As the son of an IHOP owner (now retired) and a former PT employee, too, I now see why corporate planning was light years behind companies like…say…MCDONALD’S! Check out this campy (disturbing?) commercial from 1969. I remember the blue roof, sign, and waitress uniforms. I always loved the food. But who got Alvin (or was it Simon or Theodore) to sing this ridiculous song?
There are many reasons a marriage can slowly die. One of the fatal flaws for most husbands is that we fail to continue dating and pursuing our wives after we marry them. Going to fancy restaurants, taking romantic walks, or driving aimlessly for hours in the car just doesn’t seem as important after we have won the prize. If we were to look at why we don’t continue dating our wives, most of us would have similar excuses:
- “I am worn out.” You work hard all week and when the weekend arrives you just want to watch the ballgame or go watch your kids play in their multiple games!
- “I have too much to do.” With little free time between work, children, and home responsibilities you never seem to have time to do what you want or need to do.
- “I really don’t want to argue.” You don’t want to discuss money, hear about your kids’ problems, make a list about what needs fixing around the house, or talk about what the “Joneses” just purchased.
- “We’re broke.” A night out can be somewhat expensive and there never seems to be enough money.
- “I just don’t want to go.” She knows you love her; you don’t have to prove it again, right?
A date night once every week or two can be a marriage saver. Here are some ground rules that will help your “date” be one to remember and not just another “couples’ staff meeting.”
- We will not talk about the kids, in-laws, bills, or next week’s to-do list.
- We will not talk about all the things we don’t have time to do or how we can’t afford this night out.
- We will not intentionally bring up subjects that lead to arguments.
- We will talk about ways God is working in our lives and marriage.
- We will talk about, and plan, the things we may do together in the future.
- We will talk about ways we can be a blessing to the neighborhood, the kids’ schools, or our church.
Eating together builds relationships. It’s no accident that the oldest surviving recipe in the world is for a social beverage: beer. The greatest single indicator of healthy relationships in a family? Shared meals. The family that eats together (five nights a week) stays together.
My son Micah made an astute observation after watching news of Black Friday near riots and crime. He said, “That’s ironic and sad. On Thursday we thank God for all that we have. We’re content. And then the next day we act like we NEED something so bad we’d trample other people.”
I think Black Friday should be renamed, “Ungrateful Friday.”
If you missed it…here’s one Walmart…
20 years ago today we tied the knot. Thank You God for Jennifer!
Her’e part of my blog entry from this date a year ago. This is why I enjoy writing…
So here’s my journal entry from June 7, 2001, right before my mom died from cancer when it was apparent she had little time left:
Can’t sleep. Back in Grand Rapids. Crying.
Questions: Why did she have to smoke? What will happen to dad? How do I say goodbye? How will this affect Lori & her kids? What will life be like without mom? Aren’t we without her now? Is that where the pain comes from? What are the pros/cons of a drawn out death vs. an instant, unexpected death like Brenda’s (my sister)? Can I trust God now? Will I trust God now? What about my dad? How bad will she (my mom) get before it’s over? Will I have to do this for Jen? She for me? How will I die?
Regrets: Did I take her for granted? Did I show my love enough? I can’t be here for the whole thing which brings me some relief but also some guilt.
Memories: When she (as an elder) served at the Table with me in worship; when the whole family spent time in Orlando and mom & I snuck out to go to Magic Kingdom one more time, just the 2 of us; 1984 World Series; Bethany trips; playing Poker and Hearts and Rummy; when I was sick and she took care of me.
I read that 11 years later and it makes me cry. But that’s OK. Because I look back over these past 11 years and see God answered so many of my prayers. I did trust God. He did not fail me. I am happy, though melancholy at times when I think about certain things. God is good. It has been a good quiet time. This is why I journal.
What have you learned from grief and dying? I’d love to learn from you.
Today would be my sister Brenda’s 48th birthday. But she died at the age of 20, when I was 13 going on 14. Not the best of times for me. But I found a way to get lost in baseball that season. That was the year of the ’84 Tigers. They started the season 35-5 and cruised to an easy World Series championship. And I was there to see it all. Baseball, that summer, became my escape from reality. I eventually dealt with the issues that surrounded losing a sister, but when you’re 13 going on 14, sometimes it’s best just to escape into something that isn’t harmful.
Not sure why I’m writing all that but just to say that I still miss her even though it’s been 28 years since she died (late May, 1984). The scary thing is that as the years go by I have more trouble remembering specifics about her. I remember important data.
And her smile.
And the way she was.
I guess I do remember her. If only it was clearer. She became a Christian the year before she died. I’m looking forward to getting reacquainted with her one day. Love you sis!
I’m grieved by how many parents abdicate their responsibility to set the priorities for their children. Too many parents are listening to the world and to the “easy way” and letting their children decide things that children weren’t meant to decide. We make our kids go to school, brush their teeth, go to sleep. We want them to be active in things outside of home and school so we sign them up for athletic teams or lessons to learn an instrument. Those are all good things…and we do the same thing. But my goal is never to substitute a good thing for a GREAT or BEST thing. I want my son to excel in soccer…but I’m not putting that before God, church, or family. Yet, I see parents do that ALL the time!
I would absolutely love it if one of my kids went to college on an athletic scholarship. But I’m not going to sacrifice their spiritual, relational, and emotional lives to do it. It might save us money but at what COST? Say “NO” to any activity that interferes with your child connecting to God or with His Bride (The Church) or with healthy relationships within the family. I knew a family once with 3 kids and they had practices and games 5 out of 7 nights a week and ate out almost every night. They ate more in their mini-van then at the dinner table. That is insane.
So make it the priority for your kids to be at church and other spiritual experiences (church camp is the #1 place where your child can grow closer to God in a short span and make relationships that last a lifetime). Make it a priority to eat and talk together regularly. Then you’ll have a lot less regrets.
My son, Micah, has his own blog. He’s quite prolific in the amount of posts he puts up about things that interest him. Like me, he’s not doing it for glory or even influence, but just because he has something he wants to share. You can do with it what you will.
Here’s the beginning of his post about Friday’s storms:
Talk about excitement, staying in the 1st Christian Church of Versailles’ 150 year old basement for a couple of hours. Some of the wind hit so hard, it blew open the doors and we could hear it in the basement. I still have the sound of those tornado sirens in my head.
Being open and honest with your family about life’s problems teaches them to rely on God for solutions.
It’s our nature to protect our families; to put on a happy face and bottle things up. We are the ones who fix problems, not bring them home for others to deal with. We hide our feelings and, in doing so, we often teach them to hide theirs.
We don’t need to dump more on our family than they can handle, but we do need to be honest and share our problems.