Am I Ready For Marriage?

We all anxiously anticipate that time in our lives when we get swept of our feet and find our Prince Charming. But, as the nationwide divorce rate climbs near the 50% mark, it is more important than ever to closely evaluate ourselves and our relationships to understand if we are truly ready to make one of the most important decisions in our lives: the commitment of marriage. It can be so easy to become caught up in the emotional highs of love and the excitement of planning a wedding meet for a princess, but we need to make sure we are making a well-thought-through decision that is based on more than just fantasy and expectations. To make the decision of marriage an educated one, here are the critical aspects of a relationship to closely evaluate to more fully understand if your relationship is on the right track and if you are ready for marriage.

First, do you know who you are and does he know who he is? After marriage is not the time to discover the answers to these questions. You have already made the pinnacle covenant the represents your love and commitment to one another. It would be devastating if either of you discovers after you are married that your true interests and goals in life do not coincide. Marriage is not the time to discover that you were not meant for each other or that your lives are headed in different directions. Before you are married, make sure you understand the direction and purpose of your life, and make sure he knows the direction and purpose of his. If the answers to these questions are the same for the two of you, then the base of you relationship is founded on common ground that will be critical as the two of you work together and support one another in your common life goals and interests.

Second, is your heart and mind one? This means: is your heart telling you this relationship is right, and are your mind/thoughts confirming this, and vice versa? Usually (in my experience I found every time), when a relationship is wrong, emotionally you may feel in love or happy but your mind and thoughts aren't clear or at peace with the relationship. Or, on the flip side, in your mind you are thinking everything seems perfect, he seems perfect, but in your heart you feel that something is missing. These are your instincts telling you what you can't see or explain-that it is wrong. Listen to yourself. If your heart and mind aren't at peace, then the relationship is not right. Don't take a chance if you don't fully understand why you do not feel at peace, just know that you don't-in the end you will be grateful that listened to your instincts.

Lastly, make sure there is no baggage in your life, his life, and in the relationship. You don't want anything to get in the way of a happy, healthy relationship-now and in the future. Yes, marriage is about working together, through the good and the bad, difficulties and hardships. Any previous personal struggles, weaknesses, and temptations on your part or his that could be detrimental to the relationship if it once again became an issue, needs to have been properly dealt with and well in the past. If there is any sign that serious issues and personal problems still need to be resolved, marriage is not the time to try to overcome these concerns if the problems existed beforehand.

Marriage is entrusting your heart and life to another person. We all make mistakes, but make sure your life and your children's (yes, even your future children's) happiness and well-being is not, or could not be at risk. You never know how inappropriate behavior and actions will have a direct or indirect impact on someone - but either way, inappropriate behavior never equaled a positive outcome. Always use good judgment.

Preparing for marriage is such an exciting time. We all look forward to sharing our lives with that special someone. It is important not to force a relationship to a level that you, he, or the relationship is not ready and even meant for. Make sure you both know who you are and share the same ideals, that your heart and mind are one about the relationship, and you are both capable of making each other, and your future growing family, surrounded in a happy and healthy environment. It is important that all these pieces are in place so that there is nothing in the way of a bright future!

Our Heart's Achilles Heel: Eagerness

One of the most natural desires of life is to find and settle down with that special someone. But as we search for that special someone it is critical to remain patient through the dating process. Otherwise, if we become eager rather than patient, our judgment can become clouded as we focus more on achieving the “idea” of a romantic connection rather than focusing on a real connection. Many relationship pitfalls can be avoided if we avoid becoming eager.

When we are eager to make that romantic connection rather than patient with the process, one result is that we can end up falling in love with the notion of being in love instead of actually being in love with the other person. For example, if we compromise our standards or expectations to make a romantic connection we are then more focused on the “idea” of love rather than being “in” love. It would seem that one could not truly love someone that would cause them to accept something less than their heart’s true desire. Though there may be qualities of a person you like, it is important to recognize that you have become more focused on the idea of love. If you have compromised your standards or ignored certain qualities that would normally have the utmost importance to you, you have fallen in love with the idea, not the person.

Remember, there is no rush. If someone does not possess all the important characteristics you are looking for, wait patiently for someone who does. Do not settle in because you are eager to settle down.

Another pitfall of becoming eager is that we may easily fall in love with someone because we have general or vague requirements. There lots of funny people out there, attractive people, nice people, and yes, people who like the same music and movies as you do. But these “credentials” are not the basis for a relationship; they are just the icing on the cake. You haven’t made a real romantic connection with someone if the relationship is based on these relatively insignificant qualities and because you are able to tolerate one another. In other words, do not think you have finally found your one true love as soon as you meet someone that shares the same simple common interests as you and you both get along.

Love is much deeper than saying we like “these” same things and calling it a day. It is about sharing and connecting your deep passions and beliefs. That takes time and patience to find.

So how do you combat eagerness?

Keep a long-term perspective in mind.

This does not mean it is going to take “forever” to meet Mr. Right. The goal here is a lasting relationship, not a rushed one that fulfills immediate needs and could falter over time. It may take months, it may take years to discover that special someone. But, patience is the key if you want to ensure that a relationship is created in good judgment.

Remember, it is not the timeline that is important; it is the quality of the relationship and its resilience. In this day and age, the quality of the relationship cannot be underestimated. Eagerness can become the Achilles heel if you do not stay focused on your ultimate goal; genuine love and admiration for the love of your life.

The Foundation of a Lasting Romance

All healthy and successful relationships are, and must be based upon a strong foundation. If there is no real foundation in a relationship, then it is based upon superficial circumstances that ultimately fade away and lead to a meaningless and empty romance. However, discovering how to find a meaningful and fulfilling relationship just takes a little introspection - because what constitutes a strong romantic foundation lies within you; literally!

First, take a look at your own life. What is your foundation? Ask yourself what your driving force in life is and what your core beliefs are? What principles and values do you live by and what keeps you going day to day? This is important because it establishes who you are, and in turn knowing who you are is essential to knowing who you are compatible with.

Compatibility goes deeper than just getting along with someone else; it is about sharing the same beliefs, values, and purpose. So as you discover who you are, you are discovering who you are compatible with. Then, the reasons for your compatibility all together become your relationships core foundation- a foundation for a lasting relationship.

Think about it. When a relationship is built upon such qualities as values, beliefs, principles and purpose, it is then based upon substantive factors. These are all specific characteristics that define who you are- they make you, you. And when his character is defined by those same qualities, together you share common ideals that are oh-so critical as you both work together on and in your relationship, and ultimately through your lives together. So in other words:

Your Foundation + His Common Foundation = A Solid Foundation.

Have you ever been in a relationship where on the surface you are having a great time and everything seems to be going wonderfully but, for some reason you find that you just can't shake this feeling that something is missing? It was (or maybe it is now) because what truly matters most to you- what makes you, you- wasn't (or isn't) what made him, him. Having fun with someone, laughing together, sharing some of the same interests can only go so far. You know what truly makes you happy, what really matters and is meaningful in your life. True happiness doesn't come in moments, in comes through living by principles and values. And if he doesn't share your same values, and more especially, doesn't help you to live by them, then you will always be left feeling empty. Don't feel that way! These feelings in and of themselves go against your core values.

Lastly, your common beliefs and goals will have great significance throughout your relationship. When your relationship is built on that solid foundation it will be the anchor of your relationship through thick and thin. The thin: You will both be working toward the same goals in life and share many of the same perspectives. Through the thick: you will both know what to rely upon- knowledge, resources, and/or personal faith- when challenges and difficult situations arise. Now that is what healthy, happy relationships are all about!

There is immeasurable power when you understand the importance of a good foundation. It will make you happy long-term, give your relationship direction, and create a romance that is fulfilling, full of friendship and true love- a foundation for a lasting romance.

Blog Carnival- Avenue of Authenticity Edition

CafeGAB blog will be featured in the upcoming October 15th Blog Carnival, "Avenue of Authenticity" by Chandra Alexander.

Chandra Alexander, MSW, has been living and teaching authenticity for the last thirty years. Selected by The Oprah Magazine as the Life Coach to deliver twelve coaching sessions to the grand prize winner of their Toyota Moving Forward contest, she also spent five years on NBC/TV/Daytime giving a weekly “Reality Check.” Her blog, is a real find for any true seeker on the path to authenticity. Along with a private practice in Tampa , FL , she coaches clients all over the world in the areas of relationships, work and consciousness.

Visit Chandra's First Edition Avenue of Authenticity Blog Carnival at Chandra "Unplugged", featuring cafeGAB's "7 Relationship Red Flags You Should Not Ignore In a Relationship."

A Blissful Romance: Full of Compliments and Complements

Blissful relationships are a combination of loving expressions and compatibility. If you are going to give your heart to someone then they should, in turn, treat you with love and respect; both in action and word. Of course, relationships are also a matter of compatibility. A relationship is only promising if your companion is loving and your personalities are well matched. He must always be uplifting and constructive towards you and together, you strengthen one another. In essence a blissful romance is full of compliments and complements.

Compliments are a necessity in a healthy relationship. If the relationship is not healthy then you will be unhappy. It is human nature to need compliments. They are uplifting, reassuring, gratifying—they make us feel good! At the very least, the one person who should help you to feel all these things is the one you share your heart with. He should be someone who is considerate and thoughtful, not hurtful and mindless. If he cannot be respectful and sensitive in words, then he is likely to be inconsiderate in his actions too. The lack of both would leave us feeling miserable and lonely. A blissful relationship does not come from being unappreciated. It comes from being treated with high regard. This is one dynamic of a blissful relationship.

Another critical dynamic of a happy relationship is one that is complementary. A complementary relationship relates to the compatibility of your personalities. Two complementary personalities balance one another. If a relationship is going to be lasting, then you both need to strengthen one another’s strengths but also strengthen each other against your weaknesses.

To strengthen each other in your strengths means you should share those characteristics that are the major role players in your life: attributes that define who you are. Why are these strengths? Anything that defines who you are is your life’s backbone and motivation. If qualities that define you are not shared by your significant other, then who will be there to support you in those strengths/qualities? You do not want to clash in matters that are the cornerstone of who you are. Thus, a complementary relationship is partly defined by the strengthening of each other’s strengths.

The other half of a complementary relationship is strengthening each other against your weaknesses. No one is perfect. But, you also do not share the same weaknesses. If so, the result is one in which you both could succumb to the same pitfalls together. A healthy relationship is not one in which you share the same vulnerabilities or bad habits. Rather, it is having someone by your side, and he vice versa, that is supportive, encouraging, and helpful in overcoming those weaknesses. Ideally, someone who is able to provide such support is one who counteracts any such weakness because that is their strength.

Think of a complementary relationship in this way…compare a relationship to a team, group, or partnership that is successful. It begins with a strong base—each member of the successful partnership excels at what they individually do. But what also contributes to their success is that each member also excels at what the other(s) do not. What each member brings to the table is their individual strength both to complete it and support it. If all the members only shared the same strengths, there would still leave vulnerabilities. On the other hand, if they only shared the same vulnerabilities then where would the strengths stem from?

Strong romantic relationships are structured in the same manner. Your strong base begins with sharing your strengths (the critical aspects of your character) completed by bringing to the relationship what the other lacks (minor, less critical traits of one’s character) that are not defining. This is what constitutes a complementary relationship.

Remember, your blissful romance includes two major components; expressions of love and the compatibility of your personalities. One without the other would leave the relationship void of a critical piece. Bliss is created through feeling loved and appreciated, complete and strengthened. It is a matter of both external expressions and fulfillment within. A blissful romance is full of compliments and complements.

Total Mind and Body Fitness Blog Carnival

CafeGAB will be featured in this week's "Total Mind and Body Fitness Blog Carnival 69". Host "FitBuff" Brandon has put together a fantastic compilation of blog posts ranging from such topics as health and fitness, dating, personal finances, and much more!

Simply click on the title to visit this week's blog carnival!

My Heart Says "Yes" But My Instincts Say "No"

Whether you have found a new love interest or are considering marriage, it can be a challenge determining if your current relationship is ready for a major commitment. Many times, we feel ready for a serious relationship and to make that romantic connection. But, there are also many times, despite what we want and hope for in a relationship, that our instincts are telling us something to the contrary; he is not the right one.

Instead of fighting your instincts, let’s explore what your intuition may be telling you and why you should embrace what you may not fully understand.

First, your instincts may be telling you that though on the surface he may meet all your criteria, there is something missing. Sometimes we may not be able to put our finger on it, but our intuition is there to let us know of things that we cannot see or otherwise understand. In these situations, it is important to rely on your gut and trust that any feelings of uncertainty, uneasiness, or doubt signal that there is indeed something missing in the relationship.

Though there are times when we do recognize what the relationship is lacking, the desire to make that romantic connection can be overpowering. You may weigh the pros and cons or overlook some less-than-desirable qualities and rationalize that are other traits that outweigh the negative. But if feelings of uncertainty or uneasiness still exist, your instincts are telling you, if not confirming, that those qualities (or lack thereof) should not be put aside.

Second, your instincts may be telling you that there is someone else out there. Someone more compatible and who will make you happier.

Often times when we sense that “he is not the right one” it because there is someone else out there who is. This should be something to be excited about! Just think, if this relationship makes you happy and you still have reservations about it, then how much happier and wonderful you will feel when you do find the right one! Embrace your instincts. They are telling you there is someone better for you—and "better" is something to look forward to!

Lastly, if your instincts are telling you that the relationship is not right, it may be because there is something about him. Maybe he is not trustworthy, honest, or all that meets the eye. If there are things about him that are unsettling or suspicious, your instincts can give you the first indication that something is wrong. Or, once again, they may be confirming what you are already beginning to suspect.

Don’t take a chance on a relationship you are unsure about. Listen to your instincts. Remember, if you are feeling unsettled there can be several reasons why your intuition is telling you that he is not the one. Whatever the reason, it is important to listen. Your instincts are a very reliable friend. This natural warning system can be the difference between long-term happiness and potential heartache. The truth may reveal itself years in the future, but the fact remains, listen to your heart and follow your instincts!

The Law of Attraction- What Kind of Man Are You Attracting?

We all know that physical attraction plays a large role in our romantic relationships. But have you ever considered how your appearance can affect the type of person your are attracting- for better or for worse? Is your appearance attracting the right kind of guy, and most especially the type of guy you would like to have a serious relationship with?

With so much emphasis placed on how sexy we look and having the "perfect"... everything, are we really considering the ramifications of the choices we make just to look and be considered sexy? We may get a double-take, be the topic of a meaningless conversation, and seemingly be having a good time as we look cute, but all this attention is pointless if it ultimately attracts the wrong type of person, and most importantly, does not interest the right type of man.

The wrong type of guy is the guy who is drawn to a woman because, and largely only because of her appearance. If you attract a guy because you look sexy, well then, sex is probably what is on his mind. I'm sure that women today do not want to be objectified and find it more gratifying to be involved in a meaningful relationship based on more than mere physical attraction. If you dress in a manner that not only attracts, but invites the wrong type of guy in your life, no matter how much you hope for a different outcome, the wrong type of guy will always be drawn to you.

A man who is drawn to a woman because she looks sexy may not only have one thing on his mind, but his taste in women can also be a testament of his entire character. You aren't the only good lookin' girl out there. If you caught his eye because you look good then what happens when he notices the next pretty thing that comes along? In other words, if he has an eye for sexually attractive women then he probably has a wandering eye too. Who knows what that wandering eye can lead to? Obviously, we know what happened when you caught his eye. Does he stop there? My gut feeling is that the answer is something none of us likes.

So is it still possible to attract the right kind of kind and be sexy? Let's consider the characteristics of a man who is the right kind. If he is someone who is disciplined and can control his "manly urges", he is probably someone who is most attracted to a woman who is respectful to her body, and modesty is a must. The right kind views sex as something sacred, intimate, and personal. A woman who flaunts her stuff gives off the message that to her, sexuality is a casual matter. If you want to attract someone who treats sexuality with respect and restraint, then your appearance needs to reflect similar values too. In turn, what you reflect is what you attract.

More than ever, women need to be cautiously aware of what messages we are sending to men. With today's obsession with being sexy and sexual expression, we are losing sight of the long-term consequences of such behavior. We must remember to treat our own bodies with respect if we want that respect in return. And remember, it is not just a matter of who you are attracting, but also a matter of who you are not.

Articles Source:

7 Red Flags You Should Not Ignore In a Relationship

Relationship red flags come in different forms. These warning signs can be revealed through intuitive feelings and by revealing attributes of a boyfriend’s character. If red flags are overlooked the one person we hurt most is ourselves.

The following is a list of seven red flags you should not ignore in a relationship. Recognizing relationship red flags can prevent disappointment and heartache.

1. Dishonesty- There can be a fine line between being blatantly dishonest and trying not to hurt your feelings. The dating process is the critical time for boyfriend and girlfriend to get to know one another and honesty is essential.
It is important for him to be completely honest about his feelings and views if you are truly going to get to know him.

If all-too-often his excuse for not being straight with you is he “did not want to hurt your feelings” then:

a. There may be a communication barrier in the relationship.
b. There may be too many differences between the two of you.

Communication and unity are not only important in the dating process but critical in a long-term, successful relationship. The two of you need to be comfortable with expressing yourselves.

If he is blatantly dishonest then there really is no justification. Lying during courtship is a sign of disrespect toward you and can be an indication of his true character. Dishonesty is a quality of someone who has something to hide and lacks integrity.

2. Other People Know Your Business- Whether it is personal information about you or information personal to the relationship, under most circumstances it is inappropriate for others outside the relationship to be made aware of anything that is or should be kept private. If private matters of your relationship are made known to or discussed with others this is a sign that there is a communication problem in the relationship. Also, it can be an indication of one’s level of maturity in dealing and coping with problems.

Problems within the relationship need to be resolved within it. If there is a need to discuss a problem with others, that displays a lack of ability to resolve concerns between the two of you. This is not a good characteristic of a healthy relationship.

Any rationalization to justify seeking third party advice— from family, friends, and perhaps, even professional help— all come down to one bottom-line: weak communication exists in connection with a lack of ability to resolve differences in the relationship. Rationalizations like “he doesn’t listen to my side of the story”, “he is hard to talk to”, and “he gets defensive”, etc. all come back to that bottom-line.

If it is your personal business that is being shared with others, that is sign of disrespect toward you. A good man knows he should be respectful of your private matters which includes keeping private conversations confidential and being sensitive to your needs and feelings.

3. Something About Him Bothers You- “Bothersome” can come in two forms: He leaves you with a sense of distrust or uneasiness, or something about him is a nuisance.

Whether it is a single characteristic or multiple qualities about a boyfriend that bug you, you should not ignore those feelings. Why? Because if it bothers you enough to notice it and you have to consciously decide not to let it bother you, you are compromising yourself. Do not force yourself to accept something you do not like and are not comfortable with.

Do not succumb to making a “pro’s and con’s list” to decide that maybe there are other good qualities about him that make him tolerable. Again, if you have to consciously decide not to let it— or him— bother you then ultimately you are sacrificing your own standards and contentment.

4. You Feel Unappreciated – In a romantic relationship a key part to your happiness is feeling appreciated and cherished. You would not expect anything less and you shouldn’t. If he blows you off, is insulting or rude, and you are not a major priority in his life, do not accept what little he has to offer. No one like’s feeling unappreciated and he should be the first person to make sure you do not feel that way.

5. Mistrust or Doubt On Your Part- Instincts are a girl’s best friend. Sometimes all we have to let us know that a relationship is not right is our instinct. If you have feelings of mistrust or doubt toward him or the relationship, it is important to follow your intuition. The reason why we have this sixth sense is to make us aware of what we could not otherwise see or understand. Trust your gut!

6. He Rubs Your Family or Friends the Wrong Way- Our family’s and friend’s instincts can also signal a red flag in a relationship. We all have heard the cliché “love is blind”. And if you have become blinded by love, family and friends can help to see the truth. It can be easy to become caught up in a whirlwind romance and they have the ability to see more objectively.

If it is uncharacteristic for family or friends to be vocal about their dislike or questioning of a boyfriend’s character, then there is probably reason for you too to be concerned. They may be catching on to something that you are not.

There is a difference between family and friends being overly-protective and that of being reasonably concerned. Do not automatically dismiss one’s apprehension for the first; especially if it is possible there is some truth and reason to their uneasiness.

7. What Matters To You Doesn’t Matter To Him- Just as important as how he treats you is sharing common beliefs and goals.

You are only going to be happy living by those principles and following aspirations that bring you joy. He needs to help you live by those principles and support you in your dreams. A relationship will only be a happy, healthy one if you too feel happy, spiritually healthy and enriched by it. Never change who you are to make a relationship work. Rather, be a part of a relationship that is in harmony with you.

Sex Sells...Don't Sell Yourself Out

What has happened to the reverence and virtue of a woman’s body? What was once considered sacred and personal is now casually splashed across magazines, television, and the internet as a marketing tool and entertainment. The pursuit of fame and money has deteriorated moral standards and consequently diminished the sanctity of a woman’s body.

From mainstream media to the women around us, sex and sexuality are being utilized to promote, establish, and even catapult the media’s objectives and a woman’s career. But when moral standards are completely put aside in exchange for celebrity and wealth it provokes the call to women, “Sex sells…don’t sell yourself out!”

Not only is selling one’s sexuality cheap and easy; but there is another fundamental reason why the promotion of it is selling one’s self out.

The virtue of a woman is priceless. Meaning, it is something that is sacred and personal. When it is displayed for hundreds, if not millions of people to view, and sold or “bought” for a price… that person has thus “sold out”. She has put a price tag on, if not given away something that is sacred and special.

It was once taboo to pose nude and be associated with sexually explicit and suggestive material. But due to the obsession of celebrity and materialism, fame and riches have overshadowed the greater principle.

Actresses and singers have established their careers being sexually provocative. Some have even resorted to sexier public images in an effort to gain greater momentum or reach a larger audience in their careers. Even on personal web pages and social profiles, a disturbingly large number of women showcase photos of themselves that are sexual and pornographic.

What is the point?

What type of person are these women trying to attract and what amount of fame and fortune is worth compromising purity and perpetuating the stereotype of women as sexual objects?

Our culture has lost sight of what is truly valuable and instead focused on mainstream popularity and the false perception that money can buy happiness. It is a disturbing trend that is becoming more pervasive as women consciously decide to employ sex as a means for making a name for themselves.

The trend begins and ends with women. Individually a woman can decide that there is a greater principle to live by— upholding to a virtuous standard—for herself and women collectively. In so doing she decides that her body is not for sale, or rent.

Each woman has a choice in the destructive trend— sex sells… don’t sell yourself out!

Is His Past Really Behind Him?

One of the challenges that can come during the dating process is concern about a man’s questionable past. No matter how wonderful he may be and insistent that his past actions are behind him, it can still be difficult to let go of any lingering feelings of doubt you may have. Through such uncertainty it is important to remember that someone’s past is more than just a reference in time, it is also about learning from past choices.

Although using “the past” as a reference in time can ease some uncertainty, it is important not to be completely wrapped around the notion. Something that took place a few weeks, months, and even years ago, may not be enough to establish that the habit or temptation is definitely in the past.

Recently I came across a question a woman posed to others about her current boyfriend who had just left an “open marriage.” Although he did not particularly agree with his “wife’s idea” of an open marriage, he did not leave the marriage until after he had met this new girlfriend. Though the boyfriend had not given her any indication that she could not trust him, her question to readers was “how could she know for sure?”

To my surprise, the overwhelming response from readers was that she should not be concerned about his past since her description of him otherwise made him sound like a great guy and he did indeed finally leave the marriage to be with her.

Were the readers missing a critical point?

Though I do believe “the past is the past”, as one responder rationalized in support of the boyfriend’s favor, there did not seem to be much of one here. The only thing that is now in his past is his ex-wife and marriage— there is more to the story.

The mere fact that this new girlfriend had a relationship with this man during his open marriage indicates that she accepted the arrangement and in so doing, she too became a part of the open arrangement.

Even if the boyfriend has no interest in an open relationship with this woman, she will always struggle with having complete trust in him because the bottom-line is… he was with another woman when they began their relationship. When it comes to faithfulness he has proven nothing.

Women want more than just words to establish that something is in the past… we want proof. And if we accept anything less than that, not only will we struggle with feelings of uncertainty but we also become the testing ground for proving the truth. Both are uncomfortable so we can either accept the risk and uneasiness or conclude that he is not worth it.

While people do change and learn from their mistakes, if we choose to give someone the benefit of the doubt and let the past be the past then we should be wise in our conclusion. Let’s not just take his word for it but rather discuss what he learned from the past and make sure there are no signs that he is interested in anything that resembles the habit or behavior in question.

There are many people that know that a particular choice is wrong but some do not have the will power to control their actions. An adulterer knows his actions are immoral but still continues the affair.

Unfortunately, just because someone does not agree with a certain lifestyle does not always mean they are not guilty of it. Their belief is only in word, not action. The boyfriend in the open marriage scenario did not agree with his wife’s idea but he still went along with it.

If you know a boyfriend has a questionable past do not be afraid to ask questions! Especially about why he wanted to change and would never make that choice again.

How many times have we heard a woman say “I should have asked more questions” only after she has felt betrayed and the relationship is on the brink of disaster? If he doesn’t give an answer that suffices then don’t be afraid to ask more questions.

If he no longer wants anything to do with his past he should also make choices that keep him distant from those things that resemble it. Whether that includes friends and/or activities, he should steer clear of anything that might draw him back into a wrong choice.

If a man’s past includes cheating, it would make little sense to trust that person if they view pornography or attend adult clubs. If he considers infidelity a mistake, then it would be wise for him not to feed the sexual appetite. Otherwise, he could be a ticking time bomb displaying little ability to completely control his sexual desires.

A great example of someone taking the right steps to overcome the past is a recovering alcoholic. Not only does a recovering alcoholic stop buying alcohol but they also stay away from those places that could lead to temptation. Likewise, the same efforts apply to anyone trying to overcome a bad habit or choice.

The critical point about evaluating a man’s past is that he needs to have resolved it and stay firm in his resolution. If he can sincerely explain why he believes his choice was wrong and why he will not do it again, that is a good indication that he understands the consequences of his choice. When someone fully understands the repercussions they would be more likely to remain resolute in their conviction to avoid the same mistake.

In addition, when a man surrounds himself in a better environment and avoids the temptation all together he is showing great determination, discipline, and most importantly, a lack of interest in the wrong choice.

Read a man’s actions and activities and discuss why he has changed. Referring to one’s “past” is more than a place in time; it is also a matter of learning from it. The revealing answer to his past is demonstrated through his current perspective and behavior.

Fun vs. Happiness

As a member of a social networking site each us has the opportunity to stay connected and become reconnected with friends. We also have the opportunity to receive updates about moods, activities, whereabouts, or whatever it may be that our friends would like to share with us.

Over the past few months, there are a couple of status updates from friends about happiness that caught my attention. Two separate expressions from friends both indicated that they were wondering about what I believe is the quandary of “Fun vs. Happiness”. One friend expressed that she wondered if “there is more to life” and another questioned if “there is something more” out there for her.

As I read these two expressions I wondered to myself if they are making the same mistake many do. Many, in their quest for happiness, confuse happiness with having fun; there is a big difference between the two. Having fun lasts for only a moment and happiness is a state of being. What happens for many is they try to find happiness through having fun.

Given that fun is only a moment in time, it only offers short-term satisfaction. Once the party, night at the club, shopping spree, or any particular event is over, so is any amount of gratification. If one’s lifestyle is largely based on finding fulfillment through fun activities they will be fighting a constant battle.

Every time one fun experience is over they will be searching and ready for the next opportunity to have a good time; constantly struggling to fill a void that just won’t stay filled. There is nothing long-term about having fun because it is an emotional high, not a constant state of being.

The key to finding happiness is engaging in activities that are fulfilling in the truest sense of the word—filling the soul. That comes from living by principles and values, engaging in worthwhile activities, and pursuing quality personal interests. Each of these offers purpose, direction, and are spiritually rewarding.

Happiness is dependent upon one’s lifestyle. A lifestyle based on fun moments will always be that, fun at moments. But, a lifestyle that is based upon standards and quality activities will be fulfilling.

Discovering personal beliefs; participating in activities that are productive, educational, and service oriented; and pursuing personal interests, provides more satisfaction than any social event or self-indulgent activity will ever supply.

A quality life is based upon quality activities. An accumulation of fun will never equal happiness nor will it ever substitute it. “There is more to life” and “something more out there” than purely having fun. Following life goals and finding purpose offers a sense of accomplishment, completion, and a constant fulfillment that leads to a happy state of being.

Are Self-Help Segments Missing the Mark with Women?

There have been times when it has become disappointing to watch women’s talk shows and their “self-help” segments. Segments that are tailored toward women, our interests and well-being seem to be more about perpetuating a certain standard of beauty. Though paved with good intentions, some talk shows are missing the mark with the female viewer by leaving her with a greater sense of inadequacy and yet another reason to feel self-conscious about her physical features.

While many self-help segments focus on spirituality, happiness, and personal well-being, there are many that also focus on beauty and fashion. Intended to teach the viewer how to achieve a certain look, what comes across as a helpful tip is perceived by the viewer as what she is not.

Every week we hear about some part of us we need to be conscious about. One week it is the proper fitting jean. The next, are we aging gracefully? The list goes on and on. From fashion, to our skin and make-up, hairstyle, and yes…even eyebrows, there is an “appropriate” way to do everything.

For most women, the expense is overwhelming; let alone the expectation!

If we are to embrace inner beauty and the natural woman, don’t sell a standard of beauty and style that is based upon stereotypical definitions.

Effective “self-help” should perpetuate a stronger sense of self-worth and a feeling of enrichment; not feelings of inadequacy and imperfection.

Of course we want to have fun being pampered and made-over—we are women! But how about doing it constructively? Leave out the footage of innocent bystanders who are suddenly placed under the microscope to add amusement to the material, whisked away to be “fixed” as millions of viewers join in the spectacle. In reality, the majority of the audience identifies with the unsuspecting victim. These segments should help the viewer not to feel judged, belittled and ridiculed for not meeting a superficial standard.

Many women do not care to fit the mold and many are happy with their appearance; and many more could be if someone did not tell them to think otherwise.

GAB Session: When did you realize it was time to get rid of a liar, a cheater, or a jerk?

Ever dated someone who was dishonest, unfaithful, or thoughtless?
The premise of "Dating a Liar, a Cheater, and a Jerk: 100 Reasons Why You 'Should' Take Him Back" is there are NO reasons to give him a second chance.
So when did you realize it was time to get RID of a liar, a cheater, or a jerk?
Tell us your story!