Friday Night Date Night (4/24/2015)

pacman-2 It’s Friday readers! You know what that means! It’s DATE NIGHT!

Just like last Friday, today I will be featuring a randomly selected date idea from 52 Uncommon Dates: A Couple’s Adventure Guide For Praying, Playing, and Staying Together by Randy Southern.

Arcade Date

Jesus encourages us to bring childlike perspective to our walk with Him. Children are trusting, humble, dependent, and able to be shaped and molded. Being childlike occasionally will help our spiritual. emotional, and relational health.

1) Try and find an old-school arcade that has games from your youth.This will allow you to re-connect with your younger self. That is what this date is all about.

2) Help each other understand why those games meant something to you. Maybe share some stories about going to an arcade when you were younger.

3) Play games as a team or even against each other. Make sure both of you gets equal time playing.

AVOID BEING OVER COMPETITIVE! HAVE FUN AND DON’T TAKE IT TOO SERIOUSLY!

Before your date ends, involve a discussion about your faith.

Deeper Connection

What does it mean to have childlike faith?

What are some of the things that happen to people’s faith as they get older that Jesus wants us to avoid?

How can we encourage each other to maintain a childlike faith?

Check out the following scripture that talk about childlike perspective.

Psalm 8:2

Matthew 19:14

Mark 10:13-16

Well I hope you enjoy your date night!

Until next time readers, God Bless!

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Friday Night Date Night (04/17/2015)

DateNightGood morning everyone! Today is Friday, and what does that mean? It’s date night! See ladies, I told you I would be posting just for you. The date nights will be posted every Friday while I am blogging through The Dude’s Guide to Manhood. Each date will be different, and will be coming from the book 52 Uncommon Dates: A Couple’s Adventure Guide For Praying, Playing, and Staying Together by Randy Southern.

THE LEGO DATE

Can two adults really have a great date with nothing more than a pile of small, brightly colored notched bricks? That’s the question the Lego Date aims to answer. The key is not necessarily the activity itself, but what it represents—- and what it encourages you to talk about. During this date, you are building something as a team—- just as you are in your life together.

1) Choose your medium. It doesn’t have to be Legos. It could be Lincoln Logs.

2) The cheaper the better. No need to spend $300.00 on a Star Wars set.

3) Aim for maximum togetherness. Both of you should be hands-on during construction.

4) Use the building analogy as a jumping-off point for conversation. You’re building a relationship, a family, a life together, and a vehicle for God’s work. Talk about how the “construction” has gone to this point. How well have you learned to work together? Are you satisfied with the results?

5) Take pictures. Pose with your work.

Before your date ends, take it to God. Thank God for your significant other. Thank Him for the influence that relationship has had on your life. Ask Him to help you maintain a spirit fo cooperation and mutual respect for what the other person brings to the “building process”.

DEEPER CONNECTION

Here is some scripture about building something together.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Joshua 24:15

Colossians 3:12-14

Well I hope you enjoy your date night!

Until next time readers, God Bless!

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A Realistic Guide To Love (Part 8.. In It To Win It)

Good afternoon everyone! I hope your time of worship with the Lord this morning was awesome!

Today we finish the blog series that we have been going through. It has been taken from an article in the January/February issue of Relevant Magazine. Click here to start with Part 1.

So enjoy the finale of A Realistic Guide to Love.

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In It To Win It

As the years tick by, some couples settle into an amazing bliss. Those six people are fortunate. The rest of us will run into epic personal struggles, both within our marriages and beyond. We don’t learn in school how to deal with miscarriages, debt, depression or unfaithfulness.

These serious needs underscore the importance for deep community, solid mentors, excellent communication skills and habits, grace, patience, forgiveness, conflict resolution and big faith. One piece of advice that has proven invaluable was to remind ourselves that we’re on the same team. If we’re talking about something, even if it’s where one person really hurt the other, we’re trying to work it out and move forward together.

We’re also learning to be gentle on each other. We all react differently to stress–some become militant commanders, some look cool while choking on internal tension, some lose sleep, some sleep more, some cry, some can’t handle seeing tears. Learn how you each react to stress, and be prepared for your spouses’s reaction, as well as to tame your more damaging reactions.

From the first days of our marriage, we had a saying: “The honeymoon never ends.” It leads to adventures and laughter, memories and romance, optimism and joy. It is the long-term effect of the “date your mate” principle. You might not have two weeks in the Cayman Islands, but a picnic of bread, cheese and chocolate next to spring blossoms is pretty fine too.

Build traditions to encourage and facilitate what really matters–assign an evening for a tea/coffee/hot cocoa date at home. Make space, time and a routine for prayer together. Read a book that can motivate your love, for God and each other.

Keep finding mentors a stage or two ahead of you. Don’t just talk about your life–talk about theirs. Hear their struggles and how they work through them, from talking to their kids about puberty, to parenting angry teenagers to caring for a spouse with a terminal illness.

Love feeds on the times you stop and thank God for the precious person you have the privilege of sharing life with. So thank God. At the same time, don’t let your focus only and always be on each other. There’s a world of need out there, and some of the finest marriages around are in the tick of it, serving side by side.

And perhaps some day you’ll be that married couple with the smile-wrinkled faces whose lives after umpteen dozen years together still shine with such love that the word “awww” just slips out of your mouth when he reaches for her hand.

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I hope you enjoyed this series and learned a bunch. I know I did.

Until next time readers, God Bless!

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A Realistic Guide To Love (Part 7.. The Big D)

Good evening readers! Today was another beautiful day here in Oklahoma City. I got some much-needed rest and I am ready to write!

This evening I am going to touch on a subject that I have lived through, and really don’t like to talk about. Divorce. My mom has been married once, and my dad now has been married once as well. I come from what they call a blended family. My dad I call dad adopted me when I was 8. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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 7!

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The Big D

“I hate divorce,” says God in Malachi 2:16. Who wouldn’t Divorce is a messy, miserable experience. And yet it happens. A lot.

When you see persistent problems creeping into your relationship, get help early. Lose any stigma you have about asking a pastor, a mentor couple or a professional counselor for help. There are many happy couples today because they found a good counselor (or several). Divorce is not a possibility any couple should try to face on their own. Divorce can arise from the most painful experiences you can imagine: affairs, addictions, pornography, infertility, mental illness, changes in faith. You may lose the job you always wanted, you may hit a quarter-life crisis, you may feel every ounce of attraction you felt for your spouse has rusted away. Imagine these now, talk about them, pray about them and plan against them. It won’t stop everything, but it will help. Be ready to forgive each other; make it easy to confess to each other.

When life takes terribly hard turns, our tendency is to blame someone. You’ll likely blame someone nearby : either your spouse or God. If you blame your spouse, you load him or her with unreasonable expectations, shame, nagging, hate and a load of unproductive guilt that serves only to drive you apart. So here’s some radical advice: blame God. He can take it. Cry on God’s shoulder, tell Him what hurts and let Him have it–literally. He’s big enough. That phrase “God hates divorce” does not mean “God hates you.” God loves you, no matter what.

If you live past your 20s and step outside your house, you will meet people going through divorce. Divorce can feel like having a limb torn off, like wanting to commit murder, like losing a best friend or like failing. It can also feel like you put on a goblin mask and none of your friends-especially the church ones–will talk to you. A friend facing divorce needs your listening ears more than your advice-blabbing mouth. Be available to listen and learn to listen well. Try stating the obvious rather than ignoring it: “You must be going through a really tough time. Let me know if there’s any way I can help you out.”

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Only two more sections left.. Stay tuned!

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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!

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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.

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Until next time readers, God Bless!

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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 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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