Ladies and gentlemen, the moment you all have been waiting for is finally here! As some of you guys may know, this past Saturday, February, 4th, I was honored to be a part of the Answer Conference. I was so excited prior to the event only because I wanted answers and also I genuinely admire most of the speakers at the conference. I hope that you feel fulfilled after reading this post.
About the Answer Conference
The Answer Conference consisted of panel discussions on topics on relationships, love, finances, leadership and sex trafficking. The 3rd Annual Answer Movement was founded by Pastor Terrance and Torsha Johnson of Higher Dimensions Church. This event was powered by Prudential.
The panelists were Prudential, Nephew Tommy, Rob Riley, Adrienne Bailon & Israel Houghton, Jordin Sparks, Michele Thornton of BET, Dorinda Walker, Myron Butler, Mayor Sylvester Turner, Pastor John&Aventer Gray and many more.
**I’m glad that I was able to attend most of the panels, I took great notes. The topics I am focusing on in this post are: relationships, love, leadership and sex trafficking.**
The conference kicked off by a beautiful live performance by Anzeo and the Answer Band.
“Jesus is the center…it’s all about you”
Let’s jump straight to the point!
Pastor Terrance &Torsha Johnson, Adrienne Bailon&Israel Houghton and Dondre Whitfield will provide you with the answers you need. They were so real and talked about the good, the bad and the ugly. They admitted having problems in the beginning stage of their relationship. Once they put Christ at the center of their union, everything turned out successful. They learned from experience. Their ultimate goal is for people to be changed and walk away with answers. Through their discussion, one can understand the importance of courtship and the efforts and actions necessary to have a lifelong relationship.
Right to Left: Pastor Torsha and Terrance Johnson
Unfortunately, courtship has to be taught or retaught. Do you ever wonder what happened to this generation? Israel Houghton believes that this generation is the most disconnected generation ever. Sad but true. Things have definitely changed over the past 10, 20,30 years. What was the norm is becoming rocket science nowadays? Roles have changed, we see more women approaching men, more women wearing the pants in relationships, we even see women proposing to men. Some may say to each their own however we wonder why the divorce rate is extremely high in America. According to the American Psychological Association, about 40 to 50 percent of married couples divorce. Statistically speaking, if you get married, there is a 50/50 chance you may get a divorce.
Ouch, don’t let that scare you!
Marriage is a sacrament, and it is a beautiful thing. The goal is not just to get married but to stay married! As a summary, impatience, skipping steps, lack of understanding cause couples to bump their heads into a wall. Great things take time. Great accomplishments require lots of hard work and dedication. For example, earning a college degree and acquiring a dream house all demand efforts. If you want a degree, you will stay up studying days and night, you will make sacrifices. It isn’t going to happen over night. It takes time, it takes years. Great relationships are the same. If you want your relationship to last, you have to be willing to make efforts, sacrifice and practice patience. You can take shortcuts and be in a relationship just to say you have something. In Pastor Terrance words, ” a relationship is like a pot roast, season, let it simmer and voila, you have tenderness and deliciousness, you don’t want that frozen pizza that you put in a microwave for 5 minutes”. Nature even proves that strong foundations take time. Dondre explains that you don’t want a “mushroom marriage” meaning the relationship grows overnight; you want an “oak tree marriage”. An oak tree has deep roots and takes 100 years to grow. A relationship that resembles this analogy is destined to last forever.
As a reminder, the goal is to create a dynamic, happy and long lasting relationship. It can get frustrating at times, it may seem like everyone is getting engaged, married, having babies and you wonder “What about me?” All you have to do is trust God’s timing! Only God knows when and who! It’s easier said than done. But that is something that has to be practiced. Nothing is easy, just as couple have to work hard to keep their relationship intact, all my single men and women have to work hard at being patient and trusting God.
There is a lot of doubt and fear or I must say not enough faith in God. “He who finds a woman finds a good thing”. It doesn’t say, she who finds a man finds a good thing. (I am literally laughing now). But that sounds funny, it just does not seem right. So to my ladies, let a man do what he is supposed to do. If a man wants to be with you, he will do anything possible to be with you, no need to force what is not meant to be. This is exactly what Pastor Terrance and Torsha Johnson focused on. Pastor Terrance reminded us of some scriptures in Genesis. It all started out with Adam and Eve, God created man then he created the woman. Then we have:
- Abraham & Sarah- Genesis 17:1-8, 15-22; 21:1-7 teaches us how to practice patience in marriage.
- Isaac who found Rebekah-Genesis 24:26-67- God works in surprising ways. This passage reveals how to be in a significant relationship.
- Jacob and Rachel- Genesis 29:1-30 highlights that no one is perfect and mistakes happens; marriage is for better or worse. It demonstrates how to survive a marriage turmoil.
- Boaz and Ruth-Ruth 2:1-13; 4:1-17. Ruth waited and Boaz found her.
“ and Prince Hakeem flew all the way from Africa to find Liza in America from Coming to America”. Pastor Terrance is such a comedian at heart.
You always hear about patience. But there is biblical meaning! Distorting from that causes trouble.
Second key point Pastor Terrance highlighted is the importance of courtship. As mentioned earlier, courtship is not commonly practiced these days. Moreover, dating replaced courtship. Pastor Terrance’s reason of courtship are:
- It creates respect: you give respect to one who worked hard to earn you, it allows you to see how interested the man is and what truly matters to him. Also the woman can make proper judgment of the man.
- Establishment of expectations: The two partners communicate effectively, understand one another and fulfill each other needs.
- Enjoy the romance: During that time, the woman is received all the attention, she is showered with gifts and feels special. Memories are created.
- Opportunity to pursue and to be pursued: Men love to pursue, and for women, it is a great feeling knowing that a man didn’t just jump a puddle and jumped across the ocean to win her over.
We often hear “Chivalry is dead” Is it really? It is best to say many men lack chivalry. Some men did not have a male figure to look up to growing up. They just did not witness such gestures. And that’s okay, it is never too late to learn. Some men know of it and think it is an old ritual and they don’t feel like practicing. To some, it’s natural. Nowadays, we see constant debate about who should pay on a date, is the man or the woman. Some say the man, others say the woman and we have others on the other end of the spectrum who like to “Go Dutch” meaning, each person pays for their own meal. I even heard horror stories where the guy would invite a lady, order the most food and then wants to split the check! Where they do that at? Fix it Jesus! It is not always about doing expensive things. The little things and thoughts matter. Things such as opening the door, pulling out the chair, simple text messages to see how she is doing matter the most. A woman can be showered with the most expensive things and still be lonely and unappreciated. What matters is being intentional.
Newlyweds Israel Houghton and Adrienne Bailon discussed their new year’s goal which was to be intentional. The point of giving is to make your mate feel special and loved. Let’s strive to be intentional for all that we do.
So far, we’ve talked about courtship and chivalry. Those take place in the honeymoon phase. But they don’t have be temporary. Chivalry does not have to die. Earlier, I said the goal isn’t just to be married but to stay married. This is achieved by consistency. Actor Dondre Whitfield talked about what him and his wife do to preserve their relationship. You keep what you have by continuing to do what you did in the beginning. The grass is not greener on the other side, you simply have to water and care for it. Dondre states that it is all the about the routine. We often hear people being bored in a relationship and break up to engage in a new relationship. But we forget that it is going to end up being the same. We are the ones that need to change. According to Dondre, if something is no longer interesting, change the routine! Meaning, do something different, spice things up. Each mate has to be willing to put in work because nothing happens magically.
First, courtship, secondly being having butterflies in your stomach due to excessive love and infatuation during the honeymoon phase. For those who are consistent, you still have butterflies in your stomach years after being together. What a marvelous feeling!!
One thing one can observe with successful relationships and marriage is privacy! When I talk about successful marriage, I am not necessarily referring to celebrities. Look at the people around you, your close friends and family. Dondre talked about is privacy. Now, with social media, it is easy to dib and dab in other people’s business. There is nothing wrong with that. To each their own, everyone has their level of privacy.
People share what they are comfortable with. Of course, this is an opinion. However, I completely agree with Dondre’s point which is to keep some things private. The old saying “Invite people to your wedding but not your marriage” fits this discussion. With Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook, it is easy to keep in touch. You can see every little details of someone’s honeymoon, I am talking about minutes worth of intimate and detailed footage. Unknowingly, that is how you attract bad energy, gossip and hate. Remember,you do not have to tell everyone everything! Let them think!
A relationship is about team work.
Both partners need be on the same page. This requires good communication skills and understanding. Vow to use more “We” instead of “I”. Dondre Whitfield made a very interesting point. Instead of giving orders, lead by example. It’s all about setting up a routine. Do something inspiring, that one can look up to. Good habits are imitated. “I do not tell my wife what to do, instead I model what I want her to do. I take a look at myself, I am the mirror of my house” Dondre Whitfield.
Another crucial topic discussed at the conference is Human Sex Trafficking.
Human sex trafficking is modern day slavery.
Jordin sparks spread awareness on this matter along with Jaquelyna Luotto. Jordin Sparks has a movement called the M.A.D. Girls. INC. M.A.D stands for Making A Difference and their mission is just to help change lives around the world. For more info, check out http://www.themadgirls.com and @themadgirlsinc on Instagram. It was sad to hear that my city, Houston is one of the largest city for human sex trafficking.
This matter is serious and happening around us. It involves people of any gender and age. It involves, you’d children and even babies. Jaquelyna Luetto also explains that human sex traffic is happening in foster homes. A place meant for children to feel safe and loves is transformed into hell. Sex traffickers are sometimes parents, teachers, they can be anyone. Check out the Department of State’s website to learn how you can help put an END at human sex trafficking. —> https://www.state.gov/j/tip/id/help/ .
I can say that the Answers was very educational and inspiring. I look forward to attend the next one next year and you guys are invited . I hope you all enjoyed this content. To stay tuned with the movement, check out their official website->https://www.answermovement.com/
Thanks for reading,
Love and Kisses,