Thick, juicy Filet Mignon wrapped in a fluffy layer of tasty carbohydrate––that’s like Heaven on a plate. Tina and I went on a wonderful rendezvous last weekend to a fabulous restaurant. We chose the restaurant based explicitly on one particular menu item, Beef Wellington. If your a vegetarian, it’s no “misteak,” it’s more steak for me.
I’ll tell you what, nothing says lovin’ like the taste of something from the oven. If you want to grow in your love together, grow your waist together. Food is a direct path to my heart (probably figuratively and literally). It started off with delectable French Onion Soup, then the entrée, my first stab at Beef Wellington, with yummy Garlic Mashed Potatoes and flavorful Grilled Asparagus on the side. Then the finale: Creme Brulee for me and Chocolate Mousse Cake for my T-cup; with coffee of course, about a pot each I think. (Asparagus and coffee together––talk about stinky pee!) Food for a prince on a pauper’s salary is a rarity.
Compare that to the Gospel. It is satisfying, fulfilling, and downright good. The irony is that it has already been paid for, it is not harmful to my health, and there is more than enough to go around for daily intake of the Lord’s Word. It’s a Prince’s feast on a pauper’s salary everyday. If you really want to grow in your love together, forget about growing your waist, instead grow your faith together. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to eat some steak along the way. (Just make it cattle without defect and consider it an offering to the Lord.)
*No animals were injured in the making of this post.
The so-called “credit crunch” hasn’t seemed to slow the number of credit card offers that come to the house. They kind of remind me of dating. Of course, the only dating I’ve done for years is with my wife but I’m referring to the courting process, when you are dating someone new.
Both parties are in their “introductory period” trying to induce the other party to commit to longer, more binding terms. Like the introductory credit card deals, each are oftentimes offering attractive, sometimes irresistible terms to lure in the other party. That’s why your little peculiarities don’t seem like that big of a deal when you’re dating. She doesn’t seem to care that you leave the toilet seat up or that your priority every weekend is 18 holes. And he doesn’t seem to mind that you’ve just spent $300 on yet another outfit or that you’re gabbing on the phone with your BFF for hours on end everyday. Or she’s impressed by the fact that you planned a romantic dinner date and he’s impressed that you not only approve of but even encourage him to have all of his buddies over for the game each Sunday.
However, let that introductory period run out, and the teeth come out. I find it bizarre that the financial industry calls it “interest rate;” who in their right mind is interested in paying 8, 12, 20 or any percent on money borrowed? In fact, that’s about the time I start to lose interest. And that’s the same with dating. When it’s time to begin paying the the full price, when the grace period is over, the terms don’t look so impressive anymore. By that time, though, they got you. A commitment has been made, personal items have accumulated, you’re carrying some of each other’s baggage, you might have even purchased property together (like a house or car), you’ve got time invested that you just don’t know is worth giving up to start the process over again.
Most people miss or overlook the fine print, the details of the terms for when the intro period expires. This is a precarious position to be in. You failed to cash out when the gettin’ was good and now you’re stuck with the charges. Don’t over-commit. Keep at a distance until his or her real character starts to show through. Be careful not to settle for a sales pitch when you can find favorable terms that are permanent. Take it slow and cautious, don’t rush into things until you know full well what the penalties might be if your mate turns out to be a ferocious wolf (like my ex-wife) instead of the friendly puppy that you see in the beginning.
Tina and I went on a “romantic” ski trip this past weekend with three other couples, experiences ranging from novice to expert in both skiing and relationships. Being a trip of dual purposes (skiing and romance) make for an easy comparison. After nearly eight years of marriage on the second time around for both Tina and I, I can say without a doubt that marriage is one of the toughest things that you will ever do in life. Not getting married, of course, that’s the easy part; staying married and keeping the union tight is the challenge. It can often seem like an uphill battle, a losing one at that.
If you’ve got only a modest knowledge of skiing, you know that “double black diamond” is a label given to the most difficult skiing terrain. The slope is often very steep with many obstacles, mostly bumps (called moguls), and narrow passes that you must negotiate in order to keep from planting your face in the hard-packed snow, or worse yet, breaking your neck. Double black diamonds are reserved for advanced skiers only as they can make mush of the bones of a novice. Well I’m here to tell you, marriage is very much the same way. Look at the parallels below:
Are these requirements? Only for successful unions. With a greater than 50% divorce rate, even in Christian homes, the warnings signs are there. Do you ski on past the signs knowing that it’s either you or the schmuck beside you that won’t survive the mountain? If so, ski at your own risk!
In order to survive the treacherous conditions that await to assail you on the Double Black Diamond of marriage, heed the warnings, go back to the basics, start from scratch, bruise your back side some to avoid breaking the bond of marriage; become a seasoned skier first, and only then will you conquer the Double Black Diamond of marriage without ending up on the rocky cliff of divorce.
Here’s a trail map that will guide you down some of the Green Circles and onto the Double Black Diamonds:
The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson and Sarah Eggerichs
The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick
The Every Battle series by Stephen Afterburn and Shannon Ethridge
Tina recently shared an interesting insight with me that came out of shopping for a birthday card for her mother. After reading several cards to find just the right one, she identified attributes that she too would like to possess as a mother. In other words, she was so moved by the many endearing words used to describe mothers in greeting card messages that she aspires to be a mother like that herself, the kind of mother typified in a greeting card. Tina wants it to be a challenge when Megan goes to buy her a card, an experience where every card is such a reflection of her own mother, that it requires careful contemplation in choosing the right one, the one that most closely depicts the exhaustive elements of her mother’s beauty.
What a great ambition. This has inspired me to do the same––to be a Hallmark Dad and a Hallmark Husband. Not to fit some stereotypical greeting card non-sense for the sake of conformity, but to epitomize that which is admirable and upright; to be the type of person that could be the inspiration for a greeting card message instead of the deviation from one; to be the rule rather than the exception; to be a benchmark by which all other fathers and husbands are measured.
How about you? Are you worthy of carrying the Hallmark seal on your back (think old ‘90s marketing campaign of flipping the card over to check for Hallmark branding)?
John 3:16––I never thought of it as a marriage or relationship scripture until last night. Tina and I were doing week 2 of the Fireproof Your Marriage study when it cited John 3:16 followed by this question: “Do you know God’s love, and are you reflecting that love to your spouse?”
The way that I heard this question in my spirit was profound:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. . .” The Lord gave up His most precious belonging (His son Jesus) for the world (you). He has set the example of love and how you should love your spouse. So what are you going to give up for your spouse today?
What is it that seems to be your most precious asset? What is currently taking priority over your relationship with your spouse? What vice is coming between you and your spouse that could wreck your marriage? It can be something as harmless as spending too much time with the kids to something completely destructive to the marriage relationship like having an affair. What is it in your marriage/relationship? Is it your job. . . Coaching the kids’ team. . . Being the kids’ proverbial soccer mom. . . ESPN. . . Oprah / The View / Soaps. . . TV in general. . . Alcohol / Drugs. . . Pornography. . . Shopping/Overspending. . . An affair. . . Golfing with your buddies. . . Gossiping with your girlfriends. . . THE LIST GOES ON!
Here’s the challenge. For the next 30 days, put it to the test. Recite and, more importantly, act on the following:
For I so love my wife/husband that I gave [thing taking precedence over your relationship right now] up, that if I believe it I shall have a marriage that will not perish but have eternal life.
Do this and I have faith that the same power of God that redeemed the world through His sacrifice will resurrect a lost and dying marriage for you!
Women like reruns too. No, not King of Queens, Two and a Half Men, or Seinfeld. They like our attempts at repeating or even topping a previous hot date. Hint guys: you actually have to take your girl on a hot date before you can try to repeat it.
Here’s what I did on Saturday: I spent several hours of the day shining up the carriage so that I could escort my queen in style. My pastor says that “if you want her to act like a queen, you better start treating her like one, Bubba!” Not only does that advice make sense but I find it to be true. Anyway, the previous night, I made some reservations at a high class restaurant and picked out the appropriate chic flick with which to woo my bride. Then I spent some significant time on the computer putting my creativity to good use by designing a few little cards expressing my love. She got the first of the cards early Saturday, giving her a general time frame of the night’s activities. Second only to the time of departure for her is what to wear. Beyond that, I kept the specifics a surprise, even driving in the direction of one of her favorite restaurants. If you want to show her some real value, set a meaningful course of events independent of her. My wife likes steak so I took her to Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse. Also, I find that life has a way of distracting us from what’s truly important in a relationship (each other) with such things as politics currently for me or my driving technique for my wife so we agreed to set up some ground rules. No discussing politics, this blog, or my driving all night period. Oh, and I opened her doors for her. I don’t care how “independent” your women claims to be, don’t let her fool you, she will freakin’ explode on the inside if she’s not used to you doing this. So here’s the final tally:
Expensive? You bet. Was it worth it? Yes, there’s no 8 ounce piece of steak, no matter how tasty, worth $32.00 alone but the experience and how it made my wife feel is invaluable. I know what some of you are saying but hey, you spend that much on your cell phone bill every month . . . or the NFL ticket . . . or [insert own personal luxury item].
Don’t forget to compliment her either; tell her how beautiful she is, even if she looks like a Tonka Truck. Something attracted you to her, what was it? If you cant find it, maybe your the problem–stop being so shallow.
And the movie we saw: Fireproof. Awesome date movie, especially if you are considering marriage, already married, or on the verge of being unmarried. Check out the trailer below: