Valentine’s Day Everyday!

Roses

Roses are red. Violets are blue. If you don’t spend big on Valentine’s Day, your partner might end things with you.

It’s expected that more than half (53%) of all Americans will pull out all the stops this February 14th, spending a collective $30 billion on all manner of heart-shaped treats and experiences.

However, signs point to Lotharios tightening the old purse strings in 2019, with spending on Valentine’s Day down 10%, falling from $30.3 billion in 2018 to $30 billion in 2019.

If you’re one of the 53% of Americans planning to spend on someone for Valentine’s Day, I hope you’ve got deep pockets: The average person is expected to spend $221.34.

These Valentine’s facts were posted January 16, 2019 on finder.com.  Wow!

Valentine’s Day is a very special day, and it’s fun to try to express our love in big ways!

This week, I cooked supper for my Sweetheart of 37+ years.  I found an easy recipe from Ree Drummond on the Food Network website and went to work.  Within an hour, we had lemon-pepper steak grilled in butter, seasoned steak fries with hollandaise sauce, blue cheese wedge salad with bacon and blue cheese crumbles, and parmesan toast.  (Now, a side note.  I’m not running to take my wife’s place in the kitchen!!)  We ate by the fireplace, Denise gave me a gift, and afterwards, we watched two episodes of the Andy Griffith Show and played two rounds of Take Two.  Total cost for the meal:  Maybe $10.

I have good news for you.  You can have Valentine’s Day everyday, and it won’t cost you $221.34 each day!

How?  Just work at your marriage by the grace of God each day.

  1. Tell your spouse each day, “I love you.”
  2. Kiss your spouse each day–not a peck on the cheek or lips, either!
  3. Hold hands.
  4. Take 10-30 minutes each day to pay attention and communicate with each other.  No distractions (kids, phones, TV, etc).  You can do it!
  5. Leave love notes around the house, in the car, in his shirt pocket, in her purse, etc.
  6. Text each other throughout the day expressing your love for one another and what you are up to at the moment.
  7. Be demonstrative in your love toward your spouse in front of the children.  They need to see what marriage really is like.
  8. Plan an inexpensive date (A ride in the car after supper, a walk through the park, sometime spent on the back porch, a personal pan pizza served on china plates after the kids are in bed, read old love letters and cards, just talk as you look into each other’s eyes, shut the door to your bedroom making it off limits to the kids, listen to some old love songs, recreated a date from before you were married, watch your wedding video, etc.)
  9. Open the car door and store door for your wife.  Seat her at the table, too.
  10. Look for opportunities each day to say, “I love you. I am thinking of you.”  If you don’t know what to do, pray about it . . . seriously.

Big event days are indeed fun.  But, it’s all the little things you do that make those big event days special and not “make-up-for-it” days!  And, . . . the first sentence of the finder.com report will have no bearing on you!

Because Love Has No Limits!

“What would you do for someone you love?”

That was the headline at the top of our local newspaper insert, Parade. Oh, and yes, in this instant internet age I still read the newspaper. Nevertheless, that question piqued my interest here on the brink of a new year.

Immediately my thoughts were turned to, “What would I do for the One Who Loves me eternally? What would I become and do the for Christ Who gave Himself for my redemption and justification? What would I do for Christ Who demonstrates His for me love today, tomorrow and for all eternity?”
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).

In these past few days, we have heard much through preaching, podcasts, and social media to encourage us to begin a new year with a “clean sheet / a fresh start.” Therefore, may I simply ask each of us to consider what we will be and do in 2019 for the Lord Jesus Christ, the One Who motivates us by His eternal, unconditional love?

The answer should be the same one word answer as found under the question in the Parade insert that prompted this post. That word . . . EVERYTHING.

 

Twelve Days of True Love

What will you do these next twelve days?  Look for a partridge in a pear tree?  How about five gold rings?  Maybe eight maids a milking?  Six geese a laying?  (Better watch where you step!)  No matter, they all came from your “true love.”  Wow!

When you think of true love, I doubt you consider a partridge, milking a cow, seven swans gliding along on a pristine pond or drummers having at it!  Now, I will give you this much, ladies, you might think of  gold rings!!

So let’s set aside all of the aforementioned “true love” gifts and consider how you can give true love in the next twelve days between you and your spouse.

  1.  May sure your love relationship with the Lord is fresh and daily renewed (John 3:16; Matthew 22:37; John 15:9; Luke 10:42; Romans 12:1-2).
  2. Share with your spouse the blessings of the love relationship between you and your Lord!
  3. Join hands with your spouse and together talk/pray to Jehovah Who loves you with an everlasting, unconditional love.
  4. Enjoy the marriage love relationship that God gave you by taking time to just look into each other’s eyes and share terms of endearment with each other and words of appreciation for each other.
  5. After the kids go to bed, make popcorn and watch a Christmas movie. Be sure to snuggle up with each other and turn off your smartphone! Your relationship with each other is more important than your children and phone notifications.
  6. Talk a walk in the snow holding hands all the while.
  7. Sit by the Christmas tree and read Luke 2 or a Christmas devotional.
  8. Make Christmas sugar cookies together and be sure to give each other some sugar!
  9. Hang some mistletoe and . . . .
  10. Give each other a small gift by the tree each night until Christmas; play Christmas music on Pandora.
  11. Breakfast served to your spouse in bed on Saturday morning.
  12. Without interruptions, sit by the fire and make up your own list of twelve true love gifts.

I promise you, this will be better than three French hens, four calling birds or ten lords a leaping!

37 and Counting

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According to takemeback, “It was Saturday. The US president was Ronald Reagan (Republican). Famous people born on this day include Céréna (singer) and Sarah Marshall. In that special week of June people in US were listening to Medley by Stars On 45. In UK Being With You by Smokey Robinson was in the top 5 hits. Dragonslayer, directed by Matthew Robbins, was one of the most viewed movies released in 1981 while The Beverly Hills Diet by Judy Mazel was one of the best selling books. On TV people were watching Bellamy. If you liked video games you were probably playing Colony 7 or Mystery Fun House. But much more happened that day.”

And that is exactly right! Much more did happen on that day. It was a hot, humid Saturday in Sumter, SC, where a sweet, precious, petite gal from Winchester, KY, walked the aisle to be joined in marriage to a tall, lanky, man dressed up in white tails. Not many in the world knew about it, but it meant the world to us.

Now 37 years later, what seemed like a long time to be married is now becoming more-and-more, “Where did the years go?’

Those 37 years amount to 13,514 days. Wow!

Looking back over all the joys, sorrows, hardships, fun, decisions, children, deaths, answers to prayer, struggles, laughter, misunderstandings, steps of faith, assumptions, dates, difficulties, delights, disappointments, discouragements, etc., I must say two things among many that could be said.

First of all, for a marriage to thrive, both husband and wife must work every day at their marriage. That’s 13,514 opportunities to love, forgive, kiss, listen, hug, serve, sacrifice, do the little things, look at each other, talk, date, pray, care, etc.

The second thing I must say is, “through it all, God’s been good.”

Tomorrow, we will work on day 13,515!

Taking the Scenic Route in Marriage #10

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Biking the Greenbelt, Kingsport, TN

“Enjoying the Pleasures; Avoiding the Potholes”

On the scenic route through the mountains, especially the Blue Ridge Parkway, you will see many folks riding their bikes.  These guys and gals are fit and trim.  They are dressed for action and prepared for the long haul.

I will probably get myself in trouble here, but husbands, are you still your wife’s prince, her knight in shining armor?

Have you looked at any of your wedding pictures lately?  Who are those people?

At our wedding I wore a white tux with tails, or as Jerry Clower would have called it, “a claw-hammer tail coat.”  Standing 6’2” and weighing 185 pounds, I looked like a Good Humor Ice Cream salesmen.  My sweet wife . . . 4’9” and weighed under 100 pounds.

The years went by and my wife began to see more and more of me.  Ugh! Not good. Eventually almost 100 pounds of me!  She on the other hand has given birth to three children and today is still under a 100 pounds.

Men, once we get our gal, why do we let ourselves deteriorate physically?  Do we not respect her and the Lord enough to take care of our bodies?

Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body, and in 9:27, But I discipline my body and keep it under control.  And then John in 3 John 2, Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. Then in 1 Timothy 4:8, Paul once again exhorts us, For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

Husbands, you need to be your wife’s protection, pillow and partner (Blog Posts #4 -#9), but also her prince!

In this age of fast food, video games, busyness of life and “feeding” our emotions, it is so easy to get lazy, overweight, and out-of-shape.  It takes discipline, planning, and sweat to exercise yourself unto godliness and good health. Your testimony and your wife are worth it!

Husbands, begin to exercise and eat right. Deny yourself.  Join up with your wife on a plan to work together to get healthy, eat healthy and stay heathy. Be honest with each other and encourage each other for your good and God’s glory!

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Husbands, dress for your wife.  When you are home, don’t look like a bum.  Your wife is there and your kids.  You can be casual without looking like you just stepped out of a dirty laundry basket.

Yes, the inner man must be renewed day-by-day, but our outward man is a reflection of what’s going on in our heart.

Something that I have appreciated about my wife from the very beginning is that she wants to look good for me.  She has said many times, “I do not dress for me but for you.”  I should reciprocate. She has eyes, too.  She is my princess.

Also, men, in being a prince to your wife, have good manners at the dinner table (1 Corinthians 10:31).  You should be the last to be served and the first to want to serve.  You should seat your wife at the table.  Put away your cell phones and talk to each other. You take the lead in prayer or calling on someone to pray; on having family devotions at the table if that is a good time for you.

Last of all, men, in being your wife’s prince, be polite.  Read Ruth 2 and take note of how polite and kind Boaz was to Ruth.  She was impressed by his gracious actions.

A prince draws his wife to himself by his kind words and deeds.  Speak well of your wife in public, tell her how much she means to you, let her know that you are paying attention to her, and be sure to often speak the words “I love you.”

Recently, I have added biking to my running routine.  No, I am not planning on riding the Blue Ridge Parkway for any great distance, but I am trying to do what I have encouraged you to do, men.  It’s for God’s glory and for my wife.

We are in it for the long haul.

Taking the Scenic Route in Marriage #9

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The view from the Old Pilot Hill General Store; our stop on the way home last Saturday.

“Enjoying the Pleasures; Avoiding the Potholes”

Saturday afternoon, my wife and I attended a funeral calling several miles from our home.  We try to make ministry opportunities not only about whom we are serving but about serving each other and working at our marriage. Continue reading

Taking the Scenic Route in Marriage #8

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“Enjoying the Pleasures; Avoiding the Potholes”

As we continue on the scenic route taking in all the pleasures of marriage, let’s move from Protection (Scenic Route Posts #4 – #7) to  . . . Pillow.  Pillow?  Yes, pillow, and no, it’s not time to take a nap!

Continue reading

Taking the Scenic Route in Marriage #6

Watagua Lake

(Enjoying the Pleasures; Avoiding the Potholes)

As my wife and I were walking through the local mall one day, an immodestly dressed woman came toward us.  As she approached, I turned my eyes to look the other direction.  A few moments later my wife said, “Thank you for looking the other way.”  Wow!  I did not even think she saw my eyes from her vantage point, but on that occasion for more than one reason was I glad I chose the right response!!

Your wife will find security/protection in your open, honest, loving communication, your continual pursuit, but thirdly, in keeping your eyes to yourself.

Men, the allurements of the flesh are all around us.  Satan is aware of our weaknesses and our old sin nature is fully equipped to tempt us into allowing sin to enter into our eye-gate.  You cannot clean up the world around you, but you can make choices to keep yourself clean.  Sometimes those choices must be radical.  I promise you, when you choose to say “no” to temptation, the joy and security you give to your wife and the blessing of your own obedience will be something you will never regret!

Husbands, memorize and meditate on the following passages that we may turn from evil to our wives and give them further security in our love.

Job 31:1  I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?

Psalm 119:37  Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.

Psalm 101:3  I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.

Matthew 5:28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

The fourth area of security is to realize your wife needs you.  She needs you to be with her, to be all there when you’re there!

riverfront restaurant

We men are often accused of “being checked out.”  We are so preoccupied with the stuff around us, our day at work, the next project we want to complete, etc.  Our wives are talking to us, and we don’t hear them.  We have that glazed look in our eyes along with a wondering mind.

Have you ever had your wife say to you, “What did I just say?”  Oh boy!  I’ve been sunk on that one way too many times!

You know, men, if your wife is a stay-at-home mom, she most likely has had child-level conversations all day.  She needs an adult to talk to.  That should be you.  She longs for you to listen, and sometimes men, only listen.  If she is sharing an issue or a problem, don’t try to fix it so you can move on to what you want to do.  Just listen.  When she is done, take her in your arms, hold her tight, and then pray with her and for her.  Be her rock of security that tenderly says by your actions, “Baby, I’m all here for you.”

Men, take a cue from Solomon.  When you read this passage, you are struck with his attention to the details about his wife.  Now, you probably don’t want to tell your beloved that her hair is like a flock of goats!!  But, don’t miss the point.  That was a term of endearment in Solomon’s day.  So, choose some words that your wife would love to hear, and when you are with her, and you are all there, be detailed about how precious she is to you like Solomon did for his wife.

Behold, you are beautiful, my love,
behold, you are beautiful!
Your eyes are doves
behind your veil.
Your hair is like a flock of goats
leaping down the slopes of Gilead.
Your teeth are like a flock of shorn ewes
that have come up from the washing,
all of which bear twins,
and not one among them has lost its young.
Your lips are like a scarlet thread,
and your mouth is lovely.
Your cheeks are like halves of a pomegranate
behind your veil.
Your neck is like the tower of David,
built in rows of stone;[a]
on it hang a thousand shields,
all of them shields of warriors.
Your two breasts are like two fawns,
twins of a gazelle,
that graze among the lilies.  (Song of Solomon 4:1-5)

Another part of being all there when you are there, men, is well-described by the following (Hat-tip here to the anonymous author): “Time is the ‘currency’ of relationships, so invest as much time as you can into your marriage. You need to make money, but don’t use your career as an excuse to be absent. When you are home, be present, not distracted or glued to a screen. Work hard, but also remember that your family can do with less of almost anything if it means having more of you.”

On the scenic route, one of the great pleasures of just being together, the two of you, alone, is the joy of uninterrupted conversation, continual pursuit, keeping your eyes to yourself and being all there!  Stop at the parkway overlook, on the bike path, at the ice cream shop, or by the waterfalls and enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your . . . life that He has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life . . . . Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might (Ecclesiastes 9:9-10).

Taking the Scenic Route in Marriage #5

Gatlinburg Date

(Enjoying the Pleasures; Avoiding the Potholes)

If you were to listen to many conversations about marriage in your world, you would leave thinking that marriage was created to make people miserable. Contrary to the world’s idea of marriage, there are many pleasures in marriages.  God created us to enjoy fellowship with Him and with our spouse, all by the grace of God.

Last week we began to look at the pleasures of marriage, and I am doing so from the husband’s point of view.  After all, he is the loving, servant leader in the home.  So men, here we go!

The first major area of pleasure in marriage is being your wife’s protection, her security which is found in:

  1. Open, honest, loving communication
  2. Continuous pursuit

What did you do to snag your gal; to get her to marry you?  Remember how you looked adorningly into her eyes?  Did you open the car door for her and seat her at the table?  What about those flowers, cards, and other expressions of love and pursuit?

Are you doing those things now?  I will never understand why a man does so much to get his girl, but when they get married his chivalrous actions decline or cease altogether.

Certainly, it is so easy to get wrapped up in your job, your ministry, your kids, your recreation, your truck/car, and/or your own world that marriage and romance decline.  Sadly, your wife becomes your meal-maker, clothes-cleaner, need-meeter . . . and that’s all.

Sir, your wife needs you to continually pursue her, to be thoughtful of her, to love her, to adore her.  Give her your best every day!  Kiss, hug, hold hands when you are riding in the car or walking into church, sit close beside her, leave love notes, send her a texts throughout your day, bring her flowers or her favorite candy car/treat, stop by TJMaxx and buy her a nice outfit/sleepwear/running clothes, etc.

In summary, talk to her, pay attention to her, and hold her like you do your smartphone!

Go after her like you did in the old days . . . or like you did last year before you were married.

Men, take a cue from Solomon (4:9-11) and passionately pursue your wife with your words today for starters.  Take her in your arms and hold on to her like you did when you were dating!

You have ravished my heart,
My sister, my spouse;
You have ravished my heart
With one look of your eyes,
With one link of your necklace.
10 How fair is your love,
My sister, my spouse!
How much better than wine is your love,
And the scent of your perfumes
Than all spices!
11 Your lips, O my spouse,
Drip as the honeycomb;
Honey and milk are under your tongue;
And the fragrance of your garments
Is like the fragrance of Lebanon.