Settle For the Best….Avoiding Red Flags to Finding Happily Ever After…..

“It’s better to be single the rest of your life than married to the wrong person”
-unknown

 “Women with disabilities have a 40% higher chance of being a victim of domestic abuse
(2017 Stats American Psychological Society)

 


Over the weekend Chad and I celebrated 4-1/2 years of wedded bliss. And it made me reflect on my life and what it took to get me to this point. To be able to wake up every day to the man of my dreams. 

Growing up I never had a boy show any interest in me. Even through high school, I was never asked out on dates.

This changed my sophomore year of college when I was introduced to a guy who was a mutual friend of one of my college suitemates. Although we lived several states apart, we began emailing and phoning back and forth and I fell head over heels for him.

He was charming and funny.

He told me I was pretty and that he loved me. We made tentative plans to meet in the summer.

Then things got weird.

Whenever I would mention hanging out with guy friends, he became extremely jealous. To the point of contacting some of my guy friends to tell them we were a couple. And to basically back off.

Classy.

Then through our conversations, he began to ask inappropriate questions like what my ‘measurements’ were.

Um, ew.

He then suggested I needed to get off my anti-depressant because “I thought having a boyfriend would fix all your problems.”

You know that thing where your mouth works faster than your brain? Yeah. That happened a lot with this guy. Except that his brain believed what his mouth was saying. ( e_e )

To be honest, this made me uncomfortable, but as a 19-year-old who had never dated before, I clung to the very thin shred of good stuff.

Even though he saw me as an object to be possessed, not a treasure to be cherished.

But then he would tell me I was pretty and that he loved me.

Even so, I decided one day I needed a break. I asked him to not contact me through phone calls, email or snail mail for one week. So I could get my thoughts together.

This is when the gifts started arriving in the form of flowers. That I could not enjoy because I knew he was trying to manipulate me to get back together. Even so, I decided to get back together with him. 

Afterall he said he loved me and called me pretty. And I’d never gotten flowers from a guy before. 

Weeks passed, the school year ended, and my parents came to drive me back home. During the 18-hour trip, we had a long talk about my relationship with this guy. And their concerns that he wasn’t treating me well. Then my mom asked me something I’ve never forgotten: “Do you think this will be it?” In other words, “Do you think this will be the last time a guy shows interest in you?”

And to be honest in that moment as a 19-year-old, my answer was yes. I honestly thought he’d be the best I would ever have. Nearly 20 years later, I see the flaw in that reasoning. To think that things couldn’t ever be better. That I deserved better. 

Dear reader, the enemy comes to lie, cheat and destroy. The enemy will feed you the lies that this is the best you’ll ever have. That you don’t deserve someone who loves you for you. 

These are lies from the pit of hell. 

If he sees you as an object to be possessed, instead of a treasure to be cherished, he’s not the one. 

If he forces you to disconnect from friends or family, he’s not the one. 

If he hits you, even once, he’s not the one. 

If he forces you to do anything that you don’t want to do, sexually or otherwise, he’s not the one. 

You deserve the best and I promise the wait is SO worth it. 

Cheers♥♥♥

me-laura-valentine

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Making Geography Work: Tips for Dating Long Distance

Geography sucks. I remember being in High School and during our final exam in World Geography Jr. year, I was the last kid to finish. Actually I didn’t finish, I had to quit because I had stayed so long the teacher needed to go home. True story. You know another time geography sucks? When you finally meet the man of your dreams and he’s several hours away by car. And you can’t drive.

I had met him after paying for a 3 month subscription to www.christiancafe.com (a site we highly recommend, by the way 😉 ), a Christian dating website that featured real-time messaging, and a feature to block any toads met along the way. We met one day after I had sent him a message, a short note about how I had seen his profile and enjoyed reading it and looked forward to talking with him further. I also sent him a wink, an emoticon set up by the site that members were able to send each other, denoting that they’d like to get to know you better. Then I waited. Thankfully it only took a day for him to respond.

Fast forward one month. We had been talking on a daily basis about everything from family to preferred hobbies. Finally we discussed meeting in person. Our first date was pure magic. He drove to my city and I took the local bus to meet him at a restaurant. Conversation was effortless and fun. For the first time in a situation such as this, I felt comfortable actually being myself. After we parted ways for the evening, I found myself in tears. Not because our date was horrible, but because I didn’t know when we’d be able to see each other again. Have I mentioned geography sucks? Well, fear not. Through my husband’s and my -nearly 3 yrs- long distance relationship, we learned ways of shortening the gap between our homes. We hope this list helps you or someone you know to get through the time apart.

1. Skype is AMAZING! I had installed Skype after the birth of my first nephew in an attempt to keep in touch–we are also long distance. Skype, or FaceTime, is great when you miss each other but you need more than a phone call

2. Talk about EVERYTHING, no matter how difficult. When we were dating, my future husband and I only saw each other once a month. Towards the end of our long distance stint we were thankfully managing every other week, but until then, things could get a bit bumpy at times. When we were together, we wanted to enjoy each other’s company. Since we only saw each other for two days out of a few weeks, if a conflict arose, we worked to solve it right away so we could enjoy ourselves. 

3. Embrace your separateness. Despite the difficulty being long distance, there was part of me that enjoyed it. At least in the beginning. Being apart meant that I had my life, he had his, but then we had our life together. Being able to recognize your separateness is something that can definitely improve a relationship. I’m sure if we had lived in the same place in the beginning, the focus would have mostly been on our relationship together more than what we each brought to it. Use this time apart to strengthen yourself and your interests. I guarantee it’ll make you a better partner for your mate.

4. Maintain a Healthy Diet. I fell into this trap during our long distance relationship and had the mindset that every time I traveled to see my honey, I was on vacation and therefore, I could have the extra-large plate of nachos. If it’s been several months between visits, maybe you can get away with this, but if you are traveling every other week, it’s best to try to stick to healthier options.

5. Pray together. This technique should probably be embraced long after the distance closes, but it’s especially important when you are long distance. It’s mentally draining on both of you to maintain a relationship through long distance, and prayer offers you spiritual support you can thrive on.

I hope you found this list useful. Please feel free to share this with anyone you know that could benefit.

Remember you are most certainly not alone.

Cheers! 🙂

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*Affiliate link provided. All opinions are my own

 

Dating With Confidence: A How-To Guide

Today has been crazy busy so far. We had errands then had to run to a tax appointment. Of course as soon as we were ready to leave, our oldest cat threw up. Twice. Oh, did I also mention it is raining and gloomy outside? Yep, it’s been a stress filled day so far. You know what else can be stressful? Dating.

Dating in Junior High and High School can be fun. Honestly the only thing kids who are dating in Jr. High do is awkwardly hold hands while at the same time avoiding each other. It may culminate in a public fight/break up session. Very dramatic. Of course this is a generalization based very loosely on my own experience and from what I’ve observed over the years.

In high school things get moderately more serious, with some relationships lasting through high school and ending in marriage (this worked for many of our grandparents and some of our parents). What about those of us this description doesn’t cover? Waiting to date till you are older-due to family or religious tradition, or having never been asked-is a fairly recent phenomenon of our generation. Even millennials are typically shown to meet their partner and marry later in life, which also delays the arrival of children. So in the next paragraphs, I offer a few dating tips for those of you who are older and hopefully a bit wiser.

1. Actually use the word: There is an unspoken rule that when one is asking for a date, the word “date” is not to be used. For example:

Boy: “So, do you want to go out for coffee sometime? Girl: “Sure, let me check my schedule and get back to you.”

The two parties then go out for coffee, and one or both of them will be sitting at the table mentally trying to figure out if this is a real date or not. The last time I was interested in a boy, before I met my husband, I called him up and *gasp* asked him if he wanted to go out on a DATE with me. My reasoning? I’m not getting any younger and didn’t have time for ambiguity (of course I didn’t explain my reasoning. That’s a bit much 😉 ). Could this come off as a bit too forward? Perhaps. But to the right person, you convey an air of confidence. This my friends is an attractive trait. Use it well.

2. Practice: No matter if you are a girl or guy, if you are wanting to ask someone out but are shy-practice. Write down what you want to say on a piece of paper (Sidenote: the very first time I asked a boy out in High School, I did it over the phone, reading off a slip of paper I had written before hand. I still have that piece of paper somewhere-see, it also makes a lovely keep sake of your growth as a person-awww! 😀 ) Or you can practice in front of a mirror. Practice can relieve your nerves and boost your confidence.

3. Clothes-Go classy but comfortable: There is nothing worse than being nervous about a first date, and worrying that you are gonna teeter right out of your 9 inch heels, or that something else will find it’s way onto the dinner table if you wear your favorite strapless dress. If you are used to heels that high, go for it. Just don’t try them for the first time on a first date. Wear what makes you feel classy but comfortable.

This list is by no means complete but I hope it gives you a few tips that’ll help you date with confidence. Good luck! Remember you are not alone.

Cheers