Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Exulant Solstice to Everyone

Flight Of The Solstice Dawn
Originally uploaded by tarotastic.
Today is a great day to Create Your Own Holiday. Winter Solstice makes the shortest day of the year, but it is also the longest night of the year. Do something sweet you surpise your sweetie today. I'm going to suggest avoiding candies adn such though. We are on goodie overload at out house again this year.

Some ideas include:
Exulant Solstice to all.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Who needs a computer?

Originally uploaded by ! - ivan - !.
I saw this and laughed. Yes, my dear sweetie must remind me of my own siblings birthdays. I do manage to remember our anniversary every year all by myself though.

Because I had forgotten the dates for a number of my friends' and relatives' birthdays and anniversaries, I decided to compile a list on the computer and have the dates highlighted on screen when the machine was turned on. I went to a number of computer stores to find a software program that would do the job but had no luck at the first few. I finally found one where the clerk seemed experienced.

"Can you recommend something that will remind me of birthdays and anniversaries?" I asked. "Have you tried a wife?" he replied.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Romantic Christmas Tip: Building Anticipation

December 15th
Originally uploaded by Krypto.
Did you get your sweetie something special for Christmas? Of course you did, or you better soon. Want to know how to make it even more fun? Use the same principle as the advent calendar.

An advent calendar is a way to count down the days left until Christmas. My sweetheart made one that is just a blank wall hanging with 24 buttons on it. Each day a new element is added to one of the buttons. On Christmas it is a creche with baby Jesus, angels, animals and so on. Our kids love to add a new element each day. It helps to build the anticipation and excitement for the big day.

Use the same technique with your special gift you are giving your sweetie. Start leaving obscure clues and dropping obtuse hints about the nature of the gift. Your hints can include things like cost, size, and intended use. Be sure to only give one hint a day. Also, be sure that none of the hints or all of the hints together don't give it away.

Perhaps an example. Say you are giving your sweetie an iPod for Christmas. You hints might include the following:
  • Its smaller than a breadbox (classic size comparison)
  • Its goes well with your skin tone (maybe jewelry or clothing)
  • Its shiny (more jewelry)
  • It will make everyone jealous
  • It will help with your daily chores
  • It will enhance your beautiful eyes (compliment)
I think you get the idea. Leave each hint on a post-it note in an obvious place. By the time Christmas comes, your sweetie will really be feeling the anticipation.

Good Luck and have fun. Merry Christmas everyone.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Recipe for a Happy Family

I saw this and thought we need to remember to cook up a happy family along with all the other Christmas and holiday cooking we do.

  • 1 Heartful of Love
  • 1 Portion of Understanding
  • 2 Handsful of Generosity
  • 1 Dash of Faith
  • 1 Cup of Laughter
  • 1 Heaping Tablespoon of Forgiveness
Combine ingredients, and stir frequently with tenderness. Sprinkle freely
with kindness and serve daily to your family.

.....Mrs. J. Alexander in the Keen Ager News

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Free Date Idea: Christmas on Temple Square

Christmas on Temple Square is a wonderful opportunity for those of you in the Salt Lake area. Bundle up, check out the lights on temple square and enjoy a free program. The link is for the calendar for events taking place on Temple Square for the month of December. On each day is an entry named Christmas on Temple Square. Click on that entry to see what is playing that day. For example, a few of the presentations on the 14th:
  • Pleasant Grove High School Chamber Choir and Advanced Women's Choir; Jim Wilcock, director 5:30 p.m.
  • Roy High School Combined Choirs;Nina Doxey, director 6:30 p.m.
  • Copper Hills High School A Cappella Choir;Don Findlay, director 7:30 p.m.
  • Jordan High School A Cappella Choir;Peter Steenblik, director 8:30 p.m.
BTW: If you have know of any ideas for free Christmas dates in your local area, feel free to email me or post a comment.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Wisdom from Grandpa

I found these humorous saying floating about the Internet. They are both funny and thought provoking:
If a man has enough horse sense to treat his wife like a thoroughbred, she will never turn into an old nag.

On anniversaries, the wise husband always forgets the past - but never the present.

A foolish husband says to his wife, "Honey, you stick to the washin', ironin', cookin' and scrubbin'. No wife of mine is gonna work."

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Eating Together Regularly

Our lives our busy. Work, chores, homework and errands all work to minimize the amount of time we have to ourselves. Sometimes it is just a chore find time to eat, let alone do it together on regular schedule.

Now think back to the time you spent courting your sweetheart. How many of your dates revolved around food and eating? Dinner and a movie, picnic in the park, or a shared ice cream sundae. One of the turning points in our courtship is when I cooked for my sweetie and future wife for the first time. I worked hard to set an elegant mood and prepared the best meal I could. My sweetheart really appreciated it and it was a wonderful meal together.

Eating together seems to be an important aspect of human relationships. Even at work we "do lunch" when we want to spent time together. How much more important with the love your life?

Work hard to schedule evening meals together as a couple. Might be a good idea to turn off the TV so you can talk as a couple or as a family. Then, for a special treat, take time to have lunch together. Its one of the most romantic things you can do. I'll elaborate another day.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Making the best out of your marriage

Nobody has things just as he would like them. The thing to do is to make a success with what material I have. It is a sheer waste of time and soul-power to imagine what I would do if things were different. They are not different.
Frank Crane

In a marriage, things are not always "perfect". Perfect is of course a relative idea. My idea of perfect and my sweetie's notion of perfection are not necessarily the same. We come from different backgrounds, with different life experiences and different expectations. Even after 16 years of marriage, we still don't see through the same eyes.

How do we handle the differences? Do we pine away the time, wishing our sweetie were different, more perfect, more like yourself? Do you waste energy trying to perfect your sweetheart? Seems like a waste of time and energy.

It is far better to focus on the positive aspects of your sweetie and your relationship. There are lots of wonderful things about your sweetie. Spend your time and effort in showing your appreciation for that fabulous person who married you. Expend some energy on finding unique ways of complimenting your sweetie more.

Rather than spending time and energy wishing things were different, spend that time and energy making things the best they can be.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Points to Ponder

Originally uploaded by Kurt81.
1. Anger is a condition in which the tongue,
works faster than the mind.

2. You can't change the past,
but you can ruin the present by worrying over the future.

3. Love .....and you shall be loved.

4. God always gives His best to those who leave the choice
with Him.

5. All people smile in the same language.

6. A hug is a great gift, one size fits all.
It can be given for any occasion and it's easy to exchange.

7. Everyone needs to be loved,
especially when they do not deserve it.

8. The real measure of a man's wealth is what he has
invested in eternity.

9. Laughter is God's sunshine.

10. Everything has beauty but not everyone sees it.

11. It's important for parents to live the same things they teach.

12. Thank God for what you have, TRUST GOD for what you need.

13. If you fill your heart with regrets of yesterday
and the worries of tomorrow, you have no today to be
thankful for.

14. Happy memories never wear out....
Relive them as often as you want.

15. Home is the place where we grumble the most,
but are often treated the best.

16. Man looks at outward appearance but the Lord looks within.

17. The choice you make today will usually affect tomorrow.

18. Take time to laugh for it is the music of the soul.

19. If anyone speaks badly of you, live so none will believe it.

20. Patience is the ability to idle your motor,
when you feel like stripping your gears.

21. Love is strengthened by working through conflicts together.

22. The best thing parents can do for their children,
is to love each other.

23. Harsh words break no bones but they do break hearts.

24. To get out of a difficulty, one usually must go through it.

25. We take for granted the things that we should be giving thanks for.

26. Love is the only thing that can be divided,
without being diminished.

27. Happiness is enhanced by others but does not depend upon others.

28. You are richer today if you have laughed, given or forgiven.

29. For every minute you are angry with someone,
you lose 60 seconds of happiness that you can never get back.

30. Do what you can, for who you can,
with what you have, and where you are.

31. The best gifts to give:

To your friend, loyalty;
To your enemy, forgiveness;
To your boss, service;
To a child, a good example;
To your parents, gratitude and devotion;
To your mate, love and faithfulness;
To all men and women, charity;
and To God, your life.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Black Friday Part II

The day after Thanksgiving is not Boxing Day, its Black Friday. Its the day the stores hope to make piles of money. To encourage people to give them lots of money they do lots of crazy things like open early, have ridiculously low prices on certain items and otherwise attempt to become between me and my money.

This explains why the alarm went off at 4:10 A.M. on Friday morning. At this time I discovered another meaning for Black Friday, it was really, really dark. The sun was not due up for some time and here I was rushing to some store like an idiot with my dear sweetheart. I won't burden you with the rest of the tale: the lines, the driving, the cold, or the vast amount of money we gave to various establishments. No, you don't need all the gory details.

Wait! Isn't this supposed to be a romantic site? Believe or not, as we spent the morning promoting capitalism, we also improved our relationship. We had lots of time in lines to talk undisturbed by children. We moved outside the comfort zone (and into the cold). We have some funny war stories to tell, like the one guy ... Oh sorry, back on topic. We were working on common goals. We have some shared successes to celebrate as well as some near misses to commiserate.

The point is, getting up early and spending a few hours with your sweetie is a great way to pass the time. However, we decided that no matter how good the sale, we are not going to any more 5:00 A.M. store openings; 6:00 A.M. is fine with us thank you very much. And a thermos of hot cocoa will definitely be on the list.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Free iPod Arrived

I know its not romantic on the surface, but just think how cool it would be to surprise your sweetheart with an iPod. Even better, the cost is in everyone's budget. Its simple to get started.

I know what you are thinking: Does this really work? I said the same thing to my friend when he first metioned it. I said, "I'll believe it when I see you with an iPod in your hands". Well, he got one and now I did too.

How does it work? After signing up for the iPod, you need to complete an offer. They have a list of 20 or so things you can choose from. A lot are credit cards, but there are others. Pick one that you either want or that can be canceled for minimal money. Some can be canceled for now money at all.

After that, get 5 of your friends to do likewise. Then you get a free iPod in the mail.

Monday, November 21, 2005

A Soft Answer Turneth Away Wrath

It is in the home that our behavior is most significant. It is the
place where our actions have the greatest impact, for good or ill.
Sometimes we are so much 'at home' that we no longer guard our
words. We forget simple civility. If we are not on guard, we can fall into
the habit of criticizing one another, losing our tempers, or behaving
selfishly. Because they love us, our spouses and children may be quick to
forgive, but they often carry away in silence unseen injuries and unspoken

Your sweetie should know how much you love them by how you speak. Do love and courtesy garnish your words? Do your body language and "tone of voice" communicate your appreciation for your sweetheart?

Here are two simple ways to improve communication. First, smile. I hve written about smiling several times. Smile at your sweetie. Second, look each other in the eye. It increases the feeling of sincerity.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Online Shopping Lists

Christmas is coming, consider yourself warned. And yes, that radio station has been playing Christmas carols since Halloween. What are you going to get for your sweetheart this year?Make a Note of It talks about the importance of keeping a list of those things your sweetie has been wanting. There are a couple of online places to keep track of such lists.

Amazon has a Wish List. It allows you to keep a list of all items available on Amazon. Of course, they are also make it easy to buy those items from Amazon.

Froogle also has a Wish List feature. Like the Amazon list, it allows you to create a list of products you are interested in. The Froogle list seems easier to share than Amazon's. Also, since it isn't pegged to a single supplier, it shows a price comparison of the product from various shops, which I like.

This Wish Lists can work two ways. First, you maintain a list of things you thing your sweetie is interested in. Second, your sweetheart creates a list and shares it with you. That way you can remove some of the stress of Christmas shopping.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Pay your sweetie a compliment

Pay your sweetie a compliment , just make sure it is a sincere one. Think of some physical feature you are attracted to, some talent they possess, or some other aspect of your sweetie that is really wonderful.

Now, instead of telling the compliment, write the compliment down and send it to your sweetheart via snail-mail. People of feel the need to argue with a compliment to keep from appearing arrogant. You can't argue with the written word. Also, it make the compliment seem more sincere as it has a physical incarnation. Talk is cheap.

Or you could just post it in our blog:
Sweetie, you have the most beautiful eyes. Our kids are so lucky to have inherited them from you.

For a funny compliment, see Surrealist Compliments For All

Friday, November 11, 2005

Veteran's Day

In Flanders Field
Originally uploaded by Madirakshi.
On this day when we honor veterans, let us also remember those who are in harm's way in service to their country. In a previous post, I talked about sending a package to a soldier. It would be a great way to honor and support those who are currently giving so much for their country.

In Flanders Field
In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

McCrae's "In Flanders Fields" remains to this day one of the most memorable war poems ever written. It is a lasting legacy of the terrible battle in the Ypres salient in the spring of 1915.
See the The Arlington Cemetery website.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Break the Routine

Sometimes we get trapped by routine. We do the same thing everyday, day-in and day-out. We are like little robots that get up, go to work, come home, eat, chores, kids homework. By the end of the day, we are so tired, we go to bed and start it all over tomorrow.

As I've mentioned before, this sort of thing can take the fire out of a marriage. Fortunately, by breaking out of the routine, just a little bit, you can start to fix that.

What to do to break out of a routine? Today, try thinking of the things you "used to do". You know, before the kids came. Maybe brushing your sweetie's hair or giving a foot rub. When was the last time you wrote your sweetheart a little love letter?

Well, back to kids and homework.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

New Mailing List: ferociousflirting

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As much fun creating the Romantic Tips for Married Couples page has been, its time to take it to the next step. I have spent years studying good relationships and practicing in my own marriage. This has given me a lot of good ideas and good experiences that I can share.

But I do not have the corner on the market on positive experiences and good ideas. That is where you come in. Subscribe to the ferociousflirting mailing list and share your experiences and ideas with other like-minded couples.

The mailing list has these features:
  • The discussion on the list is in the G or PG range. It is meant for adults to share ideas in a family-friendly way
  • The list is moderated to ensure that the discussion remains relevant, positive and friendly. No foul language or obscene posts
  • Spam will not be tolerated.
  • Only people who join the list will be allowed to post. This also helps keep the noise to a minimum

If you have a great marriage already, please come and share your successes and ideas. If you want to put the fire back into your relationship then join in, ask questions and take advantage of the experiences of others.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

A Month of Giving Thanks

We did this last year and it worked out really well, so here it is again this year! We didn't have a cornucopia so we just used a large can. It was a great way to spend Thanksgiving.

Place an empty cornucopia somewhere conspicuous in the house. Maybe
on the kitchen table as a centerpiece, maybe in the living room on a
coffee table. If you have little ones, keep it out of their reach.
Then get a pad of multi-colored paper that is convenient to the

From now until Thanksgiving, pay attention to the things your sweetie
does for you and your family. When you notice something, write it on
a piece of the colored paper. Then fold the note over and place in
the cornucopia. Then come Thanksgiving, read the notes of gratitude
together as a family.

A couple of rules:
1 - No fair peeking.
2 - Put at least one in everyday.
3 - Don't peek at the notes until Thanksgiving day.
4 - Make each note specific.
BAD NOTE: laundry
GOOD NOTE: On Nov 1 it was so nice to have an ironed shirt to wear
to meet the boss.
5 - No peeking until Thanksgiving.

This could be great to include the entire family. Everyone could
participate by including notes of gratitude of the entire family.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Hidden Messages

We have been remodeling the basement. The previous owners had had a flood in the basement, but had not taken care of it. Turns out there was a bunch of mold starting at the floor and going up to the about three feet on all the drywall. I am having to tear out drywall, and some framing. Fortunately the mold is all taken care of now and the rebuilding has commenced.

As I was admiring our handy work, it occurred to me that we are going to be enjoying and using these wall for many years to come. Its not like the walls are going anywhere and we have no plans to move. In the future we can share and remember this time. The memories made all the more precious by the hard work it took to make it all happen.

We are going to make it a bit more romantic by adding a time capsule somewhere into the walls. Included will be a love note from each of us. That way when we see that section of the wall, we will be reminded of our love for each other. Nobody will every see or read them once the wall is sealed, but we will know they are there.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Favorite Halloween Movies

Here are a couple of my favorite movies to watch on Halloween. I do not go for the slasher movies.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

For those who never thought Disney would release a film in which Santa Claus is kidnapped and tortured, well, here it is! The full title is Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas, which should give you an idea of the tone of this stop-action animated musical/fantasy/horror/comedy.

Arsenic and Old Lace

Frank Capra made this film in 1941 before he went off to make films for America's war effort, but it wasn't released until 1944. Adapted from the hit play by Joseph Kesselring, this frantic black comedy shows Capra at his best as a master of mood and timing.


Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis wrote the script, but Bill Murray gets all the best lines and moments in this 1984 comedy directed by Ivan Reitman (Meatballs). The three comics, plus Ernie Hudson, play the New York City-based team that provides supernatural pest control, and Sigourney Weaver is the love interest possessed by an ancient demon. Reitman and company are full of original ideas about hobgoblins--who knew they could "slime" people with green plasma goo?--but hovering above the plot is Murray's patented ironic view of all the action. Still a lot of fun, and an obvious model for sci-fi comedies such as Men in Black


Happy Halloween!

I love Halloween. Its fun to get dressed up and pretend to be someone or something else. Check out Halloween Online for lots of Halloween stuff.

BTW: Sloth radio is playing halloween music all day.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Always Assume the Best

I assume we have all heard the phrase "Don't assume. It makes an A** out of U and ME". I am going to take issue with that bit of wisdom today. Have you ever looked assume up in the dictionary? I just did and it means lots of things, but the relevant definition is
To take for granted without proof; presuppose
Language and communication being what they are, we are forced to take some things for granted when talking with anyone.

Let me use a classic miscommunication as an example. The guy says to a girl, "You look nice today". His intent was to pay her a sincere compliment. Often, at least in comedies, the girl will respond, "Oh! So you mean I don't look good every day?". What happened? How does a compliment become an insult?

It has to do with assumed intent. Does the guy intend to compliment the girl or has he really been disappointed with her looks and finally she looks nice, for once. The answer is that the girl has to decide. Of course, guys and girls both do this sort of thing.

Whenever someone talks to us, we have to decide the intent of what is being said. We have a responsibility to decide. We have to assume. The problem arises when we assume incorrectly. When we assign the wrong intent to what is being said, the entire meaning will be changed. It is very important to get the intent right to understand what is being said.

A great way to get the intent right is that when your sweetie talks to you, always assume the best intent. Always put stuff in the "best possible light". If your sweetie really meant it that way, then your communication will be that much more enjoyable. If your sweetie meant it otherwise, you can often diffuse a tense situation and turn it into a comic misunderstanding in this way. Remember: The soft answer turneth away wrath.

Besides, your sweetie is a pretty great person. They were smart enough to marry you.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Date Idea: Free Concerts My son needed to attend a concert and report on it for band class. As we were looking around for possibilities, we found a free concert at the local university. Me and the oldest two kids went. Unfortunately, my sweetie was not able to attend.

This concert was unlike any other I have ever attended and it was way outside the realm of experience for my kids. The concert series consists of "experimental" music. There was percussion solo that was just incredible. Following this was a piano and flute duet which was interesting. The best way to describe it would be: What would a flute sound like if it was alive and trying to get away while it was being played. The musician seemed to be chasing his flute around the stage. My daughter had to cover her mouth to keep from laughing out loud while my son sat there with a quizzical look on his face. I had tears in my eyes from trying not to laugh at both the performance on stage and the reaction of my kids.

There was also a piano solo. On occasion, the pianist would slam down a hand or even his entire forearm onto the piano keys. My kids said "Mom gets mad at us when we do that". And they are right. Yet here we have a concert that involves playing a piano in just that sort of way.

When we got home, the kids spent quite some time telling their mother all about the concert. It will be something we will talk and laugh about for some time to come.

For an interesting evening, try out a free concert at the local university or community arts council. You may like it or not, but it may be something different than you have experienced before. You can find them on the univeristy website, by checking your local paper, or checking at your local library.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Formula for a Successful Marriage Is Simple

"The formula [for a successful marriage] is simple; the ingredients are few, though there are many amplifications of each.

"First, there must be the proper approach toward marriage, which contemplates the selection of a spouse who reaches as nearly as possible the pinnacle of perfection in all the matters which are of importance to the individuals. And then those two parties must come to the altar in the temple realizing that they must work hard toward this successful joint living.

"Second, there must be a great unselfishness, forgetting self and directing all of the family life and all pertaining thereunto to the good of the family, subjugating

"Third, there must be continued courting and expressions of affection, kindness, and consideration to keep love alive and growing.

"Fourth, there must be a complete living of the commandments of the Lord as defined in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

"With these ingredients properly mixed and continually kept functioning, it is quite impossible for unhappiness to come, misunderstandings to continue, or breaks to occur. Divorce attorneys would need to transfer to other fields and divorce courts would be padlocked."

Spencer W. Kimball

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Teaching Gratitude

A previous post, Romance and Children, talks about involving your children with the romantic gestures you show your sweetie. By involving your little helpers, they get to enjoy the experience, but they are also learning from your example and your wisdom. Today, let's take that a step further and teach the children to be more grateful.

My sweetie does a lot and sacrifices a lot for me and the kids. Being a stay at home mom, she ends up doing a lot of thankless jobs. Why are they thankless? Because nobody bothers to thank her. Its not that they are not important, because they are. Its just that she does them and so nobody else notices. What's worse, the kids are often grumpy and disrespectful to my sweetheart.

How can you teach the kids to be grateful and respectful? Make a game of it like is mentioned in the 25 Days of Thanksgiving. November is coming up quick so now is a good time to prepare.

Another game would be to have the kids write down every nice thing that mom does for them and collect them in a jar for a week or two. At the end of the time, have a small celebration in your sweetheart's honor. Give her the jar along with a gift certificate to something she really enjoys but isn't normally able to take the time to enjoy. For my sweetheart, that might be a massage. Also arrange the time for her to do it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Take A Moment

Did you see the moon last night? As it came up over the mountains, it was almost full and very bright. The wispy clouds combined with the light to give the evening an ethereal feel to it. And I almost missed it.

My sweetheart came home and called me out into the yard. The kids were looking out the window to see what mom and dad were up to and I was a bit puzzled myself. My sweetie walked me out into the street and showed me the lovely moon and beautiful evening. We stood for a moment, admiring the scene and enjoying each others company. The air was just cool enough to make holding each other very pleasant. It was well worth a couple of minutes of time.

Tonight, take a minute, just for the two of you. Hold hand, hug and enjoy.

Friday, October 14, 2005

What's better than a nice warm bath?

A nice warm towel afterwards.

I love this time of year with the warm days, cool evenings and crisp mornings. However, getting out of the shower is a bit of a shock, BRRRRR! Do something thoughtful for your sweetie, provide them with a nice warm towel. If you have never tried it, do so. Its luxurious.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Season to fall in love again

In Season to Fall In Love I talked about the wonders of fall. We often speak of spring as the season of love and it truly is. However, fall is also a season of love. It is harvest time, the time to reap what we have sown. A time of plenty and thanksgiving. A time to prepare for winter.

Sow thoughtfulness to reap romance. Sow thankfulness to reap joy. Sow kindness to reap peace.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

They Lived Happily Ever After

Many of the TV screen shows and stories of fiction end with marriage: 'They lived happily ever after.' We have come to realize that the mere performance of a ceremony does not bring happiness and a successful marriage. Happiness does not come by pressing a button, as does the electric light; happiness is a state of mind and comes from within. It must be earned. It cannot be purchased with money; it cannot be taken for

Some think of happiness as a glamorous life of ease, luxury, and constant thrills; but true marriage is based on a happiness which is more than that, one which comes from giving, serving, sharing, sacrificing, and selflessness.
Spencer W. Kimball

The honeymoon doesn't have to end, it just needs to adapt. By following the principles of giving, serving, sharing, sacrificing and selflessness, the feelings of love and joy can deepen over the years. Make the fire a bonfire rather than just smoldering embers. Just as a fire needs fuel to keep burning, so does a marriage. The fuel to keep the romance burning in your marriage is adhering to the above mentioned principles.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Improve communication within your marriage

I have a difficult time recommending web-sites that deal with the topic of romance while still being family friendly. As you can imagine, most romance sites are not family friendly. Today, I have found a site I think can add to your marriage and your family. It is the Family Site at

As you may or may not know, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or Mormons) is a big supporter of families. For this reason, they have provided this website as a public service. It is just what it appears to be. There will not be any missionaries knocking on your door as a result of looking at this website. Feel free to look to take a look.

A sample follows:

Improve communication within your marriage

Children need parents who are happy in their relationship. Good communication with your spouse contributes to a healthy family environment.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Keep problems private. When you need to discuss a serious concern with your spouse, do it “behind closed doors.”
  • Listen. Be patient and respectful while your spouse is speaking.
  • Learn to negotiate. Remember that different perspectives can strengthen your relationship. Be willing to compromise.
  • Keep talking. Openly discuss challenges and desires.
  • A soft answer turneth away wrath” (Proverbs 15:1). When voices are raised, problems become more complicated. A gentle response can bring peace.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Good Wife's Guide

My friend forwarded me an email making the rounds. The subject line was "The Good Wife's Guide" and it appears to be making the rounds on the internet. I liked it so much I included it on my Humor Page.

Click for larger image

It is supposed to be from a 1955 "Housekeeping Magazine" and I have not checked whether it is a fake or if it was real. Regardless, it is funny. My sweetie had a good laugh over it.

While the none of the items on the list itself is not going to be taken very seriously, there is one grain of value that can be gleaned. It is the essence behind several of the suggestions. The thing we can apply is the notion of "preparing to greet your spouse".

Think about it. My sweetie and I spend most of our time apart. Those first few moments of when we meet up in the evening seem to be most critical. If we greet each other warmly and with a smile, it sets a cheerful tone for the rest of the evening. If, contrariwise, we are grumpy and grouchy then the whole evening gets off on the wrong foot.

Bottom line: before coming home or when your sweetie arrives, greet your sweetheart with a smile and a hug. Let your sweetie know that you are glad to be with them again. Spending a few moments enjoying each other's company will go a long way toward making the rest of the evening a pleasant one.

Imagine the impact it will have on the kids if they see how important your relationship with your sweetheart is to you. With all the bad examples of marriages that we are barraged with, setting a good example of proper priorities is most important.


Yesterday, my daughter's soccer coach was out of town, so he asked me to fill in for him. I was happy to do so having coached her team for a couple of years previously. Being coach for a day reminded me of what a great opportunity coaching my child's team is to build a relationship with her. On top of that, its a great tool for keeping the fire going between me and my sweetie.

When you coach a team, you get more involved in your child's life in a positive way. You don't even need to be a great coach, just put your heart into it and do your best. You get to spend time with your child and her friends. During the course of the season, you will meet many of the parents of your child's friends. Of course, your will develop an extra bond of love and shared experiences with your child. Besides, its great fun.

Its not just the guys who can coach. There are a lot of gals who coach as well.

Where does your sweetheart fit in? Its impossible to coach a team alone. Its a lot like herding cats some days. Your sweetie can also be involved with the peripheral activities that go on like leading the cheering section, rounding up the stragglers, and showing their support. I've found it a wonderful way to break out of the comfort zone and have some positive shared experiences as a couple. Thanks for your help, sweetie!

Of course, coaching youth sports is not the only way to have these sorts of experiences. Most youth organizations need adult volunteers. These organizations include:
* youth sports
* scouting - Cub, Boy and Girl
* school clubs

Spend some time not just being a parent, but being a coach as well.

Eating out for Hurricane Katrina victims

Dine for America: October 5
On October 5, 2005, restaurants across the country will band together in a "Dine for America" day, a national fundraising effort for the American Red Cross to help the survivors, victims, their families and other arising needs from the Hurricane Katrina and Rita disasters.

Maybe take your sweetie out for dinner.  The website provides a list of participating restautants by state and city.  For example, the local Chili's is donating 100% of their profits today.

Monday, October 03, 2005

How to keep a date from bombing.

Recently, we were watching an episode of a show we like to watch
together called Numb3rs. Its a television series about a math genius
who helps his FBI brother solve tough cases by using math. I know,
sounds boring, but it really is a fun show, really.

During this last episode, the math genius finally worked up the nerve
to ask out the girl he likes. They spent the first part of the date
discuss mathematics but decide to talk about something else instead.
At this point the conversation dries up because the have nothing else
in common. The date ends up bombing due to a lack of anything to say
to each other.

Later he asks what he could have done differently. I was tempted to
shout the answer at the TV. However, through years of experience, I
have determined that the characters in television shows rarely listen,
no matter how loud I yell. Instead, I'll quietly post my thoughts

Dating is as important in marriage as it is in courtship. What to
do on a date is very important. For some strange reason, dinner and a
movie is the "default date paradigm". Often, when we think about
going on a date, its "what's playing?" While there is nothing wrong
with dinner and a movie, there is very little right about it.

First, dinner. If you don't have much to say to each other, dinner
can be long, painful and boring. Then, the movie. You sit next to
each other not able to really interact. The movie ends and you can
spend a few minutes talking about it, then that is that.

Rather, when considering a date consider having a shared experience.
What is a share experience? A shared experience is spending time
together outside the comfort zone. Dinner and a movie is dead center
in the comfort zone. Move outside the zone and create a memory.

Some ideas include:
* swimming
* dancing
* hiking or talking a walk
* bowling
* air hockey
* amusement park

It doesn't need to cost a lot or anything at all.

What would I tell the socially inept math genius? Do something
physical and fun so you can have fun while you are being together.
This does two things. First, it make the current date a success,
Second, it gives you something in common to talk about on the next

So keep dating, but do it outside the comfort zone. Dinner and a
movie is good every so often, but only after you have had some shared
experiences to keep the conversation going.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Grow Your Love to Mighty Proportions

"Total unselfishness is sure to accomplish another factor in successful marriage. If one is forever seeking the interests, comforts, and happiness of the other, the love found in courtship and cemented in marriage will grow into mighty proportions. Many couples permit their  marriages to become stale and their love to grow cold like old bread or worn-out jokes or cold gravy. Certainly the foods most vital for love are consideration, kindness, thoughtfulness, concern, expressions of affection, embraces of appreciation, admiration, pride, companionship, confidence, faith, partnership, equality, and interdependence."
     -  Spencer W. Kimball

There is a profound paradox to be found in a successful marriage.  Rather to focus on what I need, I need to focus on the needs of my sweetheart.  Only by focusing on the needs of my eternal companion can my needs truly be met.  

Thursday, September 22, 2005


I took a couple of the kids to the zoo the other day. As I think I mentioned before, we have a family pass to the local zoo. We end up at the zoo quite often and spend just a couple of hours there.

The last time we went, they were having an "enrichment" day for the animals. What that meant is that there was something different for the animals. The idea was to stimulate the animals both physically and mentally. The little Golden Lion Tamarins had food hidden in paper bags. Other monkeys had new things to climb on or play with. The penguins had their fish thrown into the water and they had to go swim and get it. They didn't seem to catch on very well, at least at first.

As part of this animal enrichment, there were various activities for the kids and signs with explanation of the various enrichment activities. One of these signs caught my attention. It was a sign answering the question of why they don't give the animals the toys, puzzles and other things everyday. The answer was that if the items were given to the animals everyday, they would stop serving their purpose of providing stimulation to the animals. In essence, the animals would get used to having them. It is novelty of the item that makes the difference.

While we are not animals, we also get used to the things in our lives. Even something we really enjoy can become boring through too oft repeating. For example, if your sweetie likes flowers, receiving them occasionally will be a special treat. But if they were received everyday, they would soon become boring.

The moral of the story is to not do the same thing all the time. Do the unexpected. Give flowers on a non-holiday instead of a holiday. Send a card "just because". Do the dishes or some chore you don't normally do. Challenge the daily routine, once in a while.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Preparing to be Spontaneous

Has this ever happened to you?  You feel particularly grateful to your sweetie and what to do something extra special to show how much you appreciate your sweetheart.   You think up something, but of course you don't have that around the house.  Then you run to the store only to find that they don't have what you are looking for.  You end up spending a lot of time and not being able to do what you wanted to do anyway.  So now, instead of feeling grateful, you're feeling frustrated. 

What you need is a "spontaneity kit".  This kit is a collection of simple things that will allow you to do something special for your sweetie on a moment's notice.  My kit includes:
   * "I Love You" stickers.  These are little round stickers in lots of colors
   * Candles - both scented and otherwise
   * CDs with romantic music
   * DVDs we both appreciate
   * Heart shaped box - think the box that Valentines chocolates come in
   * Index cards with various romantic thoughts on them - hand written by me
   * Massage Oil
   * Blank greeting cards with romantic, friendship and appreciation themes
   * Chocolate Kisses and Hugs - OK I don't really have any of these on hand, but I should.

Of course, my kit isn't all hidden.  The DVDs and CDs are just part of our collection.  The candles are some she bought that she likes.  Other things I keep hidden to surprise my sweetie every now and again.

I use things out of my kit fairly regularly.  For example, my sweetie had misplaced a small item and couldn't find it.  While she was gone, I happened across it.  Rather than just give it to her when she returned, I placed it in the heart-shaped box with a small love letter and left it on her pillow.  She wondered what was in the box and was pleasantly surprised when it was the misplaced item with a note. 

A simple example: My sweetie has medication she takes daily.  I stuck 2 of the I Love You stickers on the lid so she would remember each day that she is loved.

This last example of using the kit even surprised me.  The other day I got home and my "I Love You" stickers were out.  My kids are curious and I often include them in my little romantic gestures.  Therefore, I wasn't too surprised that one of the kids had been looking at them.  After all, they are fun and there are quite a number of them in the package, so I could spare a few.  Well, it turns out that my sweetie was having a bad day and my youngest had gotten a sticker and given it to her to help her have a better day.  Sometimes a sticker says it better, I guess.

Some of these things are only available at Valentine's.  So the idea is to keep your eyes open for things to add to your spontaneity kit throughout the year.  A collection of items allows you to take better advantage of the opportunities that come your way.

In the future, I'll post other things I add to my kit and different ways they come in useful.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Celebrating Your Sweetie as a Parent

The most important task most of us will ever perform is that of mother or father.  As a society, we understand better than ever to social implications if either father or mother is missing from the home.  Yet, that same society diminishes the importance of parenthood, making it seem secondary to other pursuits such as career or "personal fulfillment".  On top of that, being a parent is often a thankless duty.  Children are notoriously ungrateful. At least until they leave home and really realize what their parents both did and sacrificed on their behalf.

Yet most of us wouldn't trade parenthood for anything.  We love our children and the joy they bring into our lives.  The sacrifices are made without even thinking, just because our kids need something.  For example, now that school has started again almost all my free time is dedicated to helping my kids with homework.  I am now spending lots more time on homework than I ever spent while going to school.  Silly me, I thought when I graduated I would be done doing homework. 

Mother's Day and Father's Day are both long gone and a won't come around again fro a few months.  On Mother's Day you have to say nice things about your wife, because its expected.  Same with Father's Day.  The message of how much you appreciate and love your sweetheart is dulled by the duty of the day.   Everyone is forced to say those things so the sincerity is lost.  Also, there is no spontaneity. 

Now would be a good time to celebrate what a wonderful father or mother your sweetie is.  It will be completely unexpected and seem more sincere because no one is making you do it.    One of the best things you could do would be to right a letter of love and appreciation for what a great parent your sweetie is and present it to your sweetheart with some flowers or chocolates, both of which are cheaper this time of year.

Let your sweetie know that at least one person recognizes and appreciates all the work, worry and sacrifice that goes into being a parent.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Combine Your Hearts into One

Shakespeare, speaking in Henry the Fifth, said, 'God, the best maker of all marriages, combine your hearts in one.' (Henry V,5:2.)

Be unified in all you do.  This does not mean to do everything together, but truly and wholehearted support each other in all that you do.    

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Relief Ideas

I have started adding to my other blog, , some real ways to help those who are suffering as a result of Hurricane Katrina.  The focus of my posting is on those who have been moved to Camp Williams in Utah.  However, the links and postings also have national help information. 

Do something for someone with your sweetie.  The love you expeience when you serve other people together is tremendous.  People need your help and you  and your sweetheart can serve those people together.  There really is something you can do.


Opening the Door

The other day I talked about needing to do the simple courtesies liking holding doors opens.  Yesterday I surprised my sweetie by actually going around and opening the door of the car for her to get in. 

We were visiting her sister's and were leaving.  The rest of the family was in the vehicle and my sweetheart had stopped on the porch to say good-bye.  As my sweetie started to walk toward the car I realized it was a great opportunity to she her a simple courtesy.  So I jump out of the car, and walked over toward her door.  My sweetie asked "What's the matter"?  I said nothing, just smiled an opened the door for her.  My sweetheart just beamed. 

I learned a couple of things.  First, its been a lot longer than I thought since I had shown my sweetheart that simple courtesy.  I was a bit surprised when she thought something was wrong, but it has been a while since I opened the door for her.

Second, a small amount of extra effort goes a long way.  It is the small and simple acts of kindness that keep the fire alive.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Keys to a Successful Marriage

From the Declaration on the Family:

Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on
principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love,
compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Greatest Joy

I saw this quote the other day:

Our greatest joy and satisfaction comes from the act of giving.

 ----  Leo Buscaglia

If you would be happy in your relationship with your sweetie, practice the act of giving.  The more selfless you are, the more you will get out of the marriage.  The more selfish you are, the less the meaningful the relationship will be.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Communication and Marriage

James E Faust stated:

"Marriage relationships can be enriched by better communication. One
important way is to pray together. This will resolve many of the
differences, if there are any, between the couple before sleep comes. I do
not mean to overemphasize differences, but they are real, and make things
interesting. Our differences are the little pinches of salt which can make
the marriage seem sweeter. We communicate in a thousand ways, such as a
smile, a brush of the hair, a gentle touch, and remembering each day to say
'I love you' and the husband to say 'You're beautiful.'
Some other important words to say, when appropriate, are 'I'm
sorry.' Listening is excellent communication."

So many great ideas in a single paragraph. 


Praying with each other and for each other is a powerful influence for good in a marriage and in a family.  Imagine how your sweetie feels in hearing you thank God daily for your sweetheart and your relationship.  Praying invites peace and harmony into the home.  It is the basis for the inspiration that is needed in raising children and overcoming the difficulties that arise in a relationship.  Pray daily and thank God for your sweetie.

Non-verbal communication

We often think of communication as verbal: speaking and listening.  Yet a lot of communication happens through the other senses.  We see a smile and feel a gentle touch, a soft stroke or a pat on the back.   While  verbal communication is  important,  non-verbal communication is  also  important  and  can  be much more effective.  Saying "I love you" is important, but smiling and holding hands while saying it makes it that much more meaningful.  Remember the importance of non-verbal communication and go give your sweetheart a big bear hug.


For some reason, people tend to focus on the negative and ignore the positive.  Be sure to focus on the positive with your sweetie.  Compliment them on their looks, on a job well done and on being such a wonderful spouse and parent.  To make the compliment more meaningful, write it down.  Spoken words are ethereal.  Once spoken they are gone, never to be retrieved again.  The written word as permanence and reality.  Writing things makes it more real because it can be seen, touched and read over and over again.  Write your sweetie a compliment today.


Make time for talking and listening.   Listening is more than hearing.  Its really paying attention.  Its turning off the TV and removing other distractions.  Its stopping what you are doing so you can dedicate your whole attention to your sweetie.  It shows your love by deomstrating how important your sweethearts ideas and concerns are to you.  Make time to talk and and take time to listen.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Holding the Door Open

I must admit it. The truth is I rarely hold the car door open for my sweetie anymore. When we were dating and first married, she would even wait for me to come around and open it for her. It was all so very romantic. Then kids came. With car seats, diaper bags and everything else, running around and opening the door when she would just have to get out and wrangle a kid or two seemed a bit pointless.

The final end came with our latest vehicle. The lock on the passenger side door doesn't work from the outside. I have to open the driver side door and unlock the other doors. By the time I get back around, she's already inside, belt buckled and wondering what the hold up is.

Only for special date nights do we allow the extra time for me to open the door for her. How much time is it? Oh, about 5 seconds. Yet we are always in a hurry to get somewhere and those few moments seem like an eternity.

More's the pity because my children have not seen me make the effort to show my sweetheart that extra little bit of courtesy. Its very important for them to see a good example of love, respect and courtesy from their parents so they know how to treat their future sweethearts, and how they should expect to be treated.

Guys: Make the effort to do the traditional courtesies like holding doors, carrying things and so forth.

Gals: Give your sweetie the opportunity to show a good example to your kids. Graciously accept the courtesies with a sincere thanks you.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


In Matt 6:21 we read:
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
My sweetie is one of my greatest treasures because that is where my heart is.

Thursday, July 28, 2005


Before we talked about making S'Mores and how you don't need to be camping to enjoy these tasty treats. Of course, s'mores and camping go hand in hand. Everything seems to taste better cooked in the great outdoors, even marshmallows.

Camping is a great way to bring some fire into a relationship. As much as I love the campfire and smelling like smoke, I'm talking about the other kind of fire, the romantic one. Going camping is a nice trip outside the comfort zone. Everything about life is changed. Even the most common and everyday tasks become a an adventure. This includes everything from sleeping, to cooking and even the outhouse. For a short while, nothing is boring because everything is different.

Also, you end up with a lot of free time on your hands. Everything seems to take longer so you have more time to spend together doing tasks like cooking. Besides, there is no TV to interrupt your conversations.

Even if you can't go camping, try sleeping outside a night or two, maybe even under the stars. Or just pull out the sleeping bags and camp out in the living room.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Loose Lips Sink Ships

Every so often we hear the phrase that loose lips sink ships. The phrase was used as the name of a poster campaign during World War II to emphasize national security. The message was that idle talk could endanger the soldiers fighting in the war. Of course, both sides were trying to gather information in order the defeat the other. Since you never really know who might hear a conversation, it was safer not to talk about anything to do with the military.

Of course, the basic problem was one of trust. Maybe you trust your friend, but not the person overhearing the conversation. Besides, some people just don't know how to keep secrets either. They mean no harm but don't stop to look at the consequences of their idle talk.

In a marriage, trust is so important. We need to feel that we can share deeply personal feelings, ideas and problems with our sweetheart. Likewise, your sweetie should trust you to listen as well. It is so important to hold these confidences between just the two of you. Just as loose talk can sink a ship, so can loose talk strain a marriage.

It can be very hurtful to have a confidence betrayed. Let your sweetheart know how much they mean to you by not sharing the intimate details of your life together.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Publicize Kindness

The newspaper insert American Profile is having their fifth annual Acts of Kindness edition to celebrate the unsung heroes in the community. If someone you know has performed an unexpected act of kindness, compassion, generosity or humanity for no apparent reason in the past year, they want to hear about it. Send a brief description of the person and their good deed along with your full name, address and telephone number to
Acts of Kindness
c/o American Profile
341 Cool Springs Blvd. Suite 400
Franklin TN 37067

Deadline is August 1, 2005.

What a great way to honor your sweetie! You can either submit your sweetheart or maybe a member of your sweetie's family, like a father or mother. We often do not get the opportunity to honor our sweetie's parents, this would be a great opportunity to do so.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Date Idea: Fireworks

Fireworks are great fun and can make for a cheap or even free date. Most cities have fireworks for free. Take some drinks and munchies, go early and find your spot, lay out a blanket or lawn chairs and wait for the show to start.

Another fun idea is to make a double header of it. Go to a baseball game where they are having fireworks afterwards. It is a lot of fun to cheer on the home team and then share the fireworks with 20,000 of your closet friends.

Of course the kids will like the fireworks as well.

Friday, July 01, 2005

A Travel Reminder

Do your sweetie really like your cologne or perfume? Did you know that the sense of smell is strongly associated with memories? Sometimes I am walking down the street and out of the blue a certain smell will trigger some long forgotten memories and their associated emotions. It is a very powerful trigger.

If you are traveling without your sweetheart, take along your cologne or perfume. Send a love letter and put a few drops on the papers. Be sure to include SWAK on the outside of the envelope. The familiar fragrance will be a nice surprise.

If your sweetie is traveling without you, sneak a small hankie or stuffed animal into your sweetheart's luggage. Put a few drops of perfume or cologne on it. Make sure it is sealed in a baggie or something so their entire luggage doesn't smell. It will make a nice surprise when they are missing you.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Father's Day Breakfast

My sweetie and I don't see much of each other in the mornings. On the
weekdays she gets up and goes for a walk. By the time she gets back,
I have already left for work. To top it off, neither of us are
morning people so even if we do see each other first thing in the
morning, its not all that romantic. Just a grunt good morning.
Although she would like to make my breaks fast, it just isn't possible
and I am perfectly capable of feeding myself.

Sundays are even worse. My responsibilities at church require me to
be there by 6:30 am, while my wife doesn't even need to get up until I
have been gone for a couple of hours. I do not begrudge her this
extra sleep as she gets to wrangle the kids and get them ready for
church. She deserves some extra rest. Again, I end up getting my own

On Father's Day my wife made me a very special breakfast. The food
itself was standard breakfast fare. What made it special is that she
got up at 5:45 am to get it ready for me. This was a big sacrifice
on her part and it meant a lot to me.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


When you were courting and dating, you probably had some dates you
still remember fondly. It may have been the night he proposed, or
maybe she proposed. Maybe it was some other special time that was
really meaningful in your relationship. Whatever it is, it will be
unique to the two of you. Two couples can do the same thing, yet have
very different experiences. Pick one special date from you own time

Now that you have one in mind, re-do that date. For example, if it
was when he popped the question, go back to the same place and do the
same things, except popping the question as it is a one time only
thing. By being in the same environment you will be surprised at how
much more you remember about that special date.

If you have kids, take them along. Let them see how their goofy
parents used to date and what you did for fun. Lots of things change,
but people are still people. It will give your kids a positive
example of what healthy dating should be.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Flag Day

Happy Flag Day!

An essential part of keeping the fire going in a relationship is to
see yourself as part of a larger whole. The notion of "what's in it
for me" gives way to "what can I do for the marriage" and then "what's
in it for us". The marriage should be fulfilling to both parties.

We are all also part of a greater community, state and country. By
flying the flag and taking a moment to ponder all the people who have
worked and suffered and died, you can feel part of the greater whole.

Look outside your own perspective.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Getting Away From It All

Every now and again, my sweetie and I like to get away. Out most
recent getaway was at home. The kids went to stay with grandma an
grandpa for a few days.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Getting Dressed Up

I used to work at a job that required a lot of travel. I would be gone 2 weeks at a time and come home on Friday. Then on Monday was the flight out again. On occasion I had to be gone even longer than two weeks. Spending that much time apart can be very trying on the marriage and on the kids, as you can imagine. My sweetie is a real trooper and supported me in all this traveling, even when it was so hard for her to effectively be a single parent.

For some reason women quit wearing makeup after being married for a while. The husbands don't seem to mind all that much. After all, you married your gal, not Mary Kay or Revlon. Makeup becomes a special occasion thing. The wife uses it when she wants to look extra nice or for that special evening out on the town.

Once, when I had been on the road for quite a while, we had planned to go out and spend the evening with some people the even I got home. She greeted me in the usual way. That evening, my sweetie spent quite a bit of time getting ready for the evening; getting her hair just right, putting on makeup and wearing some of her "going out" clothes. She looked really nice and we had a good time. However, I felt a little bad that she was so concerned about looking good for our friends, when I had been gone for so long. It was silly to be jealous, but emotions are often silly that way.

For the gals: Remember to make going out with or spending time with your hubby should be a special occasion as well. Take the time to get dressed up for your sweetheart every now and again, just as you would an "important" person you were going to spend the evening with. Just cause this guy loves you doesn't mean you shouldn't make him say "wow" every now and again, like when you were dating.

For the guys: Give your sweetie reasons to get dressed up. Take her out to more formal places so she will want to look her best. Also, do your best to look your best. Dress nice for her. Gals like being out with a sharp dressed guy.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Sending Secret Messages

It has been said
That which costs little is less valued.
--- Miguel de Cervantes

That is that people tend to undervalue things that cost them little. The cost of a thing may be in money, yet this is not the only way that cost is calculated. Time and effort are also used to deteremine cost and are often considered more pecious than money. The correllary is that a higher cost brings a higher value. Something that cost a lot of money, or took a lot of time and effort, is held with higher regard.

Saying "thank you" or even writing "I love you" can be easily dismissed. Its not the sentiment is not sincere, but that the message costs little in the sending and in the receiving. If the cost of sending the message and the cost of receiving the message are increased, the message itself will be more valued.

The cost here is not in money, but in time and effort. A previous post discussed coded messages. By using a secret code, you can send a message that will have a higher value because of the increased effort in writing it and reading it. Here are a few ideas:
  • Verses from the bible. Just send the reference and have your sweetie look them up.
  • ROT-13 is a simple code in which letters of the alphabet are replaced by other letters. Click here for a web page to do the converting for you and wikipedia has instructions for decoding it manually.
  • Use a different alphabet to write like cirith.
  • A message treasure hunt. Create the message as a set of instructions for finding the words that form the message. The clues would be: book page paragraph word. For instance: Moby Dick, page 1, paragraph 1, word 1 = Call.
  • Do the last one using bible book, chapter, verse and word.
Gubh funyg syveg srebpvbhfyl rnpu qnl jvgu gul fcbhfr gung gul zneevntr funyy or oyrffrq jvgu fgeratgu, wbl naq ybatrivgl.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Father's Day Shopping

This year Father's Day and my birthday fall within a few weeks of each other. I guess they always do, funny how that works out. Anyway, my sweetie has started asking "what do you want for Father's Day and your birthday?" My standard answer has been either "nothing" or "I've already got what I want" and give her a big kiss.

The real problem has been that I never remember what it is I want. So this year I have been keeping notes. There are a couple of ways of keeping notes.
  • On a piece of paper. Old fashioned, but it still works. When you think of something you want, just find your paper and write it down.
  • In a PDA. This is a bit more convienent if you already have one you carry with you.
  • Camera phone. When you see something you like, email yourself a picture of it and keep it in a special folder or ...
  • Use Amazon's Wish List. I like this one because then I can easily share it with anyone.
When people ask what you want, they really want to know. Give them some choices. Maybe they won't get you exactly what you wanted, but it still might give them some good ideas of what sorts of things you are interested in. Remember that people change and what a person wants may change over time.

The other thing I want is to have people help me get a free ipod.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Date Idea: 2-for-1 Dating

A few days ago a posted a date idea that I wish to enhance today. The idea was to make a bunch of date ideas and to put them in a jar. Then, when it was time to go on a date, pick one of the ideas at random and do that thing.

If you are like us, you get coupons in the mail, in the newspaper and even on the receipt at the grocery store. You can even buy a book of discount coupons or a coupon card from the kids in the neighborhood as part of a fund raiser. The problem we have is that we don't usually get the value out of it because we forget about over the course of a year.

Here is an idea of what you can do. When you get coupons go through them and add the ones you are interested in into the date idea jar. Then, when you draw out the coupon, not only will you have a good date idea, you will get a discount at it as well.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day

Many people have sacrificed much, even their lives, for us. Many are in harms way today doing the same. Today, we take a moment to look outside our own relationship and remember and honor those who have defended us and who are now defending us. Our prayers are with you all.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Complementing Each Other

In My Fair Lady, Professor Henry Higgins wonders, "Why can't a woman be more like a man"? I don't think he is the only man to ask that question. Neither is it just a guy thing, woman wonder why men aren't more like them as well. After all, we like to be with people like us.

Today we are going talk about complementing your sweetie, not complimenting. The dictionary says that complement means:
Either of two parts that complete the whole or mutually complete each other.
Think of it as two puzzle pieces that fit together. The pieces are not the same shape, yet together they form a complete picture. The same thing applies with married couples.

Consider the following:
In His grand design, when God first created man, He created a duality
of the sexes. The ennobling expression of that duality is found in
marriage. One individual is complementary to the other.
--- Gordon B. Hinckley
He then goes on to quote in 1 Corinthians how neither the man is without the woman and the woman without the man. See Today and Forever. A marriage is not the pairing of likes, nor is it the welding of opposites. Instead, it is the union of the elements which come together to complete each other.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Sharing your Ancestors

Memorial Day is coming up, at least in the U.S. We make it a point to visit graves of both my family and that of my sweetie. I have taken to talking pictures of the headstones, but I am into genealogy that way. One fun part of genealogy is meeting distant relatives over the internet.

This year, as you visit the cemetery, take your digital camera along. Take nice pictures of the headstones. When you get back home, go to Find A Grave and add your ancestors and those of your sweetheart. They allow you to include pictures so you can upload those pictures you took. It is a great way to honor and remember.

If anyone is in Idaho Falls and can make it to the Rose Hill Cemetery and take pictures of Thomas, Beam and Nutini (if there are any) gravestone markers, I would appreciate it. I have a bunch of family there, but don't make it up there.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Date Idea: The Newlywed Game for Two

Ever see a game show called "The Newlywed Game"? The premise of the show was to get newlywed couples on the show and to see how well they really know each other. First all the husbands were taken off stage. The wives were then asked fill in the blank type questions. Next, the husbands are brought back in and asked the same questions. Points are awarded if both husband and wife answer in the same way. Then the wives go off stage and the process repeats.

Modifying the game somewhat, here is an idea for a bunch of date nights. Get two jars, one for restaurants and one for activities. On a slip of paper write the name of a restaurant where you like to eat. Make sure it is in your price range for a regular date. Put the slip of paper in the jar. Repeat as many times as you can think of places you like to eat. It would be good to set a dollar limit before hand so you don't end up putting in restaurants that you can't afford except on special occasions. Have your sweetie do likewise, but don't show each other what you have written. Consider only putting in equal numbers of papers. That is, you should both have the same numbers of papers added to the jar.

Do the same thing with the activities. Again, don't put things that are out of your price range or are not always available; a dollar limit is also a good idea here. For example, putting "see a movie" is ok but "go to the home show next week" is not ok. You will see why in a minute.

Now, on date night, reach in a grab one paper from the restaurant jar and one from the activity jar. Go and do whatever is written on the papers. This way you will end up doing stuff you each like to do, and getting to know more about each other in the process. Once a paper has been withdrawn, it can't be put back in until the jar is empty. That way you don't end up doing the same thing over again and miss doing some of the other things.

As you can see, it will take many dates over a long period of time to get through all the papers in both jars. That is why you can't include activities or meals that need to be done within a certain time frame.

Its also ok to just use one jar for a given date night. If you aren't going out to eat and just want to do an activity, that is just fine. The point is: a) to have regular dates, b) to do things on dates that each of you enjoy, and c) to break out of the "dinner-and-a-movie" mold. Just like in the newlywed game, you might find out some things about your sweetheart that you never knew before.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Coded Messages

People have used coded messages to send information for a long time. Messages can be coded for a couple of reasons. Sometimes the message is coded to prevent other people from reading the message. Even the Romans used to use secret codes to send messages so the enemy would not be able to understand the message were they to capture the messenger.

One code they used to use was to take a long strip of paper and wrap it around a stick, barber-shop style. Now write the message down the stick. Fill in the rest of the paper with random letters. Now take the paper off the stick. If you try and read it, the message looks like a meaningless jumble of letters. To read the message, just wrap it around the stick again.

Another reason for sending coded messages is for speed. The general might order part of his troops to wait until they see the smoke from a bonfire, then attack. The meaning of the message is decided upon beforehand. Then a very simple thing, like lighting a fire or waving a flag, can have a larger significance due to the previously agreed upon meaning it had already been given.

You probably have some coded messages you and your sweetie use to communicate. Maybe there is a certain look or a special word that means something only to each other. For the past several months a few "coded messages" have worked their way into this page. For a good time, try some of these:
Later we'll explore some more fun ways of a secret message to your sweetie.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Anticipating Star Wars

I was reading in the paper about some of the people camped out for a week in line to see the latest Star Wars. Its been wet here lately so that have had to camp out in the rain. There were even some families there, with all the kids. When asked why they were doing it, they responded that this is the last time, the end of an era. It was something the family would remember for a long time.

Although Star Wars may not be your thing, do something to make some memories. Family vacations or the romantic getaway are good memory makers. Sitting in line for Star Wars and meeting new people in the process also seems to work.

There are lots of other opportunities to make lasting memories. Most community and charitable organizations need volunteers. Even if you can't sing or act, the local theater could use stage crew help. Maybe take a class together. The city is registering for their summer program. Maybe a dance class or a dutch-oven cooking class together.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Does this make me look fat? Part II.

Previously, how to answer the dreaded question "Does this make me look fat?" was discussed. Today we continue with a broader discussion of the question. Why do people ask these sorts of questions, knowing full well that any answer is the wrong answer?

First, this is not just a girl thing. Guys ask these same sorts of questions as well. I find myself asking my sweetie, "Hey sweetie, what do you think of this thing I did"? The last thing I really want is for her to tell me what she thinks. Just as the last thing she really wants to hear from me is if she is fat.

What both we really want is assurance. For some reason the asker has a feeling of self-doubt and needs to be assured. Consider the situation where a woman is going to a 10 year high school reunion. There will be people there she has not seen in a lot of years and she wants to make a good impression. She is worried about how she looks, what her classmates will think of her and she wants to look her best. This situation can cause even the most confident person to question themselves.

Situations arise from every now and again where we step outside our comfort zone. The further outside the zone we get, the less sure we are of ourselves. The comfort zone is where we feel in control, where life is ordered, and where we have experience dealing with it. Outside the comfort zone life is not in our control. Fear and insecurity live outside the comfort zone. People who stray far outside their comfort zone need assuring that they will still be ok.

But, people never say "I need assuring". Sure your sweetie will say nice things about you, but there is the question of how genuine the feelings are. Are these nice things true or just what I wanted to hear? Instead, we go fishing for assurances. We ask a question like "Does this make me look fat?" That way we feel more certain of the sincerity of the answer.

That also explains why neither "yes" nor "no" works very well as an answer. Neither answer provides the assurance the asker is needing. When your sweetie asks you a seemingly impossible question, check the context in which the question is being asked. Has your sweetheart left their comfort zone and done something new or different? Is your sweetheart planning on leaving their comfort zone and needs to know they are up to the change? If so, answer the question in such as way as to give assurance. Your sweetie will really appreciate it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Bragging Rights

In the movie, Johnny Lingo, Johnny tells that when the women gather and talk, they discuss about how many cows their husband bargained for them. The one whose husband saw fit to give her father the most cows had the bragging rights. In real life, people like to play this same game of one-upsmanship. We all like to stand out and we all like to have a story to tell. There is something about human nature and group dynamics that makes us want to be part of the group and stand out in the crowd at the same time.

Here's an example. I have noticed that when my sweetie gets together with other women the talk will sometimes turn to wedding rings, especially if there is a newly engaged girl in the group. Each woman will have some story to tell that makes their ring unique. One diamond is so big. Another has a special cut to it. The crown on this ring is made of stronger stuff. My sweetheart's stone isn't the biggest, but she got to design the ring and have it custom built by a friend. While each woman is part of the group, each has a unique story to share that is individual to them. If one of the women doesn't have something unique to tell about her ring, she feels left out to a certain extent.

This is not just a girl thing either. The guys do it as well. Next chance you get, listen to guys talk about computers, cars, trucks, power tools, etc. We all love having a story to tell that others find interesting.

Give your sweetie something to brag about. Provide a story that will be interesting to tell in small groups where people like to swap stories. No, the fact that you scored 12,763, 470 points in Pac-man is not something your sweetie will be able to brag about, unless the conversation drifts into "the doofus things my sweetheart has done". One area to have bragging rights is in romantic gestures, keeping in mind not to go overboard: Here some ideas of things you can do to give your sweetheart those important bragging rights:
That will do to start with. Also, remember that you have talents unique to you. Sharing and exploring those talents can also be the stuff of good tales. While scoring a bazillion points on a video game is not what we are getting at, winning a game tournament is .... ok its still doofus. But competing and doing well are always good for stories and bragging rights. Even competing and not doing well is still better than not having tried at all. The following are a few specific examples, but you have your own talents and will need to adapt these ideas to your own situation. The important idea is to get outside the comfort zone with your talents and share them more publicly than you are used to:

If your talent is ...Consider something like ...
photographyentering a picture in the county or state fair
singingpublically serenading your sweetie

Monday, May 16, 2005

To Teach, To Learn

I received feedback about one couple who had enjoyed time working on the car together. Every person has things they are good at and are knowledge about. Likewise, every person has things they do not understand and really do not do very well.

There is something about teaching that makes one feel good. Its fun to watch as another person learns and grows. Learning is just as fun. Finding out you really can do what you thought you could not do or were even afraid to try. Both the teacher and the student grow from the experience.

Think about yourself and your sweetie. What are some things that your sweetie could teach you? Schedule a date and ask your sweetie to help you learn.
  • Simple auto maintenance
  • Cooking your favorite meal
  • Chess
  • Golf
A note on being teachable. As adults we are used to being able to do stuff well. It can be a really ego-struggle to admit that there are some things we are not good at and allow ourselves to be taught. You need to leave your ego at the door and really try to learn.

Note to teachers: Keep the above note in mind. Of course it would be easier to complete the task yourself. Be patient.