Sunday, February 26, 2012

Great Marriages Take Time!

It isn’t that our marriages are good or bad – they just are.  We grow numb toward each other by the monotonous drone of the routine in our relationship.

Kathleen and Thomas Hart put it this way: “Marriage is a long walk two people take together. Sometimes the terrain is very interesting, sometimes rather dull. At times the walk is arduous for both persons or for one. Sometimes the conversation is lively; at other times, there is not much to say. The travelers do not know exactly where they are going, nor when they will arrive.” Sometimes this numbing effect of “sameness” is due to the fact that this walk is longer for us than it was for our ancestors.

In past centuries, many marriages were cut short because women frequently died during childbirth. Men didn’t live as long as they do today, either. In 1870, a woman couldn’t count on her husband still being alive by the time their youngest child left home. In 1911, the average length of marriage was twenty-eight years; by 1967, it had risen to forty-two years. Today with medical advances and increasing life expectancy, more couples reaching their sixtieth or even seventieth wedding anniversary!

This relatively new phenomenon of being married for six or seven decades can pay rich dividends for our character development and spiritual lives. Marriage helps us to develop the character of God himself as we stick with our spouses through the good times and the bad. The spiritual meaning of marriage is found in persevering and maintaining that history together.

Generally speaking, it takes a decade for a couple to truly "create and form its being". When couples break up after just three or four years, they haven't even begun to experience what being married is really like. It's like climbing halfway up a mountain but never getting to the top to see the sights. You're in the middle of the quest, your consumed with the struggle, but it's much too soon to experience the full rewards. Assessing your marriage too soon is like expecting a baby to run a marathon. Becoming one with your spouse - in the deepest, most intimate sense - takes time. It's a journey through the good and the bad...and it never really ends. But if you will hang in there and persevere, the reward will be a deeper love for one another than you can ever possibly imagine!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Combating The Evils Of Wedding Planning Stress!

Being engaged and planning for that once in a life time wedding day is suppose to be a fun and romantic experience.  But most of the time all it does is put your relationship to the test. Because the planning process can be so stressful, couples often find themselves not enjoying the planning experience, or more importantly…each other!
Just to set the record straight, as the date of the wedding approaches, relational stress is normal. After all, you both are going through some rough transitional stages. Besides being frazzled from all the planning…you are probably getting anxious about the major life changes that lie ahead! Not to mention having to deal with annoying family members trying to get involved. Here are some suggestions that will go a long way in helping to ease the pain of your stress as you plan for your simple or fairytale wedding.

1. At least once a week, have a conversation or date that has nothing to do with the wedding. Don't even TALK about it! Go watch a movie, walk the beach, go bowling... anything that will distract you from the planning of your wedding. The first person who slips and mentions anything about the wedding has to pay for the date (or some other agreed upon consequence).

2. Take a day each week and have a "Wedding Conference Meeting" with each other. This is where you go over the budge, look at the "To Do List", talk about vendors, etc. Usually it will be the bride who takes the lead on this, but it will go a long way in keeping the lines of communication open and prevent any surprises and resentment from arising between the two of you.

3. If you find yourself becoming frustrated and irritated with one of his friends or family members, tell him how you feel, but let him deal with it. If he doesn't want to deal with it, don't get angry with his crazy aunt/mother/best friend, get angry with him for not dealing with the issue on your behalf. You need to remember that "blood is thicker than water" and you're not "blood", yet!  It isn't your place to confront these people, yet…and besides, they're more likely to listen to him than to you.

4. Always be honest with each other when you get angry or upset, but NEVER turn your anger into a war of "my family vs. your family". Stay focused on the problem at hand. For instance, if his mother is sending you over the "deep end" because of the way she keeps pushing for a specific reception location that you don't like or want, don't fight about how she has no respect for your desires, or that it is your wedding, not hers and that she has no right to tell you where to have the reception. Instead, leave your emotions at the door and discuss it for what it is - a need to control the size, cost, or location of the reception, etc.

5. When you start to notice that you are getting crankier and moodier, or you're having trouble sleeping at night, it's a sign you need to relax. Make an appointment to get pampered at a spa, get a massage...but do something that will relax you and refocus your thoughts on nothing for an hour or two.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

"Mirror, Mirror...On The Wall..."

What I have discovered after 30 years of marriage is that, unlike a single person, being married is like holding up a mirror to my imperfections. Being married has forced me to face myself honestly and consider my character flaws, selfishness, and stinky attitudes, while being challenged to grow and mature in my character and my love for my wife.

Kathleen and Thomas Hart wrote, “Sometimes what is hard to take in the first years of marriage is not what we find out about our partner, but what we find out about ourselves. As one young woman who had been married about a year said, ‘I always thought of myself as a patient and forgiving person. Then I began to wonder if that was just because I had never before gotten close to anyone. In marriage, when John and I began…dealing with differences, I saw how small and unforgiving I could be. I discovered a hardness in me I had never experienced before.’”

I have always thought of myself as reasonably patient and charitable – that is, until I got married and discovered how passionately annoyed I can become at pulling out empty ice cube trays. I grew up in a family that taught: If you take out an ice cube, you refill the tray before you put it back into the freezer. Now I’ll pull out a tray and find nothing more than half an ice cube – which I call an ice chip.

It was amazing how much such a small detail irritated me. I asked my wife, “How much do you love me?” “More than all the world,” she professed. “I don’t need you to love me that much,” I said. “I just want you to love me for seven seconds.” “What on earth are you talking about?” she asked. “Well, I timed how long it takes to fill an ice cube tray and discovered that it’s just seven seconds.”

It finally dawned on me that if it takes my wife just seven seconds to fill an ice cube tray, that’s all it takes me as well. Was I really so selfish that I was willing to let seven seconds’ worth of inconvenience become a serous issue in my marriage? Was my capacity to show charity towards my wife really that limited?

Indeed it was!

Being married is like constantly looking into a mirror and having revealed to you those flaws in your life that you never knew you had…but everyone else did!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wedding Day Emergencies!

During most the weddings that I have officiated, there has always been something that didn’t go quite according to plan.  Mostly they aren’t big things…just minor issues, but many of those minor issues could have been headed off with if a small “Wedding Emergency Kit” was packed.

Anyone can put this kit together, but with all the pressure that the bride is already going through in planning her special day, I would suggest it be someone else with a little more time on their hands.  This could be the responsibility of the of the Bride’s mother, one of the bride’s maids, little sister…anyone who can be trusted to get it all together.

Once the “Wedding Emergency Kit” is assembled, then make sure that whoever is responsible for the kit not only brings it to the ceremony, but also to the reception. It may be necessary for pictures after the ceremony and during the reception.

Here is a list of items you might want to consider putting into your “Wedding Emergency Kit”:
  1. Mini sewing kit
  2. Tooth Brush and toothpaste
  3. Aspirin (any other legally prescribed medication)
  4. Bottle of water (for washing down that aspirin)
  5. Straws (to hydrate without smudging lipstick)
  6. Band-Aids and/or Styptic Pencil (blood on a white wedding dress – not good)
  7. Tweezers
  8. Tissues (someone is going to start crying)
  9. Matching make-up (for touch ups)
  10. Spot Remover (“Tide To Go Instant Stain Remover” works GREAT!)
  11. Floss (don’t want to “Photoshop” the debris out from between your teeth!)
  12. Hair spray
  13. Clear nail polish (to keep stockings from running – hair spray works, too)
  14. Hairpins, elastic and safety pins
  15. Black book of phone numbers (to contact a supplier or an usher at the last moment.)
  16. Hem tape (in case no one knows how to sew)
  17. Breathe mints (“You may now kiss your smelly-breathed Bride!”)
  18. Superglue (for a quick fix! Note: WD-40, duct tape and bailing wire are optional)
  19. Food (keep your energy up!)
  20. Extra cash (you might want a burger or a Starbucks)
Of course, you can add or delete any of these suggested items, but I promise you, you won’t regret having this “Wedding Emergency Kit”. More than likely, you will need something in it!

Monday, February 13, 2012

"We Can Work Things Out On Our Own!"

Have you thought about pre-marriage counseling? The question may put you off, but before you move on to the next blog, why not take a moment and read what I am about to share with you and see if maybe you might not see the wisdom in considering such an idea. I do find it interesting that people will seek all kinds of advice and counseling when it comes to financial, career, and educational planning, but when it comes to receiving advice for relationship development, there seems to be so much resistance. 

So what keeps many couples from pursuing pre-marriage counseling?  Well, there are a couple of primary reasons, fears, excuses…or whatever you want to call them.

First, many couples believe that living with each other is enough to determine whether or not they are compatible enough to enter into the commitment of marriage. However, statistics show that divorces are actually higher among people who marry after having a de-facto relationship with each other. There is something about marriage that distinguishes from simply living together – which means that pre-marriage counseling is incredibly important to couples who have been cohabitating. Pre-marital counseling is a way of learning how to successfully make the transition from one kind of relationship to another.

Secondly, another big issue or fear is: “What if the issues brought up in counseling cause us to reconsider getting married?” You may get some surprises! It is possible that, even though you have lived together, some of your partner’s attitudes towards certain things that matter to the relationship (such as communication, gender roles, and children) have escaped your notice. Pre-marriage counseling will help you see differences that have an impact – not to discourage you from getting married, but to help you plan ways of overcoming or resolving them. Marriage is an art, and you will be honing your partner by developing relationship skills to increase the chances of a successful marriage.

Lastly, yes…there may be things that may come up that give reason for you or both of you to decide to postpone your wedding until they are resolved. Don’t be afraid to face these issues before you walk down the aisle. It is easier to work through some issues before the event, than when you are married and the stakes are far higher.

You must understand that your wedding is one day in your life, but your marriage is all the rest of the days that come after it. No other relationship comes close in terms of the challenges and triumphs of marriage. It is the most intimate relationship that you will ever choose to be a part of that is humanly possible.

If you are open to considering pre-marital counseling to help prepare you for marriage, then your chances for a great marriage increases. Being willing to look honestly and receive advice requires humility, and humility is one quality that creates success in life. Another name for humility is "teach-ability". If you and your partner are ready to learn new things about your relationship and how to make it the best it can be, then the world is your oyster.

HostGator Promo Code

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Traditional Wedding Alternatives

While many people prefer to have a traditional wedding, you might want to do something particularly unusual…something, which you will find more memorable, and perhaps something that your guests will find particularly impressive as well. 

If you want to do something unique, there are plenty of options available to you and the only limit is really your imagination. You might even be interested in trying some extreme wedding scenarios, such as having your wedding performed underwater, in a hot air balloon, skydiving, roller coasters, etc.

There is nothing that says that you have to have your wedding ceremony performed in a church or chapel building. But even if you do desire a traditional wedding, you can still add your personal touches to your wedding ceremony and your wedding officiant should be willing to accommodate you.
You could also go for something with a more of a modern flavor to it, or something that emphasizes refinement and elegance. The ceremony itself can be a more involved with lots of music, special readings, unity ceremonies, blended family ceremonies, cultural traditions and more! Just a word of caution here…be sensitive to your guests, especially if they are sitting outside. You want them to enjoy your wedding…not endure it.
Finding the right setting for your wedding ceremony is important. You may want to consider wedding venues such as nice hotels, resorts, club houses, cruise ships, beaches, forests, parks, old missions, amusement parks…the locations are only limited by your imagination. 

Regardless of whether you want a traditional, unique or extreme wedding, the first rule is: Don't let anyone talk you into doing something you don't want to do! Follow your heart and the only person you need to make sure is comfortable with your ideas is your fiancé.
dreamhost coupons

Friday, February 10, 2012

“To Struggle, Or Not To Struggle…That Is The Question!”

One of the vows that a couple chose for their wedding ceremony included the lines: "I will laugh with you in the good times
 and struggle with you in the bad."

When it came time for the groom to repeat his vows, he successfully repeated the first half of the line correctly, "I will laugh with you in the good times…"

However, the nervous groom was not so exact in reciting the second half when he said, "…and struggle with you in the bed."

Completely unaware of what he just said, the groom innocently looked out at the wedding guest's who were laughing hysterically...which only made everybody laugh all the harder.

An instant officiant decision had to be made to either have the groom repeat the line or just let it go. By the time the laughter subsided; it was best to just let it go. Why embarrass him any further at suc a crucial point in the ceremony? Besides, a life-long promis to "struggle" with one's spouse in bed can indeed be a worthwhile vow!!  

DreamHost coupon code

Thursday, February 9, 2012

“You Want How Much!?…For 20 Minutes!?”

Because of the expense and budget concerns in planning a wedding, I hear brides often lamenting over the cost of hiring a wedding officiant.  One bride even calculated that an officiant who charges $350.00 for 20 minutes of work makes $1,050.00 an hour!  Trust me…if that were true, I wouldn’t be here writing a blog! 

Unfortunately, inherent to the job of a wedding officiant is that people only see the end results (20-30 minutes worth) of his or her work on the day of the wedding.  On top of that, if your officiant is good, he/she can make what they do look very easy and effortless…making one wonder, “What was so hard about that that I had to pay $350.00?”

So allow me to pull up my iCal and let you take a peek at my typical schedule in preparing for one custom wedding ceremony…from booking the date to driving home after my duties are completed at the wedding ceremony.

        -  Initial inquiry and setting of an appointment to meet the couple: 15 min.
        -  Travel to meet with couple: Round trip – 30 min. to 1 hr.
        -  Initial Meeting time: 1 – 2 hours.
        -  Email and phone correspondence: 1 hour
        -  Writing of ceremony: 3 hours
        -  Ceremony revisions: 1 – 2 hours
        -  Travel to rehearsal: Round trip – 30 min. to 1 hr.
        -  Rehearsal: 1.5 hr.
        -  Travel on wedding day: Round trip 30 min. to 1 hr.
        -  WEDDING DAY: (early arrival, ceremony, photos, reception) 2 - 4 hours
        -  Travel home from reception: Round trip – 30 min. to 1 hr.

Now when you look at the 12 to 18 hours spent and divide that by the $350.00 fee, it actually works out to be $19.00 to $32.00 an hour.

In addition, when you hire a professional wedding officiant, you are hiring someone who will also be flexible enough to adjust, add or delete items from the ceremony as late as the rehearsal day.  Your professional wedding officiant will be handling the signing and mailing of your marriage license, dealing with surprises (both man-made and natural) during the ceremony, offering last minute vender referrals due to unexpected vendor cancellations or changes, and making those very uncomfortable “on the spot” announcements to the guests if the bride and/or groom decide not to go through with the marriage on the day of the wedding.

So, there you have it. Not bad for someone you absolutely need at your wedding in order to get married! How many other vendors at your wedding will you be paying less than $32.00 an hour, or less?

Hostgator promos