Back in 2009, I started a blog for single women who desired to be married. Actually, to be more specific, it was for women who desired to be in a marital covenant (check out "Until Death Do Us Part — For Real" to see why I believe there is a difference). Not a week went by when I didn't receive at least a handful of women who were, how do I put it, anxious beyond measure.
For them, being single wasn't something that they cherished; it was merely something that they tolerated. Yeah, I won't even get into how many of them wrote me about how they truly believed that God told them that someone was their husband whether they knew the guy or not, whether the guy was interested in them or not or whether they had already said that very thing five times before…or not (God is not the author of confusion; the Good Book says so in I Corinthians 14:33). It was like being a bride and then a wife was all-consuming in their world. Personally, I found that reality to be really…well, sad.
It's not because I don't desire to married someday myself. It's just that I think sometimes we can be so caught up in—if not flat-out obsessed with—wanting something (or someone) that we don't even really know why. It's like the desire has been a part of us so long that we don't make the time to truly process why we want it so badly in the first place.
If for you, what you want more than anything in the world is marriage, listen—marriage is a beautiful, sacred and purpose-filled thing. But if your longing for it has you totally ignoring the also beautiful, sacred and purpose-filled season of singleness, I've got a few things that I'd like you to ponder. The answers that you provide just might reveal some hard truths to you. And that? That can be a good thing—for the sake of your single present as well as your potentially-married-someday future.
Is It Because Everyone Around You Is Married (or Is Getting Married)?
At 45, I'm at a point in my life where maybe two people in my inner circle are single. I think because I deal with the topic of marriage so much and I get to see what's really going on in people's relationships, the thought of being a "third wheel" at my married friends' homes and functions doesn't bother me. As I say often, "Marriage ain't for punks", so I'm more on the tip of "kudos" to all of those who are attempting to not only make their work, but make it thrive as well. That doesn't mean that I don't know quite a few single women who aren't in the same headspace. Many have expressed to me that they are jealous of their married girlfriends, they are sick of going to weddings and they are feeling lonelier than ever.
If this is you, you have the right to feel how you feel. With that being said, I have witnessed far too many unhealthy marriages. That's why I can promise you that it's better to be single with bouts of loneliness than to get up into a union that you'll end up regretting. And so, if the main reason why you're so consumed with getting married is because you want to be like the rest of your friends, do yourself two favors. First, ask the wives in your life about the challenges that come with being married (everything has its ups and "downs"). Second, start finding more people to hang with. Single people.
When it comes to that second part, the reason why I say that is because, if all you're around is marriage, it makes sense why you would think that that is all there is to life. It's not. Singleness is what you make it. And there's some pretty dope perks that come with not having a husband. Happy, healthy and content singles can certainly vouch for that.
Maybe It’s That You Feel As If You’re Running Out of (Baby-Making) Time?
I'm pretty open about my pregnancy journey. In 1999, I had my fourth and final abortion. My period still comes on time and my health is in great shape. But unless God comes down, sits on the side of my bed and tells me to get pregnant in this season of my life, that ship has sailed. I'm at peace with that. For so many reasons.
But man, I know a lot of women between 34-45 who are in a very different space. I get it and, as much as possible, I also empathize because when there's nothing you want too much more than a child of your own (from your own womb), a ticking biological clock can be the loudest sound in the world. To that, what I'll share is this. I know a couple who just knew that they would be pregnant on their wedding night. In fact, the husband told me that was the main reason why he wanted to get married. Several years later, there's no baby. What they do have is a pretty toxic relationship, though. There's no guarantee that when you get married, conceiving will be a breeze or even possible. That's why, getting married just to have a child is NOT a good, smart or wise idea.
Yet what should you do about your longing for a little one? If you are a woman of faith, pray. Sarah (Abraham's mom) and Elizabeth (John the Baptist's mom) were not spring chickens when they got pregnant; they still did, though. Also, be open to parenting in other ways too. I've shared before that one of my all-time favorite adoption stories is about a little girl named Chloe. Sometimes the plan that we have is so much smaller than the one God has for us. He sees your desires. Trust that He knows what's best in the midst of them.
Have You Been Consumed with Being a Wife Since…Forever?
If all that you can think about is being wife, first, that's not anything to be ashamed of. It's also not something that you should bear the total weight of either. On so many levels, it's something that our upbringing, our social circles and even the Church has filled our minds and hearts with. I mean, even when Adam and Eve were handed out the consequences for eating the fruit in the Garden of Eden, one of the things that he said was, "Your desire shall be for your husband…" (Genesis 3:16—NKJV)
At the same time, you're really doing yourself a colossal disservice if you choose to live your life like being a wife is all that you have to offer—or even if it's like the best thing that you have to offer. On the biblical tip, it goes over a lot of people's head that the first thing that a wife is defined as being is a "helper" (Genesis 2:18). Men need our help. Help requires a lot of personal investing, time and hard work.
We don't come out of the womb being a wife. We come into it being a single individual. Why wouldn't you want to use your season of singleness to, ironically, help yourself? Help yourself to find your purpose. Help yourself to achieve some goals that would be so easier to reach as a single woman. Help yourself to learn more about what you like and what you want. Help yourself to becoming your best self.
An ex of mine's mom once told me that while she loves her children, in hindsight, she wishes that she had never gotten married. At a late fall stage of her life, she didn't travel as much as she wanted to, she didn't get to take the kinds of risks that she should have—her life was all about giving to her husband and her kids.
I know far too many single women who can only see being a wife. So much so that they don't even acknowledge all of the benefits that comes with being single. After getting married is an unfortunate time to have regrets. Embrace all of what you can do as a single woman now. This brings me to my fourth point.
Do You Hate Your Life As a Single Woman?
So, what's so bad about being single, anyway? Like for real, for real. I get that a husband provides companionship, support—and if he's a really good husband—protection and provision. But be completely honest with yourself—have you ever really taken the time to think about all of the benefits that come with the relational status that you currently have? Your time is ALL yours. Your resources are ALL yours. You can pretty much do what you want, when you want, without discussing it with anyone else. Shoot, you spent 18 years doing that very thing with your parents. Don't you want to enjoy at least a little more time before having to considerately run things by your life partner?
If you truly are planning on someday going into a marriage with the intentions of being with your husband for the rest of your life, I recommend looking at becoming a wife like becoming a mom. What I mean by that is once you're in, you're in. In many ways, life as you now know it will no longer exist.
One of my closest friends tells me that sometimes she envies my singleness because she isn't able to go to the bathroom alone. When I ask her if she's referring to her kids bothering her, she sighs and says, "Sometimes it's them. But girl, sometimes it's my husband." The last time I went to their house, she asked me to come into her bedroom to help her with something and I noticed that, even though she and her husband aren't the shortest people in the world, their bed was on the smaller side. When I mentioned it, she rolled her eyes again. "That ain't me. That's your friend who feels like some part of his body has to be draped all over mine, no matter how hot it gets."
My friend loves her husband. I know that, for sure. Still, I am super grateful that she is kind and vulnerable enough to tell me the real deal about marriage. A lot of stuff that she shares keeps me thankful that I can use the bathroom in peace, sleep on my entire bed and live my entire life without having to have a discussion with anyone else (except God).
How About You “Push Pause” on Wanting and Start Actually Living?
If you're not familiar with Kisses from Katie, check out Amazima Ministries sometime (it's an organization that was Katie's vision, by the way). The short version of Katie's story—which is a lot more like a testimony—is she went to Uganda at 18 for a mission's trip, returned a year later and never came back to the States (to live permanently). By the age of 23, she had adopted 13 Ugandan girls and was living her life, to the fullest, as a single woman and mom.
I really respect Katie's journey, so I tend to check out her site, every few months, just to see what she has going on. I smiled when she shared that she had met her beloved. And no, he didn't come at the time or in the way that she once thought that he would. If you watch this video, you'll see that, like a lot of single women, Katie once had the dream of a white picket fence, a husband and two kids. But God had other plans. At around the 3:00 mark, the narrator of the video says:
"As a busy mother then, dating probably wasn't Katie's highest priority. She had a huge brood to take care of, all by herself, after all. But she would find love nonetheless, when her future husband, Benji Majors, walked into her life. And, in a remarkable twist of fate, it turned out that Benji and Kate had both grown up in Franklin, TN, although the two had previously never met…It wasn't until he moved to Uganda, that he and Katie's paths finally crossed."
Chills. I'll let you watch the rest of the video to see all that happened since they met. What I will say is today, they are married and they have a son, Noah. Oh, do catch something else that the narrator said, though:
"Before her romance with Benji, however, she had never believed she'd meet a man willing to take on her and her 13 adopted children…Katie thought, 'It would be nice to be married, but I guess it's not in the cards for me."
Not here in Tennessee as a single student did Katie meet her husband. It was all the way in Uganda, with a purpose as wide as all get out, did their paths cross. At the right place and time. Not while she was pining away for a husband. But while she was living her life to the fullest! And the man that was meant to complement her life? He didn't just marry her—he is helped to raise all of her daughters.
If you want the right husband, you need to be out here doing your thing because you can best believe that a good man is going to be here doing his. You're probably not gonna run into him begging and pleading in prayer in the side of your bed. It's probably going to happen while you're in the midst of doing what you were put on this planet to do.
That's one of the biggest takeaways I've gotten from Katie's story.
Again, there's nothing wrong with wanting to be married. Nothing at all. But if you really dig deep into the whys behind it, they may reveal that your desire could be about more than just having a husband. Because just think about it—you don't want to just "get married". You want to be happily and continually married, right?
Let life do its thing while you're thriving as a single woman. If you're committed to that, no matter how it turns out, you'll have far less regrets than if you just sit around wishing for a husband all of the time. I believe Katie—and some of the married women that you personally know—can personally vouch for that. A million times over too.
So, do yourself a favor. Treat yourself to a "You've Gotta Go Through God to Get to Me" tee, and chill out. Wanting marriage is fine. Just try your best to be intentional about wanting a lot more for yourself than that. Because you are certainly worthy of more...than that. Feel me?
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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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