Friday, January 29, 2016

Romancing Your Husband for Valentine's Day

This week in the #storyofmarriageCO class...we just threw it right on out there.


Easy, right?

Maybe, but, let's be REAListic.  Cause fake isn't our thing.

While we heard the guffaw in the room, the flirty snickers, and the sweet expressions of mirth (read with an uptick in my voice) -- we also noticed those who looked down at the floor...eyebrows furrowed in worry.  We noticed those whose eyes rolled in frustration...those who sighed...slumped...

I'm just going to say it.  Truth is, some of you, don't much like one another very much...yet.

Empathetic, we circled back around and issued a different kind of challenge.

Instead of the pressure of planning the most romantic filled, love rediscovering, best sex you've ever had in your life Valentine's Day date, we asked for something a little less grandiose (but perhaps even more profound).

A gesture.

An action, a courtesy, a step towards communicating one positive thing to your spouse in the next couple of weeks.


So, ladies, I'm talkin' to you.  (B will address men in his blog later this week).

I want to give you some simple ideas for romancing a man - that you may or may not like all that much right now.  I hope you will be led to have meaningful conversation with God both about your spouse and your own heart.  I pray that conversation leads you to an action step (a gesture) that is specifically meaningful to your man.

Cause, ladies, Valentine's Day isn't all about us girls.


So, how to romance your husband?  
Not the fantasy husband in your mind, but the real life, actual man YOU are married too.  

First, let's just all concede that most men don't want to go to all the hassle of recreating your first date and won't care if you do either.  Most don't get the "feel goods" because you fill their car with helium balloons and sticky hearts. I don't know a single man who really cares to read slips of paper (no matter how thoughtful) tucked in a mason jar labeled "Things I Love About You".  So, let's get our heads out of the Pinterest cloud and back down to earth.

A meaningful gesture is more than the purchase of a candy heart tossed on his side of the bed, or a homemade coupon book, or even deciding you'll get on his schedule for sex just this one night.

It starts when you privately give honest answers to questions like...

What does my spouse do that I'm most grateful for?

What does my spouse do that I really appreciate?

What is my spouse really good at?

What important thing does my spouse really care about?

What brings my spouse joy?

If you can answer one or two of those, you have a place by which you can start to ponder and create a gesture that might not create the stuff Valentine's movies are made of for you - but may be meaningful to your significant other.

So, here ya go....

1.  Give your spouse the gift of FORGIVENESS.  This is big.  And frankly, it all starts here.  Your UNFORGIVENESS, ladies, is a much greater hindrance to the connectivity you desire (both with your spouse and God) than the dirty under ware he continues to throw on the floor that drives you nuts (metaphorically speaking).

2.  Give your spouse the gift of KINDNESS.  Repent for judging him.

3.  Give your spouse the gift of a RELAXED you.  Decide that on Valentine's Day you're going to laugh.  Smile.  Breathe deeply.  There will be no demanding.  No crazy expectations.  No sighing. No Eye rolling, or riding his case.

4.  For Valentine's Day, give him the gift of your INTEREST, and your PARTICIPATION.  Sit beside him for a football game, and ask him to explain the rules to you (again).  Try to listen.

Suggest that he teach you how to play golf or chess or change a tire, whatever is his thing.  Dare I say it, play the video game with him.  Side by side, shoulder to shoulder, you just might both have some fun.

5.  Give him the gift of your SATISFACTION.  Let him off the hook for what he does or doesn't do for Valentine's Day this year.  Decide you aren't going to be disappointed in him.

6.  Give him the gift of TOUCH.  Valentine's Day isn't about earth altering sex.  I like to think of it as a realistic celebration of all things LOVE (spouse, God, kids, friends).  But, in general, men seem to rightfully, really enjoy sex. get on his schedule.  Night?  Morning?  Lunch break?  He'll notice you broke routine to reach out to him.

7.  Give him the gift of your ATTENTION.  This can be a big deal - especially during a season where your kids are hogging it all up.  Listen to what he says.  Make notes of his likes and dislikes.  Cook his favorites.  Let him pick the movie.  Let him know he's the one on your mind during the day, and that you're excited about seeing him later that evening.  Then, go and review points #1 - #6.

Listen, your life isn’t perfect.  Your Valentine's Day isn't going to be perfect either. That's ok.  

Remember we're adults now.  We aren't into re-creating the pressure of Senior Prom Night year after year like High School girls do. We understand that a perfect Valentine's Day is the FURTHEST THING from the point.  What you want, what we all want, is our relationships to take a step in a healthy, healing direction.  

We are praying for you!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

21 Romantic Ideas for Valentine's Day

Alrighty then.

The marriage class at Pike’s Peak has started and besides that, VALENTINE’S DAY is a mere few weeks away.  So…who’s ready to celebrate lovin’ and romance? 

I’m game.

We’re going to expect all 130 of our class participants to PLAN a Valentine’ish date…execute…and post their pictures with #storyofmarriageco.  And, I thought you might like to get in on the fun as well.

Here’s 21 of our favorite inexpensive romantic ideas to get ya thinkin….

1.  Linger over a fashionably late dinner. 
Put those kids to bed.  Early.  Order take out, or make your favorite meal.  Bust out the nice plates. Light candles, play music, pour a glass of wine.  Enjoy.

2.  Whip up something new together in the kitchen together. 
This is a great little book given to Billy and I years ago as a gift.  There are detailed menus, shopping lists, and “who does what” lists.  Similar ideas can be found online, or make it up as you go! 

But put a little something extra into it.  Move the furniture.  Bring a mattress into the living room or make a comfy pallet on the floor.  Have fun watching the movie as long as you can.  ;)

4.  Cuddle by the Fire
A glass of wine, a little chocolate, great conversation.  What’s not to like?

5.  Enjoy a FREE day. 
The Zoo, the Museum, even restaurants have them!  Do a little research and you can put one a month on your calendar for 2016.  Bonus points!

6.  Read a book together…in your favorite book store…with a warm drink.

7. Go on a hike together
This is something we love to do!  We live in one of the most beautiful cities in the country.  Get out there and enjoy it!

8.  Try something new (rock climbing, canoeing, snow shoeing etc). 
Survey your facebook friends, ask around to your co-workers.  BORROW SOME GEAR.   We’ve borrowed skiis, skates, kayak’s, condos, bikes, dirt bikes, you name it.  Get out there and have a blast!  Tip:  Return equipment in better condition than you got your friends don't mind you borrowing again in the future.

9.  Do a scavenger hunt. 
There are a million of these available for free online.  Pinterest is full of them.  Research for yourself.  Works best if you're in a silly mood.  It just might be hilarious.

10.  Art Walk. 
Admittedly, you can’t do this right now.  But you should know about it.  Old Colorado City.  The first Friday of every month,  April – December from 5 – 8 pm.  Stroll, look at beautiful things, enjoy the night with other interesting people.

11.  Walk around the Broadmoor. 
Vallet park for a mere few dollars.  Bring your travel mugs from home filled with hot chocolate.  Stroll around and pretend like you live there.

12.  Spa Night
(use your imagination)
 13.  Camp fire
One evening, we drove up to a small camp ground.  It wasn’t open per say, and we didn’t plan on staying the night.  We pulled into a small lot that over looked a beautiful section of the mountains.  We took 2 camping chairs and fire wood from our car, and started a fire.  We talked, cuddled under blankets, roasted marshmallows,  watched the sun go down and froze to death.  All good.  All good.

14.  Camping/Star Gazing
For that matter, go camping.  Sleep in a tent…without your kids.  It’s more fun than you think.

15. Play in the Snow

16.  Break out the wedding video
Ours is on VHS tape, but maybe yours isn’t.  J

17.  Make chocolate covered strawberries
Or Chocolate anything for that matter….

18.  Sit beside one another on the couch and send playful texts.

19.  Pillow Fight
Ladies, go all out.  Give it your best shot.  Win.  Girls Rule.

20.  Write a love letter and read it to one another.
Try  “Ten Reasons I Love You”.  Or  “Ten Things You do that Make Me Laugh”.  Or  “Ten Things You do that Make Me Feel Loved by You.”

21.  Kiss
Free, healthy, and goes without saying…

Now, get to it!  Celebrate love, trying, forgiving, being forgiven, creativity, trying some more, friendship and fun!