Category: 2010

Gift Idea: Treasure Hunt

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEveryone loves a good find. Try this fun little gift presentation for your next great gift!

Grab a little treasure box from your local craft store and decorate the box with paint, gems, or markers.

Now hide your treasure box. There is the traditional method of burying it in the backyard, or you can try a slightly less traditional approach like hiding it in your microwave or dryer. Hide it in a dresser drawer, under the bed, behind a book in the bookshelf, under the kitchen sink, in the refrigerator, or in a filing cabinet – There are many possibilities no matter where you live.

Now to create the clues to find it. Draw a treasure map, create a riddle, write a message in a secret code. The more lavish the gift, the harder the clue!

Treasure Ideas:

  • Tickets to a play or game
  • Jewelry
  • Perfume/cologne
  • Promise ring
  • Hand written note
  • Gift card to their favorite store
  • Hard candy
  • MP3 player
  • Movie tickets
  • A flash drive with pictures of the two of you on it
  • A poem you wrote about them
  • A card from the place you made dinner reservations
  • Membership card to a club you signed them up for
  • Romantic coupons
  • Something antique with a story behind it

The Cure

prescriptionMarriage isn’t the cure. Sometimes we single folks like to think it is. That’s why we rush to it. That’s why we get obsessed over it. That’s why we have high expectations… and then insult our marriages when we aren’t satisfied.

Marriage isn’t going to cure you of anxiety and worries. It isn’t going to cure you of your sexual addictions. It isn’t going to cure you of depression. It won’t cure you indefinitely of your financial burdens.

There is only one cure:

Luke 6:17–19
When they came down from the mountain, the disciples stood with Jesus on a large, level area, surrounded by many of his followers and by the crowds. There were people from all over Judea and from Jerusalem and from as far north as the seacoasts of Tyre and Sidon. They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those troubled by evil spirits were healed. Everyone tried to touch him, because healing power went out from him, and he healed everyone.

Different people with different issues came from all over to be healed, and Jesus willingly healed everyone. In Matthew 15 we read that Jesus not only healed a large group of people, but He even fed them to keep them from fainting later in their journeys.

How many times in the Bible do we read about Jesus curing someone? Now, how many times in the Bible do we read about marriage curing someone?

The only marriage that truly cures is becoming the bride of Christ. Marriage is sure to bring you joy and some emotional gratification– it may even drive you to be a better human being– but it’s not the cure for emptiness, loneliness, finances, or addictions. You can still feel lonely in marriage. You can still feel anxiety in marriage. You can still be financially bankrupt in marriage. You can still have a pornography addiction in marriage.

Rushing to the alter won’t cure you. But rushing to Christ will.

Verses to Meditate On:
2 Cor 11:2
For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband—Christ.

Ezekiel 16:8
And when I passed by again, I saw that you were old enough for love. So I wrapped my cloak around you to cover your nakedness and declared my marriage vows. I made a covenant with you, say the sovereign Lord, and you became mine.

Matthew 4:24
News about him spread as far as Syria, and people soon began bringing to him all who were sick. And whatever their sickness or disease, or if they were demon possessed or epileptic or paralyzed—he healed them all.

Focus on the Positive

holdinghandscThis morning I woke up to a TV discussion about whether or not marriage had value anymore.  It was an over-bearing, frustrating thought that I couldn’t shake from my mind till my daily walk.

Walking around a very familiar neighborhood, I saw two people that stood out. They were an elderly couple, lively and warm looking. I’d seen many people walking down that particular street, but this couple stood out because they were holding hands.

The gentleman gave me a wave while the lady commented on the beautiful weather. I agreed in return, then felt an overwhelming need to ask them something.

“Can I ask you something? How long have you two been together?”

The woman nearly blushed as she said, “61 years.”

“61 years? And you still hold hands while going for walks?”

The gentleman held his wife’s hand to his chest lovingly.

“Oh, we hold hands a lot of places. Not just walking.” the wife said.

I was completely astounded. “So what’s your secret?”

The wife laughed. “No secret, really. You have to focus on the positive, not the negative. Each day is a blessing. And we’ve been truly blessed.”

As an affirmation of her words, the gentleman kissed his wife’s hand. We then parted ways, and I couldn’t help but grin.

Good marriages still exist. The views of this world seem to get worse and worse when it comes to reciting vows and keeping promises, but there are those that refuse to believe the rumors that marriage is a pointless endeavor that only ends in heartbreak or divorce. This particular couple chose to be those people.

There are far more negative examples to look to when it comes to marriage, but maybe it’s time to focus on the positive ones. The ones that don’t give up, do what it takes, and put one of the most impacting relationships in this world first.

Maybe it’s time more people ignored this world’s memos about marriage and relationships and instead decided to view marriage in a positive light.

Rules of the Double Date

245734_7156#1– The man pays for his date
Don’t make a double date awkward by fighting over the check. The man pays for his date regardless of the situation. Request separate checks at dinner if you have to.

#2– Pick locations that are more fun than intimate
Intimate settings are meant for single couples, not double dates. Being overly romantic can be distracting and awkward when there’s another couple with you. Pick relaxed locations that are good for casual fun and conversation.

#3– Avoid winging it. Come up with a plan first.
Ever been with a group of people who can’t decide where to go for dinner? Frustrating, isn’t it? A date can lose its luster when you waste time trying to figure out what you’re doing next or when you have to admit that you can’t afford the restaurant the other couple suggests. Plan out your date in advance.

#4—Always guys against gals
If you’re going on an outing where you have to split into teams, the rule is men against women. This keeps your outing from going sour because your date is highly competitive or one of you turns bossy.

#5– Easy on the PDA
No one wants to see your PDA when you’re on a date by yourselves, let alone on a double-date. You two aren’t the only people in the room and you shouldn’t alienate your guests by being overly gushy or touchy-feely.

 

Ideas for Double Dates:

  • Bowling
  • Tennis
  • Amusement parks
  • Arcades
  • Board games
  • Concerts
  • Basketball
  • Picnics
  • Game tournaments
  • Hiking
  • Volleyball
  • Dancing

Romantic Popcorn String

popcornMake decorating your tree even more meaningful by making sentimental popcorn strings. This popcorn string has special events and pictures that relates to your relationship.

Supplies:
Popcorn
Needle
Thread
Scissors
Index cards or photographs
Safety pens or paper clips
Hole punch

 

Optional supplies:
Thimble
Chewy candies
Cranberries
Raisins
Glitter

Pop your popcorn and let it sit for a day or so. This will make the popcorn stale and less crumbly.

Cut a long piece of string and fold it in half to make it twice as durable. Look for pieces of popcorn with a thick middle and stick your needle through. Use a thimble or the table to push the needle through tough decorations, such as candies or cranberries. Remember to use more popcorn then heavier decorations or else the string is going to have a hard time staying on the tree! Add glitter or food dye if you wish. If you run out of string, simply knot it off then make another piece and tie the two together.

Take your index cards and punch a hole at the top. Decorate the card with different dates of special events, such as your first date, your first kiss, the date you proposed, etc. Or you can use photographs of you two at those events. (Make a duplicate photo– don’t punch a hole in the original.) Add the card or photo anywhere on the string using a paperclip or safety pin.

Now decorate your tree with it and sit back, reminiscing about your relationship.

Holiday Quality Time

The holidays can be a stressful time when trying to balance out shopping for gifts, attending parties, baking, cooking, decorating, and trying to spend time with your sweetheart. Here are a few tips to get that quality time together and make a romantic date out of it while saving money.

illtree1) Go shopping together
Save money on gas by doing your holiday shopping for friends and relatives together. Have an early dinner. Lunch menus are typically much less expensive than dinner at restaurants. There are always numerous places to eat near shopping centers. Try to get as much shopping done in the one day. This will free up more time later. Note: DO NOT buy your sweetheart’s gift! Instead, use this time to see what they may be wanting.

2) Do your holiday baking together.
A good way to see how compatible you are with someone is by working together. Cookies are a good way to go because they are simple to make and you can talk while decorating them.

3) Decorate and wrap gifts together
Make a nice home cooked meal. Remember you already spent money on gifts, so save money by eating in. Try your hand at a new ethnic recipe. Put a movie on or your favorite holiday music. If you have a fireplace, light some logs. Wrap the presents you bought together. Make decorations together. Make a bowl of popcorn but instead of eating it make a garland for the tree. Help each other with all of those holiday cards.

There are numerous ways to enjoy the holidays together while being frugal. Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean you have to over spend. Be creative. The best and most romantic memories are the ones you create yourself. Happy Holidays!

-Written by Therese Binder

Real Men

people2At one time or another, every single woman has thought to herself, “Why can’t I find a real man?” However, it seems that no one has really defined what a “real man” is. The media has its own opinion on the matter, throwing in generalized male stereotypes at every twist and turn, but are these types of guys really considered “real men?” Do these chick flick dream guys make the cut?

Qualifications

So what do women need? What are the qualifications for strong men?

Leadership
If a man can’t lead his own life, he’s going to have a hard time leading a household. Not all men are born leaders and that’s fine, but a man who is fickle with decisions or can’t discipline and organize his own life probably won’t be much help when the kids come around. A real man should be able to lead his life well to show that he has the ability to lead a household.

Self-Control
Whoever said “Men are only after one thing” wasn’t totally off. Men are programmed for sex and that’s not a bad thing, but lack of self-control in that department is. Self-control also applies to anger, violence, and spending habits. A real man has self-control because it’s a sign of maturity.

Assertiveness
Nothing against shy guys, but assertiveness is a good trait to have. Assertiveness shows a woman that a man can put his foot down when it’s needed and shows a woman how capable he is in protecting her. No woman looks at a doormat and thinks that if push comes to shove that’s the guy that’s going to step up and speak up for her in her time of need. A real man is assertive because that shows a woman he can stand his ground.

Diligence
The bum in front of his XBox may be adorable, but if he’s still living in his mom’s house without a job, then chances are he’s not mature enough to take care of a family. Related to this, any man who only does half of a job isn’t the kind to be desired either. A real man should work hard and put in his best.

Kindness
Don’t get “kindness” confused with “doormat.” Kindness is when a man shows that he can be considerate of others and that he’s not simply out for himself. Let’s face it: if a guy is a jerk to others, he’ll end up being a jerk to you too. Even if by some chance he doesn’t, he will still influence your children. A child will pick up on the way he treats others and is bound to mimic it.

These are the traits that define a real man, not the Hollywood stereotypes. There are a few types that women should really avoid despite their attraction to them:

Types of Men Women Should Avoid

#1 Don Juan
Women are romantics. They love the fairytale prince that says all the right words and makes grand gestures of affection. Don Juan types know this. They know all the right words and all the right plays to get exactly what they want.

Men that say all the right things at all the right times probably don’t mean half of what they say. Chances are you’re not the only one they’ve spoken sweet nothings to. Romance in a game to Don Juans; they like to see how many women they can get to swoon over them. It’s bragging rights. I actually knew two guys in high school that had a competition to see how many girlfriends they could get in one year.

Don Juans aren’t worth a woman’s time. They have no respect for women and they don’t intend on sticking around.

#2 The People Pleaser
I think of The People Pleaser as the extreme cousin of Mr. Nice Guy. The problem with The People Pleaser is that he is more concerned with everyone being happy all the time than with putting his foot down when it’s needed. He’s wants to avoid confrontation to the point where he lacks discipline and assertiveness.

The People Pleaser is genuinely considerate, however, his extreme concern for making everyone happy makes him easy to manipulate by others. Sooner or later he ends up being resentful because nothing he does makes anyone happy. The weight he takes on by trying to make everyone happy will end up crashing into your lap.

Women don’t need a people pleaser. They need a kind leader. Know the difference.

#3 The Hulk
It doesn’t matter how well he treats you, a guy with a temper is a bad idea. No matter the situation, a guy who can’t control his anger is a man that lacks maturity and self-control. Real men need both of these traits.

It’s natural for a woman to want a man who can protect her, but a guy that can’t pick his battles wisely is more a threat to a woman than her bodyguard. This is a huge red flag that suggests verbal or physical abuse towards you in the future. It doesn’t matter how nice he is to you now, it doesn’t matter that you can see his inner soft spot, all that matters is he lacks self-control and you’re putting yourself in danger.

Life isn’t a chick flick, ladies. Don’t expect one of these guys to fall in love with you then change his misguided ways. You don’t want these types of guys; you want to find a real man.

What Happened to All the Real Men?

Women look for men with strong character. They want firm leaders, great providers, and disciplined fathers. When they find a man that they believe to be these things, they nab them.

Then as girlfriends and wives they tell men when to mow the lawn, decide where and when they’re going out, and then refuse to let the man pay because they are quite capable of taking care of themselves.

Wait– What?

A man wants to be the man in a relationship. A woman wants the man to be the man in the relationship. Yet the woman still ends up trying to be the man in a relationship. Sometimes it seems like women are so determined to show their equality that they forget their fulfilling roles as women.

Modern culture has blurred the lines of gender roles, bent on proving that women can do anything a man can do. That’s true. I don’t think anyone really disputes this statement. But in trying to act like men, we’ve decreased the percentage of the “real men” we keep searching for but can’t find.

Does that mean that women should give up all we’ve accomplished– give up our careers and independence? No, of course not. However, if we let men lead the relationship instead of trying to take over everything ourselves, we might find that men can actually rise to the occasion, and with a little discipline and confidence they can become the “real men” we want to find.

Now, I’m not talking about women that have to take on the male role to make a household survive. Women who take on the role of provider due the absence of a husband or a husband who is unable to take care of his family because of medical issues are commendable women. I’m talking about women who try to take on the male role because of impatience or pride. If a woman wants the man to be the man in the relationship, a woman has to accept her role as woman.

Yes, it’s true that a real man is rare and hard to find, but never settle for something less. A relationship founded on “well, I can’t find anything better” won’t last and isn’t worth it. Save out for a real man. He’s worth it.

I Vow

vows“To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.”

It’s been my thought this week that wedding vows are slightly vague. People don’t mind reciting them at the alter, but I don’t think anyone really thinks about what they’re promising.

How many people think about these vows before marriage? How many think of them when they want a divorce?

What if the vows were more specific? Would you still be willing to make them?

For better: When things are going smoothly and we both feel loved and appreciated, I promise to cherish those times and not take them for granted.

For worse: When we can’t do anything but fight and hurt each other to the point where we don’t even know if we can stand one another, I promise to do what it takes to repair us.

For richer: When we don’t have to worry about paying the bills and keeping food on the table, I promise to appreciate your hard work.

For poorer: When you’ve lost your job are are unable to find one for months; and we have to worry about how we’re going to pay bills or feed the family, I won’t blame you for our hardship or turn against you.

In sickness: When you’re diagnosed with a painful or incurable disease, I promise to take care of you for months or years at a time if I have to; or when you’re mentally unstable or depressed I promise I won’t leave you to destroy yourself.

In health: I promise to take care of myself physically and mentally for both our benefits; and to also fulfill your sexual and emotional needs to create intimacy and a stronger bond between us.

To love: I’ve made a conscious decision to treat you with respect and give you what you need, even if we’re not getting along or you’re not fulfilling all my needs in return. I understand love is an action, not just that romantic high we had when we first met.

To cherish: To honor you and appreciate you even if you don’t treat me well all the time. I understand how sacred and beautiful marriage is and I promise not to take it for granted.

Till death do us part: No exceptions.

What do your vows mean to you? Did you simply recite them, or did you mean them? Meditate on the weight each line holds. In there lies your goal in marriage.