Prior to marriage, I thought a spouse would always build me up and just make me feel good about myself. At times this is true. However, there are also moments where God is using my husband to teach me things about my own heart that I need to work on.
What is one topic you wish the church talked more openly about?
Perhaps it’s sex?
In her new book Sex Jesus and Conversations the Church Forgot Forgot Mo Isom goes beyond the standard chat of don’t do this until you’re married or don’t look at porn or don’t dress a certain way.
Why can’t we have an open, judgment-free conversation on sex?
Let’s celebrate the act God created for our enjoyment
And stop shaming people into ‘purity’
Instead let’s look at sex with a view of the gospel and tell people that no matter what your past, or what you’ve done or has been done to you that you have inherent worth.
That you were created by a King who loves you and wants to give you an abundant Life.
Unmet Expectations Lead to Dissatisfaction
A lot of the time life can feel unfair. Part of this feeling comes from expectations in marriage being unmet. I certainly expected my present circumstances to be different. I thought I’d work before having a baby, that I’d be in my own home, that I’d live near my family and friends. However, that’s not how life turned out. At times I feel jaded, sad and to be honest angry. I want control of my life.
Lately, I’ve been wrestling with this idea of control over my life. It doesn’t seem fair at times that the expectations of my current reality are unmet. I want to call the shots and know where my future is headed.
Can anyone else relate to feeling nervous about the sex talk? With the Whole Story, there is no need to fear.
I know I’m a long way off from having to answer any awkward questions about sex just yet. Still, the thought of navigating this tricky subject makes me nervous!
As I’ve gone through pregnancy and the closer I get to having my baby the reality of parenting sets in more each day: I am actually going to have to teach this child about life. Right now I’m super focused on preparing to keep her alive. However, I know the infant stage is short and beyond that, I’ll have to learn other practical parenting skills. Like knowing how to teach her about her body and answering the tough questions like “where do babies come from?” and “what’s a period?”.
As an avid learner and a lover of research, I’m always on the lookout for resources from more experienced parents and especially moms on the best approach to teach Baby K about subjects that I’m not sure how to best approach. For me, the sex talk, puberty and growing up are all subjects that seem just a little bit more intimidating than helping with a math problem or teaching manners.
Puberty Was the Worst
To be honest as a child puberty was the worst part of growing up. I couldn’t even say the word “bra” without cringing. Being the oldest girl in my family I had to go through all those awkward changes first. While my younger sister who had no reserve would bluntly ask me the most awkward and personal questions about what I was going through. I found the whole process embarrassing, unpleasant and not something I openly wanted to talk about (even with my mom).
Although I had a few conversations with my mom about puberty, I was also given a book on the changes my body would go through and of course I learned a few things at school. Other than that I kind of just figured things out on my own. I know I wasn’t the only one!
Often times our own parents didn’t receive adequate information, so how are they supposed to know what to tell us?
I’m sure you can relate to not loving puberty and dreading having the “talk” with your own children. It’s not a subject that everyone feels super comfortable broaching.
The Whole Story Can Help
Thankfully things can be different! Plus they don’t have to be awkward either. What if you could approach talking about sex, puberty and growing up with your daughter in a way that is fun and low stress?
Perhaps you’ve heard of popular marriage blogger and speaker Sheila Wray Gregoire from to Love, Honour and Vacuum? I’m excited to share that she has launched a course led by her two daughters (who are the same age as me and my sister) all about puberty, sex and growing up. It’s called the Whole Story: Not-so-scary talks about Sex, Puberty, and Growing Up and it’s an online video course for moms and daughters to learn about puberty, sex and growing up. As followup moms can use the discussion questions to keep the conversation going.
My favourite part of this course is that it doesn’t replace the mom’s role. Instead, it starts the conversation you may be fearing in a way that is fun, relatable and safe! Plus each video is only 3-5 minutes long.
Let’s face it our kids are going to hear stuff about sex from their friends, school, and the media. Shouldn’t we be proactive and make sure their primary source of information is us as parents? I know that if Baby K ever has any questions about sex or her body I would want her to come to me first. I don’t want her to receive confusing or misinformed information. Instead, I want her to feel comfortable about her body and confident in bringing me her questions.
I may not know where to start in talking about puberty with my daughter when the time comes, but I’m glad to have The Whole Story as a starting point. I wish I’d had something similar available when I was growing up!
I also love that the course includes two versions: one for 10-12-year-olds and one for 13-15-year-olds. These age groups have different needs. Younger girls need factual, practical information whereas teens need to discuss and understand the more emotionally driven and nuanced topics like porn, masturbation, and dating.
The younger version covers:
- her period
- body changes
- sex and how babies are made
- boys and peer pressure
- taking care of her body
The older version covers:
- troubleshooting issues with her period
- relationships with guys
- how to handle social issues like online bullying, peer pressure, friends
- honouring God while living in a highly sexualized world
- styling yourself in a way that sends a positive message
If you’re ready to start the conversation about puberty, sex and growing up with your daughter in a way that is fun, low stress and way less awkward than when we had the talk check out the Whole Story!
Do you have any awkward experiences of going through puberty?
What do you wish would have gone differently for you when learning about puberty, sex and growing up?
*affiliate link used
It may seem counterintuitive but I really think that instead of saying “No” more we need to start saying “Yes”.
Why Should I Say “Yes” More Often?
First off life is short. No one knows exactly how many days are left of their life. Therefore we should use our limited time to the best of our ability.
Additionally, we shouldn’t be selfish in how we designate our time. I love this quotation my mom shared with me this past week from Beth Moore: “God what will you have me do today?”. Instead of getting caught up with the stress of life and letting it dictate our day what if we started our day asking what God would have for us? A simple mindset change can make a huge difference in how our circumstances are perceived. Plus when we intentionally look for ways in how God can use us we are less likely to feel like our life lacks purpose. This also leads to more fulfillment and a less self-centred approach to life.
Here are a few simple ways God can use you today:
- send an encouraging text to a friend
- bring a coffee to a friend or coworker
- donate to a cause
- smile to the people who serve you and be genuinely kind to them
- give a generous tip
- be a courteous driver
- write down what you are grateful for and why
- pay for the person behind you in the drive-thru
Secondly, relationships are the single most important aspect of life. Our number one relationship is with God as He teaches us how to love, forgive and treat others. He teaches us all people are created equal, to love our enemies (how easy is it to just love those that are kind to us?) and to forgive as we have been forgiven. He doesn’t demand us to follow a strict set of rules instead He gently calls us to follow Him as he teaches us how to live an abundant life.
In addition to our relationship with our creator is our relationship with His created-the people around us. Our family foremost, our friends, our church, our communities. Instead of pursuing things and success more than we pursue others what if we made a conscious effort to connect with just one person a week. Personally, I am so bad about this! I haven’t made it a habit to sit down once a week and just text or message someone important to me. I am aware of this and working to reach out to others more often. One benefit of connecting is feeling more fulfilled and it’s important for my mental health.
Plus I want to share my life with others, I want to build a strong community of people who will encourage me and keep me accountable.
What Are We Saying “Yes” To?
Our Marriages + Families
I firmly believe that a strong marriage is the basis of a strong family. Furthermore strong families lead to better societies. When children know their parents love each other they feel safe and secure. Now, this doesn’t guarantee a perfect family but it does avoid a lot of potential problems.
Furthermore, parents are the primary model for their children’s behaviour. I know this may seem intuitive but I see parents all the time who yell at their child for acting out when the parent is almost acting worse than the child. Children will mimic the behaviour they see demonstrated in the home. As a mom to be this really weighs heavy on me as I think about the habits and behaviours I want to work on. Such as complaining less. I find it so easy to see the negative in situations and I don’t want Baby K to be the same. I’m almost at the point where I’m going to write down “complain less” next to “take vitamin” on my refrigerator whiteboard so I don’t forget.
In order to have a strong marriage and family, we have to be willing to say “Yes” to our families desire for relationship.
Just the other day my husband had an appointment in Hamilton and after he was going to a park to play Pokemon Go. He asked me to join him on his trip so that we could spend time together after the appointment. Although Pokemon is not my most favourite activity I said yes. I reasoned that we only have so much time together so why would I say no to spending time with him. However, I also said yes because I wasn’t committed to any other activities for that day. We have limited time together during the week so I wanted to take advantage of the extra free time we could enjoy together. I am not advocating to be a doormat and always say yes to your husband. I firmly believe in “Courtney time” and “Mike time”, it wouldn’t be healthy if we spent every waking moment together. Yet under the circumstances, it was advantageous for me to say “Yes”. I also know my husband appreciates that I’m willing to join him in an activity he enjoys.
The Little Things
Secondly, it’s important to say yes to the little things. Perhaps your child wants to play a game with you or your sister wants to have a movie night together and buy snacks. The moments I most regret saying no to are others invitations to spend time together. I may feel tired or the activity sounds boring but once I’m doing the activity it often turns out to be more enjoyable than I thought. Don’t be afraid to do things with others that seem silly or a waste of time, because at the end of the day what matters is the precious quality time you were able to spend together.
What Are We Saying “No” To?
Saying yes to a relationship with others means we have to say no to other less important things.
First off we need to say no to technology. The emails, tweets and Instagram captions can wait. I know a lot of families schedule a period of time where technology is not used.
Secondly, say “No” to too many activities. Another great tip I’ve heard is for families is to let each child participate in one sport or activity a season. This avoids overwhelming children with too many scheduled items and while allowing for spontaneous family fun. Additionally, parents should be aware of how much time they are committing to volunteering. Even if it’s a ministry activity, the families relational needs should always come first.
Say “Yes” to Quality Time and “No” to Wasted Time
Overall what I’m trying to say is that our time is precious. We don’t know how much time we have with those we love. Although it can be easy to not be intentional with our time it is imperative we make time for relationships.
My challenge to you is to say “Yes” to one thing somebody asks you to do with them this week.
What are some other things you think we should say “no” to?
How do you intentionally make time for relationships with others?
The first time I heard about self-care was from my practicum professor who also happens to be a therapist (class felt like a therapy session because we just talked about our practicums and ate food, it was literally the best.)
Why do You Need Self-Care?
Our professor knowing that we all lead stressful and busy lives especially as students on the cusp of graduation or grad school encouraged us to make self-care a priority. She shared how taking a hot yoga class when she’s really stressed or spending time with horses helped her maintain a balanced life.
During this time I was under a lot of stress from school, life and being pregnant (but also not knowing it, I was very emotional and overwhelmed). I really needed to hear this message of taking care of myself beyond my physical needs and my daily work of school and home.
What is Self-Care?
In short, self-care consists of taking time for yourself to recharge and take a break from the pressures of life. It may seem selfish to want to make ‘me time’ a priority but as my professor explained to us it will enable you to be a better person for yourself and to those around you.
Self-care is especially important for women as we take on so many roles and are relied upon by multiple people. In fact, when I’m not taking care of my well-being I tend to suffer-emotionally, physically and relationally as I did during the beginning of my last semester.
However, when I do make time to do things that fill me up I feel energized, loved, taken care of and more motivated and inspired to accomplish the more mundane tasks in my life. Plus I’m a happier person because I’m not relying on those around me to satisfy that need.
Self-care doesn’t have to expensive or take a lot of time. The main thing it involves is intentionality or else it’s just going to fall to the side. Below I have 5 tips to get you started on ideas for self-care and how to make it fit with your life.
Find Out What Recharges You
First, without taking the time or your schedule into account brainstorm a list of activities that you find enjoyable. Think about hobbies you gave up in the past or interests you never got around to trying. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn ceramics, or you really enjoy reading, perhaps it’s the yoga class you never signed up for, or gardening, writing, browsing the bookstore, seeing friends, even getting your hair done. Let your mind wander and write down any ideas that pop up.
Personally, I feel recharged after I spend quality time with a friend or family member I haven’t seen in a while, treating myself to a Starbucks date, going on a walk, listening to a podcast, taking a bath, baking, reading a good book or even going for a run.
Next, take a look at your schedule and determine where you have the margin to fit in self-care. Is it after work on Tuesdays, Sunday afternoons, before everyone wakes up, during nap time or perhaps you can book a day off work once a quarter to do something extra special.
As I said above if self-care is not a priority it will never get accomplished. Just like scheduling a doctors appointment write down or make a mental note of when you can have time just for you. It might take some juggling but remember when you take care of yourself everyone around you benefits.
Take it One Week at a Time
Perhaps in your current season of life, you can’t commit to a weekly class or taking time off work. That’s okay! Maybe all you can manage is a weekly bath and reading your book for 15 minutes. The important part is to make sure self-care is part of your weekly routine.
Evaluate Your Self-Care Routine
In addition to making time for self-care and taking it season by season, take the time to evaluate how your self-care routine is working. Are you feeling more fulfilled in your daily life? Do you have more or less time in the coming months for self-care? Is there something you would like to change or a new activity you’d like to try?
Life is constantly changing, it’s important to make sure your routines are being adapted to fit your lifestyle or else they become another thing that can bring you down and make you less productive.
Find Creative Ways to Incorporate Self-Care
In addition to scheduling time for just myself which I also encourage my husband to do, I like to include self-care while I’m doing mundane tasks. For example, while I’m doing the dishes or driving I’ll listen to a podcast. Sometimes it’s a lighthearted and entertaining one like the Popcast or a more at times serious and inspiring one like the Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey. Or maybe you don’t have time to read so an audiobook is a better choice. In fact, most libraries offer free downloads of audiobooks. I love that I’m able to be productive while still taking time for myself
I’m not a mom yet but I do know that when Baby K gets here I’m going to make it a priority to make sure we get out of the house. Whether we walk to get coffee or to the library, I know we’ll both benefit from the activity.
Plus when you model that taking care of your mental health is important for your children they will take notice. Even if they are young, having quiet time once a day can demonstrate that having alone time is important and that mom needs time for herself in order to be the best mom she can be.
Spend Quiet Time with God
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share the number one thing in my life that keeps me steady, hopeful and able to face each day. That is my relationship with God. Spirituality is something that oft gets looked over. Yet it’s so related to our mental health and well being it cannot be ignored.
For me spending time with God is simple. I first spend time in prayer thanking God for all the blessings in my life no matter how big or small they are, I talk to God about my worries, I confess sins in my life, I pray for my husband and our marriage, my family, safety, health, friends, just anything that’s going on in my life. Remember it’s okay to share anything with God or ask for help in areas where you’re struggling. The psalms are a great example that it’s okay to tell God our honest feelings.
Following a time of prayer which I may or may not also write down, I use a tool called She Reads Truth. This website has reading plans that also provide a devotional for each day. Currently, I’ve been reading through Romans and before that, I went through the Song of Solomon. This tool has been very effective in helping me stick to doing devotions because it lays out what to read. First, I’ll read the assigned passages, usually out loud so Baby K can hear too and then reread the passage and take notes on what the author is saying and how I can apply it to my life. Even if I never come back to these notes, writing it down helps solidify what I’m learning.
Finally, I’ll read the short devotional accompanying the readings. Usually, it contains a helpful commentary on the big picture and other themes I haven’t considered. Perhaps if you don’t know where to start in having a devotional this website would be a great resource. Just try to find what works best for you and stick with it.
Overall scheduling time for yourself is not selfish, it means that you care about your mental health and want to be the best you. Don’t feel guilty if you need a night off once a week or have to make room in the budget. In the long term, it is so worth it not only for yourself but for your family and everyone around you.
- Find out what recharges you
- Schedule self-care
- Take it one week at a time
- Evaluate your self-care routine periodically
- Incorporate self-care in creative ways
- Spend quiet time with God
Finally, here’s a great mantra to remember “Create your own sunshine”
Find things that bring you joy and make them a habit.
10 Ways to Create Your Own Sunshine Today
buy fresh flowers
get a manicure
print off pictures
go for a walk
write a gratitude list
take a bath
schedule a coffee date with a friend
read a book
treat yourself to a special drink
For more great tips on incorporating self-care be sure to check out this post by Lisa from Lisa Designs Life, she has a lot of tips to make self-care part of a busy life.
What are some of your best tips for self-care?
What activities help you feel recharged?
I’d love to hear!
A few weeks ago we were visiting a couple from our church who have a young baby. As we were talking a sad reality came to light. It seems that social connections at church are largely determined by the presence of children or one’s marital status.
Not until this couple had a child did some of the other women in her age group begin taking an interest in her. Perhaps this was because they couldn’t find any commonalities other than being of the same faith, age, gender or also being married. Maybe they were too preoccupied talking about their children they forget about other conversation topics. Whatever the reason it’s unfortunate that one has to be a mother to be noticed by those in her same demographic.
This occurs not only on a female to female basis but on a couple level. A couple may be married in their mid 20’s and not have any children. At the same time there is another couple around the same age who do have children but beyond a cordial acquaintance level these couples will never really hit it off. Perhaps the couple with children want to prioritize making friends with other families so their children will have friends or maybe they feel that beyond being married they have nothing in common with the other couple.
Dating couples and individuals also face the same kind of dismissive attempts at friendship. Based on the fact that they are not in the exact same stage of life despite being the same age. As a result, they are disqualified from interacting on deeper than acquaintance level.
How Does This Cliquey Behaviour Begin?
Most times it starts when an individual moves from being single to the highly idealized state of being a boyfriend or girlfriend.
As soon as a couple starts dating they “need” couple friends. So little by little, they decrease the amount of time they spend with their single friends. Or soon after a couple gets married suddenly all the married people have something super in common with them and start to notice them. The downside to these seemingly natural but isolating behaviors is that people who are not married, don’t have children or who are single get stigmatized. For example, if by a certain age you haven’t reached the right level in your social circle people start to ask questions, make judgments or just exclude you.Maybe you don’t get invited to board game night because you’re not part of a couple. Or certain jokes go over your head because you don’t have a spouse to identify with. Yes, these interactions hurt even if they are not intentional. A more detrimental outcome of segregation by life stage is when it involves ministry.
Take, for example, Sunday School.
In some churches that I have attended Sunday School is divided for the adults into classes based on life stage. First, there is the Young Adult (college and career) class, followed by the young married class and so on. One can only move up when they reach the proverbial achievement of marriage.
I have so many thoughts about this… Yes, marriage is good but why are we making it something that grants exclusive access to a Sunday School class? What are we saying to those not married? That they aren’t spiritual enough to move on? It feels like marriage is inherently demonstrated to be a gift given to those who are more spiritual than the single person.
Yes, marriage is good but why are we making it something that grants exclusive access to a Sunday School class? What are we saying to those not married? That they aren’t spiritual enough to move on? It feels like marriage is inherently demonstrated to be a gift given to those who are more spiritual than the single person.
What about the individual who is still waiting to be married or who is content being single or the single parent? Where do they go for Sunday School? Church of all places should be an inclusive environment. Additionally, singleness should not be made to look down upon. In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul commends being single because one has more time to devote to serving God over being divided by caring for a spouse and serving God.
Real Talk: I Struggle in Not Being Cliquey
Before I go on, I want to note that I am by no means perfect in this area of not being cliquey. I understand why it happens. Especially being an introvert. I like to interact with my same group of friends or people I know because it’s easy and I don’t have to be brave and talk to new people. Also as I have gone from being single to dating to married my availability to see people have changed. It’s a lot harder now than when it was just me to schedule plans. I have to coordinate my time with my husband plus I don’t live close to my friends. As a result, it takes a lot more effort to maintain friendships.
At the same, I still try to be intentional about being friends with people my age despite if they are married or have children. Although I do have to admit since becoming pregnant I’ve tried to get to know more moms at church. I now volunteer in the nursery and am slowly acquainting myself with the families that have children. Prior to being pregnant, this wasn’t a priority for me. I do understand there is comfort in the company of those who share similar life experiences. This can be a great opportunity to learn from those who have gone before you. At the same time, it’s not fair to isolate those who are not going through the same stage of life as you. Yes, it might be easier to relate to a married couple on some levels than a single person. However, I never want to define myself so narrowly that I’m just a wife or mom. I’m still Courtney, a person with unique interests and gifts and I want to cultivate friendships with a variety of people.
Why Do We Stay in our Safe Groups Instead of Reaching Out?
Why is it so easy to just get stuck in our safe little cliques instead of reaching out and being a genuine friend to all ages and life stages. A major reason is that it takes effort.
Reaching out requires intentionality. If a new mom is spending most of her time in the nursery she’s not going to have as many opportunities to get to know the women who don’t have children. That is totally understandable, being intentionality should go both ways. Although it may seem intimidating for a single person to reach out to someone who is married and has children. One reason is that they might seem too busy to talk to or they don’t know what to talk to them about.
My encouragement would be to just start by saying hi. People like what they are familiar with. The more you say hi to someone or smile or ask how they’re doing they’re going to associate positive thoughts towards you. Over time they may reciprocate the interest. One simple way I try to do this is by saying good morning to people in the church. Over time they have gotten to know my name and will now talk to me after church. Although I may never become super close with any of these people they still show an interest in me and ask how I’m doing. Plus, it’s just one simple way to get to know people I may never had the chance to get acquainted with.
One person who is a great example to me of being friendly to everyone is my husband. He will literally talk to everyone in our church from little toddlers to elderly couples. He can always find something to have a conversation about. His example has continually impacted me to reach out of my comfort zone and make more of an effort to talk to people.
How Can We Make Church More Inclusive?
First, we can structure ministry so that every person feels that there is a place where they belong despite their marital status or ability to have children. Perhaps having adult Sunday School classes by topic or age would be more helpful. People want to interact with those outside their age groups and genders. Although at times it is helpful to have a ministry that specifically reaches a certain group such as women or men or singles. It’s important to give people options and make sure everyone feels they have a place in the church.
Furthermore, as people, we need to be intentional with getting to know others in the church and to step out of our comfort zones. An easy way to do this is to get involved at church. Whether as a greeter, on the worship team, in children’s ministry or through hospitality there are so many options for everyone’s unique gift or talent. This can also take the pressure off of having to start conversations with people. When serving alongside others you’re likely to get to know them and their family just through your constant interaction. Plus you have a task to accomplish so things are less awkward than standing around and talking during coffee hour.
If you’re hesitant about getting involved or don’t know which ministry is right for you, I would first pray about an opportunity and then seek out those who are already serving in that capacity and ask how to get involved. Even if they don’t need help at the moment, let them know you’re willing to fill in if they ever need extra help. People really appreciate when others are willing to pitch in.
Overall let’s purpose to make church less about ourselves and staying comfortable and more about reaching out to others and helping them feel included, wanted and loved. Remember all it takes is a simple “good morning” to show someone you care about them.
I recently read an article by a man on a popular Christian magazine site giving advice to the ladies in waiting. To be honest I thought his advice was a lame excuse for men choosing to act like adolescents and waiting for a woman to fix their problems. I fear this sends a message to women that men have pretty much just given up on maturity and you must take the lead. To this I say wrong! Please don’t settle for a man-child, because real, godly, mature men still exist.
To all the ladies I have 5 things to say:
1. Get serious about your relationship with God
A personal relationship with God has to be a priority no matter what stage of life. It can be especially easy to neglect God (or even friends or family) when feelings of romance start. Your attention is directed at keeping this new interest attracted and happy. As a result, other priorities tend to take a backseat.
To prevent God falling by the wayside I would encourage you to get in the habit of reading your Bible + praying daily (She Reads Truth is a great resource). Once you get into this routine it is so much easier to fight off temptation and have a right view of what God desires for your life. If you are walking in truth and living accountable to God you will be much more sensitive to His leading in your life rather than letting your flesh or your heart lead you.
2. Respect Yourself
In the vein of trying to keep a potential match interested, it can be easy to compromise your standards.
For example, maybe you start showing a little more cleavage or wearing tighter pants when you hang out with him because he’s told you he likes those things. In the moment his affirmation feels good so you keep dressing this way. Yet in your heart, you know that dressing this way is not the best for your relationship because it can cause him to stumble and he is not respecting your values. Although, when one is married go ahead and dress provocatively for your husband because you want him to look at you and be attracted to your body. When one is dating or even engaged the partner does not have these rights to your body. Furthermore, as a Christian, God-fearing woman you are an example not only to the world but younger woman and girls. Even if you don’t realize it especially in the social media age one is always being watched.
Although, when one is married go ahead and dress provocatively for your husband because you want him to look at you and be attracted to your body. However, when one is dating or even engaged the partner does not have these rights to your body. Furthermore, as a Christian, God-fearing woman you are an example not only to the world but younger woman and girls. Even if you don’t realize it especially in the social media age one is always being watched.
Furthermore, as a Christian, God-fearing woman you are an example not only to the world but younger woman and girls. Even if you don’t realize it especially in the social media age one is always being watched.
Overall don’t compromise your standards or values to be with a guy. Either he needs to learn to respect you and understand the biblical principles you are choosing to follow or there is another guy who will.
3. Don’t Settle, but Do Settle
You marry who you marry and you have to accept that, to some extent. I am all for men continuing to mature and become better people. However, if you decide to marry someone you are choosing to accept them just as they are without hoping marriage will suddenly change them.
For this reason only date and marry a man who is mature, who is solid in his faith, who handles his money well, who is connected to a community and loves you well. Beyond these basic character qualities be willing to settle on less important attributes.
4. Be Honest with Yourself and Him
This one is hard. Especially if you have trouble confronting people or speaking up. Yet it is imperative to a healthy relationship. If something in your relationship doesn’t feel right or you are really bothered by something your partner is doing have the courage to speak about it. No one wants to date someone is holding resentment against them because eventually, it’s going to kill the relationship.
That being said, before you raise an issue pray about it, seek out what God says in scripture and talk to a trusted mentor. This will prevent an eruption one day of all your problems. Which can a small problem big and catch your partner off guard. Try to take a few days and collect your thoughts. Perhaps the issue is not as big as you first thought.
Whenever I have needed to confront a problem I have always found it helpful to start with scripture to establish that I’m not just basing this issue off of my opinion but the authority of God’s word. If your partner is a Christian they should feel convicted by God’s word.
5. Stay in Community
Finally don’t be a lone wolf. If possible attend the same church as the person you are dating. This allows you to be under the same teaching each week but it also provides a group of people that can get to know both of you and possibly mentor your relationship.
In my experience older couples are usually very willing to get to know a younger couple. We had some very close friends around our parent’s age who made an effort to get to know us, they invited us over and the husband even sang at our wedding. We will always treasure these friends and appreciate their godly influence over our relationship.
I know at times it can seem like there are no good Christian guys left out there. Although this can feel discouraging don’t let it tarnish your standards. There are good godly men out there seeking a godly wife. Don’t settle for an immature, kinda Christian man-child because even if you marry him you will encounter a lot more heartache than if you had waited for a solid Christian guy.
Waiting is hard and dating is not always easy but the rewards of being intentional and standing by your values are worth the marriage they produce.
1. Get Serious About Your Relationship with God
God should be a priority at every stage in life, but especially before you enter a relationship because dating can really affect who you are.
2. Respect Yourself
Don’t compromise your values to keep a guy interested.
3. Don’t Settle, but Do Settle
You won’t marry a perfect man, but still set baseline standards for who you will date.
4. Be Honest with Yourself and Him
If your relationship has a problem or something doesn’t feel right pray about it first before confronting your partner. Remember to have courage and don’t let issues build up.
5. Stay in Community
Find a good church you can attend together and get involved in it!
For more encouragement check out my most popular post: Encouragement for Single Women
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Everyone loves a good date night #amiright but sometimes when life is real and adulting is hard there just isn’t extra money to do the more extravagant things in life.
That’s okay! I got you covered with my 10 best cheap and mostly free date night ideas
Find an outdoor rink either downtown or down your street, strap on some skates and go for it. Maybe you suck at skating but what better way to be cute and hold hands like the adorable couple you are.
Be a #goals couple and make a fun Pinterest craft or recipe together! A few of my favourites are:
- these chocolate lava cakes, they look super impressive but I promise are super easy to make and delish!
- or these delectable s’mores bars
- Make a memory journal together! Collect old event tickets, print off Instagram pictures, record important dates, have fun and be creative! I’ve made one of these for Michael before and it was honestly a lot of fun <3
- Be super adorable and have a romantic night under the stars <3
- Or stay inside make a blanket fort, order your fav takeout and chill
3. Go on a Hike!
Get out and explore a new part of your town, walk down a new trail, drive to a waterfall…get outdoors and start walking, you never know where it could lead or what conversations you’ll have.
*during the Holiday’s you can turn this into looking at Christmas lights
4. Challenge each other on the Wii, in a card game, wrestling or messy Twister
Don’t underestimate the fun in a little friendly competition. To improve your game practice while your spouse is away (;
Sometimes just wrestling together is a great way to relieve tension, even if they are 10x stronger than you :p
5. Act like kids and draw together
Get a huge bristol board from the dollar store and draw what you hope your future looks like.
6. Visit the Humane society and pet puppies
Take a jaunt over to your local humane society and talk about which animals are your favourite or you’d like to adopt one day.
7. See a movie at a cheap theatre
Some Colleges or Universities have theatres where they play movies just after they come out of the theatre for really cheap.
8. Give each other a makeover
Let him pick out your clothes, do your makeup the whole thing, then do the same for him. Or if you’re rich set a budget, go to the mall and buy each other an outfit to wear for the rest of the night.
9. Film a Youtube video
You don’t have to post it but here are some fun ideas to try together:
- husband tag (check out this video I made with my husband!)
- Watch Ya’ Mouth challenge
- no thumbs challenge
- whisper challenge
10. Water fight or whip cream fight
Basically whatever you can get your hands on before them…
I hope you are inspired to have fun with your spouse and forget about the stresses of life even if just for a few hours!
What are your favourite cheap date night ideas? I’d love to hear!
Click here to read my most popular post: Just Wait
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I write a lot on this blog of marriage and my experiences being married. I write about this topic because it’s relevant to my life at this point. However, before this current season, I spent a lot of time being single. I’ve written a few posts about those days: Just Wait, When Everyone Else is Getting Engaged and Encouragement for Single Women. Although those were not the most favourite or preferred times in my life, they were necessary and one lesson I learned was to be content on my own.
I understand that being single is not easy in a culture that is constantly pushing the mantra that you need someone to be happy or complete you. I say -lies! I also know that deep down we all accept the arduous truth that no one person can truly satisfy us. Yet we still seek a person or relationship to make us feel good, increase our ego and validate our worth. I understand the endeavour because we see the couples all over social media professing their undying love and affection to each other. They look so happy. Meanwhile, on the inside, we’re hurting or we’ve been injured by someone we trusted and we just want to feel loved and accepted. These feelings are not wrong, we were made to be loved.
Singleness is often perceived as not being wanted. Internally this may be felt or an ascribed label. Unfortunately, this definition deepens the pain of being ‘alone’. Not only do you not have someone to share life with, you’ve labelled yourself at not being worth someone’s time or affection. You persuade yourself if “I was attractive enough, or witty enough or…” then someone would notice me and validate my value, then someone would tell me I’m beautiful, then I could live out my romantic comedy dreams… I’ve felt all of these thoughts and emotions when I was single. It was hard. I often wondered if I would ever meet someone if I would get married before 25. I went through feeling bitter, jealous, and envious of other’s relationships. I wondered what is so wrong with me? Why can’t guys see my attractive qualities and character? I prayed many nights that God would bring a godly man into my life.
In an effort to change my situation I sought a relationship. Alas, trying to seek out a relationship often has the opposite result. All of my efforts to secure a guys attention usually failed. I tried to look pretty, be outgoing, laugh at their jokes, go to events where I knew there would be guys, talk to them, be available. To no avail did any of it work. I ended up feeling rejected. Eventually, I got to the point where I was encouraged to try online dating. (Which in some circumstances can be helpful to meet people, at the time I wasn’t ready to take this step). Everything I was trying was giving the same hopeless result. Until one evening where God changed my perspective.
I was over at a friends house from church with a few other young adult friends and my friend’s parents. We were talking about our church’s Young Adult group where once a month we had an event called Lunch & Learn where all the other young adults would gather after the Sunday morning service to share a meal and fellowship together. Our church was quite large and the group usually consisted of over 50 people. I always viewed it a perfect opportunity to meet guys (; On this night my friend’s parents encouraged us to go to Lunch & Learn the next day and seek out individuals who were alone or needed friends. We had a pretty solid friend group and it would be easy for us to reach out to others. The following day I went to the event resolute to seek out anyone who needed a friend. Instead of focusing on myself and how I could attract male attention, my desire’s were turned towards others needs. I and my friend ended up sitting away from our other friends to try meeting new people. As a result, I focused on showing kindness and interest to those around me instead of seeking validation from others.
This change in perspective was a pivotal moment for me to move past my selfish desires to meet my needs and to look around at how I could serve others. I wasn’t automatically content with my circumstances, but I began to not obsess over what I didn’t have to what I could give. I still felt lonely as I prayed about a future husband, but God began to change my heart and teach me to trust His timing.
A few weeks later I went home for Christmas and I focused on spending time with my family and doing fun things with my friends. Later my mom commented that she could sense I was lonely, but that I was also subtly content with my circumstances.
Eventually, I did meet a guy, and shockingly (to me) he asked me out on a real first date. From then on I entered a whole new exciting, surprising and unfamiliar season of life. Before that time I had spent a lot of time alone, single and wondering if that time would ever come. Looking back I’m grateful for the time I spent unattached. I realize it allowed me to cultivate lifelong friendships, to participate in a bible study that provided these friends, to spend in-depth time studying God’s word, filling my mind with truth and promises, and to learn the difficult lesson to be content in all circumstances.
I’m thankful I met Mike when I did because I was in a really good place personally. My sole desires at that time were not to find a relationship. Therefore, upon first meeting him I assumed he probably had a girlfriend so why waste time being overly friendly with this really attractive guy (as was my previous practice).
Still today, I haven’t mastered the virtue of contentment, I still struggle with it, although in different areas. In all season’s of life, we are faced with angst. I still have unmet desires and goals I hope to accomplish. Although I don’t know when those will be accomplished, I have learned to be content while I wait. I needed this timely reminder of how changing my perspective changed my situation.
Every season of life has a purpose and if one’s heart is open God is graciously teaching one a lesson. Don’t let your pride or personal preferences get in the way of His purpose. God doesn’t withhold good from those He loves. Although He gives us boundaries in His word to keep us away from situations and acts that are harmful to us, He does this to sanctify us and make us more like Him. At times it’s painful but the reward of obeying Him and living in submission to His commands far exceeds the pain.