I usually remember the things that I get wrong. I will forever remember how to spell receive because I lost a spelling bee when I was 13 years old when I misspelled it. I spelled received, recieved. I wish that making one mistake in the area of relationships and forever getting it right thereafter was as easy as correcting a spelling error. It is not. When it comes to successful interpersonal, particularly romantic relationships, most of us have missed it a time or two or three or four or more….
The first time I missed the mark in a relationship, I knew to avoid making the same mistake in the next one. Intelligent, naïve, trusting, country-bumpkin me; I carefully avoided a partner who displayed dysfunctions A-B-C. But alas, the next couple of individuals had dysfunctions C-D-F and R-O-Q. Never heard of those? Neither had I. Just because you avoid one set of dysfunctions in an individual is no guarantee that the next person will not have something else that you were totally unexpecting and unprepared to handle. Not all of my relationships have been disastrous. Thank God, I have had wonderful relationships with men who loved me and treated me very, very well. Those relationships helped to serve as reminders of how I deserve to be treated.
At the time that I chose disaster-prone relationships, my life circumstances and experiences made me vulnerable. In retrospect I was too trusting. I relinquished too much of my power. Sarah Jakes Roberts -- daughter of renowned pastor, movie producer and T.V. host, T.D. Jakes -- became pregnant at age 13. Drowning in low self-esteem, she married a man who was toxic and abusive. It took several years for her to forgive herself, regain her dignity and position herself to make a healthier relationship choice. One of my greatest aims in this book is to help empower or re-empower you to be the best you, so that you can make the best choices for you.
My good friend, Laurie Hunter, said this to me during a low period in my life.
Sister, hold your head up so your crown won’t fall off
I have met and counseled far too many individuals, especially women, whose crowns of self-esteem, crowns of self-worth and crowns of dignity have fallen off. Some do not know what it looks like or feels like to be treated well by a man. Many have de-dignified (my word) themselves and lost all semblance of self-worth and self-esteem. You have to get that restored! A relationship cannot fix you. Some deficiencies make us vulnerable, other deficiencies and experiences make us unable to sustain a good, healthy relationship. Some behaviors are “relationship killers"; others are literally fatal.
Am I in the minority in thinking that relationships are supposed to be composed of two human beings who are basically emotionally and mentally healthy and compatible? Is it too much to expect that, when two people make a commitment or vow in marriage to each other, there should be mutual respect, honesty, integrity, love and support, at least minimally?
In both my personal and professional life, I have observed an unprecedented amount of deception, pain, fear, destruction and devastation in relationships that promised love, happiness and a future. This epidemic of devastation is destroying individuals, families, communities, cities, even nations. The repercussions, like the ripples from a rock thrown into a pond, are destroying generations. On a weekly basis, I deal with individuals who were wounded in childhood by adult dysfunctions.
I am not writing this book as an expert who has not been touched by this disease in relationships. Both I, and especially my children, have suffered, and still deal with the ripples of pain from the rocks and pebbles in the ponds of negative, painful experiences of my wrong choices in relationships. I pray for us every day.
Let me specify. My helping, forgiving, nurturing personality, along with my childhood love deficiencies, certainly predisposed and caused me to be vulnerable in certain areas. Vulnerability is a flaw that opens you up to attack and damage. It caused me to be victimized, but it is not necessarily in itself a “relationship killer”. However, it was a factor because it predisposed me to accept relationships without properly vetting or profiling them. Another factor that influenced my choices is that I was not my “best self” when I made them.
I am appalled at the number of individuals who can count 10, 20, 30 years of marriage, but only because at least one of the partners has accepted mistreatment or horrifying disrespect, disregard, and destruction throughout the duration of the marriage. Some die prematurely from the stress. Some finally escape, but they are emotionally and mentally bloodied, battered, traumatized, devoid of self-esteem and self-identity.
According to William Pinsof, Ph.D., “Divorce has replaced death as the primary terminator of marriage. It has become a “normal” marital end point". When we hear of the dissolution of a marriage of 10, 20 or 30 years, we often wonder why did they break up after all of those years of a happy marriage? I submit that it was not a happy marriage. Those years were the saturation point of pain for one or both partners. Someone simply could not bear it any longer. Bishop T.D. Jakes said, “When you see a couple who has been married for 40 or 50 years, they have survived a whole lot of stuff.”
Steve Harvey wrote a wonderful book, Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man. He does a good job of helping women to find love and work toward getting married. Getting married seems to be the prevailing obsession for many, many people, particularly women. This is natural and understandable. Unfortunately, marriage is too often, the beginning of sorrows. This should not be so. Once you do get married, are you and your partner strong enough to withstand the inevitable, unanticipated storms of life that will test your souls and the soul of your relationship?
In this book, Profiles of Disaster-Prone Relationships: How to Detect, Avoid , Survive or Escape Them, you will embark on a journey into the lives and scenarios of different people in the hope that you learn how to discover pitfalls and avoid them. Were there warning signs that these people missed? Are there certain key questions that they failed to ask a potential partner? What’s the difference between a flaw and a fault? How much can you probe without being offensive? How did people survive or escape disastrous relationships, and can you do the same? In this book, you will learn some of the traits, warning signs, behaviors and habits that you need to discern so that you can quickly profile a potential partner, as well as test your own personal relationship readiness.
By using my simple "7 Secrets Profile Assessment," you can measure your personal relationship readiness. For instance, what is your relationship temperature? Is your relationship healthy and strong? Then, call the bridesmaids or the cruise director. Does it need surgery? Call the doctor. Is it too sick to survive? Call the coroner. My assessment tool will enable you to quickly answer these questions.
This book cannot guarantee you relationship success; you and your partner will determine that. However, this book can empower, inform, enhance, and equip you to have a happy, healthy and well-balanced personal life. It will provide simple, yet powerful tools that help you make intelligent, informed relationship choices and decisions. It can greatly increase your likelihood of relationship success and happiness.