Lord, y'all. When you get to be my age (mid-40s), when it comes to your friendships, you've kinda gotta suck it up. "It" being the reality that, if a lot of your social circle isn't already married or have children, they've got the combo. This means, for every wedding (or baby shower) that you attend, you've got to adjust to the fact that no matter how much you and your sista-friend adore each other, there are some pretty major changes that are in store—even if they aren't intentional. Even if both of you say to one another that things will remain just as they've always been.
I'll speak from personal experience and say that the changes aren't always easy either. Although I consider myself to be one of the biggest advocates for my friends and their life transitions, there's nothing like wanting to call one of my married ones at midnight and realizing that, unless it's an emergency, that's basically inappropriate. Or, after spending time with their new hubby, coming to realize that he's not your absolute favorite person on the planet (see "I'm Not A Fan Of My BFF's Man - This Is How I Make Our Friendship Work"). Yeah, navigating through a single woman/married woman friendship comes with its challenges.
So, if you've got a wedding coming up and one of your closest friends is the bride-to-be, here's an emotional cheat sheet to make getting used to y'all's new normal a bit easier. On the both of you.
Her Time Is Going to Be Different
There's a Scripture in the Bible that says, "When a man has taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war or be charged with any business; he shall be free at home one year, and bring happiness to his wife whom he has taken." (Deuteronomy 24:5—NKJV) I dig it because it's a reminder to 1) marry a man who has his own house in order before saying "I do" so that he can give you some much-needed quality time, and 2) expect newlyweds to be all into each other because yeah, those first several months, you may not see them much. However, I'll just say that, you shouldn't assume that once the googly eyes and daily sex on the kitchen floor have subsided that your friend's time will fully go back to normal.
If she and her man are taking their relationship seriously, they become one another's top priority. This means that a lot of what was going on in their lives when they were single, it now becomes a concern of the other partner. This means that if your friend was already pressed for time as a "Ms.", things are definitely going to be more congested for her as a "Mrs." Meeting up with you at the last minute after work is going to be a lot more difficult and staying on the phone with you for hours on end is going to be pretty unrealistic. In short, time together will need to be planned. Spontaneity, for the most part, will be a thing of the past.
To a Certain Extent, Her Husband Will Be a Factor
There are a few married couples I know whose marriage blew all the way up because one of them ignorantly (and semi-arrogantly) went into the relationship thinking that each other's families weren't going to be an issue. What I mean by that is, while some of them were dating and not getting along with their partner's mom, dad or sibling, I would ask them, "So, how is that gonna translate after you get married?" Many times, their reply would be somewhere along the lines of, "I'm marrying them. Not their family." Uh-huh. While that mindset works in theory, if your spouse has a relationship with the very people you don't get along with, there are going to be some pretty major bumps along the way for you and your marriage. You'd be better off trying to smooth things over before your wedding day, not after. Family drama has caused more than a few divorces, believe you me.
Although I'm not a blood relative of any of the wives that I am close to, we are, what I call, "love family". And since their husband is their family too, I try my best to not only tolerate their spouse but cultivate my own connection with them.
That way, even if the husband doesn't see me as a "love sister", they can at least treat me like a "love second cousin". You might not think this is super important, but when you want to come over and have dinner or you need to cry over the phone about your ex at 9pm, you'll be amazed how much being cool with the hubby will make that so much easier for you to do.
Her Focus Will Shift. A LOT. At Least for a Little While.
With life transitions come new experiences—and new perspectives. As it relates to marriage, when a woman becomes a wife, it's impossible for her to be 100 percent the same person that she was when she was single. She's got to consider her husband's feelings about things. She's got to balance his needs with her own. Now, his family and friends are a part of her world. His finances become an area of concern just like her own. There are things about her marriage she can share and things she has to keep to herself. She's got to figure out how to make quality time for her hubby as well as herself. In short, being married means that she has a lot more on her plate; a lot more to focus on.
If you don't emotionally prepare yourself for this, it will be really easy for you to get your feelings hurt. I can't tell you how many times I've called a wife to tell her something ridiculous a guy said and she finds a way to bring up a disagreement between her and her husband or, I want to talk about Queen Sugar and she wants to talk about a meal she's surprising her man with. When someone is in love, they talk about the object of that love a lot. When they share a house, bed and name with that individual, prepare for that to multiply exponentially so. It's not that your girl doesn't care about what you care about; she simply has to find balance now that there are a whole lot of other things to focus on too.
Her Social Circle Will Expand
Something that makes two people friends is the commonalities that they share. They like the same things. They share similar experiences. They know some of the same people. That makes it easy for them to have plenty to talk about so that they are able to remain emotionally connected. But once your friend gets married, while the things that you share will still exist, she will now have a whole new social circle that you probably won't be a part of. Her husband's boss. Her man's college buddies. If marriage included them moving to another city, state or country, an entire network of folks who you may never meet. As those individuals become more of a part of her life, those influences will expand her world and probably her views on things as well. To a certain degree, she will change.
Most of my close friends, our social circles don't cross much at all (I actually like it that way, but that's another article for another time). This means that a lot of the time, we're talking about people that we're not personally associated with. The way that we make that work is to try and care about each other's social lives simply out of respect for the friendship. That way, when I bring up a co-worker who has a slick mouth or my friend talks about her hubby's BFF who is still ho-ing out in these streets, we're still able to engage the topic because we've made it a point to invest in each other's lives; even the parts we're not directly a part of. Just so that we can remain connected.
If the Friendship Is Solid, She'll Relish the "Single Time" Together, Though
While recently doing an interview, someone asked me if it would freak me out if I never got married. Nope. Personally, I believe that once you learn how to embrace and enjoy your own season in life, you start to see all of the benefits that come right along with it. In other words, a lot of women who hate being single, they are typically the ones who are more concerned with what they are "missing" by not being a wife than what they already have by not being one. Unfortunately, what they don't realize is, some of the things that they've got, most wives miss. Maybe not every day but definitely some of the time.
Most of the wives in my life, they have told me, at least a dozen times, things like, "Girl, be glad that you always get to sleep on your entire bed" or "Girl, I wish I could just go out and spend money without consulting my husband first" or "Girl, do you know how lucky you are to be able to do whatever you want on the weekends?" Know what else? When a lot of these wives find themselves walking down memory lane of their singledom, guess who they want to call to go see a movie or hear me talk about what the single world is like? They say that you don't know what you had until its gone. Many wives will attest to the fact that while being married is great, single living has its benefits and privileges too.
A writer by the name of Arnold Bennett once said, "Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by discomforts." I won't lie to you—having a close friend get married can result in a little bit of sadness and even some grieving (which is why taking a girls' trip, even if it's for a day, sometime before the wedding can be helpful). Life as you knew it, it is going to shift. But if you choose to embrace and adjust to the love that she has found and she makes sure to keep you as a priority because she values your presence, your friendship can remain intact. It might not be the same anymore, but it will still be good. As time goes on, possibly even better.
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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.
There’s nothing quite as humbling as navigating adulthood with no instruction manual. Since the turn of the decade, it seems like everything in our society that could go wrong has, inevitably, gone wrong. From the global pandemic, our crippling student debt problem, the loneliness crisis, layoffs, global warming, recession, and not to mention figuring out what to eat for dinner every night. This constant state of uncertainty has many of us wondering, when are the grown-ups coming to fix all of this?
But the catch is, we are the new grown-ups.
As if it happened without our permission, we became the new adults. We are the members of society who are paying taxes, having children, getting married, and keeping our communities afloat, one iced latte at a time. Still, there’s something about doing all these grown-up duties that feel unnaturally grown-up. Enter the #teenagegirlinher20s.
If there’s one hashtag to give you the state of the next cohort of adults, it’s this one. Of the videos that have garnered over 3.9M views, you’ll find a collection of users who are overwhelmed by life’s pressing existential responsibilities, clung to nostalgia, and reminiscent of the days when their mom and dad took care of their insurance plans.
no like i cant explain to her why i had to buy multiple tank air dupes from aritzia #teenagegirlinher20s #fyp
The concept of being a 20-something or 30-something teenager is linked to the sentiment of not feeling “grown up enough” to do grown-up things while feeling underprepared and even nihilistic about whether that preparation even matters.
It’s our generation’s version of when we ask our grandmothers how old they are and they simply reply with, “I still feel 45,” all while being every bit of 76 years old. In this, we share a warped concept of time while clinging to a desire for infantilization.
Granted, the pandemic did a number on our concept of time. Many of us who started the pandemic in our early or mid-20s missed out on three fundamental years of socialization, career development, and personal milestones that traditionally help to mark our growth.
Our time to figure out and plan our next steps through fumbling yet active participation was put on pause indefinitely and then resumed provisionally. This in turn has left many of us hanging in the balance of uncertainty as we try to make sense of the disconnect between our minds and bodies in this missing gap of time.
Because we’re all still figuring out what the ramifications of being locked away and frozen in time by a global pandemic will have on us as a society, there really is no “right” way of making up for lost time. Feeling unprepared for any new chapter of life is a natural rite of passage, pandemic or not. However, it’s important to not stay stuck in the last age or period of life that made sense to us because self-growth is the truest evidence of personal progress.
So whether you’re leaning on your inner child, teenager, or 20-something for guidance as you fill the gap between your real age and pandemic age, know that it’s okay to grieve the person you thought you would be and the milestones you thought you’d hit before you ever knew what a pandemic was. If there’s anything that the pandemic taught us, it’s that we have the power to reimagine a better world and life for ourselves. And if we tap into our inner teenager as a compass, we can piece together our next chapter with a fresh outlook.
Sure, we’ve lost a couple of years, but there are still some really amazing ones ahead.
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