You are likely familiar with the concept of being “equally yoked,” meaning people who come together in relationship who are similar, compatible or at least flexible, in their views on life’s most important questions. I always teach that compromise in relationships is important, and always necessary to some extent. However, I also firmly believe that some things can be so important to a person that they should not be compromised. Of course, everyone must decide for themselves just what that non-negotiable is. For some, having children is a given in a marriage, for others not so much. Some people expect to share all or most of their time together, and again, others not so much. Below, you’ll see a few more examples on three aspects of life that I have found to be the most important in terms of relationship compatibility.

Dr. Darnise’s Top Three:


Does my partner have to be the same religion that I am? Sharing the same faith tradition is VERY important for many people. It can likewise be VERY important to someone who is not committed to any particular faith or spirituality not to feel pressured to join one. My answer to this question when dealing with people of different faiths is actually a question directed back to them, can you be flexible enough in your belief/nonbelief to allow the other person to do what he/she needs to do without ridicule or disdain? If you feel it is imperative that your partner join you in religious/holiday observations you should probably seek someone who shares your faith.


How much is enough? This is a question that should be discussed honestly between people. Sometimes people assume that their “normal” is their partner’s normal also. Not usually. Take the time to find out how much is enough, and what is desired from both parties. Consider the impact of different schedules, physical ailments, menstrual cycles, kids or parents in the house, whatever the particulars of your life. This issue can likely work out with open communication, and a willingness to be flexible.


Your money or your life? This is an area that wrecks more marriages than anything else. I believe it is because people do not want to talk about it. Money brings up so many issues like shame, guilt, entitlement, and security, that often times people will avoid it as long as possible, and just hope everything works out. Well, even if money is abundant between the partners, it is best to discuss how money will be spent, saved, invested, donated, and splurged. The money issue is one where I have to say being equally yoked is very important. It is quite difficult for savers and big spenders to co-exist in a relationship where money is shared.

Keep an eye out for my new series on Love and Money. These aspects of life are big for everyone, and I’ll be doing some important teachings on it soon.

I’m definitely interested to read what you have to say on the concept of being equally yoked. So, reply to this email, and let me know what you think.

Everyday we seem to see more and more evidence that we live in a society that accepts certain ideas about women, girls, sexuality, power and well, rape. We still have concepts such as "legitimate rape," "slut shaming," blaming a woman for where she was at a certain time of day or night, or maybe what she was wearing as the cause for another person assaulting her. In 2013, we as a society are still needing to have discussions about what is real rape. It is deeply disturbing. To add to this distressingly slow train to the land of civilized humanity, we are also inundated with popular culture including some music that reflects the rape culture that is being so prevalenly discussed in the media these days. (Again, the train moves slowly, but at least it is moving, I guess.)
My immediate case in point is a rap song in which rap artist Rick Ross is featured on a song by Rocko, in which he celebrates giving a woman some kind of date rape drug in her champagne "she didn't even know," dragging her off to his place, "enjoying that," all while "she didn't even know." I don't think that I have adequate words to express how reprehensible this is! I'll just share my questions.

For one thing, how on earth did this man think that this is a good idea in life?? Is this your idea of a good time Mr. Ross, raping a woman on the DL, so she can't prosecute you? How is it that you thought it is a good idea to make a song about it???!!! You don't want her to know, but you DO want your boys to know??!! Do you have NO respect for women AT ALL???!!! Did it occur to you the impact this assault would have on this woman, and how you might devastate her ability to trust any other man for the rest of  her life? Do you have NO sense of community responsibility to young people listening to your "music," who might think this is acceptable behavior and therefore emulate your lyrics? How did DefJam records think that it is an acceptable message to send out into the world on their label, as a representation of their company?

Am I just hip hop bashing? NO. Be responsible and don't promote violence and rape, PERIOD.

I'm thinking that it is only a matter of time before some artists gets sued by a victim or victim's family for influencing a crime that has been committed according to their "instructions." I'm thinking that it is only a matter of time before a perpetrator on trial for a crime is going to point to an artist and his/her song lyrics as the reason for that crime. I'm thinking that said hot mess is going to be an episode on Law&Order in one of their "ripped from the headlines" story lines. I'm thinking the accused artist will be shocked and dismayed that somone would actually think that he or she should be held accountable for their lyrical content.
If this song, in any way, to anyone, seems like a good idea or "harmless," I can only give you a train schedule and ask you to please proceed to the line that boards the train to the land of civilized humanity.

Meantime, here is a video response by hip hop activist Rosa Clemente to this atrocity called a record.