Category: 2011

Things You Give Up After “I Do”

rings2The transition from single to married is not an easy one.  There are adjustments to make – including giving a few things up.

#1– Spending Time Alone With the Opposite Sex
It’s not about your level of self-control or whether or not you find the person attractive. Spending time alone with anyone of the opposite sex is dangerous. Any step towards adultery has to be recognized and avoided, such as dinner alone with a coworker, inviting someone over when your spouse isn’t home, or even carpooling alone together. It’s not about whether or not you’re actually having an affair, it’s about preventing an affair from ever occurring.

#2– Putting Yourself First
Marriage isn’t built to simply fulfill one person’s needs. It is designed to be a team of two people supporting each other, being each other’s strength in weak times, and working together to create a home and strong bond. As a single person, life tends to revolve around yourself, but when you get married you are willingly putting someone else first. Your life is no longer about your needs and wants, but making sure your spouse is getting their needs met first. This doesn’t mean to enable your spouse or to become a slave of their needs, but to be a loving helper.

#3– Flirting With the Opposite Sex
Don’t be tempted to see if you “still got it.” There are three parties that are hurt by mindless flirting: your spouse, the person you’re flirting with, and your marriage. Flirting outside of marriage is driven by selfish desires. As gratifying as the short term results may be, it’s the long term results that need to be taken into account. If you want to be flirtatious, turn to your spouse. Chances are they’ve been waiting for you to flirt with them all along!

#4– The Phrase “My Money”
How each married couple handles money successfully is different, but it is important that you discuss money as a couple. A lot of marriages are damaged because of financial conflict. Make sure to be considerate of your spouse’s opinion when it comes to your spending habits, despite who makes more or who’s better with money. Your life is now a combined account, and your bank account should be as well.

Early Bird and Night Owl Dates

morning Whether you’re a night owl or an early bird, explore the different options your favorite time of day has to offer. But don’t forget to step out of your normal routine every once in awhile and schedule a date at the time you usually sleep through!

Early Bird Dates

Morning Hike/Walk
Morning is the best time of day to get some fresh air. Find a good trail you can hike and get up early enough to see the sunrise together. End your hike or walk with a breakfast picnic. Try not to discuss anything negative or stressful during this time, instead, talk about things that set up the rest of the day to be wonderful.

Breakfast Picnic
No need for heavy preparing for a breakfast picnic. Grab some smoothies or bagels, or make a quiche, then sit somewhere scenic and enjoy the fresh morning together. Encourage each other for the day ahead.

Go to the Gym
Take a gym class in the morning together. Some classes start as early as 5am and can be a fun activity. Take turns deciding which exercises to do for the day. Challenge each other and cheer each other on.

Yard Sales
Early mornings are the best times to check out weekend yard sales. Rummage through other people’s stuff together and see if you can find anything romantic. Look for things such as board games, sports equipment, or poetry books that you can enjoy together.

Local Coffee Shops
Try a different local coffee shop in the morning once a week. Give each coffee shop a rating depending on service, drinks, and crowd. Or if you have a favorite coffee spot, take the time to try a different thing on the menu each day. Either way, do what you can to enjoy your cup of coffee and morning conversation.

nightowlNight Owl Dates

Midnight Movie Showing
Movie theaters love their late night showings. If you go late enough after the release and late enough at night, you might find that there are very few people in the theater. Or you can see a midnight release of a new movie.

Nighttime Picnic
Pack some warm drinks and soups, or fruit and chocolate if the evening is warm enough. Spend some time star gazing and talking about the universe. You can even set up a picnic in your backyard, with candles or solar lights for a romantic ambiance.

Cosmic Bowling
Cosmic bowling is open until the wee hours of the morning and is a good idea for a casual nighttime date or a late double date. Bowling alleys usually include arcades and food, so be sure to check out those things as well. If you’re not into cosmic bowling, try cosmic rollerblading or play sports with glow in the dark equipment.

Karaoke
Places that have a karaoke night are open late, and this is a good way to get out of your comfort zone. Sing duets or love songs, choose songs for each other to sing, or just cheer on the other singers. Don’t worry if you can’t sing; karaoke isn’t about being talented.

Arcade
Arcades are usually open pretty late and have plenty of games for two. Also, depending on the type of arcade you go to, you can also play billiards or shuffleboard. Play co-op games, challenge each other at shooting or dance games, and see if you can find old school games that you grew up on. Relax, have a good time, and play hard.

Balloon

balloon2I had a humbling experience not too long ago.

I was at a carnival with a friend and her 2 or 3 year old niece. The little girl was given a bright balloon, which my friend convinced her to give to her mom for safekeeping.

While we were in line for a game, the little girl looked up to the sky, then suddenly became quite anxious. My friend and I looked up to see a bright balloon floating away. The little girl began to whine and squirm. My friend smiled and shook her head. “That’s not your balloon.” she told her niece. “Mama has your balloon.”

The little girl, however, wasn’t convinced. She was almost in tears at the thought of losing her balloon. She didn’t take her eyes off it floating away in the sky until we reached her mother.

“See?” my friend said. “Mama had your balloon. And look! She got you a bunch more!”

Not only was the little girl’s balloon still there, safe and sound, but it was now surrounded by four more balloons.

How many times do we panic as we watch something slip out of reach, even if it was really never ours to begin with? We hold tight to our idols; our shiny objects that we are sure belongs to us.

But in reality, nothing truly belongs to us. Everything belongs to God. The Lord gives and takes away because everything is His to give and take away. We try to keep things for ourselves, but we can never own them. We even do this with the people we love because we fail to accept the fact that people can’t belong to us. We need to realize every human being belongs to God. Digging our nails into someone out of fear of losing them only makes matters worse.

But even in our anxiety, how much more does God give us? When the little girl thought she had lost her precious balloon, she came to find that not only had she not lost it, but she had gained even more. God gives us more blessings than we could ever attain from going out and trying to get them ourselves. Sometimes when we’ve think we’ve lost what’s important to us, we sooner or later realize that it we didn’t truly lose anything, because it was either never really ours or because God had so much more to give us.

Verse to Think About:
Matthew 7:11
So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him.

10 Romantic Pizza Ideas

chocolatepizza2Want to spice up your Saturday night pizza tradition? Try one of these romantic pizza ideas!

Make Pizza Into a Heart Shape
This is fairly simple to do if you’re making it yourself. Just form the pizza dough into a heart and cook. You can even find that some pizza places will do this for you if you ask, so don’t be afraid to!

Make Pizza Bite Sized and Feed Each Other
You can have a bit of fun with this one. Hold your sweetheart’s pizza “hostage” and feed it to them bit by bit in exchange for an answer to a question. Ask them things like, “What is your favorite thing about me?”, “What is your deepest fear?”, or “If you had a band, which instrument would you like to play?” The fun thing about pizza is that you can feed them with a fork or your fingers!

Write a Message Using Toppings
Think Valentine’s Day candy hearts. Take your toppings of mushrooms, bell peppers, or sausage and write out a message such as “I luv u”, “ur lovely”, or “true love.” It doesn’t take a lot of time to do, and it’s sure to make your pizza date just a bit more memorable.

Form Hearts With the Toppings
Cut out the pepperoni into heart shapes if you have the time. If you’d rather take a less time consuming route, just form heart shapes on top of your pizza with the toppings. Your sweetheart is sure to find it adorable.

Get Out the Fine China
Create a gourmet pizza and then use the fine china. This improves the ambiance considerably, making it far more romantic.

Surprise Your Sweetheart With a Pizza Delivery
If you know they’re putting in some extra work at the office or studying extra hard for a test, why not drop by with a free pizza delivery? Make sure it’s their favorite pizza! If you don’t want to make the pizza yourself, or you simply don’t want to distract them from their work, order a pizza from a local place and have it delivered to their door.

Go to a Ritzy Italian Place
As great as your typical pizza delivery places are, they completely lack the ambiance of a fine Italian restaurant. Pizza is usually overlooked at fine Italian places (pasta seems much more popular) but it could be an overlooked gem!

Base Pizza Recipes Around Aphrodisiacs
Aphrodisiacs are foods that are supposed to make you feel more sensual. There actually is no scientific proof that aphrodisiacs work, but they are pleasant on the eyes and light on the stomach. How about trying a breakfast pizza made with walnuts, bananas, and honey? Or a dessert pizza made with chocolate and strawberries? Or you can just add chile peppers to a cheese pizza. Look up aphrodisiacs and find out how they earned their place in this category, then discuss it over your invented pizza.

Make a Pizza Together
Have one person make the dough, the other make the sauce. Make mini pizzas with experimental toppings and discuss the results.

Go Long Distance
There are a lot of amazing pizza places in the world. Do not feel confined to your own area! If there is a review for an amazing pizza place that’s 3 hours away, drive there. Go to Chicago. Go to Italy! The romance is in the spontaneity and thrill of going somewhere unknown.

5 Dinner Dates

diningTrying to come up with a romantic twist on your usual Friday night dinner for two?

The Reminisce Dinner
Try and recreate a memorable dinner from a previous time in your relationship. You can go to the place you went to on your first date, or recreate the dinner when you realized you were completely in love with this person, or have a picnic where you proposed. Talk about all the things you loved about each other when you first met.

Foreign Dinner
If you’re going to insist on Chinese take out, at least do it right. Set up the dining room to reflect the culture of the dinner you’re having. Play popular music from that country in the background. For your menu, create popular dishes from their history or look up a popular restaurant and recreate some of their menu items. Dress up in a way that reflects their culture if you want to. Then, create a cheat sheet of romantic sayings in that country’s language and be sure to recite them during dinner!

Dinner and Dancing
Dinner and dancing may be losing its edge. It’s harder to find places that have dinner and dancing, and most people don’t try it because they can’t dance! But both of these are terrible excuses for not trying your hand at this wonderfully romantic dinner. If you can’t find a place that has dinner and dancing, clear a spot in your house or in your backyard. Split your meal into courses, and insist that the payment for each course is a dance. If your problem is two left feet, there is a solution. Many dance studios and nightclubs have social nights that teach simple dance steps for a lot cheaper than private lessons.

Character Dinner Date
This dinner is for the really bold, creative people. Pick characters from novels, movies, or even video games if you want and have dinner together in character. Turn the dinner into a theme, using menu items that are inspired by your characters. This is a great idea for a dinner party or double dinner date. You can do this in public if you’re brave enough!

Dessert Sampler
Not all dinners have to be based around chicken or beef. Create a half dozen mini desserts, not skipping out elegant presentations of the dishes. (You can either split the task of making assorted desserts, or you can go to a local bakery and pick up a few different items.) Some countries consider cheese a dessert, so if you’re not in the mood for sweets, make a cheese platter instead.

How is Your Speech?

speech2We could all take mental note of how we speak to our spouses. When you have gotten to a place in your relationship where you are comfortable enough to say anything on your mind, you forget to take caution to what you are saying. Before you speak, test to see which category your remarks belong to.

Encouraging Verses Discouraging
Some people feel the need to be “reality police.” They do not encourage big dreams and they do not welcome change. There are enough people in the world crushing your spouse with reality. Encourage your spouse in their interests and desires, even if it is not in your own best interest. You can be honest with someone about the situation without dragging down their enthusiasm. Your job is not to tell your spouse what will or will not succeed. Your job is to stand by your spouse whether they succeed or fail.

Hopeful Verses Hopeless
The last thing a person needs when things go wrong is someone saying how hopeless the situation is. A lot of hopeless statements include pessimistic elements such as, “We’ll never get back on our feet again after this set back” or “Now our kids will never get a good education.” Not only do these statements hurt the person you are saying them to, but they are also false. No one knows the future. What your spouse needs is someone who encourages them to work through what has happened. No situation is hopeless. Be the voice that says so.

Honest Verses Dishonest
Is your husband really the most selfish human being on the planet? Is your wife really the most agitating person you know? Probably not, so why say it in the heat of an argument? It is in the midst of intense emotions that people make false accusations against someone’s character. For example, you might call your husband lazy for not mowing the lawn all weekend, but in reality you know it is not true because works 50 hours a week. It is not fair to accuse someone of a character flaw they do not have simply because you are not getting your way. And if you do honestly think they are lazy or selfish or agitating, do not speak of it out of anger or heightened emotion. Say something such as, “I know the economy is hard, but I do not feel like you are doing all you can to support the family financially.” Bring it back to how you feel, not to what you think the other person lacks. Let them reflect on their own character and make a decision about it. You are not around to fix your spouse’s flaws.

Loving Verses Manipulative
Love includes freedom. Love has nothing to do with trying to control someone or rigging an event to lean in your favor. Guilt trips and false accusations are forms of manipulation. We want someone to react to us or a situation a certain way, so we throw out things like, “You don’t really care about my needs”or “A good wife wouldn’t do that.” The more you try to manipulate someone, the more they are going to resent you for it.

12 Days of Love-Mas

starOn the first day of Love-mas, I got from my true love: A full day of nothing but us
Schedule a day where from sunrise to sunset, it is nothing but you two. No phones, no emails, no tag-alongs – just you and you love.

On the second day of Love-mas, I got from my true love: 2 concert tickets
Pick a band your partner loves and buy tickets for you both to go see them live. Don’t pick a band you like and they are okay with listening to, pick one of their favorites.

On the third day of Love-mas, I got from my true love: 3 different kisses

Be creative with your kisses on this day. Try something weird like an upside-down kiss, something classic like a kiss to the hand, or something traditional like a mistletoe kiss.

On the fourth day of Love-mas, I got from my true love: 4 new hubcaps

When was the last time you bought something car-related for your sweetheart? Buy them some shiny new hubcaps that really makes their car pop.

On the fifth day of Love-mas, I got from my true love: 5 minute hugs

Hug your partner at least 5 times today, for 5 minutes each. See how much 25 minutes of hugging a day can improve your relationship.

On the sixth day of Love-mas, I got from my true love: 6 scoop sundae
Make the ultimate romantic sundae. Use 6 scoops of your sweetheart’s favorite ice cream and toppings. (Not yours!) Surprise them with it when they get home. Share the sundae together by candlelight.

On the seventh day of Love-mas, I got from my true love: 7 love letters
Write your sweetheart a love letter each day this week, but don’t give them to him or her until the end of the week. Wrap the letters in a bow and leave them on the doorstep or their pillow.

On the eighth day of Love-mas, I got from my true love: 8 compliments
Try giving your sweetheart 8 compliments in one day. Spread them out over the day and see how it cheers your sweetheart up. Every relationship could do with a few more compliments.

On the ninth day of Love-mas, I got from my true love: 9 heart shaped cookies
Bake some homemade cookies and carefully decorate each one lovingly. Wrap in a box and give as an elegant, surprise gift.

On the tenth day of Love-mas, I got from my true love: 10 reasons why I’m loved
Tell your love 10 reasons why you adore them. Be specific and elaborate. For example, anyone could have “pretty eyes” but your love has “deep, emerald eyes that piece through the heart every time someone looks into them.”

On the eleventh day of Love-mas, I got from my true love: 11 romantic songs
Pick 11 romantic songs that have special meaning to you. Put them on a CD or MP3 player and give them to your sweetheart. For ideas on songs, check out our article “Love Song CD” for song ideas.

On the twelfth day of Love-mas, I got from my true love: 12 white roses
White roses symbolize honor and purity. They are usually used for marriages as a reminder of new beginnings. Attach a vow to your white roses, promising an honoring attitude towards your relationship.

Craft Idea: Pumpkin Centerpiece

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFall produces a lot of wonderful pumpkins for decorating. Why not make a romantic centerpiece for your table?

Materials:
1 small pumpkin
Pumpkin carving knife
Spoon (to clean out pumpkin)
A small assortment of flowers
1 LED tealight candle (Not a real tealight candle)

Rinse off the pumpkin, then carve a large hole in the top around the stem. Gently pull off the “lid” and toss out. Clean out pumpkin seeds using a spoon, and scissors if need be. Put pumpkin seeds in a dish to be baked later. (See recipe below.)

With a pencil or pen, lightly draw your design on the pumpkin. Make it a heart, a message, or something that is symbolic of your love. Carefully carve it out of the pumpkin.

Get a bouquet of flowers and cut the stems. Note that these flowers won’t last very long without water. You can use fake flowers if you’d like, or simply leave the flowers in the centerpiece for the duration of dinner and then put them into a vase afterward.

Needless to say, don’t use a candle in this pumpkin while there are flowers in it. For a firelight flickering effect, use an LED candle.

Pumpkin Seed Recipe: Put pumpkin seeds in a strainer and rinse, removing the excess pumpkin membrane. Spread out pumpkin seeds on a greased cookie sheet, add some salt, and put in the oven at 350° for about 15 minutes.