Overcoming Trust Issues

Trusting God: The Path to Trusting Your Mate

In this post, the seventh installment in my summer series on relationships, I share the key to overcoming your trust issues in relationships. This article, like the previous posts in this series, is a reprint from our A Stitch in Time newsletter. I hope you enjoy reading today’s article whether reading for the first time or second!

Word cloud of emotions related to trust

Yes, I Can Trust

“Thank you for trusting me…” I smiled when I first read that in an email from Reggie last month. “Of course, I trust him,” I thought to myself. However, it was not always that way. If you know my husband, you might be wondering how I could not trust him.

Freeing Yourself from Past Pain

Tips for Emotional Healing

Since Monday is Independence Day in the United States, today’s post shares how I freed myself from the pain of past relationships. This article is my sixth installment in my summer series on relationships. Like the previous posts in this series, this is reprint from our A Stitch in Time newsletter. I hope you enjoy reading today’s article whether reading for the first time or second!

Pain reflected by a dark rain cloud full of negative emotions

Releasing the Pain

“We need to talk,” is a phrase many people dread hearing. I was one of those people. Why? Because such phrases had become a warning signal that I was about to be berated or torn down verbally.

Before meeting Reggie, I fell prey to a man whose chosen weapon was criticism. I not only dreaded the ensuing assault, but I withdrew and became defensive. I would withdraw by shutting down mentally and emotionally. An invisible wall went up between us. If possible, I would remove myself physically or end our phone conversations to limit the criticism. If I could not withdraw, I would become argumentative and defend myself from his criticism.

Priorities: Pride vs. Relationship

What’s More Important to You?

Here is week five of my summer series on relationships. Today’s post is based on a conversation I had with my dear friend Dianne where she challenged me as to what was more important to me—being right or being in a relationship. Her wisdom helped me get my priorities straight. I hope her wisdom can do the same for you. Once again, I am sharing a reprint from our A Stitch in Time newsletter. I hope you enjoy reading today’s article whether reading for the first time or second!

Someone setting priorities by adjuding a dial to indicate high priority

A Matter of Priorities

“Do you want to be right or do you want to be married?” When my girlfriend Dianne posed this question to me, I did not understand why I couldn’t be both right and in a relationship. I totally missed her point. (Please note that I was not married when she said this, but I was in a relationship.)

Tender Spots

Protecting Each Other's Vulnerabilities

Once again, I am sharing a reprint from our A Stitch in Time newsletter. This week’s reprint about protecting your significant other’s tender spots is part four in my summer series on relationships. The series began three weeks ago with a piece on preparing for a relationship by spending time alone with God. Two weeks ago, I shared some tips from my late husband Reginald Sanders on how to spend time alone with God. Then, last week, I followed that with who should take initiative in a relationship and when. I hope you enjoy reading today’s article whether reading for the first time or second!

Do Not Enter Sign saying, "Private Area; Public Not Allowed"

Protecting Our Tender Spots

“We made a pact not to use our tender spots against each other,” shared our instructor in our pre-engagement class. Tender spots are sensitive issues in our lives, like wounds, fears, or other vulnerabilities. Our instructor’s comment resonated in me because a previous boyfriend, Guy (name changed) used my tender spots against me.

Taking the Initiative

To Lead or Not Lead a Relationship

Last month, I started a summer series on relationships. Part One of this series focused on preparing for a relationship by spending time alone with God. Part Two elaborated with some tips from my late husband Reginald Sanders on how to spend time alone with God. This week, we switch gears to who should take initiative in a relationship and when. This is another reprint from our A Stitch in Time newsletter. I hope you enjoy it whether reading for the first time or second!

A black couple in business attire, both ready to take charge

Who Should Take Initiative & When

“Start out the way you want to end up.” This is a wonderful piece of advice that my mother gave me on relationships. It is also the first thing that comes to mind when women ask me who should make the first move in romantic relationships. When women hear the dreaded “the man” answer, the next question is often why and that is where Mama’s advice comes into play.

From Reginald Sanders

Some Brotherly Advice on Relationships

Last week, I began a summer series on relationships. Part One shares how spending time alone with God prior to beginning a relationship prepared me for my relationship and subsequent marriage with Reggie. However, it didn’t provide any specific details on what that looks like. That is provided this week from another reprint from our A Stitch in Time newsletter. In today’s post my husband, Reginald Sanders, provided some of those details in some brotherly advice he gave my cousin.

A Picture of Reginald Sanders

Also, I share it with you this week because this Thursday, June 9th is the fifth anniversary of Reggie’s death. It is my way of remembering him and sharing him. Reginald Sanders is gone, but not forgotten.

From Reginald Sanders

As I said earlier, I’ve been praying concerning you, and GOD and I had a discussion about what you shared. I want you to be encouraged about this note/letter, or whatever you want to term it. After praying to HIM, here’s what I want you to know. Know that this is a very critical and pivotal time for you in your life. You are at a very critical point with God as well.

Love: Want An(other) Extraordinary One?

There is Hope

After a long, cold winter and now an equally long, rainy spring, I am ready for some warm weather and this weekend has not disappointed. It is hot! Summertime hot! Warm weather often turns people’s hearts towards love, especially those currently without a romantic relationship in their lives. Having a great relationship often tops many people’s lists for creating a life they love.

A Picture of Black Couple Embracing

However, past experiences have many of those same people questioning the likelihood of experiencing a great love. So, today, I am starting a new series on relationships beginning with a post on hope of a great love, even another great love. This series consists of reposts from our newsletter A Stitch in Time. I hope you enjoy it whether reading for the first time or second!

For Those Looking for Love:

“What you said gave me hope,” Tara said. She was in the audience the night before when Reggie and I had shared about handling baggage before and during a relationship. Her comment took me back. 

Remembering Loved Ones During the Holidays

Four Way to Honor Those You've Lost

Remembering loved ones is another way of coping with grief during the holidays. By remembering your loved one, I mean intentionally including your loved ones in a holiday ritual or tradition.

Woman alone remembering loved one

Reggie’s death from a heart attack came out of nowhere. It was our custom to speak each day around mid morning. The day Reggie died was no exception. Reggie called me around 11 am. It was one of the ways we stayed connected in our marriage.

At that time, Reggie and I were both part of our church’s youth ministry, Merge. Before our call, Reggie emailed several of our co-laborers in the ministry. These emails were full of Reggie’s warm-hearted, good-natured jovialness. I remember joking with him about them.

“You have been busy on email this morning”, I said.

“Uh-huh”, Reggie replied.

“What am I going to do with you?” I joked.

“Nothing. It’s too late. You’re stuck with me now—‘til death do us part.” The word stuck implied that we had many years ahead. Neither Reggie nor I planned on leaving the other anytime soon. Little did we know that less than two hours later, Reggie would be gone.

Needless to say, I wasn’t ready for Reggie to leave, let alone spend a holiday without him. And I didn’t have to not completely. I could still include Reggie’s memory in the festivities, even if I wouldn’t have his physical presence. Remembering Reggie was my way of honoring his memory.

Four Ways of Remembering Loved Ones During the Holidays

  1. Reminisce – Reggie wasn’t the first loved one I made a point of remembering during the holidays. My father has that honor. Daddy died six years and a day before Reggie. Reggie never met my father, but Reggie told me he felt like he knew Daddy because of how my family talked about him during the holidays.

This started quite organically. We didn’t have a family meeting. No one spearheaded a conversation about how to include Daddy in the festivities. It all started naturally with someone reminiscing about Daddy. I don’t remember whom. It may have been me. That first memory sparked another in someone else and then another. Next thing we knew, we were laughing and smiling as we  told stories about Daddy.

Though it was unplanned, it turned out to be one of the best ways we could honor Daddy. Those stories brought him alive and Daddy joined us for a few moments that Christmas. It was wonderful, so much so that we continue to do it each year.

Whether you do it informally or formally, reminiscing about your loved one and sharing memories about them is a beautiful way to include them in your holiday celebrations.

  1. Display Meaningful Items – This is how I remember my children who I have yet to meet because I miscarried them before they were born. I bought ornaments for them. I have never hung them on a tree, but I do take them out each year and take a moment to remember them, grieve another Christmas spent apart, think about them spending Christmas with their father and grandfather in Heaven, and dream about the holidays and time we will spend together when I finally join them in Heaven.

Ornaments are but one way to include meaningful items. There are others, as many as there are meaningful things. You also can include a meaningful item by wearing something that belonged to your loved one or that reminds you of him/her. Include what is meaningful to you.

  1. View Photos/Videos – Ours is the most documented generation in history. By documented, I mean there are more photographs and videos of us than any other generation before us. Not only do we have the technology by way of digital cameras for taking stills and videos, but also social media has provided a mechanism for organizing and viewing them. Many people post a picture of their loved ones using social media on holidays. My niece and nephews have done this with both my father/their grandfather and my husband/their uncle.

Another option with photos is to set up a photo table. A photo table is an assortment of framed photographs of your loved one(s) arranged on a table. The photos typically fill the table. With this option, the photos are out on display. If the loss is fresh, you may opt to put out a photo album. That way, the photos are available if someone wants to look through them, but leaves them the choice.

  1. Include His/Her Favorites – A way that I learned about preparing for this blog is to include your loved one’s favorites. You can include a favorite food at dinner, play some of his/her favorite music in the background during the festivities, or watch a favorite holiday movie or TV show.

Last week, I mentioned doing something new as a way of coping with the loss of a loved one. I think this is one I will try this year. Reggie loved my caramel carrot cake. I would make it during the holidays for him. I haven’t made one since he died, but I think it would be a great way to include him this year.

These are just a few ways of remembering your loved ones during the holidays that have worked for me. Maybe they will get your creative juices going and you will come up with some of your own. If so, please share. Your idea may bless someone else.

Until next time,
Dawn

 

Questions: How are you remembering your loved ones during the holidays this year? Please respond by clicking on the Comment, Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest buttons below.

How We Connected through Abstinence

And You Can Too—Single or Married

Last week’s post was about combating loneliness by increasing your opportunities to connect with people. This week’s post, inspired by my friend Kristin’s post on purity before marriage and her decision to abstain from kissing, is on deepening connections with your significant other through none other than abstinence.

Cloud of words on abstinence

Abstinence may sound counterintuitive when it comes to deepening your connection with your significant other, but trust me it works. Reggie and I refrained from sex including kissing both before and for a brief time during our marriage. The results were the same on both occasions—a deeper connection.

Mary Jane It Up

Transform Your Negative Self-Talk

This is a guest post by Kristin Kimble. She is a writer who blogs about dating, relationships and the single life from a transparent Christian perspective. She lives in Maryland. You can read her blog, like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

“Mary Jane it up if you have to,” she said.

Positive quotes on post it notes

She was referring to the main character of the BET series Being Mary Jane played by Gabrielle Union.  Union’s character, who I can relate to in more ways than one, places yellow sticky notes all over her house, particularly on her bed post, with positive affirmations and quotes that she reads every morning before going to work. Each show starts out with intriguing quotes from various people that foreshadow the shows theme.

It was my second session of counseling and I was truly enjoying the experience. The couch was amazing and my therapist was excellent. I felt comfortable and encouraged!