Monthly Archives: January 2015

How to go on a date without hiring a sitter

Everyone loves going out on dates.  Remember before you were married when you would go out on dates?  Remember how exciting it was?  You probably put a lot of thought into what you wore, how you looked, where you went, and what you did.  If you’re like me, it’s a lot tougher to do that now.  Maybe you have kids that make it tougher to get away.  Maybe you don’t know anyone you trust to babysit?  Maybe you don’t feel like paying an extra $40 for a sitter.  Or maybe you don’t have the disposable income now that you used to pay for a nice dinner out and a concert or movie.  Well, if that’s your situation, then I have 4 words to save the day!  AT HOME DATE NIGHT

Boom!  There it is!  Four words that require no babysitter and no extra money.  Just a little planning and VOILA…date night with your wife!  So, how does it work you ask?  I’ll fill you in on the details.  Then, I’ll give you some ideas to get you started.

At Home Date Night Rules:

  1. stock-photo-25102927-even-romance-needs-to-be-scheduled-calendar-marks-date-nightSchedule it: Let your wife and kids know about it and put it on the calendar
  2. Plan dinner: Figure out what to cook and get the groceries you need ahead of time.  Ideal plan is to let the kids eat first, and then eat with JUST your wife afterwards.
  3. Get rid of the kids: Yes, family time is great to plan too, but date night is about just you two.  If it’s early still, set the kids up with a movie to watch or iPad to play with in the other room.  And whenever it’s time, get them in bed!
  4. Plan activities: Plan something ahead of time for you and your wife to do together in the house.
  5. Focus on each other: Don’t get distracted by normal things (work, TV, chores, email).  Remember it is a date and treat it as such.

Here are some ideas of things to do:

dinnerhomeDinner Ideas:

  • Cook something yourself
  • Cook something with your wife
  • Order take out so neither of you has to
  • Set some ambiance (nice dishes, candles, nice napkins, etc)

Activity Ideas:

  • Play a game together
  • Questions: Sit out on the deck/porch/patio or anywhere that is different than normal and take turns asking questions.  Try a conversation starter app like Conversation Shaker, Ask Me Anything, First Date, or Chatoms.
  • Watch a movie
  • 482881_10151553627884328_1090362511_nDo some sort of art project like painting, drawing, sculpting from play-doh, etc.
  • Paper airplane making contest.  Yes this is an idea…we’ve done it.
  • After the kids are in bed, head to YOUR bedroom and figure out something fun to do there.  I’m not supplying any ideas for that though.  😉

Here’s my challenge to you:

Right now…yes…I mean RIGHT NOW…take a look at your calendar.  Pick a night that’s free sometime in the next 2 weeks and put “At Home Date Night!” there.  It can even be a weeknight!  If you want extra credit, go forward into the next few months also and schedule a few ahead of time.  Then, as the day approaches, put some planning into it and make it a fun night for you and your wife to spend some time together.  Don’t forget about scheduling “regular” date nights also.  But, doing them at home is an easy way to make them happen.

Reaching my limit: The story of one of the toughest weeks of my life

I have discovered that sometimes advice is easier to give than it is to live out.  A couple months ago I wrote about the importance of stepping up your game when your wife is sick.  The idea was that you’ve been practicing how to be a good husband and then it’s game time…time to step up and take care of your wife and kids no matter how tiring it is.  Well, this past week tested me on that philosophy.  I can honestly say that this was one of the toughest weeks of my life.

I did ok for a while.  Julia had a procedure on Friday where she had to recover by lying down for a day or two.  That wasn’t so bad.  I was all about making meals and taking care of things around the house.  It was a fun challenge!  About mid-day Sunday she started to take a turn for the worse though.  She had developed a spinal headache, which was the main possible side effect we were hoping to avoid.  She’s a pro at dealing with migraines, but this was much worse.  The plan from the doctors then was to take a couple more days to lie down and hope it recovers.  Ok…a couple more days…I can do this.  More meal prep, more dishes, more dog care, more Eli care.  It’s ok, this is what I’ve trained for!

IMG_2670Then, everything got even worse when I picked Eli up from school Monday.  He was complaining about his neck hurting and legs being tired.  I could tell he wasn’t his normal bubbly self (only speaking 500 words per minute instead of the standard 800).  A temperature of 103 prompted a call to the pediatrician.  Because of his symptoms, they were worried about the flu or meningitis, so off we went to the doctor.  Thankfully it wasn’t anything too serious…just a virus that would take a few days to run it’s course.  So now I’ve got two patients to take care of…and two dogs…and a house…and my work to balance around it.

wellstarhospitalThe next two days were a blur of exhaustion.  Julia and Eli weren’t physically able to do anything, so I stumbled my way through.  More meals, more dishes, more water cups, medicine, blankets, remote controls, pillows, and work.  Just when it all SHOULD have been getting better, it got worse again.  Wednesday afternoon, Julia realized her pain wasn’t going away, so we had to go BACK to the hospital for another procedure.  This one was ROUGH!  She equated the pain to the late stages of labor.  So then we went back home and Julia could move even less than before.  The spinal headache was gone, but then she had back back pain to deal with.  And of course, Eli was still running a fever ranging between 100 and 103.  I would have cried, but I was too tired.

I had high hopes for Thursday.  I hoped Julia’s back AND head would be better and that Eli’s fever would be dropping.  The morning was still tough, but as the day went on, Julia’s back got steadily better, which was great.  She was able to move around more, but still needed to take it easy.  Eli seemed to be feeling better and the fever was a little lower.  Just when I started to get hopeful though, Julia started to develop a regular headache…not a spinal one like from the procedure, but a normal headache…like the ones she used to have all the time…the ones that all this work was SUPPOSED to get rid of.  And…right before bedtime, Eli’s fever was 104.6!  Thankfully, after that point (7 days in) it got much better.  Eli’s fever dropped steadily over the next day and Julia started doing much better and able to get around.

It’s tough for me to emphasize how difficult this week was for me…physically from the non-stop serving I had to do, and emotionally from the back-and-forth health swings  that seemed to punch me down as soon as I got optimistic.  Thankfully I “survived” because of some amazing people who brought tons of meals, watched Eli, and went to the store for us…meeting our needs before we knew we had them.  Thank you family and friends who constantly found ways to help…and many more who offered!  I felt like I was climbing a mountain from the effort to simply heat up the meals, I can’t imagine what it would have done to me to have to prepare and cook them too!!  One night, I was so tired I actually almost posted on Facebook soliciting someone who would be interested in coming over to clean up the dishes.  I guess I felt it was a little too desperate, so I got up and did it myself.  Each night I was in bed around 9:15 because I just needed to sleep.

IMG_2680I had a realization Wednesday night.  Eli was burning up and just wanted to lay down with his head in my lap.  I reflected on how tough things had been and laughed at how ironic it was that the blog I wrote earlier about stepping up during sickness was written for times like this…but I felt incapable of doing it.  I felt like I didn’t have enough in me to keep going.  As I sat there stroking his hair, I thought…”This is what it is all about.  I am his father, and I am Julia’s husband, and the ONE thing that matters in life right now is that they are taken care of.”  The weariness and the pain of exhaustion is a very real act of service that I CAN give to them.  I can’t take away their pain, or make a fever go away, but I CAN stroke his hair as he rests…and hand his him water cup…and clean Julia’s dishes when she’s done eating.  I fought to keep the tears from coming, and I realized how desperately I love these two.

I don’t have a specific challenge for you this week other than reminding you of the importance of caring for your wife when she’s sick.  Basically, I just wanted to share my story.  I hope it was encouraging for you…and that I never have to go through it again…but I would if needed…every time.  :-)

What to do if your wife isn’t being submissive

Thinking man and question markYikes…why did I pick this topic?!  If there is one word that is most likely to cause immediate tension concerning marriage “submissive” may be it.  Don’t jump to any conclusions about what I’m going to say though.  If you’re reading this far, hopefully you’ll make it to the end so you get the full picture of what I want to share.

Typically to tackle a topic like this, one would start out evaluating what it means to be submissive and to see what the Bible says about it.  But, I’m NOT going to do that…for a few reasons:

  1. I’m no Biblical scholar.  There are plenty of other websites where people have written about it after doing a lot more studying and research than I have.  If you really want to look into it, then check out one of these sites.
    1. http://www.todayschristianwoman.com/articles/2008/september/whats-so-scary-about-submission.html?start=1
    2. http://www.familylife.com/articles/topics/marriage/staying-married/wives/what-should-be-the-wifes-role-in-marriage#.VI3PA4s-DBI
    3. http://www.carolineabbott.com/2013/01/what-does-biblical-submission-really-mean/
  2. It would take too much writing to effectively cover the topic.  It is too easy to make a few short statements about the topic that can be misunderstood with drastic consequences.
  3. **Most Importantly** This blog is directed toward husbands.  If you are a husband, I want you to FORGET ABOUT WHAT YOUR WIFE ISN’T DOING and focus on what YOU are doing!

It is a cop-out to focus on things your wife should be doing better.  To effectively make a difference, I want men to think of what THEY can do better in their marriage…based on what the Bible says.  But, don’t think this blog is a bait and switch.  I truly think that the BEST way to encourage your wife to help her fulfill her role as a wife, is for YOU to focus on fulfilling your role as a husband.  So…let’s see what the Bible says about husbands.

Ephesians 5:23 – For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.

Ephesians 5:25 – Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

Colossians 3:19 – Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.

So as husbands, we are instructed to be the head of our wives and to love our wives.  So, what does that mean?  Well, the example we are given is to model how Christ is the head of the church, how Christ loved the church, and how Christ “gave himself up for” the church.  Here is what He did for His church:

– He hung out with the rejects instead of the cool people.
– He acted like a servant and washed feet.
– He sacrificed comfort and prestige (that he could have easily had) to focus on loving and caring for the needs of others.
– He died in the place of the church, so that they didn’t have to.

If we take these concepts and apply it to a husband’s role, it might look something like this:

– He sacrifices what HE wants to meet the needs of his wife.
– He is a servant, willing to do menial tasks that show his wife he cares.
– He uses the money he earns to bless her (and others) rather than himself.
– He leads by example in love, humility, and sacrifice.

Now, the purpose of this blog is to get men to focus on THEIR lives.  But, to speak briefly to the original question of “what to do if your wife isn’t being submissive”, I want to make 2 quick points.

  1. If there is a disparity between what either of you feels your roles should look like and what they actually DO look like, I suggest you have an open and honest conversation about it.  For a topic like this, it would be a good idea to involve a christian counselor in the conversation.
  2. In conjunction with talking about it, never forget to pray.  Pray for her and pray for you…that you will BOTH fill your marriage roles as God intended and will be loving and accepting of the other…no matter what.

So, in summary…what do you do if your wife isn’t being submissive?  You get your OWN junk together.  THAT’S what you do!  If you can be the husband God has called you to be, then maybe your wife will be more likely to “submit” to your leadership.

Love Blasting – the awesomest part of a well balanced marriage

Explode_A-512One of my favorite things to do is to “love blast” Julia!  Before your imagination runs wild about what this means, let me explain.  To love blast is to find a method of showing her love and to BLAST her with it!  Here are some examples:

Standard: Buy her flowers
Love Blast: Buy her new flowers every day for a week

Regular: Write a note about how you love her
Love Blast: Write 25 notes about how you love her and hide them all over the house

Pedestrian: Plan a date night
Love blast:  Plan a date 7 nights in a row and call it “date week”

Bare minimum: Do the dishes after dinner
Love blast: Shop for groceries, cook dinner, clean dishes

Lame-o: If your wife goes out of town for a night or two, pick things up before she gets back.
Love blast: From the moment she leaves, plan out EVERYTHING you can possibly do that will show her love until she gets back…laundry, clean bathrooms & floors, dust, yard work, stock the groceries.  When she comes home, have the house looking perfect with nice music going, a meal prepared with a special dessert and candles…and a welcome home present.

1184842_10152295365144328_666816756_nOne of my favorite things I ever did for Julia was the “Week of Awesome”.  I took a whole week and dedicated it to loving her.  I tried to think of everything I could do that she would appreciate and did it all week long.  I had gifts for each day, planned cooked and cleaned all meals, dates planned, chores done, friend gatherings planned, taking care of Eli, etc.  She loved it and although it was exhausting to do…I loved doing it just as much.  :-)  If you want to do something fun, plan your own week of awesome for your wife!

Obviously, you can’t do these types of things all the time, but every once in a while it can be nice to go all out.  Don’t settle for the ordinary.  Take an idea to show her love…then go to the next level and LOVE BLAST her!!

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