A Realistic Guide To Love (Part 6.. Little People)

Good evening everyone! I hope your Wednesday has been good so far! I am really exhausted, but I wanted to write this out for you first.

We are almost done with this blog series, which is from an article in the January/February 2011 issue of Relevant Magazine. To start with Part 1, click here.

Enjoy Part 6!

———————–

Little People

Many non-parents believe life ends with parenting. Not end like die, just end like the You who had purpose, direction, career, style, humor, friends and romance will dissolve into an unrecognizable smear in the parking lot of Babies “R” Us. Meanwhile, two characters from a movie you never chose to watch will enter your home. These intruders (“Mommy and Daddy”) will hold your life and self hostage.

As if through the slats of the closet where the real You is tied up, you watch Mommy sit around telling friends about stroller  brands, bowel movements, childbirth and Winnie the Pooh. Mommy goes to Mommy Groups. She worries about diaper rash and teething and school districts. She has nothing to say to single men. She shops for little plastic cups of chopped peaches and SpongeBob fruit gummy snacks and calls it enough of an outing for a day. When she climbs into bed she squirms to the far edge of the bed and shrieks: ” Don’t touch me! I’ve been touched all day. All I want is a little sleep!” Mommy definitely, assuredly, is not any fun.

Meanwhile, Daddy goes off, tired, to his nine-to-five job, stopping on the way home to buy diapers, frozen dinners and butt-rash cream. He comes in to find Mommy crying in baggy sweats, a bucket of board books overturned on his favorite chair, baby wipes strewn down the hallway, a Johnny Jump Up blocking his escape to the bathroom. He picks up Howling Baby, who wails louder, poops and is promptly snatched from his hands by teary Mommy. He just wants to leave, even if for an extended research project in the Sahara. Daddy and Mommy rarely look at each other’s faces. When they do, the talk about Baby. It becomes hard to do anything that might lead to another baby.

Parenting doesn’t have to be this way. Yo, your free and joyful life, and your romance can live on, and even thrive, if you know what to expect and how to tackle it.

You will talk about your offspring. A lot. It’s inevitable.  Embrace this, and let it bind you and your spouse together. Parenting has a steep learning curve, but it’s one of the best classrooms about God and life you will ever encounter. Your spouse is there to help you process the day’s lessons.

It is also inevitable that your child will be with you, often right in the middle of you. Get used to it. Don’t wait for the baby to be out of the room to show your love.  Demonstrate love to your spouse through any and all means available to you–repeating baby babble to elicit giggles, carrying out the trash, folding laundry. These can take on a surprisingly romantic glow amidst the mayhem.

Take your life in your own hands. Don’t allow parenting to consume you. Keep those dates coming. Swap babysitting with someone–your child really will survive without you for an hour, an evening and even a week as time passes. Or take baby with. Children travel. Newborns, especially, are remarkably like purses–they don’t care at all about culture shock, new languages or different homes as long as they’ve got you holding them. Starting young will get you trained to continue family adventures as they grow.

And don’t scrap your friendships–with other parents, with your small group, with single and childless friends. A child really is so much better off when raised by  a village. One reason parenting feels like a frightening black hole before we become parents ourselves is that our culture does a rotten job of facilitating relationships outside our own life stage. We all need people besides just our own spouses for processing doubts, fears, questions, hopes and all that. Don’t become an island–let other people watch your children; host small group at your house and let the kids be part of it; don’t feel like you have to leave for bedtime, but let your kids fall asleep at a friends’ house while you stay up talking and laughing together–just like you used to.

—————-

Until next time readers, God Bless!

**Thanks for reading! Please take a moment and subscribe to my RSS Feed or for an email subscription click ” Subscribe To This Blog” on the right side of your page.

A Realistic Guide to Love (Part 2..Dating)

Good morning readers! I hope everyone enjoyed  Part 1 of this series yesterday. If you missed it, click here.

Again, I am taking this time to give Relevant Magazine’s January/February 2011 issue the credit for the following material. Today we will take a look at the section entitled Dating.

—————————-

Call it “courting” for the Victorian allure. Call it “chronically hanging out.” Call it “mate-hunting.” Or just call it dating. Christmas is over, and romance is in the ir as the Big Day of Red, White and Roses approaches. Throughout the years, some have kissed dating goodbye, while others have kissed marriage goodbye. But dating does give you a chance to check people out, see whether you might be a match or if you find each other annoying. On the other hand, chronic short-term dating holds its own challenges and risks, including an unhealthy and unhelpful consumer attitude to relationships, less regard for the needs of the other person and more temptation to touch where you shouldn’t. If you do decide to date, keep a few things in mind.

First off, don’t be Seinfeld. Over the course of that old sitcom, Jerry, George and even Kramer dropped more than a hundred girlfriends, most for little things like shushing or napkin-doodling. Get over these. Realize you will annoy one another. Whatever–love isn’t about finding someone who meets your laundry list of a thousand perfect details.

Next, learn the Mars and Venus stuff– men and women are different. These aren’t straightjackets for how you will (or should) always behave. But you might as well get familiar with the basics and then apply them (with discernment and in addition to other fillers, such as personality profiles and love languages) to help you better understand each other.

That brings us to communication. Do it. Talk about everything. Talk about little things, like the first time you hold hands. Talk about past relationships, current needs and future hopes. Talk about what relationships you saw growing up. It feels weird, but starting with the end in mind helps you start off right. And as you read on, date on and love on, you’ll see that all this is key.

The longer you are in a relationship, the more likely it is you will hurt each other badly. You and the one you love most will probably cause more pain in each other’s lives than in the lives of the other 6 billion people on the planet. Ask forgiveness often, and forgive even more. Because you’re a jerk too.

Oh, and on purity– it’s very difficult to put hard and fast, works-for-everyone rules on this. But waiting until marriage to have sex isn’t about following some outmoded legalistic rule so the virgin bride gets to wear a white dress. It’s about following the caring advice of a God who knows what’s in our own best interest. Having sex feels like a secret and momentary thing at the time, but it’s like getting a 12-inch tattoo across your heart–it will affect you and anyone you’re intimate with for your lifetime. That said, if you have already joined the ranks of the non-virgins, it’s not too late to have an honest talk with God–and then your loved one–about the baggage you’re carrying. Wherever you’re at, give sex the due diligence of commitment it deserves.

————————

Wow! Powerful words here. They speak a lot don’t they? Hopefully they spoke to you, even if you aren’t in the dating scene anymore. Stay tuned tomorrow for more.

Until next time readers, God Bless!

**Thanks for reading! Please take a moment and subscribe to my RSS Feed or for an email subscription click ” Subscribe To This Blog” on the right side of your page.

The Saint Behind The Valentine

Good evening readers! Well, it is getting cold here in Oklahoma again. Snow is on its way, so I thought I would sit down and do some writing. This post and some of a few future posts will be mentioning content from the January/February 2011 issue of Relevant Magazine. There are several great articles in there, I just had to share them.

The article I wanted to feature tonight was the article entitled The Saint Behind The Valentine. Enjoy!

The Saint Behind The Valentine

(St.) Valentine’s Day is almost here. But who was the person this Hallmark cash cow is named after?

First things first: No one is totally sure which Valentine is the “real” saint. There were several martyrs who all died around the same time and all claim the day of Feb. 14 as their day of observance.

Here’s what we do know: There was definitely a St. Valentine. And he was probably a priest of some sort in the ancient church in Rome. According to most sources, he performed weddings and helped Christians who were undergoing persecutions under Emperor Claudius II (who was emperor during a long stretch where Christianity was illegal and emperor worship was commanded). He was arrested and imprisoned. According to legend, Claudius II liked Valentine… until Valentine tried to convert him. Then it was off with Valentine’s head (literally).

So what does that have to do with nude, arrow-wielding cherubs and awkward love notes? Well, that’s where the legend part really becomes legend. Apparently, on the eve of his execution, he left a farewell note for his jailer’s daughter and signed it, “From your Valentine.” And, because of his role as marriage-performer, he was made patron saint of happy marriages and romantic love.

Apart from all of the nonsense the holiday has come to summarize, St. Valentine’s story does serve as an example of a radical commitment to Christ. And it’s a powerful testament to the sacred covenant Christian marriage  can be–if Valentine really died for performing weddings, it seems appropriate that the day would, in the end, remember him.

————————–

So readers, what do you think? What are you doing for Valentine’s Day?

**Thanks for reading! Please take a moment and subscribe to my RSS Feed or for an email subscription click ” Subscribe To This Blog” on the right side of your page.