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How to Prepare for Marriage: How Safe Are You To Be With and Be Around Pt 8

How safe are you to be with and to be around? I am specifically talking about emotional safety today. How safe are you to be with? Have you thought about this? Being a place of safety for your partner is of the utmost importance in your relationship. This will make or break your trust and connectedness, physically and mentally. Allowing your partner the space to come to your open, honest and feel a sense of safety will determine how your relationship will unfold.

You see, some people do not understand why their partner has shut down and stopped opening up to them in certain areas or at all. This has to do with how safe they feel with you and around you with their deep thoughts about themselves, what they experienced in life and what they want to gain from life whether in the form of a new experience or a new career.

When you make snide comments about your partner’s ideas and if he can do it or not determines how much he will share with you in the future. If you are relatively positive and express your support you will hear a lot, if not all of his ideas and life plans. If you are constantly negative about his ideas, call them stupid or tell him he cannot do it, then your man will limit the amount of details he shares with you in the future.

Below are my seven tips to think about so you can start to become aware and more conscious of how you are showing up so you can be your partner’s safe space. What is a safe place? It is a place where your partner can feel like he can let down his guard, be extremely vulnerable, where he can cry, if needed, and ask for help if he needs to.

Below are 10 ways for you to decide how safe you are to be around and in a relationship with. Try not to judge yourself but make a mental note regarding what areas to improve on. Then start improving these areas.

1. Can your partner share his innermost thoughts with you?

Can your partner share their inner most thoughts with you? How is he with opening up to you and showing his vulnerability? For example, he started sharing some of his greatest ideas with you and then you started to shoot it down or say

“That is stupid.”

“This is dumb.”

“Why would you think that you can do something like this?”

As time goes on, more and more examples like this occur. You have consistently shown you are not a safe space for him to talk about his innermost thoughts, ideas and goals. After a while, he will stop sharing this side of himself with you. He believed, before speaking with you, in his ideas and that they were going to take him and you both to the next level. This does not mean he is not sharing them. It just means that you are not hearing these things. You are not the person he is sharing his ideas and goals with anymore. He is over the criticism so he finds someone to talk to about them who does not judge him or his ideas.

2. Are you usually positive or a negative?

The next thing to think about is, are you usually positive or negative? When you hear or witness something do your thoughts automatically drift towards a positive outcome or a negative outcome? Are you a half cup full or empty kind of girl? Is the grass greener on your own lawn or someone else’s? Seeing the negative or being pessimistic can leave a bad taste in your partner’s mouth. If you’re not aware which side of the coin you are on, start to pay attention to your thoughts and what your first thoughts are in general so you can pay attention to the words that come out of your mouth. Words can totally tear your partner down and it can rip your relationship apart.

3. Be honest but speak with love.

The next thing to think about is to be honest when you speak your truth to your partner but definitely do it in love. I totally believe that you can say any and everything you want to say. It is all about your delivery. When was the last time you paid attention to how you are delivering your message? Speak what you need to speak but say it in love and truth.

4. Can your partner discuss their baggage with you?

How often can your partner discuss their baggage with you? All of the crap that we carry around that happened to us when we were children or young adults affect how we show up in our romantic relationships today. Most people do not realize how the past is still plaguing their current life and love life due to your background and the baggage you are carrying with you from relationship to relationship. Now you put everybody in the same box because you have felt pain before and you do not want to feel pain again. You do not realize this wall of defense you have built is keeping you from the very thing you seek and say you want. . . To be loved and to be able to fully love someone else. Your belief system is telling you everyone is going to do the same thing to you. This is not true! Everybody is not the same, we are not all going to do the same thing to you. However, if you believe this, you will definitely attract it.

5. Take responsibility for your share of the issues/problems.

Taking responsibility for your share of what happened to create the issues or problems is a big thing I hear people struggle with. It’s like owning up to their part and saying I’m sorry is too much for some people. Is this hard for you as well? I have clients who cannot or will not take responsibility for their actions. No matter what happened it was their partner’s fault. They never seem to recognize that they played a part in how the conversation turned into an argument or why things went downhill. You cannot worry about how your partner responds because you only have control over you. Blaming never helps the situation. It distracts from the real issue and then you two are focusing on yet another issue when the first problem never got solved. This adds to the frustration and also why conflicts do not get resolved.

6. Be consistent

Being consistent is the determining factor in how you and your partner will fare in your relationship. How consistent are you? Do you check in with your partner just to see how they are doing? When was the last time you asked any of the following questions?

“How are you doing?”

“How have you been feeling?”

“What are you working on that I can help you with?”

“Where can I be a support system for you?”

“Tell me about your next venture.”

Being consistent is you asking about your partner and getting past the pleasantries. Allowing him to open up to you. Being consistent is being there when he needs you the most whether emotionally, spiritually, financially or the like. Being consistent means him being able to call you at any given moment and if it’s feasible you drop what you are doing for him. Being consistent means doing the things you say you are going to do.

7. Be positive and give positive affirmations.

How often are you giving positive affirmations? How often are positive? Does it take you a long time to adjust to waking up in the morning where you do not want anyone to speak to you without you having your first cup of coffee? Do you tell your partner that he looks good? Smells good? He got this? He’s a good man? A good father? How often are you feeding life into your partner and into your relationship? Or are you always taking away from it and your partner?

Being positive can make all the difference in your mood, in your partner’s mood, in your environment, the way you feel about yourself and how you look at different situations in life. Learn to be more positive. Look for things that make you want to smile. Focus on the things your partner does right.

8. Don’t tell outsider‘s about every detail in your life

This next thing is a big thing because a lot of us need to vent and I get that. However, do not tell everyone, the outsiders, about every single detail, especially the ugly stuff that goes on in your relationship. Now, let me make a disclaimer. If there is some type of abuse, I’m not speaking about that. I’m talking about the things you noticed and even addressed but you have not gotten your partner on board with you yet. There’s no need to spread things about your partner to other people when you have not decided to walk away from him. Talking with your partner is the only way to get what you want from him. The outsiders can do nothing for you but judge you and your partner. Also, when you are over it and you and your partner are back on good terms, guess what? This is when the gossip begins about what’s happening in your relationship. You will be over that thing but your family and friends are not going to be over it. Some of them will not let you live it down. It is counterproductive to tell everything that is not going right in your relationship to people who cannot help the situation.

9. Is it safe to share his sexual fantasies with you?

Are you a safe place to share his sexual fantasies with or does he have to talk about this outside of you with his friends? Can he share his sexual fantasies with you? Has he asked you to do something and you were not open to having the discussion? Do you shut down or shut the conversation down and never hear him out. Does trying new things scare you? Were you told good girls don’t do ‘that’?

If he’s not able to have this conversation with you then who can he have this conversation with? Would it be better for him to explore this outside the relationship? Just because you are not listening to his fantasies does not mean he is not sharing them without another open ear. When you listen, it does not automatically make you obligated to perform said acts. What it does do for him is allow him to express himself. It allows him to see you as a safe space. It allows him the opportunity to lean on you even if you do not agree or ever try it out. Sharing your fantasies with one another opens the door for more connection, comfortability and intimacy with each other.

10. Can he discuss his insecurities and fears with you?

Can he discuss his insecurities and fears with you? How much are you being a safe place for your potential spouse? Are you giving him the space to cry or be ‘weak’? I say ‘weak’ because most men believe by letting down their guard, sharing what he is not good at or how he was taken advantage of or how he was out of control in some manner makes him look weak. This is the farthest thing from the truth but after being groomed this way most, if not all, of his life, it can be hard for him to look at being vulnerable any other way. Allow him to cry if need be with you. Allow him to feel safe with you. Support him in every way possible. When was the last time he shared his vulnerability with you?

Take inventory of where you are at today and all the things that I just mentioned. Take inventory of what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong, because the wrong you can correct. The right, just continue doing it and getting better at doing it. Correct the wrong so you can increase the chances of attracting a better partner for you.

By the way, if you know you’re holding onto old baggage from a previous relationship you can shed this dead weight by completing my journal You Can Get Over Your Ex: The women’s Healing Journal to Say Goodbye for Good and Mean It https://amzn.to/2XSM7aZ

Pick up your copy today!

All the best,

Marshaun Olaniyan

Relationship Strategist


How to Prepare for Marriage: How Are Your Communication Skills? Pt7

Communication is a fundamental and intricate part of any relationship. Your romantic relationship is not any different.

I beg to ask the question, if communication is so important to the success of your relationship then why do so many people struggle to communicate with their partner’s? We know that our first teacher(s) come from within the household, so why then, do so many people lack this skill set? I believe this has more to do with the fact that more than half of the population was not taught this skill within their home life.

According to a Your Tango Survey, 65% of divorces happen due to communication problems. Some of the communication problems stem from blaming, nagging and lack of validation of feelings and opinions.

With this staggering number leading to divorced couples, I’m further convinced that many people were not specifically taught how to communicate. Many of us believe speaking to one another is the only way to communicate. This is not the case at all. Did you know that most of your communication is non verbal through body language? Research shows that 70 to 93 percent of our communication is nonverbal via body language. If this is true then we word fair better by learning and being able to interpret our partners body movements.

Next, focus on your message. Specifically, the delivery of your message. How are you delivering your message? Are you confrontational? Or are you direct and to the point. I totally believe you can say any and everything you want to say. It is all about your delivery.

Next thing. Can you ask for and be able to take your partner’s feedback? Can you ask for their feedback and be ready for them when they are not in agreement with what you were speaking about? Listen, you are not going to know everything. Your two eyes are still going to miss something. You can look at your project, you can look at your writing, you can look at everything over and over and over again. That fresh set of eyes is what is going to help you look at it in a way you can take something from it, positively. Do not worry about what your partner says about it. They actually are helping you. But if you are the person who always takes everything personal, you are not going to get anywhere. Be open to their feedback, whether you like it or not.

Next, do you usually understand your partner’s point of view whether you agree with it or not? Also, how often are you offering your support? Are they the person that is always offering their support and you are never the person that offers your support? How often are you acting as if he is your mind reader? Do not set yourself up for failure. It does not work that way. Your partner is not a mind reader. You have to communicate. How do you know your partner will love you the way that you need to be loved when you have never shared your needs with them?

Most of us have had multiple relationships or have been in multiple “situationships”, as I call them. So, in order to build this relationship and to prepare yourself for marriage right now, you have to learn to verbalize what you need and want and how he can love you. You are the only one that can do that. Expressing disappointments to all of your friends and family, does not help your relationship. It only builds up resentment. Work on your communication skills. It is that important.

Speaking of communication, is your relationship one sided in the amount you both speak? Are you the talker in the relationship? What do I mean by this? Do you just talk, talk, talk and hardly come up for air? Do you find your partner is zoning out? Are you constantly asking him, “Are you listening?” Because you just talk, talk, talk, you are not letting your partner get a word in edgewise. How often are you listening?

The people that communicate the best are the best listeners, the people that talk, talk, talk, those people are usually trying to cover up some type of insecurity. Most of our communication is in the form of nonverbal communication. Have you taken the time to notice how your partner’s body language is towards you? Is he leaning into what you are saying or away from you. Is he asking follow up questions? Is his body pointed in your direction? Is his arms folded or open down to his side? Does he fiddle with his cell phone or other device? How often are you listening as opposed to talking?

Next, examine your mindset. What is your mindset behind the relationship? What is your mindset before you go into a conversation with your partner? Are you already thinking that it is going to be negative and you are not going to get anything accomplished? Or are you thinking the conversation is going to be positive and no matter what you are going to be positive.

Moving on, how often do you and are you ready to talk things through before they get really big? Are you the person who makes a lot of little snide remarks? Why not nip that in the bud and be an adult? Yes. A conversation like this can be scary but it will make the two of you much more connected and better understand one another. Be a grown up and go talk about the things that he said or did that hurt your feelings. Do not allow the resentment to build. This is a driver of distance between you two. Here is the thing, whenever you get to the root of the ‘why,’ your partner will be more conscious of it and he will be better about doing better for the sake of peace in your relationship. If he is willing to take responsibility for the things he says to make you happy this is a great sign he loves you and does not want to lose you.

Finally, when you are communicating and about to have a serious talk, make sure the timing is good for both of you, not just yourself. No, that is not the way healthy relationships work. You can do it but usually the other person is in their own world, thinking about all of the crap they are thinking about. So, if your partner is in an irritated state or just off to themselves, that is not a good time to talk. Hold your tongue about what is bothering you and try to figure out what is going on with him. If he is ready to share it with you, then maybe you can bring this up after you figure out what is going on with him. If he is not ready to talk, this is not the time to have a deep conversation because you are going to end up getting irritated due to him not being ready to talk. Do not make it personal and get mad at another issue. Allow your partner the space to clear his head so he can fully focus on you and your worries.

Life is relatively short. Live it without conflict, however when it does occur communicate about it as soon as you can. Do not allow things to be drawn out. Do not allow the distance to be a regular occurrence in your relationship.

By the way, if you want more ways to connected on a deeper level with the guy you are dating, check out my book Understanding Your Spouse Deeper https://amzn.to/3gkrWuY

All the best,

Marshaun Olaniyan

Relationship Strategist


How to Prepare for Marriage: How Selfless Are You? Pt. 6

When you think about the word selfless what comes to mind specifically in correlation to yourself? According to dictionary.com, selfless means being concerned more with the needs and wishes of others than with one’s own; unselfish. If you compared yourself to the definition, how would you rate yourself from 1-10? One is not selfless at all and 10 is very selfless. Give this question some real thought while you are preparing for marriage. Being selfless cannot be the place where you think solely about yourself, especially as you enter into a partnership. You should consider, as much as possible, your partner and your partner should consider you and your needs, as much as possible, as well. If you two have children or extended family living with you, being selfless stretches you even more.

It is not about how selfish you can be. It is about how selfless, you must be. It is about how selfless you must be when you embark on the journey of a relationship and marriage.

“Selflessness takes great responsibility and seems impossible to do at times, but being selfless leads to a wonderful lasting relationship.” ~Unknown

A wonderful lasting relationship sounds pretty great. Wouldn’t you agree? Relationships are all about growth. It is all about helping you understand who you are. It is all about helping you understand who your partner truly is. It is all about both of you showing up as your best authentic selves.

Things are not always about you. Consider the needs, wants and desires of your partner or potential partner. Sometimes, and more often than you even want to, you are going to have to put the needs of your spouse or maybe even your children first, before your wants or needs.

Another thing, how often do you accept his differences? Most people look at their differences and think they are a hindrance, however, your differences will liven up your relationship. You get to know more about your partner on a deeper level, it will keep the relationship spontaneous and you two can let the differences be a way of viewing things from another perspective.

Look at it like this, where you are strong, your partner is weak, in a lot of cases, and where you are weak, your partner is strong. This is where you balance one another out.

Yes, the differences may get on your nerves, under your skin and may even annoy you but they do not have to, especially if you understand and continue to have those conversations with your spouse where you get to know him, how he was brought up, the way he thinks, the way he acts and the way he reacts to certain things. Are you willing to move and grow through the differences or are you going to be the complainer?

Another thing to consider is do you broadcast what you have done for them during a fight? Did you only do those things because you were expecting a reward of some kind or because it was a nice gesture? Did you do those things because you were looking for the acknowledgment or because you wanted the same in return? Once you go down this road your partner will begin to look at you differently. He will think about all the things you have done previously and begin to question your motives behind doing them for him. He will also stop accepting your “help” so he does not have to deal with these things being thrown in his face later on. Do not fight dirty ladies. This will come back to haunt you. And guess what? You will always feel lonely and alone. He will continue to pull away and the resentment will fester. You may start to wonder why there is so much distance between you two or why you guys are living as roommates.

When the safe space is taken away the feelings start to follow.

The next thing to think about is to establish balance. What do I mean by that? You want to be selfless in your relationship but you also want to be selfish with yourself, at times. What I mean by being selfish for yourself at times is, when you need to recharge or to reconnect with yourself, when you are feeling like you are getting irritated with everybody around you, you need to take a timeout and be selfish in that moment. This will help you recharge and get yourself back in alignment. This ensures you come back as your refreshed self, ready to give from your over running cup.

The last thing is to pray for guidance. Pray for different ways to be more selfless in your relationship. Pray for guidance from God and just say “Dear Lord, help me. You know I can be very selfish. I want to work on being selfless, especially with him. They bring the better side out of me and I like that side of me. Supply me with more ways to be more selfless with him.” Pray, pray and pray some more. I can assure you that prayer changes things.

In what ways can you be more selfless? By the way, being more selfless, patient and loving comes with hearing the strategies over and over again as well as the implementation. Find out more strategies at www.youtube.com/MarshaunO.

All the best,

Marshaun Olaniyan

Relationship Strategist

How to Prepare for Marriage: Do Not Entertain Him Because There Are No Other Potentials Pt 5

We are back! We are discussing our marriage preparation series: How to prepare for marriage. Preparing for marriage can seem daunting if you do not know which areas of your life you should work on and/or be conscious of. One of the reasons the divorce rate is over 50%, is due to more than half of the people who get married never face their past. The things from your past relationships as well as the things that happened in your home environment as a child, affect the person you have become. You do not want to entertain and date someone just because there is nobody else around. Not addressing your past plays a part in your beliefs about who you believe you deserve to be with. It also plays a role in who you attract and begin your relationship with. Who you attract stems from where you are currently on the journey of getting to know yourself fully, which includes your likes and dislikes. Deciding to date someone solely because there are no other suitors will bite you in the bottom in the long run. You do not want to entertain and date somebody just because you are feeling lonely or alone. You do not want to entertain just anybody in order to pass the time, while waiting on the man you will marry. It does not work this way.

I’m not talking about when you are on the fence about a guy because you do not feel the butterflies or the date was just okay and nothing spectacular happened. You may say “Okay! Let me go ahead on this date. Let’s see what happens with this.” I’m talking about you truly knowing there is no way in hell this relationship is going to work out, but you still go on the second or third date. Here is why you do not want to do that.

1. This stops and blocks you from attracting your true soulmate.

You will block your blessings. You will be stopping the very thing that you want to come into your life. There is no way that you are going to attract the right guy to come and be a part of your life if you are still dealing with this guy, the time killer or space filler, that you have no interest in. You lessen the chances of you being open to someone else you really like crossing your path and you will start to feel as though you are settling.

2. This keeps you emotionally attached to someone you should not be attached to.

You will start to develop some feelings for this person even if they are not deep feelings. You are only there because you are feeling lonely rather than because you want him by your side. You are only there because he is there when you want him to be there. You are there because he allows you to do certain things that you know you don’t want to do but you are secretly trying to run him away so you do not have to be the “bad guy.”

3. You are afraid to be alone.

You do not want to be alone. You do not want to be the person who is consistently showing up at the gatherings, alone, or without a date. You are afraid of what others will say about you and you not being in a relationship. You may even feel unloved or unworthy to be chosen if you are

not in “any kind” of a relationship. Deep down you do not feel good about yourself, so being around and in any kind of relationship is better than no relationship at all. Right?

4. You’ll continue to have sex with him especially if the sex is good. Keeping that soul tie.

Keeping someone around only for the sex becomes a very empty, lonely relationship after a few times of this happening. When there is nothing deeper to tie you to the guy emotionally, spiritually and mentally. You will be satisfied for a very short period of time. Sex is important but it is only so important when you want to feel loved, appreciated, honored and respected. When he runs away from the emotional stuff or does not share who he really is or what he wants, you wanting him sexually dries up just as fast.

5. This behavior makes it harder for you to give that next person a real chance.

Anytime you are deliberately creating space for someone who will not be in your life for the long haul is not only a waste of time but it is a deadend waiting to be reached. This guy may really, really like you but you never see him for who he really is nor do you give him a real chance. Because you are not open to giving him a real chance, when someone else crosses your path you are not able to give him a clear shot either because you are entangled in this other relationship. You are still connected and not ready for the relationship you say you want. You will constantly repeat the same type of behavior over and over again until you learn to be alone and NOT feel lonely. This will inevitably lead you to falling into the arms of men who do not deserve you or that you will never see your future with.

Sis, do not entertain someone just because there is nobody else in your immediate path. You have to get to the root of ‘WHY’ you feel lonely when you are not in a relationship, whether it is meaningful or not. Ask yourself: “What am I afraid of? Why am I afraid to be alone?” When you are able to fully answer these questions then and only then will you be preparing yourself fully to get married and stay married.

By the way, if you’d like to go deeper with a series of questions pick up my book “Getting Over Your Ex”. You can do this sis, with a little help. Click here!

All the best,

Marshaun Olaniyan

Relationship Strategist


How to Prepare for Marriage: Qualifying Your Partner pt4

What does “qualifying your partner” really mean? It means slowing down the process so you can make an informed decision about the man you are allowing into your life as your spouse. It means choosing someone to take this life’s journey with you, on purpose! It means making one of the best decisions in your life so you never feel like you had to “settle.” It means taking the time to get to know the other person well in a way that makes you feel good about your choice of spouse.

How are you qualifying this person? What types of people are you bringing into your life? Are you just accepting any guy that shows you a morsel of attention and expresses how attractive he finds you? I get that that is a part of it for sure, but after the looks then what? So, I ask again, how are you qualifying this person? You cannot rely on the physical attributes alone.

Do you go along with the flow in the hopes that you will be chosen by this guy if you never say “No”? Do you really get what you want by just going along with the flow, never voicing your opinion? For most people this is not the smartest strategy. You have to speak up when something does not feel good or you feel disrespected or when your needs are not being met. You also have to give the guy you are dating a chance to adjust himself and start to improve on what you stated in order to see if he cares enough about you and the relationship before deciding to walk away.

Can he hold a conversation? Have you asked strategic, yet, important questions for you two to talk about? I often get asked, “What questions should I ask my significant other?” The short answer is any question you want. To be more specific ask the questions, in the beginning that mean the most to you? These are the questions that will determine if you want to continue to pursue a dating relationship with him. These questions are based off of your deal breakers list. These questions are the most important questions to ask and receive an answer that fits for you before you move on to the ancillary questions. Questions such as:

“Do you want kids? If so how many? If not why not?”

“How do you like to spend your weekends?”

“What are your religious beliefs?”

“Where would you like to live in the next 1-3 years?”

“How often do you go out to the club?”

“How much time do you usually spend with your close friends?”

“How is your relationship with your mom? Dad? Siblings?”

“Are you in a relationship, engaged or married”

“Do you live alone, with roommates or your parents?”

“What are your top 3 love languages? Which of these is the most important for me to show towards you, in order, for you to feel loved?”

After you have asked a series of questions, take the time to evaluate his answers. Does his answers align with yours? How does his answers stack up? Are they on the right track, enough for you to have another date to continue the process of getting to know him? If after your reflection time, you still feel as though this is someone you want to to know deeper then keep going. If he isn’t then walk away.

Do not get discouraged and do not give up! That is one of the things that I talked about in the first part of this series. The very thing you must keep doing in order to find your mate is to keep dating. You have to know what you want. So, if you stop dating you are significantly decreasing your chances of ever attracting or running into your potential mate. Slowing down and qualifying your mate is the best way to end up with your soulmate. Slowing things down is a beautiful thing. It gives you the opportunity to really evaluate if this person should be in your life for a long period of time. But if you give up, you will never get to the goal of getting married.  

How you do one thing is how you do everything so if you are in the process of just giving up on dating you are probably giving up on other areas as well so be conscious of that.

The next way to qualify someone you are dating is to think about their characteristics. What things do you want them to bring to the relationship so you can enjoy one another? Would you like for your mate to be intelligent, kind, devoted, kind-hearted, peaceful, determined or adventurous. Imagine you having a get together and your friends and family keep complimenting you and your choice of mate. How would this make you feel? Being intentional, knowing what you want and sticking to this with a little wiggle room, increases your chances of attracting a guy you’ll be super happy with and wonder what your life was ever like before him.

Next, think about the way he is and you are showing up while on your date, whether virtual or in person date. Ask yourself “How am I showing up? How would I like to show up? What can I do differently? Did I like the way he showed up? Was he present the entire time? Did he make an effort to be fully engaged with me?” After you’ve answered those questions, then plan on implementing your new behavior patterns on the next date if his behavior matches what you like.

Whatever type of person you keep attracting, whether you are conscious about it or not, is exactly how you show up, have similar characteristics, and ask similar questions like yourself. You will attract the person you currently are. The best way to attract a better mate is for you to continuously become a better mate.

Finally, pay attention to the way he speaks about his future. Does he use “I statements” or does he use “we statements”? Does he speak about you two traveling in the future together? Does he talk about the family he wants with you or the life you two will create together? If he is not then you should not include him in your future either.

I remember when I was dating, this gentleman I was seeing would use a ton of “I statements.” These statements often went over my head until I started to understand the words and phrases men use that see you in their future. I was NOT a part of his future but he never told me outright. I started paying close attention to the words he spoke as well as his actions. It’s safe to say that I was right. I was not a part of his future. I’m so glad I walked away when I did.

You have to be just as vigilant and attentive to the man you are attracting into your life. Keep your eye out for the “keeper”! Do not waste a lot of time on someone who does not or cannot see the value in you. Qualify your mate before months and years pass and that is all they are. Months and years of wasted time.

By the way, if you have not started preparing for your future mate because you are holding on to a past relationship or partner, check out my book: You Can Get Over Your Ex: The women’s Healing Journal to Say Goodbye for Good and Mean It: https://amzn.to/2NuaFlK

All the best,

Marshaun Olaniyan

Relationship Strategist

How to Prepare for Marriage: Do not Force the Relationship pt.3

While dating, there will be many times when you feel very alone. These are the times that you must focus on choosing to be happy, continuing to work on yourself and loving every moment of your free time without any distractions. For some people this is the time when they feel the most sad. So when they start dating again, they have a tendency to become desperate and quickly choose any partner versus the mate that is best for them. During this desperate attempt to find someone to combat the loneliness in their life, they have a tendency to force a relationship out of something it is not.

Being forced to do anything does not work in the long run. Your chosen partner may go along with your plans for a little while but the rebellion will start once he starts realizing he is going along with the things you are creating or making him do versus what he wants to contribute to the “relationship”. Do not allow your desperate lonely feelings dictate who you choose for your life long partnership. 

So, why do we allow our feelings to run the show even when we know logically jumping into a relationship based off of desperation will never work for a long term relationship? Slowing down the process and getting to know the guy is the best way to cultivate the relationship you dream of experiencing as well as being able to discern if you need to move on from this dating relationship due to red flags appearing. We do this because of our fear of never finding someone in the future, of never being chosen by any one at all and we do this because we do not like being the single one in our friends group. We allow others to dictate when, with whom and how long we should be single or choose a mate for that matter, sometimes even to the detriment of our happiness. 

Be on the lookout for these things, so you do not feel like you are forcing the relationship to happen. Unless you both are on one accord, and you are both available emotionally, physically, spiritually and ready to be in a relationship, it will never work nor go the distance. One of the things I want you to think about is, how often each of you are calling, texting, emailing and facetiming one another? How often do you two communicate? Do you find that both of you are reaching out to one another or is this one sided? Are you the main person who is making sure you two speak during the week or even daily? Do you find that you often make the first contact or you two probably would not talk that day or every few days? For example, are you always sending the text messages in order to make sure you two go out on dates or just hangout? Is he answering your calls and texts in a reasonable time or is it hours and hours or even days later before you get a response? Is that response some form of him saying that he has been busy versus saying ‘I’m Sorry’ and then making sure the date is still on and you are still available?

One way to figure out if things are being forced is to mirror what the other person is doing. If he realizes that you two have not spoken that day or the next, see if he reaches out to you to see if you two are going to hangout or if that date is still on. If not, then it will hurt but you will be able to see who was really into whom and who was just going along with things. I mean, do you really want to be in a relationship with someone where you have to do all the work? No. I didn’t think so. By mirroring what he does at some point, you will be able to move away completely unless he decides to come back stronger this time around. Otherwise mirror what he is showing you and if this brings you closer great. However,  if it takes you further apart then accept this as well. Accept that you were more into him than he was into you. It happens. But do not force anybody to be with you. You do not want to force anybody to make you feel like you are their second choice.

Another thing you want to consider is if you are constantly changing who you are when your partner is in your presence. This, my friend, is forcing the relationship because you cannot keep that up. You are headed down the same road you are trying so very hard to avoid. . . the road leading to a breakup. You do this because you fear him leaving you if you show him your true self. You do this for fear of being judged about who you are. You do this because we all want to feel loved, cherished and shown off to the world as a priceless gem.

One thing I really liked about my boyfriend, now husband, is each time we were about to end one  date for the evening, he made sure we already had the next date planned. It wasn’t that he knew all the details where the next date would occur but we did have the day and time set. I later found out that he did this because he said he knew I was a good woman and he did not want another man to snatch me off the market. There was no forcing the date or the issue to see each other again. He knew he liked my character and looks so he made sure I knew it. Men know when they want to take you off the market, they might not do it right then and there, but they already know when it is a good thing in front of them, they will do something about it. 

The last thing I want you to think about is do you feel alone even when you are with him? For example, while hanging out do you feel comfortable enough to just sit in silence and watch a show or do you feel like you must talk in order to feel the connection? If you do not feel comfortable enough to just be when he is around then you may be forcing the relationship to be something it is not. 

Slow things down while preparing for marriage. You do not want to just go out there and choose someone because you are tired of the dating process. Do not do it. Do not force the relationship. This, my friend, is a blessing in disguise although I know it may not seem that way in the moment. Understand who you are, why you do the things that you do and consider how much work you have done on yourself. Understanding all of these things are going to make a huge difference for you to attract and choose your next partner. 

There are some things you have to do differently but you still know when a person is truly into you and enjoying your company. You both do not want the date to end. And that is how you know that you are not forcing the relationship. Also, pick up on what my husband did with me, he made sure before either of us left the current date we were on, we set a new date and meeting time for our next date. 

Remember, you are not out here to meet every person. You are dating to meet your person that is right for you and who will become your forever date. 

Tired of feeling like you are always forcing the relationship to blossom? Ready to gain the knowledge and be done with struggling to fit into someone else’s world? I understand and once experienced the same feelings. I then decided enough was enough and began the process of working on myself in order to understand why I kept feeling like I was into him more than he was into me and why I kept attracting unavailable men. Enroll in my course The 6 Secrets to Finding Yourself and Attracting Your Soulmate. It will answer the above questions and so much more. Choose you today so you can attract and choose the man for you later. 

All the best,

Marshaun Olaniyan

Life & Relationship Strategist

www.marshauno.com

How to Prepare for Marriage: How Much Work Have You Done on Yourself pt. 2

When coaches, therapists or counselors ask how much work have you done on yourself, what they are really asking is how much information from your past have you figured out the reasons why you behave a certain way, why you respond the way you do, have you figured out why you criticize yourself for every little thing and why you became the woman you are in this moment. It is being asked during therapy or asking yourself the hard questions and digging deep within to find the answers. Most people need a coach or therapists to unearth these answers. 

Before attracting my second husband, I too needed to do my own work on myself in order to find out why I was attracting the same type of man, what behaviors I was repeating that was stopping me from experiencing the love I wanted and why I did not fully accept the skin I’m in. I had to sit with myself and answer these questions and plenty more in order to get the full picture of who I am, where I was constantly going wrong and how I could change things around for myself by implementing small tweaks as well as trusting the process. 

Yes, relinquishing control about the outcome was tough but it made me understand me. It had and continues to help me trust my instincts and my gut feelings. You know that feeling you get when something is not right but you are having a hard time pinpointing what it is. Well, my gut would tell me when something was not right while I was dating. I began to trust it and do the hard thing. . . Choose myself and walk away or to confront the situation and his behaviors. 

By working on yourself, you will gain a ton of insight and perspective about the way you view yourself, view people of the opposite sex and gain answers to a lot of ‘why’ questions. The ‘why’ questions range from very simple to very very complex to face, acknowledge and accept. 

Doing this inner work on yourself shows just how willing you are to opening up and being vulnerable later on with your partner. This ultimately makes things easier later on while dating as the flood of emotions will have passed you by and it will make it easier to talk about. All the things that make you vulnerable will be a part of the stories you share with your partner so they understand you on a deeper level. This is how a beautiful relationship begins: the sharing of stories, understanding what makes you, you and how you feel heard and understood. 

Think about it, when was the last time you put yourself in a position to stop going through the same things while dating? Have you ever asked yourself, how do I stop dating the same person over and over again? Or how do I stop myself from reacting in such a horrible manner? How much time have you taken away from the dating scene or are you the person that continues to jump from one relationship to the next? 

The next thing I want you to think about is your friendship circles. Yes, your friendship circles, the people that are in your life. How are they showing up in the dating scene? Are they talking about how dating sucks every time you speak with them? Could they be feeding you negative thoughts and  energy, and you take on the negative thoughts and feelings about dating into your own personal life? Maybe at one point, before you spoke to them you did not think about dating in a negative light but because you have internalized their ideals, they became your own, which is why you keep attracting the same kind of man. Think about it, is it your voice you are actually hearing or is it someone else’s voice and negative opinions? 

Have you done the work by irradiating your baggage? Not dealing with your baggage is a tell-tell sign as to why you keep dating the same person over and over again. 

Have you ever thought, if you are really ready to be married? If you are truthful with yourself the answer is probably no, and that is okay, that is why we are here. I want to make you more aware and bring more consciousness to where you are currently, so you can do something about it. Because only you can do something about it. It does not matter how much you talk to different people or what they have to say. This journey of working on yourself is a continuous journey and one you have to walk alone. This is a marathon. This is not a sprint. This is not something that you want to go out and just do i.e choose a partner really fast just because you are scared of being alone or you really do not feel worthy enough to figure out who you are so you could choose somebody better in order to increase your chances of having a better love life.

Do you know what marriage is all about? If you do not, let me give you a clue of some of the things that marriage is all about. Marriage is all about growth. It is all about tests. It is all about building together, becoming a better person, selflessness, compromise, becoming one with your partner and supporting one another. 

If any of the things mentioned do not sound like something you currently possess then that is what you need to be working on. Most of us . . . Noone has to tell us how to be a selfless person, that is something that is innate. It is a quality we are born with. Next, you must decide to practice this, understanding that when you go through a trial or valley in your relationship that that is nothing but a test. And, it is all about how you handle the test. When the tests of life come, are you acting like a spoiled brat who never gets their way? Are you asking yourself if you could have handled that situation better? It is always the small changes that make the biggest difference. 

When you understand that something is always going to come, it is all about how you show up when it arrives. It is all about how you are growing through this and other unexpected situations. 

Need help with getting ready for your mate and eventually marriage? Sign up for your FREE 30 minute coaching conversation because my mission is to decrease the divorce rate while simultaneously increasing the marriage rate one coaching conversation at a time! Ready to join in one my mission with me? 

All the best,

Marshaun Olaniyan

Life & Relationship Strategist

www.marshauno.com

How to Prepare for Marriage: Know What You Really Want pt. 1

How many people do you know actually prepare for marriage before they say “I Do?” I mean really prepare for what is to come  after the wedding day? I do not know many people who prepare before the wedding. Many people focus on the wedding itself and never go to premarital counseling, never have in depth talks about the life they want to create with their spouse nor how they will handle conflicts. Most people just jump and hope for the best.

I unfortunately fell into this same trap. I had no idea that I should prepare for my marriage before I got married. I, like many of you, knew I wanted to be married and live happily ever after. Although I grew up with relationships all around me, I never had any talks about how to show up in a marriage, how to be my spouse’s best friend, how to ask for what I wanted, how to handle situations that plagued our marriage nor how to become one, where I cleave to my spouse and leave my parents side. The seriousness of being a wife never crossed my mind. I just thought things would fall into place. My husband and I would get along swimmingly and we would build a life together that was unbreakable from outsiders. Little did I know that was far from the truth.

What if there was a way to prepare for marriage BEFORE you get married? Well, that is what we are here to discuss for the next several weeks: How to prepare for marriage BEFORE you get married.

The first way to prepare for marriage is: Knowing What You Want

In order to know what you want for your future marriage you must put yourself out there and gain as many dating experiences as possible. This is how you are going to know what you want in your future mate as well as the types of experiences you want to relive. Next, think about the kind of person you want to be, while you are in the marriage. Who do you want to show up as? What do you want your legacy to be for your family? Who do you want to be? 

Another thing to think about is, how do you want to be treated? Also are you willing to give the exact type of treatment to your future spouse? Ask yourself what love means to you. How do you want to be loved in your marriage? Ask yourself what respect means to you. How will you show respect to your mate? Ask yourself if you are willing to make your partner a priority. Have you thought about what quality time means to you and how you will express this to your partner? These types of questions are just the tip of the iceberg and are a great start to receiving and creating the type of marriage you want. They are also just the beginning of such conversations that should be occurring while you are dating.

Another thing to think about is, what kind of career does he or she have? The reason for this question is for you to have an idea of the type of person you want to bring into your life. Some people call it the law of attraction but you have to know what you want. 

Before I started dating I knew I wanted a man to have a career where he was not required to travel for a living. I wanted my husband to be at home with me and the family at night. I also knew I wanted children so any man that did not fit these two requirements were not on my radar for long and I moved on from those deadend relationships, well relationships that I considered to be deadends.

Next, are you a religious person and does it matter if your partner is religious or not? Some people believe this does not matter. There is no right or wrong answer here. This really is about you, who you are and what you want not anyone else. You want to be intentional about the type of person you are attracting into your world. You have the power to create any type of relationship you want.

What are your top characteristics or must haves that your potential mate needs to have?

The last thing to think about is how soon would you like to be married? One year, 5 years or much sooner after you meet a qualified partner? This is important to make sure that you and your partner will have an idea of how long your dating phase will be and/or see if he/she is not a match in this area at all.

Giving yourself the permission and space to ask these questions of yourself first and then being able to articulate these questions to your partner, you both can see how much of a match you are with one another. You have to know what you want in order to attract it and believe it, in order to receive it. 

Need help going deeper and releasing an ex from your past? Pick up a copy of my books, You Can Get Over Your Ex: The Women’s Healing Journal to Say Goodbye for Good and Mean It and Getting Over Your Ex: A Breakup Fill in the Blank Book

All the best,

Marshaun Olaniyan

Life & Relationship Strategist

www.marshauno.com

Expectations — What They Look Like and What They Mean

Studies show that it is actually good to have high expectations when it comes to your relationship. It is healthy to have expectations of respect, affection, intimacy, time together etc. Being in a healthy relationship means you are getting your needs met by a person you love and trust. Whether you are in a new relationship and trying to decide what to expect or trying to make an existing relationship better, discussing expectations of each other is important. 

Before you can discuss your expectations, you have to figure out what they are. More importantly, you need to be sure your expectations are reasonable. This is the part that can get a little tricky. We do not always recognize our expectations as being unrealistic because we do not even realize we are expecting them. Here are a few healthy expectations: affection, respect, time, challenges and growth, trust, honesty and emotional and mental support.

Do not compare yourself or your relationship to others.

This is very important not to do because it takes away from what you already have with your partner. It takes away from what you two have built. It takes away from you looking deeper into and appreciating the man that you already have. Comparing yourself and your relationship to others is always going to be the death of your good feelings toward your partner and the relationship itself, plus anytime you start to compare yourself to other people you will always be on the losing end of the stick. You must think about what the other couple is showing you, because a lot of times, it is what they want you to see and what they want you to believe. It is not necessarily what is happening in their relationship.

Why do we make relationship comparisons? 

Social comparisons help us understand ourselves, so it is no surprise that relationship comparisons are tactics we might use to help us make sense of our own relationships. We even ask ourselves question such as: 

Am I in a healthy relationship?

Are we going to stay together?

Should we break up? 

Is what I am experiencing normal?

Has anyone else gone through what I am going through currently? 

Should I seek counseling or coaching in order to make sense of things?

By looking at the relationships around us, we seek evidence that might help us gain a stronger sense of our own relationship strengths and weaknesses.

I remember when I used to compare myself to my other friends and their relationships. This happened specifically when I was not in a relationship and I would always look around and even make snide comments, to myself. I thought on several occasions, “Wow! She is not even a nice person or how does she keep getting into relationships and I keep getting passed by?” I used to compare myself no matter where my friends or family members are within their relationships. Not looking any deeper into how they feel about their relationship, what was going on in their relationship, if they are happy in their relationship or if they are getting their needs are being met in the relationship. The only thing I saw was the outside, which was they were in a relationship that seemed to be going well and it felt as if I was missing out on something.

Challenges and being able to grow together.

By facing the challenges together and seeing yourself as a team, you will create greater intimacy and connection, deepening your love and strengthening your relationship. A lot of people believe that relationships are synonymous with discomfort. This does not have to be the case for you. This is often because for them a relationship represents a permanent sacrifice or an uncomfortable place to be. Again this does not have to be your story. A growth focused relationship can bring out the best in you and in your spouse.

Make time to talk about the relationship. This will help you understand your partner much better, be more empathetic and loving. Scheduled time will give each other an opportunity to talk about the relationship without judgment or animosity. And by “talk about the relationship”, I mean treat your relationship like a third person. You can do this by asking plenty of questions, then figuring out the solution or the cost for each question you asked. Ask questions such as:

Are we talking enough? 

Are there unresolved issues? 

If there are unresolved issues, what are those issues? 

Which one would make the greatest impact on turning our relationship around? 

Do I feel as though my needs are being met? 

Is my partner getting his needs met?

Just by putting your relationship in the third person you will be closer to it and get the answers you need. This is the growth process and the challenges that comes along with you growing. You have to identify the challenges in order to be able to change things around. 

Trust and honesty.

Honesty is the foundation for trust in a relationship and trust is necessary for a relationship to function and thrive. When you are always honest with someone, it tells them that they can trust you in the things you say and do. It helps them know they can believe your promises and commitments. Being honest with your partner also facilitates healthy communication, which is also necessary for a functional relationship.

Couples need to be able to talk openly to one another and be real with each other; that is what true communication is all about. That commitment to being honest also means that both people will be proactive about addressing any tension and conflicts within the relationship as well as bringing them up to each other for discussion.

There are several ways to become more trustworthy and honest within your relationship. I will name 3 here.

  1. Be consistent. Do the things you say you are going to do and be someone your partner can rely on. Building trust happens with actions not just words. Words are empty without the actions to back them up.
  2. Prioritize communication. Make communicating with each other an open priority in your relationship. Have a conversation and agree that you will both be open with one another about what you are feeling, what you need, what is working, what is not working as well as some of the solutions to change these areas that are not working. By establishing this, you make honesty easier to practice for the both of you.
  3. Avoid judging one another. Within your relationship there will be things that your spouse does to you that will make you say “oh my goodness.” I did not know you believe such things or is this the way you think? You want to keep it a safe environment because the more you condemn, the more you make him feel bad about himself or his thoughts and even his fantasies, the more you are heightening your chances of your spouse closing down on you, either right away or slowly . . . but surely. Sometimes my clients do not understand why their spouse has shut down on them nor shares anything with them like they used too. This happens because you have taken away the safety zone within the relationship. It may not be that your spouse is no longer speaking about the things that keep him awake at night. He is just no longer sharing these things with you. If someone is honest with their partner about how they feel and then gets shut down or yelled at for what they say, they are less likely to want to be honest in the future. So when your spouse is being honest and vulnerable, avoid judging them or punishing them for their honesty. This means avoid calling what they say stupid or immediately telling them why they are wrong to feel the way that they feel. You want to create a space with your partner to feel safe expressing himself. This is what breeds honesty. If someone expresses something that hurts you, tell them you appreciate their honesty and then discuss why your feelings are hurt. If your partner says something that you really wish they had not said, you can let them know that that is information you would prefer not to hear from them. Just remember that your partner should be able to tell you difficult things. This is a part of being in a relationship. This does not mean you are going to like everything your partner says to you but you have to keep it a safe space in order for the honesty and trustworthiness to continue to grow.

How are you handling your expectations? Have you verbalized what your expectations are to your partner? Do not fall into the trap of believing your partner should just know what your expectations are. You must speak your needs or write them in order to have them met for the future. 

If you need help with your expectations, your communication or any other relationship question, reach out and let us have a free 30 minute coaching conversation. 

Keep speaking your truth!

Marshaun Olaniyan

Life & Relationship Strategist 

www.marshauno.com

Stop Playing the Victim and Blaming Others After You Get Hurt

We have all been hurt before but what do you do with the hurt is more important than the hurt itself. Would you prefer to get back to an active LIVER of life? Or would you prefer to ruminate endlessly about the past and something that cannot be changed? Or will you continue to just blame others for how you are feeling?

The problem with blaming others is that it can often leave you powerless. Now, all your feelings are legitimate but it is important to feel them fully and then to move on. If you do not practice forgiveness you might be the one who pays most dearly. By embracing forgiveness, you can also embrace peace, hope, gratitude and joy.

Why you must stop being the victim and blaming others

In every moment, you have that choice – to continue to feel bad about another person‘s actions or to start feeling good. You need to take responsibility for your own happiness and not put such power into the hands of another person.

By blaming others you excuse yourself for that same negative behavior. If something goes wrong, then someone other than yourself must be blamed for causing the situation. That is the rule of the blame game. You have a hard time accepting what you cannot command. Many events are beyond your control. Accidents are incidents that happened unexpectedly and unintentionally. The blame game is one-sided, irrational and creates biases which give you the right to defend yourself.

So why do we play the bank game? Here several reasons why we do this:

  1. We project our emotions. Blaming is a distraction and it helps us to avoid doing some deeper soul-searching. By projecting bad feelings at others we set them up as bad so we can look good.
  2. We expect life to be fair. Life is not neither fair nor unfair, life just is. We have a broken idea of fairness. Rather than accepting that something bad happened tous, we opt to blame others.
  3. We want to feel safe. We blame others because they are bad. That is what we like to believe. Being bad is a label. It helps distance ourselves from those who are evil so we feel safe.

You must forgive them – and yourself. Forgiveness is a way of tangibly letting something go. Forgiveness is not a sign of weakness. Instead, it is simply saying, “I am a good person. You are a good person. You did something that hurt me but I want to move forward in my life and welcome joy back into it.” You cannot do this fully until you let the thing that hurt you and the person that hurt you, go. Sometimes we get stuck in our pain, in our stubbornness and we cannot even imagine forgiveness. Forgiveness is not saying I agree with what you did, instead it is saying “I do not agree with what you did but I forgive you anyway.”

This is very important to remember because what forgiving other people is saying is you refuse to hold onto this grudge that is holding you back. It is also saying that you refuse to allow this grudge to take you down the road of misery any longer than it already has. Finally, it is saying that the other person does not deserve your forgiveness but you are willing to forgive him or her anyway so you can move forward in your life. Forgiveness is a commitment to a personalize process of change, which moves you from suffering to forgiveness which also helps you to improve your life, acknowledge your emotions about the harm done to you and how they affect your behavior and work to release them as well as choosing to forgive the person who has offended you which moves you away from the role as a victim and releases the control and power the offending person and situation has over your life.

As you forgive and let go of the grudges you’ll no longer define your life by how you have been hurt.

Being hurt never feels good but each of us has had this experience a time or two. So, how do you move on from playing the victim and continuous blame game? 

Need help moving on from playing the victim? Let’s chat over a free 30 minute coaching conversation. My mission is to decrease the divorce rate while simultaneously increasing the marriage rate one coaching conversation at a time. Ready to join the mission so you can become a part of the top 1% of couples that have extraordinary relationships? Click the link. 

All the best!

Marshaun Olaniyan 

Life & Relationship Strategist www.marshauno.com