Okay, we all know that marriage is supposed to be forever, right? Now, let's explore that thought with the person you have in front of you before it's too late.

Here's a funny way to analyze your current situation:

Most of us get caught up in a moment, how handsome he is, how beautiful she is, how good they smell, how well-spoken they are, or how soft their skin is... whatever. You know we have those million and one things we brag on when a relationship is new. Seems we just can't find a single thing wrong with the man/woman of our dreams. To that I say, give it some time.

Our eyes begin to dull to the glow of that new penny after awhile. Then all of a sudden, that perfect circle isn't quite so perfect. Problem is, many times we wake up and we're already married. Then we start the nagging in a desperate attempt to change this person in front of us into our idea of perfect (like that will ever happen).

So, here's my formula. Before I get all caught up in those bright, flashy things that new relationships bring, I take a step back and a deep breath and begin my search. Okay, he takes off his socks inside out and leave them that way. I hate that now. What in the world will 20 years do to that part of my pet peeve? He talks with his mouth full of food in public. How humiliating? Can I handle that if he never changes it? You get the picture.

Don't lie to yourself about the man or woman in front of you. I know that new penny makes you want to play with it, love it, hug it and call it George, but it won't always be new. So, the real decision is see the truth now or see it later when it may possibly be too late to change it or save yourself from making a mistake.
Now, I don't want to state the obvious, but someone has to do it. Since I've started this journey into writing this book, I've realized something that I didn't fully grasp before. Namely, I've realized that we tend to attract people on a subconscious level. Thereby, if we have some subconscious issues, it's best to deal with them before trying to jump into a relationship.

I remember going through my experimental stage when, I guess to some degree, I wanted to find myself. One boyfriend was thuggish. The next was very settled and a homebody. The next was worldly and experienced. The next was professional. There was no pattern to who I was dating like most times in most people's lives. I was all over the place trying to figure out what I wanted. (Which might I add is sooooo NOT the best way to do things.)

If you don't know who you are, how can you possibly know what kind of man you want to spend the rest of your life with? Wanna know why I didn't marry the gazillion guys who asked me? Because I was never really sure about any of them. I wasn't sure about myself. I didn't know when I might wake up and be a totally different person. Luckily, the day came when I did become a different person by inviting God in. At that point, I looked back and thought about how blessed I was to have not married those who I rejected and even those who eventually rejected me.

It's obvious that people will have issues within themselves. It should be just as obvious that we can't even begin to plan a relationship when we are clueless about who we are, what we want and where we are going. Don't put the cart before the horse. Learn you and deal with whatever needs to be dealt with. Then, you'll be ready to jump over a broom and wash old rice out of your hair for two days. First things first, though.
If only I'd known how to appreciate the gift of sex sooner in my life. For those who read my bestseller, THE RAPE OF INNOCENCE, you know that my sex life started without my permission and grew in ignorance. Nevertheless, I am grateful that I learned eventually.

I won't make this a soapbox thing, but in a very humorous way, let's look at the theory of buying the cow when you can milk it anytime you want for free. It's been said in a million different ways that men love a challenge and because they use logic, it's hard for them to appreciate anything that comes too easily... like, well... um... your body. (There, I said it.)

Now let's talk turkey (or chicken for those who don't like turkeys.) Here's what men think. If I was able to sleep with this woman without making any kind of real commitment, then who else has? How many others? Who else can while I am? They wonder about our level of respect for ourselves when we are setting it out there on date 1, 2, 3, 4 or even 10. We think we can play the wait game and make him wait a month or two, etc. But if you let him have your body before making a firm commitment, he'll lose respect for you on some level. Now some guys still marry the women that gave it up on the first date, but then you have to wonder about those kind of men too.

Let's reverse this for a second and this is going to get graphic but some stuff needs to be said... (pray I don't lose my ordination behind this... LOL)

When I was out in the streets, I always felt uncomfortable with a man if I did decide to sleep with him and he didn't reach for a condom. If I had to request it, then I would normally change my mind about him. Why? Because if he's that careless with me, who else has he been careless with? What could he be carrying and not know it.

Want another blatant example?

The issue of oral sex is big now. It's no longer embarrassing to do it and talk about it. You know we have matured so much (yeah right) that we put all our business out there on front street now. Not to help others, but just because we do. If you look at marriage as a goal, a ceremony to be celebrated, then you know it has to have gifts that come along with it. But if you've already given up your female parts, your mouth and Lord knows what else, then what exactly are you gifting when you marry? Again, when I was in the world and doing worldly things, if a man's immediate reaction was to perform oral sex on the first encounter, then there was no way in the world he was ever going to put his lips on mine. I just couldn't fathom. Now most people call me old fashioned now and even weird about stuff like that. They say I think too much. But it pays to think before jumping into the sack with someone.

Don't give up too much too soon. Be patient and let your relationships develop without sex. Otherwise, you may wake up one day hating yourself. You may wake up to someone you don't really know and don't really care for after the thrill is gone.

Don't give up too much of your heart too soon either. Learn about each other and see what can be before carelessly leaping into the fire. It just might be too hot for you.
ALWAYS THE BRIDE Book Excerpt (unedited)

It never dawned on me when I was a young girl dreaming of my knight in shining armor who'd rescue me from my miserable life that men don't come dressed up in a suit of armor with dashing good looks and charm enough to win over an entire city always. They have their flaws, like we have ours. They have their insecurities and past pains, just like we have ours. So sometimes, while he may want to be the one to woo you, charm you, love you, envelope you with passion, there may also be some fear there of rejection, some past memory of love gone wrong, or some other issue with that. He may be Mr. Romantic on the inside but have a difficult time showing it to you.

As wives, our jobs are sometimes hard with very little verbal appreciation attached. We have to deal with our issues and insecurities while being careful of our husbands' issues and insecurities. We have to know how to ask for what we want without sounding condescending and impatient. We have to be willing to show our husbands how to love us because we don't come with manuals and be gracious enough to applaud their efforts even when it doesn't quite satisfy what we desire. It's called patience and to have a husband is to learn to have plenty of patience. All these skills must be developed pre-maritally. Trying to do it on the fly is hard, and often the cause of marital complications.

I'm not by any means putting men down. I'm simply pointing out what it takes to get what we want as women. I could say a lot to men, but this isn't about men, now is it? As women, we have a tendency to get wrapped up in emotions and in our emotional upheavals, we pressure our men to perform for us. We can sometimes put so much pressure on them that they begin to feel like failures. Men, the logical beings that they are, believe that their job is to make their mate happier than she was without him. When women nag, they immediately think they've failed. And who wants to feel like a failure? So after awhile, he'll begin to doubt that there is long term potential in the relationship, if for no other reason because he don't want to feel like a failure all his life. Men love to be celebrated and for some reason, go figure, they perform better when they are complimented and celebrated and adored. Don't skimp on celebrating your man when he deserves it because you fear he'll get the big head. He has enough detractors out there to keep that head in place. Trust me. Even the most conceited acting of men have a million and one insecurities that he may never let you in on.

Be a wife long before you get married because it isn't marriage that makes you a wife. Being a wife is what leads you to marriage. We talk more about that in later chapters.
For some, the proposal is the big thing. They look forward to it so much that they don't ask the right questions at the right time. The fairy tale wedding dream takes over and it feels like fantasy when the proposal is when your feet need to be planted most firmly. After the ceremony, it's too late to start asking questions that should have been asked before hand.

Most people marry perfect strangers for one reasn or another. Maybe they were deceived by the suitor. Maybe they deceived themselves. Maybe they were too caught up in the romance to seek the important information about their chosen one. Don't let any of those be you.

You need to know who you are marrying. You need to know what they stand for, what makes them tick, what turns them on, what turns them off, how they treat others, what they have planned for the future, if they are responsible, if they are reliable, if they keep their word, if they honor their parents with or without reason, and so forth. If you don't know these very basic things, maybe you should slow down and take a breath, come back down to Earth and focus on what you are really about to do.
I am more than proud and happy to report that I've finished my outline. Thank God. I have my chapter titles done too. So far, I plan for this book to be 21 chapters of being the right person, marrying the right person and enjoying/learning from everything in between.

Should be fun. Stay tuned!
Men are mostly logic and ego, even when on the inside they are all heart. I spoke to a gentleman not very long ago who shared the worst proposal he'd ever made. He likened it to proposing on the big screen at a football or baseball game and being turned down. That's pretty bad.

He'd saved approximately a fifth of his income to buy this perfect, one of a kind ring. He had champagne, roses, a teddy bear, a card, and an expensive Italian dinner all planned out for that big moment. Though the lady seemed like she didn't want to go out that night, he assumed it was because she was a bit tired. He figured a romantic proposal would be just the thing to liven her up.

Well, when he popped the question, she began crying and flat out said no. Apparently, in those months of saving and paying on her ring, he'd been working extra hard and she'd been seeing no income improvement. She'd convinced herself that he was having an affair and had planned to end the relationship the next day. Talk about communication issues.

They did eventually get married, but he told me that her no felt like someone had just stabbed him in the heart repeatedly. He was so disturbed by it that it took him some time to even understand anything she'd told him. He never asked again. She had to ask him and he said it was hard to accept because she'd crushed HIS dream of giving her the perfect proposal, of seeing her face light up, and had stolen everything he worked hard for during those months of sacrifice.

Ladies, please... DO NOT jump to conclusions! He wants to see you happy, to see you smile and imagine within himself that he's given you something you've never had. But if a man invests his time, money and energy into you and into planning for you and by some form of miscommunication you reject him, it takes more than "I'm sorry" to fix it most times.
No one forgets their first time, even when they want to. LOL!

The first time someone proposed to me, I was very young. We'd had two sons together. We'd fought, argued, broken up, gotten back together, moved apart, and moved back together.

When you've been with someone as long as I'd been with him, throughout my entire teen years, sometimes you take each other for granted and the thrill of being proposed to just isn't the same. I can't even remember feeling any excitement... just thinking in my mind that there was no way I'd marry him after all we'd been through. In truth, he didn't want to marry me either. He just didn't want to lose me.

The moral of the story... don't get married for any reason other than love, commitment and common life outlooks. You can't hold on to a person with marriage if they are ready to go. Marriage is hard work, and it can be downright torture if you jump into it for the wrong reasons.

It reminds me of an episode of Martin. Martin finally proposed to Gina to keep her from leaving and finished his proposal with "... are you happy now?" Big no-no. She said, "Yes, Martin, I am happy now." and then got up and walked away from him because even though that was what she'd always wanted to hear, she wanted him to want it too. It was better to walk away rather than end up like the marriage Tom Cruise had with Renee in that movie... okay, can't remember the name of the movie... LOL! It was Jerry McGuire. Nobody wants that.
There are those of us who envy people who simply ooze love and romance. They talk about how much they love the person they married, now that person is the ONLY person for them. Normally, those people are around people like us (because I used to be this way) who are sitting there listening and wondering why we don't quite feel that way about our mates. And because you know we hate really looking at ourselves, the first thing we do is look at the other person in our lives.

We think, "Well, maybe I didn't wait on the right person because I don't feel that way, that completion in him/her." Or, maybe we think, "If my mate did all that his/hers do, I'd feel complete too." Whatever we think, we never stop and think about what the real problem is. So, Professor Lacresha is going to share a hard truth with you in the sweetest way possible.

For me, I've had some really great relationships with some really crappy ones thrown in for good measure. But never did I feel complete in any man. I was never so in love that another man couldn't catch my eye for a moment or two, even after meeting Christ. Seemed like I just couldn't get no satisfaction, as the song says. So, God had to eventually speak to me and tell me something I'd only receive from HIM.


It was never the men I was with. It was always me. I wasn't happy with who I was. I didn't really love myself. My conceit that I called confidence was a cloak to hide away those tender areas in my heart. No matter who I deceived, I never could deceive me and never could deceive God. One man's love couldn't fill that HUGE GAPING HOLE that was created because I was never satisfied with me. No one could say "I love you" enough to help it. No matter how much romance was given, I needed more and more and more. It was the Bermuda Triangle of love. That's why I could be in a relationship and still look for more love and more attention, even when my fellow of the moment was giving all he had.

Stop envying those who are happy in their relationships and comparing your mate to theirs. Instead, look inside and see why you aren't complete. See if maybe you don't like yourself. See if maybe you have issues with choosing bad relationships and trying to make them something they will never be. See if maybe you have this huge suck hole that consumes everyone who really tries to love you. Then, when you finish with you, which I can promise will take longer than a moment, maybe you will find a new kind of commitment inside yourself so that you'll be the one gushing about how much you LOOOOOVE your spouse and how they are THE most precious person in the world to you. Don't knock it until you try it!