Tag Archives: Love

Date? I’m Married!

date-night-2

One of the elements of a healthy marital relationship that is all too often eliminated once the ring goes on the finger is date night.  It is amazing how many couples don’t remember the last time they and their spouse did something together by themselves.  Realizing that once the adorable little kiddies come things can be a bit difficult and schedules fill up fast does not make it less important.

Perhaps it would be good to view your relationship the same way you view your career and work life.  How do we get things done at work?  We prioritize the workload. This may seem very mechanical and even uncaring, but doesn’t the lack of prioritizing your marital life strike you as being considerably less caring?  For the guys, take the initiative and set up a babysitter, make a dinner reservation, make all the arrangements.  Trust me, she will appreciate it.  A man who takes the initiative in the relationship will be deemed very attractive to your wife.  A word of advice: don’t make the movies your destination unless it’s the rare exception.  That in itself does not classify as a date night.  Conversation and interaction is limited between a couple while the THX sound is blaring in their eardrums.

Ladies, you too have a great ability to orchestrate wonderful getaways and weekend excursions; use that gifting.  Not everything you do need be expensive.  For those on a budget, a walk in the

park, a long drive, or a field by the airport to watch the planes take off would all do nicely.  Both of you, be creative!  My wife and I have Disneyland passes and love to go there on a Sunday night, ride a few rides, and have a nice dinner, but mostly it affords us opportunity to chat as we stroll around the park.  If you don’t give your marriage priority, I can assure you that you will find the romance and intimacy diminishing rapidly.

Ask yourself this simple question, with regards to the topic of date nights, how do we measure up as a couple?  In what ways can I/we  pave the way for increased time together to grow and dream as a team?  What will be my first step toward improvement in this area of our lives?

If it has been so long since dating your spouse you might want to get a jump start by asking your mate some of their most favorite things to do.  What do they really enjoy?  This might begin to prompt your thinking, minimally you’ll have so suggestions to get you started.

There are few things that draw a couple closer than to know that they are important to their spouse.  Planning and executing date nights are a great way to demonstrate to your mate just how important they are to you!

Be Blessed and enjoy your date nights, I know your spouse will!

©2016 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more aboutMarriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted

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Filed under Communication, Dating, Priorities, selflessness

I Still Like the Biggest and Best Gift (Part II)

gift

As my post continues, open your heart to the circumstances that confronted my two young boys.  Perhaps something within you will be awakened as we approach the day that signifies the birth of love and great joy to all mankind, now let’s continue our story.

…We needed to make one additional stop.  One of our dear friends, a neighbor to my mother, whom we have known for many, many years was going through a trial and we wanted to pay a visit.  Her elderly husband was confined at home with hospice care and we thought he might like a visit from us and the “crazy kids”, they have loved our boys for as long as we have!

It is always a bit shocking to see the frailty of life thrust in your face.  Over a very short period of time this strong, joyful hardworking, spirit-filled man had become very sickly, gaunt, having great difficulty breathing.  Not the man I remember working in his garage, constantly building model planes that he loved to fly and gifting our children his latest woodwork toy.  He was dying.

The boys slowly moved closer to him, they had never seen anybody dying before, not like this.  My youngest shared with him that he had just been baptized.  As tired and sick as he was, the neighbors eyes lit up!  He was overjoyed, lifting his arms toward the heavens, thanking God for Derek’s decision.  The boys asked if they could pray with him.  He couldn’t have been more receptive!  The prayers were short, but sweet and most definitely heartfelt.  The boys went back to their grandmothers while everyone hugged out their goodbyes.  This was a visit much appreciated by these special friends.

Moments later, my wife and I walked next door, back to grandma’s house.  We were both very happy that we had decided to bring the boy’s with us.  I could feel the sadness hanging over the living room like a heavy, dark veil.  My oldest sat quietly, very quietly on the sofa.  This was most unusual for a boy that typically exuded energy.  My youngest was curled up in the over-sized easy chair, with great futility, trying to contain his tears.  Their Oma came out of the kitchen, wiping her eyes, trying to be strong for the boys but cracking under the atmosphere.

Those two spirit-sensitive, compassionate young boys were struggling with their emotions and struggling with the concept of life itself.  They were trying to make sense of the very thing that many grown adults battle, the question of, “Why?”  What followed were a series of marvelous conversations that took place then and throughout that day.

Just as in the baptism that Derek had undergone, it was a symbol of death to restored and resurrected life.  I was able to help young Derek understand in a very practical and age appropriate way, the meaning of being “born-again”.  There is no “born-again” state without death to our old self, death to our own selfishness nature.  Death is a cycle we all endure, however, as a believer, we hold the  promise; the gift, of everlasting life with our creator.  Death is not the final word, it is simply a transition, a new chapter, if you will.  Our precious friend was merely transitioning before us.  There is no need to fear death.

What shall we say, then?  Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?  By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?  Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead  through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.  For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.”           Romans 6:1-5

 There is also no need to fear the questions when you have the answer.  Thank you Lord that you have given us the answer and that answer comes in the gift that you have given all those who would accept you into their hearts, the gift of everlasting life.  Thank goodness life is not a “gift exchange”, I could never come close to matching that value.  But then again, none of us has too, just be thankful and show it to others!

The great thing is that there is plenty to go around.  My blessing for you this Christmastime is that you accept it and simply thank Him, whose birth we celebrate this time of year and whose sacrifice was the “biggest” and “best” gift of all.

If you feel the tugging on your heart, if you know that contentment has never been within your grasp, if you know that things can and must be different I would be remiss if I didn’t give you the opportunity to share in the gift that has been given me by asking Him into your life.  It begins as simply as a prayer:

Lord God, I thank you for your presence here today.  I come before you a flawed and weak person, undeserving of the gift you offer me.  Despite my sin, I ask you into my heart.  I do believe I can be saved through the blood and sacrifice on the cross of your son Jesus Christ who died for our sins.  I come to you for complete restoration as I begin this new life in you.  Cleanse me of my sins and reside in me.  I welcome you with open arms and seek to follow you all of my remaining days.  I thank you and in your Holy name I pray.  Amen.

Now get plugged into a local church and they will provide further guidance as you begin your new walk.  I pray that as we look forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus that today would be a day to celebrate your rebirth in Him.

God bless you and your family this holiday season and every day!

©2016 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.  It’s a thoughtful Christmas gift for any couple’s in your life.

 

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Filed under Baptism, Beliefs, Christmas, Love, Restoration, Salvation, Thankfulness

I Still Like the Biggest and Best Gift (Part I)

gift-box

It’s that time of year again when the incurably curious sift among the beautifully ornate boxes and bags littered under Christmas tree.  The gifts come in all shapes and sizes and we always envy the one with the biggest gift.  They say “Don’t be selfish, it’s the thought, not the size of the present!”  I suppose that’s human nature to want the best and the biggest, this is what society teaches us.  As a pastor, I probably shouldn’t say this, but, I concede.  Sometimes the biggest gift is the best!

Let’s step back a few months, weeks before we even ventured into this holiday season…

I came through the front door of my mother’s home. I could feel the sadness hanging over the living room like a heavy, dark veil.  My oldest of ten years sat quietly, very quietly on the sofa.  This was most unusual for a boy that typically exuded energy.  My youngest, age seven, was curled up in the over-sized easy chair, with great futility, trying to contain his tears.  Their Oma came out of the kitchen, wiping her eyes, trying to be strong for the boys but cracking under the atmosphere.  The image was in stark contrast to the joyous way the day began…

I was about to participate in an event that would fill my heart with joy!  I had the pleasure of experiencing the same excitement a scant year ago with my eldest son.  I helped him up the steps as I walked around to the side.  He found his position and sat down on the step, he looked out at all the people, there to celebrate this event with us, then he turned to me with that ever familiar smile.  In spite of occasional displays, shy he is not.  The senior pastor held the microphone out as I asked, “Is there anything that you would like to share?”  “I would like to thank everyone who came out today to see me get baptized.  I love all of you and most importantly, I love God.”  He smiled, my heart nearly burst from my chest with happiness.  The congregation was clapping, my boy was obviously pleased with their response.  “Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?”  “Yes, I have.”  “Then I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.”  I leaned him back, completely submerging him for a moment, then back to his upright position.  I bent down to his ear and whispered, “I love you.” He returned my words with a big kiss. “I love you too!”

Once he had decided that he was ready to be baptized, I had shared with him more specifically the purpose and symbolism of the event.  Baptism is an outward expression of your decision to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, the lord of your life.  Although baptism does not save you, it is a testimony to others that you will strive to live your life for God and die to sin.  Your decision to accept Jesus is the key to eternity following our life here on earth.  The submersion in water represents our burial or death to self.  Coming up from the water is symbolic of resurrection into our new life with Christ.  The entire ceremony is symbolic of what Jesus did for us on the cross that most important day several hundred years ago.  Yes, even at the young age of seven, my boy understood the importance of baptism and the gift that was given to us, in spite of what we may have done.  As a believer and follower of Christ we are assured a glorious eternity with Him.  But, I digress.

After a wonderful celebratory lunch with family and friends, all were in high spirits.  At that moment, it hadn’t occurred to me that God would use the events of the day to make a practical, hard-hitting point to all.  We needed to make one additional stop.  One of our dear friends, a neighbor to my mother, whom we have known for many, many years was going through a trial and we wanted to pay a visit.  Her elderly husband was confined at home with hospice care and we thought he might like a visit from us and the “crazy kids”, they have loved our boys for as long as we have!

His wife welcomed the visit and was thrilled to see the boys, hugging us all as she took us to his room.  It is always a bit shocking to see the frailty of life thrust in your face…

This life lesson will conclude in my NEXT POST, “I Still Like the Biggest and Best Gift (Part II)

May you all be blessed as you ENJOY this Christmas Season!

©2016 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.  It’s a thoughtful Christmas gift for any couple’s in your life.

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Filed under Baptism, Beliefs, Christmas, Emotions, Love, Priorities, Restoration, Salvation, Thankfulness

Age and Wisdom

senior citizens 2

You know, a funny thing happened on my way to the bacon and eggbeaters sandwich on white buttered toast…

This particular morning had already been agendized.  Wake up early, go grab a nice, but quick, breakfast, spend some time in the Word and off to the office for what I had anticipated to be a challenging day of counseling.  Little did I know what God had in store for me on this particular day.  The entire restaurant was empty except for a group of about thirty older men who were chatting, eating and sipping their coffee.  I would have to estimate the average age of this group to be eighty.  The server seated me in a booth that was very close to the congregation of “seasoned” citizens.  There was a sign posted behind the men (which they obviously posted themselves, with pride) that read “United States Veterans Club”.  As I sat, many of them greeted me with a warm “Hello”, which I reciprocated.  I will admit that it was nice to be regarded as a “young whipper-snapper” amongst these crusty codgers.

Without a beat one of the men came over to me and asked if I was a veteran, to which I replied, “No, sir, I am not.  But I have a great deal of respect for those who have served our country in its defense.”  “What do you do?” he asked.  “I’m a pastor.  I counsel and offer guidance to those in need.”  He smiled, “Oh, my friend, the battles that you fight are every bit as real as the battles that we have been involved in.”

Pretty soon, another gentleman slide out of his seat and right into my both, directly across from me.  Another joined us.  I felt like I had become an honorary vet.  They began sharing some of their life experiences, their struggles and victories, and lessons learned on their journeys.  They shared their stories of faith while presenting their personal testimonies to me, a complete stranger.  I said very little, just listened intently.  I had a rare opportunity to glean from approximately 225 years of accumulated history.  They shared with honor, yet humility.  It was my time to learn.  My quiet, solo breakfast turned into a colorfully and richly detailed lesson in human endeavor and perseverance.  I cannot minimize, and they will never fully understand, the impact that these men left on me at that fateful breakfast.

As a Christian, I walked away from the encounter with several lessons that I need to practice always.  I pray that I am so welcoming and open to experiencing the lives of others and willing to be so bold, yet humble in sharing my faith.  I pray that I will take the time to listen to what those older than myself have to offer, because there is much to glean.  I also pray that I never develop a “I have arrived” attitude; that arrogance will never deflect what I have yet to learn (which is much!)

My son, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.  Bind them always on your heart; fasten them around your neck.  When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light, and correction and instruction are the way to life,…    Proverbs 6:20-23

 Solomon’s wisdom speaks volumes to us all and transcends the confines of a familial relationship.  There is wisdom all around us in the minds of those often written off by our society.  I encourage you, don’t let the fear of a wrinkled, faded, well-worn stage curtain prevent you from peering into the wisdom and illumination that may lie just beyond it.  Those extra years may give you wisdom that you seek.

James, the gentleman who first slid into my booth concluded our interaction by stating, “I know I’m just rambling on and I don’t have much of a formal education, but thank you for letting me sit with you.”  Smiling, I replied, “My friend, there are far too many who have exchanged a fancy piece of paper for their faith.  Never underestimate the value of what you have learned and the importance that it is to the next generation.  I thank you.”  And so we all parted.  I can’t speak for them, but I can say that I am richer for the experience.  Again, God’s agenda is better than my own.

Love our senior’s, remember, you will be one before you know it!

Be Blessed!

©2016 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.

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Filed under Elderly, Fellowship, Love, Misconceptions, Respect, Role Modeling

LOVE and Our Emotional State

Key

Let’s take a journey down memory lane. In all likelihood, the following scripture was recited at your own wedding. Let’s revisit as I share a well kept secret,

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.        1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Do you notice anything unusual about this passage of scripture? Note that it is all action driven, contrary to what our society would have you believe. Lasting love is not emotionally fueled, although feelings are certainly produced. What this tells me is that a healthy, long-lasting and loving relationship is based on my desire to put forth the necessary efforts to keep it healthy. I do not determine my effort by what I feel like doing.  Oh, yes I know, that’s NOT really a secret.  But you’d think it was!

Bill comes home after a grueling day at the office; nothing came off as planned. His head wouldn’t stop pounding. His computer was being its normal stubborn self. The traffic on the way home was horrendous. In general, Bill feels lousy. He pulls into the driveway and walks up to the front door. Now Bill has a decision to make. He has a choice. He can walk through the front door and meet his family behaving exactly how he feels—cranky, agitated, and aggressive, dumping that anger on his wife.

How do you think that delightful presentation will be received? She will shoot back with both barrels, taking all of Bill’s behaviors in a personal way. After all, she is the new target of his aggression. What alternative does she have? He attacked her. That just makes Bill angrier, so he escalates the confrontation. His voice increases in volume, and maybe he throws down his briefcase for dramatic effect. Offended, she comes right back at him. So the conflict escalates right up the scale! Bill’s feelings dictated his behavior, to his disadvantage, and the unfortunate recipients were his family.

Here’s an alternative scenario. Bill stands at the door, feeling lousy but aware of it. He decides that regardless of how he feels, he is going to demonstrate love and affection toward his wife and family. Bill enters his home and gives his wife a kiss and tells her how much he loves her. How do you think that reception will be met? If she is monitoring her behavior (maybe she had a rough day with the kids, etc.) the odds are great that she will respond to her husband’s loving display and reciprocate. That will affect Bill’s emotional state in a positive fashion, actually reducing some of the aggression. Then he reciprocates and back and forth it goes. Bill begins to feel those negative emotions dissipate.

You might say to yourself, that’s just being fake! No, it is you doing what is right by your spouse, which in the end has the potential for great benefit for you. Do you enjoy conflict in your relationship? Keeping your feelings in check is a very practical way of facilitating that goal.

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.       – James 3:17-18

Being aware of your emotional state and choosing your behaviors is one method to restore some peace in the relationship.

©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.

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Filed under Behavior, Beliefs, Character, Communication, Conflict Resolution, Emotions, Love