Web Site Review: “The Dating Divas”

I recently came across a really fabulous marriage web site geared toward women.  The Dating Divas is a site dedicated to celebrating and encouraging marriages by providing unique dating ideas to refresh marriage relationships.

Reading through their ideas got me so excited to try some creative dates on my own.  They have very unique ideas that will appeal to all types of women.

  • Want to get away from the cell phone and into the outdoors?  Try the Stuck With You Date.
  • Are you a home body?  Spend a special night in with one of their movie themed dates.
  • Hubby going to be away on your anniversary (again!)?  Check out their long distance anniversary ideas.
  • Looking for something a little spicy but not sinful?  They have that too.  Check out their Intimate Moments (but be prepared to blush).

The Divas have neatly broken their ideas down into categories to make it easy to find something that appeals to you.  I encourage you to check out the site and take your next date night from dull to dazzling!

The Vow: Strong Bonds Marriage Training

I just finished teaching an outstanding couples weekend event at Opryland Resort.  We had a large group of couples and children.  The event and venue were outstanding.

The Theme for the event was

“The Vow: Remember the day you said, “I d0.”

Life often gets in the way of love and we need to stop and remember what’s important. The training is invaluable to keeping a strong marriage and honing relationship skills.  Our event was a redeployment event open to all marriaed couples in our battalion.

If you are in the military, talk to your Chaplain about an upcoming event near you or check or the Stong Bonds website.  This is the U.S. Army’s offical page regarding these programs.  These marriage training events have been a huge part in encouraging and strengthening military families.  There are several different courses taught.  For this event I used PREP (Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program) and specifically the book 12 Hours to a Great Marriage:  A Step-by Step Guide for Making Love Last by Markman, Stanley, Blumberg, Jenkins, and Whiteley.  The book provided a great outline for the weekend and introduced new skills and tools for strengthening relationships.

If you went on the retreat and want to view or download the pictures click here then enter the username and password you were given by email.


The Can’t Wait Date Challenge

I recently ran across a really cool site called marriedpeople.org.  They have a challenge that you might want to be a part of.  It is called “The Can’t Wait Date Challenge” and they currently have four date ideas from which to choose. You can download them from the site.  Last week my wife and I got a babysitter and went out to dinner.  I printed the handout for date #1.  My wife was a little surprised (in a good way) and we had fun going through the date challenge sheet.  We didn’t do everything according to the sheet, however it was a unique way to change up the routine and made for an exciting and memorable night out.  I am looking forward to trying another one soon.

The four dates from the site are as follows:

Go to the site, download the date sheets and give it a shot.
You will be glad you did.
Let me know what you thought about it and encourage others to take the challenge!

A Missions Statement

What does it take to be safe in a relationship, to experience and give value to another?

The answer really requires us to ask another question, a really big question. What is the purpose of relationship, any relationship? Relationships can exist for many reasons, but some tend to yield more positive fruit than others. If our reason for relationship is that we might get something without having to pay for it, then the purpose rises from the fact that we are cheap, or selfish, or shallow. And you know the old saying, “You get what you pay for.” Convenience, loneliness, boredom, challenge, rescue, tradition, pressure, money. These and many more reasons could be given as answers to the question of the purpose of any given relationship. But is there a bigger purpose for relationship, and if so, where did it come from?

For me, the purpose for my relationship with my wife is much different. My purpose for the relationship directs the motives of everything I do in that relationship. It motivates me to be a better person than I would be otherwise. I want what is best, not for me, but for my spouse. I choose to not do anything that would jeopardize her well-being. I see the purpose of marriage being the active reflection of the care and concern of God for my spouse, a care and concern that found its ultimate expression in the life of Jesus. Safety in relationship happens when each partner is more concerned about the welfare of their spouse than they are about themselves. But boy is this hard!

Our answer to the big questions of life does influence the choices we make in relationship. Safety in relationship is about knowing that the other person has your best interest in mind. We need to know that they are not going to use what we say as ammunition in the next fight. Safety is based on our knowledge of the other person, their history of injuring us, or of being an instrument of healing to us.

So what is the purpose of your relationship? You must answer this question in order to provide direction for your journey. Maybe now is the time to develop a mission statement for your relationship. Take time to think, write, reflect, talk, chew, and maybe even get some outside feedback on what you come up with. When the two of you can come together and write a unified mission statement for your relationship it can guide the individual decisions that get made. We all have a missions statement, whether we write it down or not. So often couples don’t share the same goals for the relationship and that is the root of all sorts of problems.

So how do we develop safety? We will begin to discuss this next time, here at Bulletproof Marriage.

Broken Bonds in Marriage

Broken bonds in marriage can feel as dangerous being in a combat zone. In combat zones we have FOB’s, Forward Operating Bases. These are places where we can experience relative safety in order to recuperate from the day’s battles.

Often in marriages that are in turmoil we can’t find those places of safety. We never have the opportunity to recoup from the day’s battles. This is often this way because we care much more about our spouse and the relationship than we ever did about our enemy. When we disconnect with our adversary on the battlefield we lose nothing. When we disconnect at home we can lose everything.

At home we often fight this way. Ones person pushes, pushes, pushes to solve the problem. If we could get the intel we would hear them saying, “I care so much about the relationship that I want it solved right now. If it doesn’t get solved now, I am afraid I will lose you.” The other person is backing up and shutting down while saying, “I am not going to say anything right now because I am afraid I will get it wrong again. And I will lose you if I get it wrong again and I don’t want to lose you, so I will say nothing.”

This push and pull is all about safety. When we feel safe we can venture out into the world and face any challenge. When we don’t feel safe, we pull the covers over our heads and sleep in. When we are safe in our relationship with our spouse, we can reach out and ask for the other person, and know that they will be there for us. There are times in everyone’s life when we feel alone, needy, weak, isolated, in trouble. It is in those times when we want to reach out and know we are not alone, that someone will be there for us in our time of need.

So, what does it take to have safety? We must first slow down. We are rushing too quickly through life. How can we possibly have any meaningful connection when we are pushed by the events in life? Our schedules, our kid’s activities, even the TV push us toward disconnection. We must create space in our calendar for connection. John Gottman talks about the Magic Five Hours in his book Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work (1999) Link to Amazon.com entry . We need to create small moments in our schedules for those connections, like spending two minutes together each time we leave it other for the day, two minutes talking about our relationship and what we value in each other.

We will continue to discuss this next time, here at Bulletproof Marriage.