A Realistic Guide To Love (Part 5.. You Got Something To Say To Me?)

Good evening everyone! I hope everyone’s Valentine’s Day was a success. Even though I know it is over, I want to continue the blog series I am sharing.

To start on Part 1, click here.

Just like the last posts, I am taking this information from the January/February issue of Relevant Magazine. It just had some really good stuff that I couldn’t help to share. So, enjoy Part 5!

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You Got Something To Say To Me? (How To Fight Well)

1. Remember You Are On The Same Team

In the middle of a fight, it’s easy to forget that not only do you love this person, you also ultimately want the same things. Remind yourself that you’re in this thing together, and try to figure out how you can help each other get what you both need and want.

2. You Can Stop– Really!

You don’t have to fight and fight until you come to a resolution(or one of you gives up). Take a timeout–especially if one or both of you are internal processors. Write down your thoughts, pray for one another separately and then come back together to talk it out.

3. Avoid Reliving the Same Fights Again and Again

If you’re not satisfied with where the fight ends, you’re going to have it again in a few days. If you hit an impasse, don’t just give up. Set a time to talk later, then come to a conclusion you can point back to. If you can’t agree, bring in a mentor or counselor to help.

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Now I know readers, that sometimes it isn’t that easy. Maybe it could be. The next time you get into a fight with a loved one, think of those three little ideas, and maybe the outcome will be different from what you think.

Until next time readers, God Bless!

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A Realistic Guide To Love (Part 4..Slumps & Ruts)

Good afternoon readers! What a beautiful day it is here in Oklahoma City. The weather is awesome today! I hope that those of you celebrating Valentine’s tomorrow are prepared and ready to go.. I know I am!

Anyway, today we are going to continue the series about love. To start at the beginning click here.

Today we are going to touch on the subject of the slumps and ruts of marriage. Life isn’t perfect. Humans aren’t perfect. So why do we expect them to be?

As I have been doing, this blog series is coming from the January/February 2011 issue of Relevant Magazine. Enjoy!

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Slumps & Ruts

This is where the “marriage is work” stuff really ramps up–everybody has rough patches in their marriage. You get tired. You see their mistakes. There are low-grade, grinding annoyances for both of you.

“Date your mate.” These words have come to us from a bunch of you, wise, well-married folks. Another pithy saying explains why it’s so important: “Familiarity breeds contempt.” It’s easy to start to forget one another, to lose sight of what brought you together. That’s a problem, as it’s often what keeps you together. You must be disciplined in having fun. Make sure it happens, and make sure it’s really fun.

Money causes tons of marital strife. Commit to viewing money as the Bible does. That means no greed, no coveting, no hoarding, no waste and no selfishness. But rather give, save, steward, enjoy, share and use money. When you take the Bible seriously on money, it sets some pretty significant parameters for how you can think about and relate to resources. Talk openly about your spending choices, consider your money yours together (not owned by the one whose name is on the paycheck), and when there is a discord about finances, err on the side of loving your spouse (after explaining your perspective) rather than squeezing the life out of your principles.

Talk about your life, even when it seems boring. Verbally processing lets your spouse know he or she is valuable enough to be in on the decisions and emotions you face during the day.

And listen to your spouse talking about his or her life, even when it seems boring. They’ve trusted you with the emotional energy of telling you about  what happened today, so listen. Learn to ask good questions . Learn to repeat back what they’ve said in ways that say you heard between the lines and you care.

Talk about temptations, and don’t put yourself in temptation’s way. Have  close same-sex friends who you can talk to about temptations and challenges. Watch your attitudes and subtle cues in any relationships with the opposite sex, and give particular attention to ones your spouse doesn’t share.

In the same way you aim to stay faithful to one another, stay connected to church and to a community that supports your faith and your commitment to one another. Find a couple who has walked the walk a few more years or stages than you. Soak in wisdom and perspective by osmosis, then ask questions of those who share your worldview and priorities and are happily married. There’s no shame in finding a small group not just to be a perfect Christian, but because you’re really needy.

Pay attention to what makes your spouse feel loved, and  do it, even if it seems trite or unromantic. Ask what he or she likes– don’t assume you’ve got this all figured out. Those roses you’ve been pouring your savings into might mean far less to her than a foot rub, an evening snuggle in front of a movie or taking her turn washing dishes. And he might really desire more or different sex, or he might be happier if you played tennis together, read to each other, cooked more nice meals or kept a cleaner car.

Two Paths Diverged In A Wood…

Laying our dreams down for another is contrary to most messages we hear today. But if you can’t make sacrifices for your loved one–if you can’t say, “My spouse is more important to me that my dream” — your love will get slammed as you face the tough questions of life.

Questions like who will pay the bills if you both want to go back to school? What if babies come when you have fulfilling jobs but also want someone to stay home?  How will you balance a job offer in Seattle with family in Kentucky? What if you dreamed of moving to Europe, but the years are ticking onward in any direction but there?

Make your dreams and plans together early. Be honest now, so you’re not surprised  later by warring wishes. Talk about how many kinds you want, how far you want to live from home and how important your career is. Then expect these to change. As they do, keep talking to see how things fit, and say how you feel about it. Be honest with your desires, but also willing to give.

When two paths diverge in a wood, you need to take just one. Together.

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Well I hope all of you gained something from that. Have a great day tomorrow!

Until next time readers, God Bless!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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A Realistic Guide To Love (Part 1)

Good morning everyone! I pray that each and every one of you will have a great day today.

As I stated in my last blog post, I am sharing with you some articles that I found in the January/February 2011 of Relevant Magazine. The following article I will be breaking up into sections, because it is longer than I want to put in just one post. So sit back and enjoy!

A Realistic Guide To Love (What True Intimacy Looks Like At Every Stage) by Adam and Chrissy Jeske

Love. It’s a word that brings out the sappy in some, the shivers in others and a steely-eyed determination in still others. For everything it is (and everything it isn’t), love is rarely portrayed very realistically. Most of our pop culture–which, really, is where many of us have learned what love”is”–depicts love either at the beginning, during that stage of all-consuming romance, or at the end, in the final throes of soul-crushing monogamy. But we don’t live every day in the extremes; like so many things, love is simultaneously more complicated and simpler than we think. Love is mostly about the mundane, everyday, pragmatic details. This realistic guide to love offers tips and advice on the nitty-gritty in every period of romance, from those early dates, through the “I’do’s,” then on to the first child and the inevitably challenging long haul. We don’t want you to give into rom-com fantasies–but we also don’t want to crush your spirits. Our credentials? We’ve been married for more than 10 years. We have two kids. And we still love each other.

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Well readers, I am excited about sharing another part of this article with you tomorrow. For the record, I have been married a little over a year and a half, and don’t have any kids. I just thought this article would be something that everyone can get something out of.

Until next time readers, God Bless!

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New Year’s Resolutions (A Look Back..)

Good evening everyone! Happy New Year! Welcome to 2011! I hope everyone had a great New Year’s Eve and Day.

Tonight I wanted to take the time to look back on my resolutions from 2010, and see which ones I kept, and which ones I didn’t. I also wanted to make some for 2011. The 2010 resolutions we posted around the last week of Dec. 2009. Check the original posts out if you want.

Resolution 1: Loose Weight– (FAIL)

Well that didn’t work. I gained probably another 20 pounds last year. I guess that is what married life does to you. I don’t know. So.. I am putting this one back on the list for 2011. I actually went to the gym tonight. We will see what happens.

Resolution 2: Get Connected on a Deeper Level– (Semi-Fail)

Well I have met some more people, and I have actually connected with some on a deeper level. I started playing softball, and naturally as a team you create that bond. I want to grow closer to these guys, and well other people from church, or even work. I will put this back on the list for 2011 as well.

Resolution 3: Serve God More (Semi-Fail)

I actually was a member of the camera team at North Church for a little bit. I also helped out at a soup kitchen, and helped give out winter items to the homeless. I am not trying to pat myself on the back at all. I give God all the glory on that. I do though am going to put this on the list again. Me and my wife are looking to serve together at the church this year.

Resolution 4: Give to Charity ( Semi- Fail)

When the earthquake hit Haiti, I donated money to two different charities. I haven’t donated since then. I have however given money to people in need that I know locally. Again, I am not trying to pat myself on the back. I am putting this on the list again for this year. I want to contribute more

Resolution 5: Become a Better Husband ( Semi-Fail)

Over the last year, I have worked at doing this. I have attended a class, read books, etc. I am putting this one on the list again. I guess there is always need for improvement, due to us not being perfect.

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Those are my resolutions for 2010/2011, but I wanted to add one as well.

Resolution 6: Blog More

I started this blog as a ministry to myself and to other people. I started off writing practically everyday. Life gets in the way sometimes, and I stopped doing that, or even blogging once a week at the most. Well, I want to bring up my game. I have several people who read this blog, and makes me feel good. I like doing this. So yeah.. Look for more to come.

So what are your resolutions this year?

Until next time readers, God Bless!

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Husbands and Wives

Hello again readers! Wow.. Two blog posts in two days. How long has it been since that happened?

Anyway.. Today I wanted to talk to you about marriage (Listen up those of you who are just in dating relationships as well). This post is similar, yet different, than the post from yesterday.

As you may or may not know, communication in a relationship is one of the most important things you need to have the relationship thrive. Without it, why be in that relationship?

Now I am no expert in the field of relationships, but I just wanted to also point out that in the field of communication, there are different languages we can speak in. For example, there is:

Words of Affirmation

Quality Time

Receiving Gifts

Acts of Service

Physical Touch

For more information go here. There are lots of resources for you to learn more. If you haven’t read the book, you really need to.

Until next time readers, God Bless!

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News Wednesday — Marriage and Reality TV

Hello readers. It is News Wednesday, and today we will be looking at marriage and reality tv.

As a lot of you may know by now, The Bachelor picked Vienna to be his bride. Many of you are disappointed in his decision as well.

I am not a fan of the show, and really don’t care to watch it. I don’t watch The Bachelorette either. These shows, and similar ones ,are really destroying the idea and sanctity of marriage. Several women/men vying for the love of one person, and that one person “dating” all of them at once is not how God designed the process of marriage.

In today’s society, marriage is being treated like a game, when really it shouldn’t be. Divorce isn’t looked upon as something bad anymore. In my opinion, divorce is a crutch, a cop-out, a white-out pen, etc. The marriage vows aren’t taken seriously anymore.

When two people (one man and one woman) are married, it should be forever no matter what happens.

So how as a society do we fix the divorce rate? I really don’t have that answer, but for a relationship and marriage to be healthy, God must be the center.

What are your thoughts on marriage and reality tv? How important is marriage to you and your future life?

Until next time readers, God Bless!

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