Posts tagged ‘couples’

October 12, 2012

Date Night

by pastortimfowler

Being married for 32 years and pastor of a growing and busy church and playing host to an international teenager and having grandkids all would seem to be a dream come true for most people. For the most part it is for me too. But it cramps my style a bit when it comes to date night with my favorite wife. In case you don’t know, she is an incredibly gorgeous woman and dating her has been one of my favorite activities from the first day that we met. We try to date as often as possible because it is fun and keeps the romance alive. She loves taking me out in public and showing off her “trophy husband” and then telling all of her girlfriends how lucky she is. I love taking her out in public and watching the eyes turn to have a look at her and knowing that I am going to cut the night really short so that I can get her home where only I can look at her.
I want to encourage married couples to date. Not to schedule a time away from kids to go eat, but a time to get dressed up, open doors, turn heads, flirt, and get a good nights sleep…Right. We need to have fun as married people. Life gets really busy, really fast, and really often and this can cause the romantic fires to dwindle down to nothing but a pile of ashes if we are not careful. It doesn’t have to totally depend on date nights, but they sure do stir the embers. Getting dressed up as if you wanted to impress the other person and then walking around in public and holding hand and sneaking a kiss or an accidental touch here or there makes you remember that you use to do this a lot and you enjoyed it.
I am very fortunate that my wife and I know how to enjoy ourselves without date nights. Like many of you, a busy lifestyle makes date nights few and sometimes far in between. But we still sit around and flirt across the living room and hold hands around the house and she still tries to cop an accident touch of my butt while I get a Diet Mtn. Dew from the fridge. We flirt on Facebook and send texts that say silly things like “oh baby you sure look good in those cut off gym pants” and “what the heck is that in your hair?” We know that being married is much more that flirting and romance, but one thing we are really good at is flirting and romance. Yes, she is a lucky woman and I am a great husband.
Last night we got away for a date night and it was just as much fun as the first date we ever had. The only difference was that I knew I had enough money to put gas in the car and I knew that when we got home, I didn’t have to meet her dad. Other than that, we looked good, we had fun, flirted, and neither of us can wait until the next time we go out for date night.
Proverbs 5:18-19
18 Let your own fountain be blessed, and enjoy the girl you married when you were young,
19 a loving doe and a graceful deer. Always let her breasts satisfy you. Always be intoxicated with her love.
I would want to disobey God’s word now, would I? And you shouldn’t either. Date again and again and again.

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September 25, 2012

Replacement Refs

by pastortimfowler

Football_Referee

The big talk today is about the horrible calls by the replacement refs in this years NFL season, especially last night’s game that cost Green Bay a win. I have to admit that it was one of the most bizarre finishes to a game that I have ever seen. But, what do you expect when you try to replace the best with anything else? There is a reason why the NFL refs are there. It is the same reason the players are there; They are the best at what they do.
I hate to jump on people who are only doing the best that they can. I absolutely do not believe that these refs purposefully made bad calls. After all, many of them are trying to get their big break in order to make it to the big leagues. They are performing to the level that most of us will never achieve and they are doing it under a whole lot of pressure. Even the best make mistakes and blow it from time to time. I guess the real question should be, what is going on and how do you fix it so that the best come back?
But here is the point that I want to make. Are you training someone up to do what you do? Now I am not talking about everything being replaced such as a mom or dad or spouse, but rather in your job or at church or in something that you are responsible for accomplishing.
Many times when I counsel couples, they say stuff like, “he never helps with the children” or “she never helps with the yard work”. Could it be that they don’t know how? Often after the loss of a loved one to divorce or death, there is a spouse who does not know how to pay the bills or get groceries or take care of the kids, so maybe we are talking about everything being replaced. I know that at church there are lots of times when someone is out due to illness or vacation and no one knows what to do in their absence. So we tell everyone at our church to train up their replacement.
Maybe you are not training someone because you feel like if you are replaced, you won’t feel needed. But if you are doing it for that reason, then maybe your motivation is wrong. I appreciate it when someone in a position that is vital to things going smoothly is out and I don’t notice it because the person that filled in for them did an excellent job. Even if they did not do the job to the same level of expertise, the fact that they were there and could do the job at all is awesome. And, over time, they will get better and we will grow and there will be an opportunity for more people to do ministry and more people will be needed to fill in. That is healthy.
But far to often, we look at things with the glass half empty mentality. We should start being happy that there is someone who can ensure that things continue rather than come to a screeching halt. Maybe we need to be grateful for replacement refs because we are football fans rather than football critiques. Maybe we should be grateful when our spouse or kid cuts the grass even if they missed a spot. Maybe we should be thankful for supper being cooked, even if it doesn’t taste like mom’s cooking. Maybe we should be fans of those who do the job to the best of their ability and save the criticism for those who never lift a finger to help.
Remember that all of us were once less than proficient at what we do. There has only been one perfect person and He got nailed to a cross. But He also started training up some replacements who we all know don’t do it as well as He did. But God is our biggest fan and really loves the fact that the game did not stop when Jesus was away. Instead of stopping the game, He made a way for us to keep on playing.
So as we wait for the real refs to return, lets enjoy the fact that at least we get to watch the game. At least someone was trained well enough to fill in. At least someone trained the replacements well enough to allow for them to step up when others were stepping down.
Please Lord, let me be thankful for those who are doing the best that they can and let me be more of a fan than a complainer.

May 18, 2012

That Loving Feeling

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/aunto/3281711078/

Falling in love is a weird term. It isn’t biblical nor is it something that really happens. Growing in love would be a better term. Yet Hollywood and TV land are constantly making shows that tell the story of two people who meet and know from the start that they are in love. (Yawn). I have experienced lust at first sight, and that happened more than once, but never love at first sight. There are many who will probably argue with me on this one, but far too often we confuse love and lust. And, most people have no idea of what love really is. Dictionary.com gives this definition for love. A noun; a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person. I don’t care for the definition as a stand alone meaning, but even this can’t happen at first meeting. The Bible gives this meaning for love. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
4 Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant.
5 It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs.
6 It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth.
7 Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up.
8 Love never comes to an end…
Certainly, this doesn’t happen at first sight.
This brings up the other side of the argument, can you fall out of love? I say no. There are a couple of reasons for my answer. First, the biblical definition of love says that love never ends. Now this is based on pure love, God’s type of love. Not a lustful, self-centered love, but one that is sacrificial and serving of others. The Bible says that God is love. Because of that, we have the ability to love like Him. This is the perfect love that never ends. God never stops loving. Some may say this isn’t true because God punishes sin, but like a father punishes a son that he loves, God does so too. God’s love is extended to every human on earth that ever has, is, or will live. This is done through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, as payment for our sins. Sadly, many are blinded by misinterpretations of God’s word and ignorance of the total concept of the Bible, and never see this love. But for any who will seek Him, love can be found.
This type love is extended through married couples and families. This is another reason that I say you don’t fall out of love. A mother loves a child. If that child grows to be a mass murderer, the mother still loves the child. Sure she can be disappointed and ashamed, but she does not stop loving the child. This love is deeply engrained in who a mother is. Her love is not conditional, it is a part of her very being.
My parents were married for 21 years when they got a divorce. My dad was an alcoholic and became abusive. Finally, my mother couldn’t stand it any longer and filed for divorce. They did the typical divorce couple fights and said mean, hateful things about each other. Many years later, when my mother died of cancer, my dad cried like a baby at her funeral. He told me that he never stopped loving her, but that he had allowed his love for her to become inactive due to drinking.
My mother told me several times before she died that she still loved my dad. She said the love that used to show in their relationship stopped being nurtured and so it stagnated. She said that after years of wanting to feel the love flow and not being able to caused her to lose hope, but not love.
We must be very careful to not let love become defined as warm fuzzy feelings. We must constantly work to show love so that is doesn’t become stagnant. Stagnant waters are where disease and filth tend to gather. Love is far too beautiful for that to happen. Love must be given away as freely as we want to receive it. It can never become a one way street or we will risk becoming stagnant.
There is a great old song that is sung in many a karaoke parties called, You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling. You can lose the feeling, but love never ends.
Don’t let the ones you love, lose that loving feeling.

May 8, 2012

Marriage Debate

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lel4nd/6168801346/

I don’t usually blog about stuff that is controversial or things that people can possibly disagree with me on, but today I am going to. In my neighbor state of North Carolina they are voting on an amendment to the state constitution that will make marriage between a man and a woman the only legal and recognized form of marriage. It has been very interesting to listen to the talk about this issue. Some people get all freaked out about it and the arguments are often to the point of being ridiculous and even funny. My favorite is the one that says, God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. How silly is that? We all know that Steve was not created until after Jesus walked on water.
I figure that sometime between now and the end of the week I will get asked what my opinion is about this, so I am jumping ahead of the game and putting out my blog before I am even asked.
My opinion is just that, an opinion. I am not the final authority, although I should be. Things would just be so much easier if everyone agreed with me. My opinion is not really an opinion but rather a question. What has been the definition of marriage for as long as there have been marriages? Merrian-Webster Dictionary has given this definition for as long as it has been in print: the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law. There is a 2nd definition that includes same-sex marriage, but it was added within the last 30 years or so. There was a time when no one would ever think of marriage any other way. For thousands of years that is what marriage was. If two people lived together, as lovers, that did not mean they were married. In some states there was a provision under the law called common law marriage, so that people who shared an estate for many years had certain rights, but it was not an official marriage to those people. Why do we need to change the definition? Perhaps there should be another descriptive word for same-sex couples who legally or ceremonially join as a couple.
If we change the definition of marriage because someone doesn’t like what it means, where do you draw the line? The definition of a word that is as old as marriage should not offend people. It was never meant to. I don’t like the word bald meaning no hair, so I think I want it to mean I have hair. Change the definition and I am still bald.
The real argument is not about a definition, but about civil rights afforded to two people who live together. Why not just change that law instead of the definition of the institution of marriage? I could care less if that happens. But we all know that it goes deeper than that. Marriage is something that most people relate to a religious argument. The only religion that I have personal knowledge of and its teaching about marriage is Christianity and from what I understand, it too describes marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Many of the laws in most civilized countries have a religious foundation, including murder and stealing. But many laws have no religious bearing what so ever. Traffic laws for instance have nothing to do with a religious teaching at all. They are made by man for man (and women).
My point is this. If people of the same-sex want to be legally equal in the benefits and rights given to a couple of opposite sex, then make a law to give those rights. Don’t change the meaning of marriage. It has meant one thing for far longer than this modern argument has been going on. Our country has a system in place to help those who are overlooked, by-passed, or even purposefully mistreated. Legislators can amend constitutions and correct injustice, but it doesn’t have to be done by changing a definition. We did not change the definition of slavery to free those who were wronged, we changed the law. A slave is still someone who is owned and controlled by another human.
So that is my blog on the controversial subject being voted on in my neighboring state. Remember that I said that it would be better if everyone agreed with me. Don’t make things difficult, just agree. And by agree, I mean, think like me, act like me, be like me. Later I may try to come up with a word that we can use for same-sex unions that I like. Until then, I will only use marriage to describe a man and a woman, legally able to file taxes as married people. Don’t be hatin’; its my blog.

March 16, 2012

What Were You Thinking?

by pastortimfowler

 

My beautiful wife and I have been married a long time and one of the reasons is that we keep the romance alive. One of the ways we do this is by having regular date nights. Tonight is one of those and I am really excited about it. My one worry is that it is her night to plan it. Not that she doesn’t plan great things, but she usually has one thing in mind at the end of the date, and we know what I’m talkin’ ’bout. I guess it is a sacrifice that I will have to make.
Some of you are thinking some really weird things right now. I won’t even go into the details of what I know that you are thinking. What I will say is that your marriage could benefit from some of the same. It is sad that many marriages are lacking in this area. Couples much younger than us, are neglecting such an important part of their marriage. Why when we were in our twenties and thirties we use to do it for hours. Most of the time we would do it at home, but we were not afraid to do it in public. She actually likes to do it in public places. She says it shows everyone how lucky she is to have me. What can I say, I am blessed in that area.
I remember when we were first married, I thought everyone did it as much as we did. Many times we would do it several times a day and didn’t need a date night to start things going. Sometimes we would wake up and do it before we ever got out of bed. I use to love it when she would wake me up in the middle of the night for it. Wow, that just don’t happen enough anymore. One of my favorite places to do it was in the kitchen. One time we got into it so much that we forgot about the meal that was in the oven and had to go out to eat. Don’t get me wrong, we still do it in the kitchen, but now we use the microwave timer to keep us from forgetting about dinner.
Most people assume that this is something the pastor and his wife are naturally great at. Early in our ministry we would help couples to overcome some of their struggles in this area. It was always hard to get them to relax and be natural in front of us, but this was the best way that we felt we could help them. Sure they could have told us some of the struggles that they were having, but actually seeing it was best. We could politely interrupt and demonstrate what we do, then let them try it our way. Sometimes it was really funny when to watch the looks on their faces when we messed up. But most of the time our technique worked and both of them were satisfied.
God has blessed us with a great marriage and this one area is a major part of our happiness. I really think that if we weren’t so good at doing this, our marriage would not be so fulfilling. So that is one of the reasons we have date night. This is why she initiates it so often. Lets just say it bluntly. She loves it. Sometimes I swear, she can’t do it enough. I usually quit before she is ready to quit, but I let her finish while I just sit there. Thirty-two years together now and we still love to do it. Man, there is nothing like good conversation.
What were you thinking I was talking about?

August 5, 2011

Marriage Is GREAT!!!

by pastortimfowler

I really want to say something about married life. I have attempted to write this several times now but keep getting to the point of being way to wordy. It is hard to talk about something that you believe in so much and keep it short and sweet. Too many marriages are definitely short, but sure not sweet. It breaks my heart to see young couples throw away their marriages because they are too proud to get help before it is too late. But maybe one of the reasons they throw away their marriage is because they don’t have the hope that comes from hearing about marriages that are successful. So I will take a few minutes to tell about a hugely successful marriage; mine.


We have been married for 31 years now. I can not imagine not being married. We have been through a lot, but always end up stronger for the trials that we went through.
I continually tell people who my wife and I are the best of everything for each other and I mean it. Listed below are few examples.
I have the best conversations with my wife. There is no one I would rather talk to about our problems or anything else. We solve problems together. Not always quickly, but always together. We have learned that the way things are said often make the meaning of what you say different. For instance, if I say I need to buy a blue shirt, that means at the closest store that sells shirts, I will be in and out with a blue shirt within 5 minutes. When she says she needs a blue shirt, it means a full day of shopping and she might come home with a blue shirt. We understand these subtle differences because we love to talk a lot and there is no one we love talking to more than each other.
I have the best fun with my wife. Don’t jump to the conclusion that everything we do for fun we do it together. I believe couples need time apart for the different types of fun that they enjoy, but I never have more fun than when I am having fun with my wife. We plan our anniversary each year around a week-long motorcycle trip. Sometimes we don’t plan the ride, only the destination. We love seeing new places together and laughing at the stupid things we end up doing together. We camp together, and even if there are grandkids with us, we have fun together. She even fishes with me occasionally and I go to bookstores with her from time to time. But the bottom line is we have more fun with each other than with anyone else.
I have the best fights with my wife. That sounds like a negative, but think of it this way. That usually means you are passionate and who better to be passionate with? It also means that we know more about each other than anyone else does. No one can push those buttons better than we can because we know what buttons to push. Fighting is normal in a marriage and even intense fighting. I am not talking physical fights. I don’t fight with anyone that way. I will kick your butt if you mess with my wife, but that won’t be much of a fight…just saying. One thing we always do is make up after a fight. And we make up better than with anyone else.
Close your eyes if you are easily embarrassed now. We have the best sex life together too. Sex is a wonderful gift that God allows married couples to have. He even tells us that we get to own each others bodies. Sadly, this is one area that couples fall apart at over the years. They get too busy, too tired, and to distracted to keep this area fresh and exciting. Media makes sex into something perverted and purely physical. But God says it is much more than that. He tells us that it is a key instrument to a successful prayer life…1 Corinthians 7:5 Don’t withhold yourselves from each other unless you agree to do so for a set time to devote yourselves to prayer. Then you should get back together so that Satan doesn’t use your lack of self-control to tempt you. Outside sources of sexual stimulation, (movies, tv, pictures, etc.) should not be allowed in you sex life. God tells men to rejoice in the wife’s body, not fantasize the she is someone else. Sex is not the only factor in a successful marriage but is an important one. There is nothing wrong with letting other married couples know this, within reason, because too often it is lied about to make people think that after marriage, sex ends or becomes boring. In fact, marriage should be the only time for sex and it should be the best with your spouse.
I guess the most important thing that we are the best at together is our spiritual lives. We serve together and worship together and pray together. Our church knows we do this together and we promote other couples to become involved together in growing spiritually. Every individual is created by God to know Him and learn of His love. When two people get married, we become a living example of Christ’s love for the church for the whole world to see. That is what the bible says in Ephesians chapter 5.
There is nothing better than a great relationship with God and there is nothing better than your marriage to show that to others.
Marriage is great, not easy, but if your spouse is the best of everything to you, yes, marriage is great!!!