Friday, August 31, 2012

Monogamy is a Myth...Yeah, Some Folks Believe That!

Hey Covenant Groupies,

Kevin and I ran across an old episode of Dr. Phil and the show was about couples who have open relationships. YES, open relationships!! Not really interested in much of what they had to say, since we simply don't agree with the lifestyle, we watched about 10 minutes and moved on. Astonishing how folks living this lifestyle think...hmmmm!

Instead we looked up one of the couples; the couple that was most adamant and argumentative about this lifestyle and found that they've done tons of television and workshops under the guise of showing couples how to live in what they've named "progressive relationships" and are "empowering women," along with offering "how-to" courses for extravagant prices. People are paying though.

But the thing that did it for us was the fact that they're teaching people that monogamy is a myth and extremely unnatural; that to have more than one partner is the only thing that makes sense. Their stance is that your spouse can't possibly fulfill all of your physical, emotional and sexual needs - it's just impossible! It makes the most sense to not impose such expectations on one person. Also, that your spouse has no say-so about your body.

Oh, and did I forget to share that they also don't believe in using protection when they share their bodies with these other folks. As well, their young children and families know about their lifestyle.

Seriously, how many of us really share our sexual life with our children and our families???????

Topping off that bit of ignorance was the fact that they admittedly have never read the Bible. So, there's obviously, in their mind, no source "out there" that commands or demands monogamy for a man and a women in marriage. Sounds to me like they know a little something about the Bible, whether they read it for themselves or not, and simply just refuse to believe it. 

It also sounded to us like they, too, felt something was amidst about this "open relationship" choice and could only use verbiage that sounds like someone has shared the Word with them and that it completely contradicted what they spew, but they'll live their lives the way they choose - regardless.

The wife does most of the talking, no surprise, but the husband says that this lifestyle choice was his suggestion. Really...? He feels that he shows a tremendous amount of authority, security and trust in himself and his wife when he has knowledge that she's with someone else and it doesn't bother him.

It's times like these that I not only question the choices and roles of husband's today, but leadership and whether men have a true grasp of real manhood. Do you truly understand the greatness of a man who can love one woman for life in all of her many complexities? To have a heart totally committed to one woman? To know that one man was made for one woman and vice versa? To forgive? To become one? To caress her fears? To not acquiesce when it come to leadership, authority and proper decision making.

I know that there are some incredibly divine husbands out there and that I'm not a man, but can someone answer a question for me? Why are some husbands finding it so difficult to LEAD and be responsible? I can only imagine how hard leadership is, after all God gave it to you as part of the curse, but don't we have an amazing leader as an example in Jesus? Isn't He the epitome of manhood? Isn't He the ultimate teacher? Why are you not following Him?

So, I guess what we're supposed to believe is that God does not exist and didn't create relationships, monogamy is unnatural, a real husband and his wife can have all of their marital needs met by other people and that this couple has all the answers?! Not buying' it!!!!!

Share your thoughts.

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Does Marriage Have Any Value At All? Really?

Good Morning Groupies,

I don't know about you, but my heart truly aches when I see what marriage has been reduced to over the past few decades... A joke!

Whether it's Dennis Rodman and Carmen Electra nine hours, Britney Spears and Jason Alexander 55 days, Chad Johnson and Evelyn Lozado 41 days or Kim Kardashian and Chris Humphries 72 days, too many people minimize the value of marriage. It has come to be seen as an excusable impulse or a business deal that can be jumped in to and out of on a whim or a contract that can just be signed and then terminated.

Gone are the days when people know marriage as the powerful entity that is the glue that holds communities together, that healthy marriages give children a firm sense of identity, that it is a village of trust and support and the one relationship a very large part of your soul's purpose is tied to.

We no longer pay homage to or sit at the feet of the folks in our families who've committed themselves to walk this long and winding road together. Nor the notables like, Bill and Camille Cosby, Ozzie Davis and Ruby Dee, Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, Denzel and Pauletta Washington, who've also continued to hold one another's hand on this sweet and bitter journey. 

I must say that I grew up as one of those girls that didn't dream of getting married - ever, but to now be a woman who loves marriage so much that a significant part of Kevin and my life is dedicated to people living in healthy,  loving and Covenant marriages, all of this breaks my heart.

Marriage is not for the faint of heart. You need tough skin and the straightest backbone, coupled with God's understanding and design in order to remain in it. Otherwise marriage becomes futile and all of your efforts an exercise in exhaustion, frustration and a feeling of complete failure.

You will be tested in ways unknown to your human emotional stability. You will feel compelled to walk away often. You're never prepared for the fights or arguments, because no ones teaches you how to fight with someone that you're in Covenant with and know that it's ok because the deepest truths about us and our marriages often comes from conflict. 

You'll be challenged to be an example to walk upright, boldly, honestly, transparently and circumspectly, both privately and professionally - no matter who you are.

What's clear is this, when our perspective about something or someone is unclear, we will misuse and devalue it. I truly believe that that's exactly what's happened to marriage. Everything God has created has legacy and Eternal value attached to it, but we don't see marriage that way. I wonder why?

Follow me on Facebook at: Rhonda Ridley and Twitter: @ridley4life

Last Night's Date Night - Something Different!

Friday, August 17, 2012

I Love You! Sometimes I Hate You Too!

Good Morning Covenant Groupies,

Kevin and I were discussing the very thin line between love and hate. Remember growing up how we all had those moments where we may have hated our parents, siblings, friends, cousins etc. anything from a disappointment, failed expectation, sibling rival, jealousy, to unfair treatment seemed to assist in us crossing that line.

How many if us realize that that same line exists in our marriages? If we're honest with our spouses and ourselves, we'd have to admit that our spouses can be the perfect catalysts to crossing that line to. Often, we don't even tell our spouses about these moments out of fear of jeopardizing the love we depend on so much from them and out of the personal acknowledgement that this is even happening; that we could possibly harbor hatred for the one we live, whether momentary or for an extended period of time.

Why, you ask?

Because no one teaches us that hate truly does exist in marriage. We're supposed to live under the guise of pure happiness all the time - especially in Christian marriages! We're not mentored properly as we embark on marriage and so, many of the things that can possibly destroy marriages are things that if we had  been given a heads up, have solutions as well. Divine and practical solutions. 

When I realized that there were these moments with Kevin and I, it totally messed me up. I couldn't believe that things like his walk to his voice bothered me. And then, because I didn't address them it then became a sustain and a hatred. I had to search my soul to figure out why because I knew that I loved him beyond words, but I needed to weed out this awful feeling and discover where was it coming from.

What I realized was that the majority of these moments existed because I had formed issues, expectations, ideals and perceptions about who Kevin was supposed to be for me and any little deviation from that showed a lack of love, disrespect, taking me for granted, selfishness, you name it. All of these and more will gladly walk you through the door of hatred if and when we're not careful.

As well, I realized that these moments ARE going to happen in marriage and when they do I'll need to ask the Lord which ones I share with Kevin for him to address and work on with me and which ones I just leave alone and work on internally. 

Our spouses should never have to pay for, answer for or be manipulated into fixing or addressing issues especially when they have absolutely nothing to do with them!

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Power of Having Boundaries

Good Day Covenant Groupies,

Kevin and I have just returned from the National Urban League's 2012 Conference. We attended with client Kim Fields, who was being honored but then I was also asked to speak on the panel entitled, "It's a Love Thang." The panel included Dr. Jeff Gardere, Dr. Hilda Hutchinson, Dr. Michelle Callahan, Aulston Taylor and myself. 

The panel went extremely well and even though they had to replace Kevin with one of the panel sponsors, he was right there in the audience. Looking so handsome, of course!!

As panelists, we talked about everything from why marriages aren't lasting, keeping the spark alive, sex, how to speak to your man, celibacy, men being providers - financially-emotionally-physically-psychologically, God and so much more. 

What was interesting after the panel was to hear the craving of folks wanting to understand why, how and for how long do you create and keep boundaries in your relationship. 

Simply, we create boundaries in order to teach people how to treat us. Without boundaries we often compromise any system of belief, morality and values that we have. This quickly leads to a toxic and unhealthy environment with which to grow a healthy flourishing relationship.

Without boundaries we often allow people to take full advantage of our truth and we forget that it's okay to say no,  I'm not comfortable with that, no I will not do that, no I will not allow you to do that to me, no, you cannot speak to me in that way, no, I will not receive that type of love from you, no, I will not allow you to string me along. No, I refuse to allow you to abuse me and misuse me.

To be clear, boundaries are about knowing our value. If we do not know our value we walk into relationships allowing others to determine our value. That simply cannot happen because we do not know how someone values another until we are in a relationship with them. By then it may be too late and they may only expect to treat us the way that they know how to treat us, not the way we'd like to be treated. Then we're accused of trying to change them and knowing what we were getting into from the beginning, which is true. 


Friday, August 3, 2012

Chic Fil-A...Don't Hate the Player, Hate the Game. God Makes the Rules!

Good Morning Covenant Coupies, 

We're back! And what a controversial subject to come back on. It's August 3rd and Wednesday was Chic Fil-A day. It was a day in which Chic Fil-A sought to honor Covenant-traditional marriage.

 As this is a Covenant Marriage blog, you know my husband Kevin and I honor traditional marriage as well. Kevin and I have lived our lives having and knowing a colorful group of people. They are of many different races, various backgrounds, financial status, sexual orientation and yet we still love them. Our roles in the entertainment industry always puts us in flavorful company. We don't shun them and they don't shun us. Anyone who knows us knows that we just love people, because God bestows on us the joy, grace and peace of doing so. We can't and should not seek to change anyone, but instead, love them fully.

That said, our Bible is very clear when it speaks of murder, stealing, lying, adultery, deception, hate, cheating and even homosexuality. All are sins; none greater than the other! In Gods eyes they're all the same. We can't justify or minimize what God has already mandated as wrong. We are NOT smarter than God.

Most importantly, as it relates to this post, the Word tells us to love the sinner but hate the sin. 

When did we stop living in a world where we can have differences of opinions? That's not a society that fertilizes freedom of speech. That's a society that shouts, "Believe what I believe, or else!" Are we now seeking to bully others with our viewpoints? Dan Cathy did not issue an ultimatum to the LGBT community, he simply stated in an interview his god-given opinion; he has every right to do so!

True unconditional respect allows for opposing beliefs and opinions; it doesn't equate to homophobia and/or discrimination. 

We've all been given the same playbook and God is the Coach. He sets the rules and we are to play by them, not change them to fit our agenda.

Healthy relationships do not demand that you see things my way; instead it simply and firmly commands that although we may not agree, love and truth will always lead the relationship.