Saturday, 25 July 2015

Guest Blog post - Marigold's Story - Getting Out of a Violent Marriage.

"I found myself in a situation that I never thought was possible, An abusive relationship. I had not experienced such behavior for over 10 years when I was in my first marriage. I had dated in between this and had not experienced this. What was it about the men I had chosen to marry?

I met my husband at a Christian conference in New York, we were both Christian ministers. He was one of the speakers at the conference and we were introduced to each other by the host. We began a long distance romance after that, him in the USA and me in the UK.

 It was perfect. He visited me in the UK, we went on Christian mission trips together before we decided to get married. On a beautiful autumn morning by Morris lake in Atlanta Georgia USA we got married. 

It was soon after that I would discover to my horror the man I thought I married was someone else.
The verbal and psychological abuse started almost immediately we began living together. The physical abuse started soon after culminating in him lashing out and hiting me in front of a friend. The confusion, emotional, psychological and physical suffering that followed this was hard to describe.

After 6 months of marriage, two and a half month of living together and having left him twice I fled to a domestic violence shelter. I had never been in a shelter before, it was like living in a UK open prison. Completely alone in a strange county and no family or friends for support and no income the reality of what had happened to me struck. I experienced many emotions after this. Extreme fear, terror, regret.

I had the difficult problem to deal with that 'I was still in love with my abuser'. When I left he tried so may ways to harm me and get me back under his 'control'. Had it not been for the police prosecuting him and him having a spell in jail I don't know if he would have stopped.

With lots of counselling, support groups and spiritual help from a multitude of strangers I got myself back on my feet. How did I do this? As I had no friends or family and was in a strange country I quickly got connected to as many support organisation as I could, including churches and various programs. 

I was involved in some form of support and recovery 6 days a week. In order to recover I received emotional and psychological counselling, spiritual prayer and deliverance, attended support groups several times a week, did lots of journaling, crying, personal prayer and reflection. Two and a half years later I can say things are completely different. 

I can truly say that now I am living the life I had imagined. One of the things that assisted with my recovery was volunteering to assist women that were in the same or similar situation to myself.  It was and still is very cathartic.

I say to all women or men who are suffering any kind of abuse or consistent unkindness or controlling behaviour from a romantic partner to get help. If you can't speak to friends and famiy contact support agencies. I have come across too many cases of mostly women being permanently maimed, disabled or murdered because they were unable to get out in time. 

My blessing goes to all women especially those that are currently suffering."

Hear Marigold speak to Patricia Benjamin here on the the Real Love Show

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

7 Lessons I Learned After 31 Years of Marriage

First of all, as of today at the exact time of writing, 31 years ago I was standing at the altar of my church exchanging vows. They were the old fashioned vows where I  promised to love, honour and obey and my husband promised to have and to hold. love and to cherish me until death parted us.

Solemn words for a solemn act.

And that's what marriage is. It's a solemn undertaking not to be held lightly but guarded closely.

I could easily change the title of this post to 31 Lessons from 31 years of marriage but time does not afford so let me share seven major lessons.

1. Marriage was the best thing I ever did. Surrendering my right to be solo and to join with my husband has been both empowering and liberating. Marriage does not trap you, it releases you. Releases you to express yourself completely as a human being. There are some things that are kept for marriage for a reason. Good reason. Marriage requires vulnerability and nakedness, both emotionally and physically. It requires truth in the inward parts like nothing else. Yet it yields the greatest rewards. 

Despite what society implies, marriage is a good thing. A powerful institution and a sure foundation upon which to build families, the bedrock of society.

2. A good piece of advice is to remove the word divorce from your vocabulary.  With this in mind you will think carefully and thoroughly about whom you marry. You won't rush in. It's for life.  You will look further than his handsome looks and her beauty. You will look for character and integrity.  It doesn't matter how well he wears a suit or how much his touch gives you butterflies, if he cannot be trusted or has shown himself to be unworthy he will not make a good husband. 

It doesn't matter how many admiring glances she gets from other men making you feel proud to be beside her, if she is deceitful or arrogant she will not love you freely and be a good wife.  When you know you're marrying for life, take time to know your intended.  Get to know their family.  Get to see their values played out, see how they treat others.  See if they're good people.  Once you've made the choice you must trust you have made the right one and commit.

3. Commitment. Remember there will always be a man who can give you more.  Maybe give you a bigger house,  buy you  higher  brand  clothes, take you on exotic holidays or who is more educated and commercially successful than your husband. There will always come a man who has a better swag and better looks. That's not the point.  Marriage  is not based any of those things . You have committed to your man. That's it.

There will always be a woman who has a better figure and nicer looks, who is younger and firmer.  A woman who cooks better than your wife and  who seems to understand you better,  who is more articulate than your wife.  Marriage is not based on these. You made a commitment to your wife. You vowed to honour her with your body and all your worldly goods. So rejoice with her and let her breasts satisfy you. 

With your help,  love, admiration and support your partner can get better not just older. A man will walk taller in life if he has the admiration of his life partner,  his wife.  A woman  will have that 'something' and that sparkle  when she knows her husband treats her likes she's number 1. And only.

4. Your partner comes before your children. As a couple your children  are your priority.  Everything you do is for them. But you both must be in sync when raising them. Don't take their side against your wife.  Don't take their side against your husband.

5. Appropriate boundaries at all times. Don't tell out all your business to your friends. Don't tell out all your business to your family.  Everybody doesn't get to have a say about your wife. Everybody doesn't get to have a say about your husband.

In laws, no matter how well meaning, have to respect you as a couple and not feel they can tell you what to do. Husbands, your wife is the number one woman in your life. You respect and honour your mother but you are one flesh with your wife and you are to cleave to her. Wives, your husband is your first refuge and port of call if there's trouble, not your dad.

Ladies, your girlfriends don't need to know what's happening and all your latest arguments or difficulties.  Marriages become very crowded when there's a need to get girlfriends involved. Men are less given to this but the same rule applies.

6. Older and experienced couples who have relationships you admire, keep them as mentors and friends. Go to them if you want help or advice.  Choose people you can trust and who share similar values to you. All marriages go through difficulties at times and their experience will inform the advice and counsel they give to you.

7. Let there be love. Show love to each other in all its richness and forms.  Be each other's best friend. Give support and a listening ear. Give yourself sexually to each other,  it's God's way of reinforcing your union and your bond, that's why it's kept for marriage.  It will tie you together at your souls. It will keep her his soulmate, and it will keep him hers. 

Speak highly of each other. Respect each other and daily ask God for His grace and favour.  Marriage is God's idea and He is the only one that can help us to live it.

Patricia Benjamin
Life Coach, Love & Relationship Coach
BEFFTA Best Radio Personality
Sound Women 200 List
Christian Women in Media International
Top 100 Most Influential Black People in Digital / Social Media

Friday, 10 July 2015

I Get By with a little Help from my Friends

I am someone who is totally at ease with my own company.

I'm happy to go lunch alone in a restaurant, catch a movie by myself, visit a museum on my own, and I've done all these and enjoyed the experience.

I've started projects on my own and loved those too.

But I want to speak to the power of support, encouragement, help and assistance.

No matter how gifted or talented you are you can only achieve so much by yourself.

Everyone needs help.  Usually if you want to achieve something significant you will make a better job of it with the help of those who believe in you.

Consider the impact of negative words.  The crushing words of someone who doesn't believe in you or your vision and just doesn't think you can go anywhere or achieve anything.  It takes a long time to bounce back from those projections.  But when people love your ideas, love your vision and actually want to help you build it,  it helps bring about  a natural momentum.

No matter how wonderful your idea is and how promisingly it starts you will have a few roadblocks or uphill struggles . That's where your support team is invaluable.

Please decide to give encouraging words to people you see doing amazing things and stepping outside past confinements.  Be a supporter. Don't just sit on the wall and watch and say nothing.  Say something good. Life is in the power of your tongue.

If you are the one switching things up and going for your goals don't do it in a vacuum. Talk to those that are doing likewise.  You'll get good conversation, advice and help.

Over the last 3 weeks I've spoken to 3 fabulous ladies who offered me sterling advice which I did not even need to ask for. These ladies believe in me.  They believe in my vision and were abundant in their talent and insight which they shared.

One thing I've learned is that truly successful people help others.  They don't try to cut you off. They don't try to rob your idea.  They don't try to discourage you,  they simply walk in their own strength and help others do the same.

If you don't know who your supporters are, look around you. They are the ones who always find the time to appreciate you and they are closer than you think.

We all have our dream team, they are ready when you are ready.

Remember your vision will need more than just you, but without you it won't work.

Go for your dream today.


Patricia Benjamin
Life & Relationship Coach
BEFFTA Best Radio Personality
Sound Women 200 List
Christian Women in Media International Leader
Top 100 Most Influential Black People in Digital / Social Media