Archive for July 2011

Qualified Applicants Need Only Apply

July 27, 2011

I had a conversation with a woman the other day as she described how she felt when she was out with a man for dinner. She had realized time and time again that he was just not the right fit, but she gave him the benefit of the doubt. Although he had money and knew how to put on a show, all the pieces of the puzzle just never seemed to line up. As she sat and began to think, she had to fight back tears from her eyes while at dinner because she realized how she was truly wasting her time all because she thought going out with this man was a good alternative to staying at home. However, going out with him only magnified the situation. Now she found herself feeling worse than when she was home alone. The bottom line was she had a desire for a good relationship, but she was practically selling herself out of happiness over a dinner. This brings us to the main reason for me writing this post. She informed me that there were no qualified candidates in her city. There are some of you right now who believe there are no qualified applicants in your city. There are some men reading this who believe there are no qualified women in your city. All of this is based off of one experience after another. However, if we take a closer look, we will realize that the proposed theory that there are no qualified applicants in your city does not hold up. Let us examine your routine shall we? Most individuals have a normal routine. Throughout the week you go back and forth to work and home, church, and maybe you go out with friends or go shopping. Most of the time, you shop at the same grocery store, go to the same mall, go to the same restaurants or hang out spot. So, you see the same people at work. Depending on the size of the company you work for, there may be others who work within the company that you have never seen. You may just know who is on your floor or who you bump into on your way into work or leaving work. It is safe to say that you can go to your local mall or grocery store and see different people every time. It is also safe to say that if you went to high school or college in your city, you have not even seen every person at another high school or college that was close by within the same city. If you attend a larger church, you have not seen every member of your church. If you attend a smaller church, you have not seen every member at another church right around the corner. Even if you live in a small town, there is a very strong possibility that you have not even seen every person who lives in your town. So, this leads us to the fact that the problem is not about qualified applicants being in your city; the issue is in meeting the qualified applicant. Not only that, but you could be around qualified applicants that have been overlooked. Sometimes your eyes won’t really be opened to an individual until you have had a conversation with them. It is very common to follow your normal routine and pass by the same person on a consistent basis and never have a conversation with them. You see “cute” people all the time, but of course that is never enough. Sometimes, it is not until you get to a conversation beyond hello that makes the difference. Nevertheless, there are still potential candidates in your city in which you have never seen or interacted with. With that being said, I submit 3 tips to get you through the application process.

1.)  Get Out Of Your Own Way- Yes, we must 1st begin with self. I have said this time and time again, you should not casual date if you are serious about being in a committed relationship, and you should not go out with time wasters for the sake of a good meal or just to get out of the house. When you do this, you will run the risk of becoming frustrated or leading the other person on. Stop making all types of excuses for why you do what you do if you know that what you are doing is not healthy for everyone involved. Get beyond the pity party and stop thinking that you are the only one going through the process. I know that it is not fun and everyone have their moments, but make sure it is just a moment and then get yourself together. Pity parties won’t get you anywhere. You still have a life to live, and there is no need to slow down the party just because one piece of a gigantic puzzle has not come into place. Focus on the pieces you have within your hands and let the others fall in place along the way. We can only control what we can control, and the rest is on God. So, we have to truly trust God.  Just recently I was waiting for some things to manifest in my life. I did my part and kept the faith, but it wasn’t until the words, “I trust you God” came out of my mouth that I realized I felt something different. I kept saying it over and over and over again. The more I said it, the more convicted I felt. It made me realize that I trusted God, but I trusted Him “just enough,” but “not enough.” It’s something that we don’t always think about. I wanted to see what I wanted to see manifest when I felt it was time for it to happen. However, I had to take a step back and realize what has already happened. Sometimes, we tend to forget what already happened because we are so consumed with what has not happened yet. How could we not fully trust the one who gives us breath that we didn’t ask for, eyes to see, ears to hear, mouth to speak, etc? We don’t necessarily ask for those things everyday, but He does it without us asking. What if we only got in life what we asked for daily? We would be missing out on a lot. Thank God, He also gives us what we don’t ask for. So, at the end of the day, we just need to get out of our own way and just do what we do. God loves meeting deadlines. He loves showing up just in time. It’s just in time for us, but He is always on time. Yes, He is always on time even when it comes to relationships. Just be careful not to be your own stumbling block. If we allow how we feel to lead us, we will bring about unnecessary problems. Switch up your routine every now and then. Go new places and try new things. Life does not stop. Get out of your way.

2.)  They Must Have Goals With a Plan- There is a difference between setting a goal and having a plan. You can have a goal, but never execute it. The only way it can be executed is with a plan. A goal is an end state or what you would like to accomplish, but you need an action plan to reach it. So, this applies to anyone you meet. When you begin having conversations with the applicant, soon enough, you need to find out what some of their goals are. I am not talking about dreams they have. Someone without goals and a plan is not effectively leading their own life. So, that is a good indication that they are not quite ready to add on any new responsibilities. Sure, they may be able to stumble through the process, but there is nothing like carrying out the plan. This is important to know because they may be going in a complete opposite direction from where you are going, and your views on major life aspects may not complement one another. There is a big difference in having a difference in opinions compared to a difference in lifestyles. You should not try to rush to the altar without a plan.  Ladies, IF HE DOES NOT HAVE A PLAN, HE IS NOT READY TO BE YOUR MAN! A man must lead. This does not let you off the hook women, because you too must have goals and a plan to go with it. The plan holds you accountable, and allows you to see the progress that you have made. Sometimes, you must adjust along the way. It is not fair for a woman to want a potential spouse with a plan, if you don’t have one yourself. Marriage is a team effort. Too often people stumble through life because although they want to accomplish certain things, they have no blueprint to help them get there. God is also a God of order and He expects us to give Him something to work with.

3.)  Don’t Ignore Red Flags- I have alluded to this in the past. Red flags are red flags for a reason. If you sense something is wrong, there is a strong possibility that you are right. These warning signs help you early on. The deeper you get, the harder it will be to separate. The warning signs are just like when you can tell something is not right with your health, and you finally go to the doctor after numerous warning signs. For some, had they gone earlier and the problem was diagnosed, the problem would not have been as bad. This is applicable to potential candidates. The more red flags you see, the more you need to seriously consider what you are getting into. If nothing else, you do best to slow down. Don’t ignore what is obvious for the sake of having someone around. Most people say they won’t do it, but when the situation presents itself, that is an entirely different matter. There is a difference between theory and putting that theory into practice. Let’s focus on putting the theory to practice. WHEN YOU PUT AN UNQUALIFIED CANDIDATE IN YOUR LIFE ON A QUALIFIED CANDIDATE’S PLAN, YOU CREATE A LEECH. The leech sucks up all that it can and then leaves. You are better than that and deserve better than that. Examine your potential applicants early on to try to avoid some easily fixable problems. Remember, you are Single For 1. That is all for now.

Your Singles Advisor,

The Duke

A Good Man Is Not Hard to Find

July 15, 2011

I overheard a conversation the other day when I was in the gym between a man and a woman. They were talking about relationships and sex. I know this will come as a shock to some women, but it was not the woman who was doing the schooling, but it was the man. The man told the woman that she should not think like the world because the world will tell you that you have to “test drive” before you get married. In other words, the world says you should have sex with someone you are with before you get married to see what it is like. He told her that he is not worried about that because the woman who will be his wife, he does not have to “test drive” before he got married because he knew God would make it good. The woman had this perplexed look on her face. She told him that it is easier for a man to adjust to something like that than it is for a woman. She implied that it is easier for a man to teach a woman in the bedroom than it is for a woman to teach a man. She suggested that she was afraid that if she waited to have sex until she was married that she could be disappointed. So, she said that she needed to know what she was working with. The man proceeded to tell her that he knows that there are a lot of women who say they plan to wait until marriage when they meet someone new, but he said that many of them give into sex because they were not attempting to remain abstinent for the right reasons. He said their desire to remain abstinent should be to please the Lord, not to try to prove a point to themselves. The woman went on to say that some people just have good control. He said that he believed anyone who said they were in control when it came to sex was lying. He said that he remains humble because he understands that if put in a compromising situation, he could slip up. So, he said that he will not put himself in a position where it could happen. The woman then went on to say that she is a love addict. So, she loves hard, and she tries to protect herself from falling for the wrong individual. She stated that she wants a good man with good standards. However, she also implied that she has not been around many who have them.  She also talked about what she sees in other relationships. The man again pointed out that she could not look at everyone else. She seemed receptive to what the man was saying, and I could see in her eyes that she just didn’t know what she didn’t know.  She wanted better, but didn’t know how to do better.

You can’t do better if you don’t know better. Also, in order to attract someone with good standards, you must first have a set of good standards yourself. The woman said she had a set of standards that she set in reference to men from a good sermon she heard at her church. However, I was thinking that it was good that she had set those standards for a man. However, I was troubled that it sounded as though she had not set a standard for herself. I will begin by saying to the ladies, that from that random conversation I overheard in the gym, it would never make the news. I understand that there are men out there who are all about games, but there are still men with high standards and who desire to do it the right way. There are still good men looking for good woman. Some may feel that this man in the gym was an exception to the rule. However, just imagine how many more conversations across the world are happening just like the one I heard at the gym. I wanted to go and shake the man’s hand and tell him thank you for setting a good example, but I did not want them to know I heard the conversation. LOL..

So, I say to the women that there is a good man for you, and regardless of what the media says about the statistics, there are still good men looking for good women. This woman in the gym wanted a man with standards like the man who was talking to her, but to be honest, a man like him would not have wanted a woman like her based on her standards alone. He made a good point to her. He said that if women were more honest upfront, men would respect them more. What he was really saying was, set a standard and keep that standard and a man will have no choice but to respect you. I have said this before and I will say it again, it is not all on the men in our society. There are a lot of spoiled men because there are a lot of women who spoiled them. Some women and some men have made it harder for the good candidates who are ready. Nevertheless, we cannot focus on what happened then, we can only focus on what we can do now.  Educate one another because it may help the next person they come in contact with. There are some people you have been in relationships with that did not work out, but hopefully everyone involved learned lessons that will help them be better in the next. I will lay out 3 principles you should follow in any relationship.

1.)  Respect Yourself– Let’s be real. You can say something, but your actions can show otherwise. It’s not so much in what you say as it is in what you do. I have said this on numerous occasions that, if you don’t respect you, how can you expect anyone else to. I was scrolling through facebook the other day and saw someone’s status update in my news feed. It said, “Can someone please tell me what a Good Woman is? I mean, I don’t know of any woman who doesn’t think she is one. Even the hoe’s think they one.” Pardon the language, but I tried to keep it as authentic as possible. However, in the midst of that very statement, she made a true point. I myself have not met anyone who didn’t think they would make a great wife or a man who didn’t think he would make a great husband. Now, I have met people who said they were not ready, but no one who does not think they are not good. Even those who know they are playing games and enjoying it, they know what they do is wrong, but they still believe they are good men or women overall. I applaud the confidence level as we were taught as a child to have a good self-esteem. However, let us also not fool ourselves. We reap what we sow.  How can you expect to attract someone of good quality if you are operating below the level you should be on? Is it fair to think that you deserve more than what you are presenting? Yes, I know knockoffs will show up, but you don’t have to entertain them. I also know that there are some who presented themselves to be one way, and after the mask was removed, you saw another side. This is why those who are not qualified will sometimes make a move. This is because they still recognize quality when they see it. Respect yourself and even if folk find reasons not to like you, they will have to respect you because you walk what you talk. You do well if someone says they know they have to get right before they can be with you. It means you set a standard and commanded respect. Let them walk.

2.)   Don’t Compare What You Have to Anyone Else- One of the biggest mistakes you can ever make is to compare yourself or your relationship to someone else. You are setting yourself up for failure when you do this.  You don’t know what goes on fully in someone else’s relationship and there are 2 sides to every story, and the truth is somewhere in there. Focus on where you are and what you have. Don’t wonder how they got that person and why you are still alone. We all have our own cross to bear. Don’t go around wishing you had someone else’s because you don’t know the cost, just like they don’t know the cost of what it is you have to carry. Not to mention, there is only 1 you in the entire world, so there is no need to compare. Be happy with what the Lord has given you, and He will give you more and make it even better than you expected. The mistake you make is to say you want someone like what so and so has, but that type of someone may not even be a true fit for your personality. Let God fit the pieces of the puzzle together rather than you trying to create your own. Let’s be real, many have messed it up too many times when they thought they had it figured out. It’s amazing how what you thought you liked changes over time.

3.)  Communicate Your Expectations- The problem that happens in many relationships is that expectations are not communicated up front. Some decide to talk about expectations before marriage. Expectations are important because we are dealing with 2 individuals who are trying to come together. There may be things that make you tick that may not bother the other person. So, both of you should lay out expectations early on. Sometimes this does not come up until the other individual does something that upsets you. This will happen, but some of it can be prevented with proper communication early and often. What are your likes and dislikes? What do you expect in a mate? What is a complete turnoff? What do you feel you need from them? These are conversations that should occur, not with someone you just met, but with someone in which you both are talking about getting into a relationship. You supply limited information to someone you are getting to know. You don’t want to give away your entire blueprint to a potential thief. This is important because there are some who are not ready to meet those expectations. There are also some who will agree just to agree, but trust me, it will be time tested. Communication is key.

There are roadblocks that may come up on your journey, but don’t allow those roadblocks to deter you from moving forward. If you stay on the side of the road, you will impede your progress towards the 1. They are on that journey somewhere. You may not know when and where, but that is why it is so important that you keep moving forward. There are others who are on the same journey. They may have their own road to travel, but just know that you are never traveling alone. Like many others, you are Single For 1. That is all for now.

Your Singles Advisor,

The Duke

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired

July 8, 2011

There comes a time when beyond you just having a desire for a spouse, where you feel that you just need to catch a break. You try to do the best you can do with what you have, but you get to a point where you need to see some real manifestation. I am writing this post because this is a recurring theme I have noticed over the past couple of days. It may not directly be tied to relationships per se, but it is tied to life, and we need life in every relationship. You have been encouraged, received confirmation of what’s coming, gotten your hopes up, but it still seems that everything is not lining up. Many are to a point where you don’t need another good word or good message; you need to see something manifest. You need to see something to show you that you are on the right track. It goes beyond just having a desire for a spouse because for some, just getting through the week in peace overshadows everything else. For some, making it to the next paycheck is all you can see right now. The bottom line is some of you are just sick and tired of being sick and tired. You try to encourage yourself, but sometimes you get to a point where you may feel like your encouraging has been in vain. However, I am writing this post today to let you know that it is not in vain. The scripture that has been on my mind this week is Galatians 6:9-“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” I am telling you that you are not close to a good change in your life, you are already here. The only thing the enemy can do at this point is try to get in your mind and distract you. The only thing he can do is try to make you abort. This is not the time to faint. It would be a shame to be approaching the finish line only to faint right in front of it and never cross. You are about to pass over numerous victory or finish lines in your life. This is why it seems like so many of you are under so much pressure. Some of you are to the point where you don’t even want to be bothered with people. Some of you don’t even want to be bothered with those of the opposite sex because you are frustrated right now. However, sometimes we all need to take a step back and regroup. I have included 3 things that you should do whenever you reach a point when you are sick and tired of being tired.

1.)  Give Yourself A Break- I know you are used to doing everything on your own until you have adopted the philosophy that you have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. Even God took a day of rest. Give yourself a break. I know some of you are single parents and have to do so much yourself, but you also should not put so much pressure on yourself. I tell others that you are only as good as those around you. You are only as good as your team. God never intended for anyone to do everything alone. Sometimes help is around you, but you are so used to doing so much yourself, you can’t appreciate it when it comes or recognize it. For some, you are just looking for dependable help. You still have to know how to give yourself a break.

I can be transparent. One of the most disheartening things I encountered this week was when I pulled out my goal sheet from last year up until this month and realized that only 2 things on the entire list had I accomplished. I could have immediately become discouraged, but I realized that I honestly did as much as I could do to try to achieve those goals. What I also realized is that I did accomplish something big in the main area God has me in right now. Nevertheless, I could have looked at it as a failure or looked at it as motivation. So, I will make adjustments because a lot has changed. I gave myself a break by not beating myself up about it. Not to mention, I may not have accomplished some of those goals in the timeframe I wanted, but I believe I will get there. Successful people understand that failure is sometimes a prerequisite. You have to learn how to handle when things don’t go according to plan. Losers quit and go back to a comfort zone, but winners use it as a stepping stone. It builds character. So, give yourself a break and do what you can with what you have. Don’t always look for the 1 big thing; also look at the many little things you have done that adds up. I have many little things that I can be very proud about. Scripture also says that, “if we are faithful over a few things, God will make us ruler over many.” Don’t beat yourself up. Push yourself. DON’T LOOK AT WHAT IS NOT, LOOK AT WHAT IS! You may feel like you have nothing to be proud of right now, but I advise you to take a survey of what you have done. You have overcome in areas where some others would have quit.

2.)  Treat Yourself- You know what? Sometimes, you have to reward yourself for your hard work. If no one else does, you can throw your own party. Take yourself out to dinner. I have heard of a number of people doing it, and I think it is a good idea. Just do something nice for yourself for a change. If you can’t take care of you, you can’t effectively take care of someone else. Some of you have been too stuck in a routine. Go out with some friends. If you can’t find a babysitter for the kids, bring the party over to your house and have fun. You deserve it. Focus on what you can do, and the rest is on God. God loves a challenge because He knows that we cannot do it all in our own strength.

3.)  Don’t Stress Yourself– Work with what you have. I have seen too many stressed people, and for what? We only get one life on this side of heaven. Don’t allow anyone to take away your joy. That is why it is called “your joy” because it belongs to you. Someone can only take it if you allow it. I know it’s easier said than done. You may not be able to control everything around you, but you can control you. Take care of your body and exercise and eat healthy. Sometimes how we feel goes far beyond situations and circumstances.  Some of the things you are stressing over make absolutely no sense. We create our own stress in our minds sometimes. You can’t make anyone change or act right, but you can make the decision as to who holds a key to your emotions. Don’t let people on your job or even your home stress you another day. Your life is too valuable. You have too much to offer. I know you are waiting and looking for a new thing… a new change. Well, there are things you can do right now to start putting that wheel in motion. Spend more time with your hobbies and on your dreams. Whatever you choose to focus on right now and whatever has your attention, you are saying no to something else. Don’t give more of your time to things that won’t matter in the end. The decisions you make today will impact future generations. It will impact your children whether they are here or yet to be born. Yes, it is that serious. If you are in a place right now that you cannot stand going to everyday, change your outlook. Start counting down days to that change. It is never God’s desire for His children to be unhappy or for us to be in bondage. So, there is confidence in knowing that He is on the scene. Sometimes fear holds us back from doing what He wants us to do in the 1st place. So, sometimes we stay in a place or around people when the season has come to an end. You just have to know where you are in life. There is only 1 you, not only do you want to be good for you; you want to be good for someone else. The bottom line is whatever happened yesterday is over. Today is a new day. Don’t lose today focusing on yesterday.

Life is a journey, and everyone has their own cross to carry. However, just know that you are never in it alone. Whatever you are facing, you are equipped to deal with it. If God will never put more on us than we can bear, then that means that we are stronger than we give ourselves credit for. I know there comes a point when you are tired of being strong for everyone. Well, this journey also has many rewards that are all along the journey, but you just can’t stay in a dead place. You can’t stay in one spot. You are about to cross a new victory line in your life. The rewards there will be more than enough to compensate for what you came through to get there. If you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, I write this post today to tell you that is a perfect recipe for a miracle. God always specializes in overnight deliveries. That is all for now.

Your Singles Advisor,

The Duke