Archive for the ‘Ladies Lounge’ Category

Let’s Support Fathers, Especially Black Fathers

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

Today is the day that we celebrate fathers all over the world. It seems that we so often focus on how challenging it is for modern day mothers who are still expected to attend to all the needs of their children and yet are now also trying to succeed in their careers. While I have first-hand knowledge of the complexities of being a modern day working mother or just a modern day mother, period, I have an ever increasing level of compassion for the modern day Father, especially the Black father.

It’s no secret that, in the US, the two parent family is increasingly becoming the exception while the single parent home is increasingly becoming the norm. And if you take a look at Black communities all around the country, unfortunately, that becomes even truer. I’ll save my speculation as to why we are facing these circumstances for another day and instead bring the focus back to the Black father.

Most of these single parent homes that are increasingly becoming the norm are typically headed my Black women and the Black father is often subjected to the whims of the said mother. Today, I am appealing to all Black mothers to set aside their own feelings about a man they may not necessarily, love, like or even respect and let him be a father to his child or his children. It’s not enough to just be a willing participant; you have to be your child’s advocate in doing everything that you can to make sure that he or she has a relationship with his or her Father.

I’ve heard all the stories about the dead-beat fathers or the ones who don’t care or the ones who don’t pay their child support etc. The truth still remains that every child deserves to love their father and to be loved by their father, no matter who the father is or what he has or has not done.

One woman once relayed a story to me about how her mother would not allow her father to see her because he had disappointed her so many times by saying he was coming and then not showing up. Her mother then decided to “cut him off” entirely to spare her daughters feelings and the woman never saw her father again. Years later she found out that he had continued to attempt to see her but her mother would not allow it. This birthed a small resentment towards her mother and now she had to deal with resenting both of her parents, her father for not being around and her mother for not letting him. This is a sad story, but unfortunately, it is a common one.

I’ve had the privilege of not only growing up in a home with both of my parents who are still married today, and I am also raising my two children with my best friend and husband who is also their father. I am very grateful for my circumstances and very grateful to my parents who may have had numerous opportunities to go their separate ways but instead, put my well-being and that of my siblings, ahead of their own personal feelings and desires. I am also grateful to my husband who continues to put up with my many “complexities” because he loves his children and wants them to have a safe and secure home. That being said, I never fail to mention that our marriage has not worked because we were “lucky” to have found each other; it is actually quite the opposite. We work at it and we do so, amongst other things, for the benefit of our children.

I share some of my personal story for one reason and that is simply to say that we all have different circumstances and we all make different choices about how we live our lives but let’s make the same choice when it comes to our children and their fathers. Let’s support the fathers of our children in being the best fathers that they can be regardless of their circumstances. Let’s set aside any negative thoughts and feeling and just focus on what is good and what is possible when a man loves his child or his children and they have the opportunity to love him back.

Happy Father’s Day.

Originally Posted at Your Black World

Nomalanga: What Black Women Can Learn from Meagan Good

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

I have been following a lot of news about Meagan Good and her vow to remain celibate until her and her Pastor/Producer husband are married.

To some this may seem the most far-fetched idea that they can think of because celibacy is something that society has dismissed as both outdated and unrealistic. Let’s think about it though-Think about all the negative information that is currently circulating about Black women in America and the rest of the world. Let’s start with the rate of HIV infection as well as other sexually transmitted diseases. Let’s think about the rates of teenage pregnancy and the rate of single parenthood, much of which is the result of unplanned pregnancies and pre-marital intercourse.

I am not one to jump to conclusions that I cannot support with credible sources so I will not do that but I think we need to, at the very least, consider that Meaghan Good may just be somewhat of a hero. She is going against the grain and setting an example. I don’t believe she is saying that she is “pure” and angelic and that the rest of us are “sinners”. That would be off-putting. She is however, saying that it is possible for a young woman to stand her ground and do something different and still be popular, attractive and “modern”.

The lesson that I am drawing from her example is that just because you have engaged in what some would call “sin”, there is still room to take a different course of action and change your outcomes. To some, celibacy may seem like an extreme measure to take but considering the issues that we deal with, maybe we should consider it as a very viable option. Obviously, it is possible to avoid diseases and unplanned pregnancies through taking birth control and using other forms of protection. That, however, does not take the emotional and spiritual ramifications of having multiple partners (whether concurrently or consecutively) into consideration.

My passion is the pursuit of personal development, including but not limited to my own. I instruct, mentor and advise young women, especially young women of color, more than any other population so this is an issue that I tackle very often. I’m not trying to assign judgment to anyone for their choices but I think that we are often too quick to dismiss the idea of celibacy as either “old fashioned” or unrealistic. Let’s begin to look at it as a very viable option. Yes, there are other ways to be responsible and safe, but no one can argue that no other way is as safe as celibacy so let’s not discount it.

Check out Nomalanga’s e-book:
Seven Life Changing Habits; How I Changed My Life from Mediocre to Magnificent & How You Can Too!

Nomalanga: 3 Basic Marriage Savers

Friday, May 25th, 2012

I think it’s no secret that I believe that many marriages that end in divorce do so unnecessarily. I think that there are some very extreme circumstances that some men and women deal with in their marriages that leave them with very few options and unfortunately, divorce ends up being the option of choice. That being said, I still believe that Divorce should ALWAYS be the very, very last resort and in a lot of cases, unfortunately, it is one of the first.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I would like to admit that my own seven year old marriage has had some very rocky periods. I’m talking about some sharp, jagged rocks that could hurt somebody, literally and figuratively! I share this, not just to be humorous, but to emphasize that people don’t stay married because they are “soul mates” or “meant to be” or whatever other fluffy cliché you may have heard. The people who succeed in marriage do so because they don’t look at divorce as an option, but instead, as the destruction of the individuals, family unit and the community that it is.

I would like to share three marriage savers that I know work, not only from my own personal experience, but also from having observed them in other people’s lives and marriages.
1. Close the door to WRONG counsel
“Wrong Counsel” is a topic that I am very vocal about because I have seen its destruction at work. Wrong counsel is anyone that you speak to, or allow to speak to you, about your marriage, that has not earned the right and privilege to. This particular group of people is funny because they tend to be the ones with the most eagerness to give unsolicited advice, even though they typically have had no professional training in the field of Marriage and Family life, have never been married or have failed at their attempt(s) at marriage.

Sometimes the “wrong counsel” individuals have very good intentions and their advice sounds good but bear in mind that if their mindset and advice was right, they would be in a successful marriage themselves or they would have earned the degrees and field experience to run a successful Marriage and Family Counseling practice. I’m not saying that these people should be discounted as not being respectable or lovable human beings; all I’m saying is that you should exercise some wisdom and protect your marriage from their “well meaning”, but often misguided advice.

2. Open the door to RIGHT counsel
Anyone who is married or has been around married people knows that every marriage encounters challenges and tests. The great news is that “there is nothing new under the sun”! If you run in to what seems like an insurmountable obstacle in your marriage, it is very important to seek Right counsel.

The counsel can be an older couple you know that has been married for 5, 10, 20 or 30+ years. Obviously, it can’t be a couple who you have observed being constantly nasty and unkind to each other. If you’re a woman, find an older woman who loves and respects her husband as well as herself. If you feel comfortable that she will be respectful of your privacy and she is open to mentoring you, you have found a good thing. Understand that sometimes you may be certain that you’re completely right and actually be completely wrong and she will be that person that helps you make decisions that will preserve your marriage.

Another form of Right counsel is a spiritual leader who is in your church or religious organization. The key here is that your beliefs and theirs have to be similar or the same. Again, before you open your marriage to their counsel, you must be assured that they will be a good role model (are in a healthy and stable marriage) and that they will protect your privacy as well as your marriage.

Another form of Right counsel is a professionally trained, preferably licensed, marriage counselor. This person is often a good choice because they can give you tools that can be helpful and they can be objective and non-judgmental.

3. Never give up.
This does not need explanation. Either you give up and you get a divorce or you don’t. Exceptions are very few and far between.

I would like to add that you can use all three forms of “marriage savers” and also read books and attend workshops and seminars that will help you be a better wife (or husband). As always, please note that in extreme cases such as abuse, chronic infidelity and dealing with addictions, a different course of action is necessary. Remember, marriage is a commitment and making a commitment means that you’re going to do what you said you would do even at the times that you don’t feel like it. Don’t let yourself, your family and your community down. Save your marriage.

Check out Nomalanga’s e-book:
Seven Life Changing Habits; How I Changed My Life from Mediocre to Magnificent & How You Can Too!

Nomalanga: Why he doesn’t respect you

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

A lot of times when we hear people describing the differences between men and women, we hear “men need to be respected” and “women need security”. While I can’t argue with the descriptions, I think what tends to happen is that we talk about men needing to be respected so much that we forget that women need t be respected as well and they also need to respect themselves.

In the area of respect, women fall into three basic categories:
1. She is respected and commands respect
A woman who is respected is a woman who has a healthy level of confidence and self respect. This woman earns respect and therefore commands it. She is a woman of substance and she demonstrates this through her words and deeds.

2. She is not respected but demands respect
This is a woman who secretly loathes herself and does not respect herself. This woman hopes that no one will figure out her dirty little secret and she usually complains about not being respected and constantly has to demand respect.

3. She is not respected and she does not expect to be
This woman is a woman who has such a low level of confidence and self esteem that she has no expectation that anyone will respect her. She allows people to talk to her and treat her badly and sadly, she believes that she deserves that bad treatment.

Of course there are instances when a self respecting and respectable woman will be disrespected by a person who has no regard for the appropriate way to treat another human being. Also, as women, we deal with issues such as sexism, where no matter how respectable you are, some man is going to think that his male “parts” somehow qualify him for some superior status in life. Another common issue is racism, where some non-black or non-minority person will not respect a woman of color because he or she believes that the color or tone of their skin entitles them to some “special” status that no black or minority person can ever attain.

With all the exceptions aside, any woman who complains that her man or anyone does not respect her has to do a self analysis and see which of the three types of women she is. In the two cases of the women who do not respect themselves, usually because of their low level of self esteem and lack of confidence, there is a simple answer: Invest in your personal development and become a woman of substance.

In the next post of the Personal Development Series, I will share tips on how to become a woman of substance.

Nomalanga:What we can learn from Martin Lawrence’s Divorce

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

It is being widely reported that after less than three years of marriage and 13 years “together” , Martin Lawrence and his wife, Shamicka Gibbs are getting divorced. Apparently, the couple had been together for 13 years and had two daughters together before they decided to tie the knot in 2010 and now it’s all over!

This is a very interesting trend that I have noticed does not only plague Hollywood couples. We see it all the time; two people who date for a very long time and are seemingly happy together decide to get married and end up getting divorced soon after-the relationship that they had before they got married lasted longer than the marriage.

I was just having a Facebook discussion in which I suggested that the lesson that can be learned from a lot of these unfortunate “train wrecks’ that they call marriages is that when people get married, especially after dating for a long time, it is important not to suddenly come up with a new set of expectations.

The way I put is was this: When people get married they change their expectations but the truth is you can’t live with a “dog” for years and then hope that after the wedding it will stop barking and start purring like a cat. It is a dog and it will continue to bark. If you wanted a cat, you should have married a cat.

Now, just to be clear, I’m NOT saying men are dogs-okay? What I am saying is that when you date a person, the time that you spend getting to know them, should also be time spent setting up realistic expectations for a long term relationship. Obviously, there will be small, maybe even major changes after you get married. A great example is that you will start to live together, assuming that you were not already. These kinds of changes in expectations are normal and reasonable. You cannot, however expect that a person will morph into a different and maybe more “responsible” life partner just because you both said “I do”.

Maya Angelou has been known to say, “When people show you who they are, believe them”. So, when you date a person, this is the time that they will show you who they are and that is the behavior upon which you should set your expectations. If their behavior while you are dating is unacceptable, marriage will only compound the degree to which you find their behavior unacceptable.

Again, the lesson is simple; if you want to marry your “honey”, understand that the way your honey is when you’re dating is basically the way that honey will be when you’re married.  If you marry him (or her), don’t ask him (or her) to change and certainly, don’t expect them to.

It would not surprise me to find out that this is precisely what went wrong with Martin and Shamicka. I reckon that Shamicka married Martin and thought that when they got married, he would change and she was disappointed to find out that he didn’t and probably wasn’t going to. And now…Divorce.

If you want a “good” man…be a “good” woman, first!

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

I just read the article below and immediately wanted to go and hug the writer, Dr. Corey Guyton. This man has managed to pin point one of the major reasons why black people’s relationships and marriages fail so often:Women stopped understanding their value and the men followed right along and stopped appreciating the women’s value. When things don’t work out, women tend to blame the men; black men. What we might want to start doing is looking at ourselves and let that be our starting point. I’m not saying that women are Always to blame and men are Never to blame. What I am saying is that “change comes from within”. Start within and I bet what you see “without” will also begin to change.

From a Brother to the Sisters: Why You Should Demand to Be Properly Courted!
By Dr. Corey Guyton
The bible states that “whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing”. In today’s society, it seems that this bible verse has been reversed to “whoso findeth a husband findeth a good thing”. This reversal of roles is the result of women believing that there are not many good men left, causing them to take the role of the pursuer and not the pursued. The truth is that when women begin aggressively pursuing men, it puts them at a disadvantage. If a woman chases a man, he has the ability to control the situation because her pursuit of him lets him know that she likes him, which gives him the opportunity to make her work for him. In these situations men do not have to take the time to get to know a woman internally because there would be no incentive to do so. At this point, men can push the envelope and try to be physical with a woman because if it does not work out, he will not have lost anything because he was not pursuing her in the first place.

Beautiful queens, you are royalty. You deserved to be chased and you deserve to be wine and dined. In my opinion, going “dutch” or you paying for a date is unacceptable. While you are being pursued, a guy should pay for everything and there are multiple reasons why.

1. If a guy pays for your dates, it shows that he sees enough value in you to invest in you financially.

2. If a guy takes the lead and pays for you, it shows that he has the potential to be a provider when he has a family. This does not mean that women cannot provide, but it suggest that he would be willing to do whatever it took to support his family.

3. If a guy pays for your dates without trying to get anything from you (sex, money, etc), it shows that he is pursuing you for you and not for what you can do for him.

A real man (good man) will always take the lead on paying for you while pursuing you. When I first met my beautiful queen, I would not let her pay for anything. I wanted her to see that I valued her and that I was willing to do whatever it took to prove that I was fully invested in her and really wanted to be with her. My goal was to make her feel like a queen and allow her to feel wanted. By no means am I telling you to milk a guy for his money, but allow him to treat you as the queen you are.

From my experience, I have noticed that women love to feel wanted and appreciated. If this is true for you, why settle for a guy you have to chase? You deserve to be courted, chased, pursued, wanted, appreciated, and feel special. Do not settle for less beautiful queens, because real men understand that their role is to pursue you. If you want the key to a guy’s heart, please make sure that he pursues and works for you.

About the Writers
Dr. Corey Guyton is a dynamic speaker, blogger, author, and husband who is on a mission to bring back the essence of healthy relationships. Alongside his wife, Dr. Chutney Guyton, their movement has gained momentum and they have been sought out by many colleges, conferences, churches, and organizations for their powerful keynotes, workshops, books, and personal consulting. For more information, visit www.ybelove.com.
Source

Black women heavier and happier with their bodies than white women

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

According to the Post-Kaiser poll, which offers the most extensive and nuanced look at the lives of black women in decades, 28 percent of black women say that being physically attractive is “very important,” compared with 11 percent of white women. White women were more likely than black women to say being attractive was “somewhat important.”

For African American women, that desire often gets defined in ways the mainstream culture doesn’t recognize.

Princeton professor Imani Perry teaches interdisciplinary classes in African American studies and notes black women have conceptions of beauty that are “not just tied to the accident of how you look as a consequence of your genes.” They include style, grooming, how you present and carry yourself, and “how you put yourself together, which I think generally speaks to the fact that we have a much broader and deeper conception of beauty.”

Gibson’s mission is to get women to embrace their size but to work toward being fit. She preaches acceptance but says white fitness professionals often seem almost resentful of her confidence.

“If I were this plump, meek person doing the same thing I do, I think they would embrace me.”

Her rule: “Do you,” Gibson says, “and be okay with me being me. I can never be mad at this thin person. I say, ‘You’re sexy, you’ve got it going on. But don’t think for one minute that I don’t feel the same about myself.’ ”

Read the story here from Washington Post.

Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker: How to Have a Happy Marriage

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Check out this interview that Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker did with essence.com. I love seeing marriage work and I love it even more when the happy couples share their “secret to success”. Enjoy!

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Walter “BlackBond” Cobb: What Men Like in Women

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Do You have the time is an age old pick up line that is hardly used in this manner any longer, but I think I will start using it when getting to know a woman. Today, women are in the work force accomplishing more than they ever have and many often have to juggle running a home and a family on their own. I commend them for this, but so often they are not making time for life. To me, there are very few traits that are as attractive as a woman having a zest for life. But where has that zest gone??? I hear about women who hit the snooze button a few times in the morning and roll out the bed in just enough time to get dressed and head for work. No breakfast being made. Many just grab some junk in the morning as they hit the drive through for their morning coffee. An even worse phenomenon happens in the evening. Women are saying they don’t have enough time to cook dinner for themselves or their kids as they are putting extra hours in at the office and are too tired to cook when they get home. So take out it is, or even worse, fast food drive through.

Okay, we know this and now you are asking what does this have to do with male/female relationships. When a man starts thinking that he wants to get to know a woman seriously, he considers a lot of things. To me, a woman who cannot seem to carve out enough time in her daily routine for herself, will have you competing for time with her. Even if she likes you! Now I am all for earning your attention but if we have to compete with life we will lose every time. Women always say men have short attention spans and this is a sure fire way to lose our attention. It is endearing to me when I hear a woman telling me how she makes time to hit the gym and take care of herself. It makes me think she will also make the time to take care of me. Right or wrong this is how we think. Read the rest here.

Sex before Marriage

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

I just read a post that really got me thinking…

“You appealed to his lower nature. You had sex with him and didn’t make marriage a requirement. You continue to have sex with him and still don’t make marriage a requirement. You decide that you’re going to have his baby, and again you still aren’t married because, again, you didn’t make it a requirement, he leaves you. But everything is “ALL HIS FAULT!”

The words above are a simple question that a lot of black woman who call themselves “baby mama” need to ask themselves. I completely understand and sympathize with the fact that “it takes two to tango” and that some men need a little nudge (like a court order) to take responsibility and contribute financially for their children’s needs. Anyone who pays attention to most of the things that I say/write, knows that I believe in personal responsibility. Before you ask or require other people to take responsibility for anything, you first have to ask yourself if you are taking responsibility

Read the post here and let me know what you think. [email protected]

Again, my friends, can I please not get an influx of angry e-mails about how judgmental I’m being! 🙂 Some truths need to be faced and we need to have dialogue so that we can begin to move into a better way of thinking and behaving. We can’t change what we don’t acknowledge-right?