A Prayer For My Husband

image Sometimes we get so caught up in the cares of life that we forget to pray for the wonderful man God has provided as a blessing for us. This is just a prayer starter but it helps to get the prayer party going.

1. Lord bless my husband beyond that which he has room enough to receive.
2. Mold him into the man you’ve designed him to be. Help him to walk in the authority you’ve placed within him and in turn to fulfill his purpose by any means necessary.
3. Hide your word in his heart that he may not sin against you. Remind him to seek you first in every area of his life and every decision he makes for our family.
4. Teach him to love unconditionally. Help him to love this family with all of his heart. Let this love build the self esteem of our daughters and the self worth of our sons. Let him share his love out loud without shame and in order to teach us how to love.
5. Teach him to accept love. Help him to open his heart and receive the love we have for him but more importantly to accept the love you have for him.
6. Bless our relationship. Help us to love one another in the good times and the bad. Help me to be his support structure. The ear he needs to listen the shoulder he needs to cry on and the cheerleader he needs to push him forth into his destiny. Remove all barriers to our relationship and build our bond even stronger.
Thank you in advance for all you have done and are doing. I believe you for this wonderful work and trust you with this awesome man that you have blessed me with.
In you mighty name Jesus I pray
Amen

Leave a Legacy of Love

This is my first stab at a video instead of a written blog. Let me know what you think.

I Don’t Even Like Talking to You

So my husband just said, “I don’t even like talking to you!’

This was on the heels of a dumb disagreement as usual. I have to admit I went deep into my feelings, so deep even that I don’t want to talk to him at all. I realize this is childish and I need to get over it, but boy does it hurt. With this in mind it makes me think of how many times I have said something I surely didn’t mean, but once it came out I just couldn’t bring it back. Something that no apology could ever remove the pain and sting from, and that it would take so much reconstruction to undo.
Sadly this happens in marriage on a regular basis. We use words as weapons, then regret every one wishing a super sized eraser could just wipe them all away. How do we avoid this? It’s easy for me to say while refusing to speak to anyone who ‘doesn’t like to talk to me’ but I’ll try anyway:

1. Remember this is the love of your life and you are on the same team. In football the team would never purposely tackle the quarterback, regardless of the crappy plays he may make. Why do we do this in Marriage?

2. Words hurt and often leave invisible scars. Most of us would never strike our spouse physically but we strike one another with words on a regular basis. Stop it! Love overcomes hate every time.

3. Practice quality communication skills. What I neglected to share is that this statement came out because I regularly use sarcasm to stick it to my husband when he’s working my nerves. Sarcasm is one of the number one ways of derailing quality communication. Read, search blogs, talk to counselors or do whatever you can to acquire quality communication skills, because these skills could save your marriage.

4. Finally, God commads us to love one another. Enough said!

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

John 13:34-35

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Adultery Is a Choice

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My pastor just preached a great message about the woman caught in adultery. Although there were many pivotal statements, one that stood out for me was, ‘You can’t commit adultery and look like God.’ He unpacked that by sharing how God made us in his image and when we sin we no longer look like Him. He even went further to say when we no longer look like God, we no longer look like ourselves (we lose ourselves). DEEP I know.

My wondering is (especially for Christians): Knowing this how do we still fall for this same played out trick of the enemy.

So many Christian marriages end due to affair that it’s almost unbelievable. We make excuses like:

‘I don’t really know how it happened’ or

‘It just happened’ or

‘We were just friends and then…’ or even better

‘I didn’t mean for this to happen’

Adultery is a choice. You cannot slip and slide into it, it doesn’t happen by accident and it surely isn’t forced upon you. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, how do we avoid it?

The truth is it’s not as difficult as you may think. The Bible tells us to abstain from all appearance of evil. This means when it begins to feel uncomfortable: flee, when you have even the smallest question of whether or not something is appropriate: flee, when anyone says anything about the relationship (whether in jest or seriously): flee.

We always think we are better than the next person. ‘That could never happen to me because I’m stronger than that, or I’m too in love, or I’m committed to God.’ Do you really think the person playing and flirting around with someone way too often doesn’t believe they’re strong? Do you really believe that that individual who just put his or her ring in a pocket doesn’t love God or their spouse? And are you really convinced that the person lying in bed with someone else’s spouse didn’t say the same thing? Think again!

Our reality is our spirits are willing but our flesh is weak. We have all sinned and we fall short of God’s glory daily, we have to just recognize this upfront and ask God to send us the red flags and the accountability partners that are willing to tell us when our stuff stinks. We have to be humble enough to receive these words of reprimand as building and not breaking words. We also have to spend more uninterrupted time in the presence of God asking him to show us ourselves. Opening our spirits to hear God and not to shut him out is of utmost importance.

I apologize that this is not the feel good, go home and love your spouse post I usually write, but today’s message sparked a new level of responsibility in me for marriages. Our vows are a covenant that should not be broken, and to look like God we must protect that covenant by any means necessary.  

 

50 First Dates

50 Dating Ideas For Married Couples

I love Drew Barrymore. Her story of overcoming the overindulgence involved in living a celebrity lifestyle is inspiring, and her subsequent success makes her heroic and a creative genius. Although ‘50 First Dates’ wasn’t her best work, being a fan I went to see it. The movie’s premise sparked an idea in me. To give background to the movie:

Drew has amnesia so she does the same exact thing every day. One day however a handsome young man (Adam Sandler) encounters her routine and is awestruck. He strikes up a conversation and decides he would like to pursue her. This doesn’t set well with her friends and family but his persistence pays off and as most movies, they live happily ever after (once they experience the conflict and work through it).

As I said before this idea sparked something in me. As usual in the puppy love stage we are willing to do almost anything to please our significant other. Why does this stop once we get married?

So I pose the question

What would happen in our marriages if we were willing to do almost anything to make our spouse happy? That led me to the idea of writing a list of fifty dates.

This is a checklist to keep marrieds from singing ‘The Thrill is Gone’. You don’t have to do all of them, but realize this list covers one date night per week for one year. Also they don’t have to be done in order as your area will dictate what you can do and when you can do it. Finally feel free to replace a date idea with another that’s more pleasing to the two of you. Essentially the purpose is being intentional about making time for one another on a regular basis.  

JANUARY

 

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Week 1

Go to an eclectic museum in your area: Preferably somewhere neither of you have been so it’s a new experience you can share. Explore everything about the museum together and remember to take pictures to hold on to the memory. Find something inspiring, funny, entertaining etc… and be sure to have a conversation about it. Upon completion of the museum trip Eat Food (Sorry I’m an Elf fan).

In Pittsburgh we have the Andy Warhol, The Mattress Factory, The Heinz History Center and many more.

 

Week 2

Dinner and a movie: In much of the nation it’s cold. Inside fun is a great way to spend a date night. Take time to find a movie you will both enjoy. It may end up being an old film festival at an artsy theater instead of the regular movie theater, but do your research and make sure both will be pleased.

 

Week 3

Dance Class: Take a dance class and dance the night away. Many clubs and community colleges offer a series of classes for a small fee, so this could become a month long date night experience if you sign up.

 

Week 4

Go to a comedy club: Nothing bonds a couple more than a good hearty gut laugh. Take the time to find a good comedy club in your area, or research some comedy shows that are close enough for you and your spouse to get to.

 

February

 

 

Week 1

Read a book together: This could consist of either reading the book aloud together, or reading a chapter at a time and talking about it. This isn’t the time to pick a 500 page novel but a 100 page or less quick read may be a doable option for a date night.

 

Week 2

Roller skating: This can be fun for the entire family. Yes, a couple’s night is necessary but childcare can also become extremely pricey. A family date night can be great as long as it doesn’t always take the place of the two of you spending time alone.

 

Week 3

Sports event: Attend a sporting event the two of you can enjoy. This can be major or minor league the key is being together. If you aren’t the sports type and your spouse is, this may be the time to compromise and splurge on some $20 nachos to enjoy the experience.

 

Week 4

Pottery making: Never underestimate the power in building together. I have to be honest here. This is where my husband and my competitive natures would come out and I’m sure we would spend the day trying to get done first or have the larger work of art, but that’s our relationship in a nutshell. It is much more fulfilling to create something together and display it somewhere in your home to remind you of the wonderful evening you had together.

 

March

 

 

Week 1

Dancing: Many restaurants have dance floors. Find one that the two of you may enjoy and test it out. Enjoy a wonderful meal and then dance the night away. You may even test out the dance moves you learned when you went to dance class.

 

Week 2

Workout day: Workout together. This could include a trip to the gym where you go from machine to machine with one another, or a formal class the two of you participate in. Honestly you could even stay home and pop in a workout video and struggle through it together. It is often fun to watch or to be watched having a hard time with the program.

 

Week 3

Massage: Follow up workout day with a date to a spa. There are many spas that offer great deals for first time customers. The best experience Shel and I actually had was when we sprung for a couples massage. We were massaged side by side in a romantic room. We had soft music playing and at the end they put our hands together. It doesn’t have to be this involved but make it a great experience.

 

Week 4

Attend a car/RV/home show: These can be great because they are packed with people, there’s usually food and new and hot stuff everywhere. Take a walk through a new RV or sit in the new prototype of a future car. Overall just have a good time exploring knowing your creating memories that may soon be on the roads around you.  

 

April

 

 

Week 1

Attend a play: This can be a professional or a less than professional play but attend together and enjoy the evening.

 

Week 2

Brunch date: Rather than going to a restaurant in the area, take a mini road trip to a restaurant for brunch that’s an hour or two from where you live. This allows you to have talk time in the car, a good meal and a fun ride home. It takes on the feel of a vacation without the expense for accommodations.

 

Week 3

Jazz club: Attend a club or restaurant with live entertainment. Sit side by side so you can touch one another because often the music is too loud to allow for conversation. If there is a dance floor you may take some time to dance and enjoy yourselves but if not just bop back and forth to the sounds of music you love together.

 

Week 4

Bowling night: This may be fun with friends. The most important part of inviting friends on a date night is they must be positive. After your week of working and running, this is sacred time to enjoy your spouse. If you are going to invite anyone into this space, you cannot allow them to steal the joy you feel with one another.   

 

MAY

 

 

Week 1

Gallery crawl: Many areas have tours of the different artistic venues in order to introduce locals to treasures they may not be aware are right around them. Take part and possibly get to know your neighbors as you become familiar with the galleries around you.

 

Week 2

Boxing: This could get dangerous. Be sure to never, ever do this after an argument. However this is a great form of exercise and can be a lot of fun.

 

Week 3

Take in a cultural experience: Find an opera a ballet or some other cultural experience you might not otherwise attend.  If this is your norm, then change up; attend a spoken word show or something that is simply outside of what you regularly enjoy. Whether you like it or not, you can put a definitive answer to why and you get to spend more time together.

 

Week 4

Street Fair: Most areas have street fairs and festivals. Research some of the more popular and spend a day together browsing and enjoying the vendors, food and shows.

 

JUNE

 

 

Week 1

Canoeing. If you live near water most waterfront areas have rentals of canoes which are very inexpensive. Rent a canoe and spend the day paddling on the water.

 

Week 2

Go to an amusement park: Scream your heads off and act like kids

 

Week 3

Bike riding: This is a great form of exercise and it can be fun. Find a trail for safety and ride the day away.

 

Week 4

City tour: Most cities offer some type of city tour to introduce the locals to what’s in the area. There are walking tours but for this find some type of vehicle. This could be a Just Ducky type, a Double Decker bus, or horse and buggy. Just find some different way to tour the city preferably with a tour guide. Hold on to at least one piece of information you learn from the tour to share with friends. This knowledge will impress others and remind you of your special day.

 

JULY

 

 

Week 1

The Zoo: Animals make great conversation pieces for a date. Spend the day at the zoo acting silly and joking about the antics of the animals. The Pittsburgh Zoo even has a behind the scenes tour where you can spend time petting and learning about some of the animals. This is a great experience to share with your spouse.

 

Week 2

A boat ride: There’s something about being on water that immediately breeds romance. Whether you do a pontoon, rent a speed boat or get on a large tour boat with others, make the best of it and make it as romantic as possible.

 

Week 3

Drive-in movies: If your area no longer has a drive-in movie theater take a portable DVD player or a computer out to the car and make a night of it. Otherwise set up shop in your car at the drive-in and have a great time. We often take a bag of snacks and depending on which theater we go to, we grab a pizza or some other food that will hold.

 

Week 4

Take a vacation. If possible make it just the two of you, and even if it’s only an overnight trip, have the time of your lives. Plan every detail from where you’ll eat to what you’ll do. This could be anything from walking a special park, boardwalk or city attraction to never leaving the room (wink, wink). If alone is not an option, find somewhere with activities to occupy kids so you can get some alone time. Most resorts have some type of childcare or camp activities.

 

AUGUST

 

 

Week 1

Rent a Segway: Many cities now teach you how to ride a Segway, and then allow you to rent one for a certain time period. Rent a Segway and have a ball.

 

Week 2

Sky diving: I realize this is not for everyone and it can get pretty expensive but the key to this date is to do something daring together. This could be bungee jumping, rock climbing, aerial yoga or eating the atomic wings at Quaker Steak.   It will create a memory that’s lasts a lifetime and at Quaker Steak your names will be on the wall for at least one year.

 

Week 3

A scenic walk. Walking, talking and holding hands allows you to pour into one another by slowing down to smell the roses. This walk could be to a mountain peak, or just the largest area park. Waterfalls are nice and romantic and so are expansive views. Consider taking a basket with you or just something you can eat when you get to a somewhat secluded yet beautiful point along your walk.

 

Week 4

Cooking class: Get your juices flowing as you attend a class and create culinary masterpieces together. The greatest part of this date is you get to eat all of your art.

 

September

 

 

Week 1

Blind Date: Although you know one another, who says you can’t surprise your spouse with a date night he/she knows nothing about. Plan everything from the clothing to the venue. Make it interesting and an evening neither of you will ever forget.

 

Week 2

Food Tasting Tour: Spend the evening/day together walking a heavily populated area rich with restaurants. Go from restaurant to restaurant either asking for samples or testing a small item on their menu. Sharing is romantic and leaves you with more money to use at each venue. This experience familiarizes you with restaurants you might not otherwise try in your area and of course allows you to do this together.

 

Week 3

Piano Bars: If Karaoke is just too daring for you but you still love to sing, a piano bar may be just your thing. You get to sing along to songs you usually know at least some of the words to, and you develop a bond with those around you who can’t help but belt out a verse or chorus when that special song comes on.

 

Week 4

Go to an ethnic restaurant: Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Mexican whatever you may like try one. The best way to go is somewhere that completely immerses you in the culture so you come away feeling like you had an experience rather than just a date.

 

OCTOBER

 

 

Week 1

Winery: Whether you drink wine or not wineries are a wonderful experience. The ultimate is a wine tasting tour. It is interesting because it teaches you how the wine is made, allows you to tour a beautiful facility and it’s usually pretty romantic.  For those of us that enjoy indulging a little, the pies de resistance is you get to try the wine. Many wineries also have restaurants now. This allows the experience and then you get to ‘Eat food’. I can add I have not had a bad experience at a winery’s restaurant yet (fingers crossed)

 

Week 2

Home Depot: I never thought I’d advocate for a building supply store on a date, but hearing how many people enjoy it floored me (pardon the pun). Take a day and go to your nearest Lowe’s, Home Depot or other home improvement/builder supply store. You can dream of things you’d love to have and plan some projects you may eventually work on together.

 

Week 3

Karaoke: I know some people cringe at the idea of Karaoke. Being the audience is fun because you get to act like an AI judge and laugh and enjoy yourself. Being the stars is also great because it turns date night into a memorable experience.

 

Week 4

Community Education: Community colleges usually offer courses to the general public for a small fee. These classes range from balancing a checkbook to speaking French. Taking one of these classes guarantees time together and allows you both to better yourself in that time.

 

NOVEMBER

 

 

Week 1

Dave and Busters or an arcade. Food and Fun enough said.

 

Week2

Complete something on your bucket list: Since the movie “Bucket List” came out many people have written their own. Share your list and if you haven’t written one take some time to do that, and then find some things you can do together to check off the completion of your dreams.

 

Week 3

Scavenger hunt date:  This will take some planning. Plant clues and prizes all over the place. This can happen in your house or at a local mall if you can get agreement from vendors. Make your spouse do all kinds of crazy activities and document every minute of it.

 

Week 4

Dinner Theater: This can get a little pricey. Sheldon and I try to justify the cost by cutting it in half and seeing half for the price of the food and half for the price of the entertainment. A more economical option could be going to a semi-professional performance which is often offered at restaurants to draw patrons. The experience however is unmatched even when the acting is bad (bad acting turns even the most dramatic script into a comedy). You get to spend the evening with the love of your life, eating and being entertained.  

 

DECEMBER

 

 

Week 1

Volunteer work: Serving others not only helps the community, but it makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. Serving others together creates a stronger bond between you. Find some volunteer opportunities that allow you to do something great. This could be anything from serving meals to cleaning up an outside area but it serves multiple purposes.

 

Week2

Themed movie night. Rent a movie or pull out an oldie but goodie from your collection and plan an evening at home celebrating that theme. For example if it’s Why Did I Get Married make a cute little wedding cake, drink out of flutes and eat on decorative (paper) plates (let’s keep it economical). You may even want to dress up as bride and groom just to be extreme and a little silly.

 

Week 3

Ice Skating. Tis the season. Most areas have an ice rink open to celebrate the holiday season. If you know how to ice skate it can be fun and if you don’t, falling together will be exhilarating and hilarious. Pictures are a must.

 

Week 4

Living Room Basket: Lay out a blanket in the living or a private space, put a basket together of some of your favorite things, and spend the evening/day acting as if you’re in the middle of a park despite the fact that it’s the middle of winter.

 

Alternate

Game Night: Find a game the two of you love and spend the entire evening playing and having a great time together.

 

Alternate

Horse Back Riding: There’s just something romantic about horseback riding. I don’t know exactly what it is, but it can often lead to an awesome evening of enjoyment.

 

 

 May your fountain be blessed,
    and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.
A loving doe, a graceful deer—
    may her breasts satisfy you always,
    may you ever be intoxicated with her love

Proverbs 5:18-19

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Make Me Happy

This is the age of entitlement. The young people of today feel like they are entitled to every luxury known to man. They almost dare you to even try to withhold any good thing from them. Unfortunately this is what happens in many of our marriages. We begin to feel like ‘your job is to make me happy, so get to it.’
This never comes across well. Realistically no demand comes across well. There’s almost no way to tell someone they have to do something and make them feel good about it, even if it was something they were planning to do.
In this day and age of microwave no fault divorce, it’s easy to get to the place where we say if you’re not happy get out. There are other fish in the sea, you can do better, He was a zero go find you a hero, you deserve better… the list goes on and on.
What if instead of exercising our RIGHT to that microwave no fault divorce, we decided to stick it out and make it work?

Statistically arranged marriages outlast marriages of choice. The global divorce rate for arranged marriages is only four percent. I know that sounds crazy but it is true. I heard some tips from a friend whose parents had an arranged marriage that is now in its fiftieth year. She said the key to their success was they had to make it work so they learned to fall in love over and over again. They got to know each other inside and out because they had no choice.
If that’s the case why don’t those of us who get the opportunity to choose our mate choose to make it work? Why don’t we choose to fall in live over and over again? What a novel idea that would be.
I have a great idea for those of you struggling in the area of loving and liking your mate. It will take some ultimate sacrifice and it might not pay off the dividends you expect, but it will definitely pay off. The key is going in with the mentality of service. Alright here it goes and I must add this is not my idea but a couple of friends of mine (shoutout to Ted and Tonya).
The game is called ‘Make Me Happy’
The rules:
Do everything in your power to make your spouse happy everyday. That’s it!
The ultimate goal is to make your spouse happy by doing little acts of service all day long. They compete to make the coffee and serve it to their spouse just the way he/she likes it……. They compete to warm up the car or to make breakfast in bed, or to massage the feet without being asked… The list goes on and on.
This will take great attention to detail. You’ll be forced to learn your spouse’s favorite things. You’ll have to work at finding out your spouse’s likes and dislikes. You’ll also have to be intetional at making their day. Can you agree that serving often feels better than receiving? This is the inteded outcome. Serving your spouse will make you feel good and guess what, the added benefit is they get so ovewhelmed and overjoyed by your service that they give one in return.
One warning:never let your spouse know what you did to make them happy, or use it in an argument or as a bargaining chip. These things automatically negate all of the positive energy that went into trying to make your spouse happy. It may take some time for your spouse to notIce all of the things your are doing for him, but never tell him.
Have you ever had someone give you a gift and then remind you that they gave you that gift every time you saw them? Yeah that annoyance you just remembered, is what telling your spouse what you did feels like. On the flip side never tell your spouse what to do for you unless asked. This comes across like the entitled youth of our generation and it puts a bad taste in the mouth of your spouse. It comes across as naggin rather than asking.
To add to that make sure you ask periodically what you can do to make your spouse happy. Sometimes we assume we know when in actuality we were way off. We buy the new car when all they wanted was a back rub. Whew missed the mark on that one. So asking is key. It gives your spouse the opportunity to share without feeling like a nag and it helps you get in tune with him/her.
Make me happy. The exciting thing is such little effort will breathe life into your marriage. If 21 days forms a habit then this habit will become common place and making your spouse happy will become your life’s goals.
Fellas the saying goes ‘happy wife happy life’ and ladies this holds true for the husbands as well, it just doesn’t sound as good. Maybe we can make one up: ‘happy hubby makes life bubbly’ I don’t know but I’m sure you get the picture.
Spending your life making your spouse happy is the greatest service you will ever give to your family.

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many
Mark 10:45

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