As Reggie laid out last week, our beliefs are a core part of creating a life He loves and you enjoy. In this week’s article, the thirteenth blog post in my summer series on relationships, I approach belief from a different angle. This is also a reprint from our (Reggie and my) A Stitch in Time newsletter. I hope you enjoy reading today’s article whether reading for the first time or second!
“When people show you who they really are, believe them the first time.”Maya Angelou
This quote from Maya Angelou shares wisdom I wish I had applied earlier in my life. It would have saved me a lot of grief, especially in one particular situation before I met Reggie.
It began when I innocently gave my phone number to a man I met at church whom I will call Guy. Guy did not call for a few days, but when he did, he called and called and called some more, several times a day.
When Guy finally reached me three days later, he attacked me for not taking his calls. He accused me of being home, but refusing to take his calls. It did not matter that I was not home when Guy called or that I was legitimately busy for a few days. Guy did not believe me. According to Guy, I was supposed to be home when he called.
After another day of listening to Guy’s complaints over not reaching me, I told him that this relationship was not going to work. I found Guy’s behavior controlling and wasn’t interested. That is when Guy switched tactics. He explained that he wasn’t controlling. According to Guy, he was attentive. Next thing I knew, Guy showered me with attention in many forms. Even after I told him I was no longer interested, this man bought me gifts and flowers to show me that he was legitimately attentive, not controlling.
My girlfriends did not understand why I was complaining. They longed for a man who would shower them with gifts, phone calls and attention in general. Why didn’t I? Guy didn’t convince me, but my girlfriends did. So, I went out with him. One date turned into two and two, three. A few months later, all Guy’s wining and dining led me to fall for him.
It should have been great, but there was one problem. I was right all along. Guy was controlling. Guy just waited until he hooked me to begin showing me again. By then, I was in too deep emotionally to just let go. Instead, I kept hoping that the other Guy, the one who treated me so well, would return.
Unfortunately, there was no other Guy, and if I had listened to Maya Angelou, I would have been spared that grief. More importantly, if I had listened to myself, I would have been spared that grief.
That grief did teach me something though. My grief taught me that the opinions of friends are nice, but what I think about this person is significant. So, from that point on, if I saw behavior that I did not feel comfortable with, I would take pause. I would not go any further, regardless of what my friends thought about him.
Now when someone shows me who they really are, I believe them—the first time. I hope you do too.
If you enjoyed this post, check out the rest of my summer series on relationships.
Summer Series on Relationships:
- Part One – Preparing for a relationship by spending time alone with God.
- Part Two – Some tips from my late husband Reginald Sanders on how to spend time alone with God.
- Part Three – Who should take initiative in a relationship and when.
- Part Four – Protecting your significant other’s tender spots and vulnerabilities.
- Part Five – Getting your priorities in order.
- Part Six – Healing past pain.
- Part Seven – Overcoming trust issues.
- Part Eight – Overcoming fear.
- Part Nine – Valuing women.
- Part Ten – Honesty in a relationship.
- Part Eleven – The cause of your discomfort.
- Part Twelve – Your beliefs.
- Part Thirteen – Believe quickly.
- Part Fourteen – At the heart of good relationships is friendship.
- Part Fifteen – Real, genuine brothers and sisters-in-Christ.
- How do you respond to behavior you find troublesome in a relationship?
- How do you respond when your spirit tells you there is something wrong?
- Do you listen to your spirit? Or to others?