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“Love is the ability to extend you to others, expecting nothing in return.” Pastor A.R. Bernard

This week’s blog is dedicated to Stan the Man; my love, best friend, and partner for life. We celebrate our 17-year wedding anniversary on October 7, 2017.

For the past seventeen years I believed, what each person gives in a relationship works out like this; Friendship, 50:50, Best Friend, 100:100 and Marriage, 150:150. Therefore, because Stan is my Best friend and my partner for life, we both give 250:250 in our relationship. However, after getting deeper into the meaning of the quote above, I just learned that these friendship numbers were conditions and I don’t need or want them anymore for my love.

Recently I watched Pastor A.R. Bernard on Oprah’s Sunday Morning Show entitled, “Super Soul Sunday.” Pastor Bernard was discussing his most recent book, Four Things Women Want from a Man and he was dropping knowledge and power on life in general. Pastor Bernard defined Unconditional Love as, “loving each other for no reasons.” He further states an obstacle to peace is selfishness. I learned that putting conditions on love limits its possibilities.

My anniversary gift to both of us is I bought two copies of the book, The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman to read together. I was watching Steve Harvey and he asked his guest, Keesha Sharp (lead actress in the Lethal Weapon TV series) “What do you do to have such a successful marriage, 20 + years in Hollywood?” Keesha suggested the book, “The 5 Love Languages.” Bells went off in my head, as you all know how much I believe in self-help. The current divorce rate in America is 40-50%; wow, half of all marriages end in divorce. I feel it is important for married couples to put in more time to build healthy and successful relationships.

It always amazes me how with such little time on my hands, I can still get the information to guide my life. I know it is God giving me information and tools to be successful and I want to take time to share them with you. I encourage all of you to watch the Super Soul Sunday episode featuring Pastor A.R. Bernard. Please know that loving unconditionally, does not mean take abuse nor be anyone’s doormat. You have to use discernment; in its humblest definition, discernment is, “the ability to decide between truth and error, right and wrong.” First Thessalonians 5:21-22 explains the responsibility of every Christian to be discerning: "Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil."

Three goals Stan and I have for the next 17 years of our marriage are; loving each other unconditionally, praying together more and reading The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. It is natural to enter into a marriage with conditions and the majority of us do. I know my initial conditions were two kids, a beautiful wedding ring and a traditional wedding. Pastor Bernard said it best, “If you have reasons to love someone- conditions of love. When those conditions are met the relationship is in trouble.” Of course your conditions for loving change over time but I am ready for no conditions – are you?

Stan, today I want you to know that I can feel and see your triumphs, hurt and pain. And though 2017 was one of our roughest years yet, I love you even deeper, patiently and unconditionally. According to Pastor Bernard, “Words build relationships and relationships build trust” and from 2017 forward I trust in God we will strengthen our empathetic union. One of many things that has worked for our marriage is Stan and I have a two handed circle. Meaning, only he and I know when we have challenges and we work through them together.

Some Important Details on this week’s Blog:

Pastor A.R. Bernard is the pastor of the Christian Multicultural Center Megachurch. It is the biggest church in NYC with 40,000+ members.

I am a big fan of Oprah’s show Super Soul Sunday and the T.V. show Lethal Weapon.

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