Live Simply Love Serving

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From: Live Simply Love <>
Date: Sat, Apr 21, 2012 at 2:29 PM
Subject: Live Simply Love Serving



Posted: 21 Apr 2012 09:28 AM PDT


The letter “S” provided several options for today’s A to Z Challenge post: sharing, selflessness, sacrifice, support…but I decided to go with Serving, because it encompasses a little of all of those things.

&copy; Mark Aplet 197402 XS 300x200 Serving“What do you do to serve him?” a friend asked me a few years ago when I was dating a new boyfriend. “Um. What do you mean?” I really had no clue. Should I be making him cookies once a week?

She explained her thoughts about relationships {especially marriage} being about “out-serving” each other. I’d always done nice things for boyfriends like making sentimental gifts, cooking and for some, I even did laundry. But now that I think about it, I probably did those things for ME rather than to serve him. {I mean, what guy really wants a homemade frame decorated with red and pink hearts!}

You see, my focus was all about me and my happiness. That’s how I gauged if a relationship was successful.

Now that I’m married, I think I understand a little better what my friend was trying to communicate. She was focused on the concept of being his “helpmate,” which makes a whole lot more sense to me in marriage than it does in dating. It’s not always about doing a bunch of stuff for him. Even though sometimes that’s what it looks like: cooking, laundry, cleaning {kind of} – but those are daily tasks we try to share so that one person doesn’t always carry the whole load.

Really, what serving looks like today involves asking the question, Am I putting him first? Or am I more concerned about my needs? Do I notice his weariness at the end of the day, when all I want to do is tell him how my day went? Am I aware of his love-language-need for physical touch, and am I responding in a loving, welcoming way? Have we recently had “shoulder-to-shoulder” time engaged in an activity he enjoys? What am I doing to encourage him and affirm all the ways he serves and cares for me?

Serving is not about balance, doing your equal share or even fairness…because that perspective is still self-focused. I think my friend was right. It’s about both of us doing whatever we can every day to care for the other.

How are you serving your spouse?

Photo credit: © Mark Aplet –

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Adulterers Advise How To Protect Your Marriage - Ethics & Religion Col. 1,599

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From: Michael J. McManus <>
Date: Wed, Apr 18, 2012 at 9:19 PM

April 18, 2012

Column #1,599

Adulterers Advise How To Protect Your Marriage

By Mike McManus


            ORLANDO -The Secret Service sex scandal is the tip of America’s adultery iceberg.  Studies report that infidelity is on the rise, particularly among older men and women and young couples. 


            Good news!  Adulterers have advice on how you can protect your marriage!


            First, the data.  According to a National Science Foundation survey at the University of Chicago, in any given year about 12 percent of men and 7 percent of women say they had sex outside marriage.  That’s no epidemic.


            However, the lifetime rate of infidelity for men over 60 has increased from 20 percent in 1991 to 28 percent in 2006.  For women over 60, adultery has tripled from 5 percent in 1991 to 15 percent over a lifetime.


It’s also growing among new marriages.  One-fifth of men and 15 percent of women under35 say they have ever been unfaithful, up from about 15 and 12 percent.


            At the American Association of Christian Counselors meeting in Orlando, David Carder spoke about “Close Calls: What Adulterers Want You To Know About Protecting Your Marriage.”


            First, the culture has become more permissive.  For example, a generation of divorce has spawned “children of divorce,” who are particularly vulnerable.  Half of adulterers suffered through a parental divorce. 


            Secondly, nowadays marriage is postponed so long that by the time people marry, they have had several serious relationships.  If their spouse does not turn out to be their dreamed SOUL MATE, people remember that former friend as a person to “talk to.” If they meet, and have a drink or two together, the adultery temptation becomes very real very quickly.


            Two-thirds of men and 51 percent of women would have an affair with an old flame if they don’t think they will get caught!


            Add to that the Internet, where people say things they’d never say in person. In fact, eHarmony claims credit for 5 percent of all weddings, about 100,000 a year!


            “Is it possible to be innocently prepared for adultery?” asked Carder.  “Yes!”


Stress increases the likelihood of infidelity.  He cited a study to prove it.  Researchers asked men to walk over a bridge, and then describe an average-looking coed at the end of the bridge.  A month later, they were asked to walk over the same bridge, and describe the same girl.  But this time, the bridge shook, and appeared unstable.


Now their descriptions of the same co-ed reported her more attractive, even beautiful.


“When you go through elevated periods of stress or anxiety, the first person looks better than they are,” Carder asserted. “They appear to be the answer to your dilemma.”


Another study of pastors who committed adultery found that 90 percent felt bushwhacked or surprised and never saw it coming. “Very quick chemistry can shock you with its power, an infatuation explosion,” which can ruin a career for absolutely nothing.


Be forewarned and forearmed!


Here’s another danger adulterers want to warn you about: platonic relationships. A man and woman might share an interest or a passion at work or in volunteering. Half of adulteries begin with an innocent friendship with a person of the opposite sex.  You enjoy the same music or serving the poor.


Or your might face a “dangerous partner profile.”  You meet someone and think, “I will have an affair with this guy,” as soon as he walked in.  It is not the wild person who instantly attracts you.


Adulterers want to warn you about other tempting dangers:


You find yourself saving topics of conversation for that colleague at work, rather than your spouse. You feed the friendship, but not with evil intentions.


Your friend asks you, “How can I get my husband to listen to me?”


You try to show you have a caring heart and try to be helpful.


You find yourself comparing your spouse to that friend, thinking, “If he respected me like Bill does.”  You know he is not trying to seduce you, but are seduced!


You find yourself thinking, “How lucky he is to be married to her.  He has such a great wife.”


You find yourself spending more alone time with a friend than with a spouse and rationalize, “We are serving Jesus.”


She listens to you, without flirting with you. That makes you want to spend more time with the friend.  But you tell her, “When you see me at church with my wife, don’t smile at me.”


Adultery has many pleasant faces.



Copyright © Michael J. McManus is President of Marriage Savers and a syndicated columnist.




My new email address is

Michael J. McManus
syndicated columnist
"Ethics & Religion"
President & Co-Chair
Marriage Savers
9311 Harrington Dr.
Potomac, MD 20854





Data released by Healthy Relationships California (HRC) from the largest study ever conducted on the impact of Marriage Education classes showed that these programs help couples significantly improve their communication and levels of relationship satisfaction. Surveying 17,245 Californians who took one of several programs available for couples, HRC found a statewide average increase of more than 13% in relationship satisfaction immediately after taking a Marriage Education course, and that this improvement increased to 16% after [...] Read more »

Live Simply Love Preferences

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From: Live Simply Love <>
Date: Wed, Apr 18, 2012 at 2:41 PM
Subject: Live Simply Love Preferences



Posted: 18 Apr 2012 05:38 AM PDT


In my 20s there was this simple list of things I heard people talk about related to marital compatibility–and it seemed they all were about personal preferences. Whether or not you put the cap back on the toothpaste {yes, you should}, which way the toilet paper should go {over, of course} and which side of the bed you sleep on {if lying down, I’m on the left}.

&copy; Adambooth freeimage 1391091 200x300 PreferencesIt may have been these kinds of topics that made me think living with my boyfriend would help me determine if we’d be compatible for marriage. I mean if we could work those things out, what COULDN’T we do? Right? But with two different boyfriends, two living-togethers {yes, at two different times}, neither relationship resulted in marriage. And it had NOTHING to do with how well we managed toilet paper or toothpaste.

I’m oh-so-much-the-wiser now. Playing marriage didn’t help me understand what it meant to be married. It took BEING married to help me with that. And I learned it’s about so much more than compatible preferences.

Still, we’ve both definitely got our preferences. I’m slow to throw things away; he’s quick. I like to let the hand-washed dishes dry on the counter; he likes to grab a towel and dry them immediately. I don’t mind clutter; it drives him crazy. He could eat the same thing for lunch every day for a week; I like a little more variety. I make emotional decisions; he makes practical ones. He prefers a firm bed; the squishier the better for me.

Despite our different preferences, we’ve got a pretty good marriage. Some of this stuff drives us crazy about each other, but that’s where learning to be patient and forgive often has made all the difference.

What preference differences & similarities do you notice in your marriage? 

Photo Credit: © Adambooth | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

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Monthly MM's & PP's - APRIL 2012

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From: Susan Vogt <>
Date: Wed, Apr 18, 2012 at 2:00 PM
Subject: Monthly MM's & PP's - APRIL 2012

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Marriage Moments & Parenting Pointers

MAY - 2012


Family heart


I offer you these tidbits of wisdom as prayer prompts to remind you (and your constituents) of the sacredness of marriage vows and the value of every child. The commitment to love a spouse forever, and the generous gift of life parents offer a child are indeed spiritual under-takings and cannot be done alone. May the God of Love be with you and your work.

FOR MORE extended marriage and parenting articles, plus archived Marriage Moments and Parenting Pointers, go to:
*BLOG: Living Lightly.

*TWITTER: @Vogt_Susan

You are welcome to reprint these MM's and PP's in bulletins, newsletters, and on your website with proper credit, ("By Susan Vogt,")
When used on a website, please also link to my website, 

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Forward to a Friend 

Dear Bill ,
Below are your Marriage Moments and Parenting Pointers for MAY.  



May's Family Enrichment is Does Your Child Have NDD?   


Food Stamp Challenge is over. Am I still healthy? Click here  


467. May 7: "Let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth." (1Jn 3:18) Saying "I love you" is good. Being true to your words is better. Showing your love by doing something nice or sacrificing for your beloved is true love. What act of love can you do today?


468. May 14: (Mother's Day) "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends." (Jn 15: 13) In addition to Jesus, who has given their life for you? Perhaps it is your mother, or someone who has been like a mother to you.


469. May 21: "God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him." (1Jn 4:16) Some people quibble over who is saved and who is worthy to be considered a Christian. Look for the love. Would others know you were a Christian without you telling them?


470. May 28 (Memorial Day) "Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven...but each one heard them speaking in his own language." (Acts 2:5-6) Do either of you know a foreign language? You don't have to be fluent to welcome an immigrant. Say hello to someone who is different from you today.



466. May 4: "DI (age 4) stepped onto the bathroom scale and asked: 'How much do I cost?'" The economy continues to struggle and so do we parents. No matter how little money you have, can you give a child a break - buy some lemonade or Girl Scout cookies, contribute to a scholarship fund...


467. May 11: "Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me." (Mt 18.5) We parents are responsible for our children and we must carry out this vocation conscientiously. But think beyond your own child today to the kid down the block who hangs around your home, the child in your kid's school whose parent doesn't make the teacher conference, the child in Sudan who doesn't have a school to go to. Can you stretch yourself to welcome one of them too?


468. May 18: Rules: Our kids used to complain about our family rules (bedtimes, limits on TV & computer time, being home for dinner, etc.) A family doesn't need many rules but rules show you care and the ones you do have must be enforced consistently. This takes parental energy. Pray for strength.


469. May 25: The "Silent Treatment" is often considered a communication No No, but there are times when it's better for a parent to say little than to repeatedly nag. Tell your child firmly once to pick up the toys. If ignored, calmly do it yourself and put the toys into quarantine for a period of time. Enough said.


© 2012 Susan Vogt
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Live Simply Love Never

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From: Live Simply Love <>
Date: Mon, Apr 16, 2012 at 8:25 PM
Subject: Live Simply Love Never



Posted: 16 Apr 2012 05:24 AM PDT


I started out the A-to-Z Challenge with the word Always—as in the things to always practice in your marriage. As an accompaniment to that list, here are five things to Never do in your marriage:Mountainbiker freeimage 3688576 300x224 Never

  1. Never utter the word “divorce,” especially not in an argument. Generally, you don’t mean it {and you’ll regret it later}. Allowing that word to penetrate your relationship will erode your trust for one another and plant an idea in your minds that this marriage may not be worth your effort. If either of you are really thinking seriously about divorce, there are COUNTLESS alternatives worth trying before you get to that point. {Here’s just one worth considering if you live in the DFW area.}
  2. Never withhold love to try to get what you want. That’s called manipulation, and it’s another tool that erodes trust. Instead, speak honestly about what’s upsetting you, and ask your spouse to engage in active listening so that together you can try to resolve the issue.
  3. Never walk out without an explanation. It’s OK to need time apart in the midst of conflict, especially if things are getting heated. But instead of playing the drama card, very calmly assure your spouse that you love him or her and you want to resolve the conflict but that you just need a little time alone to think and process before continuing. Then go and do that. {Avoid, using the time to distract yourself. Figure out your part of the conflict, and go back when you’re ready to admit where you were wrong.}
  4. Never speak slanderous words about your spouse, publically or privately. Instead, treat each other with respect, even if you feel he/she doesn’t deserve it. You are only harming your marriage if you run to friends or parents to complain about your spouse. And publically degrading your spouse is completely inexcusable and cowardly. {By the way, this includes venting on social media.} Be diligent to handle your conflicts on a regular basis so resentment doesn’t build up.
  5. Never seek solace with someone of the opposite sex. Sharing the intimate details of your marital struggles with a friend or co-worker of the opposite sex is a recipe for disaster. You may be tempted to entertain thoughts like “he/she understands me better than my spouse” or “he/she is a much better listener.” You might find comfort in the moment, but seeking out and creating emotional intimacy with someone other than your spouse sets you on a path you don’t want to be on. Instead, invest your energy with the person you vowed to spend the rest of your life with, and work together to heal and repair the challenging and broken parts of your relationship.

P.S. I am not the wise one here. These are ALL mistakes I’ve already made in relationships prior to our marriage. By God’s grace, since then, I’ve had the privilege to receive wise counsel from women more mature than me, and I’ve watched God heal many, many marriages of people who were willing to do the Always list and avoid the Never list.

P.P.S. I know there’s a possibility that one or more of you reading this list has committed one of these NEVERS. I just read an insightful post by Michael Hyatt about how to rebuild trust once it’s been broken. Don’t despair. All is not lost.

Except for the month of April, once a week on Mondays I am writing about marital conflict and communication in my Make-Up-Monday series. I welcome readers to share the conflicts they’ve worked through in their marriages, and when there aren’t any brave volunteers, I share some of ours. If you have submissions, ideas, thoughts or suggestions on specific conflict-related topics, please let me know. I’ll be picking it back on Monday, May 7th.

As always…I’d love to know what you have to add to this list in the comments. What are your “Nevers”?

Photo credit: © Mountainbiker | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

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Live Simply Love AtoZ Summary To-Date

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From: Live Simply Love <>
Date: Sun, Apr 15, 2012 at 8:18 PM
Subject: Live Simply Love AtoZ Summary To-Date


AtoZ Summary To-Date

Posted: 15 Apr 2012 06:07 AM PDT


So, in case you’re wondering what’s going on around here, I started the Blogging from A-to-Z Challenge on April 1st. Two weeks ago today! I know Sundays are officially OFF with the Challenge, but for those of you who are inclined…Here’s a list of what you might have missed since April 1st. All topics are related to marriage:

Always * Beloved * Conflict  * Date NightElation * Faithfulness  * Generous  * Husband  * Intimacy  * Jesus  * Kissing  * Love Languages  * Money

A to Z Badge 20121 AtoZ Summary To DateThere are close to 2,000 bloggers participating. You can find the list of other A-to-Z blogs here.

What have you enjoyed about the A-to-Z Challenge so far? 



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