Do you remember dating your spouse? If you were like us, there was some attempt to be creative and interesting on dates. After all, we were trying to impress each other. Fast forward a few years and with children, you are lucky if you even have a date night. When you do, who has the energy to be creative? So, most of us end up eating out and talking about the kids and what needs to be repaired or falling asleep in a movie theater.
The set-up is a little unique compared to similar books. Each date has a theme, but most include several suggestions for where to have the date. My favorites were the ones that encouraged the couple to step out of their comfort zones during their time together. They even suggested some specific activities and one-time classes if you have trouble thinking of ideas within a category. (They even have ideas for “at home – no money” dates).
Remember when you and your spouse started dating? If you were like us, you spent hours talking about everything under the sun. You learned about each other’s families, shared hopes and dreams and eventually decided to share your lives permanently.
Fast forward a few years and now you have a child. Or children. Perhaps lots of children! Each child seems to come with his or her own set of needs and dreams, which often keeps us in constant motion. Some days, you are lucky to give your spouse a quick kiss before collapsing in exhaustion. An actual meaningful conversation seems an impossible dream.
Our marriages aren’t necessarily bad, but over time couples with children can slowly start drifting apart and may even divorce. Yet study after study teaches us children fair better in homes with healthy marriages. I would imagine the stronger the marriage, the better the possibility for positive results.
We know the health of our marriage is important, but that requires work we don’t think we have the time to do right now. All of those meaningful conversations during dating have long sense dissolved into discussions of who will take whom where and what needs to be fixed around the house. You are not even sure you have time to know yourself anymore and your spouse is slowly becoming an acquaintance.
This summer I participated in a Bible study with teen girls. We met once a week in a local charity coffee shop for about eight weeks. I allotted an hour and a half for each study, but many nights we were there much longer than that.
Each night I tried to focus on one or more Bible stories that illustrated the topic for the night. For example when we discussed how to spot a “frog”, we read the story of Abigail and her “frog” husband, Nabal. One week we discussed who would be a “prince” and discussed Boaz and Joseph (Jesus’ Joseph).
The rest of the time we spent relating personal experiences and studying material from various books and web articles. The main book the girls studied for most of the summer was the Dana Gresh book, Get Lost: Your Guide to Finding True Love. There is probably enough material in the book to use only that one source, but I wanted to cover other topics so I pulled in other volumes as well.
Whether you want to study with your own daughter or are leading a class or small group on dating and marriage, you may find these other resources helpful, too. This list is by no means exhaustive, but are some of my personal favorites on the topics.
One of my favorite musicals is My Fair Lady. I particularly love the character Henry Higgins. Here was an extremely well-educated, wealthy man who didn’t have a clue about women. He looked upon Eliza with derision for the better part of the movie, only to realize he couldn’t live without her.The truth is, we women don’t understand men much better than they understand us. Oh, like Professor Higgins, we think we do. Yet, if our husbands were painfully honest, we would realize we don’t understand them as much as we believe. Those misunderstandings can lead to spats, fights and even divorce if we aren’t careful.
I was curious when offered a chance to review For Women Only (revised and updated version) by Shaunti Feldhahn. Upon first glance, my inner Henry Higgins surfaced. What woman didn’t know about the eight subjects she was covering in her book? As I continued to read though, I realized most women don’t understand as much as we think we do about how the male mind works.
Parenting teens is hard. Part of you is proud of the adults they are becoming. The other part of you is terrified of the adults they are becoming. Not because they are necessarily doing anything wrong. Being a teenager just looks really different from the parental perspective. We thought we were so grown when we took on adult tasks like driving. Now as the parent of a teen the same age, we become almost panicky at the idea of our “baby” driving that huge hunk of metal!
The same goes for dating. We thought we were absolutely ready for the challenges dating presented. Now, older and wiser, we know all of the things we were totally not prepared for when it came to relationships. The idea of our kids dating is terrifying. We know every bad thing that ever happened in a dating relationship and we want to make sure none of those things happen to our kids.