Hi Friends, Jemeia here! I know that it has been a while, but, I am back with another couple interview for the To the Single Woman series! This week, we have our VERY own Hanha Hobson, Founder of the Transparency Blog! She needs no introduction. The masses already know how AMAZING SHE IS! This week, you will hear her take on how to navigate the hard stuff that comes up in Christ-centered relationships. Next week, you will hear from her boyfriend, Keith, Founder of Nvision (read the post here). Talk about power-couple, Am I RIOGHT?!?. Okay, let me stop the antics now! Grab you some tea because my girl, Hanha, went all in for y’all! Enjoy!
1. Tell us a little bit about your season(s) of singleness? Are there any particular lessons that you learned, which strengthened your faith? If so, what are some of those?
My period of singleness was actually very short when compared to a lot of other women. I was in a very long and committed relationship my senior year of high school and first 3 years of college. That relationship ended the summer before my senior year started, and that’s when my season of singleness actually began. It lasted for about 8 months until I met Keith, but the first 5 months were spent grieving over my last relationship and talking to guys that I honestly should have never entertained.
So, I feel like I didn’t live freely in my season of singleness until 5 months in. I was always spending time with God throughout those 8 months, but I felt the most whole when I spent the last 3 months with God alone. Instead of talking to a guy at night, I spent time with God in prayer or reading my Bible. There were no distractions – just me and God.
I think my faith strengthened as a result of spending more time with God, but I don’t think there was a huge revelation that I received. I was just happy. I was happy to spend time with myself by myself – and then I really started to learn the beauty of female friendships. I spent more time with friends and learned how to cultivate those relationships. Singleness, although short, was beautiful for me. I loved it!
2. Are there any life lessons from your singleness that have helped you in your current relationship?
I know this sounds crazy, but I don’t think there were any lessons I learned from singleness that prepared me for a relationship. Singleness taught me how to love myself fiercely and it helped me learn a lot about myself. More importantly, it helped me grow in my relationship with God without any distractions.
But when I started dating Keith, all of that was challenged. Instead of choosing myself, I had to learn how to choose another person. I had to learn how to grow in my relationship with God and balance time with someone else. My relationship only became a mirror that reflected all the parts about myself that I needed to work on. I’ll discuss this later in the post, but God has used my singleness as well as my relationship to help me grow as a person. Both involved the process of sanctification.
3. What is your side of the story on how you and Keith met?
Keith and I met at church! I was sitting in front of him one Sunday morning, and I noticed that there was this really cute guy sitting behind me. I didn’t think anything of it because when we met, I wasn’t looking for a relationship at all. I was single and loving it. But after service, he came up to me and said,
Hey, I just want you to know that I think you’re extremely beautiful.
I said thank you, and then he proceeds to ask me questions and make small talk. He told me later on that he did that to make sure that I wasn’t crazy. (HA!) But after about 5-10 minutes of that, he said that he had to go and he asked if I’d be willing to give him my number. It was a very easy yes for me lol. Lowkey felt like I blurted out yes.
He asked if he could put his number in my phone since he left his in the car. I gave him my phone, and then he asked, “What’s your favorite color?” I said blue, and then he said, “I’ll put a blue heart next to my name so you don’t forget who I am.”
So then he texted me whenever he got to his phone and told me that it was nice to meet me and that was that, but I must mention that there were a ton of other things that happened between now and then in which I dropped him twice – once because I was convinced that he couldn’t spell lol and second because I thought being with him would be too much, but here we are – almost two years later.
4. What do you admire most about Keith?
There are many things that I admire about Keith – but one of the things I admire most about him is his ability to love people WELL. I don’t know any other person who is more gracious, understanding, and loving towards people. He’s one of those people that EVERYONE loves and everybody wants to be his friend. He can be friends with anybody because he’s a great listener and he’s so easy going.
He never judges people. I always get convicted talking to him because when I might mention something about someone, he says something along the lines of, “Who Cares?” Or I’m the type of person that will easily cut someone off, but Keith is so loyal and gracious. He sticks with his no matter what and I admire this because it reflects the love of Christ so well!
5. I truly consider you and Keith to be a power couple #forHISKINGDOM, because you founded the Transparency Blog and He is the co-founder of Nvision. Also, he has his own podcast! Can you tell us about TB and some of your exciting projects coming up?
I have no idea how to answer this question. There are so many ideas running around in my head, so I do not know which one is going to come out first. I know for SURE that I’ve been working on finishing #TheConfessionsProject devotional book, and my goal is to have it published by this fall!
I also plan on launching the T-Time community (haven’t exactly settled on a name yet), but it’s a community for women that are looking to be more confident in who God has called them to be and grow with other women looking to do the same. It will involve virtual workshops, interviews with special guests, a Facebook group and more! I’m looking to launch that this summer, so stay tuned for that!
Now, we are going to talk about sanctification in your current relationship with Keith.
6. You mentioned that the following areas have been highlighted in your current relationship:
- For each topic tell us the following:
Briefly, what did that issue look like before this relationship AND during? What are you learning about it in your relationship, how do you feel it impacts your partner and your personal life/relationship with God? How have you grown in this area as a result of your relationship and where do you still need to grow? Give us some practical advice for dealing with this issue.
Expectation: I think I always had this romantic fantasy and idea of how a man was supposed to treat me in a relationship. I had built up these unrealistic expectations that he was going to sweep me off my feet and then we would live happily ever after, but it doesn’t always look like that. At the end of the day, you’re dating another human who has their own sins, and some men don’t always know what we want as women. I had to stop expecting that Keith would be perfect or that he could read my mind on what I wanted.
For example, I had expectations built around romance like randomly bringing me flowers to my job, hiding little love notes for me to find, etc. But when I started dating Keith, he was very clear that some of my expectations were reserved for marriage. It doesn’t help that we’re in a long distance relationship, so I think that put a lot of strain on the relationship too. But practically, it boils down to communication. We have to constantly check in with each other, ask good questions, and be clear about what we’re looking for from the other person.
Selfishness/Control/Maturity: I think a lot of this was revealed through the unrealistic expectations I had for a relationship. I noticed a lot of my selfishness and immaturity whenever Keith and I would get into arguments. For example, I had a bad habit of attacking his character whenever we argued – and it’s mainly because I’ve seen that happen within my own family when we argued with one another. Or when I would get upset, I would completely shut down and I didn’t want to talk or communicate.
These are things that I had to work on and I’m happy to say that I’ve definitely gotten better at communicating and expressing my feelings. I realized that I did this so that I could somehow emotionally manipulate Keith to behave in a way that I wanted. But I had to realize that I couldn’t make him do anything and he was not obligated or responsible for my happiness. Only God could fill that void.
Self-Righteousness: When I first started dating Keith, I thought that I was “more saved” or more spiritually mature than him. I was completely wrong. If anything, I realized over time that this guy challenged my faith, and I couldn’t necessarily argue with the Word because He knew His Word too! I remember saying some scripture one time during an argument, and he quickly told me that I was taking the verse out of context. LOL
But my pride in the form of self-righteousness was actually one of the first things that the Holy Spirit convicted me of in our relationship. I learned that as long as Keith was seeking God through his personal relationship with Him, their relationship wasn’t any of my business. It was between the both of them, and I should only be focused on the areas that I need to improve. That’s the beauty of dating with God in the center; there are 3 parties in the relationship, not 2.
Purity: This was probably one of the most challenging things that I have dealt with in relationships. There’s no other way to explain it! Remaining pure is hard, and at one point, I didn’t even see the point in trying because we kept messing up. We never “crossed the line,” but I don’t think any of those blurred lines matter to God because sexual impurity, no matter what form, is still impurity. Whether you’re having sexual intercourse, oral sex, or any form of foreplay, God is not pleased.
But I don’t want this to sound harsh in any way. When you’re deeply invested and emotionally committed to a person, it’s difficult to not want to express that love in a physical way. But Keith and I had to set very hard boundaries with each other. There came a point where we had to decide what was more important – our fleshly desires and comfort or pleasing God. From that decision, we chose to spend more time in public and not spend the night with one another, change clothes in front of each other, etc. I don’t think we even kiss each other for long periods of time anymore because it can turn either one of us on.
7. What advice would you give your single self?
My advice – enjoy it! There are so many factors that come into play when you start dating someone, especially if they are the person you see yourself marrying! Build your empire, move, travel, do it all because once you start dating, it becomes a lot more challenging because you’ll be taking their life into account too.
8. Now, picture your sister (old or young) future daughter, or a female in your life that you really care about – what advice would you give her about what she deserves, what red flags would you advise her to look out for if and when she starts to date? Feel free to add any advice on (being single, intentional and pursuing men, and how to respect men).
Girl, you deserve the whole world. You deserve the BEST of the best, and although I don’t believe in “the one,” I do believe that God is preparing His best for you. When you look for a partner, be sure that it is someone that is pursuing God first. God is the only one that provides the best example of how to pursue someone and love them. Your guy will not be able to pursue you correctly or even love you with the love of Christ if He is not looking to God as his guide.Your guy will not be able to pursue you correctly or even love you with the love of Christ if He is not looking to God as his guide. Click To Tweet
Second, make sure that He knows himself and is pursuing purpose. When it comes to a relationship, you should be looking to date with the intention of marriage. You will save yourself a lot of pain by doing that. If a man does not know himself, he will not know what to do with his life. And if he doesn’t know his purpose, you will have a hard time understanding where you might be going as a couple. From the beginning, if he is not going where you see yourself going, you will find yourself pulled in two different directions when it’s time to settle down and get married.
And lastly, when looking or dating a guy, do not fall for empty promises. Men, or people for that matter, will always be recognized for their ACTIONS. If they speak empty words or empty promises, let them go early before your feelings get involved. Their actions will always show the intentions of their heart way before their words do, and I’ll finish answering this question with how I started it – you deserve THE best. Someone who can be trusted with their words and actions.Actions will always show the intentions of their heart way before their words do. Click To Tweet
9. Now, picture your son, brother, best friend, what advice can you give him on any of these topics (being single, intentional and pursuing women, and how to respect women). Feel free to also give advice here on what he deserves, what red flags you would advise him to look out for if and when he starts to date?
Take the time to pursue your relationship with God and know yourself first before seeking a relationship. Everything you do will stem from that, and you will not be able to lead a godly relationship outside of that. And if you’re not ready for a relationship, please do not waste your time or a woman’s time. Their hearts are not worth your personal comfort!
Also be creative! Most women like surprises or they like to be pampered. If you show that you are going out of your way to be thoughtful towards her, you will always reap the benefits. And side note, making fun of her as cute jokey jokes is not always funny! It might be jokes to you, but sometimes we’re sensitive. Or maybe that’s just me.
But this is really important advice: if a woman breaks your heart, do NOT let that harden your heart. Do not start taking advantage of women because of past hurt. Find healing from your heartbreak and look to God in your pain. You’re going to have to deal with that emotional baggage whether it’s now or later. It’s best to deal with it now rather than letting it build up over time.
Phew! Was that not amazing and REAL? Thank you, Hanha, for being true to your brand and always being transparent! Make sure to read Keith’s interview here!
Photos taken by Magonila and Park.
Jemeia is passionate about Jesus, social justice, health and wellness, self-care, and self-love. She started writing because she’s a firm believer that the Gospel can speak to any situation we face in life. Her heart is to be vulnerable and share what she’s battling in hopes of assuring women that they are not alone. Even though she’s a huge introvert, she says that she can eat for about three people and loves discovering new music! But most time, you can find her binge-watching a series on Netflix or Hulu.