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Archive for March, 2012

I hope it’s okay to blog about a blog.  Eden’s last blog, “Too Busy to Date?”, got me thinking.  I really feel for Katie.  It’s quite an unfair thing to tell someone that has a successful business…very successful, that they are too busy to meet someone.  She built a business from the ground up that grows exponentially every year.  I would think any guy worth their salt would be impressed.  Katie isn’t waiting around for her life to “start”.   Many married people (especially ones that married young) truly believe your membership in life begins when you get married.  Not true!   If you’re not careful you can begin to believe that you haven’t quite arrived.  That thought could keep you from so many things.  Activities that could actually keep you from meeting someone.  I didn’t sit around for 13 years waiting to get married so my life could begin.  I worked.  I traveled.  I was an active church member and not a church ministry (I’ll write more about this last one in a near future blog.)  Marriage was definitely something I wanted and for which I prayed.  It was hard to meet a single guy and not think, “Is this guy husband material”?   It just didn’t stop me from living.

 

Katie’s business does not lend itself to meeting young men.  I’m sure it’s the reason people feel she should not spend so much time on her business.  She meets only parents and their children.  My work was the same way.  A friend once said guys probably thought I was married with kids.  Fortunately, they were wrong.  I did meet my husband through work, indirectly.  We never would have meet if it hadn’t been for my job.  I don’t personally know someone who met their husband at work.  Meetings happened by chance, by computer, by family, by friends, and through church.   One of my friends even met her husband at our cities annual Old City fair.  Becoming less busy is not the way too meet someone.  Enjoy everyday.  Live life to the fullest in every stage of life!   

 

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I talked to one of my single girlfriends the other day.  Katie is 27, owns her own business, and is very busy with family and friends. She wants to marry, but is more interested in dating and marrying the right man rather than pursuing someone just for the sake of relationship.

Recently, a friend told Katie that her life was too busy for dating. She implied that if a man was interested in her that he would be turned off by her schedule, or that Katie wouldn’t make time for him. This was a confusing thing to hear when I was single, and it was confusing to Katie, too.

There is such a thing as too busy, but my personal thought is that Katie is not too busy to date, nor do I believe that a man would be turned off by her schedule.  But let’s talk about time and busyness first. Evaluating how you spend your time is not a bad exercise. This isn’t perfect, but let’s divide time into four categories:

Working time

Working time is obvious—the hours you spend at work.  I personally think that if this takes more than 50 hours of your week for more than six consecutive months then you probably need a different job for all kinds of reasons, but the bottom line is that it will keep you from meaningful social interaction.

Responsibilities

With responsibilities I would include time that you have already dedicated to family obligations, volunteering, grocery shopping and oil changes, church, and obligatory work events.  You cannot get out of these, and personal integrity and life demand that you show up.

Wasted time

Wasted time would be the five plus hours per week spent watching TV or stalking the cute guy your friend knows on Facebook, or playing thrilling virtual games like “Warcraft” and “Bedazzled.” Not bad in and of themselves, but they keep you from interacting with real people in the real world.  A good test with wasted time is comparing your time with things and your time with people outside of work.  If your time with television and alone with your iPhone is greater than your time with people, it’s wasted.

Activities

This is the most subjective category. Along with how you handle your responsibilities, activities represent your greatest opportunity to meet interesting people and will make you the most active and interesting. Riding bikes, cake decorating, swing dancing, wedding singing, book clubbing, chess playing, instrument playing, cooking, hiking, etc. Activities put you in contact with people with the same interests, or they give you opportunity to develop a new interest.  You may find out that you don’t do it well at all, but you come away with a great story and a good laugh at yourself.

There is such a thing as wasting time in a valid activity, but that will be the subject of another post.  And, I think Katie’s activities and responsibilities are the right kind—she’s busy, but it’s time spent with people and she’s a very interesting person to talk to.

Finally, about the man being turned off.  I don’t think it would hurt Katie to mention in conversation with friends of both sexes and when appropriate that she would like to marry, however, as far as the man’s interest goes I will refer to something my dad once told me.  “If a man is really interested in a girl,” he said, “he won’t be able to help himself.  He has to let her know.”  That has proven true in my own experience (especially the good ones) and in my observations of others.

My two cents!  What do you think about activities as a way to meet people and develop your interesting self?  We really want to know.

 

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There aren’t very many people I’ve read about that filled me with as much loathing as Tucker Max. I didn’t even want to ask my friends if they had heard of him and his exploits because I didn’t want to give him any more attention, but Tucker Max has changed. He is 35 and is no longer drinking and exploiting women and writing about it in detail.

Max changed his life when he found himself economically successful, but without anyone to share his success. In his interview with Forbes magazine, Max tells Michael Ellsberg that with the help of a good psychoanalyst he now understands that he was using alcohol and sex to fill an emotional hole that stemmed from his painful childhood.  He also understands that he hurt people, and shares that he would like to someday marry and be a father.

Two thing I take away from this article for the marriage-minded woman:

1) Change is possible. If Tucker Max can change from a drinking, narcissistic womanizer to a maturing man who desires fatherhood, then so can anyone.

2) Change needs to happen BEFORE a person is in a serious relationship that could lead to marriage.  If Tucker Max knows it, then you should know it, too.

No person can change another person, so if you’re dating someone with an addiction—from substance abuse to spending—please know that you cannot change them.  You should stop planning a future life with them, and exit the scene. But if you know that you need to make some changes, or see a pattern in the men you date (for example, you’re attracted to drinkers), then you need to consider putting a hold on dating for a while and seek professional help to work through the patterns in your own life. Everyone has issues to work through at some point in their life, but we can only fix our own.  When these issues are unresolved, they affect our closest relationships–especially marriage.

If you have a personal issue that you need some help with, troubledwith.com is a place to start.

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Ira (the interviewer):  “Kurt Braunohler met his girlfriend on the third day of college. And in all of the ways that we think of what makes for a good relationship, I think that they were doing better than you, or me, or most people. They had a lot of fun together. They could talk about anything. They didn’t really fight. Happy sex life.”

Kurt (the interviewed):  “Well, after we had both turned 30, one day I just kind of was thinking about why we had never talked about getting married. We had never, ever talked about it, seriously or otherwise. And whenever anyone would ask us, we would always just kind of brush it off and say, oh, we’ll get married when we have kids. That’s what we would always say.

And I remember, we were sitting in the living room and it was October. And I just said, hey, I want to talk. And I said, why do you think we haven’t gotten married yet, or even talked about it? And she just kind of like looked at me and thought for a second. And then she said, well, I think that before we get married, we should probably sleep with other people.

And you would imagine that would come as a huge shock to me, like hit me hard. But for some reason it made sense to me. I was like, OK, very calmly. And I guess the reason– …”

Is this NPR interview as crazy to you as it is to me?  My cousins heard the whole interview on Valentine’s Day of all days!  I can’t imagine why someone thought this would be a great Valentine’s Day interview.  Wow!  No romance or happy endings here.  Just mixed up logic that will lead both Kurt and his ex-girlfriend into very sad futures.  I’d like to think this was an extreme example of our “free thinking” society, but I have a feeling it’s not that rare.

There are so many things wrong with the thought process of Kurt and his….I’m not sure what to call her.  They had the interviewer, Ira, a little fooled into thinking they had this great relationship.  For instance, her comment about their relationship, “I think that they were doing better than you, or me, or most people”.  Really?  Most people would have taken one look at their relationship and thought there was something wrong with people who “date” for 13 years.  Another one of her comments was “they could talk about anything”.  Uh, Ira, apparently not, since marriage hadn’t even been mentioned after 13 years of dating.  And then, when marriage was mentioned, his girlfriend (a term I have to use lightly) wanted to sleep with more people!  Shouldn’t she be saying, “Yes. I’ve spent the last 13 years getting to know you and falling in love with you.”  I certainly didn’t expect her to say “After 13 years, I’ve decided I haven’t slept with enough people”.   Somehow sex with other people became the way to get to know each better.  What messed up logic?!  Sex with each other obviously didn’t help them.  Maybe that should have been their first clue that sex has very little to do with intimacy, love, and commitment.  Kurt said “it (sleeping with other people) made sense” to him.  I wish I had been the interviewer.  I’m dying to know why he thought that made sense!

Where did they learn this and how in the world did they really think this would work?  How will it effect their future relationships?  From the interview, we know what theory Kurt gleaned from this experience.  He now feels he needs a way out after the magic number of 7 years.  Good luck with that, Kurt!

Someone gave me this advice in College: “Don’t date someone you wouldn’t marry.”  Total opposite of Kurt and his ex’s advice to sleep around as much as you can before you settle down for 7 years.  At first, I thought the advice was a little crazy.  What about dating around?  Finding what you want?  You’re not (necessarily) going to marry the first or second or third person you date.  I think they were wanting me to really think about who I was dating and why.  It was the mind-set that was really important.  It was good advice and it definitely effected the way I dated.

At the end of the interview, Ira finally gave poor Kurt some valuable advice, there is “comfort in marriage”.  Marriage is so much more than a commitment to your spouse.  It’s a commitment to the institution of marriage.

Here’s the link if you’d like to hear the whole interview:  http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/457/what-i-did-for-love

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My friends, Mary and Matthew, kissed and became engaged amidst falling snow.  I loved it! Perhaps you did, too, because it was part of the final episode of PBS’s “Downton Abbey” which just concluded after two seasons (sad day!).

So, favorite part of the final episode (besides Maggie Smith’s spectacular scene stealers), was the proposal. First of all, Matthew was very gracious about Mary’s past. He acknowledged it, but he was kind when Mary was prepared for his disappointment and disapproval.  The best moment was Mary’s request that Matthew propose “properly.” She could not give him an answer, she said, unless he got down on a knee and asked her properly.

This, dear readers, was a teaching moment for we very modern women.  This was about much more than a perfect proposal. This was about asking something of a man before giving her heart away.  Mary’s small requirement for his proposal speaks to much larger requirements women should have of men they date or marry.  Requirements would most obviously apply to sex, but also to a woman’s emotions, her time and her heart.

A man will work pretty hard to get the attention of a woman he finds appealing, and a woman should have some requirements for a man’s behavior as she considers  1) who she will spend time with, 2) who she will share her deepest thoughts and emotions with, 3) the kind of man she will date, 4) the kind of man she would consider marrying.

Here are examples of good requirements for a man you would consider going on a date with:

  • he treats others with kindness
  • he has a job or is working hard toward employment
  • he speaks and acts respectfully
  • he asks for/requests your time

Here are examples of non-requirements:

  • he drives a new car
  • he’s super hot
  • he wears the right label of clothes
  • he wants to hang out, but never directly asks for your time and attention

Do you have some requirements of the men you date or would consider dating?  What are they?  We’d love to see your list of ten or less, and we’ll plan to share a selection of them here.

More about requirements: The comedian Steve Harvey wrote about requirements in his book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. If you’ve read the book, we’d love to know your thoughts about it.

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We’ve been there

We are three women who jumped the stats charts. We were unmarried women in our 20s, and then our 30s. Now we are part of the married crowd, but we know that there are women out there like we once were.  We desired marriage, but found the path toward it to be confusing and difficult for all kinds of reasons.

If you desire marriage–even if you’re sometimes afraid to admit it–and are finding the unmarried road challenging, this blog is for you.  We know that road and its challenges, and we want to come alongside you and help you walk toward successful marriage.  We don’t have all the answers, but we know where to get a few of them.  We also believe that marriage is a good thing, and that the desire you have for a husband and marriage is good and natural.

Our goal with this blog is to encourage you along the way to successful marriage (ie. through good times and bad for as long as you both shall live). It will be our privilege to walk with you, and we can’t wait to get started. Let us know what you’d like to talk about.

Eden, Ellen, and Jones

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