Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

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(Living Love) Gift Budget

 Gifts don’t have to be expensive to be significant. Small token gifts can hold so much value. It is all about the presentation and the thought that is put into the gift. However, making these types of purchases for our spouse is usually not a part of our routine.

When you are planning your budget, give yourself (or both of you) a small cash budget for these gift purchases. This provides you with the opportunity, and even the challenge, to show love to your spouse in these little, yet significant, ways.


*Tip – Keeping this money in cash will help prevent it from being spent on something else and will be a physical reminder to buy the gift.


(Date Ideas) Hot Air Balloon Ride

It is so important in our marriages to find ways to incorporate romantic, fun and budget-friendly dates into our routine. Some occasions, though, call for an ultimate date. The next time you are planning for one of those  memorable events, consider taking the love-of-your-life on a hot air balloon ride.

There is something about soaring through peaceful blue skies, touching the treetops and riding in a woven basket under a brightly colored balloon….romance is intrinsic.

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Growing Independence

Samuel has been reaching a lot of independence milestones recently. Even though it sometimes reminds me to hug my little boy a bit tighter, it is so fun to see the joy and pride that he finds in these accomplishments. I am so proud of him. And I have to say, that the fact that he can now open the van door and buckle his seat belt by himself now has given me a whole new sense of freedom!

He can also…..

…get himself dressed….

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…make his own sandwich…

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…..and (a personal favorite) make his own bed!

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We started a chore chart with him for the first time last week and it has been a huge success. He is so enthusiastic, a hard worker, and extremely excited about working towards his goals. One of the chores that we put on there was helping to make his bed. He helped me the first day, although I remember him asking to do it himself. I blew him off, thinking that there was no way he could do it alone. When he asked again on Day Two, though, humored him and he ran off to his room with great excitement. I followed him a couple of minutes later to finish or perfect the task. The bed was perfectly. made.  So now he has the daily reward of being proud of himself for completing tasks independently and I am discovering a few of the perks of having an older child.

I love my boy.


(Living Love) Kicking off the season

The college football season officially kicks off this week. For many men, this is a much anticipated event.

Whether or not you also get into the game, dare to be a companion for this season’s first event. Break out the burgers, chips, snacks, and drinks, and join your husband in front of the TV to cheer on his favorite team. Catch him by surprise and make an event of it. The important thing is to recognize what he loves and take part in it. The double-take that he will give you will be worth it.


(Parenting) Grumpiness

You woke up on the wrong side of the bed and are having a bad day. You were up too late the night before, greeted by too many demands first thing in the morning, and are just plain grumpy. Is it any wonder you have narrow margins with the kids, don’t feel like being social, or snap at your husband? If somebody demands a lot of you or jumps on your case for your bad attitude, does that magically motivate you to change your tune? Usually it just pushes you further into your grumpiness.

On days like this, sometimes you need a restart button. Or at least 15 minutes of quiet time by yourself to reset your attitude. Sometimes a hug, a few understanding words, or a listening ear is all that is needed to turn your day around.

Our kids have these days too. Sometimes there is an obvious reason for it and other times there isn’t. Yet instead of showing them compassion on these rough days and teaching them how they can effectively change their attitudes, we often become extra stern in our demand for obedience. The next time you see that they are having a rough day, don’t combat it with a harsh word. Gently pull them aside, give them a hug and say something like, “I see that you are having a rough day today. Do you want to spend a few minutes cuddling on the couch with me or spend some time by yourself until you are ready to try again?” Reflect their feelings back to them and show them that you are on their side. This gives them a chance to open up with you and, even more importantly, figure out for themselves what is bother them.

When you walk them through an attitude adjustment like that, you do much more than just avoid an unproductive confrontation. You equip them for life.


(Living Love) Two Things

Even when we are not consciously thinking about it, we are growing, changing and modifying our behavior based on experiences, consequences, and feedback (subtle or clear) that we get from those around us. We frequently see things in our spouse that we want them to change or to do more often. But when they do something that does make you feel loved, considered, or taken care of, do you take a moment to affirm or thank them?

Look back on the last week and find two things that your spouse did that made you feel loved or that was important to you. Maybe it was an unexpected hug, them filling up your car with gas or doing a simple chore for you, tucking the kids into bed so that you could have a break, or a compliment that they gave you. In a quiet way, just thank them for it and maybe add on a brief comment about how it impacted your day.

Most changes in people don’t happen overnight. Just as you want people to be patient with your gradual growth, do the same for your spouse. It is so easy to give negative feedback, but I challenge you this week to find two places to give them positive feedback.


(Date Ideas) Work-out Date

Sometimes the best dates don’t involve roses and candle light dinners. Sometimes it is just being together, being active, and sharing life that gives your relationship the refreshment it needs.

For this date night, head to the gym. The workout will energize both your body and your relationship and the mutual recreation will remind you that marriage is about so much more than just daily tasks and management. Participating in recreation together tends to be especially significant to men, so make the effort to be active with him!

After your workout, spend some time cooling off and chatting over a fruit smoothie.


(Living Love) Sweet Nothings

lindtVery few people in your life know that you get midnight cravings for peanut butter M&Ms, have a weakness for extra dark chocolate, or adore those powdered donuts packets from the gas station. But on those rare occasions when somebody has noted that sweet treat that you love and then surprised you with it, it means a lot. Not just because they gave you the coveted item, but because they made the effort to learn what it is that you love and went out of their way to surprise you with it.

What is a sugary treat that your spouse loves? Surprise him with it! Leave it on his pillow, in his briefcase, or in the box of cereal (…or not…you don’t want the kids to find it first). It is a simple way of turning a sweet treat into a sweet nothing.

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(Date Ideas) Anniversary Gift Shopping

Turn your anniversary gifts to each other into your anniversary event! Instead of doing the traditional gift exchange, pool the money that you would have spent on the gifts and go shopping for a mutual gift. Purchase something that you both want! It could be something for the house, supplies for a mutual hobby, a new form of recreation, etc.

Do a little bit of dreaming together. This just might become your new tradition.


(Living Love) Drive Time

Many of us begin our days with kissing our husband goodbye at the door as he leaves for work shouting a quick goodbye over the clamor of little voices while mopping spilled milk off the floor. And that’s okay.

Make arrangements one day this week, though, to send off your husband in a different way. Drive him to work yourself.

It might be earlier than you are typically ready to be out the door, but leave behind the makeup and let the kids stay in their pajamas. If time allows, you can even pick up some doughnuts or coffee on your way. This time just gives you a chance to truly begin your day together. It is a reminder that you are partners in life and when you share in the mundane tasks together, such as fighting morning rush hour traffic, life is better.

Plus, it can be empowering to start off your day with a reminder that you are loved.