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Valentines Day Recap

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ConversationHearts

As Christians, we know that we are to love.  Jesus said that our greatest and second greatest commands were to love God and others.  So, in some ways, Valentine’s day is as important of a holiday as any of the rest, because it celebrates Christianity’s primary characteristic.

If we are to love each other, we might as well get good at it!  Here are some of our favorite posts about how to show love to your spouse and kids.  Enjoy!

God’s Love

Happy Valentine’s Day 

God loves you!  So what else matters?!?!?!

Valentine’s and Parenting:

We love our kids, and this is a great time to show them.

Valentine’s Promises For Your Kids

Valentine’s Wreath 

Vital Words For My Girls

Vital Words For My Boys

Conversation Hearts of Love

The 1 Corinthians 13 Mom

Valentine’s and Marriage:

Here are a few of our posts about marriage.  You can find more by hovering over Men and clicking on Husband or hovering over Gals and clicking on Wife

The Foundation of Marriage Series

These books and concepts have been foundational to our marriage.

The Foundation of Marriage

Foundations of Marriage: Sacred Marriage

Foundations of Marriage: Your Most Important Customer

Foundations of Marriage: Proceed With Caution

Foundations of Marriage: Love and Respect

Foundations of Marriage: For Men and Women Only

Other Fun Marriage Posts

Guys – Creative Date Nights

It’s hard to think of good ideas, so here are a few to get you started.

Marital Intimacy Troubleshooting – Men

“Marital Intimacy” is a code word so that our posts don’t get blocked by your internet filters.  This topic is critically important to every marriage, so it stands to reason that we should try to tackle problems in this area.

Warning Husbands: T Minus 8 Days to Valentine’s

Don’t mess this up guys – it’s the same day every year.  Right after Lincoln’s birthday.  Right before Washington’s birthday.

Fun Game to Play – Spouses Only 😉

This may leave you blushing.

Gift Ideas For Your Hubby!

This may also.

Love

Valentine’s Day is a great time to reach out to the ones you love.  We hope some of these ideas are helpful.  What ideas do you have?

Text Tone

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TextTone

Oh be careful little mouth what you say

Oh be careful little mouth what you say

For the Father up above is looking down in love

So be careful little mouth what you say

Anyone remember this oldie but goodie? Today I was texting back and forth with my husband and noticed myself adding extra inflection to my words as I was telling Siri what to text. Subconsciously I think I was expecting Siri to translate my tone and my humor into the text. I chuckled to myself as I read my text to make sure that Siri interpreted it right. She got the words right, but somehow it didn’t have the extra kick of humor that would have been there if I was talking with Nate face to face. Thankfully my husband knows me well, and I am sure he was able to read each and every text in the tone of voice that I had hoped. Even if he didn’t, he knows and understands my heart.

But it got me to thinking. Not everyone knows me this well. It doesn’t matter how I tell Siri to say it – the recipient of my text will interpret it any way they choose. Scary, isn’t it! Words are so powerful. What we say to others can make a dramatic impact on their mood, emotions and outlook. That is why we must choose our words wisely. We must also choose how to hear words. We can allow words to affect us in a positive or negative way. Only through the help of God can we interpret things in the way that we should.

IMG_0672 Continue reading

It’s My Wife’s Birthday – Now What?

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WifeBirthday

 

Your wife’s birthday – it happens every year.  A lot of husbands struggle to bring much creativity to this area of their lives, so I hope that this post will help change that.  C’mon guys – we’re problem solvers!  That is what we exist and get paid to do!  So we can tackle this opportunity in exactly the same way as we would approach any other high risk, high reward situation.  This is a day where you can show her that she is valuable, and, more importantly, you value her.  This is a day that she can really feel that you delight in her.  If you can achieve that, your efforts will be worth it.

Holy Birthday To You

It appears that God may have given you marriage to make you holy.  (See here.)  If that is true, consider your wife’s birthday the annual High Holy Day.  This is the number one day for you to serve your wife unselfishly, with nothing expected in return! OK, Mother’s Day could be #1, depending on how many kids you have and how old they are, but your honey’s birthday is at least a close second.  So this is a day where you will be focusing in on who she is and how you can bless her.  Here are some ideas.

The Basics

Make sure you remember her birthday.  Make sure you get her a card.  Most years you probably should at least get a $7 bouquet of flowers from Walmart or the grocery store.  (You’ll be there buying her card anyway!)  : )  It is hard to convince her that you care about her if you mess up the basics because you are a rookie or you have gotten lackadaisical over time.  Start strong!  Continue reading

13 Marriage Lessons From 13 Years

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Wedding1

For our 13th anniversary we sat down and reminded ourselves of 13 lessons we have learned about marriage.  Some of these we learned the hard way.  Others we have learned from wise teachers in our life.

Wedding2

  1. Never stop dating
  2. Life changes and your spouse changes. Keep learning about your spouse and adjusting and growing.
  3. Keep laughing. Don’t always be serious.
  4. Do ministry together.
  5. You are your spouse’s biggest cheerleader, not critic.
  6. Put your spouse before your children, in your mind and in your actions.
  7. When in doubt, serve your spouse.
  8. Go to a marriage retreat (or similar getaway) every 1 or 2 years. (Put time and effort into your marriage continually.)
  9. Pray with your spouse daily.
  10. Actively work on YOU and who God created you to be.
  11. Practice talking with your spouse about important things, like God, money, and sex.
  12. You are on the same team – your spouse is never the enemy.
  13. Life isn’t a cake walk, but it is better with a partner!

Continue reading

Conquering Self: Walking in Peace

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LessOfMe

Last week we discussed the idea of pursuing peace with all people. Today we are going to break down two different passages that I feel give us guidance on how to actually put this into practice.

But first remember these promises:

1 John 5:2-4 (ESV)

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT)

 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

Mark 10:27 (NLT)

Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.”

 

Go to your journal page seven and look at the name of the person or the situation that you wrote down. Keep these in mind as we go through these next two passages. Continue reading

Long Before They Say I Do – Praying For Our Kids and Their Future Spouses

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WeddingRings

I do.

“I do.” Two simple words that hold such deep meaning. Almost 13 years ago I said, “I do” to my husband. When I said those words I didn’t know how much weight those words held. “I Do” is meant to be carried through the good times, the bad times, the wealthy times and the times when we are in need. “I Do” is commitment.  “I Do” is for life.

A Different I Do

Thirteen years ago I didn’t realize that I would have 4 more chances to say “I do.”  I didn’t realize there would be another situation when I would have to think about those two words and make a commitment that lasts until the day that I die.  The next time I had to say “I Do” was 9 and half years ago when our first daughter was born. As I held my beautiful, perfect, little daughter I realized what a great responsibility I had just been given.  It was as if God was saying again: “Do you, Dana?” Continue reading

Accountability: Guardrails For Life’s Dangerous Road

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AccountabilityGuardrails

Last week I told you that accountability leads to vulnerability, which is talking about things that matter.  It also helps you to keep from driving off a cliff. 

Life is a highway.  But most days it is less like a Disney Cars highway and much more like Trail Ridge Road.  What does that mean?  Well, if you’ve ever been to the top of Pike’s Peak, or driven Trail Ridge Road or the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Part, then you understand the picture I’m trying to paint.  This highway has a large dropoff on one side, and so if you veer that way, you’re toast!  The one thing between you and certain death is the guardrail.

One Missed Turn

Guys – life is like that.  Marriage is like that.  Will Rogers said “It takes a lifetime to build a good reputation, but you can lose it in a minute.”  Work, marriage, parenting, church, and leadership in all sectors of life…all of these areas are challenging road races.  If we are driving through life thinking we are Lightning McQueen, then we are putting ourselves in a pretty vulnerable spot.  Even if you’ve made it halfway or 75% of the way up the mountain, it just takes one missed turn to throw it all away. If we don’t have a guy we can talk to about the deepest and darkest parts of our life then we risk driving off into the chasm:

  • Affairs
  • Addictions
  • Selfishness
  • Materialism
  • Lies
  • Shame
  • Guilt
  • Deception
  • Loneliness
  • Rage

The list could go on and on.

InstallGuardrails

Guardrail Installation

No, Seriously

It’s in my blood to be a positive person in general.  (Literally. My blood type is B Positive.)  But this is serious enough that I can’t really afford to be light-hearted.  Accountability is the guardrail that keeps us on life’s winding road.  We all get dumb ideas in our heads from time to time.  Sometimes these dumb ideas are just plain sinful.  If we have an accountability partner who we meet with regularly, chances are pretty good that you will be able to talk to him about this dumb idea and he will help you steer back in the right direction.  You may bang up your fenders a little, but at least you will keep it on the road!  You will make mistakes.  You will do things that you regret, but your weekly meeting will wake you up before you have a fatal crash.  Accountability doesn’t make you perfect, but it keeps you from going over the edge.

I often wonder how many marriages could be saved if guys would just take this mountain road more seriously and do the hard work of installing some guard rails.

How about you?  Do you have any guardrails in place?  Do you have a guy who knows you well enough to ask you the hard questions?  Are you setting up the course for a safe race, or are you just depending on good luck and quick reflexes? 

Here’s a Guardrail Right Here:

Learn more about OPL’s take on leadership by clicking on the Guys – Leadership menu, or by searching for “Leadership” in the search box.  And don’t forget to follow us by email by putting your email address in the Subscribe box on the right.  One step and you’re done!

 

Other Resources

Wife Accountability Series: Wife AccountabilityWife Accountability PartnerThe Husband’s PerspectiveThe Questions, The Rut

Beautiful Pictures:  Rocky Mountain National Park

Beautiful Pictures:  Glacier National Park 

Guardrail Installation Photo Credit:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/glaciernps/14358905170/in/photostream/

AccountabilityGuardrails

Warning Husbands: T Minus 8 Days to Valentine’s

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Valentines2

Hi guys,

As I was trying to figure out what to post , I realized that Valentine’s Day is only a week away!  So, as a public service announcement, I wanted to pass the word along to you so you are not surprised.

Here are a few appropriate posts for the season.

Wooing

WeddingRings

 

GodLovesYou

 

MaintenanceRequired

Maintenance Required

 

Communicate

Communicating and Receiving Love

 

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Guys – Creative Date Nights

 

WeddingRings

Fun Games to Play – Spouses Only

 

Learn more about OPL’s take on love and marriage by clicking on the Guys-Husband or Gals-Wife menu.  Or search for Marriage in the search box.  And don’t forget to follow us by email by putting your email address in the Subscribe box on the right.  One step and you’re done!

Two Reasons to Get Out of the Accountability Rut

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Hannah_Bek2BW

We have talked a lot about accountability (see links below) and how it can help you become who you want to be. A better spouse. A better person. A better you! But like all good things, if you aren’t careful it can turn into a burden, a checklist, or a rut. A few months ago, I hit the check list roadblock.

It started slowly. I was late giving my report one time. Another time I hurried and banged it out in 4 minutes. I slowly started just answering the bullet points instead of sharing my heart. Then unfortunately I allowed my complacency to affect the way I responded to my partner’s accountability. My responses became shorter and shorter. My words of encouragement were few and far between.

Thankfully I have a wonderful friend, who kindly asked how I thought things were going. She asked me if I felt like the accountability was meeting my needs and if not, what she could do better. She also gave me the option to stop for now if I needed to. She could have said, “You are stinking at this accountability thing, and you are not helping you or me!” She would have been justified in doing so, but instead she chose the loving and grace-filled route.

I realized that I had forgotten the purpose of the accountability. I let Satan trick my mind into thinking it was yet one more thing that I had to check off my list. I forgot that the two main reasons you do accountability are to renew your mind and to love God and others better. Continue reading

Foundation of Marriage: For Men and Women Only

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Skyscraper-001

“My wife is so complicated and irrational – I could never figure her out!”

“My husband is so simplistic and childish – all he thinks about is conquering something and sex.”

True?  False?  On the surface, there is some truth to these statements.  Men and women are certainly very different from each other, as different as Huck Finn and Cinderella.  But when married people stop at this level of understanding, it makes them into 1 dimensional cartoon characters and robs them of any chance of deep and lasting intimacy.  It sets the stage for a life of the man in his man-cave and the wife out shopping with the girls, living miserably ever after.

That’s not what we want. 

Dana and I want to spend our entire lives getting to know each other better and more closely.  I want to figure out what I can do to make her life better, and do it!  She wants to find out what I really need, and provide it!  This is how we can be the couple that is still flirting with each other and having fun together in our 80’s!  Today’s book helps us to do just that.

The last post in our series of Marriage Foundation books is actually about couple of books:  For Women Only and For Men Only.  These two books reveal the very practical, deep, down things that a husband would like his wife to know, and that a wife would like her husband to know about her.  The books are drawn on research that Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn have conducted, where they asked good questions and got real answers. We did these books as a Bible study with our marrieds group, and it made for good conversation about how the opposite gender really thought about serious issues.  We felt like it took the principles of love and respect and 5 Love Languages and went a practical step further.  Of course they are presenting results that won’t be true 100% of the time for your or your spouse, but our group found the themes to be helpful starting points to understanding our spouses more completely.   Continue reading