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Throughout history, black women have faced the uphill battles of both racial and gender biases, especially in male-dominated STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields. Even so, many overcome their adverse circumstances, making invaluable contributions to the scientific community, particularly in the United States Space Program. The issue, however, is that the contributions these brilliant pioneers made largely went unnoticed.

NASA scientists including Katherine JohnsonDorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson began to get some overdue credit, however, when author Margot Lee Shetterly released her 2016 tome, Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Who Helped Win the Space Race

A film adaptation with the shortened title, Hidden Figures, hit theaters the same year to great acclaim, earning three Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture.

These works told the stories of the women of color largely hired by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA, later NASA) during World War II to work as “human computers,” manually crunching numbers, filling the many vacancies left by those fighting the war overseas. 


President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a 1941 executive order into law that prohibited racial, religious and ethnic discrimination in the country’s defense injury, thus paving the way for these “hidden figures’” advancements. While there are no official numbers on how many women filled these roles over the years, experts have estimated there were several hundred over the years. (Shetterly’s estimate was in the thousands.)

Of course, black women’s contributions aren’t limited to NASA. Here are 10 of the women who used their brains to skyrocket to the top of their fields.


Katherine Johnson


Katherine Johnson poses for a portrait at work at NASA Langley Research Center in 1966

Photo: NASA/Donaldson Collection/Getty Images

Neil Armstrong's "one small step for man" may not have happened without this woman. Just weeks after Katherine Johnson began a position as one of Langley Research Center's human computers in 1952, supervisors transferred the summa cum laude West Virginia State College graduate (with degrees in both mathematics and French) from the African-American computing pool to the flight research division. There, Johnson performed the NASA calculations that made possible the manned space missions of the early 1960s as well as the 1969 moon landing.


Even astronaut John Glenn put his full faith in Johnson, requesting she re-do all-electronic computer calculations before he embarked on his 1962 Earth orbits. Glenn has been quoted as remarking, “If she says they’re good, then I’m ready to go.”

Aside from earning a 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom, Johnson was portrayed by actress Taraji P. Henson in 2016's Hidden Figures.

Dorothy Vaughan


Dorothy Vaughan (l) in 1950

Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Also a central part of Hidden Figures (in which was played by actress Octavia Spencer), Dorothy Vaughan left her position as a high school math teacher for a "temporary war job" in Langley's all-black group of female mathematicians known as the West Area Computing Unit in 1949. During what would become a nearly decade-long career, Vaughan became NASA's first African-American manager, eventually heading up the West Area Computing Unit.

An expert in NASA's programming coding language known as FORTRAN, she worked on the SCOUT (Solid Controlled Orbital Utility Test) Launch Vehicle Program that put America’s first satellites into space. Before her retirement from NASA in 1971, she also worked closely with Johnson on the computations for Glenn's orbital space missions.


Mary Jackson


Mary Jackson poses for a photo at work at NASA Langley Research Center in 1977

Photo: Bob Nye/NASA/Donaldson Collection/Getty Images

Mary Jackson began working under Vaughan's supervision in the segregated West Area Computing section as a computer in 1951. After two years in that role, the former teacher (who was portrayed in Hidden Figures by actress and musician Janelle Monae) transitioned to working for engineer Kazimierz Czarnecki on wind tunnel experiments.

At Czarnecki's urging, she took engineering classes, and, after being promoted to aeronautical engineer in 1958, Jackson officially became NASA’s first black female engineer. After helping develop the space program throughout her successful career (during which she authored or co-authored about 12 research reports), the Virginia native took a demotion to fill the role of Langley’s Federal Women’s Program Manager. In that position, she devoted her time to helping other women find STEM jobs at NASA.

Dr. Gladys West


Dr. Gladys West at her induction into the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. on December 6, 2018.

Photo: Adrian Cadiz

When Gladys West was inducted into the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame in December 2018, the organization hailed her as the hidden figure whose mathematical work lead to the invention of the Global Positioning System (GPS). In 1956, she began working at the U.S. Naval Weapons Laboratory and helped produce a study that proved the regularity of Pluto’s motion relative to Neptune.


Also while at U.S. Naval Weapons Laboratory, she programmed an IBM 7030 “Stretch” computer that delivered refined calculations for an “extremely accurate geodetic Earth model, a geoid, optimized” for what would eventually become known as GPS.

Dr. Mae Jemison


Mae Jemison

Photo: SSPL/Getty Images

Mae Jemison was a woman with many firsts to her credit. She was working in the medical field as a General Practitioner and attending graduate engineering classes in Los Angeles when NASA admitted her to its astronaut training program in June 1987. After more than a year of training, she became the first African-American woman astronaut, holding the title of science mission specialist.

On September 12, 1992, Jemison, along with six other astronauts, launched into space aboard the Endeavour, and with that earned the distinction of the first African-American woman in space as well. During her eight-day mission, Jemison conducted experiments on weightlessness and motion sickness. Prior to her career as an astronaut, she also acted as a Peace Corps medical officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Dr. Shirley Jackson


Dr. Shirley Jackson stands with President Barack Obama before receiving the National Medal of Science, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House on May 19, 2016, in Washington, DC.

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A theoretical physicist, Shirley Jackson was the first black woman to graduate with a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in any field (Her Ph.D. is in Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics) and also just the second African-American woman to earn a doctorate in physics in U.S. history. 

During her tenure at what was formerly known as AT&T Bell Laboratories' Theoretical Physics Research Department in the 1970s and 1980s, she has been credited as helping develop the technology that enabled caller ID and call waiting.

President Barack Obama selected Jackson, a onetime chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, to receive the National Medal of Science in 2015. She is currently serving as the president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, also making her the first African-American woman to lead a top-ranked research university.

Dr. Patricia Bath


Dr. Patricia Bath

The first female African-American medical doctor to complete an ophthalmology residency and also the first to receive a medical patent, Patricia Bath invented a laser cataract treatment device called a Laserphaco Probe in 1986. (The co-founder of the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness patented her invention in 1988.)


Her research on health disparities between African-American patients compared to those of other races lead to the creation of a volunteer-based "community ophthalmology," offering treatment to underserved populations.

Dr. Marie M. Daly


Dr. Marie Daly

After receiving her B.S. and M.S. in chemistry from Queens College and New York University respectively, Marie Daly went on to complete her Ph.D. at New York City's Columbia University. Upon graduating in 1947, she earned the distinction of being the first African-American woman to receive a chemistry Ph.D. in the U.S.

Daly's groundbreaking research included studies of the effects of cholesterol on the mechanics of the heart, the effects of sugars and other nutrients on the health of arteries and the breakdown of the circulatory system as a result of advanced age or hypertension.

Annie Easley


Annie Easley

Photo: NASA/Interim Archives/Getty Images

Another major contributor to the U.S. Space Program, Annie Easley worked on myriad projects for NASA over the course of her 30-year careers as a mathematician and rocket scientist. Like Johnson, Vaughan and Mary Jackson, she first worked as a computer and then eventually became a programmer.

Aside from conducting studies on battery-powered vehicles, Easley also worked on shuttle launches and designed and tested a NASA nuclear reactor. She was also a "leading member of the team which developed software for the Centaur rocket stage, which laid the technological foundations for the Space Shuttle launches and launches of communication, military and weather satellites," per NASA.

Dr. Alexa Canady


Dr. Alexa Canady

In 1984, Alexa Canady, a cum laude graduate of the University of Michigan's medical school, became the first African-American woman to be certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery. Canada, who also earned B.S. in zoology from the University of Michigan, would later take on the role of chief of neurosurgery at Children’s Hospital of Michigan at just 36 years old, and, while there, she specialized in congenital spinal abnormalities, hydrocephalus, trauma and brain tumors.



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Jackie Robinson, best remembered for integrating major league baseball, also left behind an impressive record as a crusader for African-American rights—after he hung up his cleats.

Jackie Robinson poses in his batting stance. Robinson broke baseball's color barrier when he joined the Dodgers in April 1947, going on to be named National League Rookie of the Year. 

On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson trotted out to first base for the Dodgers at Brooklyn's Ebbets Field, erasing the unofficial color line that had stood in big league baseball for nearly 60 years. By the end of the season his dazzling play had earned him baseball's inaugural Rookie of the Year Award, cementing the belief that blacks more than deserved a place alongside the best white players in the national pastime. 

For many, the story of Jackie Robinson ends there. Or maybe when he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. What often goes untold is his continued battle for equality after leaving baseball, a period that lasted nearly twice as long as his major league career.

After announcing his retirement from the sport in early 1957, Robinson was named vice president for personnel at the Chock Full O' Nuts coffee company. He also joined the NAACP as chair of its million-dollar Freedom Fund Drive, eventually earning election to the organization's board of directors. 


However, executive positions weren't enough for the former athlete, whose competitive juices had him itching to get back into the public arena. He joined Martin Luther King Jr. as honorary chairmen of the Youth March for Integrated Schools in 1958, and became involved with Dr. King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He also began writing a syndicated newspaper column, through which he mused on matters of race relations, family life and politics. 

Jackie Robinson: The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and baseball Hall-of-Famer Jackie Robinson chat together before a press conference in New York.  

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and baseball Hall-of-Famer Jackie Robinson chat together before a press conference in New York.  

Robinson took to advocating advancement through "the ballot and the buck." He became a prominent political supporter, throwing his weight behind Richard Nixon during the 1960 presidential election, and eventually emerging as a strong ally of moderate New York Republican Nelson Rockefeller. He also backed his talk for economic independence by helping to found the black-owned Freedom National Bank, which provided loans and services for the minority community. 


However, by the mid-1960s Robinson was becoming an outdated figure in the Civil Rights movement. An advocate of the non-violent approach of Dr. King and the NAACP, he rejected the more extreme measures proposed by charismatic young leaders like H. Rap Brown and Huey Newton, and engaged in a nasty back-and-forth with Malcolm X through his column. Even his shine as a black sports icon was somewhat diminished, with contemporary athletes like Muhammad Ali and Jim Brown dominating their fields and speaking out in ways that had seemed unthinkable 20 years earlier.

Robinson had his own share of issues with the NAACP, and in 1967 he publicly split with the organization over its "unresponsive" leadership. Furthermore, his political views left him increasingly isolated as an activist; he clashed with Dr. King over support of the Vietnam War, and he returned to Richard Nixon in 1968 and 1972, even as many of his fellow African Americans were abandoning the Republican Party.

Still, Robinson continued fighting for larger causes even as his own health deteriorated. In 1970 he launched the Jackie Robinson Construction Company to build low and moderate income housing for minorities. In October 1972, during a ceremony to throw out the first pitch before a World Series game, he made a point to remind everyone that baseball had yet to appoint its first black manager. Nine days later, he was dead from a heart attack.

Jackie Robinson is justly remembered for breaking down racial barriers and opening the doors of opportunity for blacks across professional sports. But long after he was done with baseball, he continued to fight for equal footing as a writer, organizer, speaker, businessman and political supporter, facing a far more expansive playing field without many of the natural advantages he enjoyed as a gifted athlete. For that, he deserves just as much credit when we remember him as an American hero.

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Whether it be in politics, science, medicine or the arts, Latinas have defied social, cultural, and gender stereotypes throughout many generations and have become pioneers in their respective fields and native countries.

In honor of these brave, daring, and at times controversial women, here are 10 Latinas who fought against the odds and became the first in their class:

Sonia Sotomayor - First Latina U.S. Supreme Court Justice 380w, 700w, 1400w" type="image/webp" sizes="(min-width: 675px) 300px, calc(100vw - 40px)" /> 380w, 700w, 1400w" sizes="(min-width: 675px) 300px, calc(100vw - 40px)" />sonai-sotomayor-photo-by-allison-shelleygetty-images-.jpg?profile=RESIZE_710x

Sonia Sotomayor

Photo: Allison Shelley/Getty Images

Born in the Bronx, New York in 1954, Sonia Sotomayor grew up in challenging circumstances. Although she recalled regular summertime visits to Puerto Rico to see friends and family, her home life in New York was not a happy one. Her father was an alcoholic who died in his early 40s and her mother kept her emotional distance from her daughter. The family lived in the housing projects, which would later be overrun by gang violence.


Still, Sotomayor's mother pushed her children to take their education seriously, which left a deep imprint on Sotomayor, who knew by age 10 that she wanted to be a lawyer. Sotomayor won a scholarship to Princeton University and graduated summa cum laude in 1976 and went on to receive her law degree from Yale.

In 1979 Sotomayor served as an assistant district attorney, which eventually paved her way to becoming a U.S. District Court judge, appointed by George H.W. Bush. Under Bill Clinton's administration, Sotomayor would make her way to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 1997, and a little over a decade later, Barack Obama nominated her to the highest court in the land. In 2009 Sotomayor would make history as the first Latina to become a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Since then, she has built her reputation on being an advocate for criminal justice reform and women's rights.

Rita Moreno - First Latina PEGOT Recipient 380w, 700w, 1400w" type="image/webp" sizes="(min-width: 675px) 300px, calc(100vw - 40px)" /> 380w, 700w, 1400w" sizes="(min-width: 675px) 300px, calc(100vw - 40px)" />rita-moreno-photo-by--john-springer-collectioncorbiscorbis-via-getty-imagesjpg.jpg?profile=RESIZE_710x

Rita Moreno

Photo: © John Springer Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images


Born in 1931, Puerto Rican actress Rita Moreno has built an award-winning career in film, television and theater that has spanned over seven decades. Famous for her supporting roles in the film adaptations of the King and I (1956) and West Side Story (1961), Moreno would earn herself an Oscar for the latter, making her the first Latina to achieve such a feat.

In the 1970s, Moreno became a regular cast member of the beloved PBS children's show The Electric Company and would later be cast in a supporting role on the HBO hit drama Oz (1997-2003).

Her multitude of credits as an actress, singer and dancer would later result to one of her biggest crowning achievements in 2019: She is the first Latina to be elevated to PEGOT status, a small group of entertainers who have won a Peabody, Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award.

Isabel Perón - First Latina Female President 380w, 700w, 1400w" type="image/webp" sizes="(min-width: 675px) 300px, calc(100vw - 40px)" /> 380w, 700w, 1400w" sizes="(min-width: 675px) 300px, calc(100vw - 40px)" />sabel-de-peron-president-of-argentina-making-her-first-speech-to-the-public-since-returning-as-president-after-a-months-rest-from-the-balcony-of-government-house-buenos-aires-photo-by-keystonegetty-im.jpg?profile=RESIZE_710x

Isabel Perón making a speech from the balcony of Government House in Buenos Aires on October 21, 1975.

Photo: Keystone/Getty Images

Despite her lower-middle-class background and her fifth-grade education, former nightclub dancer Isabel Perón would become Latin America's first female president.

Born in Argentina in 1931, Isabel Perón's rise to power would be through her husband, Argentinian president Juan Perón, who was previously married to the late and beloved Eva Perón (aka Evita). As the third wife, Isabel, known to her countrymen as "Isabelita," would serve as her husband's vice president and First Lady during his third presidential term, starting in 1973.

However, just a year in office, Juan suffered from a series of heart attacks and died on July 1, 1974. Isabel took over as president, and while her nation and political allies and even some of her husband's enemies initially showed support for her, she quickly fell out of favor after she issued a government-run suppression campaign against her adversaries, including a string of political murders and anti-left-wing policy measures and purges.

In 1976 Isabel was forced out by a military coup and remained under house arrest before being allowed to move to Spain. In 2007 an Argentinian judge issued an order for her arrest for the disappearance of an activist in 1976, but Spanish courts refused to extradite her, citing the charges didn't fall under the category of crimes against humanity.

Ellen Ochoa - First Latina Astronaut in Space 380w, 700w, 1400w" type="image/webp" sizes="(min-width: 675px) 300px, calc(100vw - 40px)" /> 380w, 700w, 1400w" sizes="(min-width: 675px) 300px, calc(100vw - 40px)" />ellen-ochoa-during-training-at-vance-air-force-base-in-houston-tx-1993-photo-by-nasaliaison.jpg?profile=RESIZE_710x

Ellen Ochoa training at Vance Air Force base in Houston, Texas in 1993.

Photo: NASA/Liaison

Born in Los Angeles in 1958, Ellen Ochoa immersed herself in the sciences, graduating from San Diego State University with a bachelor's in physics (1980) and later from Stanford University with a master's in science (1981) and a doctorate in electrical engineering (1985).


As a doctorate student, she focused her studies primarily on optical systems involving high tech space exploration, which eventually led her into the NASA space program in 1991. Two years later, Ochoa became the first Latina woman to fly into space, which occurred aboard the shuttle Discovery.

Ochoa would complete a total of four space missions during her career at NASA and would make history once again when she became the first Latina director of the agency's Johnson Space Center in 2013. 

Evangelina Rodriguez - First Dominican Female Doctor

Despite being born into poverty and discriminated against for being born of partial African descent, Afro-Dominican Evangelina Rodriguez became the first woman from the Dominican Republic to earn her medical degree.

Born in 1879, Rodriguez was raised by her grandmother and diligently worked her way through school and earned her education, despite the social and cultural challenges of being a poor half-black female who was a product of wedlock. She received her medical degree from the University of the Dominican Republic in 1909 and began building her career in small towns and giving medical care to the poorest citizens.

After scrounging her earnings for many years, Rodriguez furthered her expertise by studying gynecology and pediatrics in France in 1921 and graduated four years later. She returned to her country and cared for her patients, while also becoming a political firebrand, advocating for women's rights and issues, such as birth control, and speaking out against dictator Rafael Trujillo.

Gabriela Mistral - First Latina Author to Win the Nobel Prize in Literature 380w, 700w, 1400w" type="image/webp" sizes="(min-width: 675px) 300px, calc(100vw - 40px)" /> 380w, 700w, 1400w" sizes="(min-width: 675px) 300px, calc(100vw - 40px)" />gabriela-mistral-photo-by-leo-rosenthalpix-incthe-life-images-collection-via-getty-imagesgetty-images.jpg?profile=RESIZE_180x180

Gabriela Mistral

Photo: Leo Rosenthal/Pix Inc./The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images

Tragic love, childhood, piety, sadness, bitterness and the politics of the times brought forth the lyrical poetry that defined Chilean poet, diplomat and educator Gabriela Mistral. Born in 1889 as Lucila Godoy Alcayaga, the poet would later go by her pseudonym Gabriela Mistral, which she created by fusing the names of her favorite poets Gabriele D'Annunzio and Frédéric Mistral.

While working on her poetry as a young woman, Mistral also served as a village school teacher. An intense romance with a railway worker who would end up killing himself, was one of several tragedies throughout her life that would inspire her poetry, and it was her sonnets memorializing the dead, Sonetos de la muerte, in 1914 that would make her famous throughout Latin America.

As an artist and intellectual who gained international fame for her poetry, Mistral was invited to travel the world as a cultural ambassador for the League of Nations and lived in France and Italy in the mid-1920s to early 1930s. She lectured and served as an educator throughout the United States, Europe and Cuba and received honorary degrees at renowned universities. In 1945 she was the first Latin American female poet to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature.


Isabel Allende - First Latina Author Dubbed as Most Widely Read in the World 380w, 700w, 1400w" type="image/webp" sizes="(min-width: 675px) 300px, calc(100vw - 40px)" /> 380w, 700w, 1400w" sizes="(min-width: 675px) 300px, calc(100vw - 40px)" />isabel-allende-peruvian-writer-milano-italy-22nd-october-2015-photo-by-leonardo-cendamogetty-images.jpg?profile=RESIZE_710x

Isabel Allende in October 2015

Photo: Leonardo Cendamo/Getty Images

Another Chilean artist, Isabel Allende, would follow in Mistral's footsteps to become "the world's most widely read Spanish-language author." In fact, Allende would become the first woman to be awarded the Gabriela Mistral Order of Merit.

Born in Peru in 1942, Allende would gain international recognition for her magical realism in novels such as The House of Spirits and City of Beasts. Drawing from historical events (her father's first cousin was Chilean president Salvador Allende, who was overthrown in a military coup in 1973) and her own experience, Allende honors the stories of women in mythical fashion and is credited to have transformed non-fiction literature.

Among her many awards, Allende received Chile's National Literature Prize in 2010 and was honored by President Barack Obama with a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2014 as well as an honorary degree from Harvard that same year.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen - First Latina & Cuban-American to Serve in Congress 380w, 700w, 1400w" type="image/webp" sizes="(min-width: 675px) 300px, calc(100vw - 40px)" /> 380w, 700w, 1400w" sizes="(min-width: 675px) 300px, calc(100vw - 40px)" />ileana-ros-lehtinen-r-fl-poses-for-a-portrait-in-her-office-in-the-rayburn-house-office-building-on-thursday-march-16-2017-in-washington-dc-photo-by-matt-mcclainthe-washington-post-via-getty-images.jpg?profile=RESIZE_710x

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in her office in Washington, D.C. in March 2017.

Photo:  Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Political activism ran in Ilena Ros-Lehtinen's family. Born in Cuba in 1952 and later immigrating to the United States at age eight, Ros-Lehtinen grew up with an anti-Castro activist father and memories of escaping Fidel Castro's regime. Focusing her career in education, Ros-Lehtinen earned both her a bachelor's degree in 1975 and a master's degree in 1985 at Florida International University. In 2004 she received her doctorate in education from the University of Miami.

While operating a private school in Miami in the early 80s, Ros-Lehtinen was elected to the Florida House of Representatives, becoming the first Latina to accomplish this. She continued her groundbreaking streak by becoming the first Latina to serve in the state senate and in 1989, the first Latina and first Cuban-American to serve in the United States Congress as a member of the House of Representatives. Starting in 2011, she also became the first female to ever manage a regular standing committee, the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

As a moderate Republican, Ros-Lehtinen was considered one of the most popular bipartisan politicians before retiring her House seat in 2017. She was the first House Republican to come out in support of gay marriage and served as a member of numerous caucuses in her 30-year political career, including the LGBT Equality Caucus, the Climate Solutions Caucus and the Congressional Pro-Life Women's Caucus.


Maria Elena Salinas - First Latina Journalist to Win a Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award


Maria Elena Salinas speaking at the International Women's Media Foundation Awards Luncheon at on October 22, 2014, in New York City.

Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for IWMF

Born in 1954, Los Angeles native Maria Elena Salinas is distinguished for being the longest-running female TV news anchor in the U.S. and the first Latina to earn a Lifetime Achievement Emmy. With a journalism career spanning over three decades, Salinas has interviewed world leaders — from presidents to heads of state to dictators — and served as the co-anchor for Univision's nightly news broadcast as well as its news magazine program, Aquí y Ahora (Here and Now).

Known as the "Voice of Hispanic America," Salinas recently retired from her role at Univision but continues to focus on her philanthropy, which includes education, promoting women's media, and increasing voter registration within her community. “I am grateful for having had the privilege to inform and empower the Latino community through the work my colleagues and I do with such passion," she stated while stepping down from Univision, adding, "As long as I have a voice, I will always use it to speak on their behalf.”

Eulalia Guzmán - First Mexican Female Archaeologist

Born in 1890 in San Pedro Piedra Gorda, Eulalia Guzmán was an educator, feminist and philosopher best known as Mexico's first female archaeologist. She helped develop the Ixcateopan, Guerrero archaeological project, an archive of her country's history, and the National Library of Anthropology and History.

Although some of Guzmán's archaeological work became controversial among Mexican scholars for their lack of authentication — namely her claim that she discovered the remains of the Aztec Emperor, Cuauhtémoc — she was popular among indigenous populations who celebrated her accomplishments.


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As the first black president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela fought for justice. Serving from 1994-1999, he led the anti-apartheid movement and fought against institutional racism, which eventually led to him serving 27 years in prison.

Although he was a controversial figure in some circles, Mandela received several awards throughout his life including the Nobel Peace Prize, the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Soviet Union’s Lenin peace prize. Sharing his fight with leaders from all over the world, Mandela also mingled with prominent leaders such as Fidel Castro and Bill Clinton.



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The stories of heroism, tenacity, and courage of the American West weren’t just reserved for the cowboy: long before him was the Native American, whose cultural and spiritual diversity, as well as deep-rooted connection to the land, made for a rich...

The stories of heroism, tenacity, and courage of the American West weren’t just reserved for the cowboy: long before him was the Native American, whose cultural and spiritual diversity, as well as deep-rooted connection to the land, revealed an entirely different way of living that Americans are able to admire today. But during the 19th and 20th centuries, the U.S.—motivated by its political and economic agendas—had a hostile perspective on its older neighbors, believing them to be inferior and even more, a threat to its plans of westward expansion. Notably during the Gold Rush of the 1800s, these two opposing world views clashed into violence, but in turn, gave birth to legendary Native American war leaders. takes a look at five notable Native Americans who admirably fought for the survival of their culture and land and left a lasting legacy for generations to come.

Geronimo (Department of Defense. (File:Geronimo.jpg) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

Geronimo (Department of Defense. (File:Geronimo.jpg) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)



Geronimo (1829-1909) An Apache leader who fought fiercely against Mexico and the U.S. for expanding into his tribe’s lands (now present-day Arizona), Geronimo began inciting countless raids against the two parties, after his wife and three children were slaughtered by Mexican troops in the mid-1850s. Born as Goyahkla, Geronimo was given his now famous name when he charged into battle amid a flurry of bullets, killing numerous Mexicans with merely a knife to avenge the death of his family. Although how he got the name "Geronimo" is up for debate, white settlers at the time were convinced he was the "worst Indian who ever lived." On September 4, 1886, Geronimo surrendered to U.S. troops, along with his small band of followers. During the remaining years of his life, he converted to Christianity (but was kicked out of his church due to incessant gambling), appeared at fairs, and rode in President Theodore Roosevelt’s inaugural parade in 1905. He also dictated his own memoir, Geronimo’s Story of His Life, in 1906. On his deathbed three years later, Geronimo reportedly told his nephew he regretted surrendering to the U.S. “I should have fought until I was the last man alive," he told him. Geronimo was buried at the Apache Indian Prisoner of War Cemetery in Fort Still, Oklahoma.

Sitting Bull (Photo: O.S. Goff/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Sitting Bull (Photo: O.S. Goff/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Sitting Bull (1831-1890) As a holy man and tribal chief of the Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux tribe, Sitting Bull was a symbol of Native American resistance against U.S. government policies. In 1875, after an alliance with various tribes, Sitting Bull had a triumphant vision of defeating U.S. soldiers, and in 1876, his premonition came true: He and his people defeated General Custer’s army in a skirmish, now known as the Battle of the Little Bighorn, in eastern Montana territory. After leading countless war parties, Sitting Bull and his remaining tribe briefly escaped to Canada but eventually returned to the U.S. and surrendered in 1881 due to lack of resources. He later joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, earning $50 a week, and converted to Catholicism. On December 15, 1890, prodded by Indian agents who feared Sitting Bull was planning an escape with the Ghost Dancers, an emerging Native American religious movement that predicted a quiet end to white expansion, police officers attempted to arrest him. Amid the commotion, the officers ended up fatally shooting Sitting Bull, along with seven of his followers. Although he was originally buried at Fort Yates—the North Dakota reservation where he was killed—in 1953, his family moved his remains near Mobridge, South Dakota, the place of his birth.

The Crazy Horse Monument in South Dakota.

The Crazy Horse Monument in South Dakota.

Crazy Horse (1840-1877) Leader of the Oglala Lakota peoples, Crazy Horse was a courageous fighter and protector of his tribe’s cultural traditions—so much so, that he refused to let anyone take his photograph. He is known to have played key roles in various battles, chief among them, the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876, where he helped Sitting Bull defeat General Custer. Unlike his fellow Lakota leaders, Sitting Bull and Gall, who ended up fleeing to Canada, Crazy Horse remained in the U.S. to fight the American troops, but he eventually surrendered in May of 1877. In September of the same year, Crazy Horse met his end when he left his reservation without permission to take his sick wife back to her parents. Knowing he would be arrested, he initially didn’t resist the officers, but when he discovered they were taking him to a guardhouse (due to rumors he was planning on hatching a rebellion), he fought them and tried to escape. With his arms detained by one soldier, another stabbed his bayonet into the war chief, eventually killing him. Although his parents buried his remains in South Dakota, the exact location of his remains is not known.

Chief Joseph (Photo: MPI/Getty Images)

Chief Joseph (Photo: MPI/Getty Images)


Chief Joseph (1840-1904) While many Native American war leaders and chiefs were known for their combative resistance towards the U.S.'s westward expansion, Chief Joseph, Wallowa leader of the Nez Perce, was known for his concerted efforts to negotiate and live peacefully with his new neighbors. Although his father, Joseph the Elder, had brokered a peaceful land treaty with the U.S. government that extended from Oregon to Idaho, the latter reneged on its agreement. To honor the memory of his father, who died in 1871, Chief Joseph resisted staying within the confines of the Idaho reservation that the government had mandated. In 1877, the threat of a U.S. cavalry attack made him relent, and he began leading his people to the reservation. However, the Nez Perce leader found himself in a difficult situation when some of his young warriors—angry that their homeland had been stolen from them—raided and killed neighboring white settlers; the U.S. cavalry began chasing the group down, and reluctantly, Chief Joseph decided to join the warring band. His tribe’s 1,400 mile march and defense tactics impressed General William Tecumseh Sherman, and from then on, he was known as the “Red Napoleon.” Tired of the bloodshed, Chief Joseph surrendered on October 5, 1877. His emotional surrender speech was etched into the annals of American history, and up until his death, he spoke against the U.S.’s injustice and discrimination against Native Americans. In 1904, he died, according to his doctor, of a “broken heart.”

Red Cloud (Photo by Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images)

Red Cloud (Photo by Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images)

Red Cloud (1822-1909) Born in what is now North Platte, Nebraska, Red Cloud spent most of his young life at war. The Oglala Lakota Sioux leader’s fighting skills made him one of the most formidable opponents of the U.S. Army, and in 1866-1868, he led a victorious campaign, known as Red Cloud’s War, which resulted in his taking control over Wyoming and southern Montana territory. In fact, fellow Lakota leader, Crazy Horse, played an important role in that battle that led to many U.S. casualties. Red Cloud’s win led to the Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1868, which gave his tribe ownership of the Black Hills, but these protected expanses of land in South Dakota and Wyoming quickly became encroached upon by white settlers looking for gold. Red Cloud, along with other Native American leaders, traveled to Washington D.C. to persuade President Grant to honor the treaties that were originally agreed upon. Although he didn’t find a peaceful solution, he did not participate in the Great Sioux War of 1876-1877, which was led by his fellow tribesmen, Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull. Regardless, Red Cloud continued to travel to Washington D.C. to fight for his people and ended up outliving all the major Sioux leaders. In 1909 he died at the age of 87 and was buried at Pine Ridge Reservation.



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African-American Inventors

African-Americans have faced many obstacles over the course of history, but this hasn't stopped bright, innovative individuals from developing inventions that have changed the world. From the traffic light to the blood bank, here are some famous African-American...

African-Americans have faced many obstacles over the course of history, but this hasn't stopped bright, innovative individuals from developing inventions that have changed the world. From the traffic light to the blood bank, here are some famous African-American inventors.


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Garret Augustus Morgan Garrett Morgan opened up a sewing machine and shoe repair shop in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1907. An innovative mind, he kept busy creating prototypes to solve many everyday problems. One of his first creations was a liquid that straightened fabric—which he later sold as a product for hair straightening.

In 1911, after hearing about the tragic deaths in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, Morgan invented a safety hood and smoke protector for firefighters. The hood, which contained a wet sponge to filter out smoke and cool the air, became the precursor to the gas mask. To sell his safety hood, Morgan had to hire a white actor to pretend to be the inventor.


In 1923, Morgan patented another useful invention: A hand-cranked mechanical signal machine for traffic crossing. It would eventually lead to the creation of the traffic light.


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Charles Drew African-American surgeon Charles Drew felt called to the study of medicine after his sister, Elsie, died of Influenza. He excelled in medical school, and became a doctor around the beginning of World War II. Drew was recruited to set up a program for blood storage in Britain, which laid the foundation for the American Red Cross Blood Bank. In 1943, Drew was chosen as the first African-American surgeon to serve as examiner on the American Board of Surgery.


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Lewis Howard Latimer Though Thomas Edison is recognized as the inventor of the light bulb, African-American inventor Lewis Latimer played an important role in its development. In 1881, Latimer patented a method for making carbon filaments, allowing light bulbs to burn for hours instead of minutes. Latimer also drafted the drawings that helped Alexander Graham Bell receive a patent for the telephone.


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George Carruthers Physicist and inventor George Carruthers built his first telescope at age 10, and has spent the rest of his life making important contributions to the study of outer space. Carruthers has developed ways to use ultraviolet imaging in order to view images in deep space that were previously impossible to see. In 1972, Carruthers invented the "Far Ultraviolet Camera/Spectograph," the first moon-based observatory. It was used in the Apollo 16 mission. Then, in 1986, one of his inventions captured an image of Hailey's Comet—the first time a comet had ever been pictured from space.


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Elijah McCoy This list wouldn't be complete without The Real McCoy. Elijah McCoy was born in 1844 to parents who fled from slavery in Kentucky, via the Underground Railroad. McCoy was born free in Canada, and moved back to the United States when he was 5. At age 15, he traveled to Edinburgh in Scotland for an apprenticeship, and returned as a mechanical engineer. In Detroit, he took a job as a fireman and oiler for the Michigan Central Railroad, unable to find any other work. At his home workshop, McCoy developed an automatic lubricator for oiling steam engines on trains and ships. McCoy's invention allowed trains to run faster and longer without stopping for maintenance. The invention was so good, it was referred to as "the real McCoy," in order to differentiate it from other pale imitations that popped up on the market.



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42: The Jackie Robinson Story

Just a head’s up that on Friday, the movie 42 comes out. It’s a biography of Jackie Robinson’s life and his utterly game-changing role in integrating baseball in America. If you know anything about this man, you’ll know that Jackie Robinson was arguably the most groundbreaking black athlete in history, and his role both on the field and off changed race relations in sports and society His legend continues today, and I’m so happy to see that his incredible story is being brought to the big screen. I know what I’ll be doing this weekend!



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When examining the advancement of the civil rights movement through sports, one must first begin with the people who made change happen. Whether it was a conscious stand or unintentional advocacy, athletes and coaches throughout the past century used their participation in sports to change the racial atmosphere in our country. They moved our nation forward into a new way of thinking, and without them we may not enjoy the relative equality we experience today. Such work was not easy, however; these figures overcame countless obstacles and underwent much suffering to emerge as the heroes they are today. Here’s a look at how they were able to accomplish this, what impact athletes had upon societal views, and why they took these stands in the first place.

Sports are a unique environment because they capture the attention of nearly the entire country. Not to mention, in the first half of the 20th century, sports provided the primary form of national entertainment because television had yet to become a fixture in the American household. Furthermore, unlike television and movies, the men and women that participate in sports are not characters or personalities; the person seen on the court or the field is the same person off of it as well. Add to this the dedicated allegiance a fan feels for their team (a sentiment amplified to a national scale in the case of a citizen cheering on their country in the Olympics), and all of a sudden the sports world becomes a dynamic atmosphere in which citizens are able to invest their time, thoughts, and emotions. This was fine as long as it resembled society- segregated and based upon the ideas of white supremacy. Indeed, sports serves as a microcosm for society, and once civil rights activists recognized this, they were able to use sports as a platform to advocate social change and equality in the entire country.

The best example of tactic is also the most well known: Branch Rickey’s “noble experiment” and the integration of the MLB by Jackie Robinson in 1947. Prior to Robinson’s MLB debut, baseball, which was America’s pastime, was divided between the dominant all-white major leagues and the lesser negro leagues. In other words, it literally resembled American society at the time. Rickey recognized the power of sports and understood that integration in baseball could be the first step toward integration in society. It was extremely difficult to accomplish, and Robinson underwent tremendous suffering and discrimination because of his ground breaking role. But, once Jackie began playing, the stadiums were packed. Whites cheered for him. The same whites who wouldn’t let a negro drink from the same water fountain were now paying money to see a black man perform on the field and represent their team.

This was an absolutely monumental breakthrough, one that could never be underestimated. Almost twenty years before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson were sowing the seeds of equality in the hearts of Americans, all under the guise of a hot bat and a few stolen bases. Without Jackie Robinson, nationwide integration doesn’t happen for at least another decade, and white’s attitudes toward blacks remains ignorant and prejudiced. But because of him, America takes one more step toward racial equality, even if it’s only on the baseball field.

Jackie Robinson Shaking Branch Rickey's Hand

Because of his role on a team in America’s most popular sport, Jackie was able to capture the hearts of Americans as a breakout athlete and racial symbol. Meanwhile, other athletes had a tremendous impact on the international stage, whether it was the Olympics or boxing championships. Take, for instance, Jesse Owens. While in Berlin, he served as a representation of American ideals of freedom, democracy, and equality competing against the Nazi ideals of racial supremacy. Because of this stand, American citizens rallied behind him, supporting their athlete from across the ocean. He wasn’t a black man; he was an American. In the end, American patriotism triumphed over discrimination, if only for a short while. Yet upon returning to the United States, Owens was once again treated in a discriminatory manner and bound by the constraints of societal segregation, thus exemplifying the hypocrisy of American attitudes and ideals at the time.

Similarly, Joe Louis was able to become an American hero on the international boxing stage, perhaps never more so than when he defeated Germany’s Max Schmeling in 1938. This boxing matchup captured the same ideals that had been present two years earlier- that of American freedom rising above the beliefs of the Nazi regime. In both cases, American citizens were able to overcome their discriminatory ideologies and view these athletes as men who represented them and their country, as  opposed to black men who should be placed below members of white society. But although they were each responsible for seismic, if fleeting, changes in American racial perceptions, I don’t believe either Owens or Louis sought to advocate racial equality through their participation in sports; rather, they each had a passion and a talent, as well as a desire to serve their country, and what emerged were two acts of American heroism that allowed citizens to step outside of their narrow mindsets of racist beliefs and look upon these two African Americans in a whole new light.

Meanwhile fellow athletes such as Althea Gibson and Fritz Pollard also had tremendous impacts in their respective sports through integration and their individual accomplishments. The more they accomplished, the more mainstream and famous an African American face became in the media, and slowly the public began to warm to these black athletes. It was a step in the right direction, although progress was slow. And as more and more African American athletes began to play professional sports, they were able to not only assimilate racial equality into the mindsets of citizens, but also challenge the fundamental ideas upon which racism was based, which is perhaps the most important influence these notable athletes had upon the civil rights movement. This is because their exceptional performance on the field and the court (examples include Jackie Robinson’s Rookie of the Year Award, Althea Gibson’s Wimbledon Championship, Jack Johnson’s heavyweight title, Wilma Rudolph’s gold medals, and more) proved that blacks were equal to whites, thus challenging the ideals of racial supremacy upon which discrimination was based. This idea- that if blacks were equal on the field, they were equal off it as well- began to infiltrate its way into society, thus beginning the subtle yet definitive shift in the American conscious and allowing civil rights activists and athletes to promote social justice in our country.

Not only did these figures begin to affect the white mindset in our country, but they also had an impact upon their fellow African Americans. Because they were willing to expose themselves to the harsh criticism and segregation of the sports world, many of these athletes became heroic figures that served as role models for blacks across the United States. In a country where few African Americans were able to achieve high profile public positions, sports provided a chance for blacks to emerge as public figures, thus inspiring the rest of the African American community to take a stand for their beliefs as well.


Later in the century, after sports had been integrated and become relatively equal, African American athletes were able to use their place in sports as a platform to speak out on racial and social inequality. This is perhaps best characterized by Muhammad Ali’s outspoken and often controversial public role, as he consistently made brash statements about social justice that gave black athletes, as well as the black community, more of a public voice. This was also exemplified by Arthur Ashe, who said, “I don’t want to be remembered for my tennis accomplishments.” Despite a stellar tennis career that earned him a place in the Tennis Hall of Fame, Ashe’s most lasting impact has been the tireless fight he waged against discrimination and inequality throughout his life. More than any other athlete, Arthur Ashe understood the power his status as a high profile athlete gave him, and as a result, he was able to advocate the social change he believed in. In the end, Arthur Ashe was able to not only revolutionize the game of tennis, which up to that point had never seen an African American male star, but the world as well.

Ultimately, black athletes were able to serve as symbols for their fellow African Americans by representing racial equality and changing the role of the African American community in the United States. It began with initial integration, particularly in professional sports, as the greatest barriers to equality fell with the trail blazing efforts of athletes such as Jackie Robinson and Althea Gibson. These athletes’ athletic performances then went on to prove to society that blacks were equal to their white counterparts, thus challenging and eventually overthrowing ideas of racial supremacy. They also familiarized the white public with the concept of aligning themselves alongside other African Americans as white fans began to unite behind the black stars of their favorite teams. Finally, athletes began to challenge societal inequalities by speaking out against discrimination and making public calls for social justice, thus changing the way African Americans were viewed both in sports and in society. Ultimately, these individual athletic figures were able to unite across decades to change the face of race relations in the United States and bring about a new atmosphere of innovation and racial equality.



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It seems that boot camps are all the rage these days. I mean, there’s probably a Bootcamp for just about anything. Whether it’s learning a new language or whipping your body into shape, it’s as easy as a google search and a click to find someone willing to sell their knowledge. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for earning a living by parting with some of one’s hard-earned expertise. Particularly when it comes to challenging times in your marriage, it’s important to get as much expert help as possible. However, if you’re struggling to reconcile your bank account and your need for professional assistance, you might need to settle for a relationship boot camp DIY. If you’ve ever been to a marriage boot camp or even a couples’ retreat, you’re already ahead of the game. If not, here are three boot camp lessons you can start practicing today to fortify your marriage and give it a fighting chance.

3 Marriage Bootcamp Lessons You Should Practice Every Day

In this article:

  1. Set aside distraction-free time with each other
  2. Communicate sincerely
  3. Make intimacy a priority

The idea behind a boot camp is to institute some hard-hitting lessons into the psyche to achieve maximum results in record time. Boot camps usually don’t last too long as the intensity they bring isn’t sustainable for the long haul. Depending on the branch, military boot camp training can last anywhere from six to thirteen weeks. However, the idea is that once the intensive training is over, the lessons are so heavily ingrained that participants continue the pattern of behavior naturally. Marriage boot camps, though they differ in delivery, teach a few common principles worthy of daily practice. So, rather than wait for things to start souring in your marriage, allow these principles to be a part of your weekly, if not daily, marriage routine.


Set aside distraction-free time with each other

Distraction-free time? What is that? When you’re a newlywed, this seems like a no-brainer. You can’t get enough of each other. Your spouse is your world and you are all wrapped up in it. But as life moves forward, work, children, and other challenges eat away at your alone time with your spouse minute by minute. The ease with which you spent time with each other at the beginning of your relationship has faded. Now, you struggle just to see each other more than an hour each day.

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In marriage boot camp, you are forced to spend time with each other without distraction. That’s one reason these camps work so well. Now, whether it’s been intentional or not, you can’t avoid each other. You must face your problems and deal with them head-on. Practice this method on a weekly basis in your relationship and watch your relationship blossom rather than wither. What this looks like is different for every relationship. For some, it might be date night. For others, it might be a weekend get-away. Whatever works for your marriage, you must be intentional in making it happen.


Communicate sincerely

Without a doubt, communication is one of the most difficult lessons to learn, even during a marriage boot camp. In fact, there’s usually a trained professional who sits with each couple and help them navigate conversations effectively. However, one thing that can’t be manufactured is sincerity as you communicate. Your partner can sniff out nonsense when it’s being delivered. During boot camp, any attempt at forging sincerity is challenged until the “real” or the truth comes to light.

Though this takes practice to get it just right, it is possible to find your sweet spot of communication with your partner. Communication is a two-way street. It involves both listening and speaking. If you do both with sincerity, you won’t go wrong.


Make intimacy a priority

Probably one of the more fun parts of boot camp is breaking away from the intensity of the day and enjoying the comfort of the night. As you set aside distraction-free time in order to sincerely communicate, your heart opens up to feelings of romance once again. Holding hands, kissing, cuddling and making love are all back on the table. In your day to day life, intimate behavior is a must in order to keep your love for each other alive and growing. By making it a priority, you will continue to water the roots of your relationship making it even more invulnerable to any attack.

Take care of your marriage. Don’t let days and weeks go by without spending one on one time together, communicating sincerely with each other, or being intimate in the ways that make your love grow. By practicing these marriage boot camp principles, you minimize your need for the heavy-duty stuff. Instead, use the money to go on a cruise…which I imagine would be a lot more fun!


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More than 20 years ago, my husband and I were blessed to work in our church’s teen ministry. We wanted to help spiritually guide their thoughts as they attempted to navigate this thing called life. Back then, the challenges they faced were unlike anything even I had dealt with. School pressure, peer pressure, even internal pressure brought a realm of circumstances somewhat unfamiliar to me. In many ways, I didn’t think I could relate. But then I remembered a significant turning point in my own teenage life.

4 Powerful Skills to Help Your Teenager Handle Peer Pressure

In this article:

  1. Firmly refuse negative group behavior
  2. Combat lies with the truth
  3. Walk away when provoked
  4. Communicate effectively with adults

I was an 18-year-old freshman at Michigan State University newly transplanted from my island home of St.Thomas. The only person I knew in the state was an old college friend of my aunt’s. Eager to make friends, I decided to join the school’s track team. One night after practice, my teammates decided to go out to a club. Doesn’t sound like a big deal right? Well, clubbing was not my thing. I simply had no interest. But the pressure from my teammates to be a part of the group along with my internal pressure to avoid being an outcast was powerful. I decided to go.

I reluctantly returned to my dorm room, got ready, and went to join my teammates who were already waiting in the cab. As they waved at me to hurry, I started running down the hall toward them. Every step was like dragging a block of lead and each felt heavier than the last. I got in the cab and off we went. Now, to this day, I think my cab driver was an angel because he started talking about making sure we had the proper ID or we couldn’t get into the club. Apparently, my student ID was insufficient. We had only driven a few blocks away from my dorm and I told him to stop. I got out, sent my teammates off and practically skipped back to my dormitory. I returned to my room that night and vowed never to do anything I don’t want to do ever again.


Firmly refuse negative group behavior

Fast forward 13 years later and I now have the chance to mentor teens facing pressures far worse than going to a club. Peer pressure tactics were a hundred times worse and it was all kids could do to make it through the school day unscathed. Interestingly, regardless of the issue, negative behavior started as the brainchild of one individual and worked its way through a community of students who feared being left out. Sound familiar. Whether it’s 1989, 2009, or 2019 the pressure to be a part of a group is markedly embedded in the minds of teenagers everywhere.

Working in the teen ministry, I realized it didn’t matter if you were a preacher’s kid or the son of the devil. Everyone wants to fit in. Twenty years ago, I served teenagers. Today, I have two teens of my own. Black ones. Male ones. Talk about pressure. Their demographic is constantly under attack. Teach your kids the importance of non-conformity. It gives them a strong sense of self and confidence in their own way of thinking. It won’t be enough to thwart off every negative group behavior, but it’s a great weapon to have in their arsenal when those moments arise.


Combat lies with the truth

One of the reasons kids easily conform is they have nothing else to stand on when faced with peer pressure tactics. If a dominant person says bullying is fun, others conform to that way of thinking because they don’t want to be the one being bullied. Peer pressure instigators usually apply heavy-handed tactics that start with a lie. Well, it’s either a lie or a fear.

  • “No one will like you.”
  • “Don’t be a party-pooper.”
  • “This will be fun.”
  • “You’re the only one…”
  • “You won’t get in trouble.”
  • “Everybody’s doing it.”

Whatever they think will break your resolve, they use it. Arm your kids with answers…truths…to all of these lies. Then teach them how to effectively, and firmly (see point one) refuse to participate under pressure.


Walk away when provoked

As a self thinker, your son or daughter may become a popular target. It’s sometimes hard for group thinkers to believe that someone would willingly remain outside the circle. As a parent of one or more teens, you will have many chances to demonstrate what it means to be patient and to walk away when provoked. Teens test you. If you are going to ask them to be patient and walk away, then you better teach them by example.

They want more than your lip service. When they see you practice what you preach, it makes them a believer. Even though it doesn’t always seem like they’re listening, they are observing.


Communicate effectively with adults

One of the most important elements of tackling peer pressure is teaching our kids how to effectively communicate with the adults in their sphere of influence, particularly you. Sometimes, when they can’t talk to you as a parent, they might seek a surrogate. It’s important to raise them in a village with adults whose values align with your own. Oftentimes, however, teens don’t quite know what to say or how to openly talk about the issues they are dealing with.

This too is a skill that is better off demonstrated than preached. Talk to your kids about age-appropriate issues you are dealing with. Ask their opinion. Get their thoughts on the challenges you face. When you share with them, they are more likely to share with you. If they can effectively communicate with you, their chances of bowing to peer pressure decrease a thousandfold.

As adults, when we are facing seemingly insurmountable challenges, we like to say “the struggle is real.” For teens, the “pressure” is real. For me, it was just going to a club. For your teen, it may be drugs, bullying, or sex. But, if you arm them with the right tools, they can make it through these intense years and onto adulthood with fewer scars than most.


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Divorce. It’s the ugly “D” word. In fact, it causes emotions that are the direct antithesis of everything most people feel when they get married: joy, elation, excitement, hope. Rather than these, thoughts of divorce often lead to dread, embarrassment, fear, sadness. We usually don’t toss that word around lightly. At least we shouldn’t. I mean, not for stuff that’s fixable between two people in love. But recently, there’s a Facebook post that’s been making the rounds that has a lot of people talking. Essentially, it tosses out the “D” word as a compelling blowback to husbands who don’t handle a fair share of household and family responsibilities. It’s the answer offered to exhausted wives tired of taking care of babies, brooms, and bootie calls. Meanwhile, hubby is taking care of his “me” time playing golf or, worse yet, in his man cave, at home, “watching the game!” Yeah. We get it. There are some lazy, selfish, husband-wannabes out there. But is divorce a substantive response to a conversation that needs to be had? Let’s talk about it.

I have two teenage boys, 13 and 15. They know how to cook, clean, and take care of me. Why? Because both I and my husband require it of them. To be sure, I married a man whose mother was fierce. She had both a gentle touch and a steely backbone. There was no room for misogynistic ideologies in her presence. And though the world got a hold of him and offered different societal and military perspectives, her training had deep roots.

What’s the point?

Well, for each of you to do your “fair share,” I think there are three Ds that could prove viable first, second and third steps to addressing and eventually working through this issue.

Divorce: Is It the Answer to Lazy Husband Syndrome?

In this article:

  1. Discuss
  2. Decide
  3. Detach

So, that Facebook post hit a lot of nerves and women are all up in arms about ditching these lazy men. The author in some ways equates this laziness to abuse and many women agree. Now, I will neither tell a woman to leave her man nor stay in an abusive relationship.

But, watch out now.

We need to be very careful when we start slinging around the word abuse. There are some women dealing with some harsh, life-threatening realities who might not take too kindly to referring to a lazy husband as an abusive one. That said, let’s take divorce off the table for a minute and see what else is out there.



Here’s the thing. When dealing with what can be considered a “normal” relationship, each couple needs to agree on what rules are in the playbook. By and large, when women end up airing their grievances on the world wide web, they haven’t had a serious sit down with their man. There’s often an unspoken understanding that he does the “man” stuff and she does the “woman” stuff. And, for ages, society has determined what “man” stuff and “woman” stuff is. So, she sits in her rocking chair with her newborn at 2 am crying about her newfound status because she’s accepted the societal norm.

She might try dropping a hint about her struggle which her clueless, and/or possibly lazy, man fails to pick up. When that doesn’t work, she might take the passive-aggressive route to deal with the situation. When that also fails, she’s on social media or in some mom group dragging her man.

Have a real conversation. Sit with your spouse…and your pastor or therapist if necessary. Have a next level discussion about what you each need to bring to the table now that life is changing. Then, take step two.



Now that you’ve had a real discussion, make a decision. As a couple, decide what “fair share” means for your relationship. Don’t fall back on societal norms, whether old or new. Make a plan that you both agree will work for you and then move on to step three.

As a side note, if you can’t reach an agreement, the problem that’s holding your relationship hostage isn’t just a lazy husband. Getting professional help might be necessary if you both want to make your marriage work.



Okay. This is probably going to be the toughest part. Actually, not probably…it is the toughest part. Once you’ve decided as a couple what you will each be responsible for, detach yourself from your spouse’s responsibilities. If he’s got dish duty, walk away from the dirty sink. When the baby starts screaming at 3 am on his watch, let the baby cry. If it’s his turn to bus the kids to soccer, don’t you do it.

I get that you don’t like a dirty house or crying babies. But if you want and asked for change, if you require change, then you should expect it. Just as with my teenage children, if you require it, in a “normal” relationship, it will get done. However, if you’ve gone through steps one and two but refuse to implement step three, you place the rules of your relationship playbook in serious jeopardy. Be patient and walk away.

Things won’t necessarily be perfect. But dragging your man through the social media mud will become a thing of the past. And hopefully, divorce will no longer be on the table.



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No one ever wants to hear bad news about their health. Whether you go to the doctor for a routine visit or you’re forced to see a specialist because of a specific new ailment, most of us desire a positive outcome. But what do you do if you’re suddenly faced with sickness in your marriage? It was July 15, 2018 when my friend Chloe found out she had breast cancer. Though a devastating diagnosis, Chloe credits much of her fighting spirit not only with God, but with her husband Mike. From the very beginning, Mike’s attitude was that they would get through it. Chloe believed him. Married 25 years, they had seen their fair share of trouble. But their relationship had been rooted in Christ for a long time and their faith would have to guide them through this one.

5 Scriptures to Help You Through Sickness in Your Marriage

In this article:

  1. Leave your guilt behind – 2 Corinthians 12:9
  2. Empathize with your spouse – Philippians 1:27
  3. Seek God for yourself – Deuteronomy 4: 29-31
  4. Get the right perspective – Galatians 6:9
  5. Remember your vows – Proverbs 24:10 

So, this is breast cancer awareness month. In some ways, it seems almost flippant to refer to Chloe’s diagnosis as merely “trouble.” I mean, regardless of how far we’ve come with modern science, a cancer diagnosis is still a crushing blow to the psyche. Many of us, self included, would find it a difficult barrier to overcome. For those who are married, it’s comforting to know you have someone by your side to help you through a major sickness in your marriage. At least it should be. Unfortunately, the toll an illness places on a marriage can lead to separation if you have nothing to fall back on. In addition to scriptures that helped sustain Chloe’s faith, here are some verses to help you in the fight when your physical and spiritual walk are put to the test.


Leave Your Guilt Behind – 2 Corinthians 12:9

It’s not easy to watch your spouse suffer. Regardless of which spouse you are, the healthy caregiver or the sick partner, each one can feel burdened by the other’s pain. Chloe struggled with the hardship she felt her sickness put on Mike. But she knew if they were going to make it through, she had to come to grips with God’s and Mike’s grace.

2 Corinthians 12:9 – “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”


Empathize With Your Spouse – Philippians 1:27

One of the things that has helped Mike and Chloe is placing themselves in each other’s shoes. Try to understand what your spouse is facing. Talk to them about their struggle. Then treat them the way you would want to be treated. By showing empathy, you strengthen your bond and your faith through the process.

Philippians 1: 27 – “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel.”


Seek God for Yourself – Deuteronomy 4:29-31

In order to empathize with your spouse, you must be able to draw strength from your own personal walk with God. Regardless of how strong Mike is in his faith, Chloe knew she couldn’t get through this fight without seeking God out for herself. If you are facing sickness in your marriage, seeking God for yourself is a must.


Deuteronomy 4:29-31 – ” But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30 When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the Lord your God and obey him. 31 For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.”


Get the Right Perspective – Proverbs 24:10

Mike considers it an honor to care for his wife. Chloe recognizes the importance of letting Mike know she needs him. Though they are facing this battle from two different perspectives, staying the course is not a cakewalk. Sickness is emotionally, mentally, and physically taxing on both spouses. But the right perspective is sure to keep you strong.

Proverbs 24:10 – “If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength!”


Remember Your Vows – Galatians 6:9

I saved this scripture for last because if all else fails, this one shouldn’t. Times of trouble are bound to come. Many times, our vows are the only thing keeping our relationship standing. So when facing sickness in your marriage, remember your commitment to your partner “in sickness and in health.” Remembering your vows improves your chances of not growing weary when times are tough.

Galatians 6:9 – “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

For Mike and Chloe, it’s breast cancer and they are trusting in God and standing firm on their vows. For you and your spouse, it may be something else. No matter what your situation, the right scripture can help you through some of your hardest days. As it says in Ecclesiastes 4:12, “though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”


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Marvin Gaye’s smooth voice singing “How Sweet It Is to Be Loved by You” is one of the most renowned relationship songs out there. Released in 1965, it has helped couples love and last for decades. But what does it mean to be loved, especially in marriage? Of course, that’s the million-dollar question that has a million different answers. I mean, in every relationship, love languages vary. It’s important to demonstrate love according to your spouse’s needs. But there are some universal actions that, regardless of your love language, speak to the heart and give strength to a relationship. So we thought it fitting that with Sweetest Day around the corner, we’d share some tried and true behaviors that not only give you a sweet day but a sweet life with your spouse.

5 Sweetest Day Hacks to Create the Sweetest Life With Your Spouse

In this article:

  1. Write a love letter
  2. Give a “just because” gift
  3. Spend time talking and listening
  4. Be thoughtful
  5. Pray for your spouse

Before we get the ball rolling, let me just say that I’m not trying to sell you on another “holiday.” I get that there are commercialized celebrations (some say this is Valentine’s Day for men) that place unnecessary pressure on relationships that, frankly, can be a nuisance. But our goal here is to help make relationships stronger. So there’s no reason that the things done on Sweetest Day, if you “celebrate” it, can’t be done throughout the year.


Write a love letter

Okay, this may be an archaic piece of advice. In an era where text messages rule and pre-written cards are on the shelves, why bother? But this practice is for more than just the receiver. The sender, or giver, who takes time to actually handwrite the letter will have a moment of clarity that’s hard to come by in everyday life. It gives you the chance to reflect on your relationship, your spouse, and the reasons your life with them is important. Once or twice a year on a day they would least expect it, write a letter to your spouse expressing your love, your gratitude, and your hope for the future.


Give a “just because” gift

Whether it’s for Sweetest Day or any other special occasion, a nice gift is always a good look. But what about those days that are not so “special?” Well, a “gift” doesn’t always have to come wrapped up in a pretty bow. If you know your spouse, you know what makes their heart flutter.

  • Bring breakfast in bed
  • Iron their clothes
  • Buy a special piece of jewelry
  • Get them tickets to their favorite sporting event
  • Offer to take over a chore they normally handle
  • Give them a nice massage

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Whatever “language” moves your spouse’s heart, speak it often in your relationship.


Spend time talking and listening

It’s not unusual in relationships for each partner to enjoy different activities. For instance, while one of you likes watching football, the other is hooked on legal dramas. So it can be easy to find yourselves in different corners of the house on a daily basis. Get up. Leave your corner. Actually take time to talk to your spouse.


Sometimes, my husband and I will just do this. Whether it’s work or play, we will put it to the side, seek each other out, and chat. It’s not an emergency conversation. It’s not about the kids or bills or anything “important.” We just want to be in each other’s presence. Sometimes it’s serious. Most times it’s nothing but laughs. But it’s a necessary element in staying connected in our relationship.

You don’t need to wait for a Sweetest Day date to enjoy time with your spouse. Carve out a few minutes in your day to catch up and spend quality time with each other.


Be thoughtful

When you take time to talk with and listen to your spouse, you actually get a nugget. Take what they say and use it to bless your relationship. Maybe your wife had a hard day at work. Maybe your husband feels stressed about bills. Maybe your wife is craving her favorite icecream. Maybe your husband’s favorite football team is coming to town. It only takes a moment to think of a way to ease a fear or satisfy a desire.

Be thoughtful. Give your wife a foot rub. Plan a romantic night with your man. Buy the ice cream. Get game tickets or, if you can’t afford that, deck out the house in team colors and give him the remote.

What will matter more than the act itself is that you took the time to think about your spouse’s needs. The more you practice this, the easier it will be for them to share their hearts.


Pray for your spouse

This should be an easy one right? I mean, sure you can pray for your spouse on Sweetest Day, but this is definitely one of those “more often than not” hacks. While spending time listening to your spouse, you learn what areas of their life need prayer.

Then you pray. You can pray alone or you can pray together. Either way, pray.

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Sometimes, you should even fast. While being thoughtful is a good thing, it won’t fill every need your spouse has. By turning everything over to God, you let your spouse know you have their back on your knees.

In a few days, October 19th this year, it will be Sweetest Day. Go ahead and make that day special. Get the candy or the cake. Give the sweet gift. Just because it’s commercialized doesn’t mean it should be dismissed. But don’t forget that being sweet toward your spouse isn’t limited to one day a year. Make time throughout the week to give your relationship a little sugar and a little spice. Just like Marvin Gaye, your spouse will be singing…”how sweet it is to be loved by you.”



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Has anyone ever asked you to pray for them and you said you would…and then you forgot? I’ve been there. It’s one of those out of sight, out of mind situations that leave you feeling like crap the next time you see that person. Well, for married couples whose lives are held together by the ever-important third strand, forgetting to pray is not an option. Since we already have an article focusing on husbands covering their marriage in prayer, we thought we’d give the wives an opportunity to cover their husband from spiritual attack.

Wives: 3 Powerful Prayers to Cover Your Husband From Spiritual Attack

Spiritually responsible men pray. It’s a part of their DNA. But, also a part of their DNA, is the habit of trying to fix it all. When challenges hit the family, the husband stands at the ready to defend with his life. But a spiritual attack is no joke and he needs all the help he can get. It’s important to provide cover for three areas most susceptible to weakness: his mind, his health, and his heart.


Pray for his mind

One of the first places the devil hits is the mind. When your husband is doing his best to lead your marriage and protect your home, his mind is his most vulnerable asset. 2 Timothy 1:7 reminds us how important it is to keep the mind covered in prayer. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

Prayer: Heavenly Father, when my husband’s mind comes under spiritual attack, I ask for your protection. I pray that you will help him stay focused on Jesus no matter what comes his way. When times are good, help him to praise you.

When times are bad, help him to praise you. On those days when he doesn’t know what to do to keep our family going, I pray that you help his mind to focus on you as the Giver of all things.

When his mind is under spiritual attack, help him to see You as the Leader of our home. Help him trust you, rely on you, and give his whole mind over to you. Instill faith and remove all doubt from his mind. I pray that he will seek guidance and gain wisdom from your word. Protect his mind from fear, depression, anxiety, pride, laziness, and feeling overwhelmed. Strengthen his mind today. In Jesus’ name. Amen!


Pray for his health

The next area often left defenseless when under spiritual attack is his health. As you cover his mind in prayer, remember to also cover his body. This is an area that can have a profound impact on his ability to follow through on his decision to trust God. 3 John 1: 2 gives you a good start. “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.”


Prayer: Lord, as my husband goes about his day, I pray you will keep watch over the health of his body. I ask your blessing on all that he consumes. I pray for strength when his body gets tired. In the face of any potential illness, help him to be resilient. And when he grows weak, hold up his arms. Keep him healthy so that he might focus on you. Protect his body from any and every threat. In Jesus’ name. Amen!


Pray for his heart

Of all the things your husband needs prayer for, protecting his heart should be considered one of your greatest priorities. Why? Because when a man loses heart, almost nothing else matters. Proverbs 17:22 says it all: “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Prayer: Heavenly Father, please protect my husband’s heart. Out of love for us, he gives our family everything he’s got. But please help his heart to stay strong and not grow weary. Give him victories every day to encourage him. Help him persevere in trial and find joy in times of peace. Protect his heart from his fear and in those moments when fear comes anyway, help him to fight through it. Whether in times of battle or times of peace, keep his heart fixed on Jesus. Continue to protect him with the breastplate of righteousness. Let your Holy Spirit flow through him and keep his heart from going astray. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

Praying for your husband covers your family from spiritual attack. When he is strong, your marriage and your family is even stronger. Remember, a cord of three strands is not easily broken. Keep God as the head of your relationship and remember he has great plans for you. Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.”


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Halloween is right around the corner. In our family, we don’t exactly “celebrate” this holiday, but we enjoy some of the more fun aspects of the occasion. Aside from the sugar rush, roasting marshmallows by the fire, hoarding candy, and spending time with friends has no downside. But many Christian families are turned off because of what the holiday represents. Without getting too deep, the historical significance of Halloween is rooted in the fear of ghosts, evil spirits, and mayhem. Whether your family goes all in for the holiday or just takes advantage of the social engagement that comes with it, this is a great time of year to pray for our children to be protected from evil spirits and mayhem. Here are five biblically inspired prayers to cover your children from spiritual attack.

5 Biblically Inspired Prayers to Cover Your Children from Spiritual Attack


We all want our children to make wise choices. But before they can do that, they have to be taught how. There are so many things in this world fighting to influence our kids. Deuteronomy 11: 18-21 teaches us how to guide them and what we must do to protect their hearts and minds from bad influences.

Deuteronomy 11:18-21 (NIV) Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, there are so many things clamoring for my child’s attention. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to let in and what to keep out. Please give me wisdom to guide my child. And please allow me, second only to you, to be there strongest influence in this world. Help us to have a great relationship so they will hear your word through me and make wise choices. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Once we are able to influence our children, it’s important they learn to believe that God’s word is true. Pray for them to not only listen to God’s word but to believe and do what it says. That kind of belief starts with you.

Mark 11:22-24 (NIV) “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I pray my child will grow to believe in you. Help me to set a good example of faith that they can follow. I pray they will see you through me. I pray their faith grows stronger every day and they will choose to live like they believe. In Jesus’ name, Amen.



Even though we believe, it’s still hard to trust sometimes. Though they are often fearless, pray for your children to have unconditional trust in God.

Philippians 4:6, 19 (NIV) “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” 19 “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

Prayer: Heavenly Father, When everything around my child goes crazy and they are tempted to doubt you, I pray they will trust you unconditionally. I pray they will not be afraid or worry. I pray they will rely on you without fear. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Image and Self Worth

Once our kids enter those teenage years, they are often bombarded with worldly images that draw their attention away from God and onto themselves. Pray for your child to see themselves in the image of God and to love themselves the way God made them. Pray they will value the gifts God has given them and not live their lives in comparison to others.

Psalm 139:13-14 “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.”

Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank you for the child you have blessed me with. I pray they will see themselves in your image. I pray they will embrace every part of who they are and love themselves as much as you love them. I pray that even if they are tempted by the images they see in the world, You will give them the strength to choose to be made and remade into your image every day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Living life to the full

When our kids have direction, belief, trust, and a positive self-image, they can’t help but live life to its fullest. Pray that in an effort to live a full life, they will seek ways to serve God and others in the process.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for helping my child to embrace your word. I pray they will seek you, seek ways to serve you, and find ways to serve others. I pray you will grant them success in all they do. In the times when they lose their way, I pray they will pursue you once again and find you. I pray they will hold firmly to your word and never leave you. In Jesus’ name, Amen!


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Perfect marriage? I can already hear all the comments! “There is no such thing as a perfect marriage.” “Perfect marriages don’t exist.” Well, I’m here to tell you that they do. The question is, are you willing to train your spouse in order to get one?

3 Ways to Train Your Spouse for a Perfect Marriage


I love the movie “How to Train Your Dragon.” It’s one of the best-animated films I’ve ever seen. Of course, as much as the digital graphics and cinematography were meant to captivate and delight children, the life messages for young and old can’t be missed. If you haven’t watched it, or if it’s been a while, revisit the movie if your marriage is going through some things. I found a few nuggets that, if taken to heart, can help you and your spouse produce the perfect marriage.


Remember It’s the Two of You Versus the World

In the movie, Hiccup goes against Viking tradition when he befriends rather than destroys his first dragon who he names Toothless. Now, when you are born and raised in a family of dragon slayers, that doesn’t exactly go over well at dinner. The two supposed enemies end up as best friends and must face off friend and foe alike. Marriage is no different. If you want a perfect marriage, you must remember that it’s the two of you against the world. Train your spouse…and yourself to embrace unity in your relationship. In good times, in bad times, in the in-between times, you join hands with your spouse and present a unified front. Period.


Never Leave Your Spouse Behind

In his attempt to kill Toothless at the start of the film, Hiccup inadvertently destroys his left tail rendering him incapable of flying. As their relationship develops, Hiccup thinks of a way to get Toothless back into the air. He builds an artificial tail, straps it to his dragon and they eventually have lift off.

Isn’t that what marriage is like? Things aren’t always great. And sometimes, one of you gets knocked down. But, if you train your spouse…and yourself to have your back no matter what, your marriage will have lift off again in no time.

A perfect marriage is not free of trouble. A perfect marriage is defined by how you treat your spouse when trouble comes. Do you tear down your spouse and leave them incapacitated on the sidelines? Do you take advantage of their weakness in order to make yourself feel better? Or, do you recognize and acknowledge your mistakes and then move heaven and earth to fix it? Train your spouse…and yourself, that when trouble comes you won’t leave each other behind. Period.


Don’t Allow Others to Define Your Relationship

Hiccup almost caught a beatdown from his tribe for joining hands with Toothless. I mean, after all, Toothless was a dragon and they killed dragons, not tamed them. His father, friends, and others did not believe dragons were tamable. They tried to do all they could to turn Hiccup against Toothless and dragons in general. However, Hiccup saw in Toothless what they didn’t. Rather than let them tell him what kind of relationship he would have with the dragon, he showed them the relationship he chose to have.


Your perfect marriage will be defined by you and your spouse and only you and your spouse. There will be plenty of people on the outside looking in and offering their take on your relationship. From the time you say “I do,” train your spouse…and yourself to be ruled only by what you each think of your relationship. If you allow others to define your arguments for you, your relationship suffers. If you give others a foothold on the decisions that need to be made in your marriage, your relationship suffers.

To get the perfect marriage, train your spouse…and yourself, to be the ones to define what that means. Period.

Sure, I get that there is no such thing as a perfect marriage. But, all that means is that there is no marriage free of trouble. However, just as Hiccup and Toothless were able to overcome their differences and find meaning in what should have been an impossible relationship, so can you and your partner. Your marriage won’t look like anyone else’s. Your life won’t be like anyone else’s. But to train your spouse…and yourself to have the perfect marriage, you only have to know it’s perfect for the two of you. Period.

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Successful marriage. Everybody wants one. However, you can’t flip through the channels without seeing some “reality” show promoting anything but. Relationships are rife with manufactured tension, intrusive family members, and wannabe friends looking for their 15 minutes of fame. While these shows are not a good look for the ideal marriage relationship, they get one thing right. If your marriage is going to succeed, you have to make sure it survives friends and family.

Successful Marriage: 4 Ways to Ensure Your Marriage Survives Friends and Family

Recently, I wrote an article that caught a lot of flack because I outlined ways to “train” your spouse for a “perfect” marriage.  Some people took issue with the word “train” and some with the word “perfect.” Needless to say, it made for a hearty discussion. As I read some of the comments, I thought, ironically, when our marriages are in the crapper, isn’t this the reason why?

In our communication with our partners, we get so stuck on one word, we fail to get the point. So we run tell that to anyone who’ll listen…well, not anyone. We talk to people who will “take our side.” They feed our negativity, our pride, and the beast determined to kill our relationships.  Before you know it, we can no longer protect the relationship we once held so dear. If you want your marriage to survive friends and family, here are four ways to make that happen.


Keep God as a fence around your relationship

Marriages fail or succeed for different reasons. But most successful marriages have a strong spiritual influence on the relationship. God is often the center and the fence. With God at the center of your relationship, we are more likely to get out of our own way.

  • Harsh words are seasoned with love.
  • Anger is quieted by grace.
  • Pride is broken by humility.
  • Selfishness is overtaken by consideration.

Just as important, with God as the fence, we work hard at keeping negative influences out.

  • Don’t degrade your spouse to anyone, including your mother…or I should say, especially your mother.
  • When your friend is degrading her spouse, don’t join the party.
  • Pray…a lot…before you seek advice.

Don’t invite others into your business

It’s so easy to talk down our spouses when we’re angry. We find the nearest ear and vent our frustrations without regard for how that person will view our partner and our relationship. Actions have consequences. When you tear your partner down, either to or in front of others, those people will view your relationship differently. If they are your friends, they will want to take your side. And to them, taking your side includes demeaning your spouse along with you.

If you want a successful marriage, see point one. Take your frustrations, your fears, your concerns to God first. Then, after you’ve calmed down, speak to your partner with a level head and an open mind. Unless there is abuse, infidelity, or danger, do your best to keep others out.


Discuss issues with each other before anyone else.

To have a successful marriage, this point should be a given. However, oftentimes, we go to our parents or our friends before we go to our spouses to talk about stuff. Those same friends or family members remember all the other problems with our relationship and before you know it, they begin to stoke the fire designed to destroy your marriage.

Fair communication is more than just important in your marriage. It’s necessary. Your marriage thrives on communication. As issues arise in your relationship, talk to each other in a way that pleases God and uplifts your marriage. If things get heated, walk away and come back after you’ve had a good chat with God. In other words, see point one.


When asking for help, make sure it’s unbiased.

Sometimes, things go beyond what you can handle. That’s just the bottom line. You’ve prayed, you’ve talked, yet nothing is getting resolved. You’re unsure of how to move forward. One thing is certain, you want your relationship to work.

Getting counseling from a therapist or pastor is not a bad thing. Look, relationships are tough. Depending on the influences we have around us, it’s harder for some than others. But the moment we bring family and friends into the mix, we’re just making matters worse. Ask for help from people whose only desire is to see your marriage succeed.

So, what’s the bottom line? If you want your marriage to survive your friends and family, don’t invite them into your relationship, and stay out of theirs.



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When it comes to dealing with conflict in marriage, the question is not if you will have conflict but when you will have conflict. After the “I do,” conflict is a necessary part of even healthy marriages because no two people will ever agree on everything. However, many couples begin to “undo” the “I do” because they misinterpret Proverbs 20:3 and make the colossal mistake of avoiding conflict at all cost. For many, it ends up costing them their marriage because they lack conflict resolution skills that won’t undo the “I do.”

Proverbs 20:3 “Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor; only fools insist on quarreling.”

This scripture does not mean that you should avoid conflict in your marriage. In fact, conflict is necessary for both partners to have balance and each gets their needs met. What it does warn against is fighting, quarreling and destroying one another with strife.

So, let’s talk about avoiding conflict with an example. I want your input on this far too common marital scenario:

A couple has been married for seven years with two children (ages 2 and 5). The first three years of their marriage were the best. They were able to purchase a new home, secure or maintain employment, go on frequent dates, have fun, and keep things spicy and sexy at home.

However, year three presented some problems after their first child was born because the wife’s role in the marriage changed dramatically. Before kids, she would cook 4 nights a week. She would clean, work a full-time job and pursue her hobbies in her free time.

After having kids, however, she found herself having little to no time to pursue her hobbies. Meanwhile, her husband somehow managed to keep his. He would occasionally “help” with the children but most of the responsibility somehow fell on her. Now, she cooks, cleans, parents, works full-time and maintains her side hustle, gives the kids their baths, helps with homework, prepares their lunch, drops kids off at school/daycare, takes them to the doctor, and the list goes on and on.

It’s year 7 now, and the wife feels as if she has completely lost herself. She loves her children dearly but misses her “me time,” fun times with her friends, and feeling sexy again as a wife. They have not taken a couples only vacation since the kids were born, infrequently date, and center too much of their conversation around household business. She is extremely unhappy, bored, and overwhelmed with her day-to-day life but loves being a wife and mother.


However, she is conflicted about what to do.

Option A: Should she bring up her unhappiness to her husband so that she can get a break? If she does, it may work! Can you imagine going shopping without kids? However, what if her husband resists and it leads to a conflict? She tried saying something earlier and her husband shut her down quickly because his mother raised four kids alone after his father left and “never complained.”


Option B: Should she suck it up, embrace giving up personal needs as a necessary evil of marriage and motherhood, and avoid conflict with her husband?

What would you do?

I am sure this will create spirited debate but if you are asking a professional psychologist for twenty years, I would advise the wife to pick Option A…even though it will lead to conflict. Why?

Quite simply, “Option B” is unsustainable. Both parties in a marriage need “me time” or oxygen to survive. Psalm 25:5 refers to “my cup runneth over” which can be applied to marriage. If the mom is the cup, and her cup is empty, how can she realistically be expected to pour into her husband, children, and work without neglecting herself?

Right. She can’t.

She will eventually become overwhelmed, irritable, depressed and unhappy in the marriage. She has neglected her needs for so long that it has become a way of life; one that robs her of joy and makes her long for the good times when she used to be able to have fun.

The wives who wait to speak up tend to have a high divorce rate once the kids leave for college. Other wives lose their health, put on weight (or lose too much), and let themselves go. This is a problem because the husband often complains about her appearance or even pursues outside attention because his wife is “too busy” for him. Another set of women, eventually snap and blindside their husbands with “the talk” where they reveal how unhappy they have been for years and want separation or divorce.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018: Fix Your Marriage in 2018 with this FREE ONLINE TRAINING

What should she have done? I’m glad you asked. My twenty years experience counseling couples through conflict resolution has taught me she should:

  1. Talk about marital and parenting expectations up front.
  2. Engage in weekly to monthly meetings to assess the “State of the Marriage” so that a bad pattern of marriage does not become a lifestyle.
  3. Initiate conflict in a loving way to discuss necessary changes that will allow both husband and wife to have a fulfilling life.

Sounds good right? The thing is that a lot of professionals will often tell you what to do but neglect training you HOW to do it.

  • What exactly do you say?
  • What if he won’t listen?
  • What if you have mom guilt about having fun away from the kids?

I get it! That’s why I want to show you HOW TO RESOLVE CONFLICT IN YOUR MARRIAGE. You see, on the flip side, arguing too much can literally kill your marriage too. I want to help prevent that from happening for you.

There are many solutions for successfully resolving marital conflict. I cover this in a FREE online training I am doing April 3rd at 9 pm on resolving conflict, specifically geared towards Christian marriages. I can record it for you too if you absolutely cannot make this date.

Here’s what happens next…check out this page to register and reserve your seat right now. We did this workshop a few months ago and the training was filled to capacity. So, register now.  You don’t have to spend another night going to bed angry.

Register here.

Here are two scriptures to prepare your mindset that deal with discussing faults, making adjustments, and setting conflict in marriage.

Ephesians 4:2 – Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.

Isaiah 1:18 – “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.

BMWK, What do you think? Agree with the Doc or disagree? What would you do? Go ahead, you be the marriage expert and chime in.

By Dr. Alduan Tarrt: Dr. Alduan Tartt is a clinical psychologist with a focus on faith, mental health and relationships of all sorts (single, dating, marriage, family, sports, etc.). Dr. Tartt has a private practice and also speaks frequently at conferences, churches, organizations on improving relationships, families and mental health. Dr. Tartt also hosts radio and television shows and is a frequent guest on major media outlets. Dr. Tartt also counsels other healers and helpers (pastors, ministers, doctors, entertainers) who need to be encouraged, supported and filled up.



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Healthy actions during an argument help married couples during serious disagreements. If we are honest, those of us in one recognized marriage can be difficult. A couple should never lead others to believe that disagreements, inequalities, arguments, and frustration don’t exist in a lifetime commitment. Honestly speaking, sometimes, married people just don’t get along, and there’s evidence to that. There’s no need to put marriage on this pedestal where it’s a bed of roses the moment we say “I do.”

Healthy Actions During An Argument | Having A Good Talk

An Introduction To A Healthy Actions During An Argument

For some, when we disagree, there is snapping, pouting, and even screaming. With the goal being to get a point across, be understood, and occasionally be victorious, some will do whatever is necessary. However, those reactions never benefit our relationship. So, let’s discuss the healthy actions you can take to minimize the drama. The next time you quarrel with your spouse, you must stop, look, listen, and try some healthy actions instead.

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1. Make Sure It Is What You Think It Is

Get a clear understanding of the situation, and examine all of the facts prior to reacting negatively. This can happen as a result of asking clarifying questions.

2. Discuss The Situation With Your Spouse

Don’t pretend whatever it is didn’t happen. The only way to deal with an issue is to acknowledge it exists. If it hurts you, tell your spouse because, more than likely, that wasn’t the intent.

3. Question Your Initial Response First

Ask yourself, “Is what I am about to say or do reasonable, and am I possibly overreacting to the situation?”

4. Before You Respond, Start Off By Telling Your Spouse How Much You Love Him Or Her

Doing this sets the tone of the conversation and opens up both partners to have a healthy discussion.

5. If You Are Still Able To Civilly Communicate And Can Control Your Voice Levels, Take The Conversation To A New Location

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Taking a walk to the backyard, a nearby park, or a restaurant may be helpful. A change of scenery
could positively affect the mood of the situation.

6. Get Over It

Once you have decided this dispute isn’t that big of a deal, move on.

7. Be Honest About Your Contributions

Ask yourself what role you play in the problem as well as the solution.

8. Initiate The Peace By Being The Bigger Person And Apologizing First

My husband taught me this one. He would often take the lead in apologizing and making sure we got back to a happy place. Once I got over myself, I was able to do that too.

9. Look For The Lesson And Apply It

Every challenge is an opportunity to grow. Many of us miss this chance, and the cycle of confusion and conflict repeats.

Here are two scenarios of the same situation, tell me which you think would generate the best response.

“How many times have I told you to pick your socks up off the floor? Plenty! The house looks a mess, you never want to help me, and it just pisses me off! You have to clean up after yourself!”


“Babe, I picked your socks up off the floor in the bathroom. We have to remember our goal of keeping our home tidy, warm, and inviting. It feels good when it’s clean, don’t you think?”

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One of the conversations above will lead to a peaceful discussion or argument of the situation, while the other will immediately put your partner on the defensive. One of these is solution-focused instead of placing blame and belittling, which is the cause of a negative argument. Remember, you get more bees with honey. You must be gentle with your words, even when you’re upset or frustrated.

What other tips can you add to the list of healthy actions during an argument with your spouse? Share them in the comments section!

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