what does it mean to be “equally yoked”?

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Simple question/Complex answer: “What Does It Mean To Be Equally Yoked?” Equally yoked is a biblical phrase referred to in the Christian community that is oftentimes used to justify a decision made about a relationship or marriage. I have heard people say that they were not equally yoked with someone because of a different upbringing, decision making process, beliefs, finances, education, location and even appearance. That stuff has nothing to do with being equally yoked! What’s funny is that the phrase “unequally yoked” does not specifically refer to marriage. Actually, the phrase “equally yoked” is not even in the bible. II Corinthians 6:14 (KJV) says, “Be ye not unequally yoked with unbelievers. . .” It doesn’t say relationships, it doesn’t say marriage but its implication is that of any relationship with another person. A relationship with another person could be a marriage. I want to answer the question at hand in a manner which provides couples with the information necessary to determine their “Yoke Status.” To get to that answer, the first thing we have to do is discuss what has absolutely nothing to do with being equally yoked.

If two people go to church together that does not mean that they are equally yoked. If two people don’t go to church together that does not mean that they are unequally yoked. If one person goes to one church and the other person goes to another church, can they still be equally yoked? Well, maybe. If one person goes to church and the other person does not go to church can they still be equally yoked? Well, maybe. Both people have to be Christians. Being equally yoked does not apply to unbelievers. Unbelievers don’t have a yoke. Reading the bible together does not make you equally yoked but we are getting warmer! Being in love does not mean that you are equally yoked. Being married does not mean that you are equally yoked. Having a great friendship does not mean that you are equally yoked. Having things in common does not mean that you are equally yoked. If you are not equally yoked can you still get married? Yes . . . if you take II Corinthians 6:14 out of the bible. If you determine while married that you are not equally yoked can you get a divorce? No. I will explain why later. If you are equally yoked with someone, do you always stay “in yoke” with them? Maybe, maybe not. Can you not be in love with someone and still be equally yoked to them? Yes. Can you be equally yoked to two people at the same time? Yes. I will explain later. . . on second thought I better explain that one right now.

Being equally yoked initially doesn’t have anything to do with your love for another person or your relationship or marriage to another person. The first thing you have to do is be a believer in God’s word. Two people who are believers that are in a relationship or marriage ARE equally yoked. Don’t celebrate just yet! Being equally yoked does not guarantee any sort of successfulness for your relationship or marriage. Confirming that two people are equally yoked is what we should do at the beginning of a relationship. Confusion sets in when we are trying to figure out what it means to be equally yoked. In my humble opinion, being equally yoked is about two believers sharing a spiritual connection with God. For example one person can go to church and another person may not be attending church and they could still be equally yoked if they are believers who share a spiritual connection with God. (The person that does not go to church needs to be in fellowship with other Christians at some capacity on a regular basis.) I am a relationship expert but I can’t tell you if you are equally yoked to another person because I don’t know how you know God. I don’t know how your partner knows God. I definitely can’t tell you anything about the spiritual connection to God that you share with your partner either. Two couples could have two different levels of spiritual connection with God. Couple A could be on “Spiritual Connection Level 8” together and be equally yoked. Couple B could be on “Spiritual Connection Level 4” together and be equally yoked. Let’s say that we have an individual on “Spiritual Connection Level 7” who wants to marry an individual on “Spiritual Connection Level 5.” Should they get married? It depends. They will need to agree on what level they both can share a spiritual connection for God. Maybe they can meet on level 6. I know what you are wondering! “Is this spiritual connection stuff in the bible?” The answer is NO but the problem is that if I said yes, too many people would believe me. That is actually kind of funny. I cannot define for you what “Spiritual Connection Level” you are on because . . . well, I made it up. If you didn’t know that I made it up you need to get that anointed oil in your life.

Here is an example of two people meeting on the same spiritual connection level. One of my friends goes to church all the time. I mean, she is in church all the time!!! She recognizes that the man that she may marry may not want to be in church all the time. She said that as long as he attends church regularly and that he is a praying man then that’s enough for her. She is figuring out what the lowest level of spiritual connection a man must have with God in order for her to be in a relationship with that man.

I have traveled the country talking to Christians and unbelievers about relationships and marriage. I have disappointing news about my travels. Marriage is just as difficult for Christians as it is for unbelieversHow is this possible? I get the same relationship questions from people who hear me being interviewed on HOT 97 in New York as I get from the people who hear me on gospel radio in Chicago. I get the same relationship questions from people I talk to at one of my book signings at a night club in Atlanta as I do at singles ministry at a church in Dallas. Again, I ask, how is it possible for marriage to be just as difficult for Christians as it is for unbelievers? Christians have simple instructions and/or examples to follow that will afford them a foundation from which to build upon to have a successful marriage. God says that marriage is a mystery but the bible does give us the direction necessary to build the foundation needed to place our marriage on. Let’s a review a few of these directions:

He took Adam’s rib and made woman.

A wife is a gift from God. Man, she was created from you for you.

Wives submit to your husbands.

He submits to God, you submit to him. God left Adam in charge, woman!!!

Man leaves his father and mother and shall cleave unto his wife.

I will never understand why more men do not take the title of “Husband” more personally. There is no greater title for a man to have. Not president, not rapper, not actor, not football player, not doctor, not attorney, etc.

Wives respect your husbands.

Every day I talk to more and more women who intentionally disrespect their husbands. I hereby cancel the “Women’s Independence Movement.” Women, instead of saying, “I am an Independent Woman,” start saying that, “I want a Dependable Man.” (I know, I know, that’s a whole nutha article that I already wrote. Look it up.)

He who finds a wife, finds a good thing. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

– Too many men don’t understand the value of a good woman. President Obama is Presidential with or without Michelle but I promise you that he would not be the President without her. Shoot I need my wife too! Hey Boo!

The serpent said to the woman, “Go ahead on and eat the fruit.”

– The serpent has many forms. Could be Momma, could be Sister, the serpent could be your best friend that wants your husband.

I could go on, but then I would have to take up a collection.

Christians are either not following these directions or they are following the directions of the unbelievers. Unbelievers have no guide, instruction or direction to follow in terms of how to be successful at marriage. Two Christians that are married should never get a divorce because we should be constantly and consistently trying to grow closer to God. If the husband and wife are both trying to grow closer to God, then the only place that they can meet at is at God. LOOK AT GOD! Christians should know love because we know God’s love. Unbelievers only have the capacity to love themselves, that’s why their marriages are failing. Christians know of compassion, forgiveness, sacrifice and compromise. These characteristics/traits are necessary to be successful at marriage. Unbelievers don’t know nuttin bout dat stuff. Christians got direction from God and the bible and they have all of these cool characteristics and traits that help build the amazing foundation of which the institution of marriage will reside upon. So why is marriage just as difficult for Christians as it is for unbelievers? I submit to you that the answer to that question is that our leadership has not taken a harder stance against divorce. Yes, divorce is in the bible but God hates divorce. We got Pastors, Deacons, Ministers and Bishops getting divorces every day. I am not saying that people should stay together and be unhappy. I am saying that people hate their jobs and they figure out how to get up and go to work every day. Quitting a job because you are disenchanted with it is not an option for most people and God don’t even care about your job. I believe two things about marriage that I need you to tell a friend to tell a friend about.

1. Marriage Is For Everyone – You are to be Married, Celibate or Fireproof.

2. Divorce Cannot Be An Option – The institution of marriage is perfect. God created it. Man-up or Woman-up and figure out what is wrong with YOU! Get prayed up and fix your marriage! Again, I am not saying to stay and be unhappy in marriage. I am saying to focus all your energy on figuring out how to have a happy, successful marriage.

At the age of 25 I got a divorce. You know what I learned about that divorce? I learned that I was not man enough to stay in the marriage. I learned that some of the problems that I have had in my current marriage are some of the same problems that I had in my first marriage. I learned that a lot of marriages have the exact same problems. Luckily I am not the same man that I was 10 years ago. The grass is greener in my current marriage, but it is not magically greener. In this marriage I plant seeds, water the lawn and keep that edge up RIGHT!

(Oooooh Weeeee this is going to be a good speech! I can’t wait!)

Steven James Dixon
Twitter.com/StevenJDixon

Facebook.com/StevenJamesDixon

 

talk dirty to me…communication is key…

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There you are, in all your naked glory, standing before another person with whom you have decided to be intimate, and you cannot work up the courage to say, “You know what I would really like? I’d like _______ (state favorite sex act here).

This person presumably knows that you slurp pasta, can clearly see you have not been going to the gym as often as you brag about going, and assuming some genetic malady isn’t interfering with depth perception, can accurately gauge the size of your equipment.

Now you get shy?

According to the new Elle/MSNBC.com Sex and Love Survey, a lot of you do. Only four in 10 respondents said they have asked their lovers for something in bed in the past month. Now either 60 percent of you have so completely informed your partners just how you like it, and those lovers do it exactly right, or a lot of you just aren’t saying anything.

Donald S. Strassberg, a professor of psychology at the University of Utah who specializes in relationship and sexual therapy, bets on the latter.

“Much of sex therapy really turns out to be sex education and communication training,” he says. “Many people come in and the plumbing works fine, but they’re people who either have not figured out what they really want, or have yet to communicate it to each other … I have worked with couples married for decades, produced kids and grandkids, talked to each other about almost everything one could imagine, but never talked about sex.”

He tells the story of a colleague who was training a group of married couples in the skill of negotiation. They were to ask their spouses for something they wanted. Most asked for more time together, or help with the dishes, until the oldest man in the room, a 60-year-old, hesitated. Then, in a low voice, he said, “What I’d really like is oral sex.”

“OK,” the therapist said. “What would you trade for that?” The guy said, “anything.” The therapist turned to the man’s wife and asked for her reaction. She said, “I have three reactions. First, I think it is a fine idea. Second, you don’t have to trade anything, and third, why has it taken you 40 years to ask?”

Keeping your lover in the loop
Unfortunately, Strassberg says, that is just the sort of hesitancy and fear he sees all the time. And yet, communication is the bedrock of sexual satisfaction.

This is especially true as we become accustomed to each other, or as we age and accumulate medical problems like prostate disease, diabetes or arthritis. Over time and circumstance, sexual needs and desires can change. You have to keep your lover up to date.

So why don’t we? Strassberg believes it’s because our culture hasn’t given us permission. “It has its basis in fear,” he says. We’re afraid of offending our lovers, afraid of being judged by our lovers, afraid of admitting to any “weaknesses.”

“We do not grow up learning to be comfortable about it,” Strassberg says.

Many people worry that a request can sound like an implied criticism, as if “Could you swirl your tongue slowly counterclockwise” will be heard as “Why can’t you do it right?” Or “Do you think you could wear glasses and a plaid skirt marked with chalk dust and act like my seventh-grade algebra teacher?” will be heard as “You are so boring, I need you to be somebody else to get excited.”

“Some women say there’s something wrong if he wants to try something different,” says Lou Paget, the Beverly Hills love-making guru and author, most recently of “The Great Lover Playbook.”

“But bless her partner for saying so,” she says. “Most men want to ask for the fantasy thing, but the reason they don’t is they do not want to risk getting killed off.”

Sometimes we fear being selfish. This is especially true for men, who, Strassberg suggests, can be goal-oriented when it comes to sex. Many men (yes, this is really true) feel sex is unsuccessful if they haven’t made their lover orgasm. That builds anxiety. So some men fantasize about being let off the performance hook, but hesitate to ask.

“That is why some men who report good sex at home might still go to a prostitute,” Strassberg says. “You do not have to worry about pleasing anybody else.”

Love notes can create a tingle
Nobody in a loving relationship really needs to resort to hookers, though. It’s easy. “Start outside the bedroom,” Paget suggests. Two lines in a note left in a briefcase, a lunchbox or on a desk saying something like, “You are so hot. I love you very much,” can create a little tingle that lasts all day. It doesn’t have to mean sex later, it just creates a little sexy — and secure — feeling.

When speaking, start with one sentence, something as simple as letting him or her know how much he or she turns you on. “It does not have to be a description of body parts,” Paget says. “That’s what gives most people the heebie-jeebies. Guys, don’t tell her how fine an area of anatomy is!”

Also communicate by touching. “Most women are not aware of how powerful it is to just go in and hug a man,” Paget says. “I mean with that breast-squishing hug. It says to him, ‘She finds me appealing.’”

Eventually you may need to be very specific about sex. Paget suggests first asking yourself what it is you really want before you ask your lover. Vague answers like “more” or “better” aren’t too helpful. Don’t expect your lover to read between the lines. If you want oral, ask for it. If you want it harder, softer, faster, slower, ask.

If you want to try something brand new, “say, ‘Can I ask a big favor?’” Paget says. “‘May I have a special treat?’ That way you’re asking permission, making a request rather than a demand. Requests are heard, but demands are not.”

Strassberg and Paget both say good relationships mean better sex and better sex spills out into the relationship in one happy feedback loop. But both are dependent upon reciprocation.

“If people are open to doing something strictly for their partner, they know in the long run there will be payback,” Strassberg says. “Couples who have figured out how to do that for each other are very fortunate.”

Of course, as Strassberg says, asking does have a risk. You have to be willing to hear “no.”

But take that risk. “Millions of couples are capable of creating for themselves a much more satisfying sexual relationship if they are able to communicate with their partner about what works for them,” he says.

This is especially important for women. “In women, what works can be so different from woman to woman and even the same woman at different times,” Strassberg says. “Ladies, don’t leave us poor schmucks trying to figure this out.”

By Brian Alexander

msnbc.com contributor

do you know your love language?

acts of service

5 Love Languages

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After 30 years as a marriage and family counselor, Gary Chapman, PhD had heard a lot of couples’ complaints — so many complaints, in fact, that he began to see a pattern. “I realized I was hearing the same stories over and over again,” he says.

When Chapman sat down and read through more than a decade worth of notes, he realized that what couples really wanted from each other fell into five distinct categories:

Words of affirmation: compliments or words of encouragement

For some people hearing “I love you”, words of praise or compliments are what they value most. These individuals feel that words have more weight than actions and would rather hear “the reasons behind that love” versus any other expression of love. This also means that if something negative or insulting is said to one of these individuals it will not be easily forgiven.

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Quality time: their partner’s undivided attention

For some people spending time with loved ones is their preferred love language. Whether it be a quiet lunch or an afternoon walk, spending quality time and being the focus of their undivided attention leaves them feeling satisfied and comforted more than words. “Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful” to these individuals, since “being there” is crucial.

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Receiving gifts: symbols of love, like flowers or chocolates

Not all people who enjoy receiving gifts are “materialistic” this just means that for these individuals love is equated with a tangible gift. The gift doesn’t have to be extravagant or elaborate, but it does have to be meaningful and thoughtful. So if you know that your partners favourite comedian or band is going to perform and you surprise them with tickets, that would show love behind the gift. But if you were to buy a gift certificate or an impersonal gift, prepare for some serious backlash.

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Acts of service: setting the table, walking the dog, or doing other small jobs

Hearing the phrase “let me do that for you” is music to our ears, but for people who see acts of service as the greatest expression of love, hearing this phrase is like hitting the jackpot! These individuals want their partners to notice that their own responsibilities are grand and sometimes daunting and that a helping-hand every once-an-a-while shows love and care. Just as much as these individuals love acts of service, they do not deal well with broken promises and laziness and have very little tolerance for people who make more work for them, because it shows a lack of value for them.

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Physical touch: having sex, holding hands, kissing

The language of physical touch doesn’t only refer to physical touch and affection in the bedroom, but refers to the everyday physical connections, like handholding, kissing, pats on the back, and any type of re-affirming physical contact. A person who desires physical touch and affection isn’t overly touchy-feely but for them touch shows how much their partner cares for them. If that physical bond is broken by abuse their entire relationship can be destroyed indefinitely.

Remember that just because you or your partner favour a particular love language, doesn’t mean that you should stop expressing the other love languages. According to Chapman, that even though we tend to favour one language more than the others we still enjoy traits of the others as well!

Do you know your love language? Take the quiz!

http://www.the-relationship-coach.com/five-love-languages-quiz.html

 

http://www.beautyisgrowth.com

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8 things to remember after a break up

self-love

Breaking up is harsh, whether it’s expected or unexpected. You go through all that mental torture and life seems turned over, all of a sudden. You have to change your routine, wake up next to an empty spot in bed, eat meals without him etc. All of these things can cause severe anxiety and lead you to depression.

You start feeling hollow and devoid of any kind of feelings and emotions. Your heart seems distracted and your mind does not want to engage in any kind of activity. Before all of this happens, make sure you take yourself out of the trauma and the fear of being rejected and alone and remind yourself of these things:

1. You are not the reason he left:

Never blame yourself or him for whatever reason he gave you for leaving. Even if it is his fault or if he was interested in someone else, it is not your fault. He left because you two were not meant to be together. Simple. If you were, you would be together. So stop listening to those sad songs and stop thinking that it is all your fault that he left. Because he did not. Fate had decided this for you, so it happened.

2. Time heals everything:

Spend all your time crying and eating carbs or move on to a fresh start, the choice is yours. The important fact is that time passes so quickly that after a few weeks, you will not even feel the pain or the emptiness. So, it is much worse to gain unnecessary weight and then feel low over that too. Have a makeover and shape up. Let those curves be defined and within a week or two, you will become the most desirable thing in your town.

3. You are free!

You do not have to have long fights over wearing that mini skirt to the club or go out with an old friend late at night anymore. You can go wherever you want and meet whomever you want. You are a free bird now with the horizon all yours.

4. Letting go is easy:

It really is not as hard as it seems. You think that letting go of his stuff and memories will create a permanent hole in your heart, but no! It does not work like that. The sooner you will erase the memories, the better it will be for your mental and physical health. Plus, it will show how brave you are and you are among those very few people who can actually move on to be better persons instead of turning into ’emos’.

5. You are not worthless:

Think about all of those dreams you locked away because you wanted to stay with him. Well, now is the time time to let that girl out who got all of those scholarships and recognitions in college. Find your ultimate dream and fulfil it. Your passion will polish you and nourish your soul to become a much better person than who you were before you realized your worth.

6. A whole new world is out there:

So what if that one guy decided to leave you? It is certainly not the end of the world. All you need to do is step right out of your shell and let the beautiful world welcome you into its embrace. Do what you have always been reluctant to do and find your strengths. Take risks. Have fun. Enjoy your time as a single woman who is capable of doing so many meaningful things in life.

7. It is more hurtful when love is not reciprocated:

Don’t you think that being single is way better than being in a relationship in which the love you give is not reciprocated? You put all your energy and effort into that relationship but you see no such thing from your partner. Isn’t that more hurtful? We all have heard of the term ‘unconditional love’ and that, to be honest, is the best type of love that someone can give you. So if your guy never loved you unconditionally then trust me, he was not worth it at all.

8. Love will find you:

Love has its ways of finding the people who deserve to be found. And you are one of them! You deserve the kind of love we read in the Classics. The kind we watch in movies and the kind we interpret from songs. Love will find you, sooner or later. Just be patient and live your life according to your beliefs.

Every time those memories come flashing back, just remind yourself that you are a very beautiful, intellectual and strong woman. There is nothing in this world that can make you feel degraded and worthless because you are much more than that.

RELRULES.COM|BY KHADIJAH SAEED

relationship series: tips for a long lasting relationship

Maintaining a healthy and long lasting relationship is definitely no easy task, but with love, respect, patience and the right tips, you’ll be able to achieve your goal. Take a peek at the following tips and find out what you can do to make sure your relationship stays on track!

 

Tips For A Long Lasting Relationship

There isn’t any blueprint that will guarantee you a successful and long lasting relationship. We are all different and life turns out different for each and every one, allowing our judgement to decide which path to follow, but with time using a few guidelines can push through hard times and help maintain a long lasting relationship with a person that shares the same feelings of love and respect.

People make mistakes, but if you learn from these mistakes and try your best to be honest and true to yourself, you might actually pave the way to a long and healthy relationship. Check out the following tips and find out if they can help you keep your relationship on the right track.

Acceptance of a person’s qualities but also flaws is a definite must if you wish to have a long lasting relationship. We all have flaws and certain things can’t change, especially not overnight, but they can be polished, so try to accept that certain things can’t be turned into something else. Accept the person you love for who he/she is and this way you’ll feel much more relaxed in your relationship.

Compromise is something that people can’t co-exist without as no one is exactly the same as the other, so in order to make things work you have to take compromise. Listen to your partner and try to accept certain things that are important for him/her when possible and vice-versa, your partner should also take your needs into consideration.

Respect is one of the most important things in a relationship as once those ‘butterflies’ in your stomach pass, you’ll need respect to make things work. It’s been said that true love never fades away, but love needs a base to last and not ‘sink’ and that base is respect and appreciation. Try to look at the qualities of your partner and respect that person for what he/she stands for.

Have your partner’s back and support and encourage each other as lack of confidence and support will eventually have a saying in your relationship. That doesn’t mean stepping over your believes and backing someone up when it’s obvious its a mistake, but after communicating and making a mutual decision show your support. It’s very important for a couple to have the other to rely on and turn towards for help whenever in need.

Be faithful and honest as lying will not get you anywhere and you risk losing your partner’s trust. Lying will make you feel guilty and that feeling of guilt will only act as a barrier between you and your partner. With honesty and faithfulness you’ll manage to feel good about yourself and transmit to your partner a feeling of security and trust.

Have fun and step out of routine! Having things on ‘repeat’ can make you bored and lose interest. Spice up your love life once in a while or do something spontaneous that will help you and your partner have fun. Travel, cook, watch a good movie, play games, etc, as there are a variety of ways you can make sure you don’t get bored of doing the same things every day.

Anca Rose

University graduate in love with everything beauty-related. I love to dream, laugh and surround myself with fabulous people.