Recently, while I was being interviewed on the topic of relationships, someone asked me if it bothered me to be my age and still single. You know what's interesting? When I was in my late 20s with a boyfriend who hadn't yet proposed, I was bothered. During points in my 30s when I wasn't sure if I wanted to birth kids or not, I was bothered. Now? Absolutely not.
It's no secret that I haven't had sex since I was (whew) 32 and that I'll be 45 soon. One of the things this time of abstinence has done for me is helped me to purge the personalities that came with the people I slept with out of my system (oxytocin is the ultimate super glue, y'all!).
Something else it did was help me get to know who I am sans the preoccupation of being in a relationship. For the first time since, probably ever, I'm very clear on who I am, what I have to offer, what I deserve, and also what I not only desire but expect from my future husband should I ever jump a broom someday.
The things on this list that I'm about to share with you? They're not your typical kinds of characteristics. They're more like…things that I overlooked in the past; things that, either the lack of them have turned out to be major issues in the marriages of couples I work with or they're things that, if they are not present, I already know I won't be fully satisfied with my own union someday.
They're things that go way beyond he's gotta look good, be good in bed, and a protector and provider. All of those are relevant but these right here are what will keep me in the game until death parts him and me.
5 Qualities To Look For In A Husband
I'm telling you, when you spend time looking within rather than out at other people (mainly men in this case), you can discover so much about yourself; things that will help you to really know when you've met the right one for you and your life.
Me? Something I discovered, not too long ago, is that I'm an empath. I feel things…deeply. That's why I now get that I expect to be with an empathetic person—someone who is a good listener; someone who puts the needs of others before his own; someone who has natural leadership skills; someone who isn't desensitized to other people's pain…someone who has a strong sense of discernment, doesn't mind spending time alone (because Lord knows I sometimes need it) and puts real effort into trying to see my perspective of things, whether we're debating politics or having an argument about money.
Empathetic people tend to be kind, sensitive, and fully present. I think A LOT of women underestimate how important this quality in a man really and truly is.
LIS-TEN. I didn't put these in the order of importance, but if there is one quality that I didn't require in the past from pretty much any guy I had a relationship or situationship with but is now a total deal-breaker if it's lacking, it was this one. Rather than being proactive, most of the men in my life were reactive. You know what I'm talking about—they tried to make up missing my birthday (reactive) or they'd do something thoughtful after I would bring up that I couldn't remember the last time that they had (reactive).
A reactive man can keep you on the hook for a while because if they go to extreme measures to fix things, you can feel like matters will improve. But the reason why this no longer works for me personally is because a proactive man is going to demonstrate that you're on his mind, that he wants to please you, and that you're so much of a priority that he doesn't need your help (reminders included) to show you just how much you mean to him. He's gonna be thoughtful and on top of things all on his own.
Proactiveness is a superpower and sexy as all get out. Chile, chile…CHILE.
Something that I make sure to bring up in premarital counseling sessions with couples is that it's important that their purposes complement one another. I'm not saying that they should be the same; I'm saying that they should work together in a way where both are giving the space and support to truly thrive.
A woman who wants a man with a set 9-to-5 schedule doesn't need to marry an entertainer (trust me, their schedules are all over the place; their income tends to be too). A man who wants a traditional housewife needs to think long and hard about being with an entrepreneur (her ambition may clash with his expectations).
So many people—people who truly love one another—end up straight-up resenting each other, all because they feel like their partner is not (pardon the corniness, but it's the first thing that came to mind) the wind beneath their wings but a huge stumbling block.
Mark Twain once said, "The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why." My husband needs to celebrate my birthday and support my purpose. Both are non-negotiable. Your husband should do the same. Because if you're married but because of the obstacles from your husband, you're unable to soar in the very lane of why God put you here in the first place…what kind of marriage is that?!
I don't know about you, but I love hard and I give a lot. I don't have to think about it, it's just who I am. But in the past, rarely did I feel truly appreciated for my efforts. I allowed both men and women to manipulate me into thinking that expecting such a thing meant that my motives for giving were wrong in the first place.
Whatever. Someone who benefits in a relationship who doesn't express gratitude is rude. And if you let them get away with it for too long, that can transfer over into them having a sense of entitlement when it comes to your time, resources, effort, and everything else.
Appreciative people say "thank you." Appreciative people let you know that you matter to them. Appreciative people aren't comfortable with one-sided relationships (they are all about reciprocity). Appreciative people are generous.
I can only imagine how many marriages would avoid their local divorce court if husbands and wives felt truly (and consistently) appreciated.
For me and what I personally expect, I'm saving the best for last. Intellect and wit are huge turn-ons for me, so I never really lacked in those departments with guys. But spiritual maturity? Don't. Get. Me. Started.
I must say that this one right here runs the gamut. I'd like someone who will pray with and for me without my prompting him to. I'd like someone who has such a strong relationship with the Most High that it's one of his most attractive qualities. I'd like someone who finds his spiritual growth and development to be more important than how successful he becomes or how much money he makes. I'd like someone who is intentional about avoiding the people, places, things, and ideas that would tamper with his spirit, my spirit. or our union.
There's one more thing. I adore the Hebrew language and the Hebrew word for spirit is "ru'ach." It means "wind." Wind is air that naturally blows in a horizontal direction. Here comes the wind beneath my wings reference again. I want the kind of man who, due to how mature he is in his spirituality, I can directly attribute his presence and influence to my going to new heights in every area of my own world.
At this stage of my life, I am so serious about my spirituality that I don't just want it—I expect it.
Again, I've seen so many marriages lack in these five areas, that I really do believe these are things that all of us should expect. But even if you don't, I unapologetically do.
It takes a rare and special man to be empathetic and proactive and supportive of my purpose and appreciative and spiritually mature. I desire a rare and special marriage. I can wait. It'll be worth it.
Featured image by Getty Images.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Many have wondered if one time is ever enough to see Queen Bey. Some argue yes. However, many of us on the opposite end of the spectrum, including myself, would disagree. Beyoncé's "Renaissance World Tour" is a universal yet varying experience for everyone who attends. In the words of Oprah Winfrey, the concert is "transcendent." For millennials, we have over two decades of her catalog that has served as the soundtrack for many of our lives and painted a personal portrait of our most coveted thoughts. Her music provides mental clarity and self-expression by serving as a universal language that has united fans from all walks of life through community, fashion, self-acceptance, and healing.
With a multi-layered approach to her artistry, just as she did on that winter day in December 2013 with the infamous digital drop of her self-titled album, she changed the game again on February 1, 2023, when she announced her world tour in support of Renaissance, her seventh studio album. Her cultural impact set the internet ablaze, with everyone trying to gather their coins, barter for presale codes, and figure out which cities to attend. The group chats were lit, and the Beyhive was stressed trying to get their hands on tickets.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
Unfortunately, I was in that number. As the concert dates passed by and the one in my city drawing near all roads led to disappointment. With time ticking on the day of the Miami show and less than two hours to spare, my wallet bit the bullet, and I purchased three last-minute tickets, costing roughly $700.00 a piece (including fees) for me, my 9-year-old and 16-year-old nieces in Section 121 at the Hard Rock Stadium. With 10 minutes before showtime, we eagerly awaited the Queen to take the stage. A sea of metallic fringes, cowboy hats, disco fans, and western boots were in full effect and filled the entire stadium.
As the lights dimmed, a flood of emotions instantly overtook my body. It continued with each note she belted, along with nearly 50,000 roaring fans. The reverberating sound of the music through the stadium transported me from one era of my life to the next. As a teen girl in her bedroom daydreaming about her first love to blossoming into an unapologetic Black woman who is still on a road of self-discovery while learning to lean into the power anthem of "You won't break my soul." For over two hours, and with each set, I felt joy, love, peace, and a commanderie with fellow concertgoers. It was therapeutic as I danced like no one was watching and sang as if I were alone in my bathroom mirror.
There were no bars held, and I realized at that moment, "Nobody can judge me but me." The "Renaissance World Tour" proved to be so vast, and my Black girl joy was re-invigorated. It was magnetic and liberating, and I had to attend again, but this time, I needed to be up close and personal; I needed to be on the floor. In the days that passed, I watched more social media clips in different cities and asked myself if I would really splurge again to attend another Renaissance show.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
After all, this would be my thirteenth time (maybe more because I lost count) seeing Beyoncé live, whether she was on tour with Destiny's Child, as a solo artist, or doing a live appearance. I contemplated for a while, but it worked itself out on its own. I was gifted two tickets and the next thing I knew, I was off to LA to attend another Renaissance show with floor seats at SoFi Stadium during Beyonce's 42nd birthday weekend! This time, things were different: no kids were allowed. It was adults only this go round.
Although the energy at the Miami and Los Angeles shows was empowering, infectious, and a celebration of life, happiness, and identity, they each provided their own unique experience. However, both concerts were what I needed for my well-being, leaving me with sore feet from dancing the night away, on vocal rest for the next few days from screaming at the top of my lungs, and on an indefinite high on life.
My introduction and love for Beyoncé began in 1996, while my older sister lived in Houston, TX, right before Bey hit the scene in 1998 with "No, No, No" as a budding R&B member. Her evolution twenty-seven years later as an international superstar and into womanhood has been an incredible journey to witness. As Mrs. Carter reminds each of us in the audience every night before the curtain closes, "I want you to remember this moment, where you're standing, who you came with, and take it with you. I hope you feel inspired."
I truly felt inspired, so thank you, Queen Bey. You awakened my inner child, and I will definitely remember these moments and take them with me.
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Feature image by Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Parkwood