Obedience > Sacrifice

 o·be·di·ence
noun
  1. compliance with an order, request, or law or submission to another’s authority.
sac·ri·fice
noun
  1. an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy.

I wanted to start this blog off with the definitions of obedience and sacrifice in order to tell y’all a little story about my life. Currently, I am exactly 2 years and 6 months to date into this whole divorce thing. You may even be wondering why I am still blogging about this, huh? Well…lessons, that’s why.

This blog is dedicated to my healing journey. It has been my refuge and way to make sense of what exactly happened in my marriage and help encourage you or even save your marriage. I am no marriage expert, but I do know now, what it takes to have a healthy marriage.

Initially, I named my blog “Marriage à la Carte” because I was married to a chef. I thought it was cute, and I wanted to talk about all the things you have to bring into the marriage to make it successful – you know? À la carte!

Marriage is like preparing for a 3 course meal. You have this idea in your mind of what it will be like, a vision. You’ve got to bring things to the table. You make a meal plan, you get the ingredients and you give it a whirl!

I’ve learned that marriage is made up of many parts. We don’t always get what we put in, but we still have to pour something into the pot. Love, respect, honor, patience, trust, humility, forgiveness, honesty and faithfulness are all things you need in marriage, but it doesn’t always come with it. You have to bring that into the marriage.

Marriage is an empty pot. An excellent meal doesn’t just come together because you have all the ingredients. You have to add the ingredients to the dish you are preparing, at the right time, at the right temperatures, in a specific order so that the dish you have in mind, comes together tastefully. The same is true in marriage.

Love doesn’t automatically make your marriage successful. Neither does respect, honor, patience, trust, humility, forgiveness, honesty and faithfulness. What makes your marriage successful is knowing when to show your partner love, learning what it means to respect their boundaries and their person. Honoring them when they don’t even necessarily deserve it. Learning to be patient with them and trusting they will do the same with you. Humbling yourself before them and most importantly before God. Forgiving them 70 times 7. Being honest and faithful to your partner at all times and combining all these things together, is what makes the perfect recipe for a successful marriage.

How does obedience and sacrifice tie into all this? Well, lemme esplain!

It took me divorcing Obed to learn about “Obedience”. It still makes me chuckle! God has a sense of humor. It may be the biggest lesson I’ve learned from my divorce. Obedience to God and obedience to my husband. It becomes greater than sacrifice, because it proves that we are able to be submissive to God’s calling on our lives, and submissive to the authority that God gave man over his wife.

Obedience is the highest form of flattery and worship to the Lord.

Sacrifice is great and important too, but when it goes up against obedience, it loses it’s power. Another important lesson for my own life. I think about how much I prayed for my marriage to be saved and how strongly I believed that God would save it. When He didn’t, I was angry and thought about the sacrifices I was making to “gain” that which I really wanted in my life: my marriage.

All the while, God revealed to me that the sacrifice I actually needed to make was giving up my marriage in order to pursue Him. Was my relationship with God not more important than my relationship with my husband? So I let it go. I gave it up. I even stopped praying for it entirely.

Now, I am actively pursuing God’s will for my life. Obed is no longer an active part of my life. He is a friend, someone I still love and admire for many reasons, but he isn’t my focus. For a long time, I wanted so badly to preserve my relationship with him in hopes of us reconciling, but now I only want to reconcile myself to God, every single day.

The rest lies in His hands and I am willing to wait upon the Lord, whatever that looks like for my life.

 

 

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There isn’t really anything I need to say today, other than I wish you the best. I’ll keep your number saved.

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A Reflection of My Heart

Today, I have been divorced for 2 years, 3 months and 11 days…

I cannot even begin to tell y’all what a blessing my divorce has been to my life. It is the single, most tragic, yet absolutely beautiful, life-changing thing that could have ever wrecked my life. It is amazing how things that are meant to break us and shake up our lives, can still allow for so much growth and beauty in our lives.

Perspective – that is what my divorce has given me. It has helped make and mold me into the woman that I am today.  I can’t stress to you enough, how going through this experience was the best-worst thing that could have ever happened to me.

When Obed and I divorced, I thought we were in a fairly decent place. I was excelling in my career, as was he. We were struggling, but I was determined to make things work. We started counseling and it was going great. Then suddenly, a major shift happened and it was not a good one. I was so frustrated and focused on all the things wrong in our marriage instead of focusing on the good. Despite the progress we were making, in my mind, it was not happening fast enough. I wanted Obed to realize his faults and flaws but I never for a moment considered my own. I just thought he was wrong and that he was the problem in our marriage.

Control. That is what I wanted and what I kinda always intended in my marriage. Obed was sweet. He was very patient with me. He hardly ever went up against anything I wanted. I was spoiled. He treated me so kind and always did everything in his power to make sure I felt good. He was selfless in our marriage. I wasn’t.

Now, I was good to him too, but I was not patient at all. I admired and adored him for so many reasons, but I was also very selfish. I loved getting my way and enjoyed our marriage when Obed was doing the things I wanted him to. Some would say I was probably a bitch to him. My family actually always brought things to my attention about my participation in my marriage. They saw the way I didn’t always honor Obed in our marriage. I never listened though. I knew what I was doing, and I knew Obed would never leave me…until he did.

Looking back now…man (sigh), it hurts my heart sometimes. It is a tough pill to swallow. As much as I like to think I was such a good wife to Obed, in reality, I wasn’t. There were so many things he needed from me that I never gave to him. There were definitely a lot of things I needed from him too, but when we accept responsibility for ourselves and our actions, it helps make sense of why certain things transpired in our marriage.

Whatever was in my cup (my heart) was what I was pouring out into my marriage. When it was good, it was amazing! But when it was bad…it was ugly! I did and said things to Obed that were just awful. Instead of lifting my husband up and acknowledging all the goodness in him, I chose to magnify all his faults and flaws. I pointed out everything that was wrong in him, without thinking twice about myself and how I was affecting my own marriage. Instead of magnifying my God in my marriage, I magnified our problems. I didn’t know how to fight fair. All I thought about was myself and how I wasn’t happy in our marriage.

As time has gone on and I have taken my divorce one day at a time, I can recognize how I contributed to the demise of my marriage. I understand now how I never listened to the things that Obed asked of me. I realize, that marriage is not only about “you” and what you get out of it. It is more about what you put into it. It is about loving your spouse where ever they are, in good times and in bad.

Marriage is about choosing to love your spouse, even when they are unlovable.

Marriage is hard work, no doubt. However, if you take a look at yourself first before you point out all the ways your spouse is failing you in your marriage, you might find that they are not the problem. You may discover that you have your own issues that you need to work through. Your husband or your wife is not responsible for your happiness. You are. They are just there to support you. They are your picker upper, when things aren’t quite right. Your spouse should be the person you confide in the most to help you be the best version of yourself possible. & if they aren’t healthy and happy, pray for them. Think about how you can show them grace, the way that God shows us grace every single day.

How can you love your spouse more like Christ loves us? Are you magnifying your problems instead of magnifying your God? Are you creating more problems in your marriage instead of creating a solution? Or have you even considered for a moment, that there is something you could be doing differently in your marriage?

Love your spouse. React to them in love, instead of lashing out. Honor them and check yourself first, before you start pointing fingers. Don’t think for one second that you are not responsible for where you are in your marriage – whether it is good or bad. Check the condition of your heart and it will change the condition of your marriage.

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Love is Attentive

The very first time that Obed and I ever had an argument, I was out of town. We were on the phone and I was having 2 conversations at the same time. I was with one of my besties and as I was speaking to Obed, I kept engaging in conversation with her too. Obed was not particularly fond of me continuing a conversation while I had him on the line. In the moment I thought, he was overreacting. I could not understand what the big deal was.

However, once we discussed his feelings about the situation, I understood why he was bothered. In our entire relationship, time was always working against us. Every moment was important to him. I remember him telling me, that he would rather me let him go and call him back later than for him to be sitting on the line in silence, listening to me engage in conversation with someone else. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it, but now I understand the rules of phone etiquette much better.

It is rude to not give the person on the phone your undivided attention. It is also rude to answer the phone in the presence of others in certain scenarios. In this particular situation, Obed and I were newly dating. My bestie and I were on a road trip and he was calling to check on me. I answered his call and continued to chat it up with her while I had him on the phone. He was on his break at work and he didn’t have much time to chat but he made it a point to call and make sure we had made it safe to our destination. From that point forward, it was always an issue when I did not give him my undivided attention and rightfully so.

I always felt like he was just finding something to complain about, but as I matured I understood why it was bothersome to him. When I spoke to him and he would put me on hold for literally 5 seconds, I would get frustrated. It was a double standard. I always expected him to give me his undivided attention but I wouldn’t do the same for him. It may seem like something so trivial, but there is an important lesson here. RESPECT.

Now I am not saying that you can’t say, “Hey can you hold on one second? I have to do X Y Z…” I am simply stating that when we engage in conversation with others, we have to be mindful of the attention we are giving them. It’s ok to say, “Hey, I am right in the middle of something, can I call you right back?” instead of acting as if you have time for someone, when you really don’t. Right now, we are living in a world where everyone is constantly on their cells, we do a million different things at once and completely disregard how we share our time and space with others. That is something I learned in my own marriage and about my own actions.

While O and I were married, we made it a point to put away our phones when we were together. Unless of course we had some selfie action going on, that was always fair game! Now, that I am single and go on the occasional date here and there, I make it a point to put my phone away. We should be mindful of sharing our time and space with others and remember to be fully present. I know for me personally, if I am with a guy and he is constantly on his phone it is a huge turn off. It definitely decreases his chances of hanging out with me again.

When in company, I try my best to make it a point to be completely present and give that person or group of people my undivided attention. There is something very sweet and thoughtful about it. It means this person is engaging and is fully committed to making the most out of your time together. Quality time is what they call it, right? In a world full of social media – sometimes, it’s nice to just be present in the moment and not always try to capture everything. Another thing I learned from Obed. This is a guy that literally never took selfies, unless he was with me. He didn’t have any social media accounts and I honestly loved that about him too.

All this, just to share my thoughts on phone etiquette and how we can express our respect and love for others by being attentive.

When you are spending time with others, be present, be attentive and be mindful of their time.

Lessons learned.

 

 

 

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Butterflies & Heart Races

When I initially met Obed, I had no desire to date or even consider finding a mate. As Queen Bey says, I was “focused on my focus!” That “focus” was me, in an effort to better myself and prepare to jump start my career. I would go on occasional dates, but they were never anything serious. I actually had several men-friends or “babes”, as I always liked to call them. They were the ones I could call to fill up my gas tank or take me to nice dinners, when I felt like having company. Between school, partying and sometimes teaching DWI Intervention classes for some cash flow, I didn’t have time for a relationship. I loved my freedom and I enjoyed my singleness.

However, after I accepted to be O’s girlfriend that night, everything changed.

I cut off all my “babes” and dedicated all my free time to this very handsome, interesting, and super sweet Latin lover!

Obed w307433_1957631582010_2604704_n-1as like no one I had ever met before. He was such a hopeless romantic. He was very frank and a great communicator. I loved how educated and smart he was. Obed captivated me with his intelligent mind and creativeness. He was handsome, nerdy, and such a sweetheart.

We weren’t spending a lot of time together, but we talked and texted every single day. We spent every day that he was off together, if my schedule allowed for it. Dating him was so much fun and I was always in for a sweet surprise with him. I remember the first time he ever bought me a piece of jewelry, he sent me on a scavenger hunt to find it. It was a cute silver necklace with a little butterfly pendant. Along with that, was a love letter and poem, written just for me.  Obed always made me feel special and loved. In fact, he told me very early on in our relationship that he loved me and his actions definitely spoke louder than his words. I never had a man treat me the way he did.

Obed respected me – all of me: mind, body and soul. I feel like Obed contributed so much to my growth as a woman, a leader and as his partner. He would encourage me, when I needed it. He was a great listener, he always inspired me and when he got close to me, my heart raced. I was awestruck by him and shortly after becoming an item, it wasn’t hard to fall in love with him.

Every time I spoke of him, I got butterflies in my stomach.

To this day, I will always believe that our love story is one of the greatest. Sure, it doesn’t end with a “Happily Ever After…” but he set the bar high for the next gentleman that walks into my life. Divorce teaches you many things. Especially in the areas where you fell short, but the lesson is the reward in all of your suffering. & if nothing else, I can say that I can move forward, knowing I experienced real love in my life.

 

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