5 Reasons Daddy-Daughter Dates Are Important 

I recently had a wonderful date with my beautiful, fun loving daughter. With my work and her school and extracurricular activities, it can be challenging to find time for these. But they are so very important. We didn’t do anything extravagant. We bowled for two rounds and had dinner at one of her favorite spots.
  
Although our bowling scores were embarrassing, we had great conversation and bonding time. Dinner time is just as enjoyable. We’ve done this before but it’s a new experience now that my baby girl is 16.  Having said that, I’d like to go into five reasons why daddy daughter dates are so important.

1. Reminding my daughter that she can talk to me

   Being a parent means that I’m in a position of authority not friendship. However, I also want my daughter to feel comfortable enough to open up to me about any problems or issues without worrying about being scolded or judged. Dates give us this opportunity.

2. Reminding my daughter that she is special 

   Young girls want approval and want to feel special. If I make my daughter feel special she won’t have seek in other places for acceptance.

3. Setting Standard for future dates

   By giving my princess an example of how should be treated, she will have a pattern of what’s acceptable and not acceptable treatment in future dates. She will then learn not to settle anything less than a gentleman.

4. Having Fun

     Daddy-daughter dates are a great opportunity to just get wild, loose and have lots of fun. We were probably by far the worst bowlers at the joint. But our jokes and trash talking made up for our lack of skill. 

 
5. Developing memories 
     Daddy daughter dates give my daughter memories that she will treasure for a lifetime. These can be a source of peace and joy in times of sadness or distress. The talks and wisdom nuggets can come in handy. 

So there you have some very good reasons to have daddy-daughter dates. The important thing is not what’s done, but just to do it. Because sooner or later someone else will be taking her on dates.  

5 Things Husbands Want To Hear from Their Wives

Communication is vital to the lifeline of any relationship. This couldn’t be more true of the marriage relationship. Oftentimes problems occur not because of what was said but because of what isn’t said.  This can be just as important for husbands as it is for wives.

I know this may come as a surprise, but men often times have a hard exterior which houses a fragile ego. I know that sometimes my ego has been bruised by something my wife did not say or something I wish she had said.  
Therefore, I wanted to list the top five things that most husbands want to hear their wives say:

1. Husbands want to know that their wives want them. This is different from needing. Sure, as men we want to be needed, but NOT all the time. (Truth is, we want to be needy…but that’s another story). A man wants to hear that his wife wants his opinion or his help.

2. Husbands also like to hear that they are important. Ladies, you may not even have to say it. But if a woman asks her husband for his opinion on even a trivial matter, he will feel important.

3. Another important thing that husbands like to hear from their wives is that she will follow him. As men, we want to lead and knowing that your wife is following you makes us feel like a good leader.

4. Husbands also need to know that their wives believe in them. This makes men feel like they can accomplish anything.  

5. And one of the most important things that husbands need to hear from their wives is that they’ve done a good job. Whether it’s a home project or fixing a car, before any criticism is given, please, please, for the love: tell your husband he’s done good. This will build him up and allow him to deal with any constructive opinions.  

Try these 5 things and I guarantee that it will pay dividends in your marriage relationship.

What Does Our Marriage Communicate?

I’ve been married 19 years and I just recently thought about what our life communicates to our kids. What have I taught my son about how a woman should be treated? What have my actions reflected about my love for my wife? In turn, how has Lisa’s married life impacted our daughter?

I guess we often think about what kind of legacy we will leave our family. I wasn’t always a good role model, but as I matured in my Christian walk and as the refinement process continues, I would think that I became a better husband, leader, father and disciple. I can certainly say beyond a shadow of a doubt that I have seen that growth in my wife.  

As we have both grown, Lisa and I have made it a point to impart the importance of servant leadership. As I lead my wife, I try to do so by serving her. She has done the same by serving her family faithfully and sacrificially. We have been most encouraged in our “woness” by hearing others tell us that our lives are an inspiration.     This gives us great joy. Not the kind of happiness that leads us to believe that we have reached the mountain top. But instead, a humble joy that God would choose to use such broken vessels to speak life to those hurting or those contemplating marriage.  

I think I can speak for my bride of 19 years when I say that in 2016, we would like most of all to communicate love. Not the emotion. But the verb. We would like to reflect in our lives what Jesus commanded His disciples in John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

In this manner we can be sure we will leave a legacy of “won.”

A Life Worth Living 

As we turned the corner into a new year, the excitement and promises of new goals were dampened by a phone call. My wife got news that her grandmother passed away. Having had traveled to see her recently, we all knew she was not well.  
There is however, always a tension between letting go and relief of a loved one’s suffering. That sadness ebbed and flowed during the viewing and funeral.  

But to hear the amazing life of this great woman of God was not only inspiring but humbling. To hear again that she and her step sister left the Virginia farm as young girls in search for opportunities up North and all she accomplished, was amazing! She not only found work but started her own business and always sent money back to the family.

Ms Marie lived a long and fruitful life with her husband, William, of over 50 years, before he passed away. She was a faithful wife and dedicated mother and grandmother. She developed a love for poetry in her later years and also published her autobiography. In addition, she also served at her church body. 

  

There is so much more to share about this amazing lady, but it would definitely require at least 10 more entries. But I think 3 things encapsulate her life the most:  First, her commitment to God, second, her commitment to being “won” with her husband, and last her love for her family and friends.

  
And that my friends, is a life worth living. 

Better to Do Than to Receive 

Christmas is indeed a beautiful time of the year. I know this post may be a little late…but, oh well.  The hope in anticipation of something new can be very exciting. We anticipate spending time with the ones we love, we anticipate some time off and relaxation. We look forward to Christmas parties and exchanging gifts with people we love.  
Right around this time there is a natural temptation to go all out and be frivolous as a result of being influenced by our materialistic culture.  

There is nothing wrong with expressing love with gifts. After all, some people’s love language is giving gifts. However, Christmas time has become associated with buying more and more. The true message of the Greatest gift is lost with all the hustle and bustle. Furthermore, the sharing of quality time with your spouse is a gift in and of itself.

This Christmas we took a different approach. Although we did exchange some gifts, our motto has become “have less, do more.” This started with our 3rd annual Christmas Eve ice skating outing. We not only shared falls, but laughs and created lots of memories.    

These memories in turn are how the foundation of love continually gets patched up and strengthened. Furthermore, that which is strengthened, is maintained. And that which is maintained is preserved. This is how two stay at “won.”

My Longest Night

I don’t know if anybody else has been through this, but I; well my wife and I, were recently in a spirited disagreement which led us to do the unthinkable: go to bed mad at each other with our backs towards each other.

You know that moment in a “discussion” when an impasse is reached and there’s no going backwards. There is an option of saying “I’m sorry,” whether or not you’re to blame, another option would be to say “I think we should agree to disagree.” Yet another option would be to stay angry and not communicate at all. You know, the mature thing to do.
Well, we’ve been there recently. The topic of the argument or discussion doesn’t really matter. I don’t know if it really ever does. But on this particular day, for some reason, the topic mattered either because of pride, stubbornness, or stupidity. You know, there has to be a winner and a loser. So our voices got louder as if there was a third-party listening to declare the person with the loudest voice a winner.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, nightfall come and then the awkward time of going to bed without resolution. Do I say good night, do I not say good night, do I say “I love you?”

Do I say anything at all? Do I even sleep in the same bed? What are the rules of engagement? Well, we actually said nothing at all. And it was one of the longest nights of my life.  

You see, even if our anger is justified, it should not supersede love. Just as Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:26, we should not “let the sun go down in our anger.” The anger to which Paul refers is justified anger against injustice or against the precepts of God. Even this anger however, cannot go unchecked or be long lasting. Therefore, our default  (what ours should have been) should  be to swallow pride, engage our spouse and say, “Because I love you, I would like for us to discuss this later. I love you, goodnight.”

In this manner the fellowship of love is not broken. In this manner two can stay at “won.” And to put it simply, tomorrow is not guaranteed for anybody.

Celebrating 19

19thAnniversaryIt was a rainy day in July, 1996. Although this event was to be held outdoors, threats of hurricane type weather forced the occasion to be indoors. I was nervous about what was about to occur. Was this inclement weather an omen of turbulence ahead? Did I make the right decision? Was I stable enough in my career?   After all, I hadn’t really planned for any of this to happen this way. I wanted to be well established before I tied the knot. Was I truly ready to be a husband? A father?

Well, all those fears and anxieties came to a halt when I saw the doors open at the Merion Tribute House. I know we had invited guests, but all I could see was this angel, dressed in white and a smile that could’ve lit up a New York black out. Her beauty radiated with each step and came to an ever increasing crescendo as she approached me.

I thank God for that moment 19 years ago. Although I was a different man then, somewhat insecure and scared about the future, that beautiful angel has not changed at all. She still gives me strength, courage and confidence. She has also shown me patience, kindness and unconditional love. I have since then become the true man that my angel deserves.

Rob n Lisa Godspell 2014

My angel has always been the wind in my sails, the coffee in my cream, the syrup in my pancakes and the milk in my cereal. So in honor of my beautiful wife, I’d like to share some things that these 19 years have taught me about marriage: First, you can never have enough love. Although we have had our ups and downs, love has brought us back to common ground. Through love we have battled back from a few disagreements and arguments. Through love we have stuck together during difficult times that could’ve easily caused division. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13, our mantra has been “love is patient, love is kind.”

Second, through mutual submission servant leadership has been the focus of our union. Not having had a model for leading in a marriage, I had no idea what this meant much less how to start. But as I learned over the years from Scripture and godly men, the way to lead was through serving my wife. In doing so, we have humbly served each other without keeping tabs of who has done more. Love to serve and serve to love became a model for us. Serving in a Christ like manner, we have attempted to model Christ’s love to our children.

And finally, by forgiving one another we have avoided bitterness, resentment and division. As stated in Scripture, we are forgiven by forgiving. This could not be more important in a marriage. Although there have been times when I just knew “I was right,” this became less important as the two of us grew into “won.” It was only by forgoing our pride and self-satisfaction that the importance of forgiveness became clear.

So as I reflect on my 19 years of “woness,” I thank God for His grace to us. I thank my wonderful angel for her love, grace, and forgiveness. I look forward to many more years of our life together and more chocolate cake.

The Log In My Eye- Ashley Madison 

The Log In My Eye- Ashley Madison 

Whether it’s the TV or the newspaper, it’s difficult not to be exposed to the Ashley Madison website story. Of course, there are millions of people who have known of this site for a while. They are the same people whose names were made public.  
These names are the primary focus in a sea of compromised marriages. Spouses may be finding out for the first time the gravity of the problem that they have been suspecting. Others, after seeing their husband’s name on this exposed list, may be as surprised as a person who has received a tax notice charging them for 5 years of back taxes.  

The one thing I’ve seen is a preoccupation that some people have had to see if they know any names on this “knock list.” It’s almost as if the overarching goal is to make oneself feel better about themselves by comparing themselves to those who are “immoral scum”. The prevailing thought process is, “I may not be perfect but I’m not as bad as that person.”

Three points come my mind regarding this whole topic. First, you reap what you sow. In the world of cyberspace and social media nothing is really private. This is a well-known biblical principle, as stated in Galatians‬ ‭6:7-8‬, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”

‭‭ Second, the names on the list represent struggling marriages and this institution of marriage is under attack. Whether it’s materialism or depravity, if couples do not take time to invest and truly become “won,” these forces can create division and destroy a marriage which eventually destroys communities. We can all be tempted. Surrounding ourselves with positive influences and keeping open communication can be extremely important in protecting a marriage.

Third, what is adultery? The actual act of committing adultery only describes an action, not what’s inside the heart. A much stronger standard is described in Matthew 5:27-28, in part of a passage in scripture named the Sermon on the Mount. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Jesus raised the bar for believers. No longer was the standard of conduct an external, work based pharasitical standard, but one based on what’s in one’s heart.  

Therefore, according to this standard of the heart as described in Matthew 5, many of us can be guilty of adultery as well. There are no lusts associated with this verdict though.

So rather than examine this list of names to see who I may know, I instead will pray more intensely for marriages and take time to closer examine the log that resides in my eye before casting stones on the sins of others.

Unequal Yoking

I believe the third reason for the high divorce rate, even among Christian marriages is unequal yoking.

If one were to ask questions regarding compatibility in marriage, the usual responses may involve political affiliations, values, careers or how many kids a person may want have. And sometimes, unfortunately, no thought at all is given to any matters regarding compatibility. Faith issues seem to be less of a concern according to most research, especially right before marriage. To enter into a marriage relationship based on the afore mentioned items however, is not building a solid ground for a long lasting, successful partnership.

Even when religious affiliation is considered, differences don’t always detract wedding bells from being heard. In fact, interfaith marriages have been on the rise. According to this NPR broadcast stating that 20% of marriages in US in the 50’s were interfaith and this figure climbed to 45% by the first decade of the 21st century. In the same broadcast, it was mentioned that discussing family values and how to raise children within a world view was important but because society has become more focused on individual satisfaction, these concerns have taken a back seat. This lack of discussion leads to problems.

Looking at this topic from a Christian worldview, there is one primary factor that should be taken into account prior to marriage: whether your future spouse is also a Christian. The Bible describes this as being “equally yoked.” Paul wrote about this in 2 Corinthians 6:14-15, where he warns against being unequally yoked, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with the Belial? What portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?”

To put this term yoked in the perspective of an agrarian society which is the kind of society in which the Bible was written, a farmer would yoke two oxen of similar size for plowing. This way they could both carry a load equally and efficiently, without one working harder than the other. Imagine for a moment if an ox were yoked with one of my yorkies. How much would Roxy (our yorkie’s name) contribute? Probably close to 0%!! Well, applying this illustration to a marriage, an unequally yoked couple will have different morals, values, priorities and friends. These differences can create significant problems as each person in the marriage tries to “plow” through life.

This is not a New Testament concept. It has always been God’s heart to give us joy through this parameter. In Deuteronomy 7:3-4, as God led the Israelites into the promised land, He gave them commands about unions:
“Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, for they will turn your sons away from following me to serve other gods, and the Lord’s anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you.” God’s command was not to stifle or harm His people but to protect them and us.

As a married couple plows together through life, “life happens.” Job changes, financial difficulties, family difficulties, sickness, etc. People with different mindsets, values, beliefs, and priorities can have a difficult time navigating together through this maze of problems. The tendency may be to pull in different directions. It is no wonder why a survey by the American Religious Identification Survey of 2001, found that people of mixed religion marriages were 3 times more likely to be divorced than couples of the same religion. Why? I would venture to say that since Christ is not in the center, The foundation is weak and able to break. However, when Christ is at the center of a marriage two can truly become “won” and be able to withstand the pressures and challenges of life. God’s word relates this truth in Ecclesiastes 4:12, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.”

So am I suggesting that is marriage a cake walk as long as Christ is in the center? Absolutely not!! Even with Christ at the center of a marriage, two imperfect people can have difficulty working through life’s obstacles. But when a marriage has been built on solid ground, on the “cornerstone that the builders rejected,” there’s a much higher chance that life’s challenges will be “won.”

So what if one finds themselves in an unequally yoked marriage? What’s the solution? I’ll touch on that in my next post.

COUNTING THE COST

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I’d like to get into the second reason I believe that lead to divorce. I have termed this, “Not Counting the Cost.” Any big decision takes thought, consideration, counsel and prayer. This is true for choosing careers, planning a career change, moving or planning a trip. Think of the last vacation you planned. Didn’t you think about dates, coordinate potential dates with work obligations, and how you being out of town would affect those around you?

We spend so much time and effort planning a vacation and a career but our society as a whole spends less time considering the important decision of a marriage. A decision that makes two people united; two people “won”, a decision that has implications for the rest of our lives, a decision that affects all other decisions afterwards, is made with less thought and consideration than choosing what pair of shoes one should buy.

Don’t believe me? Ok, after I said “I do,” decisions of what I was doing after work, on the weekends, or where we should move were made not by me alone but by discussion of two who became “won.” Why? My spouse became part of my flesh and my body part of hers. What happens to my kidneys will ultimately affect other body systems. A marriage is no different. We are now interdependent.

With the backdrop of how two independent bodies start functioning as one, we can now look at how ignoring this can lead to system failure. Imagine for a minute an athlete training for a team fitness event such as a doubles tennis tournament, a team crossfit competition or a soccer tournament. Although these are very different events, if the athlete preparing for his/her respective event ignores proper nutrition, his/her body will struggle. If hydration several days before the event is lacking, performance during the event will suffer. In short, if person training for these events does not consider the amount of training required, the proper amount of rest, the sacrifice that is needed to excel and compete against other elite athletes, he/she will come up short, get injured or exhibit system failure. In other words, not counting the cost of what preparation it takes to perform well will obviously affect the team’s ability to excel.

The same can be said of a marriage where failure to consider the give and take, the sacrifice, and the team work it takes for two to become “won,” will severely affect the effectiveness of the union. Although not a passage about marriage, in Luke 14, Jesus talked about the cost of becoming a disciple, which can have an application for considering the cost of a marriage. In verse 28-30, Luke wrote, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’?”

Likewise, ladies and gentleman, if we don’t sit down and count the cost of what it means to sacrifice, what it means to love, what it means to become “won”, there will be a shaky foundation which will be difficult to last the tests of a marriage.