Monthly Archives: May 2013

May 29

7 Surprising Ways To Boost Desire In The Bedroom

By Dustin | Sex & Family Planning

7 Surprising Ways to Boost Desire in the BedroomDesire is an elusive little beast that comes and goes in marriage, especially for women.

If the spark has gone out of your love life lately, and you’ve tried all the usual tips and tricks to bring it back with no success, perhaps you’ve been looking in the wrong place.

A lack of desire for sex often has surprisingly little to do with what happens in the bedroom – it usually stems from what is going on in the rest of your life.

Find and deal with the culprit that is dragging you down, and you’ll find yourself feeling more like love.

Which of these 7 ideas might be the answer to your flagging desire?

1. Hire A Cleaner

If there’s anything guaranteed to put you off a night of passion, it’s seething with resentment because you have been left with all the chores yet again. You’re worn out and you’re irritated.

Use a cleaning service and remove the problem entirely.

Bonus: No more fights about whose job it is to clean the toilet.

2. Switch Jobs

When work is stressing you out to the point where you’re too tired to have sex, it’s time to think about changing careers. Perhaps you worked long and hard to get where you are today, but if it isn’t making you happy, don’t be afraid to say “Enough is enough!”

Life is too short to stick at a career that creates so much stress it wrecks your marriage or your health or both.

3. Get A Hobby

Perhaps it’s not stress that’s the issue in your life, but boredom.  If you’re bored at work and bored at home, it’s time to add  some excitement to your life.

Start looking for a new job you enjoy and some interests and activities to look forward to. Plan to do something different at least once a week.

If you have a lot of fun things happening in your life, it can renew your enthusiasm for everything, including sex – and your partner will enjoy spending time with a happier, more enthusiastic version of you.

4. Cut Up Your Credit Cards

Financial worries kill passion in the bedroom stone dead, and can cause endless arguments, too. Work on a plan together to focus on clearing your debts and becoming financially secure.  Get professional help, if need be.

If you’ve been worried by the scale of the problem, simply finding out exactly where you stand, and having a plan to deal with it, can clear your mind and leave you more open to relaxing with your partner.

5. Simplify Your Life

If you’re not finding time for sex, then it’s time to let go of some commitments. You have taken on too much. Something has to give and it shouldn’t be your sex life, if you want your marriage to last.

You’ll still have to go to work and care for the kids and the dog, of course, but you don’t have to take the kids to every activity under the sun, be on various school committees and volunteer for every bit of extra overtime at the office. Reduce your standards, if need be.

You don’t have to iron every tea towel or keep the lawn trimmed to within an inch of its life. And if the kids take up all your time, remember, it will do them more good in the long run to have happy parents, than to have you divorced due to running a non-stop taxi service for them.

6.  Switch Off

Don’t let anything get in the way of your time together, especially if that time is pretty limited. Record TV shows you want to watch, put the phone on the silent and switch off the PC. It will all still be there tomorrow.

Live life on your timetable and protect your time as a couple.

7. Have Dinner Early

A late dinner is likely to make you feel sleepy rather than sexy.  If you eat early, you have time to digest your meal while you’re still wide awake and will feel more like getting active between the sheets later.

Also, if you have to eat late, there’s nothing more off-putting than trying to be sexy with a belly stuffed with pasta.  The lighter you eat, the sexier you’ll feel (and look).

What tips would you add that have given a boost to sex in your marriage?  Share them in the comments below!

Guest post by Ana Wilde, author of “PLAY! 77 Sexy Games For Two To Spice Up Your Love Life” You’ll find more of Ana’s articles on dating, love and relationships on her blog http://lovefromana.com

May 24

Volunteering for Chaos

By Dustin | Children

Volunteering for ChaosOn the line.  Everybody on the line, I yell to my gathered throng of three- and four-year-olds.

Very few are listening.

One girl is picking clovers out of the grass.  One of the boys is preoccupied scaling the goal.  Two girls in the corner hold hands and twirl about, oblivious to the screaming parents, loud whistle and frustrated coach.

I should know.  I’m the coach.  One of the girls twirling away?  That’s my daughter.

Welcome to a typical practice at my U4 YMCA soccer team.  We do a lot of running and talking, but sometimes, it seems, we do very little soccer.

I spend more time lecturing about not using hands, not tackling our teammates and not picking grass while the ball is in play than I do actually teaching the game of soccer.  Not that I can contribute a whole lot anyway.  You see, I really don’t know much about the game.

Why would someone who knows nothing about soccer coach it?  Two words:  my daughter.

As a youth pastor, I’m gone from home quite a lot.  By the time you add up youth camp, mission trips, winter trips, overnighters and long-weekend events, I figure at least one month of my year is spent away from my family and hanging with teens.  That doesn’t include nights at football games, dance recitals or school plays.  It also doesn’t include late night phone calls or hospital visits.

To put it frankly, I know my daughter misses some quality time with her dad.  So what can I do to ensure we spend some time together?  I volunteer to coach her soccer team.  To be honest, at the U4 level (which means under four years old), it’s really just organized chaos.

I do the organizing.  They provide the chaos.

The kids get to run around the field.  They get to dress in a uniform and make friends on the team.  At the end of each game, everybody has a fun time and they get snacks and juice.

I get so much more.  As a dad, I want to spend as much time with my daughter as I can.  These are formative years in her development. What better way than serving as her coach?

It’s a natural fit.  It requires just a few extra hours a week, and for that, I get to be on the field while my daughter goes for the goal.  I get to high-five her and her friends for a job well done.  I get to be present with her as she’s learning to be independent, make friends and become part of a team.

You can’t replace that.

So here’s my advice.  If you can, volunteer to coach or help in your child’s sports team, band or dance troupe.  You’ll get quality time with your child that won’t cost you much money and just a little extra time.

We spend so much time doing other things that a few extra hours on the field or riding the bus is going to be far more valuable than the fun stuff you could fill it with.

wayne camp photoWayne Yeager is a youth pastor, a husband, a dad, a student at Liberty Seminary (currently seeking an MA in Pastoral Counseling) and a sci-fi geek.

He lives in Western Kentucky with his wife and daughter where he serves as a full-time minister of youth.  You can follow his blogs at http://wyeager.blogspot.com/ and at http://ministryplace.net/.

(photo source)

May 17

Getting Engaged – Romantic Surprise or Planned Event?

By Dustin | Marriage Preparation

Getting Engaged - Romantic Surprise or Planned Event?The classic scene from every jewelry store commercial or romantic comedy has the suitor dropping to one knee to present a shiny engagement ring to his gleaming girlfriend.

She puts her hands to her mouth and gasps with excitement – and surprise!

The more I hear engagement stories nowadays the more I wonder whether she was really all that shocked.

Chances are she may have picked out that shiny diamond ring herself and maybe even helped to plan the romantic night out where the question was popped.  I’ve even had friends whose girlfriend basically dictated every detail of their engagement.

And given that nearly half of couples now live together before marriage, could she really be all that surprised when the night arrives for the proposal?  After all, she may have helped pay for the ring herself.

Yet, the hopeless romantic in me has to believe that there are still couples out there doing it right!

Our Engagement Story

I don’t think I’ve ever shared the story of how I proposed to Bethany, so I’ll give the quick version here.

Keep in mind that we were high school sweethearts (gag if you must), and we’d been together for around 4 years at the time.  I believe I was 20, and she had just turned 19 so we were pretty young…and broke.

While Bethany certainly had some idea this next step in our relationship was coming, I did my best to keep it romantic and tried to surprise her.

We had visited ring stores a few times where she slyly (or not so slyly) hinted about the types of engagement rings she liked…a classic solitaire with a gold band…the bigger the better. 🙂

I bought the ring without her finding out, and I actually took out my one and only student loan to help pay for it.  I do not recommend doing the same, but I was desperate to get this ring!

Before the night came, I very nervously called up her Dad to ask his permission not just for his daughter’s hand in marriage (the easy part) but if I could take her somewhere overnight (NOT easy to ask) – I unwisely chose a time when she was back home on a college break.

I lucked out and got to talk to her Mom instead, which was a bit easier.  The stage was set.

I sent her a letter beforehand using fancy language to explain what she should wear and that she should pack a bag.  I picked her up from her parents’ house and headed to downtown St. Louis for dinner at the fanciest restaurant in town – Tony’s.

At the time, I hadn’t spent much time in the city, and I couldn’t find the restaurant!  We drove all around and finally found it, nearly losing our reservation after showing up 20 minutes late.

We enjoyed an extremely nice and super expensive meal that took much longer than I had anticipated.  I was nervous the entire meal and felt completely out of place with the tuxedo-wearing waiters that swooped in to clear every crumb and tried to help you sit down when you returned from the bathroom.  I was just a simple country boy.

The next part of the night was supposed to happen outside in a quaint river town called Elsah, Illinois where Bethany had mentioned she’d love to visit sometime for a romantic getaway when we were older.  I had reserved a room at a nice little bed and breakfast on the riverfront.

I had plans to take her to a park in town to pop the question, but with my poor planning it turned out to be pitch black dark outside when we arrived.  We walked to the park, but we actually found it eery since everyone in the town was already asleep!

I abandoned those plans and nervously returned to our room at the B&B.  I decided just to go for it, so I gave Bethany a card that shared my feelings, and at the end it asked her to turn around to make me the happiest man alive.

You guessed it, I was there on one knee with that sparkly ring.  Fortunately, she said yes and we’ve pretty much lived happily ever after.

What’s YOUR Engagement Story?

I’d love to hear your engagement story in the comments below.  Was it a planned event or did he surprise you?  Did she do the proposing?  What went right or wrong in the process?

Share your story in the comments!

May 08

Down the Aisle: How to Get Married and Stay Debt-Free

By Dustin | Marriage Preparation

How to Get Married and Stay Debt-FreeAfter dating for some time, you decide it’s time to pop the big question: “Will you marry me”?

Tying the knot is wonderful, but the pre-wedding preparation process can be painful, especially when it comes to planning the budget.

You can choose to have a low-budget wedding – some couples are even getting married inside McDonald’s fast food restaurants for just £250 in Europe these days.

Yes, this includes your ceremony, reception, wedding cake and catering for about 100 guests, according to the Daily Mail. However, there is no special treatment such as jumping the queue to collect your Big Mac burger and fries because McDonald’s will operate as usual. Moreover, alcohol is banned inside the family-friendly restaurant chain.

Most couples don’t have to resort to a fast food outlet and you can still have the perfect wedding with wine, gold rings, exotic food and a magical honeymoon without breaking the bank. Here are some tips for saving and planning so that you ensure you have a magical day whilst also keeping your HSBC current account in check.

The Big Day

Determine your approximate budget beforehand. Work out what you intend to spend on the venue, tuxedos for the bridegroom and yourself, dresses for your bride and bridesmaids, wedding rings, honeymoon and so on. Then think about how you can meet the expenses.

If you are someone who wants to plan ahead before your big day, map out a timeline to help you stay on target. Wedding planners told the Washington Post that planning should start immediately after the engagement.

If you do so and your wedding is several months (or years) out, you can work extra and cut out other expenses to save a large amount of money. Ensure that you maximize the interest by putting the money in a fixed deposit or a tax free ISA.

It is more likely that you stay debt-free if you are organized.  Develop a budget and make a plan – be proactive!

Don’t panic if you are leaving it until the last-minute, as there are a few alternative ways to finance your wedding. You can take a wedding loan from either of your families, relatives or friends.

Alternatively, you can use your credit card to pay for part of your wedding expenses and repay the balance and interest over time. Just be sure to think about how much you will realistically be able to pay back over time without causing a lot of marital distress about money in your first few years as Mr. and Mrs.!

Affordable Honeymoon Destinations (European Edition)

After several months of stress leading up to the wedding, you definitely need to relax and spend some romantic time with your new husband or wife.  However, this is another area to plan carefully so you don’t break the bank.

If you’re looking for clear blue waters and soft white beaches, the Indian Ocean is a perfect destination for pampering yourself and your other half. The island of Mauritius is rich in architecture and food; you can enjoy fine dining and beautiful beaches, watch the sunset and ride a horse on the beach.

For those who want to hide away from the world, the Maldives is a beautiful location to swim in the clear lagoons or play water sports.

Alternatively, Oman’s spectacular mountain scenery, deserts plus beach hotels, offer a calm and relaxing atmosphere where you can enjoy spa treatments and snorkeling along the coast. There are additionally a variety of water sports for those who are active.

If you are really struggling to finance your honeymoon, why not think about cheaper all-inclusive or package holidays somewhere closer to home, or ask your wedding guests for money towards your once-in-a-lifetime trip instead of gifts?

How do you manage your honeymoon expenses while you are away? If you have a current account with a bank and if you’re eligible, you will be issued with a visa debit card that provides instant access to your money while you’re overseas. You can use your card to pay for the hotel and food in the restaurant. You can also withdraw cash from cash machines worldwide, and linking the card to a special “honeymoon only” account will ensure you stay on track with your spending.

Of course, you probably won’t experience smooth sailing the entire way. You need to adjust your wedding budget and make allowances to account for unforeseeable expenses.

Most importantly, ensure that you don’t overspend on one day so that you have some savings left over for starting to build your new life together.

Jay Marcelo is a freelance writer who loves spending time with his new wife while traveling Europe (for cheap when possible).