Late Night Confession

I know how to be assertive in business; I don't know how to be responsive (not initiate) in relationships :(

It started off as a tweet. In my quiet time my thoughts grew louder until it made its way onto the page.

Here is my late night confession...

I can't ruin it and it's not [already] too late. Jesus please forgive me for thinking that You're not above or bigger than me and my problems. Seriously ridiculous.

The Lord always keeps his promises; he is gracious in all he does. The Lord helps the fallen and he lifts those bent beanth their loads. When you open your hand, you satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in everything he does, he is filled with kindness. The Lord is close to all who call on him in truth. He grants the desires of those who fear him, he hears their cries for help and rescues them (Psalm 145:13-14, 16-19, NLT).

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Musings on Dating

So one thing I’ve shied away from discussing on this blog are my experiences with dating.  When I was going through my separation from my wife, I made a conscious effort to not  date, or even really allow myself to consider who I would date if the opportunity arose.  My heart was on saving my marriage, and dating would just complicate things more.  Even when it was clear we weren’t going to reconcile, I refrained from dating.  To finalize our divorce, we had to sign paperwork and then wait for 6 months.  I used that 6 month period as a transition - praying honestly for a marriage revival miracle, but also preparing my heart for a transition back into the life of a single man back in the dating world.  


I’ve got to tell you - it was scary.  I was never much of a dater in high school.

What I Didn't Learn About Manhood From Esquire

[This originally appeared on the Mars Hill Church blog]

I was originally assigned the task of looking at advice on how to be a man from a men’s magazine. Problem is, there wasn't any.

Esquire's June/July 2010 issue was called How to Be a Man. Appropriate. With a title that declarative and a tagline of “Man at His Best,” I was anxious to comb through it to see what they had to say about manhood. With a base circulation of 700,000 and competition like GQ, Maxim, and Details, Esquire is arguably one of the largest and most influential men’s magazines in the world. They've got to know what they're talking about, right? Esquire’s website describes their audience as "the affluent and successful man." Should be exactly what I'm shooting for here.

With Irony As Our Guide

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A Dialect of Quality Time: Quality Activities

The basic love language of quality time has many dialects including: quality activities. At a recent singles event I asked those present to complete the following sentence: “I feel most loved and appreciated by _________ when __________.” They could insert the name of anyone: parent, roommate, coworker, or friend.

One twenty-seven-year-old male inserted the name of his girlfriend and completed the sentence as follows: “I feel most loved by Megan when she and I do things together—things I like to do and things she likes to do. We talk more when we’re doing things. I had never ridden a horse until I met her, and she had never been sailing. I’ve always enjoyed doing things with other people. It’s so neat to be dating someone who is open to trying new things together.”

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The Right Language

By nature, we tend to speak our own love language. That is, we express love to others in a language that would make us feel loved. But if it is not the primary love language of your spouse or friend, it will not mean to them what it would mean to us.

This is why thousands of couples are frustrated. Sam, a divorced single, said about the woman he is dating: “I don’t understand her. She says she feels like I don’t love her. How could she feel unloved? Every day I tell her that I love her. I also give her compliments every day. I tell her how pretty she is. I tell her what a good mother she is. How could she feel unloved?”

The problem is that her love language is acts of service, not words of affirmation. She’s thinking: If he loved me he would do something to help me. When he comes over, he watches television while I wash the dishes. He never helps me with anything. I’m sick of his words “I love you. I love you.” Words are cheap. If he really loved me, he would do something. I do everything for him; he does nothing for me. This scenario is repeated in thousands of relationships. Each person speaks his own language and does not understand why the other does not feel loved. If we want the other person to feel loved, we must discover and learn to speak his/her primary love language.
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Life, Love, and Chipotle Burritos

"Grace makes beauty out of ugly things." - U2

That is one of my all time favorite lines from one of my all time favorite songs.  Truth be told, I'm not the world's biggest U2 fan, but I do enjoy their music.  Despite that honest admission of truth, the song "Grace" is one of those few songs that always stops me in my tracks and demands I listen to it in it's entirety.  The song has always captured my interest - but my interest in it grew exponentially when my then-wife and I were dreaming about starting a family.  In the throws of newlywed bliss, we talked about our future.  It was a future that optimistic - we’d own a house, have great friends, work jobs that we loved AND paid well, and start a beautiful family.  That family, we discussed, would include a daughter.  And maybe, just maybe, we'd name her Grace.  

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"College Life" - Review

Last night was a new episode of Mtv’s “College Life.” I’ll issue a re-cap as well as offer some insights into college-age stage issues.

Jordan - remember he’s from a conservative background.  He recently got a tattoo and his parents freaked out on him, threatening to no longer pay for school.  The tattoo isn’t finished, but he’s not willing to finish it out of fear of his parents.  He had a short phone conversation with his mom and she’s clearly still upset.

College-age Stage Insight: I think this shows us that although college-age people have more freedoms from parents that they still feel a lot of pressure from them.  There is still an element where they want to please their parents.   Some might point out this is probably due to him still being a freshman and may suggest that this would change as he gets older.  Of course that may be the case for some, but in general I would say it remains a pressure they give into throughout these years.

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A Daters Guide to Gift Giving: Evaluating the Response

In a dating relationship, you must also be sensitive to the way your partner responds to gifts. Because of their cost or perceived meaning, certain types of gifts may not be readily accepted by the one you love. At a singles conference in the mountains of North Carolina, Josh approached me after a lecture on the five love languages with a perplexing question. “I believe in all five love languages, but what if you try to speak a love language and your dating partner is not willing to accept it?” he asked.

“Could you give me an example?” I requested.

“Well, I’ve been dating this girl for three months. I’m really excited about her. Samantha’s the most wonderful person I’ve ever met. I wanted her to know how much I cared about her, so I bought her a really expensive gift. But when I gave it to her, she said, ‘I cannot accept this. I just don’t feel right about it.’ I was devastated,” he said.

To Marry or Not to Marry?

The experience of “falling in love” is not a foundation for a happy marriage. It is highly possible to be “in love” with someone you should not marry. In fact, you will probably feel the “tingles” for almost everyone you date. It is the “tingles” that motivate us to want to spend time with the other person. As you date, sometimes the “tingles” dissipate quickly, and the relationship never gets off the ground. On the other hand, the “tingles” may develop into the emotional obsession I am calling the experience of “falling in love.” None of this requires much effort or thought. All you did was show up, and the emotions took over. However, a marital relationship designed to last a lifetime requires more than these euphoric, obsessive feelings.

A Time to Talk About the Real Stuff
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A Really Big Umbrella

Leah was one of several single adults who attended my marriage seminar in Cleveland. She explained, “I just want to learn more about marriage so that if I ever get married I’ll know what I’m supposed to do.” I wish more singles had that attitude before they got married. After lunch she asked if she could speak with me.

“I don’t want to take too much time,” she said, “but I have a problem.” I nodded and she continued.

“I’ve been dating a man for about six months who is the most wonderful man in the world, but I don’t have romantic feelings for him. I wish I did because he’s so wonderful.”

“So what makes you think he is so wonderful?” I asked.

“He is the nicest man I have ever met. I’ve never had a man do so much for me.”

“What does he do for you?” I asked.

“Well, it all started one night at church,” she said. “I had been to a singles meeting, and when I got ready to leave the church it was raining really hard. He stepped up with this huge umbrella and asked if he could take me to the car. I never remember having seen him before, but he said he had been attending about three weeks. Well, of course I accepted his offer. He got me to my car and told me to have a good evening. I thanked him; he closed the door and then walked to his car. I was appreciative, but it wasn’t a big deal.

“I didn’t think of him again until I noticed him in the singles meeting two weeks later. Afterward he asked me if I would like to get a milkshake. A milkshake sounded great to me, so I accepted. We walked across the street to the ice cream shop. I found out that he had never been married, was an electrical engineer who worked for a local company, and had lived in Cleveland about two years, having been transferred from back East. I enjoyed talking with him. However, when we got ready to leave it was raining again. He told me to wait while he got his car, then he would give me a ride to my car. Not wanting to get my hair wet, I agreed.

“He ran across the street and returned shortly with his car, met me at the door with the umbrella, then drove me to my car. He was soaking wet. As I drove home I had the thought that he’s a really nice guy, but I certainly didn’t think about dating him.

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