Maybe it's just me, but a lot of the time, whenever I read something that addresses this particular topic, I feel like it is almost always slanted towards religion. If that's been your experience as well, let me just say that this is not the angle that I'm coming from today. You can read articles I've written on the site like, "What's The Difference Between Being 'Religious' And Being 'Spiritual', Anyway?" and "6 Things To Consider Before Getting Into An Interfaith Relationship" to get an idea of what I think about how religion plays a role in long-term relationships. However, the more that I evolve in my own spiritual journey, the more I get that our spirit man—or woman—is quite vast; too vast to be limited to a particular doctrine or a place of worship. In another article that I wrote on how to protect one's spirit, I share that the Hebrew word for spirit is "ruach" which means breath.
At the end of the day, our spirit is our very being; it's how we live out our daily life. That goes way beyond a chosen faith.
And so, when I think of whether or not someone is truly spiritually compatible with another person (or not), believe it or not, ruach is what first comes to mind. Does the person complement the other individual's truest essence? Do they exponentially improve the quality of their life? In order to know for sure, I think this has to be broken down into a few different categories. And so, whether you're with someone and you're looking for confirmation that the two of you are spiritually compatible, or you're not in a relationship but you want to choose wisely once the time comes, I've got seven things that I believe everyone should take very seriously before joining their life—their spirit—to someone else's.
Here are some telling ways to know whether you are spiritually compatible with someone. Or not.
1. You're Able to Thrive in Your Strengths
If you just looked at this first point and you're already stumped because you're not sure how to identify what your strengths actually are, a few things that you should consider are what you're naturally good at, what people compliment you about most often, what you would do for free and still totally enjoy, what makes you feel good and, at the same time, what challenges you to be your best self. And, since we're talking about spiritual compatibility here, it also doesn't hurt to take a spiritual gifts test. Although the concept is "birthed" out of I Corinthians 12 (gifts that help to build up the church), I've come to realize that a lot of what that kind of test reveals is beneficial, in general. For instance, I test high in wisdom, discernment, prophecy, writing and giving. If you look at all of this outside of traditional religion and doctrine, the Church is about people and the definition of ministry is service. My spiritual gifts help to serve people. Whatever our strengths are, spiritually or otherwise, a huge part of what they are designed to do is serve people.
With this in mind, the person you are spiritually compatible with? They are someone who is going to provide you with the insight and support that you need in order to thrive in your strengths.
A mistake that I used to make in a lot of my past relationships is, I would allow people to drain me of my strengths more than help me to build upon them. People would use my writing abilities (and connections) to get them ahead more than to help me figure out how to grow in it or, they would take advantage of my giving gift rather than see how they could assist me in being able to bless others. I now know that the right man for me will be a lot like my late fiancé was. He was the kind of man who did not only recognize and acknowledge my strengths, but he invested real time into figuring out how I could continue to grow and develop in them. A man who wants you to thrive in your strengths and does what he can to make that happen? This is one indication of someone who is spiritually compatible to you.
2. You Feel Comforted, Not Coddled, in Your Weaknesses
Weaknesses are interesting. At the end of the day, they are basically areas where we all can stand to improve. Or, they are areas that are holding us back. For a long time, two of my areas of weaknesses was not being a good listener and not handling stress well. And you know what? A lot of the men in my life only fed into those weaknesses by being naturally combative (which only made me want to listen less) and/or knowing what my triggers were (check out "Gaslighting, Love Bombing & 5 Other Triggers To Call Out In Your Relationships") and choosing to stomp all up on them anyway. They were emotional antagonists.
You know, if you read up on how to define what your weaknesses are, a lot of experts will say that things that feed your ego, drain your energy or, on the professional tip, things that you put off until the last possible moment are all considered to be weaknesses, simply because they hinder you from becoming your best possible self.
Keeping this in mind, when someone is spiritually compatible with you, first, they will provide a safe space for you to acknowledge the weaknesses you know about. Not only that, but you will find yourself trusting them enough to bring other weaknesses to your attention because you know that they are doing it out of love, not to attack you or make you feel less than.
An ex-boyfriend from my past used to say something that irritated me at the time yet I actually really appreciate these days—"I'm not going to apologize for knowing that you could be a better person in certain areas." Ego typically pushes back on statements like that, but someone who wants to become their greatest self will find that to be a really beautiful thing for someone who truly cares about them to say.
3. They Push You to Take Your Purpose to Another Level
I am soooo the person who is like, "If you don't know what your purpose is, I really think it's best to wait before getting into a serious relationship." The reason why is because your purpose is literally "the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc.". If you have no clue what that reason is, it can be difficult to discern who is the right and best fit for you.
But if you do happen to know what you were put onto this earth to do, another great way to discern if someone is spiritually compatible to you is they will complement your purpose in some evident and truly significant kinds of ways. Either their own gifts, talents, personality and resources will help to elevate your purpose or, the way that they respect your purpose will cause them to balance you in a way that fuels you to grow more in the areas of your purpose.
What I mean by that is, say that you're an entrepreneur. Someone who is good for your purpose is going to automatically get that your line of business requires a lot of sacrifice; their focus won't be on nagging you to death but finding ways to help you to rest, have fun and find peace in their presence. Or, say that you're in entertainment. They won't be the jealous kind who is constantly making you feel like you can't be trusted. They will be wired in such a way where they can handle what comes with your profession because they get that it's a part of you.
I know a man who adored his job as a sound engineer. Then he married a woman who didn't like the fact that he was always on the road and his paycheck was more of a "feast or famine" kind of thing. In order to make her happy, he came off of the road and got a job working in computers. He was miserable which ended up backfiring on her plans. They're divorced now. Under God himself, never allow someone to cause you to put your purpose in jeopardy. The way to do that is 1) know what your purpose is and 2) not settle to be with anyone who doesn't respect it to the fullest.
4. Your Relationship with the Most High Evolves
A wise person once said that, "The right person will never distract you from God. It will bring you closer to Him." God is so big that this point could be an entire article all on its own. For that reason, it's actually going to be the shortest point out of all of these.
If you are with someone who puts your personal relationship with the one who created you into influx, whether that be when it comes to your principles, your values, your faith, your convictions or the time that you spend getting close to the Most High, they are absolutely not spiritually compatible to you.
Matter of fact, what they actually are is a spiritual enemy. Enemies can be smooth and seductive. Don't let how someone makes you feel prevent you from seeing what is really going on with you and God. If a person starts to become more important than the Spirit, you already know what I'm about to say. Don't just walk away…flee. You'll thank me later if/when you do.
5. Your Character Matures
There's one guy I know who I can tell hasn't meant the one yet. Don't get me wrong, he has had his fair share of relationships; some of them were even exclusive. But the reason why pretty much every woman gets the side-eye from me is, I haven't seen him mature very much since I met him (and that's almost going on 20 years at this point). He's still a player. He still doesn't take much accountability for his actions. And, when it comes to the karma that will surround all of the pain that he's caused, so many women that I also know? Yeah, brotha…good luck with that. In the article that I wrote, "Here's Exactly How To Start Protecting Your Spirit", one thing I share is the fact that a facet of your spirit is your character. Dr. Steve Maraboli once said, "The truth of your character is expressed through the choice of your actions."
Another great sign that you are with someone who is spiritually compatible to you is, you notice that you start to make wiser and more beneficial life choices, both personally as well as professionally. You won't keep making destructive or counterproductive decisions nor will you stay stagnant. You will be able to clearly see how, since your relationship, your traits have matured and your morals (your principles) have become clearer. Much clearer.
6. You Are at Total Peace with Your Personality
From a psychology standpoint, one definition of personality is "the sum total of the physical, mental, emotional, and social characteristics of an individual". In short, your personality is what makes you, well, you. When I look back on the relationships that I've been in, something that the healthiest ones had in common is, I wasn't trying to make the guy something he wasn't and he wasn't trying to change me either. I reference my late fiancé often because, the older I get, the more I see just how good he was for me (especially at the time). An example of this is, although he was relatively quiet and private, I was out here loud and anything but private. But every time he looked at me, his eyes would light up like I was the best thing he had ever seen in his entire life. Because he was so at peace with me—the good, the bad and the straight-up ugly—that made me become more at peace with myself. That, in turn, made me want to refine areas that needed it and be unapologetic about the traits that didn't.
The Hebrew word for peace is "shalom". The root of it is wholeness and completion. If you want to know if you are spiritually compatible with someone, ask yourself if they encourage you to be at total peace with who you are as an individual.
Process if they are improving you or somehow trying to change you (which aren't quite the same thing). A great indication of a healthy relationship is when you both feel like your physical, mental, emotional and social traits are welcome in each other's space. If you don't feel that way, something is off and that "off-ness" could end up breaking your spirit, if you're not careful.
7. The Core of Your Being Isn't Sacrificed
A lot of people have issues with the word "sacrifice" when it comes to relationships. I don't. I like the meaning of the word a lot, to tell you the truth. At the end of the day, a sacrifice is simply "a surrender of something of value as a means of gaining something more desirable or of preventing some evil". True love, at times, requires sacrifice. I mean, if you are a Bible follower, God sacrificed Christ (John 3:16) out of His love for mankind; that is how much He valued us.
The problem with a lot of relationships is not that one or both people are making sacrifices in them; it's more than either one person is sacrificing way more than the other is or, that the sacrifices that are transpiring are toxic.
For instance, when you're with someone who is spiritually compatible to you, they are not going to require or expect you to sacrifice the core of who you are, what makes you healthy and whole or what will get you to where you need to go in life. Remember, spirit is about life and so, the one you are spiritually compatible with will only encourage you to, as the Good Book says, have life more abundantly (John 10:10).
This life and the time that you have to live it is very precious. Be intentional about being with someone who feels the same way about you and provides an atmosphere for you to soar and thrive like never before. If who you're with isn't doing that, while they might be a lot of things…"spiritually compatible" is highly doubtful. My hope and prayer are that all of these seven points have fully supported why.
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (firstname.lastname@example.org) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
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7 Sex-Related Problems That Ruin Sex (And Possibly Your Relationship)
Not too long ago, while in an interview, someone asked me to define one of the main purposes of sex in a long-term relationship: “Probably the most intimate form of communication that we have is sex because it’s an act that connects one’s physical, mental and emotional state to another human being simultaneously — and communication doesn’t get much more profound than that.”
That’s part of the reason why the term “casual sex” irks me to the billionth degree (check out “We Should Really Rethink The Term 'Casual Sex'”); it’s because, even if you think that sex with someone is next-to-nothing, there is so much going on within you (oxytocin highs, if you’re unprotected, fluid bonding, chemical reactions in your brain, etc.) that doesn’t know if someone is “the one” (in your mind) or not. So, in many ways, it acts like they are (check out this YouTube video from a Catholic woman who studies some unexpected ways that sex affects us physically here; sex goes deep, y’all!).
Yeah, sex is so much more than a notion, and that’s why I’m a firm believer that it is such a barometer for long-term relationships overall — because, as I’ve shared before, I once read that, “Good sex in a relationship is 10 percent of the relationship while bad sex in a relationship is 90 percent of the relationship because sex tends to set the tone for what’s happening in the rest of the house.”
And that’s why I think that there are certain sex-related issues that can not only damage your sex life with your partner but could also end up ruining your relationship if you’re not careful (very careful). Let’s get into seven of them now.
1. Being Unaware of Your “Body Clock”Giphy
I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve had who’ve come to me in some serious trouble, in part due to their flailing (or partly nonexistent) sex life. When I ask them if they went to premarital counseling (if you’re engaged, please do; you have a 33 percent greater chance of avoiding divorce when counseling transpires), many say “no” and the ones who say “yes” usually say that it was no more than 3-5 sessions and the topic of sex barely came up (le sigh). Meanwhile, with my premarital meetings, I try and stick with intimacy for three months if I can because there is a lot to unpack, from what you learned as a child, to your first time (or if you are a virgin), to your needs and fantasies, to how you see it from a spiritual perspective — like I said, there is a lot to unpack there.
Take the mere practicality of sex, for example — and more specifically, your body clock. Do you prefer to have sex at night or in the daytime? A lot of couples struggle with intimacy because one prefers the former while the other likes the latter. Do you keep track of when you’re ovulating? It’s pure science why you are probably hornier during that time of the month (because your body is signaling that it’s time to conceive) vs. the fact that you might not be the most interested in sex when you’re PMS’ing. Are you premenopausal? Hormones shift a lot during that time, and here’s the thing — while menopause only lasts a year, the premenopausal stage (which typically starts between 45-55) can last between 7-14 years. Even paying attention to when you have more energy (some do in the day…morning sex, anyone? While others do early in the evening) can play a role.
So yeah, getting to know your body clock (and discussing your partner’s clock with them) can play a role in how much — or how little — sex you have…and that can add life or drain it from the relationship overall.
2. Comparing Your Present with Your PastGiphy
There is a wife of almost 20 years I know who, when I asked her if she thought that her husband was good in bed, she paused for a second, shrugged her shoulders, and simply said, “I was a virgin when I got married, so I have nothing to compare him to. I mean, he’s good to me.” On the flip side, there’s a now divorced couple who I also know (who almost made it to 20 years) who had multiple partners before each other while also having a deep interest in porn who once said to me, “Sometimes, there’s as much as 15 people in our bed because of all of the people from our past and the porn that we’ve seen that’s running through our heads.” Yeah, y’all can act like body counts don’t matter, but there is so much evidence out here that says otherwise — that couple just gave one that doesn’t get talked about as much as it should.
You know, one of my favorite throwback shows is King of Queens (Kevin James, Leah Remini). A few weeks ago, I watched a rerun where Doug and Carrie were talking about the images that come up in their minds, sometimes during sex. Neither was too happy about it, and I can totally see why. I mean, if sex was just about “getting off” (and it’s not), then whatever. However, AGAIN, it’s also about connecting with your partner on a mental and emotional level, and that’s hard to do if you’re there with them in the body while you’re fantasizing about a celebrity, a porn actor (porn is usually acting, don’t let it fool you) or an ex (check out “You Love Him. You Prefer Sex With Your Ex. What Should You Do?”).
And what if that is what’s going on? I once spoke with a sex therapist about this very thing. What she said is people should be less concerned about celebs (if it’s on occasion) and more concerned about that ex because rarely is sex with an ex…just about the sex.
And that’s why this point made the list. If you’re physically with your partner and mentally or emotionally with your ex at the same time, please don’t ignore that. There are definitely some unresolved issues there that you need to work through, whether it’s with a therapist, counselor, or coach, a trusted friend (who won’t add fuel to the literal fire), or even with your ex — although you might want to run that by your partner first because…I’m pretty sure you’d want him to do that with/for you. RIGHT?
3. Not Being Clear About Your Sexual NeedsGiphy
Question — if someone were to walk up to you right now and ask you what your top seven sexual needs are, along with what your top five sexual dealbreakers are, would you be able to answer? It really is kind of wild how many people get upset with their partner for not being able to sexually satisfy them when even they can’t articulate what they need/require in order for that to happen. Yeah, it’s another article for another time about how many people UNREALISTICALLY (and yes, I am yelling it) think that someone loving them well means that they should be able to read their mind. Nope.
It truly can’t be said enough that sex — especially good sex — is about communication. Hmph. It makes me think about a clip that I saw from Tonight’s Conversation podcast (can’t find it at the moment; sorry) where a woman asked how she should tell her partner that he hasn’t been pleasing her, I believe she said for years. My first thought was if he doesn’t know that, she must be faking orgasms (more on that in a bit) which is not only lying — well, it is —, but it’s also pretty counterproductive because while he thinks that he’s “getting the job done,” she’s not fulfilled and resentment is setting in.
Please don’t let rom-coms (fiction) and social media (which is oftentimes fictitious) have you out here thinking that a good lover is someone you automatically gel with who knows exactly what to do; sometimes that is the case, and oftentimes it isn’t.
So, if the sex-related issue that you’re having in your relationship is that your sexual needs aren’t being met, first do you (and your partner) a favor by doing some sex journaling (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”) so that you can tangibly see what those needs are and then plan time within the next week or so to pour a couple of glasses of wine, put on some 90s R&B and discuss with your partner what you need. Because actually, what a good lover is, is someone who listens and retains. This brings me to the next point.
4. Minimizing Your Partner’s Sexual NeedsGiphy
A husband once told that when he and his wife were in premarital counseling, something that he mentioned was a bona fide need was fellatio. According to him, his wife told both him and their counselor that she loved giving head. Fast forward to eight years of being in their union, and guess how many times that act went down? A measly four. FOUR TIMES (check out “Sooo...What If You HATE Oral?”).
It’s another message for another time, the amount of people who will “false advertise” during the dating stage in order to get to their goal of marriage. It’s also another message for another time how much that is a form of manipulation that tends to backfire in ways that the manipulator is oftentimes not prepared for.
For now, what I will say, is never think that just because something may not be a need for you that it isn’t a legitimate one for someone else. I mean, how would you feel if that’s how someone treated you? Yeah…exactly.
Yet that is just what happens in a lot of relationships, including when it comes to their bedroom. They will think that their needs should be met, hands down, yet when their partner comes with what’s important to them, all of a sudden, there is dismissiveness, nonchalance, and/or excuses — and how could that not rear its ugly head on so many levels?
Your partner’s sexual needs are essential, even if they are not your own. Never assume that you automatically know everything about them. Also, never assume that what worked two years ago is what will “scratch the itch” now. Hmph. Come to think of it, while you’re sipping on that wine and clearly articulating to him what turns you on, use that as an opportunity to ask him to return the favor. Listen with humility, receptiveness, and intent — the best kind of relationships process their partner’s needs with this kind of vibe…across the board.
5. Taking the “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It” ApproachGiphy
Lazy lovers. When you hear that phrase, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? If it’s someone who is just lying there during sex, that would certainly qualify; however, I’m actually speaking of a different kind of laziness here. Believe it or not, some synonyms for lazy include words like apathetic, inattentive, tired, passive (cough, cough), procrastinating, neglectful, and slacking. So yeah, if you and/or your partner can use any of these words to define what sex is consistently like between the two of you — red flag, red flag…RED FREAKIN’ FLAG.
Speaking of being passive, another potentially serious sex-related problem is taking on the attitude that if something ain’t broke, you shouldn’t fix it. What I mean by that is, just because you know that getting on top and riding for exactly six-and-a-half minutes is what will get your partner off, that doesn’t mean that it should be your automatic go-to all of the damn time.
Why? Because. While a part of the fun of having sex is “reaching the peak,” another component that should never be underestimated is discovering new territory: trying new positions, creating a sex bucket list, taking (more) sexcations, playing sex-themed board games (put that phrase in Amazon or on Etsy’s site and go ham!)…you know, doing what will inspire creativity and deter either of you from becoming bored.
That said, a husband of 17 years once told me, “A man can be satisfied with the same woman. We just don’t want the same kind of sex with her.” Words to live by. Yes, indeed.
6. Using Sex as a Deflection or Coping MechanismGiphy
A few years ago, I wrote an article for the platform entitled, “Make-Up Sex Might Be Doing Your Relationship More Harm Than Good” — and with good cause. Words cannot express how many divorced (or soon-to-be divorced) women have told me that a part of what kept them in their marriage, for as long as they stayed in it, was the fact that the sex with their husband was beyond amazing…even though so much other stuff completely and totally sucked. Hey, good sex isn’t a bad thing (c’mon now); however, if it’s the only real thing that’s keeping you with someone, it can turn out to be a toxic deflector.
The reason why I say that is the purpose of sex isn’t to make love; it’s to celebrate it. And if all you’re doing with your partner is f — king and fighting or avoiding issues by stripping down or thinking that sex will “make it all better,” all the while not really knowing what the problem/issue is or what needs to be done to get down to the root of it, that is using sex as a pacifier and again, that’s not what sex is designed to be. Sex doesn’t deserve the pressure of being the end-all to “fixing” ish.
So, if what’s transpiring in your relationship lately is very little talking and a whole lot of sexing, and then once the sex is over, something still feels “off,” that’s a good indication that you’re misusing sex on some level. Get out of the bed, put on a robe, and do some talking (preferably in a room other than the bedroom; leave that space for sex and sleep only as much as possible). Because remember — as much as the wives that I mentioned said that their husbands once had them climbing the walls, those men are still ex-husbands now. Bottom line, sex is good, yet when it comes to keeping a relationship together, it will never be enough. Again, it was never designed to be.
7. Faking ItGiphy
I will never be a fan of faking orgasms. Maybe it’s because I’m a Gemini (we may be a lot of things, but “fake” isn’t really our style). Maybe it’s because I’m a very word-literal individual, and I know that fake means things like “prepare or make (something specious, deceptive, or fraudulent)” and “to conceal the defects of or make appear more attractive, interesting, valuable, etc., usually in order to deceive.” Or perhaps it’s because I don’t get how acting like you’re sexually fulfilled when you actually aren’t is doing anyone any good. Whatever it is, whenever a client (or someone in general because men fakealmost as much as women do) tells me that it’s something they do, I immediately find myself on a mission to shut that mess down (check out “Why You Should Stop Faking Orgasms ASAP”). ALL THE WAY DOWN.
The main reason is that, regardless of if the motive is to hurry things along, not hurt your partner’s feelings, or it’s something more cryptic than that (cough, cough, some form of manipulation tactic), there’s no way around the fact that fakeness is tied to deception and deception is a word that should never be connected to a healthy sexual dynamic.
Besides, one could argue that faking is a form of deflection as well because…wouldn’t it be better to just get it all out in the open WHY you are doing it than to keep pretending when life is too short and great sex is too good to not get the absolute most out of it, as much as possible?
Besides, again, chances are that if you’re faking that you’re sexually pleased, you’re probably faking something else in your relationship (or situation), and how could that possibly be good, right, or beneficial?
Yeah, when it comes to being satisfied across the board, please don’t fake it. State your case in the way that you’d like to hear something said to you, and let the chips fall where they may. If you’ve got a good man, he’s gonna — no pun — rise to the occasion. If his ego can’t handle it, well…that’s something that you should find out sooner than later — when it comes to the bedroom and outside of it? Right? #shoyouright
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