3 Love Lessons Learned from the Birth of My Child

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The thing about motherhood is that you discover this new spectrum of love and pain you never knew existed. You never knew the capacity of love could stretch so far nor the depths of pain. It makes your heart raw, exposed.  It’s terrifying. But once it’s happened, once you know this new depth of love you can’t unknow it, you can’t unfeel it, you can’t unwant it.

With the birth of my son came 3 life changing love lessons:

#1 You are stronger than you know

“He’s tangling in his umbilical cord,” the doctor said calmly. “I know you didn’t want a Cesarean birth, but this is what we need to do right now”.  Eight or nine doctors rushed into the room and quickly wheeled me down a hall.  “Will I be awake or asleep? Awake or asleep?” I mumbled as doctors lifted me from one table to another and strapped me down.  This is the last thing I remember before waking up in a new room to my mother and husband. Continue reading

7 Things to Consider Before Entering an Interfaith Marriage

Things to Consider Before Entering an Interfaith Marriage
Guest Post by Ryan Worlds from the blog FoodLoveMe/FoodHateMe
Originally  I wanted to title this post, “how to succeed in an interfaith marriage” but it’s only been 7 years.  And that’s the tough thing about marriage, right? It’s til death do us part.   We don’t call it a success until it’s over!  LOL!
I however, did date my husband for 10 years and we’ve now been married for 7 years.  After all that time I do believe I’ve learned a lot about being in a relationship with someone of a different religion.
 
Some people would say “life is already so hard, don’t complicate it further by marrying someone of a different faith”.  And you know what, in some ways, I agree. At 19 I didn’t care about that and I didn’t understand the importance of it.  By the time I was thinking about marriage I was already in love with my husband and I couldn’t just walk away.   I suspect that if you are reading this, then perhaps you are in a similar predicament.  Maybe you are asking yourself …”Am I doing the right thing? Can an interfaith marriage really work?
I’ve thought about this a lot and I believe there are 7 major questions/ideas you should consider when you’re debating marrying someone of a different faith.

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Black, Muslim & Tired

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 Love From the Other Side is a relationship blog geared at helping people find and maintain healthy, happy relationships.  But ever so often I feel inclined to write a Perspective piece. Through these pieces I tell my story or give someone else a platform to tell their story.  It is my hope that in sharing perspectives we increase our love and understanding for one another. If you enjoy this piece be sure to read more of the Perspective pieces linked at the end of this article.

4th gradeWhen I was 8 years old my family moved from the all black Southside of Chicago to the all white South Suburbs.  At age 8 I could not distinguish the difference between black and white.  I had 1 or 2 white teachers at my school but because of the vast variety in shades of black I assumed these teachers were light skinned black people.  It wasn’t until we moved to the all white suburbs that I discovered race.  In the summertime white kids wanted to compare their suntanned arms to see if they’d caught up to my brown.  Year round their tiny fingers spent time in my hair as they marveled over my course texture. Adults would at least ask, “Can I touch your hair?”.   The thing that bothered me the most however was the critiquing of my speech.  “Say car, say milk.”  Or from the adults it was, “You speak so well” as my proper grammar exceeded their expectations of a child from the ghetto South side.  My mother was a teacher, how was I supposed to speak? By 5th grade I’d learned to pronounce “milk” as “melk” and soften my hard r’s in words like “water” or “car”.

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Be Happy NOW! Don’t Postpone Your Happiness

Hello ladies,

I’m Nora Nur from the relationship blog Love From the Other Side.  I am honored to be a participant in the Women_Who_Empower_ challenge that has been running June 15, 2017 – June 30, 2017.  For the past week or so the ladies in the challenge have been working toward personal development through goal setting, meditation, journaling, positive thought and so much more.  If you haven’t yet joined the challenge go check it out on the Instagram page women_who_empower_.    Today I was featured to discuss maintaining positive personal development while pursuing and/or maintaining a romantic relationship. 

Below are 3 ideas to know and practice daily to help you do this:

#1 Happiness is not a “when event” – Be Happy Now

Happiness is not a WHEN event - be happy now

Sometimes we say to ourselves,  “I’ll be happy when I have a healthy romantic relationship”,  or “I’ll be happy with myself and feel beautiful when I lose 20 lbs”.   The problem with this thinking is that the when event either never occurs or it occurs and we still don’t feel happy.  Our happiness should not be conditional upon future events.  If you aren’t happy single, then when the novelty of a new healthy relationship wears off you will go back to being unhappy.  Likewise if you don’t feel beautiful and happy with yourself now, when the novelty of the new weight loss is gone you will go back to feeling discontent.  Dig deeper.  Find inner peace in the right now, and learn to love yourself and your life as it is right now.

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Dating During Ramadan: How I Fell In Love with My Husband

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For those that are unfamiliar, Ramadan is a religious month of fasting observed by Muslims.  During the month Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset abstaining from food and water.  Additionally, Muslims should practice prayer, positive thought, charity and increased empathy toward the poor.  Purpose of Fasting During Ramadan   Ramadan uses the lunar calendar which is two weeks shorter than the solar calendar.  As a result, the month of Ramadan occurs two weeks earlier each year relative to the business calendar.  For example Ramadan, in 2013, the year I met my husband started July 9th and ended August 8th.  Now four years later Ramadan of 2017 began May 27 and will end  June 25.  It takes 26 years for the month of Ramadan to cycle the solar calendar.  The advantage to this rotation is that Muslims practicing Ramadan all over the world will have an opportunity to experience both long summer fast and short winter fast.  When I was a teenager Ramadan was in December and the days lasted only 11-12 hours.  Now that it is in the summer, the days last 16-17 hours.  So what’s all of this have to do with dating?  10 Things I Want Non-Muslims to Know About Being Muslim

table-covered-glass-cutlery-128875When you are single you meet people however, wherever and whenever you meet them.  Throughout my twenties I would often meet a new person and begin dating them months or weeks before the start of Ramadan.  Then Ramadan would start and suddenly I’d be less available.  I couldn’t accept brunch invitations, early dinner dates, or stay out super late.  I also wanted to avoid hot summer festivals since I couldn’t drink water during the day.  Being so unavailable for an entire month, near the start of a new dating relationship usually caused whatever was starting to end before it even really began.  And with Ramadan falling in the summer months (August – May) for quite a number of my relevant dating age years this really posed as a problem.   Continue reading

An Interview with Relationship Blogger Nora Nur

An Interview with Nora Nur – from the Relationship Blog Love From the Other Side

What made you decide to start a blog on the topic of relationships?

For years I was the friend with the hilarious or ridiculous dating stories.  My friends would laugh and say, “No really, that didn’t actually happen did it?”  While I enjoyed always having a good story to tell, I also was getting restless and ready for marriage.  Finally, in March of 2016 I got married to a really great guy.  In the months to follow I did a lot of reflecting on what had changed.  How had I changed?  How had my approach to dating changed?  Had my mindset changed?  I wanted to specifically know what positive changes had led to more successful dating and eventually marriage.  This is what the blog is about.  The blog helps women bridge the gap between being single and married by discussing dating mistakes, self- love, forgiveness, dating strategies and how to make necessary mindset shifts.

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I’ve Never Been More Pro-Choice

I've Never Been More Pro-Choice

I woke up with night sweats, disoriented.  It took a moment to realize the walls weren’t blue, the bed wasn’t a twin.  This wasn’t my high school bedroom.  The man next to me wasn’t my high school boyfriend and my senior year wasn’t starting in September.  My chest was so tight, each breath a struggle, my pulse racing.  Did my mother know yet?  Had I told her?  I would miss the first month of my senior year.  How would I pay for a baby sitter while I was at school?  What if breastfeeding was difficult? Could I afford formula?  My breathing must of woke him.  “You’re okay”, he mumbled from his sleep, reaching over to hold me and baby.  Confused I asked, “we have money? You’re happy?  You want this baby?”.  “Yes”, he mumbled pulling us closer. Continue reading

Intercultural Dating: Unforeseen Challenges and Expectations

Intercultural Dating

The first time I tried intercultural dating was in college.  I dated a Nigerian.  I remember the American black guys asking why I didn’t like black guys.  I was confused. Wasn’t I dating a black guy?

The day of our college graduation two significant things happened.  First, his parents flew in and stayed at the campus family guest house.  His mom cooked a big Nigerian meal for everyone.  All seven of the Nigerian girls on campus came over filling the kitchen with Yoruba and Pigeon banter as they helped his mother cook.  I sat next to my friend Jenny, a blond haired blue eyed white girl, and her Indian boyfriend, another intercultural couple.  We suffered through a shared plate of Nigerian food, as tears ran down our faces from the spices.  I knew it was spicy when my Indian friend kept pushing the plate off on me.  If he thought, it was spicy I didn’t stand a chance.

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10 Things I Want Non-Trans People to Know About Being Transsexual

10 Things I Want Non-Trans People to Know About Being Transsexual

This Perspective Wednesday’s Guest Post was written by Warren Oaks

When I was in preschool, and interacting for the first time with persons outside my immediate family, I realized something was different about my peers and I, something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I knew that I was a girl, because my parents had told me so, but it just didn’t sync with…whatever it was that was going on inside of me. There were twins at the preschool, Luke and Mark, and I felt more like myself when they included me in their games and interactions. Something about being included with the boys felt right.

Whatever was different about me, I concluded that it needed to be hidden or corrected, so my childhood and teenage years were spent trying on different identities and personas in an attempt to find something that I felt comfortable in. I grew my hair to a ridiculously long length, tried to be “girly,” tried to be funny, tried to be vulgar, tried to be sullen, tried to be introverted. The closest I got to something that felt right was the “tomboy persona,” but for reasons I didn’t understand, it still just didn’t work.

What I did not know at the time was that I am a transsexual—a person whose body and associated gender role don’t synchronize with their sense of self. It wasn’t until late middle school or early high school that I was introduced to the concept, and then the identity shuffle became an exercise in deflecting any possible attention away from who I really was.

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10 Things I Want Non-Muslims to Know About Being Muslim

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My senior year of high school I went to the ACT-SO art competition in Miami, Florida. I went as a regional winner for visual arts along with 10-15 other students from my high school and nearby schools and a few parent chaperones. We loaded a coach bus headed for the airport and before we took off, one of the parent chaperones suggested we bow our heads in prayer. I quietly bowed my head, praying it would be a generic prayer. “Lord Jesus Christ, our holy savior, we pray in your name, we pray that we arrive safely…..” Uncomfortable I lifted my head, dismissing myself from the prayer. As a Muslim, I don’t believe that Jesus (peace be upon him) is God or the son of God, and thus such a prayer opener made me highly uncomfortable. Later in the trip, a parent chaperone asked me what church I attended. When I told her I was Muslim, she asked offended, how it was possible that I didn’t “believe the lord Jesus Christ had died for my sins”, she then told 18 year old me, that I would “go to hell” if I didn’t come to accept this. At 18 I was soft spoken with a reverence for all adults. I didn’t know how to respond to such a statement so I didn’t respond at all. Continue reading