Monthly Archives: August 2012

Aug 28

6 Things You Must Do to Love Your Wife – Part 1

By Dustin | Communication

Note: I’m excited to share these tips from Darren who is a long-time Engaged Marriage community member.  His advice for husbands was so thorough, I decided to present it as a two-part series.  Enjoy the first three topics below!

Husbands love your wives

Husbands, does your wife feel loved by you?

Would you like to know how to relate to her so she will feel deeply loved?

I’m a huge bookworm, and a book that has had a profound effect on my understanding of what it takes to build a strong marriage is Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs. In the book, Emerson talks about six practical ways you can demonstrate love to your wife.

In this first post of a two-part series, I’ll talk about the first three ways.

Live out these simple truths based on the Word of God, and you will energize your wife. Act on these principles, and you’ll see a glow in her eyes.

She will feel loved!

Closeness

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24)

To cleave means to cling to, to hold on to, to keep close. It means spiritual and emotional closeness. Husbands, your wife will feel loved when you pursue her – when you let her know you want to be close with a look, a touch or a smile.

Your wife wants to connect with you through face-to-face involvement. In this day and age, both of you probably come home after having a long day. But if all you do once you get home is sit on the couch and watch TV while she fixes dinner for you, she will not feel loved.

Help her prepare dinner and ask how her day went, however, and she’ll see your desire to dwell with her and to discover where her heart is. That’s important to her.

Here are two other simple, yet effective things you can do:

  • Do you realize the power of just holding her hand?
  • Or just hugging her if she’s going through difficult time?

Your wife will feel close, and therefore feel loved if you just hold her hand or hug her.

So seek her out. Set up a date night, go out of your way to do something for her, and make it a priority to spend time with her.

Openness

Your wife wants to talk about things. That’s probably no secret to you.

What you may not know, however, is that she longs for love, which is experienced in her world by connecting openly with you.

She is likely wondering, “What touches his heart?”

So as hard as it may be for you, open up and share your inner dreams, your yearnings, and even your fears and failures. Your openness in sharing your heart will spell love to her in big letters, and she’ll feel energized by your transparent talk.

Your wife also wants to feel safe enough to bring up any marital problems on a daily basis. This is to keep the relationship up-to-date.

So understand that when she wants to ask questions and talk about the relationship, she isn’t trying to criticize, control or interrogate you. She’s just moving toward you because she loves you – you matter to her!

One of the easiest – yet most effective – ways you can connect with her at new levels of openness is to simply share your day with her.

But if you had a bad day and don’t want to talk at that moment, say, “Honey, something happened at work today. Maybe we can talk about it later, but right now I’d rather not. Don’t worry, there’s nothing wrong between us.”

That last sentence is key. She needs assurance that your mood has nothing to do with her.

So share your feelings, be willing to talk about financial concerns, possible job changes, and ideas about your future together.

Understanding

“You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7)

Your wife wants you to seek to understand her. You don’t have to totally understand your wife – some may say that it’s not even possible. But the key is to want to live with her in an understanding way, so she knows that you trust her heart.

Many see 1 Peter 3:7 as a controversial verse because it describes the woman as “someone weaker.” It’s important to know, however, that Peter is making a comparative statement – not a qualitative one. In other words, he is saying that the wife is vulnerable to her husband.

In the heat of an argument, you may say something like, “I just don’t understand you . . . I wonder if it’s even worth it to try anymore!” If you’ve ever said this, your wife most likely felt hurt by it.

The key to being a more understanding husband is to listen to your wife. But as a man, you’re more inclined to analyze, give answers, and fix the situation. So this is probably hard for you.

But you don’t always need to solve your wife’s problems. Many times, she just needs your listening ear.

Other times, your wife can be feeling a lot of things but not know exactly what they are. As she talks to you, it clarifies things for her. Then she feels better, and she feels understood.

So listen to her in such a way that you can repeat back what she said. Don’t try to fix her problems unless she specifically asks you to. Rather, try to identify her feelings about the problem.

Ladies, does this resonate with you? Would you feel loved if your man did these things?

Darren loves to read, helping people learn different skills that they can use to better their lives. Check out his blog at Gain Business Skills.

Aug 22

Back to School Time! How to Save Money & Have Happier Kids

By Dustin | Finances & Careers

Did you know that this time of year is sometimes called “the second New Year”?

In the fitness industry, September is second only to January in new gym memberships.  If you follow many blogs, you’ll start to see more posts on goal-setting.  We’ve seen an influx of new folks signing up for the free Marriage Time newsletter to renew their focus on living a great married life.

So, what’s the big deal about late August/early September?  Well, in addition to closing in on a new season, it’s Back to School time for many of us!

If you have kids, that could mean some big changes around your household and your schedule.  Or you might be returning to college or back to the classroom in you’re a teacher.  Even if you aren’t impacted directly, you can probably sense the fresh start vibe around you.

Save Some Money & Have a Healthier Family

I don’t know about you, but our (insanely HOT) summer was full of barbeques and more meals out than I care to admit, and void of a lot of structure around meals – especially lunchtime.

Of course, back to school means we have to start planning lunches for our children, and it’s a great time of year to start making healthier choices for our own meals.  Hopefully, it also means getting back on a schedule that allows you to share dinner time with your entire family.

Enjoying wholesome, fun food together is a great way to enhance our relationships, and getting our kids going with nutritious food is one of the best things we can do to set them up for success.

Make It REALLY Easy

I know all of this talk about healthier eating, enjoying dinner together, and trying new foods sound great, but it’s tough, right?

You have to plan ahead, shop for foods you don’t usually buy and have the creativity to put together new meals.

You already have enough going on without that!

Well, I’m excited to let you know that one of my favorite companies – Emeals – has just added LUNCH MENUS to their offerings.  Woo hoo!

If you aren’t familiar with Emeals, please read this post to learn how we save $317 each month on our food bill using their service.  Seriously – and it saves up time and helps us lose weight in the process.  Good stuff.

Until now, they only provided plans for dinner, but now anyone who subscribes to the dinner planning service can add lunch menus for $4 a month.  You will absolutely save more than $4 using their service – you’d probably save that in ONE meal, let alone 20+ lunch ideas each month.

Save Big Right Now

LIMITED TIME OFFER: To celebrate their new lunch menu service, Emeals is currently offering 20% off any new subscriptions and the lunch menu.  Just get signed up and enter the coupon code “LUNCH” at checkout.

While you’re checking out the Emeals site, be sure to grab their free lunch plans for Turkey Pinwheels and the Peanut Butter Bagel sandwich. Oh, and all subscriptions also include their Back to School Survival Kit free of charge.

Our family loves Emeals (we just enjoyed a Coconut Chicken dish last night – awesome), and Engaged Marriage is proud to endorse their great service!

Any questions?  Check out the video below or just let me know in the comments.  Enjoy!

Aug 16

The (Im)Perfect Wedding

By Dustin | Marriage Preparation

The word “industry” has a lot of masculine connotations.

Going back for decades, this country has been run on the backbone of the steel, oil industry and manufacturing industries. In any town, the industrial area will be filled with large blank-faced warehouses or billowing smokestacks.

But at least one industry definitely has a more feminine bent.

Image source: Wavelengthband.blogspot.com

Each year in the United States, there are approximately 2.5 million weddings which drive a forty billion dollar wedding industry.

Flowers and lace and tiered cakes may seem delicate and ephemeral, but they can come with a hefty price tag. A wedding gown from an upscale bridal boutique like Kleinfeld (as portrayed on TLC’s Say Yes To The Dress) can cost as much as a new car; a fully-catered wedding in a nice venue can cost as much as a down payment on a house.

Image source: Tiffanysbakingco.com

In the book One Perfect Day, author Rebecca Mead investigates the profitable world of weddings, from highly-paid event planners to profit-generating department store bridal registries.

It quickly becomes clear that the societal obsession with having the fairytale wedding contributed to the Bridezilla culture. So much emphasis gets put on this dream day that people focus on the wedding and forget about what comes after: marriage.

The truth is no wedding is perfect.

No matter how obsessively you plan your special day, something will go wrong. Your flowers will start to wilt too early. Your shoes will pinch. Your caterer will put bacon in the vegetarian entrée. Your mother-in-law will show up dressed in black. Your nephew will stick his hand in the cake before you’ve even cut into it.

And that’s okay! Because you know what else isn’t perfect? Marriage.

Image source: Elizabethannedesigns.com

Even when you’ve found the right partner to spend the rest of your life with, you will inevitably hit speed bumps.

You’ll argue about things you never even thought to discuss before you said “I do”. Every year there might be a standoff over which family to spend Christmas with. You may find yourself in a protracted argument over the merits of private school versus public school before your baby has even figured out how to roll over.

Planning your wedding is a great time to practice flexibility.

When the wedding cake shows up with fondant instead of buttercream frosting, shake it off. When Grandma indulges in one too many cocktails at the open bar, roll with the punches and promise to laugh about it later.

Don’t worry about breaking the bank on a pricey wedding, because it will never be flawless, no matter what you spend.

And the earlier you learn to relax and enjoy things the way they are, the richer your eventual marriage will be.

Anni M. is a writer, biology student, science artist, nerdcore rapper, and heliocentrist. She enjoys bats, fake news, cartoon classics, and mushroom hunting. She is currently working on Prism, a speculative science fiction story cycle and is a regular contributor to the blog at Green Bride Guide.

Aug 09

How to “Craft” the Perfect Wedding Day

By Dustin | Marriage Preparation

Nine theme crafts to brighten your ideal DIY wedding by Rhonda Walinga

There are so many possibilities for decorating your wedding and reception that it’s easy to get lost in the madness of magazines, websites and the ever-present “friendly” advice.

If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed with the options, take a moment, step back, and consider your overall theme.

Are you a vintage fanatic who’s already sent out your daguerreotype-inspired wedding invites? Or are you already considering what gauzy fabrics to drape about the reception for just the right Midsummer’s Night Dream feel?

Wherever your heart lies, make sure you’ve narrowed down your direction before diving into the details.

To help you out, here are a few broad themes and fun do-it-yourself craft ideas that should help you along in the right direction. Once you settle on vintage lace light globes, for example, you can use that to inspire your table decorations and food displays.

Like the “Love Potion” glass bottle idea for keeping your guests hydrated? Consider using those design elements to inspire your guest book.

Bohemian Wedding

Bohemian is such a beautiful theme to work with, and it’s incredibly flexible. You can certainly go high end with eclectic design elements, but if you’re looking to save some change for the honeymoon, these inexpensive yet impressive projects will help set the tone for less than you’d expect.

Vintage lace doily lamps are one way to add a touch of Victorian elegance to your reception. Super simple and quick to make, consider some other ways you can use the wallpaper paste and balloon combination for unique lamp shades such as raw cotton string or distressed linens.

If you’re leaning more toward the early 1900’s plantation feel, another lighting option could be Mason sun jars. With a little solar snagging, these jars will glow for hours after the sun sets and they take very little time to create.

If your heart’s with the silver screen, however, nothing beats sharing your movie passion with film candle jars. Another quick project, these film-decorated candle holders add a touch of the retro class to any reception layout.

Casual Wedding

Casual weddings are always filled with touches of the elegantly natural. From billowing slips of loosely woven fabrics to raw wood inspiration and delicate sprigs of blossoms, casual weddings can be as stylish as they are natural.

Along the lines of lighting, a nature-inspired approach could include tastefully placed cherry blossom lights. For the cost of some tissue paper, tape, Christmas lights, and dollar store blossoms, these decorations appear far more expensive than they actually are.

To enhance the light in the room and perhaps give a little more dimension to a smaller space, twig-framed mirrors are easy to make, inexpensive and can be naturally dyed to just about any color.

Thirsty guests? It’s always smart to have a beverage bar, but keeping jugs of water out for guests to replenish with is a thoughtful touch that will be much appreciated. These whimsical “Love Potion” glass water bottles are a great way to provide refreshment and add another impressive design element to your reception.

Glamorous Wedding

It’s easy to come up with a ton of directions to take the glamorous theme, but these ideas might help narrow it down.

Photo coasters, for example, can go in just about any direction. You can use sepia images of you and your new mate, reprinted old family photos, pictures of friends, or even images of things you both enjoy.

Another ultra-versatile idea is book-page flower hangers. These can be placed throughout the reception to hold small pictures by thick lengths of ribbon, or for guests to hang fun little ribboned comment cards as a form of guest book.

Finally, you can also make these celebrity-style paper fortune cookies in almost no time out of the glitzy paper of your choice and place them around the reception. Making up the phrases for the inside will be half the fun!

No matter what your theme, it helps to come up with a few core ideas that you love and build the rest of your wedding and reception decorations around them instead of piecing together multiple random elements.

And speaking of theme, picking just the right type of entertainment – be it live jazz, a trivia-popping DJ, or a cut-loose party band – is a lot easier once you’ve settled on your decoration direction!

Rhonda Wallinga manages social media programs for 123Print.com, a leading provider of custom wedding necessities like wedding invitations, personalized letterhead, RSVP cards and wedding programs.

(Photo by David Ball)

Aug 02

7 Questions You Must Ask Your Wedding Photographer Before Hiring Them

By Dustin | Marriage Preparation

When planning your wedding, there is so much you need to take care of – from caterers, to the venue, the honeymoon and of course the wedding photographer.

However, only one of these will produce a keepsake that will last for a lifetime, and that’s the wedding photos.

For this reason, it is crucial that you find the right photographer for you, who can capture your special day and save those memories for a lifetime.

To help you do this, I have compiled 7 questions you must ask your wedding photographer before hiring them, to help you make the right decision.

What Experience do they have?

Wedding photography is different from a photo shoot with models. A wedding is in ‘real time’, many of the shots are only there for a split second and opportunities must be taken at the time.

Also, the photographer is not working with professionals who are used to posing for pictures, so he must be able to direct the pictures.

Can they show you examples of past wedding works?

An example of previous works will put your mind at rest as to the quality of the work you can expect at your wedding. Make sure you see previous examples of weddings they have photographed and not just their great photography skills.

As stated before, a wedding is in real time and its all about capturing moments as they happen, in the best light.

Do they have insurance?

This protects the photographer against equipment theft. It also protects all parties if a guest or member of the staff trips over the photographer’s equipment resulting in injury. That person could take legal action, an unwelcome headache for you on your wedding day.

Some venues will insist any photographer working on the premises has insurance. Not having insurance implies the person is new in the business or isn’t taking it very seriously.

What do you get for your money?

This will save you and your family a lot of disappointment if after the wedding you find out you have paid for less than you thought you were getting. Maybe you paid for only one set of pictures, or no pictures were taken in real time?

Either way, you don’t want to realize this when it’s too late!

What package is right for your wedding?

Wedding photographers normally offer different packages for your special day. It is important that you go through the packages and find out what’s right for you.

This will include things like what parts of the day do you want to be recorded, and what parts do you not want recorded? You may want pictures of the bride and her bridesmaids having their hair and makeup done, or you may want the photos to start with the bride getting into the car on her way to the ceremony.

Either way, asking about different packages will help you pick one that’s right for you.

Will you be visible at the wedding?

This question is one many forget to ask. Will your photographer be in the background, taking photos, barely noticeable to your guests, or will they be asking the guests to pose for pictures throughout the day?

A photographer running around bugging your guests for photos constantly will interfere with them enjoying the day, so clearly you don’t want this. You may however want a few pictures posed for by the guests.

Make sure you make this clear to your photographer. The more experienced the photographer the better he will be at this.

Can you give the photographer a list of the shots you want?

Everyone has an idea of at least some of the shots they want on their wedding day. You may have an image of where you want shots taken before moving on to your reception, you may want pictures in the church from a specific angle, or you may want photos of you tasting the cake.

With this in mind you must speak to your photographer and share your vision. If he doesn’t share your vision, maybe you should look elsewhere for your wedding photographer?

These seven questions will help you make the right decision for your wedding day, leaving you with pictures that you will enjoy for a lifetime.

It is important to remember that this is your day, and it’s your responsibility to make sure you get what you want, so don’t be afraid to ask the necessary questions to make that happen.

Rob Lowry specializes in making sure your big day really is the best day of your life. His expertise has been sought by brides nationwide as well as by www.personalisedweddinggifts.co.uk where he advises on creating wedding lists for themed and seasonal weddings.