing up to file for divorce. Why? One reason is that, although the love is very strong, the type of love that the husband has for the wife is very different from the kind of love the wife has for her husband (hers is more of a friendship/agape love). Another reason is because, over time, their values have become very different (get someone who complements your life; it makes all of the difference in the world). And still, another is the wife feels that, if she were to stay, she’d be choosing to remain stagnant as an individual because the kind of life he wants isn’t the kind that she desires…anymore.
Because I am super Team Covenant, for me, in many ways and on many levels, it's all tragic. Divorce is indeed like a death. I am a survivor of it from my own parents. I am watching two children who I love very much currently go through it. And as a marriage life coach for over 18 years now, although I’ve been able to help more couples stay together or even reconcile after divorce, my “record” is not spotless. Yet you do live long enough, and you see that, sometimes, no matter how much love is present, if you want to go the very far and beautiful distance of “’til death parts us” on a literal level — you need more than just love to make that happen…no matter how romantic or even idealistic the notion might be.
Let me explain, in a bit more detail, just where I am coming from.
What It Means to Actually Love Someone
Have you ever thought about what it actually means to love another individual? I promise that if you rely on social media to define it for you, you’re about to be set up for a mighty fall because easily 60-70 percent of the content on there is self-centered, unrealistic, and very feelings-and-nothing-else driven. What I mean by that last point is folks seem to think that love is ONLY a feeling when it is actually so much more than that.
For starters, love is a daily choice. Yep, ask any married couple who has more than a decade under their belt, and they will be quick to tell you that no matter how much they love their partner, sometimes they don’t “feel” like they do, and so they have to push past their feelings and remember that they chose that individual, they made sacred promises in the form of vows to that person, and so they must choose to honor them. THAT IS A FORM OF LOVE.
Know what else love is?
Love is being someone’s strongest support system, greatest advocate, and biggest hype man or woman. That requires a lot of patience, a ton of prayer, and quite a bit of believing in someone because, if they were perfect, why would they need any of that? Yeah, another thing that’s sad about what many people think about love is they expect the person who they say “I love you” to, to be whatever version of love that they conjured up in their mind — and usually that is very idealistic, which is extremely unfair.
Yeah, it’s mighty interesting that if you look to the Good Book for love definitions, things like “love is patient” (I Corinthians 13:4) and “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son…” (John 3:16) are what immediately come to mind and yet humans? They don’t wanna wait for nothin’, and they definitely don’t think that they should sacrifice anything. Wild.
Another thing about love is it transforms. Not "changes someone" (some folks think they are supposed to use love to manipulate, and that isn’t love at all) — it transforms them. And that takes time. Contemporary Christian artist Michael W. Smith once said, “Transformation in the world happens when people are healed and start investing in other people.” Transformation plays a role in the healing process. Here’s the thing about that, though: if people didn’t have anything wrong with them, what would they need to heal from? Transformation invests in others; in order to invest, you must give — not just take.
Indian philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti once said, “If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation.” Transformation is about understanding someone without trying to change them. Unfortunately, far too many people fail miserably at this. And yet, how arrogant is it to be out here thinking that it’s your job to change someone? Who are you to appoint yourself to that? Do you even understand the person who you’re trying to change? Or are you only coming from the angle of who and what you want them to be? That’s not understanding; again, that is manipulation.
To be honest with y’all, I could go on and on about what love is, yet this is an article and not a book. For now, I’ll just say that I think it was important to amplify those three talking points because they are the “angles of love” that oftentimes go overlooked. That’s why I wanted to lay some foundation on what genuine and mature love looks like before getting into why sometimes love is enough because it’s its own pandemic: the amount of people who call what they are in with or towards someone “love” when it's actually…anything (and sometimes everything) but.
Five Things That Should Come with Being in Love
Okay, so with all of what I just said, you might wonder how you could actually hit the three love points that I shared, and it still not be enough to keep a relationship going — at least, a healthy and purpose-filled one. That’s a really great question. So, because love is so vast…let’s keep building with five things that should be happening, MUTUALLY SO, when two people are actually in love with each other.
1. You’re becoming a better person. There is a Leo Buscalgia quote that I’ve shared before (more than once, actually) that I absolutely adore. It says, “As soon as the love relationship does not lead me to me, as soon as I, in a love relationship, do not lead another person to himself, this love, even if it seems to be the most secure and ecstatic attachment I have ever experienced, is not true love. For real love is dedicated to continual becoming.” And honestly, the quote says it all. If you think you’re in love with someone, yet you AND they are not becoming better as a direct result of the love experience, something is definitely awry. At the end of the day, if you believe that “God is love” (I John 4:8&16), love should definitely be improving you and him in a myriad of different ways and on a thousand different levels because a spiritual relationship with the Divine does just that. No wiggle room.
2. Your life is moving forward, not back. On the heels of what I just said, love shouldn’t have you out here living in a state of stagnation. Love is to liberate you and make you feel like you can release what is holding you back so that you can run toward what will improve your quality of life. That said, if since you’ve been with “him,” you can’t name three things that have shifted, drastically so, when it comes to how your life is progressing, that is a bit of a red flag as well. Love is to fuel you into newer dimensions, not keep you in hamster wheels of cyclic (and typically counterproductive) patterns.
3. You are receiving peace and being a conduit of peace too. I can’t believe how many people on social media get triggered whenever they hear that someone wants to be with a peaceful and peace-filled individual. What in the world? Peace, in a relationship, is about harmony. Peace is about tranquility. Peace is about being on one accord, having a strong and solid friendship, and feeling calm in another person’s presence. Peace is not turmoil. Peace is not stress. PEACE IS NOT DRAMA. A lot of people out here? They think that because their relationship is passionate or intense that love is present. More times than not, the answer is “no.” As a woman by the name of Mary Helen Doyle once said, “Choose love and peace will follow. Choose peace and love will follow.” If that is not your personal reality with your significant other…you’ve got some serious thinking to do.
4. Your views on love and relationships are maturing. Have you ever known a relationship that is childish? There’s no other way to put it. The two people involved are always trying to one-up each other. When they’re mad, they’ll go days without speaking. You find yourself watching a soap opera online that you didn’t ask for because one or both of them are constantly being passive-aggressive about each other’s mess on their social media pages. Ugh. Remember how I said that peace isn’t drama? Yeah, true love isn’t either. In fact, one of the main things that love does is provide you with a safe space to be held accountable so that you’re able to grow in areas where you wouldn’t have otherwise. If your “love relationship” isn’t maturing you…that’s another flag on the play.
5. Sex is the “icing” not the “cake.” A few years ago, I wrote an article for the platform entitled, “What If The Sex Is Great? But The Relationship Sucks.” And yeah, this point? Listen, oxytocin — the natural hormone that bonds you to the people you are physically intimate with — can have you out here thinking that just because a man makes your body feel good that he’s good for your mind and spirit too (check out “Question: Is The Man In Your Life Good 'TO' You? Good 'FOR' You? Or...Both?”). In other words, sex can be deceptive, which is why I don’t like the term “make love” (check out “I Absolutely Hate The Phrase 'Make Love.' Here's Why.”). Truly, it can’t be said enough: sex does not MAKE love; sex CELEBRATES a love that is already in place. People who are truly in love know this.
Okay, so this is already quite a bit to think about, right? It’s also essential and relevant because, before you can come to the conclusion that love is not enough to keep your relationship going, you need to make sure that love is what you’re actually experiencing. IS IT?
Now, let’s get into the main reasons why this article has the title that it does.
It’s Damn Near Impossible to Love Someone You Don’t Respect
I’m pretty sure that, at one point or another, we’ve all heard the saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Y’all, that is absolutely how I feel about providing this kind of content for singles — and to me, “single” is individuals whose tax records say that they are. Because no matter how much you may care about someone, again, ask anyone who’s gone through a divorce, and I’m pretty sure they will tell you that breaking up (no matter how difficult it may be) will spare you a lot more heartbreak than ending a marriage will. And so, with that being said, one reason why love may not be enough to try and stay with someone you are seeing (in a dating or even engaged dynamic) is if you don’t respect them — or they don’t respect you.
Scripturally, when it comes to how wives are to treat their husbands, I always think it’s amazing that women are told, not to prioritize loving their husband but respecting him (Ephesians 5:33). If you go to I Peter 3:2 (AMPC), it defines respect in this fashion: “…to respect, defer to, revere him—to honor, esteem, appreciate, prize, and, in the human sense, to adore him, that is, to admire, praise, be devoted to, deeply love, and enjoy your husband].” (Did y’all see “prize” in there? I DID.)
Ask any man worth his salt, and he’s gonna tell you, I believe without hesitation, that the way he feels love is by feeling respected. So, when you take all of those words in I Peter into account, do you respect your man? And if you don’t, why don’t you? I promise you, with every ounce of my being, that if you don’t respect him, it’s only a matter of time before your relationship either ends or becomes highly dysfunctional because respect is paramount in a healthy, loving dynamic.
And yes, you deserve to be respected as well.
- When a man respects you, he is honest with you.
- When a man respects you, he values opinions.
- When a man respects you, he honors your boundaries.
- When a man respects you, he doesn’t “hit below the belt” in disagreements.
- When a man respects you, he is careful in how he treats you.
- When a man respects you, he prioritizes you.
- When a man respects you, no kind of abuse transpires (including neglect).
Hmph. When you marinate on all of this, one might say that you can’t be loved without being respected. While on some levels, that’s true — believe you me, I have dialogued with many couples over the years who love each other yet they don’t respect each other’s boundaries or they don’t fight fair. And that’s because one or both of them weren’t taught to prioritize respect.
I will say this, though: even if you do love your partner, if you don’t respect them and/or they don’t respect you, love is not going to be enough. Not to go the distance in a mutually beneficial kind of way, it’s not.
LOVING Someone Doesn’t Mean That the Two of You Are COMPATIBLE
Yep, I’m gonna bring some Scripture back into this. Back in the Garden of Eden, when God decided to bless Adam with a helpmate, the Classic Amplified Version of Genesis 2:18 described her to be this: “Now the Lord God said, ‘It is not good (sufficient, satisfactory) that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him.’” Suitable means “appropriate” and “fitting.” Adapted means being able “to adjust oneself to different conditions, environment, etc.” Complementary means “the quantity or amount that completes anything.” Complete, in this context, speaks to “having all parts or elements; lacking nothing.”
Y’all, there are a couple of men who I loved, but it didn’t work out. I was mad at first — and yet, in hindsight, it was never meant to be. Why? Because I was not the right kind of helper for them, and they were not the right kind of protector and provider for me. There were things about us that didn’t “fit.” There were areas where we weren’t willing to be flexible in order to make the relationship work. When it came to our values, perspectives, and goals, significant things were lacking.
And that’s why I tell couples who come to me prior to marriage that they need to take COMPATIBILITY into serious account before saying “I do.” Compatible literally means “capable of existing or living together in harmony” — and I can’t tell you how many married folks have either been at their entire wit’s end or have ultimately called it quits due to this being such an issue.
It can be what seems like something “minor” at first too. For instance, don’t underestimate if you’re the kind of person who likes a spotless home and your partner’s house isn’t the cleanest. Don’t think it’s not a big deal if you’re an extrovert who likes to go out a lot and your partner seems like he barely even likes people (I know a married couple who have suffered, greatly, over the years because of this). Don’t go into denial if you’re a spontaneous person and your partner is very much “married” to routine.
Some of my male friends? We are very close, and I adore them; they adore me, too. We ain’t ugly either. Yet we are close enough to know and accept that the way we do life as individuals, there is no way we would be harmonious as a couple. Yep, sometimes love isn’t enough because the two of you simply aren’t compatible (or compatible enough) to go the distance.
Being with Someone You Love Isn’t the Ultimate Goal. Being in a Healthy Relationship Is.
As I wrap this up, one more point. A hill that I will forever and a day die on is far too many people put being happy over being healthy. Hmph, I’ll even take that a step further and say that far too many folks think that it’s someone else’s responsibility to make them happy when that couldn’t be further from the truth. Besides, if you don’t even know how to keep yourself happy all of the time, how the hell is someone else supposed to pull it off? Ridiculous. And you know what? When two people are able to see things from this perspective, when they are able to fully grasp that 1) happiness is about inner work, 2) happiness comes and goes, and 3) being healthy is what should matter more — then they can find another person who feels the same way. And that is a solid foundation to build on.
Definitely, two healthy people get that when it comes to being in a long-term relationship that is thriving and flourishing, having someone to love who loves you back is pretty awesome. However, what keeps the relationship together is ensuring that the dynamic is HEALTHY.
So, am I saying that you can love someone in a very pure and genuine way and the relationship be unhealthy? 1000 percent. I’m not speaking of extreme things like abuse, either. I mean…a word that oftentimes comes up whenever healthy is mentioned is “vigor.” Vigor speaks to strength, power, and ability. And if, by being involved with the person who you love, you are not getting stronger, becoming more powerful, and feeling more capable of becoming your best self as you are doing the same thing for him — there are elements about the relationship that is the opposite of healthy: unhealthy, and that means that love isn’t enough. In fact, you should love each other enough to let each other…go. So, that you both can be joined by those who will support and encourage you to become a more…vigorous individual.
Whew, this was a lot. I know. It was also necessary. Because it’s time (past time, really) that we stop romanticizing love to the point that we lose sight of what its purpose is: the fuel needed to keep a healthy relationship going. And hopefully now, all of these words later (LOL), you are able to see that certain things have to be in place, outside of love, for things to not only work…but work well.
“Sometimes love just ain’t enough” is both a mouthful and the truth.
Choose wisely, sis. Love yourself enough to do that…please.
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