"There is no more lovely, friendly or charming relationship, communion or company, than a good marriage." ~Martin Luther

Friday, 30 January 2009

Boundaries, do we need them?

Without preparation, failure is inevitable. If u fail to plan, you plan to fail. A wise man once said 'begin with the end in mind'.

Have you been in a relationship where you started with no definition,and then wondered 'how did we get here'? You started out 'going with the flow', things seemed pretty cool and it was easier not to make any decisions, then all of a sudden you found yourself in a position you thought you could never be.

For instance Ade is your very good friend, you feel so close. Eventually, you do what everyone has advised you to do, you hook up somehow. Yay, do I hear wedding bells ringing in your head? You start holding hands, nothing wrong in holding hands, then you graduate to putting your arms around each other which is very cool.

One day you and Ade decide to take a walk in the night, you get to a point where you stop, while talking and enjoying each other's company, the atmosphere is just right for an embrace. You proceed, then somehow, you find yourselves kissing eachother, his hand somehow ends up in your blouse, your head screams an alarm but it feels too right, can something which feels so right be wrong? There's a pang of guilt but you go ahead. In a couple of months, Ade asks you to sleep over, you can't disagree, it will give you time together, yah? Remember you haven't even decided how far you want to go. At first he sleeps on the couch but it's too uncomfortable, so you snuggle together and it's a cold night. Ade puts his arms around you, then his arms start roving your body. Again, the alarm goes off but it feels so right yet so wrong.

When you do not set boundaries, you start resenting the other person when you feel like they have overstepped their boundary. Why? Because in your head, you have the boundary, the only issue is that the other person is totally oblivious to it! Also when you violate your personal boundaries, guilt sets in and you lose a sense of peace. Do I have a witness??

Here are a few tips for setting boundaries in your relationships (applicable to both men and women):

1. Begin with the end in mind- Decide how far you want to go in your relationship. Is this a lifetime relationship or not? Ask serious questions about the result of your relationships. Get to a point where you guys have verbally declared your intentions

2. Make sure you are in agreement - Amos 3:3 says 'can two walk together except they agree?' Agree what are the limits in your relationship. Do we want to stop at holding hands? Are we going to kiss? Make sure your beliefs are similar, else you will not be able to set any boundaries.

3. Have a vision for your relationship. Where do you hope to get? What is our aim in coming together? It might help if you write it down. Remember where purpose is not known, abuse is inevitable!

4. Be accountable to someone- it helps when you have someone you talk to and can be a voice of reason or act as a check. No man thrives in isolation and when you start to go beyond boundaries, you tend to become more secretive.

5. Communicate. Be open and honest with each other. Share your thoughts. There will be times when you will might feel the boundaries are too harsh, share with your partner and let him or her know what you're feeling.

The benefits of setting boundaries are enormous. It gives a sense of knowing what you want, believe in and are willing to stand up for which ultimately will earn you your partner's respect. Start setting those boundaries. It's not too late to start.

'P.S: if you have a topic you would like us to discuss, please feel free to email us. We will do our research and then post on the said topic. Fear not, even secrets are safe with us! :)

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Going with the flow...

How many times have you heard the phase “I’ll just relax and go with the flow”. Usually a lot of us say this when we don’t want to make a crucial decision especially when it comes to living our life to the fullest, or regarding relationships. We tend to cover up making a decision with “going with the flow.”

One common example of going with the flow-

You meet a nice guy, Mr A, you like him, you think he likes you. He calls you almost everyday, does all the nice things guys do, yet he does not declare his intentions. You can’t determine exactly what is going on, but he treats you somewhat like his girlfriend. Oh, well, you tell yourself, I’ll just go with the flow and see what happens.
Who is in control of the whole situation- certainly not you, my sister! Your life is literally on a standstill, waiting for Mr A to call or to say or do something. You can’t do anything else, you can’t think of anything or anyone else, you ignore other "potential" etc. When things don’t turn out the way you expect, you blame Mr A for leading you on. Well, Mr A might have led you on but you won’t feel as bad if you were "running things", right?
When you go with the flow, it means you have given control to everyone else or your circumstances. You tend to be reactive and not proactive. You only make a move, when the tides & waves of life are thrown at you, instead of creating exciting opportunities for your life. As a result, your decisions are uninformed, hasty, in a panic and might end up in pain or in a disaster. Yes, some people might be lucky enough to have everything work out by just going with the flow but do you really want to take that chance?

A lot of us find it very very easy to let others take control, while we take the backseat in our lives. “My daddy/boyfriend/husband/friend will sort it out”. By giving control to others, we are implying that we can’t make any decisions for our lives hence people will definitely make the decisions for us. Daddy chooses what course to study in school, boyfriend determines we should be having sex now; husband makes all the decisions and we have no say, friends put peer pressure on us to do the opposite of what we believe in. The list goes on and on

Please stop waiting for someone else to make your life happen. There is an endless pool of possibilities for your pleasure and fulfilling your life within your reach. As a single person you are blessed to have resources to living the life you want without having to check with anyone else. This is one luxury many married people do not have.

Some simple steps to help you stop "going with the flow"-

1) Know your core values and what you stand for. It is better to know this upfront, before all sorts of temptations come your way. Need I say more?

2) Be in control of your money by planning your financials ahead of time. List out your monthly expenses and settle that before you start spending. Save. Make a plan to pay off your debts on credit cards or with the lady you bought jewlery from last week. That way you won’t be saddled with too much debt.

3) Another one on money. Seek for investment opportunities and invest. As a single woman you should have your own money that is working for you. Doing this, means when you get into a relationship or get married no man can see you as a financial liability.

4) Be committed to improving your self- emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. If you enjoy self-help books, read them; exercise, read your bible, pray, get close to God.

5) Broaden your horizon by reading educative books and trying out new activities. Step out of your comfort zone. Join a cooking class, a dance class or try something you have always wanted to do.

6) “Tush up”, simply meaning start/continue looking good. Declutter! Get rid of your old clothes and upgrade your wardrobe, your hairstyle, makeup etc. You don’t need to have a man in your life to look good. Neither do you need a man to give you money to buy new clothes/accessories. Set a standard already for Mr Man to come and follow.

7) Learn to manage your time & resourcees- remember the 80/20 rule. Check
here for more details

8)Reach out to others. Be a blessing to others around you. Someone needs to hear a word of encouragement from you. It is not all about you. I usually feel happy with myself when I am a source of support to someone else.
The list is endless but I have listed a few that I tried to follow when I was single and this has helped me a lot over the years.

My sisters, please do not wait for your life to happen until a man comes into it. He should meet you busy. I can bet he will respect you even more. Stop going with the flow and take action today.

In what other ways can we stop going with the flow? Please feel free to share your thoughts. Thank you.

**Photo copyright Ian Beesley

Monday, 19 January 2009

Shout out from the soul sistas

Hi Y'all!

So we thought long and hard about this and we've decided to host a blog together! Yipee! We are two friends, aloted and writefreak who share the same core values and principles. We've walked different roads in life and we are willing to share from our heart. We aspire to be role models to other sistas especially singles. We believe we can make a difference and that someone's heart can be touched by our words.

The aim is to make this blog interactive, so please send in your questions or if you have a particular topic you want us to discuss or you want to throw open, please do not hesitate to contact us through our profile emails. We'll try and find the answers even if we don't readily have them.

Our principles are biblical based as we believe that the bible is God's manual for our lives. We are not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. To put your mind at rest, we will be real and down to earth. This is a FUN ZONE! :)

Brodas! we are certainly not leaving you out. We want to hear from you as we would like to know your thoughts on issues we discuss. Always good to have a broda's point of view.

Welcome to our world, we wish you a pleasant stay and hope you are blessed!

With Love,

Soul Sistas