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Why I Considered Divorce…

5 Things to Know Before You Get Married

Today marks our three year anniversary and I couldn’t be happier! It seems like it was just yesterday when we went on our first date to Applebee’s and a movie. I wasn’t a fan of the restaurant, but the conversation and company made up for my hard chicken tenders. Something really intrigued me about V. I loved the way he constantly checked on me and catered to my needs. Fast forward from May to November, and we’re engaged. I’m crying, slobbering and hollering like someone died. I can’t even count the number of times I yelled “yes” and “Jesus.” The next few months were like a fairytale as I had the pleasure of planning my dream wedding. The dress, the table linens, the personal written vows and our special guests made that day perfect. But, what do after you’ve said “I Do”?

Everyone says that your first year is typically your hardest and I have to agree. Getting adjusted to living with someone was a challenge. I like HGTV; he likes ESPN. I don’t fall asleep until midnight; he’s dozing off at 10. I could go on and on, but we got adjusted and made it work. While I knew that no marriage was perfect, we were completely blindsided by our first major argument. I honestly can’t tell you what caused it, but I clearly remember our reaction. We yelled, and yelled, and yelled, and yelled. We both said we weren’t happy and I casually threw around the “d” word (divorce) because I wasn’t going to be married and miserable. After the fire died down, we sought counseling and the worst day of our marriage soon became our greatest learning lesson.

Here’s what I learned and what you need to consider before you say “I Do.”

  1. Never get too comfortable in your marriage. We were so busy being in love that we slowly backed up from our first love (Christ). During the time of that argument, we weren’t seeking God like we used to. I was seeking God non-stop daily before I got my man and I know God used this to get our attention. Always keep God first in your marriage.
  2. I Before You. It was so easy to tell V what he was doing wrong, but I really didn’t want to assume responsibility for my part. Before you place blame, take responsibility for your actions. The more I worked on myself, the better my marriage became.
  3. Respect. We always want to talk about love, but I believe that respect is just as important. If anyone must respect you, it should be your spouse. Words have the ability to build you up or break you down. You don’t want to be responsible for the breakdown of your spouse. The enemy will take that opportunity to send someone else to build them back up. You have to ensure that respect is primary and that we learn to communicate in love. There will be times when this isn’t easy but it’s necessary.
  4. Counseling. Pride is a sin and it will destroy you. You have to put pride aside and seek Godly advice when needed. I didn’t care who saw us getting counseling, fixing our marriage was our top priority. Find other Godly couples who will hold you accountable and challenge you to grow together. Stay away from married folks who don’t value marriage. Their bad advice will cause you to make a bad decision.
  5. Avoid the “D” Word. Yes, speaking divorce will lead to the death of your marriage. We made a vow not to use it anymore. It doesn’t matter how much we disagree, we won’t utter that word. Take time to cool off and come together in prayer. Pray even when you don’t feel like it. This allows God to intervene and fix the problem.

Our marriage is far from perfect, but we are happier than ever before. Every day is a reminder that God is faithful and He keeps His promises.   Put and keep God first in your marriage and He will work everything out.

 

With love,

Kiona

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Blurred Lines | Girlfriend vs. Wife

One of my favorite quotes is, “Know Your Role and Play Your Position”.  In most of our roles in life, we are given a clear description of what to do and what not to do.  I’m held accountable for my job description from Monday-Friday from 8:00am to 4:30pm.  If I don’t meet my requirements, I would end up in someone’s unemployment line.

But, what do you do when your roles are not crystal clear? What is my role as a girlfriend, fiancé or wife?  Women are nurturers by nature.  From day one, we are ready to put our best foot forward and give our all.  We want to take care of our men!! If there is a problem, we want to fix it. That’s just how we’re wired.  But, some of us end up doing things a little prematurely.  We’re helping with financial problems, jumping in his family dilemmas, becoming Chef Boyardee, and providing sexual healing.  We give our “all” and end up with a broken heart.

During the dating/courting process, you are in the “interview process”.  It’s time to get to know each other which requires doing lots of activities and asking those important questions to determine if the relationship is worth pursuing.  Prayer and observation are key during this process.  What is God saying about this relationship?  How does he react to certain situations? How do they treat me and others around them?  How is their relationship with Christ? If you begin playing Susie Homemaker during this process, you may end up fixing something that you never should have been involved in.  Is it a sin to cook your partner a meal? NO.  But, it’s not your responsibility to serve up every meal and become their caretaker.  When you get engaged, it involves preparing for more financial responsibilities and family commitments since marriage is your next step.

Think back on your past relationships that didn’t work.  Some of your anger is towards your ex, but some of the blame is on yourself. For those who don’t want to take responsibility, let me air my dirty laundry.  I had to take care of my boo!! I got all entangled in family stuff and rushed home to cook. I was out of place and eventually out of a relationship.

Stay connected with God first and let the Holy Spirit guide you! Take the time to enjoy the process of getting to know each other.  Once you get married, you will have ALL of your life to play wife.  It’s a beautiful process, but take advantage of your independence. Don’t put the cart before the horse.  Embrace boundaries.

Final Tip: Seek God together for your relationship, enjoy each other’s company, and love outside of the bedroom.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

2 Corinthians 6:14-15 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?

Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.

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The Other Woman

One of the best things about growing up was watching my parents’ marriage. I know that no relationship is perfect, but watching them interact made me love “love”. From observing their marriage, I NEVER understood how and why people would cheat on their spouses. Since my childhood, God has given me the desire to be a wife, and I knew that I would have a ministry supporting marriage.

During my earlier years of college, I was more focused on partying than living for Christ. I grew closer to my co-workers and partying because a weekly ritual. One of my co-workers was married and he constantly asked me out on dates. He complained that his wife was inattentive and didn’t fulfill him sexually. While I was not living according to God’s word, I knew that I could never become involved with someone else’s husband. When I kept denying his requests, he eventually began “dating” another co-worker. One afternoon, his “inattentive, non sex-giving wife” came in to bring her husband lunch and she was six-months pregnant. *confused* How did she become pregnant if they weren’t having sex? *side-eye*

Unfortunately, this is just one example of too many! *sigh*

I couldn’t possibly count the number of emails or messages we receive from women who are “dating” married men, so I had to address this topic. Here’s some advice- Married is married AND separated is still married. This is NOT to judge you, but you need to be informed that you deserve better! When you trust God’s plan, you will love yourself enough to know that what He has for you is for you. Things to consider…If you truly believe that your husband is coming, then why would you “date” someone else’s husband? If this person really loved you, why aren’t they married to YOU? How would you feel if the roles were reversed?

There is no nice or politically correct way to address this topic. If you are the “other” person, you need to remove yourself from the situation. Remember, that God doesn’t bless what He didn’t ordain. Despite how bad it hurts or how much you want to stay, you owe it to yourself to leave.

You don’t deserve to be someone’s first or main lady, you deserve to be their ONLY!

-Kiona

 

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Step-Up or Sit-Down

On Sunday, our pastor Simeon Moultrie, challenged our church family to go from good to great. There are lots of things that we are doing good but in most cases GOOD is not good enough. Like most sermons, Vick and I had an open conversation about how we can become great in all areas of our lives, and I wanted to share with you our top three.

Spiritually: We can’t be good servants… we’ve got to be great! There are people yearning for salvation and dealing with hurt that need us. God doesn’t need part-time warriors. We’ve got to be knowledgeable of His word and live it out loud 24/7.   Vick and I are cranking it up! Although we spend time reading and praying, it requires more and we have graciously accepted the challenge.

Physically: Our body is the temple of the Holy Ghost. The same body that should abstain from premarital sex should also eat foods that nourish the body. We’ve both struggled with weight. Over the past few months, we’ve both dropped some weight but we have a way to go! Let’s keep it real: The Thomas family loves a good pizza, but we’ve got to do better. We can’t continue tearing down our vessels while praying that God builds them up. Faith without works is dead and we want to live as long as possible!!

Visions: God has blessed us with AMAZING visions. I love our D&W Family. If we see someone rocking a D&W shirt, we get to hugging and carrying on like they are a long, lost relative. We spend lots of time answering emails, praying about posts, but God requires more. We’ve recognized that our television time needs to be minimized. Will we continue to watch tv? ABSOLUTELY! But, we need to ensure that our head is clear to fully fulfill God’s vision for our lives.

Take time to think about the areas where you need to go from good to great. If you stay where you are, you will become complacent. God didn’t create us to be average; He wants us to flourish and maximize our potential. Make a conscious effort to be better and do more! If you don’t continue to step up, the enemy will keep fighting to push you down.

Kiona

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The One

Out of all the questions we receive, this definitely ranks in the top 3.

Back when I was in college, I dated a guy for over 2 years. We loved each other, and on most occasions things were going “pretty good”. As our relationship progressed, I turned to my mom and asked- “How do I know if he’s the one?” She replied, “He’s not. When you meet the one, you won’t have to ask”. As we fast forward several years later, V came back into the picture out of nowhere. After just 2 months of dating, I told my mom that he was the one. She smiled and instantly reminded me of our conversation years prior. I didn’t have to ask her. God told me and V proved it.

While no relationship is perfect, here are the top 5 things that confirmed that he was the one.

1) God said so. Not to get all extra deep, but we fasted and prayed together and God revealed that this is who I needed to be with. You’ve got to be on one accord. You BOTH must seek God and ask for direction for your relationship.

2) His desire for Christ. Let me keep it 100%. Although we were both saved, I was more spiritually advanced when we reunited. What drew me closer to him was his desire for Christ. He didn’t just talk about it; he followed his words by reading the bible, praying and fasting more. God has truly developed him to become my spiritual leader.

3) NO sex. We made it clear on the phone and discussed it again on the first date. We weren’t sexing. Since we were both on the same page, there were times when he was weak and I was strong and vice versa, but your commitment will keep you from falling. In my eyes, if he can wait for sex, God showed me that he has the fortitude to stand by me through trials.

4) What did you say about Kiona? We faced a situation and he stood up for me, defended my name and made sure I was at peace. Women must feel secure with their men AND men must be able to lead.

5) Family First. My aunt died unexpectedly and I don’t think I’ve faced so much pain. There was nothing like having him care for me throughout several disappointments. God showed me that he would not only be a good husband, but also a good father. I could go on and on, but I will leave you with this… When it’s right, you will know. You won’t have to beg, plead or issue ultimatums for your Mr./Mrs. Right to marry you. They will willingly do so. No excuses. No exceptions.

Kiona

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Check Please

It took a housewife from Atlanta to coin the phrase, “Who gone check me boo?” This line became so famous because we are a generation who doesn’t like to be “checked”. We march to the beat of our own drums. We don’t like taking orders; we give them. But, what happens when you need to be checked? Oh yeah, that might be considered judging AND we all know that “thou shall not judge”. I’m no biblical scholar, but I am pretty sure that many people are using this scripture to excuse their foolishness. Let me speak for myself- I did.

It was 2003 and I attended a women’s bible study with a super-anointed minister. She was one of those people who you didn’t want to get eye-contact with because you were afraid that she would expose all your dirty secrets. I was living in sin, but I was dealing with a lot of hurt from my relationship. Mrs. Anointed asked did anyone need prayer, and I said, “Yes, please pray for me and my boyfriend.” She quickly responded, “How do you expect God to bless a situation that He didn’t ordain?”

She “checked” me. While I didn’t want to hear it, I needed it. My souled yearned for it. She wasn’t judging me, she gave me Godly correction. Her boldness led to me to rededicate my life back to Christ. She made me realize that we need that accountability in our walk with Christ. You need that person to challenge you to attend bible study, remain abstinent, and align your life with the word of God. If you’re surrounded by a bunch of cheerleaders, you need to join another team. Through correction and discipline comes change. Don’t become bitter… get better!

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Blockbusters vs. Previews

Relationships in today’s society are like movies. Many people are casually having sex (enjoying the previews) without the commitment of marriage. Enjoying the preview often brings instant gratification and excitement, but your spirit is left unfulfilled.

Then you have folks that remain in relationships “just because”.  We’ve all heard it before… “I would rather be with him/her than be alone.”  “It’s not perfect, but it will do.”  These situations remind me of “bootleg” movies.  Yes, you have a movie, but the quality is often poor.   Even if you find a great quality bootleg movie, it can never compare to the real thing!

 The great thing is-God writes our scripts that end in happy endings.  When we try to make our own soundtracks and start premiering previews, our script loses value.  God didn’t intend for us to go straight to Redbox! We all represent His kingdom, so we are featured blockbusters! A movie worth seeing is worth the wait!

 At the right time, your special someone will pay the costs to see the previews and enjoy the movie. Continue to allow God to direct his script that he wrote for your life.

*closes curtains*

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9 Dresses

One of my absolute favorite movies is 27 Dresses. The movie is about a single lady who walked down the aisle 27 times as a bridesmaid, but never as a bride.  She struggles to be a supportive friend while maintaining her sanity, and I truly felt her pain.  On nine occasions, I wore dresses (some atrocious, a few too tight) to celebrate the unions of some of my closest friends and family members. From Kool-Aid red to sunshine yellow, I was there with a smile on my face.

My Breaking Point- During one of the nine unions, EVERYONE in the bridal party was dancing with their significant others, and I sat alone like a child on punishment.  After trying not to cry for over an hour, I developed a stomach ache, so I left the reception and cried all the way home. I screamed to God- When is my time?  Is something wrong with me?

When I got my nerves together, God reminded me that it wasn’t my time and to trust Him wholeheartedly!  It was my goal to be married by 23 and to start having children at 25.  While my plan was perfect in my eyes, God’s plan completely exceeded my dreams and expectations.  By getting married at 30, God allowed me to mature in all areas of my life.  Was I perfect? NO, but I was better equipped to become a wife.  I can now say that if I were married at 23, I would now be divorced.

Quick tips for future wives…

  1. Reality Check: You’re human. You will have your “moments.” Every once and a while, have a QUICK pity party but don’t stay there. We have to learn how to get our emotions in check.  After those first few tears, start reciting God’s promises and overcome those feelings of loneliness and depression.
  1. Don’t set yourself up for failure! In other words, stop watching television shows like Bridesmaids and Say Yes to the Dress if you can’t handle it.  If you’re feeling lonely at the moment, find HEALTHY activities to keep yourself busy.
  1. Last but not least, trust God… Think about what you’re waiting for and understand that you’re waiting for a reason.  If you’re faithful to God, He will fulfill His promises in His timing.
    Don’t despise the process, embrace it! It’s coming!!!

Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.- Isaiah 40:31