Something that I've been pretty intentional about doing, for the past few years now, is not using the word "love" a lot. For one thing, it's a far more powerful and sacred word than a lot of people give it credit for. Also, when it comes to a long-term commitment with another individual, how is it that they get the same word to describe how I feel about them as the word that I used to describe my affinity for ice cream, oxtails or Pumas? If I see my love for them in a similar light as random things, it can be pretty easy to be just about as dismissive about them too. Make no mistakes about it—words have life. We definitely need to choose the ones that we use wisely.
Something else that is wack to me? Blaming stuff that doesn't work out between flawed human beings on love. Love is beautiful. Love is pure. The Bible says that God is love (I John 4:8 and 16). So, when things go awry, it's not love's fault. It's the two vessels that are trying to learn about how to love who need to take the responsibility for how things are going or how they ultimately turn out.
When it comes to the many myths about love, to me, that is one of them—that love is painful or makes us do "crazy" things. And because I'm so fond of love (especially the more I get to know about it), I want to debunk a few other ones, so that we all can learn to appreciate, value and embrace love. The real kind. Not the one that myths and fables talk about. Ready to unlearn to relearn a lil' bit?
1. The Right One Will Be Perfect for You
Personally, I think it's kinda hilarious—and by "hilarious", what I mean is ridiculous—that a lot of people use the word "perfect" when it comes to what they look for in an individual or relationship when they aren't that themselves. While the concept, in theory, is cool (I guess), let's revisit what the word actually means. To be perfect is to be "excellent or complete beyond practical or theoretical improvement". No one on this planet will ever be that (anyone who doesn't agree has quite the ego). Besides, you're perfect and someone else is perfect, what do either of you need to be together for? You can't be improved upon…right?
One of the main reasons why a lot of relationships don't work out, isn't because mutual love is missing. It's because one or both of them have some super unrealistic expectations. For one thing, they expect perfection in areas where it's close to impossible for it to transpire. Does that mean that you settle for utter bullshishery? Absolutely not. Yet the goal is to strive to be with someone who complements you and makes you better—who actually challenges you, in many ways, to become your best self. When you can honestly say that your significant other has played a very clear and significant role in your development and that they did so without bringing a lot of drama or trauma into your world, that is when you can say someone is right for you. And right is a whole lot more impactful than perfection.
2. If You’re Not Always Happy, It’s No Longer Love
I've said this before and I'll repeat it again—this "god of happiness" that people seem to worship is gonna really cost them in the long run. The fact that so many people will leave all kinds of people, places, things and ideas, ONLY because they no longer make them "happy"? I'm sorry but that's not really how grown folks get down. Matter of fact, this also falls into the "unrealistic expectations category" because when you're happy, you're delighted and pleased and if you expect a flawed human being to make you feel like that all of the time, I've got two points to share.
One, it's no one else's job or responsibility to make you happy and two, in even the best of relationships, there are good days and bad ones. This means that you're absolutely not going to be happy all of the time. With or without someone, no one is happy all of the time.
The word that needs to be the focus is healthy. When a relationship is healthy, it keeps you mentally stable. When a relationship is healthy, it helps you to prosper. When a relationship is healthy, it also makes you stronger, causes you to feel safe and can even bring wholeness into your world. Folks who've got a few years of marriage underneath their belt can vouch for the fact that you can feel all of these ways about a relationship and still not be happy all of the time.
Yet when you get that love is more than a feeling, it's a commitment (more on this in a bit), you make peace with healthy being your bigger priority. Which gives your relationship longevity in the long run.
3. Love Doesn’t Require Sacrifice
Some of the most selfish people are in relationships—and they absolutely should not be. That said, remember how I stated within this title that I'm debunking love myths today? If you're coming from a spiritual space on any level, then you are probably familiar with the fact that God is love (I John 4:6 and 18). OK, well when it comes to people who think that love means that they shouldn't sacrifice themselves, if you are a bible believer, you know that John 3:16 speaks of God sacrificing his own son for the sake of our salvation. Yep, someone actually surrendered their life for you…out of love. Another Scripture that is similar to this is, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." (John 15:13—NKJV) Hmph.
A lot of us don't even want to make adjustments in order to make our relationship work, so these kinds of sacrifices seem, not only extreme but ridiculous. Yet here's my overall point—there is not one long-lasting relationship (and most certainly not a marriage) where sacrifice hasn't been required. I don't mean sacrificing your values, standards or self-worth. I mean stepping back and realizing that sometimes you've got to shift in what you're doing now for the sake of the greater goal (which is basically the definition of sacrifice). If you're not down to do that, don't put that on love. As I just shared, love is all about sacrifice. So long as it's the right kind and for the greater overall purpose. Make sense?
4. Love Matters More than Like
Love is a big deal. I won't deny that. It's such a monumental thing that it needs to serve as the foundation for your relationship. That said though, don't think for one minute that most people stay in their relationship simply because of how "in love" they are. More times than not, it's actually because they really like their partner, even when they are totally pissing them off. This is why I think it is a huge deal that long-term couples see their partner as their best friend. Someone you have things in common with. Someone you can laugh with. Someone you enjoy spending time with. Someone you trust. Someone you know has your back.
There is a particular married couple that I know who, after about a decade in, they both realized that they should've spent more time getting to know one another before saying "I do." They want to honor the vows that they made/promises that they gave and so, while divorce is not an option for them, something that they do is make sure that singles realize just how critical it is to be friends with their future husband or wife. Matter of fact, the wife tells me often that if her man was not her closest friend, she probably would've been outta there years ago. Still, she likes him. A lot. And so, the mistakes that she realizes that she made on the front end, their ever-growing friendship has gotten them through.
Might not sound like a Hallmark card. You know what, though? It's realistic as all get out. If you like who you love, it can keep you loving them. Again, a lot of folks with wedding rings on can certainly vouch for this very fact.
5. If You’re Not Jealous, You’re Not in Love
I don't know where so many people got the idea that a sign that someone loves them (and that they're in love) is jealousy. Give me a break. Before getting deeper into this particular point, let's touch on what some indications of a jealous person are, shall we? Jealous people tend to be insecure. Jealous people tend to make a lot of comparisons. Jealous people typically don't respect or accept boundaries. Jealous people always want you to prove yourself. Jealous people want to make everything be about them (in order to fill their own voids). Jealous people are suffocating (because they don't know how to give others any space). Jealous people create drama. What in the world sounds "loving" about that?
So Shellie, are you saying that if I see my man talking to another woman and I feel some sort of way that something is wrong with that? Eh. I think the answer to that question is why does it bother you? If the answers are along the lines of you think that she looks better than you or you don't trust your partner, those aren't healthy things either. One is about self-esteem and the other is about not being in as solid of a foundation in your relationship as you should (same thing goes for him, by the way). Listen, when someone chooses to be with someone else, there should be no reason to be jealous. They made their choice. If that's not good enough for you, then that is indeed problematic and worthy of doing some soul-searching about. Real talk. Chances are, you'll realize that not only is jealousy not rooted in love but what you're going through is due to either some toxicity in the relationship that needs to be dealt with or—a lack of self-love.
6. Love Is a Feeling. Not a Choice.
Being led by your feelings. Lawd. You might be surprised how many articles are out in cyberspace that talk about just how unreliable feelings are. My thoughts? I've shared before that a Scripture in the Bible clearly tells us that the heart is deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9-10); so no, I am not big on "following your heart" as a life motto. However, whether you're a bible follower or not, I think something that a professor of cognitive psychology said on the topic is a pretty good way to live your life. He said, "Although there may be some truth to the claim that we cannot trust our feelings, suppressing them comes at a cost."
So, what does all of this boil down to? If you think that real, true and lasting love is built on one's feelings, you are probably never going to be in something that is real, true and lasting. Feelings are fickle. Feelings are all over the place. Feelings change…all of the time.
That's why I'm not big on people ending relationships because they don't "feel" the same for someone anymore. Before making any major moves, it's important to spend some intentional time getting to the root of WHY you don't feel the same. If it's just because your partner's been getting on your nerves lately, you probably get on his too. If it's because you're not sexually attracted anymore, you used to be, so what changed? If the relationship isn't what you expected it to be, get honest with yourself about if the expectations are realistic or not.
See love, it's where the big boys and girls play. And what they know is, whether it's a good day or a not-so-good one, every day that you wake up, you CHOOSE to be in your relationship. Choice is about being rational. Choice is deliberate. Choice is about intention. If you solely relied on your feelings when it comes to making a relationship work, trust me—you would've checked out a long time ago. You know, on one of these days when you didn't feel like hanging around. Feelings can't be trusted. Go with reason, logic, truth and facts. Make your choices from there.
7. Soulmates Are Like the Movies
One of my favorite quotes of all time comes from someone who I still haven't been able to find, to this day. Whoever it is once said, "We're all looking for demons who play well with our own." What's so profound to me about that is, a part of what it means is far too often, we tend to resonate with people who validate our weaknesses rather than encourage our strengths. Yeah, that's not good.
And when it comes to romantic connections, this can apply to how people define a soulmate. Thanks—yet no thanks—to Hollywood and Disney, maybe people think a soulmate is someone who is just like them; someone who always makes them feel confident that how they are is how they should be. Yeah, naw. I've spent a lot of time researching and learning about what a soulmate is truly designed to be.
More than anything, a soulmate is someone who serves as a catalyst that brings you to your most authentic self. In many ways, I think that's a lot like being in a refiner's fire. They may cause you to ask yourself questions about whether or not you are fulfilling your purpose. They might "rub you" in such a way that you are able to see character traits that could use some fine tuning or adjusting.
They should make you feel comfortable enough to be completely real with them about who you are and who you need to become—even when it's hard to face certain things about that reality. And all of this will have moments that will not be all warm 'n fuzzy. It can actually be downright challenging. Yet since you can't help but see the growth, it's all worth it. A soulmate will help to nurture your soul. A soulmate brings you to your best self.
And that's where I want to end this. Love? It will always cause you to evolve as a person. It will better you in ways that nothing else ever could. That's not going to be an easy task all of the time. Oh, but it will so, so worth it.
With love being the best thing going out here, of course there are a lot of myths about it. Don't be so caught up in those that you don't allow yourself to be brought to the truth. So that you can experience love as it was meant to be—not what so many lies out here say that it is. Amen? Amen.
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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.
The Libra woman and Aries man are the divine feminine and divine masculine, coming together as one. The love compatibility between these two is one for the books. These two are opposite signs, however, their differences tend to complement each other well. This is a dynamic relationship where they know how to have a lot of fun together, but also aren’t afraid to deal with the more serious stuff that comes with a relationship.
The Libra woman is looking for her equal in love, someone who is willing to put in the same effort she is, and the Aries man sees Libra as someone he is willing to do that with.
The Love Compatibility Of A Libra Woman And An Aries Man
What attracts a Libra woman and an Aries man to each other?
There is a magnet of attraction pulling these two together, and things tend to move pretty fast in this relationship. The Libra woman is always open to love and her charming nature rarely has any challenges here. The Aries man fights for his independence and doesn’t sacrifice that unless he is completely enamored with someone.
Once the Aries man catches the eye of the Libra woman, he is typically the one to make the first move and this instantly wins the approval of Libra.
These two feel like they have known each other forever when they meet, and this spark between them doesn’t die down easily.
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What is the relationship like between a Libra woman and an Aries man?
The relationship between the Libra woman and the Aries man is one of balance and excitement. The Aries man tends to take on the more dominant role in this relationship and the Libra woman tends to be the more receptive one. Aries is ruled by masculine Mars, and Libra is ruled by feminine Venus. They understand they are coming from two completely different worlds, yet they also instinctively feel this underlying connection to each other and like they could be something each other needs in their lives.
The Libra woman can rely on the Aries man, and the Aries man never has to ask for the love that Libra already knows he needs.
This is a couple that is often reading each other’s minds and wanting to do a lot of the same things. However, not everything is rainbow in this relationship as well, and there are some major differences they have to overcome to make things work. One argument can lead to an explosion between these two, and addressing things when they come up rather than sweeping them under the rug, will be needed to make this relationship long-term.
What is the sex like between a Libra woman and an Aries man?
The sex between a Libra woman and an Aries man is adventurous. These are two cardinal signs with plenty of energy and stamina to keep things exciting in the bedroom. There tends to be a good give and take in this relationship, and their yin and yang energy benefits them when it comes to their sex life.
There is electricity felt between the two of them in this area of their life, and their power of attraction to each other is strong. These are two people who will want to do a lot of things together, including exploring sexually together.
The Aries man will have to be careful with being overly aggressive, however, as the soft Libra woman may not like this energy- it will completely depend on the two individuals at hand. The Libra woman wants to ease into things, the Aries man wants to get going right away. Learning about each other's bodies, and energy, and reading each other’s cues will help with this.
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What makes a relationship between a Libra woman and an Aries man work?
These two genuinely like each other, and that basis is a key factor for success in any relationship. The Aries man is straight to the point, direct, and inspired. The Libra woman admires these characteristics in others, as she is often herself finding her balance in this type of energy as well. Neither sign is overly emotional in a way that turns them off, and they both require a lot of the same things in a committed relationship. They want honesty, fun, good communication, passion, and to be moving towards a common goal together.
The Libra woman and Aries man don’t have a problem being real with each other and this is something they really value within the relationship. They are both very charming, and there is plenty of flirtation and attraction to keep this relationship going. Aries being the protector they are, Libra finds a sense of safety and ease in this energy, and like they have found their match. Overall, this is a well-balanced relationship and one where they don’t have a problem when it comes to compatibility or chemistry in the relationship.
What may cause a Libra woman and an Aries man to break up?
Libra is the lover, Aries is the fighter, and this energy may be tiring for the both of them after time. The Libra woman can be passive to a fault, and the Aries man who is not evolved, may take advantage of that. She will need to be careful with putting Aries’ needs above her own, creating resentment later down the road. The Aries man loves a challenge, and the Libra woman would be up for that game for a little bit, but if she is not being met in the middle, she will begin to look for other places. These two can have a difficult time keeping the peace in the relationship, and there could be a lot of arguments and disagreements here if they both aren’t willing to put their egos or self-pleasing attitudes to the side.
The Libra woman and Aries man are both more sensitive than they appear or come off as. They are also not necessarily the type to dive deep into their emotions and express them to others, even in their relationships. However, this energy can keep the relationship to a surface level than what is needed to progress and grow the relationship, and a sense of openness is required for this couple to work. Libra needs romance, she wants to be wowed. Aries needs to remember this and to always consider her love language.
Overall, this is a successful pairing. They will have their fair share of challenges in the relationship, but nothing they can’t overcome if they are willing to. The trouble will come in when it comes to the longevity of the relationship, keeping Aries excited and Libra in love. However, all in all, there is more power, attraction, and love to keep this relationship together rather than apart. No relationship is perfect, but this one is a little more blessed than most.
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