Wednesday, October 31, 2012


When you consider marrying, “survival” is not a word that comes to mind. And yet from what we can see about so many of the marriages of today’s world, “survival” is half the battle, in order to make it through the various seasons of marriage and get to the better end of matters.

But you don’t want to just survive to the end. You want to work together to the point where your marriage relationship is thriving and growing — where you each become better individuals because of the teamwork you have built together over the years, to the glory of God.

It’s like what author Dennis Rainey said in a radio interview, on the subject of romance and growing a marriage to be the best it can be. He was quoting the book that he and his wife Barbara wrote titled, Rekindling the Romance, and said the following:

“When marriage is firing on all cylinders, it’s truly glorious. You might say that marriage is the Cadillac of all earthly relationships. There is no other expression in life that rivals the indescribable ecstasy of romance and sex shared between a husband and a wife in the covenant of marriage. But it’s a glorious minefield. You see, there is a cosmic battle raging around your romance.”

How to Light Her Fire - Paul McGuire

When it comes to intimacy, men and women are on different sides of the bed. But it's still possible to have the red-hot, holy sex life that you've always wanted

When it comes to sex, men and women are definitely--pardon the pun--on opposite sides of the bed. We men are practically clueless about cultivating a passionate and romantic relationship with our wives. At the same time, women often have no idea how important sexual fulfilment is to us both physically and psychologically. Churches usually ignore the subject, further complicating the problem and leaving both men and women to look elsewhere for answers. And so-called "sexperts" often give us advice that amounts to little more than a sexual plumbing manual.

Becoming The Man Of Her Dreams - Dennis Rainey

Your wife needs you to pursue a relationship with her—not just when you want romance, but as a way of life.

What do Sean Connery and Harrison Ford have in common? Whether playing James Bond or Indiana Jones, these actors have been Hollywood's idea of a manly man for decades. They're rough and tough, and can fight, shoot, punch, or drop-kick their way through a crowded alley of bad guys ... while barely cracking a sweat. They're unstoppable. Unflappable.

And they usually get at least one girl in the end.

After all, jumping in the sack with any available warm body just goes with the action-hero territory. They reach for the thrill of sex without paying the price of intimacy. Take James Bond. Give him an adventure, and he'll be in and out of more beds than a mattress salesman.

In the absence of models who know how to love, cherish, and relate to one woman over a lifetime, is it any wonder that for the last few decades boys have grown up to be men who are equally clueless about how to give themselves to a lifelong love? Taking their cues from Hollywood they enter into marriage with guns blazing, thinking that their tough guy routine will save the day. But the show barely gets started when they find out how woefully ill-equipped they are to give a woman what she craves most.


It is the basic nature of a man to assume the lead —to be a do-er. Immediately, you may think of many men who are passive. For these men, passivity can be a means not of leading but of control or manipulation —what is known as passive-aggressive behaviour.

This trait often emerges in a man when his confidence has been badly shaken, or when his masculine self-image was wounded at an early age. Recognizing and understanding passive-aggressive reactions will allow a wife to more effectively minister to her husband and to survive the intense frustration of life with a man who withdraws because he is unsure of himself.

There are two parts to handling the problem of a withdrawn man. The first is to commit yourself to the process of helping him emerge into his God-given role. And the second is to build for yourself a strong relationship with the Lord from which to draw strength while the emerging process is working.

How does a wife enter into the process of helping her “withdrawn man” come out of himself? The first part of her task is to build the skill of “active listening.”

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

5 Steps to Answering the Question “Should We Get Married?”

When it comes time to making a decision as important as whether or not to get married, it may be helpful to make a list of all those things that we gain and lose in the exchange. The fundamental thing is to do this exercise openly and consciously with your partner, attempting to be as sincere as possible with one another, keeping in mind that this self-examination of the relationship could very well change it in every sense.

Step One: From the onset, we must avoid all comparisons with other couples and myths that we have regarding marriage.

Step Two: Once we have overcome myths and comparisons with other couples, especially when it comes to the relationship that we perceive our parents to have had, we can more clearly see the things that we tend to repeat in our own relationships and not commit the same mistakes. If you’ve already been through a similar situation and it went badly for you, you cannot draw conclusions from that experience. Focus on your present relationship and attempt to draw all the good from your partner. When making this type of a decision, it is easy to initiate a type of reasoning known as the negative anticipator model. This mechanism consists of imagining how your life would be with that person and the possible problems that could arise.

You cannot base yourself in phrases like, “What if this and this happens?” Those things that you’re thinking about have not happened, and you don’t even know if they will happen, so stop imagining and focus on the present.

After You Say “I Do” - Kara Newby, M.S., CFLE

Who is this person I married? Who am I becoming in this relationship? Is marriage supposed to be this hard? If you find yourself asking these questions, you’re not alone. All married couples go through  periods of adjustment. Adjusting to marriage involves uniting two sets of perceptions, expectations, needs,  goals, and personalities.

The Honeymoon Is Over, Now What?

During the first three years of marriage, there are  some general patterns of adjustment. The first six months of marriage, considered the “honeymoon  phase,” are characterized by few serious problems
and a general sense of satisfaction. At about six to  twelve months, however, optimism fades into realism  due to differences of opinion, financial obligations,  bad habits, or boredom.  From about 12 to 36 months of marriage, there  may be a short period of disillusionment when  your “knight in shining armor” seems to have lost  his shine or your “maiden fair” has been less than  fair. Challenges for time or money, childbearing, or  sexual adjustment require new coping strategies.  Children can further complicate the adjustment  process. During months 18 to 36, couples begin to get accustomed to life together. Often times, couples who cannot accept or improve their quality of life together break up. Those couples who remain committed to building a strong marriage have a realistic view ofwhat it takes to be successful.

How to Plan a Wedding while Working Full-Time - Laura Schaefer

Let’s get real about wedding planning. As excited and happy as you are to be getting married, the truth is planning the Big Day is a lot of work. There are a hundred decisions to be made and it can be tough to keep your head above water when you have a full-time job.

I’m getting married in August, and so far my strategy has been to try to tackle one task at a time and keep things as simple as possible. But no matter how determined I may be to stay calm, there are moments when I worry if it’ll all come together. I’m sure my fiancé and I will forget something fairly important, like, you know, having chairs for our guests to sit on (BYOC!). With that in mind, I sought out some tips for women like me who planned their weddings with a lot on their plates. Here, the best gems from their helpful advice.

Limit the seemingly endless choices. “Give yourself two to three choices of vendors and don’t go crazy researching stuff,” advises Susan Koutalakis, a public relations manager in Boston. “The more options you have, the more confused you get. The larger boards tell you all that you need to do as a bride. To be honest, I’ve never looked at The Knot (other than their wedding checklist), because my wedding is about me and my future husband—not about up-lighting, a chocolate fountain, or even spending tens of thousands of dollars, which was the vibe I got from the more mainstream sites.”

Schedule planning time on your calendar. “It’s not romantic to treat wedding planning the same as a dentist appointment,” concedes Sarah Van Dyke, co-founder of Antics Flipbooks in Madison, Wis. “But when wedding thoughts pop into your head during your busy days it’s a relief to know that you have focused time blocked off each week or two to prioritize your to do list, discuss decisions with your fiancé, etc.”

Monday, October 29, 2012

Before You Say "I Do" - Norma Daulton

"Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother,  and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall become one flesh."  Genesis 2:24

Leave And Cleave
In order for a couple to have a strong marriage the husband and wife must be committed to walking in obedience to God's Word, maturing in the faith and being led by the Holy Spirit. When your life and your marriage is anchored in the Rock, Jesus Christ, the storms of life may shake you, but you will not sink in the sand or be washed away by a tidal wave.

The Agape Love of God is the glue that holds a marriage together. Human love alone will not ensure a strong marriage. God's Love must be implanted in us---'shed abroad in our heart by the Holy Spirit'-- before we can truly love our neighbor, our spouse and ourselves. As God's Agape Love is shed abroad in our heart, experienced, and His character and nature formed in our hearts, we take on the likeness of Jesus Christ. As this transformation takes place in our hearts, others experience His love as it flow out from us

Before two people can cleave to each other they must leave (give up) their independence. Marriage requires working together, and for independent people this can be difficult, because they tend to have "me first" attitudes. I once heard someone say, "Before you can have a good marriage, there has to be two funerals and a wedding."

Why Christian Singles Shouldn’t Wait - Pastor Clayton Coates

A recent poll on asked, “Do you believe there is one right person out there for you?” While the topic of “soul mates” is often debated among the Christian community based on the lack of biblical evidence on the subject, the majority of those surveyed (46 percent) said they do, in fact, believe in “The One,” indicating that perhaps Christian singles do believe soul mates exist.

If this is the case, how do you find that one perfect person God has picked for you? Is it up to God to drop him or her at your doorstep? Or, do you play a role in making that connection?

These are not easy questions, and there are a few things to consider and pray about before discovering the answers.

God has called all believers to a great purpose—a greater purpose than what can be found in a marriage, or for that matter, in a career, or as a parent. He has called Christians to be his children and influence his kingdom here on earth. This role should drive everything else we do.

How to Fall in Love

You don’t have to fall into love haphazardly; you can find love intentionally. That’s because falling in love isn’t a mysterious event that’s beyond your control. It’s a process that you can reliably understand and apply to your life. When you follow the steps to falling in love, you can find a romantic partner if you’re single, keep love fresh if you’re married, or bring back love you’ve lost for your spouse.

Here’s how you can fall in love, on purpose:

Recognize the three components of love. The three basic aspects of love are: intimacy (openness and vulnerability to the person you love), passion (a desire for oneness with the person you love), and commitment (doing what it takes to make your love relationship last).

Can You Be Lonely Yet Happy? Overcoming Loneliness for Christian Singles - Jack Zavada

As single people, we often put conditions on our happiness. 

We say, "When I get married, then I'll be happy" or "When I have children, then I'll be happy," or "When I have a nice family, a comfortable home, and a fulfilling, high-paying job, then I'll be happy." 

We make the absence of loneliness one of the conditions of our happiness too. We assume that we can't be happy until everything is perfect in our life, which means no more loneliness. 

But there's a danger for single people when we put conditions on our happiness. We slip into the trap of postponing our life.

The Ugly Truth About Loneliness. Marriage doesn't guarantee an end to loneliness. Millions of married people are lonely too, still looking for a level of understanding and acceptance their spouse doesn't give them. 

The ugly truth is that loneliness is an inescapable part of the human condition, as even Jesus found out. He was the most well-adjusted person who ever lived, yet he knew times of deep loneliness too.

If you accept the truth that loneliness is unavoidable, what can you do about it? 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Respecting Your Partner in Public (Does Your Spouse Ever Embarrass You?) - Erin Pavlina

How do you treat your partner when you’re out in public socializing with others? Do you show your love, appreciation, respect, and support? Or do you tease, make negative comments, or even embarrass your partner?

Six years ago Steve took me to a Toastmaster Division contest and I wasn’t a Toastmaster myself yet. I was looking forward to meeting all the people he’d been telling me about. He was making a lot of friends in Toastmasters and I hadn’t met any of them yet, so this was my first opportunity to see what these people were all about. He assured me that all Toastmasters were friendly and could easily engage in conversation with complete strangers. I was excited because I love meeting new people.


Marrying a controlling man can happen to anyone. Perhaps the warning signs weren't present until later in a relationship or maybe you didn't realize his jealousy and intense financial management were warning signs. No matter what your situation, knowing whether your husband is behaving in ways that are controlling or abusive can help you take control of your relationship and life. Health website Helpguide says that if you believe your husband is controlling or abusive, you should contact someone you trust---such as a counsellor  a domestic violence shelter, a family member or friend---for help.

Jealousy and Monitoring
A controlling husband will often become jealous and will monitor your behaviors, making sure you are always where you say you are and doing what you say you are doing, according to health website Helpguide. A husband who makes you account for every single action you take and dollar you spend is likely a controlling one who may be emotionally or psychologically abusing you.

If you feel that your husband is keeping you from family, friends or experiencing events outside of the home, your husband is probably controlling. A partner may, according to the Red Flag Campaign, put down your relatives and friends, hoping to keep your relationships at bay. He may even call them names and seem angry with them. Your husband may also try to make sure you are spending time with "acceptable" people and he may try to control where you go. Physical abuse can also serve as a means to isolate a partner, according to Michigan State University. Bruises and injuries that are obvious to onlookers can keep the abused at home to avoid questions or embarrassment.

Financial Control
Taking charge of finances is a subtle form of abuse a controlling husband may use to keep you in check, according to the Helpguide. While a husband managing the bills is common and normal, an abusive husband may attempt to withhold money from you and will demand records of every dollar you spend. The Helpguide says that a controlling husband may even keep you from purchasing basic needs like clothes and medications. Even more abusive husbands will take action against you that affects your job performance or standing at your job, give you an allowance, not allow you to choose your career or will take your money from you.

Violence and Threats
Controlling husbands will use violence or threats to maintain a sense of power. The Helpguide says that this could take the form of threatening injury, pain or even murder. He may also threaten to take your children from you, threaten to commit suicide to manipulate you, destroy your property or have a temper that frightens you. Violence is not only a sign of a controlling husband but is also abuse. Forced sexual encounters are also examples of violence and a controlling husband. The Red Flag Campaign says that forcing you to engage in sexual activities, especially when you don't want to, is a sign of control and abuse. 

10 Principles to Keep Christ at the Centre of Your Home - Mary May Larmoyeux

Not too long ago, my husband used a stone to scratch “Good Friday, April 2” into the freshly-poured foundation of our new home. As he formed the words into the fresh cement, I was reminded of the significance of Christ’s death on the cross. I also wondered how Christ’s example will affect Jim and me in our new home.

Jesus Christ came to earth to fulfill a purpose. During our marriage my husband and I have grown in our relationship with the Lord and with one another. If we will practice the following principles, Christ—and His purposes for our lives—will truly be at the center of our home:

1. Remember the Builder.

Construction workers will transform piles of wood into the walls of our next house. They will do this by following the builder’s plans.
Likewise, Jim and I will need to fill the rooms of our home according to the Builder’s design with love, and wisdom, and understanding.
For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God. Hebrews 3:4

2. Seek knowledge. Ask God to give us wisdom and understanding in our relationships and decisions.

My husband and I do not have the knowledge or expertise to construct our new house. We’re relying on the experts.
In the same way, it will take spiritual wisdom and understanding to transform our house into a Christ-centered home. And that knowledge can only come from God.
We have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. Colossians 1:9

3. Be on the alert for evil. Satan does not want us, our friends, or loved ones to follow Jesus.
There are thieves in this world who want to rob and take what is not theirs. Because of this, Jim and I may join a neighborhood watch group in our new community.

My Mate Is Not My Enemy: Viewing Your Spouse As A Gift From God Is A Life-changing Perspective - Dave Boehi

I have a confession to make.

I act like a spoiled baby when I'm sick. I whine and moan. I check my temperature every 30 minutes. I park myself in front of the television and expect my wife, Merry, to wait on me hand and foot. Never mind what plans she has for the evening—when I'm sick, her job is to take care of me.

But what happens when the roles are reversed, and she's stuck in bed with nausea, or vertigo, or a sinus infection?

I act like a spoiled baby. I whine and pout. I glare at her. How dare she get sick? Doesn't she know what plans I have? Doesn't she realize the pressure she's placing on me?

At some point during the evening, God convicts me of my selfishness, and I realize that I need to make a choice: Am I going to see Merry as my enemy? Or will I recognize again that God has given her to me as a gift … and stop moaning just because that gift has a fever and can't cook dinner?

You may not realize it, but you make the same choice on a regular basis. The choice confronts you when you argue … or when your spouse doesn't respond to your romantic overtures … or when you must decide who puts the kids to bed at night … or when you want to bake a batch of cookies and your spouse makes you feel guilty about your weight. Is my mate my enemy? Or a gift from God?

A life-changing perspective

If you've been to a Weekend to Remember® marriage conference, you probably recognized the phrase I've been using: "My mate is not my enemy." It's one of the key concepts from the conference, and I've always been intrigued by the number of people who mention this statement on their evaluation forms after the event is over.

One person commented, "We were able to see each other differently …. We were able to recommit our lives together to God. We were able to address a long-time unresolved, silent, stuffed conflict with the hope of continued work on forgiveness and growth in our marriage together. I learned that my mate is not my enemy."

And then there was the husband who wrote, "Wow! My wife is not my enemy after all! I am actually made complete in her—she is God's manifestation of His idea of what is absent from my life. I cannot question anything about her because she was custom built just for me. God loved me so much that He gave ... me Joanna."

My mate is not my enemy. It's a perspective that will change the way you look at your marriage. And it's a choice spoiled babies like me face in some form nearly every day.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Falling In and Out of Love - Mitch Temple

Does a person fall in and out of love the way Hollywood portrays it? Does something just happen and the light switch flips on or off in our romantic relationships?

Or, is falling in and out of love an involved process that takes time and the development of key elements? In my opinion, along with many relationship experts, the latter is the most accurate explanation.

Family Dynamics, a company based in Nashville, TN, has put a considerable amount of research and effort into the area of marriage and the "falling in love" process. Their research shows that a person does fall in love, but it is more than an emotion or "love at first sight" experience.

When Sleeping Together Drives You Apart - Sheila Wray Gregoire

Heather threw off the covers in frustration and propelled herself out of bed. For the last 45 minutes she had repeatedly shoved her husband, Rick, to roll him over and stop his snoring. Her efforts had met with temporary success, but as soon as she would fall asleep again, his snoring would wake her. In defeat, she grabbed her pillow, yanked the blanket off of Rick with a smug smile, and trudged bleary-eyed downstairs to begin another night on the couch.

When we marry, we dream of contentedly drifting off in each others’ arms. Yet numerous culprits conspire to rob us of this bliss. Snoring is by far the most common, affecting close to 30% of all marriages. Other people flail their legs in their sleep, leaving their beloveds black and blue. Still others work staggered hours, or are repeatedly paged throughout the night. And then there are the little ones, flailers extraordinaire, whom one parent, much to the chagrin of the other, may insist share the bed. Few things disturb sleep more than the presence of a two-year-old.

Do You Have a Happy Husband? - Arlene Pellicane

Do you remember the day you said “I do”? I remember my wedding day in 1999 very clearly. My fiancé James and I had decided to have one of his favorite seminary professors marry us. Ours was only his second wedding to officiate, but we didn’t care about his inexperience.

Just as I approached the door leading into the sanctuary, I was shocked to hear the sound of our professor’s voice, “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to bring James and Arlene together in holy matrimony.” The only problem was, I was still standing in the hall with all the bridesmaids. Our professor mistook a break in the music as his cue to begin the ceremony. He got all the way to that famous line, “Who gives this woman to be married to this man?” There was complete silence. Our friends and family didn't know whether to laugh or be mortified.

At this, my aunt started playing the piano, bridesmaids went flying down the aisle, and finally I joined my own wedding in progress! Although it was a rough start, the ceremony continued without a hitch. My heart was full of love. All I wanted to do was to make my husband’s dreams come true. Chances are that’s what you were dreaming about on your wedding day too. You wanted to make that groom of yours a very happy man.

Fast forward from that moment to the present. Is it still your heart’s desire to make your husband a happy man? A few years ago, my husband James and I were teaching a young-marrieds class at our church. We looked at those newlyweds on the first day of class. There was not a centimeter of space in between those couples. Wives were superglued to their husbands’ sides. Eyes were locked, hands were held, hair was twirled. I looked over at my James who was sitting about one foot away from me. Maybe we, the sage teachers, were the ones who needed a refresher course on touch, affection, and romance!

We were not having marriage trouble, but the tenderness and physical affection that we enjoyed during our courtship had been compromised. Among other things, having three young children can do that!

4 Ways Time Apart Can Improve Your Relationship - Emily Southwood

How much time do you spend with your significant other? Are you together every night? Or do you do lots of things separately? Do you share the same hobbies? What about friends? We’ve all heard the cliché that absence makes the heart grow fonder. But is this really good relationship sense or just a hackneyed idiom? I’ve always had a hunch that a little distance is good for a union.

Recently my husband has been considering a job that would take him away for the better part of the summer. It always makes me sad to think about being away from him, but truthfully it’s nothing new for us. We were apart for two years during grad school and it’s not unfamiliar that hubby’s job as a cinematographer takes him on the road. Consequently, we’ve come to our own conclusions about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to distance. Any longer than three weeks and we both grow impatient; a month is definitely too long. But much as I hate to be away from my guy, not to mention my bed-warmer, there are reasons why I believe it’s good for us in the long run.

So in the spirit of seeing the glass half full, here are four ways that spending some time apart has improved my relationship. And why a little space could be a good thing for yours too.


In my relationship, there is no question that a little distance leads to hot nookie. Don’t worry, I’ll spare you the details. But we’re not the only ones who’ve discovered this trick for keeping the sparks alive. Esther Perel, relationship expert and author of Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic, believes that too much time together is a serious passion killer. We all know how sexy picking up someone’s socks is. In her words: “…longing springs from distance,” and “…proximity can kill sex faster than fainting.” Wow, that’s fast. Now, I’m not necessarily recommending separate mortgages (I hear those are actually a buzz kill) but whether you take a day, week or month, it’s good for the libido to miss your mate.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Serving Together as a Couple - Susan Mathis

The apostle Paul put it this way: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others" (Philippians 2:3-4). This passage encourages us to have a servant's heart, to have an unselfish determination to serve others. And when couples choose to unselfishly serve others together, they experience peace, contentment and a deeper bond that strengthens their marriage.

This is easier to do with God's help, of course, since selfless behavior doesn't always come naturally for many of us. But where do we start?

Thankfully, there's a promise in Acts 1:8 that tells us how we can accomplish this: "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Practically speaking, you can consider your "Jerusalem" to be your local church, "Judea" is your neighborhood, "Samaria" is your community at large and "to the ends of the world" is a call to support and serve missionary efforts across the globe. Adopting this perspective makes fulfilling the Great Commission quite doable.

Intimacy and Sex: How Men and Women are Different — and Why - Dr. Juli Slattery

The first path to a satisfying sex life is through increased knowledge of your spouse's sexual mindset.

Guys, one of your challenges is to understand the incredible complexity of your wife's sexuality. I recommend reading "The Way to Love Your Wife" by Cliff and Joyce Penner. Gals, we need help understanding our husbands' struggles and temptations. My eyes were opened after I read about the sexual temptations men face. As you read, talk openly about what you are learning.

Become a student of your spouse. The greatest roadblock to this is a lack of communication. Although couples often argue about sex, they rarely talk about it. Consider discussing your insecurities, temptations, turn-ons and turn-offs. Try to talk and pray together about your sex life at least once a month. Because these topics are so sensitive, be a sympathetic and supportive listener.

The 'Love and Respect' Principle - Emerson Eggerichs.

Maybe you've heard that a woman needs to be loved by her husband and a man needs to be respected by his wife. However, if you're like the average man or woman, you're thinking, "Sure, that all sounds great, but what does it mean?"

Men often define love differently than their wives, while women often don't know how to define respect. If both you and your spouse have these needs, but don't know what they are, how can you satisfy each other? Without a definition, it's like trying to throw a dart at a board but you don't know where to aim.

Once you and your spouse understand what it means to love and respect, relational landmines can be avoided. The result can be greater love, deeper intimacy and movement toward the kind of marriage that God desires for you.

When Decision Analysts, Inc., did a national survey on male-female relationships, one question for men read:

"Even the best relationships sometimes have conflicts on day-to-day issues. In the middle of a conflict with my wife, I am more likely to be feeling:

A. That my wife doesn't respect me right now.
B. That my wife doesn't love me right now.

Not surprisingly, 81.5 percent of men chose "A."

The survey only substantiated what I had already discovered in my years of working with married couples: Women need to feel loved, and men need to feel respected. This may explain why Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:33 that a husband must love his wife and a wife must respect her husband. Both commands are unconditional. The hard part is that respect comes more easily to men, and love comes easier to women.


Marriage Communication: Nagging Doesn't Work - Heather Long

Nagging doesn't work - no matter how well intentioned you are or how frustrated you may be - just nagging your spouse about chores, bills, responsibilities or whatever it is you are wanting them to do - well, it doesn't work. Now, before you tell me that when you constantly remind them to do something, they do in fact do it - this makes your form of nagging successful, let me counter that with this question:

If you didn't nag them the next time, would they remember?

Chances are, once you've created the cycle where you remind your spouse to do something repeatedly, they won't necessarily remember on their own unless you continue to pester them about it. At the same time, your spouse may begin to withdraw, resent and deliberately avoid doing the very thing you want them to do and you will end up doing what?

That's right - nagging some more.

Nagging Doesn't Work

I don't think I can say this enough, nagging doesn't work and the following is part of the reason why it doesn't. Do you know what nagging is? When you look up nagging on the net, you get the following definitions:
  • Continual gnawing at the bars of a cage
  • Shrewish: continually complaining or fault finding; "a shrewish wife"; "nagging parents"
I can't imagine a spouse out there who wants to be associated with either of those definitions. Nagging makes your spouse defensive and resentful. Nagging defeats the validity of any argument you may or may not have. Nagging is horribly disrespectful and it casts you as the parent to your spouse as the child and negates the concept of being equals and partners.

It's important to remember, that even if you don't think you are nagging - your spouse may perceive that you are and that's as large a problem as if you were actually nagging. So avoid nagging and the next time your spouse asks you to stop nagging them - take a very deep breath and think hard on what you've been saying or doing.

Whether they are right or wrong, if they have the perception that you have been nagging - apologize to them and seek a better way to communicate your thoughts, feelings and needs. You'll both be happier.

Have you ever nagged your spouse or been nagged by them?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What Makes a Man Attractive? - Cindy Holman

Attractiveness is a unique feature, and as it’s impossible to learn how to become charming, it’s also very difficult to unveil the secrets which render a man attractive! Despite all that, the attractive man always shines differently and is easily distinguished among his peers. That charisma magnetizes us spiritually and physically as well.

Which brings up an interesting point. What makes a man attractive? Not just attractive – but more to the point – What makes a man attractive to a woman. Is it the way they dress? The way they smell? The car they drive? How much money they have? Awwww it’s a mystery to most men. It is because women are so different in their likes and dislikes.

But generally speaking. It doesn’t have much to do with the way a man looks on the outside. For me a man’s eyes say so much about him. Are they kind eyes? Do they sparkle with fun and amusement? I like a man’s eyes most of all. You can tell much about a person by their eyes – you know the old “window to the soul”.

I would have to say that it is also confidence. A man that is sure of himself is really attractive to a woman. It has little to do with wealth or position. You often see a very attractive woman with a man that doesn't seem to “measure up” to her – but she sees something very special in him – that reaches far past the “physical” appearance.

How to Treat a Woman You Love: Men Pay Attention!!!

We all know her, we all need her, and men particularly, need to realize the things that they should do to make all the important women that they cherish and love to feel happy and cared for!

First off, treat her as if she were something precious that you want to be together forever with.

Secondly, treat her like how you would want a man to treat your sister,your mother,your girl friends. Would you want someone else to treat the women you care about in non positive, non caring, and non loving ways? Of course not! So in other words, treat her as how you would want all the other women in your life to be treated; with love, respect, and protection.

Third, treat her as a person, not an object. This means really treating her like a princess, by caring for her needs,her wants and always paying attention to her emotions and taking the time to ask questions and to talk to her. Also try and to give her comments that make her feel good rather than put her down; positives over negatives!

How to Deal with Rejection & Recover from a Breakup?

What is Rejection?

Rejection really sucks and it is a common tragedy that takes place everywhere on the planet. The causes are many like:

Lack of harmony
Lack of chemistry
Lack of communication
Lack of REAL attraction
Lack of mutual interests and orientation

What are the Reasons of Rejection?

To talk about the reasons, there are hundreds of them which lead eventually to painful breakup. It’s also an ugly by-product that comes with dating. It becomes difficult to handle because the feelings have committed and fates were almost entwined and no one has the ability to completely kill that pain caused or to forget momentarily. What we need is some patience and rational thinking to reduce the effects and minimize the bangs. There will be post-rejection traumas for sure, but one will recover once attempted to face the issue instead of immersing in crying, isolating oneself or drinking. This could happen in many ways by finding another soulmate, talking to your friends or consult an expert. Also, know and keep in mind that the person who rejected you is not the last one on earth and there are plenty of better persons but you just haven’t looked around. Making a martyr of yourself will not solve the problem, nor keep calling or soliciting or begging. What you should do is look into the future and go on with your life. Note that, these rejection steps come of course after trying to reconciliate and discuss the relationship with your partner. I am citing those steps when all your attempts go a wry or fail. So, instead of living in the cave that you built yourself, try to pave your way ahead and you will find excellent results.

Staying 'Pure' in a Sex-Crazed Culture - Belinda Elliott

True Love Waits. You’ve heard it before, and maybe you even signed a pledge card promising that you would “wait” until you were married to have sex. Sounds simple enough, right? But in today’s culture it’s not always as easy as it sounds.

Purity, is not just about abstaining from sex until you are married. It is a mindset that encompasses every area of your life.

In our sex-saturated culture, how do you live a life of purity? There are several key steps, St. James says.

Pay attention to how you dress.

Though dressing modestly isn’t the only aspect of living a pure life, it’s the one people often think of first, and with good reason. The clothes you wear send a message to the people around you.

“I think a lot of girls feel like, in the name of fashion, they need to show tons of skin. But that’s really hard for our brothers in the Lord. It’s hard for them to keep their minds pure when they see so much skin,” St. James says. “I think sometimes girls say that they are waiting (until they are married to have sex), but they are dressing in a way that is completely opposite.”

Friday, October 19, 2012

Top 10 Excuses You Make to Stay in a Bad Relationship - Dan Miser

10 common excuses used to justify staying in a bad relationship and why none of them are good reasons.

Excuse #1: I’d rather settle for him than be alone.

What’s wrong with being single? You’re not alone (Hebrews 13:5). Christians, you are totally complete in Christ, lacking nothing (Colossians 4:12). If you are settling for an unhealthy relationship just to have a warm body near, you are missing the amazing indescribable intimacy God offers you; He will continue to politely step aside as you choose to accept less (Psalm 25:16). Seek to be complete in Him (Proverbs 8:17), first, and ditch this excuse before you miss “the one” that He has purposed for you to marry (Psalm 139:16). Give God a chance, for He is your provider (II Corinthians 9:8) and is able to do abundantly above all that you could possibly ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

"…Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." – God, Hebrews 13:5

For Men: The Mindset That Will Help You Find Dates - MidoriLei

Two things get in the way of many men when it comes to securing a date.
1. Excuses ( I don’t have time, I need to get my ducks in a row, I’m shy etc…)

2. Fear of rejection ( number one is really a cover up for number 2)

Okay, so really one BIG thing gets in the way of men securing dates. Men don’t want to be rejected, so they don’t put in the effort.

The thing is, there’s always a reason to fear. When you are single, on the one hand, you can fear rejection, on the other hand, you can fear going through this life alone.

When you are in a relationship, you can fear them dying or leaving you.

My point is that fear is valid. Rejection is inevitable at some point while you’re single. And when you’re in a relationship, your spouse may not leave you, but they are eventually going to die before or after you. (or maybe at the same time) I know, how morbid.

Stuff You Can Do While You Are Single - MidoriLei

In your quest to find your dream girl/dream guy, I’ve always been a believer that it’s more important to BE Mr/Ms. Right rather than FIND Mr/Ms. Right. I’m promoting this concept because otherwise, we just have a bunch of ill-prepared men and women with high standards but not the same qualities to offer in return.

When you focus on being the right kind of person more than you focus on attracting the right kind of person, you empower yourself because you are focusing on something within your control (self improvement) instead of something that is not in your control (when and where you meet the right person).

Also, in the process, you build confidence because you know you have something to offer that would be valuable to someone else.

Be gracious to the flaws of yourself and others, but strive to make yourself the kind of person someone would be lucky to have. And remember, the point of relationships is not to be with someone perfect/ideal, but to have someone to share this life with. It’s all about companionship. Don’t lose out on companionship because you are looking for perfection. Companionship trumps perfection any day.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Best Practices for Dating Single Parents (and the Singles Who Date Them) - Ron L. Deal

Sometimes kids say it best. When asked what she wishes her mom would do differently while dating, Rachel, a smart young graduate student, replied, “I wish she would recognize her own impulsivity and emotional rollercoaster. She does and says things without recognizing that to some extent our whole family is dating this guy. This year I came home four times from college and he was in town every single time. After I went back to campus each time mom said, ‘I never get to see you!’ Yes, well, that’s because you were with your boy.”

Dating for two is difficult; dating in a crowd is downright complicated. The kids are engaged, at least on some level, even when you don’t think they are and everyone has strong emotions and opinions about who is involved and what the outcome might be. In other words, the whole family is dating. Table for 20!

In Dating and the Single Parent I examine the complex process of finding love in the midst of a crowd and include a number of dating best practices for single parents and the singles who date them. Here are just a few:

Realize that You’re not just Forming a Relationship, You’re Creating a Family

When kids predate dating, the couple’s dating relationship inherently creates competing attachments between family members. The choice to be with the dating partner or children generally means the other is left waiting…and wondering how their relationship with you is being influenced by your relationship with the other. Children commonly feel some insecurity by mom or dad’s relationship with another person. Wise singles recognize this important dynamic and don’t assume that becoming a couple necessarily means that they can become a family. They attend to both and take time assessing how the potential stepfamily relationships are developing. This, in turn, impacts their decision to continue dating or end the relationship.

Avoid a Quick Turn-around

In-Law Relationships: What do I owe my in-laws?

What do I owe my in-laws? That's an interesting question. Another way to phrase it might be, "As a son-in-law or daughter-in-law, what's required of me? What are my obligations, whether I feel like it or not, in relating to my spouse's parents?"

Put this way, it doesn't sound like a very warm or relaxed relationship. It sounds more like your in-laws are a burden in your life. Perhaps you feel caught between trying to please them (or trying to avoid offending them) on the one hand, and just wanting to be yourself or wanting your own "space" on the other.

The first principle that applies here is that, if you're a Christian, you owe your in-laws behavior that's consistently Christian in character—as you do anyone else. This doesn't ignore the reality that if your in-laws are "difficult" people, are controlling and manipulative, are emotionally or mentally dysfunctional, or don't share your faith, this may be a particularly hard challenge. The problem is that they're not just anyone. They're connected to your spouse through genetics, history, and complex psychological dynamics.

If you have disagreements with your in-laws, your spouse may feel caught in the middle between parents and you. You, meanwhile, have obligations to in-laws and spouse—and children, if you have any.

5 Parenting Goals For Every Family: How to ensure your children have a productive year.

We begin the school year with blank notebooks, pages fresh and clean. Backpacks are free of crumbs and leaked box drinks. Children wake up early in anticipation. We try to get to school a bit before the morning bell and start the year off on the right track.

But slowly the familiar patterns start to appear. The kids are going to sleep way past bedtime, waking up with just a few moments to spare. A child leaves his notebook in school and must scramble to find a friend whose fax machine is working. Nights spent struggling over homework for hours, studying for tests left for the last minute, assignments forgotten, cliques and social politics – it feels as if we are going backwards instead of forward.

How can we make this year different from all the others? How can we take our hopes and wishes for positive change and turn them into a reality?

Transition between summer and school can be difficult for children – and for parents. Any change in life can bring nervousness, worry, and irritability. Children often have a hard time adjusting to new situations, unfamiliar teachers, and the more rigid schedule needed during the school year. When feeling overwhelmed, our kids may express their emotions through becoming argumentative, fighting more often with siblings, or withdrawing into themselves. And parents can find it difficult to keep calm and not lose themselves in anger when things don't go right.

Instead of just accepting that this is the way our home is meant to be, let us think about reachable goals that we can work on. When we create a plan, we can do away with unnecessary failures and strive to help our children feel and be more successful.

92 Things to Do with Your Husband (rather than watch TV)

Below are 92 fun things you can do with your spouse. You can include your own ideas to this list

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

How to Build a Strong Marriage in the Real World

Too often, the world presents a fairy-tale image of marriage, and couples find their illusions shattered when they try to experience such marriages in the real world. Married couples might find their relationships shattered along with their illusions if they’re not careful to change their approach to marriage.

The truth is that in this fallen world, no marriage can ever be perfect like those in fairy tales. However, it’s definitely realistic to build a strong marriage in the real world – and God will help you and your spouse do so when you rely on Him to empower you. Here’s how:

Find and polish the true you. Ask God to how you how you can minimize your personal weaknesses and maximize your personal strengths so you can be as healthy as possible when relating to your spouse. Identify the emotional baggage you’re carrying around from past pain, and pursue healing for it so it won’t negatively affect your relationship with your spouse. Reflect on specific aspects of your life in which you’d like to see improvement in order to strengthen your marriage, and write down your thoughts about areas such as your childhood examples and how they affected you, the person you’ve become and why, the current state of your relationships, and what makes you angry or afraid. Then pray about each of those topics, asking God to help you with them.

Children and Role Models

 A role model is a person whose serves as an example by influencing others. For many children, the most important role models are their parents and caregivers. Children look up to a variety of role models to help shape how they behave in school, relationships or when making difficult decisions. 

Children also look up to other relatives, teachers and peers. Children may try to copy the behavior and appearance of celebrities, such as athletes and entertainers, and characters from books, TV, movies and video games. Some parents may want to help their children choose positive role models. Here are some helpful suggestions for discussing role models with your child and for serving as a positive role model for your child:
  1. Have your child identify what qualities he admires in his role mode
  2. Give examples of people in your community who you feel have positive qualities and are a good influence on others
  3.  Talk about people you look up to for guidance and inspiration
Negative role models, however, may also influence children. Sometimes widely admired public figures can make poor personal choices. Young children may assume that the behaviors of negative role models are typical, safe and acceptable. Parents and caregivers can intervene by emphasizing that role models who embrace inappropriate behavior, violence, sexuality, race and gender stereotypes, and drug and alcohol abuse are not acceptable.

Sex: It's Not all About Him - Sheila Wray Gregoire

Are wives solely responsible for a husband’s sexual satisfaction, or is there something that both the secular world and Christians tend to miss?

I want to give a bit of balance to what I think is often misunderstood when it comes to marriage. Lots of marriage books, and especially certain Christian circles, really emphasize the idea that wives are pretty much solely responsible for a husband’s sexual satisfaction. They should understand that it is a need that he has, and thus they should go out of their way to fulfill it.

To a certain extent I agree with this, and indeed it’s something I talk about frequently. I don’t think women always understand that sex is something very different to men than it is to us. They do have biological drives that we don’t have in the same way. They do often experience love through sex far more than they do through a hug. So we do need to confront our sexual insecurities, deal with our sexual baggage, and as much as possible jump in and have fun!

Finding a balance

BUT. And here’s where I want to insert a big BUT. I have read some of the Every Man’s Battle series of books, and some of the ones written for women made me feel distinctly uncomfortable. If sex is dirty, or if it is damaging to you, or if you have a lot of issues that need to be dealt with sensitively, you don’t have to satisfy him whenever he wants it. You are not a receptacle. The passage in 1 Corinthians 7 where it says that the wife’s body is the husband’s also says that the husband’s body is the wife’s. Therefore, if what he is doing is hurting you, that’s not right either.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

33 Ways to Say "I Love You" - Dr. Ray Pritchard

Love isn’t reserved for just a Hallmark holiday. So here's that list, put in different colors so you and your spouse can take turns saying these to each other. Go ahead and give it a try. We think this is one marriage exercise that will make you smile.

You look great tonight.
That was a wonderful meal.
Thank you for not getting mad at me.
You're the best thing that ever happened to me.
You're a super listener.
I really appreciate the way you spend time with my parents.
Thanks for being honest with me.
That's a great idea.
I enjoy spending time with you.
Congratulations! I'm taking you out to dinner to celebrate.
Before I met you, my life was boring.
So what if they didn't like your idea? I thought it was great.
You're the best husband in the whole world.

How to create a fair division of labour in Marriage

With the advent of so many dual career marriages, the division of domestic responsibilities has become a major source of marital conflict. Changes in our cultural values have contributed greatly to the problem, because there is now almost unanimous agreement that both a husband and wife should share these responsibilities, particularly child care. But change in behavior has not kept pace with the change in values.

Traditionally, wives have assumed most household and child-care responsibilities, while husbands have taken the responsibility of providing income for the family.

While men are changing the diapers, wielding the mop, and tending the stove more often than ever before, it usually isn’t nearly enough. In dual-career marriages, men, on average do less than half as much child care and housework as their working wives.

As most women have figured out by now, men are not very motivated to do housekeeping. Many husbands think that any effort to help with household responsibilities represents a monumental sacrifice. But from the wife’s perspective, he is simply doing a small part of his fair share of the work. In many of these marriages, the husband demands that the wife do most of the work, and the wife demands that the husband do it. Neither feels it is their responsibility.

How to Have a Successful Date Night With Your Spouse - Kristen Clark

If you have difficulty remembering an exceptional date with your spouse, or if you dread the idea of "date night," don't fret. You're not alone. Unfortunately, with the passing of time comes familiarity, and many couples find themselves stuck in a rut when it comes to having a date with their beloved. That's when dating for married couples can be difficult, but it doesn't have to be.

1. Make your date a priority. It's important that husbands and wives honor each other above work, the kids and other obligations. Nothing should interfere with your ability to keep a date with the person to whom you have pledged your love and faithfulness, so make a personal commitment to be ready on time.

2. Prepare yourself for your date by making sure you are rested, hydrated and able to leave any stress at home. Dates are much more enjoyable when both parties are in good spirits and not hungry, angry, lonely or tired. This will ensure you have the energy you need to focus your attention on each other and enjoy your time together.

3. Dress appropriately. The grocery store might be an acceptable place for wearing your favorite pair of jeans, wrinkled sweatshirt, baseball hat and dark sunglasses, but you'll want to leave those more casual clothes at home while on a date with your spouse. Dress appropriately for any planned activity, and pay the same attention to your appearance as you did before you were married.

4. Keep it light. Dates are not the time for addressing difficult topics or important decisions. A different time should be scheduled or planned for those conversations. Date night should be good-hearted and fun.

5. Show your affection. Date night is the perfect occasion for demonstrating your approval and appreciation for your spouse. Make an intentional effort to show your loved one how you feel about him or her. Smile and laugh at each other's jokes, hold hands, sit on the same side of the table in a restaurant and exchange sweet kisses now and again.

Tips & Warnings
Your goal is to have a successful date with your spouse and use this time together to develop an honest and more intimate relationship with one another, so make sure to be yourself in the process.

Can We Talk? -- Strategies for Difficult Conversations

Throughout your marriage there will be times when you need to have "must have" conversations.

These are the conversations that you both may not want to talk about. These are conversations about difficult issues and situations. These are the conversations that may make you both angry, defensive, sad, and hurt.

Pretending that there is nothing wrong will keep both of you walking on eggshells and will ultimately cause your marriage to fail.

Having the difficult talk shows you care enough about your spouse and your marriage to have the conversation.

Here are tips and strategies when you have to have that difficult talk.

Don't Put Off Having That Difficult Conversation

Look at Your Expectations. If you expect the conversation to go badly, it will. If you assume that having the big talk will make the situation worse, it probably will. You need to define your expectations of the conversation and to think in positive terms.

Know Why You Want to Have the Talk. Do you want to talk with your spouse about a difficult issue to gain a better understanding of your spouse's perspective on the issue? Do you want to clear up a misunderstanding? Do you need to confront your spouse about a suspected lie or hurtful behavior? Are you concerned about your level of intimacy with one another and want to be closer to your spouse?

Accept It Will Probably Be a Stressful Conversation.
Although you don't want either one of you to be stressed, hurt, or angered by the conversation, it is important to realize that you both may be defensive and emotional as you talk.

To get more tips, click here for the full article from Sheri and Bob Stritof, Guides


Monday, October 15, 2012

Building a Strong Family - Dick Wulf

How do you build a strong family? By paying attention not only to individual family members but to the family as a group. This is rarely done in the American home. But your success as a parent may depend upon it.

A cooperative and interdependent family will not usually come into being if a parent centers most of his or her attention on individual kids when part or all of the family is together. A collection of people being herded in the same direction will not prosper and grow into the powerful family it could be.

You may get surprising results if you apply the following professional group work approach to your family life. It often yields parents and children who help one another and look out for one another throughout the rest of life. This kind of family enables individual members to function and grow far stronger than in the usual home setting.

Leading Your Family as a Group

Leading the family as a group is completely different from merely raising kids one-by-one, ignoring the family as a unit.

Think of the coach of a football team. He must focus on how the various members of the team relate to one another, work together, carry out the plays, etc. Whereas the quarterback coach is concerned with very different things: an individual's performance and morale.

Parents must be both kinds of coaches. What usually happens is that they just operate like the quarterback coaches, helping one individual at a time and leaving out teaching their families to work together and help one another.

Christian Parenting - Making A Difference

Christian Parenting - To Choose
Christian parents face the difficult task of raising children in a world of "correctness." In the past, children grew up in a society that clearly defined what was right and what was wrong. Parents were recognized as the primary authority figure in their children's lives. Now as the world conforms, our children react to the unprecedented immorality, anti-family, and anti-parent concepts in schools and media.

Parents show increasing concern as their children are encouraged to shun strict rules and biblical truths. Whenever the application of God's laws is mentioned, a flurry of organizations warn parents not to impose their own values upon their children. But the Christian parent understands the wickedness of exchanging God's truth for a lie. The Bible speaks of the"insolent, arrogant, and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents. . ." (Romans 1:30). Rebellion and disobedience are just as pervasive today as parental authority disintegrates. Today, parents must choose who and what shapes their children's lives. Without a doubt, God still holds parents responsible for their children - to instruct them and to discipline them.

Christian Parenting - To Instruct
In the Old Testament, Moses reminds the Israelites of their responsibility to their children and grandchildren. "Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them" (Deuteronomy 4:9-10). We would all like to believe that our children will make the right choices based on lessons taught. If our child found a dollar bill at the playground, what would he do with it? What sort of "measuring rod" will a child apply as his benchmark for honesty? Perhaps that child will recall how his father returned over-paid change to a cashier.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Ten Ways to Marry the Wrong Person - Rabbi Dov Heller, M.A.

Blind love is not the way to choose a spouse. Here are practical tools for keeping your eyes wide open.

With the divorce rate over 50 percent, too many are apparently making a serious mistake in deciding who to spend the rest of their life with. To avoid becoming a "statistic," try to internalize these 10 insights.

#1. You pick the wrong person because you expect him/her to change after you're married.

The classic mistake. The golden rule is, if you can't be happy with the person the way he or she is now, don't get married. As a colleague of mine so wisely put it, "You actually can expect people to change after they're married... for the worse!"

So when it comes to the other person's spirituality, character, personal hygiene, communication skills, and personal habits, make sure you can live with these as they are now.

#2. You pick the wrong person because you focus more on chemistry than on character.

Chemistry ignites the fire, but good character keeps it burning. Beware of the "I'm in love" syndrome. "I'm in love" often means, "I'm in lust." Attraction is there, but have you carefully checked out this person's character?

Getting Rid of the Green-Eyed Monster in Your Marriage - Dr. Gary and Barbara Rosberg

It affects every marriage at one time or another - jealousy. In fact, in a nationwide survey, marriage counselors said jealousy is a problem for one-third of all couples they counsel.

Whether it's a mild or major case, jealousy can have a big impact on your relationship. You may feel jealousy when you experience the heightened threat from a rival. Most of us become jealous when we see our spouse having a great time with a person of the opposite sex - especially if that person seems a little too friendly. No matter how much your spouse may attempt to reassure you, another person's interest in him or her raises all your red flags.

Jealousy can be either healthy or unhealthy. Healthy jealousy is a means to guard your territory. It comes from a sincere care and commitment to a relationship. Unhealthy jealousy includes lies, threats, self-pity, and feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, and insecurity.

Healthy jealousy guards the heart of a marriage. It guards your marriage because it:

* Shows your commitment to the relationship.
* Protects your marriage by safeguarding the relationship against evil attacks.

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