The Importance of Building Friendship

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Courtesy of Pinterest

My friend and I have been talking a lot recently about the pitfalls of societal dating. One that we have been focusing on particularly is dating your friend. Now let me clarify before you all run and send the text to your home girl or home boy telling them yall are supposed to be together. That is not what I am saying exactly. What I am talking about is the lost art of becoming someone’s friend first and then allowing that friendship to foster and be the foundation to your relationship.

We’ve gotten to a place where we have allowed intentionality to cause us to forget the art of having fun. We’ve gotten so wrapped up into the end goal of getting into a relationship or marriage that we forget to enjoy the time it takes to get there. That time getting there is the time building a friendship takes place. We are so focused on romance, that we lose the friendship in the process. So many people say they want to marry their best friend. Well that person has to be your best friend first. How do you expect to get to that point if you never foster an actual friendship? You don’t get engaged or married and then become best friends. You should be fostering a friendship from day one.

Concepts like the “friend zone” and phrases like “let’s just be friends” has brought a negative connotation to the friendship stage of dating. Society and pop culture has made it seem as though friendship is the death to a getting into a relationship. While it seems like being someone’s friend doesn’t get you to a relationship or marriage, it actually is the best way to foster a healthy one. Jada Pinkett-Smith in an interview once said that love comes and goes in relationships and marriage. She stated it is the friendship that will keep the relationship going when the love isn’t there some days. If you don’t have a genuine friendship though, you won’t have anything to fall back on when love gets low. Society has taught us “the love will keep us together.” WRONG!!! Love comes and goes, especially if you allow it to. Friendship though has a stronger foundation that is less predicated on feelings which allows it to be more stable.

Now going back to the concept of dating a friend. This is always a tricky situation. We all know some successes and some failures of people who decided to be more than just friends. The problem is not that relationships ruin friendships, it’s that people forget to keep being friends that ruins the friendship. People will have an amazing friendship, yet as soon as they move to more serious stages of the relationship, the friendship takes a back seat. You are so worried about the romance that you forget to simply enjoy each other like you used to. You don’t play video games together like you used to. You stopped watching funny youtube video’s on a Friday night. You stopped sending funny meme’s to make each other laugh throughout the day. Instead you started trying to fit the societal mode of what you think a relationship is supposed to look like and what romance is supposed to be. You’re so serious all the time and you stopped allowing yourselves to be friends. The difference between the success or failure of dating a friend is whether you can keep the friendship without overly focusing on the romance. Now success does not mean that the relationship will work. Some people do maintain the friendship and realize they don’t work well in a relationship. The friendship though, if consistently nourished, will remain the same and survive the relationship.

I know it seems backwards but building friendship first can really enhance the romance later. The romance will come. Initially, just take your time to get to know someone and enjoy their presence. Let the friendship strengthen to be able to withstand a relationship. The key is whether you’ve known each other for two months, been together for three years or been married for 15 years, your friendship should be your core. Your friendship should get just as much attention at all of those stages. Don’t let the focus of romance cause you to lose what is really the foundation of your relationship. Never stop having fun with each other or enjoying the things that made your friendship special. When all else fails, be friends.

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The Truth About Being Abstinent

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Courtesy of loveatfirstfight.com

Abstinence is hard. That’s it. I can pretty much wrap up this post. Lol. In all seriousness, I’ve debated writing on this subject for a while for numerous reasons. After some of the things I’ve seen and heard this week and over time, I figured there needed to be a real discussion about this subject. Truth be told, regardless of why you decided to embark on a journey of abstinence, it is a difficult journey nonetheless. While at times it seems like a trending ploy to get a mate, for others it’s a serious lifestyle that comes with many struggles and sacrifices deeper than just sex.

Now for clarity purposes I will state that abstinence in this post will refer to abstaining from sex. Some people engage in abstinence for a moment in time, while others engage in it until marriage. Either way, it is difficult to engage in, especially in such a sexually driven society. Everything that we see on television or hear in songs is about sex. Every magazine cover is promoting the next best sex moves to reach the biggest “O.” Every day of abstinence is a reminder that you are indeed sexless in a sex crazed world. So how do you stay on track?

This is the biggest fight and struggle for anyone partaking in abstinence. This is the magic answer people look for but the truth is you have to do what works for you. There isn’t a set guide to follow to stop you from having sex. Because truth be told the urges and thoughts ARE going to come!!! They are inevitable because it is in our human nature. So trying to stop your urges is a waste of time. You have to learn to fight the urges. Again, you ask, how? Well according to the saints of I have never been horny church of holier than thou, you’re supposed to simply pray. Now while I believe prayer is a powerful thing, I also know that faith without works is dead. Just simply pray and see if that erection disappears. Pray and see if that thought of him blowing your back out just goes away. What I’m saying is, we have to do more than just pray. We have to fight our urges for sex just like urges for anything else. Would you just pray that you don’t eat that piece of cake after going for a run or are you going to fight in other ways as well to prevent you from giving in. You may walk out the kitchen or you may substitute the cake for something else. You may hide the cake so you don’t see it until it’s ok for you to indulge in it. Either way, you have to put some action and effort into not giving in. It’s the same with sex. Maybe you can’t cuddle after midnight or maybe you can’t spend the night. Maybe you can’t see her in the swim suit. Maybe you can’t watch him workout in the gym. Again, know yourself and do what YOU have to do to stay on track.

I think the biggest misconception is that people who practice abstinence don’t have a desire for sex. Lies!!! All LIES!!! Most people practicing abstinence loves sex and can’t wait to enjoy it again. I think another misconception is that people engaging in abstinence never have vulnerable moments and if we do we should guilt/shame ourselves for it. Listen, you are going to have a moment when you are ready to throw it all away and get down with the get down. You will talk yourself into letting go and dealing with it after it’s over. It will happen. And it may happen a few times. It’s ok!!! Just hope you are dealing with someone who respects you enough to not let you give in. I’ve heard couples who practiced abstinence before they got married say make sure one of you is always strong at some point. If both of you are weak in the same moment, you’re in trouble. But weak moments will come. It doesn’t make you less devoted. It doesn’t make you a heathen. It simply makes you human. If you meet someone who you have great chemistry with and is attracted to, more than likely you will have a strong sexual attraction as well. Naturally you are going to want to sleep with them because that is what you normally would have done before. You may even get to a place that you try to. The goal though is to snap out of it and work your hardest to not get back to that vulnerable place again.

Now one of the hardest parts of being abstinent is having so many people question you as to why you would do such a thing. People not believing you or people telling you “it couldn’t be me.” There’s not a lot of positive encouragement behind it. People literally will make you feel crazy for wanting to abstain from sex, even if you are doing so for religious purposes. It’s hard trying to do what you believe is right when everyone around you is making you feel like you are doing something wrong. The truth is, people who are abstinent are going to have to stop looking for validation and understanding from people who aren’t. They will also have to be honest about those weak moments to encourage each other. If everybody is trying to act saved and sanctimonious as if they never get any urges, no one truly gets the encouragement they need.

If nothing else, know that a life of abstaining from sex is a hard one. Don’t expect it to be an easy road where you don’t get horny until the wedding night. You are going to have to fight your flesh and put in some work to stay on the straight and narrow. The key is to know yourself and what you can or cannot handle. Just know it is ok to have moments of desires. You will want to have sex!!! Don’t be ashamed of it, simply gain control of it. While you may not get the support of others wrapped in this sexually laden society, you can get the support of others on the same journey who are willing to be real about it. If you are practicing abstinence, please stay encouraged and focused on the goal. To those who aren’t, even if you don’t understand it or agree, offer encouragement to someone who is. Trust me, they need it:)