Friday, February 13, 2009

Dating & Mating #3 - Unequal Yoking Equals a Rough Journey

In the never-ending American mating ritual the BIG PICTURE is often overlooked or ignored by couples inebriated with love. Frequently blinded by the intense joy of being someone else’s #1 individuals develop tunnel vision. Many of you can reflect on past relationships where you neglected to see the big picture, disregarded those who tried to make you see it and when you finally focused and saw the big picture promised yourself to be more observant the next time.
Many relationship issues fall within the “big picture” but here I want to focus on religious differences/religious upbringing between couples.

Individual spirituality, or personal religious beliefs, falls on a wide spectrum. Often if asked to explain our viewpoint we find it difficult to accurately express our beliefs. It is often so difficult that when we are dating/mating we are willing to put aside any obvious differences and let each be who they are. End of discussion…NOT! This particular item within the “big picture” will manifest itself in very real relationship problems, most often when the children arrive, if not sooner.

If you are one who has a strong, personal faith let your prayer be that God prepares and presents to you your mate. Be patient and obedient to that prayer by not dating anyone who does not share your strong faith. (Perhaps you believe God has called you to be Hosea to an irresistible Gomer. Carefully read how that relationship went and put out your fleece, Judges 6:36-40.)

We overlook the potential problems in our different family, religious backgrounds because, hey, we both believe in God. Coming to a mutual agreement on church attendance, religious education and personal faith requires a level of maturity and unselfishness that takes too much work especially in the glow of a budding relationship. The time WILL come when conflict will raise an ugly head and require attention to these issues. For the sake of your future happiness it is strongly recommended you do not overlook discussing these issues. The earlier in a relationship you have this discussion the stronger a foundation that relationship will enjoy or the sooner you are available to meet your God-given mate.

For those who have/will miss seeing the “big picture” all is not lost, but it WILL NOT be easy and happiness will come at a costly, personal price. Our selfish desires will feed the argument and cause problems but it is UNSELFISHNESS that will solve the disagreements and heal any wounds. 1 Peter 3:1-7 is the model you’ll both need.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Dating & Mating #2 - Judging a Book By Its Cover

The saying goes, “Never judge a book by its cover.” This is wise advice because what is outside may not be a good representation of what is inside and yet this saying exists because WE DO judge the whole by what we SEE. This is very true of how we dress. Our clothing; the lack of it, the quantity of it, the style of it, the care of it speaks volumes. NOTICE: People come to the time when they want to be noticed positively at different times in their lives. If you are not there yet go ahead and read on you can file the information for when the time is right.

Here are some tips on how to give positive notice.

Everyone – We swim in a sea of black, white or tan. These colors are neutrals and have a place in every wardrobe but if you want to be noticed discover COLOR. Colors are separated between spring and summer or warm and cool. Colors with a yellow base are warm and colors with a blue base are cool. Individuals will look better in one or the other. Finding the color that compliments you makes a striking difference and will get you noticed. GET A HAIR STYLE. The length makes no difference, what this means is get a cut with some shape, use products such as gel, mousse, paste, de-frizzes , shine enhancer and/or a hair dryer, curling iron/brush, flat iron or hot rollers.

Guys- The age of internet allows no one the excuse, “I didn’t know.” On your laptop, in a quiet corner of the coffee bar watch episodes of, “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” If you are ready to get noticed follow any of their tips. You don’t need a new wardrobe if you train your eye for the cut that works best for your body type and have clothes that fit. NO MATTER what your size you can look good and get noticed. If you need help shopping take a female (or a male friend who understands style) that you trust. Your mother is good if she has style but otherwise pass her up (this includes a girl you want to impress) because you’ll purchase to please them versus being honest with your opinion. Essentials for you include jackets; leather, corduroy and tweed, etc. Shoes that include, but are not limited to, tennis type shoes. Shirts that have collars and button up and include some natural fibers.

Girls- If you are not a fan of “What Not To Wear”, (available on the internet) become one. They do an excellent job of training your eye to find the style and cut that will showcase ANY body style. I speak from experience. Some standards for the woman who wants to be noticed: learn to use jewelry and shoes successfully as accessories. You don’t need the $5000 new wardrobe. Comb through your current closet and then add with sale items. Never pass up a shoe sale (I used to have 6 pairs of shoes, blue, black, off white in both flats and pumps..period.) Heels make us walk with confidence. Start small if heels intimidate you but they make our back side and walk worth looking at. Use make up and use it correctly. (#1 mistake) Wear the cut of jean that flatters your body. If it fits it will be as comfortable as your ratty jeans and you’ll be noticed.

The Psychology- When we think we look good we carry an air of confidence that is attractive. When we don’t know how to dress our body style we often hide behind the attitude of, “If they don’t like me as I am that’s their problem,” what we show is that we don’t like ourselves….and that is unattractive. Look good for yourself. It takes a bit more time in the morning but once you learn how easy it is to do with the proper tools you’ll be confident and others will notice that confidence.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Valentine Gift Tips

Valentine’s Day is around the corner and for those who are still undecided about a gift let me give you a few tips.

Guys - Girls don't need a lot of money spent and, contrary to diamond commercials, they are not always expecting expensive jewelry. Just as appreciated, and possibly more memorable, is the unexpected. The sacker at the grocery said he was taking his girl to McDonalds because she said she didn't care. This is fine but do the unexpected by bringing valentine cookies or cupcakes for dessert. Girls like the entire array of valentine knick knacks such as the red and heart decorated or shaped things that are found in every Wal-Mart or Walgreens. Put together school supplies like a heart pencil, pens and a notebook; give her a picture of yourself or you together in a heart shaped frame, buy a Valentine stuffed animal and attach a personal note, a Valentine card (always appropriate) with a note setting a date for coffee or a movie. These small unexpected gestures, (doing something small is better than nothing at all) can be more memorable than the routine but expensive gifts.

Girls – Most guys are not into the Valentine knick knacks, or anything that decorates (some team items excepted) so don’t waste your money and then be disappointed at his lack of enthusiasm. Women often make the mistake of giving gifts THEY would like and for a girlfriend or your mother that works. The memorable gift for men takes observance and tuning in to what they enjoy. If he is a gamer a subscription to Game Informer, the latest game for his system (chances are he was talking about it with his friends) or gift certificate to Game Stop. If there is a sport that he enjoys (even if you don’t) get him tickets and let him take a friend. A favorite team, get him a team shirt or other team embossed paraphernalia. The only acceptable gift for you/for him is lingerie. Girls often like this idea but are not committed to the continual gift giving this implies and will generate. Using this as a “teaser” gift is inconsiderate and harmful to a relationship. I highly recommend this only to the MARRIED girls who are buying lingerie with a full understanding and commitment to the gift. (I’ll provide further insight to this topic for those who inquire.)

For Everyone – Quality time is a perfect gift but it takes a mature and thoughtful giver. Think of your Valentine and the things they like to do. If you roll your eyes at the thought of some activities and think, ‘I so don’t understand their interest.’ This is a great quality time gift. In any relationship for a giver to participate in an activity, willingly and with enthusiasm, that does not necessarily interest them for the enjoyment of another is truly an expression of God’s love and theirs. If you cannot give willingly and enthusiastically of yourself skip this idea, it will be a disaster.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Movie Review - Henry Poole Was Here

“Henry Poole Was Here” is not a blockbuster movie. It is a formula romance with a twist of faith. It is a heartwarming tale of love and faith found in the midst of fear and heartache.

For those who want to be released from their world and entertained for two hours this is not the movie. If you want to glimpse the day to day search for human interaction within the struggle to understand and grasp the concept of faith this is an hour and a half well spent.

“Henry Poole” is a good date movie that offers much for discussion. Can we detach ourselves from life? Do we possess an instinctive drive for human interaction? What does “hope” bring to the human spirit? What are the seeds that generate faith and belief? What is the advantage to choosing not to believe?

The characters are strong , well constructed, believable and well played. I am particularly drawn to faith based movies that are thought provoking. I would recommend it to any who enjoys a good story well told.